The end of April celebrated a momentous occasion for us here at Orange: Orange Conference 2015. We met thousands of ministry leaders, ate thousands of King of Pops popsicles and slept tens of hours (the last one might be a slight exaggeration).
One of my favorite things about OC is that you get to hear amazing speakers and talk to innovative leaders about ministry idea, and then take those ideas home and implement them in your own environment. Knowing that I was writing this blog post about reaching the community, I engaged in conversations around what children’s ministry leaders were doing to reach outside of their own church walls. Here are some of the ideas that I collected:
- Partner with local food pantries and do food drives throughout the year. Usually, it’s great to schedule these around the holidays or before summer break. If you can, schedule a time for the kids in your ministry to go and help stock the shelves at the food pantry so that the kids can see where they are helping.
- Get to know the assisted living or nursing home facility directors in your area. Schedule times throughout the year when your ministry can come in and sing with them, play games and just connect. Also, invite the residents to any special events that you are doing at the church. This builds a bridge across the generations and creates invaluable and precious time together.
- Plan an appreciation breakfast or lunch for the staff of the local elementary school in your area. Engage the other churches around you to participate. When I was on staff at a church several years ago, we did this very thing. I can’t tell you the relational equity that we gained with each other and with the school by just showing solidarity and support for the kids in our area. It was at this lunch that we were able to best coordinate our efforts and make sure that the kids needs were being met by all of our organizations. It was one of the best things we did every year.
I hope these ideas will spark some of your own that you can implement in your context. I would encourage you to think about the question that Andy Stanley posed at Orange Conference, “What breaks your heart?” What are the needs in your community and how can your ministry best provide help? Is there someone in your ministry circle that has a heart for missions and that could spearhead initiatives throughout the year that the kids in your environment could participate in?
Make reaching your community a priority for your children’s ministry. We promise you won’t regret it.