8 Tips for Planning Family Ministry in Another Year of Unknowns


It is almost January again. It is time for New Year's resolutions and meticulous planning.

Or, at least that is what we used to do.

Way back in January 2020, none of us had any idea what the year held. As we begin 2021, how do we make plans for our children's and student ministries?

1. Calendar the best you can with the info you have now. It is tempting to make no plans because everything is so unknown. But God desires for His ministry to keep moving forward. I believe in planning optimistically, while being realistic as well. We are planning on normal summer activities resuming for our kids and students, but we are in a state with few restrictions. Maybe the wise thing for you is to plan for a modified version of "normal."

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

2. Remain fluid. As we all learned in 2020, just because something is on the calendar doesn't mean it is going to happen. Hold onto all plans lightly and perhaps have a "Plan B" in mind.

3. Don't procrastinate. Sometimes I find myself delaying making detailed plans because I've grown accustomed to cancelations and shutdowns. Be proactive, even when you aren't entirely sure what is going to happen.

4. Be positive. People are tired of all of this. People are very divided among a number of lines. As ministry leaders, one of the most impactful things we can do right now is to shine the light and hope of Jesus brightly. Yes, you may face discouragement too. But you must lead from a place of hope. God works all things for good, even pandemics and an upside-down world.

5. Don't resume an event just because it has always been on the calendar. As you evaluate resuming ministries that you couldn't do this past year, make sure you sincerely ask if they have to be done in the same way, if at all. If you have traditionally done a Vacation Bible School that very few people attended, is there a better way to do it? If your student camp has become very expensive, this may be the time to search for an alternative.

6. Communicate very clearly with your families. Let them know ASAP which dates to reserve on their calendars, but also be very clear that all plans will be dependent on the circumstances at the time. People are tired of hearing this kind of statement, but unfortunately it is our world right now.

7. Be very familiar with cancellation and refund policies. Don't book a camp or order a curriculum without fully understanding what will happen if circumstances change. Also, determine refund policies for money families may pay for camps, supplies and so on.

8. Keep people connected. 2021 may have more seasons of shutdown and online services. Make it one of your No. 1 priorities to keep families connected to the church and to each other. Regularly send postcards and make phone calls. Build community through Facebook groups, Instagram and group chats.

I am praying for a much less tumultuous year for all of our churches. Even more, I am praying for God to use all of these unusual circumstances to build His kingdom and draw people to Him. Leaders, I am cheering for you as you navigate another year of unknowns. God is bigger, and His kids and teenagers still need Him. Let's see what He does in 2021.

Jenny Smith serves as a minister to children at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida. She is passionate about equipping the church to disciple children to follow Jesus. Jenny also loves investing in other children's ministry leaders.

For the original article, visit churchanswers.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders