Your first year in kid's ministry can be difficult. Let's make you a professional.
Your first year in kidmin is hard. I remember mine vividly. I was an intern working 30 hrs per week at a church for free. I was called to ministry and i knew it and was too dumb to ask for even a gas card. I worked long days that year and felt like I was drinking from a fire hose.
I'll tell you the story of my first day in a classroom. I had been an intern for all of 3 days and arrived with the expectation I would be shadowing my new boss. Upon arrival, he brought me to the room and told me he had received a call that the main teacher and her assistant both were sick. He needed me to go in and lead the room for the day.
My brain switched and I figured it would be fine. My mom had been a teacher and I spent time in her classroom growing up. He didn't have the lesson, he had to fill in a different room, and he handed me a clipboard with kids names who typically attended. There were a lot of names on the sheet.
I walked into the room and set up a game I remembered my old youth pastor playing with us. It was going to be a great morning. 27 children showed up that morning. I think my mentor stopped by at one point to check on how I was doing. I was in love with this new world I had been thrust into.
My story is extreme and I would never want that experience for others, but I have heard different versions of this story that ended with the phrase and I quit. That ending is devastating to me because I know how beautiful being a kidmin leader can be.
Let's talk about your first year in KidMin and what you really need to not just survive, but set yourself up for a beautiful life of ministry.
The plan allows me to spend time reading a chapter of Proverbs, a Psalm, and then 15-20 minutes of whatever book I am studying. The full time reading Scripture takes me around 45 minutes. I then spend the remaining 15 minutes in prayer using the Lord's Prayer as my framework.
I read the Proverb that corresponds with the day of the month (I am recording this on the 2nd, so this morning I read Proverbs chapter 2.) I continuously read through the book of Psalms starting at the beginning and reading straight through. It is the prayer book of the Bible and something I never want to stop reading. Finally, I am always studying a book of the Bible. I focus on a few verses every morning and I do not care how long it takes me to read the book. I'm currently reading the prophet Hosea.
It has taken me years to work up to this process. I started out just reading whatever I felt like reading that day. Don't get me wrong, reading any Scripture will always be better than not reading anything. It is all inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, it is a really good way to become frustrated. Whatever you decide, make a plan and work on it every day.
I use the Lord's Prayer as my framework to pray. I will link in the show notes to a really great sermon explaining this in more detail. However, I will say that this revved my prayer life through the roof and has sustained me for many years.
I know this sounds intimidating. I never thought this was going to be possible for me. I was born with ADHD and the thought of planning more structure does not regularly enter my mind. What i know about children is that they thrive on structure. When there is not a plan and they sense chaos, behavior issues start, they feel insecure, and it can lead to them having a bad experience in the class.
Always start with the story. I know many interns and individuals new to kidmin who will start with activities or games they want to hit and base lessons around that. Also, a memory verse is not the story. Make sure that you are basing your plan around the lesson you want to teach. If you are talking about David and Goliath, great. Use it as your source material for the entire session. It will provide you with more meat than a single verse or a game will.
Think about the take away for the day. Once a child leaves the room, most of them will be asked what they learned that day. Making a clear bottom line will help them be able to easily recall what they talked about. Snack should be used as a transistion, not a break from the morning. I made the mistake of viewing snack like half-time. You still have time with them to learn, grow, and build relationships! Finally, always think about crafts, games, and memory verses in the context of different learning styles. Not every child is the same and they have different learning needs. Because of that, when you include the bottom line in different ways throughout the lesson, it becomes incredibly powerful for all in the room.
Make prayer and reading the Bible a major focus. I wanted to make fun the core part of a Sunday School class with Mr. Todd. The problem is that fun in subjective. Throwing chairs is fun for some while sitting quietly placing stickers on the walls is good for others. I had to shift my mindset and make sure the main thing was the main thing.
Let's summarize today's episode.
I want you to know I am praying for you as you journey through children's ministry. We have new episodes every week designed to help you become a professional kidmin leader. Smash the subscribe button on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, or YouTube to make sure and tune in.
Go to kidminleader.com to sign up for a weekly newsletter that will give you jetfuel with 3 ideas that are tested and will make you a better leader. If you are interested in working with me and getting coaching? You can find that on the website as well.
Next episode, we will continue with part 2 of Your First Year in Kid's Ministry.