I am really passionate about “discipline” in ministry. To me (and I think to God), discipline (especially to children and youth) is essential to their spiritual formation. When a student is in trouble, I think their heart is ripe and fertile soil for a “teachable moment.” In other words, discipline equals discipleship.
In a ministry setting, do all the children and youth ministry volunteers have this same perspective? This blog post does a great job consolidating my thoughts:
One of the first things we share with a new volunteerin our Children’s Ministry is our philosophy on discipline in the classroom. It’s really very simple: “We believe that every child has the right to hear the Gospel uninterrupted.” What do we mean by that? Well, first of all we believe that what we are sharing and teaching is incredibly important. Second, we want every child to hear the message. That means we cannot allow one child to prevent others from receiving the message.
Each Sunday morning when I stand before our kids in our large group meeting time I share the same statement: “We have only three rules in Kid’s View and we want you to know all three rules:
Rule Number 1 – Remember why we are here. We are here to meet with others and meet with God.
Rule Number 2 – When someone on stage is speaking you are to be listening. Which means you would not be talking.
Rule Number 3 – Have Fun! If we remember Rule #1 and we practice Rule #2 we will have a great time together.”
Again, I make these same statements every Sunday as a reminder to our kids. They know them so well that they shout the last word of each statement as I say it. Our desire is for every child to hear the message and enjoy their time in Kid’s View. The three simple rules go a long way to help that goal be accomplished.
We also have the Three R’s as our steps for correction when a child does choose to misbehave:
R – Request the behavior stop.
R – Reseat the child in a different area if the behavior continues.
R – Remove the child from the classroom after the first two steps if necessary.
If a child has to be removed the parent is called to the classroom. Rarely does the third R become necessary. Our goal is for every child to hear the Gospel uninterrupted and for them to enjoy their time in Kid’s View!
via CM Buzz
As a parent who is almost done with the messy diaper changes, I laughed because I can’t wait to not have to do this again. I find it amazing that there are willing volunteers in our church nursery who do this on a regular basis with babies! What a way to kindly serve in one of the least glamorous ways!
celebrating and thanking volunteers regularly
Shannon Whaples (Next Generation Pastor @ 12Stone Church) had a volunteer appreciation event called “Ovations” on the second night we were in Atlanta (Friday: 7-7:3o coffee and cupcakes, 7:3o-8:15 celebrate spotlighted volunteers at each campus [with awards and gift certificates], 8:15-9:oo comedian). It was a simple way to celebrate and thank their many volunteers that serve in the areas of nursery, preschool, children and youth.
Chad and Autumn Ward (Next Generation Pastor @ Watermarke Church and writer of reThink curriculum, respectively), commented on doing 3 rhythmic volunteer things (they probably have a better reference to it than: things!):
- a vision casting event/connection with your volunteers in the fall (i.e. August)
- a refresher in January (middle of the winter) to keep them going (encouragement and endurance)
- a celebration in May (to thank and celebrate and share stories of what was accomplished)
I think that is something we need to build into our calendar/rhythm. Perhaps it would be fruitful to combine some of these (not all) across the board with youth and children’s ministries. Maybe the celebration at the end should be together. Maybe the refresher in January could be together but broken out into separate “breakouts” at the end or beginning. Maybe the beginning vision-casting should be done as individual ministries.
I love what we do on Sunday morning. I love the simplicity of it. I love the intentionality of storying through the Bible. I love that we are simple blend of large group exciting programming and old-fashioned, Sunday School-type “classes” after the large group time. I love that I have great teachers in those areas. However, in that simplicity of having around 7 staff people @ Main Street (mostly because of the difficulty of getting more helpers and my hesitancy in managing and caring for more helpers/volunteers), I think it crimps the potential of having more people engaged and helping with Main Street.
A couple of years ago I asked our Main Street staff if we should do different programming; if our current model and elements were still accomplishing what we were intending. It was a resounding: CONTINUE!
However, I wonder if what I was asking was foreign to my staff. They thought I was asking them if we should still teach through the Bible chronologically and in an interactive and story-filled way. However, what I meant was less about curriculum scope and sequence and more about flow and elements of that communicate the content and restructuring those elements to allow more people to be involved and serving.
It would be neat to create more opportunities to serve so we can allow and encourage more people to serve. Maybe Hayward Wesleyan Church needs to “campaign” or emphasize serving in and out of the church and celebrate those who are and encourage and place those who are not.