Why your church weekday ministry shouldn’t go back to the way things used to be

July 6, 2021

Congratulations. You made it through an unexpected, difficult year filled with changes, decisions and uncertainty.

As you move into the new school year ahead, reevaluate your approach to children’s ministry by reflecting on what you have learned through this difficult time.

What changes did you make that you will keep in place? What changes were the hardest? What do you wish you had known and done differently before the pandemic hit? What are you expecting for the new school year?

It would be easy to enter this new chapter trying to replicate the way things were before the pandemic. But we must think about whether that is the best approach. New challenges must be faced as we move forward, requiring some changes to be made.

Children, although resilient, will likely display unexpected as well as challenging behaviors. They may be much quieter and less likely to engage with others. They may display developmental delays that will surprise even veteran teachers. Adjustments will be necessary in lesson plans, activities, attitudes and patience.

Psychologists, counselors and other professionals say it could take from one to five years for children to bounce back from these developmental delays that have resulted from isolation during the pandemic.

New challenges must be faced as we move forward, requiring some changes to be made.

How can you help children adapt and grow? How can you foster learning? Consider these suggestions:

Be patient and reduce expectations
Train your staff to expect a different level of competency in the age that they teach. Have them review lesson plans to allow for this change. Remind them that having patience will go a long way in helping children succeed. Unrealistic expectations cause frustration with teachers and a disengagement from children.

Explain
Teachers will need to explain again even the most simple tasks. Children will need to be shown how to do things that previous students may have already mastered, such as using scissors or glue, opening their lunch or taking turns.

Change the environment
If the teacher is experiencing challenging behaviors and emotions in the classroom, then it’s time to change the environment. We can’t change children, but we can minimize the difficulties by creating different opportunities and experiences for them.

Encourage and guide
Children will need encouragement and guidance to try new things. Many of the activities children have been used to doing have been restricted or non-existent in this last year. Teachers will need to not only provide these opportunities, but also gently guide children to take part and even allow for failure.

Slow down
Children may be overwhelmed with their new environment and may suffer from separation anxiety. Children may have had very little interaction with others in the past year, so being in a classroom with new adults and other children may be stressful.. Give them the freedom to adjust. Make an effort to talk one on one with quiet children to draw them out. Offer opportunities for them to engage in conversation with others.

Play
Play is how preschoolers learn. Academics will come later. Play encompasses all the developmental areas – physical, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual. It improves the overall well-being of a child. Recent studies from The LEGO Foundation and The Hechinger Report reveal that, “learning through play may represent the best long-term value for helping children, regardless of background, to develop a breadth of skills that will last.”

So, celebrate your accomplishments from this past year but reevaluate to make the best plans for a great school year ahead.


by Mary Sweat  /  Church Weekday Education  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

What the Bible says about a pastor’s authority

I’ve heard it said, “The pastor’s job is to preach, marry and bury. Running the church is up to others.” Make no mistake — the primary task of a shepherd is to feed the flock. Paul commanded young Timothy to preach the Word. Preaching sermons on the Lord’s Day and officiating...

15 vital things you can give your pastor

October is pastor appreciation month. As a pastor for 25 years, here are some ideas for things your church can give your pastor:Give him a place.Give him a place where he is free to preach the gospel.Give him a place where he is accepted for who he is, not compared to who he...

Why I’m excited about this year’s Pastors’ Conference

The past year has been difficult. The world we live in today looks quite different than it did just 18 months ago. Many things we were accustomed to doing have either disappeared, been restricted, or have changed, for better or worse. One of the biggest changes was the separation...

The local school: A great place for church ministry

For the most part I really enjoyed school. However, there were some aspects of the time that I enjoyed more than others. I enjoyed the learning, the socialization, and of course, the sports. I found most of the assignments manageable with the exception of writing papers. Sitting...

Ready or not, here they come! Evaluating your church with fresh eyes

Is your church ready for guests who may visit your church after first watching online? Are you ready for members who may return after an extended COVID-19 break? What steps can you take to make a great first impression and reintegrate those who want to reengage with your...

Why personal evangelism is a key ingredient for turnaround churches

Many pastors and churches today are struggling. Pastors are discouraged, and some are leaving the ministry altogether. It’s been estimated that more than 80% of churches are plateaued or declining. Yet, some churches are seeing a turnaround. A fresh wind is blowing. These churches...

Looking forward to being on mission together

In late August, a series of organizational changes were unanimously approved by our state convention’s executive committee aimed at advancing all of us forward as a movement of churches on mission together. We’ve been working toward implementing these changes, and I hope that our...

Fostering and adoption: Why forever matters

“Which one is my mommy now?” I never imagined a child asking someone to point out who their mother was. However, the little blonde-haired girl named Ally, who I was holding that day, had already lived with three different families in the span of 15 months since she and her sister...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!