Indulge me for a moment and take a journey in your mind with me. (I’d have you close your eyes, but then you couldn’t read this column!)
In your mind’s eye, I want you to drive to your nearest, most familiar McDonald’s®.
Are you there yet?
Walk up to the glass-and-metal front door and enter the building. You’ll find that you are walking on a non-skid tile floor. Step forward to the busiest area in the midst of the McDonald’s® just in front of the sales counter, and stop.
Don’t read further until you are definitely there.
Are you there?
Now, take a long moment, look around that room, and count all the elements that tell the seven-year-old, “We’re glad you’re here!”
Don’t read further until you have done so.
What did you see?
Perhaps you saw one or more of the following: The kids’ play area with the slide, the ball-crawl, the bright colors, Ronald McDonald®, and the all-important Happy Meal® display which includes the latest toy, located perfectly at eye level of every child that enters the place.
Every one of these items emphatically tells your child: “We’re so very glad you are here! You are important to us! You are a priority!”
Now, take another journey with me. Exit the McDonald’s® and drive directly to your local church. Once you park your car, enter the building through its main entrance. Come to a stop in the middle of your lobby.
Are you there?
Now do me a favor and count the elements in your church lobby that tell the seven-year-old, “We’re glad you’re here! You are important to us! You are a priority!”
I’m still waiting.
Some reading this column will joyously count the numerous things in their lobby that send the unmistakable signal to kids that they are important: the brightly-colored bulletin boards, the friendly greeters who take the time to greet kids, the well-appointed registration area for Children’s Ministry.
However, I fear that that number will be a small minority of my readers. Why? Because we tend to design our lobbies with only the adults in mind. We’ll put a Ming vase on an antique glass table and then shudder with fear when our four-year-old wants to run around it. If we have a greeter, most likely the greeter is greeting adults while the kids fly under the radar.
Maybe it’s time to take a good look at your lobby. Maybe it’s time to take a good look at your priorities as a church. Maybe it’s time to order up some change.
Would you like fries with that?
Brent Randall Regnart has served in Children’s Ministry leadership for over 25 years. He is available to conduct a Teacher Training or Children’s Ministry event in your church or district. He and his wife Rachel live in Stockton, CA. www.brentrandall.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.