Monday, February 15, 2010

REACH 1: Reaching KIDS for Christ - Pastor Alan Brooks

I thought we'd start with the young ones as we kick off this new blog series about REACHing people for Christ. Stay tuned here each morning for a new interview for the next week or so!

First up: Pastor Alan Brooks from New Life Bible Ministries in Rio Rancho, NM. He served on staff at Calvary Albuquerque as the Kids Ministry pastor for years before I went on staff there. I had the privilege of serving with him for a couple years on staff before he eventually left to plant a church in Rio Rancho, which is where he pastors now.

Check out his church website HERE.

1. As someone striving to reach kids (anywhere from nursery-age to 5th grade), what are some creative ways to reach them on their level?
Bottom line for ANY age level is our passion and excitement for what is being taught.  If I'm not excited why would I think they would ever be?  I believe kids especially need "hands on" personal involvement.  One thing we had done successfully in the past especially for the younger ages is having a separate "story area(room)", a "crafts area(room)" and "activity area(room)" each emphasizing the SAME bible lesson from a different vantage point usually taught or led by a different part of that age group teaching team.  Together with this I think its important to separate age groups for greater effectiveness and community.

2. When starting a kids' ministry, what are some important things to keep in mind?The Three "S"s:
Screening: spend the $$ and have a NATIONAL background check done on EVERY kids/youth volunteer/staff person
Safety: Develop a check-in/out system to properly identify who is authorized to check a child out of the class and be diligent about enforcing it.
Supervision: Always have TWO ADULTS in every teaching situation. Protects both the kids and the volunteers

Keep in mind that there are a lot of things called "curriculum" out there, some better than others, but always remember the Bible is our curriculum everything else is simply a tool to get the word out and better heard.

3. How important are volunteers when it comes to ministering to kids?NO volunteers=NO kids ministry.  Biggest mistake churches make is treating kids ministry as nothing more than childcare. Proper ratios in the classroom (not having TOO many kids and TOO few volunteers) greatly affects retention. Make sure and show/tell the volunteers they are IMPORTANT and APPRECIATED.

4. What are 1 or 2 lessons that you learned the hard way that stand out to you about ministering to kids?Kids are the easy part...its the ADULTS they give you most of the grief.
NEVER forget what its like to be a kid...and NEVER stop being one personally!

5. Kids Ministry is normally a once or twice a week thing, so do you have any tips with helping parents follow-up at home?
This is something I think most Kids ministries usually don't do well... unifying the ministry between church and home.  Most parents struggle with what to do at home with their kids, I think a church children's ministry needs to find ways to "send home" activities and lessons for the parents to reinforce what the kids are learning at church.  Our church is currently researching the resources available thru Reggie Joiner's organization "Think Orange" which has been developed to do this very thing.

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