The time is finally here that states are starting the process of reopening the economy, businesses, and at some point churches. But what does that mean for your kids ministry? How do you know when you can safely reopen kidmin?
Recently on the Kids Ministry Collective Podcast, Tom and I got to interview Greg Atkinson, founder of Worship Impressions, and ask him some questions to help you as you consider your options moving forward.
I highly suggest listening to the interview— I think it would be a great help to you as you navigate the upcoming difficult decisions.
Some of the discussion points you will hear:
- Is your Kid’s Ministry clean, safe, and secure?
- What are some questions church leaders need to ask themselves when considering opening the church building?
- What will ‘First Impressions’ look like for Kid’s Ministry once churches reopen?
- What is something we need to get right the first time as we reopen?
- What is the future of the check-in process?
- What is the recommended capacity once we reopen?
Hopefully you will check out the entire interview, but here are some thoughts I pulled from the conversation.
For Greg, the question about when to reopen kidmin is more straightforward than many. His Big Three for Kidmin First Impressions are : Clean, Safe, and Secure. The first question you need to be able to answer is – can you guarantee a safe environment for the kids attending? Moving forward the answer to that question looks different than it did before.
Smaller churches will likely have an easier time adapting, and larger churches will likely take longer to implement the new procedures. The hard truth is this affects ALL of us.
If you are looking for help talking to kids about COVID-19, here is a great list of resources. Looking for some faith based activities for families during quarantine? Check out this Family Resource Pack.
Move to Digital
If you haven’t yet made the transition to a digital form of check-in, now is the time. People are concerned about the virus on shared surfaces, so pens and clip boards are no longer advised.
That doesn’t mean you need an ipad and a digital check in station. Maybe it means you use Google Forms and provide a link to parents to fill out first time information on your form using their own phone.
This also means that there will be a shift away from any form of handouts. This includes take home papers, and bulletins.
I’m sure you already have a cleaning schedule for your kids ministry, as well as your entire church. Well, that is about to change. As state governments begin to loosen the restrictions, there will be a statement that says “per CDC guidelines”. What does that mean?
Greg shared a link with us to the latest CDC guidelines, specifically as they relate to child care type programs, which would include your kids ministry. You can see those CDC guidelines here.
For those with multiple services, it will no longer be sufficient to clean and disinfect at the end of your Sunday program. And with suggested capacity at 25% to begin with, that means multiple services for many churches who have only had one.
Per CDC guidelines, EVERYTHING will need to be cleaned and disinfected between services: door handles, bathrooms, chairs, anything that is touched, floors, etc. That is a lot of extra cleaning.
Regardless of what your personal feelings are, keep in mind the church exists to serve. We are trying to serve a community that is scared and unsure. If we rush into reopening without following CDC procedures and advice we run the risk of alienating and pushing away those very people we are called to serve.
This is a church decision, not a kidmin decision
I heard about conversations between churches in Minnesota and the Governor. Part of the discussion included not allowing children in the building at all. That means adults could have their service, but kids couldn’t participate.
Other conversations include opening the church, but only having family service in the auditorium. With kids, it will be very difficult to ensure 6ft social distancing. But having families remain together for church allows parents to be responsible for their own kids. As each state progresses with their reopening planning, this will eventually change and you will be able to work on some of the above details to reopen kidmin.
When the kids ministry reopens should not be your decision alone. The church staff and board should all be involved. You may be aware of recommendations and requirements your pastor is not aware of. Or the church board may have researched best practices and has information to help guide the staff. Everyone should be on the same page as you reopen. You only get one chance to make a first impression as you move forward, and it will be difficult to overcome mistakes if you rush into reopening.
So where are you at in the process? Have you reopened? What are your plans for when you do reopen? Leave a comment or send me a message and let me know.
Greg Atkinson is the Founder of Worship Impressions and the First Impressions Conference. Greg is an author, leadership coach, consultant, and member of the Forbes Coaching Council. Greg has worked with churches of all stages and sizes, including some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country, as well as with businesses, non-profits, and organizations such as Josh McDowell Ministries. Stay connected to Greg and his work here: https://linktr.ee/gregatkinson
Are you looking for more great family devotion resources? Check out an Amazon #1 best selling children’s ministry book: Got Fruit: a guide to family devotions based on the fruit of the spirit.
Your child’s relationship with God must extend beyond Sunday morning. Parents have to take a leading role in the discipleship of their kids. Based on the Fruit of the Spirit, Got Fruit? is an effective tool to help parents disciple their children. If you are looking for help with your family devotion time, Got Fruit? is for you! Through this devotional you will be guided through discussions that build on each of the 9 fruits of the spirit. Each of the 9 devotionals include bible passages that highlight the highlighted fruit as well as a few related thoughts. Also included is a series of discussion questions that will help you guide your children in a conversation to bring truth and understanding. This short devotional is a perfect tool to guide you as you disciple your children into a deeper relationship and understanding with God.