Children’s Ministry by Brent ‘Randall’ Regnart
Brother Randall, tell us a bit about yourself and your ministry.
I have been in Children’s Ministry leadership for almost 25 years, serving in several roles, including that of Children’s Pastor at Christian Life Center in Stockton, California for most of those years.
Currently, I am providing Teacher Training and Children’s Ministry to churches across the country, in addition to my full-time work at KYCC Radio in Stockton.
What would you recommend a church do to improve their children’s ministry?
Before assessing what to improve, first look at what you are doing well and give credit where credit is due. I think sometimes we are guilty of focusing on our failures versus celebrating our successes.
Somewhere in your children’s ministry there is a staff member who is doing an excellent job, and there are children who are being effectively reached.
Take the time to highlight and celebrate what you are doing right before tackling what you are doing wrong or not doing at all.
That’s great advice. Once we have done that, where should we begin making changes?
A lesson I have learned in radio is to pay attention to the audience reaction regarding any song or program that we play. By the same token, we should pay attention to the kids’ reactions to everything in our ministry.
Do they enjoy Sunday school or do they have to be dragged to church? I remember one Sunday in particular when I saw a bunch of our kids running to children’s church. I took that as a very good sign.
There are three key areas of your operation you can inspect for possible improvement: staff, culture and facilities. Regarding staff, I would ask myself: Is the leadership adequately trained for the job they have been assigned? Is the staff effective, well-trained and valued? Is the staff communicating well with leadership and vice versa? Have we run background checks on every staff member?
A happy staff makes for a happy leader. My job as Children’s Pastor is much easier if my staff members are content in their roles.
I am obviously a huge fan of Teacher Training and would highly recommend that all Sunday school teachers attend a training event at least once a year, if not more. There are untapped resources all around; take advantage of them.
Regarding background checks, I have discovered that this is an area of neglect in many churches. It needs to be regarded as a priority.
You mentioned “culture.” What do you mean?
I am talking about the overall atmosphere and spirit of the children’s ministry. For example: Are the spiritual needs of the kids being met? Do the kids enjoy the ministry from week to week? Do kids absolutely know they are valued at our church? Are visiting kids returning a second and third time? Is our curriculum helping us reach our goals? Is the ministry growing?
Regarding “value,” I applaud any church that is successfully communicating to its kids that they are valued. For many, the Sunday school class is the single haven of peace in their lives. Let’s convey to them how much they are loved, both by God and by us.
Talk about facilities for a moment.
It has long been my contention that we (mistakenly) design our churches, our facilities and our lobbies for adults.
When an 8-year-old boy arrives at your front door, do your facilities tell him that he is a priority and that he is welcome? Are the greeters greeting him, or greeting only his parents? Is it a place where he feels immediately comfortable, or is he being forced to enter a “grownup’s world”? Take a good look at your lobby and your facility through his eyes. Ask yourself: Is our facility decorated in a child-friendly way? What elements in our lobby tell kids that they are important to us? Do our facilities provide a safe area for the kids?
If you are not careful, you and your facilities will convey the signal to kids that they are “second-class citizens” of your church, instead of the priority they need to be.
At the end of the list you mention a “safe area.”
I have been to a lot of churches that have not made child safety a top priority, and I just cringe. Even though I listed it last, it really is a priority of the highest degree. Take a good, hard, honest look at your facilities, and make absolutely sure the kids are safe. For example, if you are not using a check-in/check-out system, I strongly recommend you implement one.
It’s a sobering fact: the horror stories are true. The time to make a change is not after something heartbreaking happens at your church
This is a lot to consider all at one time.
You should then prioritize what needs changed first. Make a list: “Five Things We are Going to Change in 2014,” then focus on the five, not the entire picture. At the end of the year, celebrate the five changes that you made, then make five more in 2015.
How can a church or pastor contact you?
I travel many weekends a year to provide Teacher Training and Children’s Ministry to churches. My contact info is: Website: www.brentrandall.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 209-601-4315. Additionally, you can text the word “BRENT” to 42828 to receive my e-mail newsletter.
Isn’t your last name “Regnart”?
Yeah. It’s a radio thing. Long story.