Whether it’s your church’s first extension site or your tenth it always seems to be so complicated. You’ve got to figure out who’s going to take the lead for CM, whether or not you can pay them, how many volunteers they need, deciding on whether the campus pastor or the church’s children’s pastor will be their boss (or both), where the campus will be meeting (schools and movie theaters are most common), who’s responsible for set-up and tear down, where all the supplies will be stored, how much turn-around time you will have between services, where staff will be working during the week…The list goes on and on. Below are the four things that I think should be top priority for any multi-site children’s ministry:
1. Safety – The top priority of any children’s ministry has to be safety. When parents are walking onto your campus they’re already questioning whether or not they want to come to a church that meets at a school, movie theater, etc. so showing them that it’s safe and clean is a must. More than ever you’ve got to figure out your evacuation plan for emergencies, have good adult/child ratios, make sure everything is clean and organized, create a fun space for kids, and ensure that leaders are never, ever alone with a child. Ever.
Use this question as your filter: “Would I be willing to leave MY kids here?”
2. Relationships – After you’ve helped parents to see how safe your campus is you’ve got to show them it’s worth giving up the perks of the mother-ship to cultivate meaningful relationships in a smaller venue. This is one of the biggest things in your favor as you come out of the starting block. Leverage the smallness of your campus to your advantage. Have volunteers over for lunch after service, take the kids outside for game and small group time, get to know all of the parents at your campus by name, etc. Make the effort to be more hands on with the people around you.
Note: Relationships between staff members of the same ministry and different ones on a campus and at the church are built on good communication. Good communication should be consistent, concise, in advance, honest, and helpful. When this happens teams are more willing to help each other and be flexible when sudden mid-course corrections need to happen.
3. Curriculum – Once safety has been established and relationships are being built you can work on choosing the best curriculum for your site. You want to pick a curriculum that is supply light, has video-teaching elements that can be used when you’re short on teachers, and fits into your budget. Check out the links section of my blog to see some curriculum companies that are high quality, affordable, and multi-site minded.
4. Stuff – One of the great things about serving at a satellite campus is that you have access to the resources of a mega church but the attendance of a smaller church. Use that to your advantage. The more mobile something can be the better it is for you and your campus. There are many great companies that provide services for multi-site churches. Make sure that what you buy will fit into your space well. Communicate and coordinate your needs with your campus pastor.
There’s a lot more than four things that you need to do in order to have a successful ministry to children and families at a multi-site church but these four things are a good place to start.
What are some tips that you have for being a part of a multi-site children’s ministry?