I have been writing about how it is essential for us to measure whether we are successful in our Children’s Ministry by the children who attend IF they choose to do so and not by the children who are there because their parents say they have to be there (basically the “church kids”.) Today I want to remind you why this matters and encourage you to reach out to those children in your ministry – and those who used to be in your ministry – who only attend IF they choose to do so.
First of all, if children were part of your ministry and are still in your community, then clearly God intends for you to make an impact on their lives. If they were once part of your ministry, but do not come now, it is likely due in part to them feeling like it doesn’t matter to anyone at the church if they are there, or not. Jesus said the Good Shepherd goes after the one sheep which wandered away and becomes lost. Do you go after them, or do you not even really give them a second thought? If these children were part of your ministry, then your ministry is not what it should be without them. They were there for a reason. They matter.
Keep in mind, if we fail to connect with the children who attend only IF they choose to come, then these children are likely to drift away from church and their walk with Jesus – and even their faith in Jesus. More and more young people are turning away from their faith to atheism – how many of them might not have done so IF we had been more intentional in building relationships with them when they were in our Children’s Ministries? We may think they just “slipped through the cracks”, but I guarantee you those “cracks” are more like the “Grand Canyon” in the opinion of grandparents who are trying – most often on their own – to get their grandchildren who are able to go to church IF they choose to do so, to choose to do so. When you do not connect with these children – and continue to work to stay connected with them – it is basically the same as “writing them off”. If you claim to love the children in your ministry, then show it – especially to those children who only attend IF they choose to do so.
So, as your school year comes to an end, take notice of the children who were only there occasionally – the children who only came IF they chose to do so, and reach out to them over the Summer. If you have special events planned over the Summer, invite them – send a snail mail, email, care package – all the above. Commit to let these children know you do love them, let them know they were missed, let them know you really do want them to return. Do NOT just “write them off.”
Connect also with the grandparents of the children who attend only IF they choose to do so. These grandparents are likely experiencing great pain, feel alone, and do not know what else to do. Do NOT leave them in this place. Let them know they are not alone – IF they truly are not.