Christmas and the new year may bring guests to your church and children’s ministry. According to a podcast by Thom Rainer, guests begin the process of deciding if they will return to your church within the first 11 minutes of arriving on your campus.
This process happens before they ever enter the worship service and hear the music or the pastor. What are some steps you should consider in your children’s ministry that are part of making that initial guest experience positively memorable?
When parents with children arrive on your campus, do they know where to go and what to do? In the parking lots and throughout the interior of the church, is there directional signage to the worship center and children’s ministry areas?
Better yet, are there greeters who can escort families through the process of registering and dropping off children in their classes? Are they knowledgeable about the registration process and where the preschool and children’s classroom areas are? Do they know what programming is offered at what time?
The opportunity for a great first impression rarely happens twice. Will you be ready?
Does the website of your church have a designated page for children’s ministry? Can parents discover what ministry is offered at what time? Is the page up-to-date? Is there a simple map of the church to make navigation easier? Is there a registration link for special events like Vacation Bible School? Can parents learn about security processes you have in place for checking in and checking out their children?
Is there clear evidence that your church has plans in place for protecting the children of your church? Is there a check-in system? Have workers been background checked and vetted through reference checks and personal interviews? Are your workers identified through name badges or tags? Is there glass in every classroom door throughout the church? Is public access to children’s areas limited?
Is the teaching environment clutter-free and updated? Do preschool and nursery areas smell clean? Are bulletin boards attractive? Are rooms marked with room numbers and the ages of the children who are taught in the room? Are snacks consistently limited to healthy offerings?
Are teachers “on time” for greeting guests and receiving children? An “on time” teacher arrives at least 15 minutes before the scheduled session start time. Is the room prepared to signal that children will begin learning as soon as they arrive? Have teachers prepared teaching materials before arrival at church? Is there intentional relationship-building between children and the teacher? Are teachers trained in how to follow up with guests?
Today’s parents are looking for both personal opportunities to build relationships and for a place they know their child(ren) will learn about Jesus. The opportunity for a great first impression rarely happens twice. Will you be ready?
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