Children's Ministry in the Church Plant
Every other month the Pillar Network hosts a national coaching session for all in-network churches. This morning Pastor Dwayne Milioni led the coaching session and fostered a discussion about children's ministry in church planting. Pastor Dwayne emphasized the importance of children's ministry in the local church and he encouraged church planters to make children's ministry a priority. He asked Jon Chasteen, a church planter at Redemption Hill in Boston, and Warren Mainard, a church planter at Essential Church in Seattle, to discuss pressing challenges they face in children's ministry. He also asked them to share some creative solutions they have developed to overcome these challenges and how children's programs have been beneficial for their church growth.
Jon Chasteen shared that a few challenges Redemption Hill has faced are: the ongoing need for volunteers to set up and tear down the church, not many men serving in children's ministry, and needing consistent children's ministry workers. Warren Mainard shared about how in the early days of their church plant, his children were often the only kids. When a new family would come to the church, they would often be deterred by the lack of children in the church. Warren also shared the struggle of having inconsistent volunteers at times, space for childcare during small groups, and consistent childcare volunteers routinely missing Sunday morning services.
Warren shared that one solution he has found to his volunteers routinely missing worship services is to hold a volunteer service before the regular service. Each week, Warren holds a volunteer service where volunteers serving that Sunday can come before the service and hear the same message.
Coming up with children's events and programs is also a very helpful and effective way to equip children and parents and to reach other families in your community. Jon and Warren both shared that their churches operate on a "trimester" basis and they try to hold one large children's event in each trimesters. The trimesters are from January to May, June to August, and September to December. During each of these trimesters, they host events like: soccer nights, sports camps, vacation bible school, easter egg hunts, and halloween dances and events.
Redemption Hill's summer "Soccer Nights" have been extremely successful. "Soccer Nights" is a non-profit free soccer clinic and the goal is athletic skill, leadership development, city-wide unity. Even though "Soccer Nights" is a non-profit event, Redemption Hill is able to use it in an evangelisitic way by connecting with parents and families and building relationships with them.