Published: August 23, 2023
Studies show the power of kids having at least one Christian adult friend in their lives. To help your volunteers form friendships with kids, share these 12 friendship tips that will help kids form meaningful relationships with them—and ultimately with Jesus!
There are so many amazing things about serving in children’s ministry. For example, you may love that you:
- get to see “childlike faith” firsthand.
- play, create, and experience the Bible in fun ways.
- receive warm hugs and enthusiastic high-fives.
- jump right in and sing, dance, shout, and celebrate being God’s child as only kids can.
- form friendships with kids. They like you and look forward to seeing you. And that makes your heart happy.
But sometimes you may wonder, “Do these things really matter?” How can you be certain that ministry to children really makes a lifelong spiritual impact in kids’ lives?
Let’s face it: Effectiveness in children’s ministry isn’t easily measured. It’s not based on attendance numbers or breadth of Bible content covered. So it’s easy to wonder, “Am I making a difference at all?”
Yes, you are.
In a recent study from Barna Group, a visionary research and resource company, less than half (45%) of children’s ministry leaders said their work was definitely making a long-term difference in children’s lives. Hmm. But parents thought otherwise. 64% of parents surveyed said children’s ministry in their church is making a long-term difference in kids’ lives.
Friendships with kids matter.
Perhaps parents see what ministry leaders miss—effectiveness isn’t about numbers and Bible mastery. It’s about kids’ attachment to their leaders—their big brothers and big sisters in Christ. Forming friendships with kids makes a difference.
The study also found that when a child has a meaningful relationship with another adult in their church, friendship and faith flourish. According to their parents, when kids have a relationship with a Christian adult (in addition to their parents) they are more likely to incorporate faith into their everyday lives. Friendship with Jesus is contagious!
That’s wonderful! And…(gulp)…it’s also a lot of pressure.
Forming bonds with kids doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
In our attempt to communicate to volunteers how important they are, let’s not inadvertently overwhelm them. Instead, let’s focus on why kids bond with adults in the first place. Let’s show volunteers that they are totally up for the task of forming friendships with kids. And let’s help them be good friends for kids to look up to.
This download will help! Print and share these bookmarks as a way to tell volunteers how impactful each little thing they do can be. They can tuck the bookmark in their lesson book or leader guide as a reminder of the impact they make by simply being a good friend.
It’s true! Forming friendships with kids is a powerhouse ingredient in the recipe for faith development. Check out this article for practical ways to make friendship-building and conversation part of your ministry. You can also help kids foster a strong friendship with Jesus with Notes From Jesus: What Your New Best Friend Wants You to Know. This resource contains Jesus’ answers to common faith questions kids ask and inspirational Bible verses for kids to tuck away in their hearts.
© Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use or duplication permitted.