• Program Rehab: One by One

Posted by: kidhelper on Monday, November 7th, 2011

All Children’s Ministry leaders want their programs to grow by design. We want healthy groups and growing people in them. However attempting to remodel ministries we did not start is, admittedly, very challenging. You want to stop the exodus of families caused by keep-out signs and a rather large back door. Reversing this reputation or the church’s image is like swimming upstream—it will take a lot of work.

Knowing how to start a rehab program is really quite simple—one program at a time. However, getting just one part of your children’s ministry up and running again in a healthy manner is not enough to change the image in the community. It would be like trying to impress your neighbors by remodeling or cleaning up one room in your house. Program rehab takes a long-term effort, a deliberate commitment to take on the system to introduce change. Being a change agent is just hard, but required. There are problem people, with destructive ideas, that resist change and even want to maintain the status quo. This is where a good program design is required. You see, I really do believe that the children’s ministry can contribute to changing the image of the church in the community, one program at a time.

Here are some design issues to rehab a closed program.

  1. Make a commitment to become an infrastructure specialist and change agent.
  2. Try to understand the history of the program and how it got where is today.
  3. Study the group dynamics, do a sociogram to understand the relationships.
  4. Bring problem people closer, love them and confront them when appropriate.
  5. Set some ground rules for better operation and processes
  6. Open up communication and trust.
  7. Establish a learning, growing, fun environment.
  8. The room itself might need a facelift to create some new ownership.
  9. An outside project might help to refocus the group to the outsider.
  10. Introduce some new persons to the group that you find.
  11. Then encourage them to invite friends to come and welcome them.
  12. Close the back door.

Two things must happen, the program must meet the needs of the attenders and it must be open to receive new potential members.

However, if we want to change the church’s image in the community, we must really take a serious look at whole infrastructure and maybe question how we appear in all our programming to the family and what the community sees as going on at the church on the corner.

How many times have I participated in a creative outreach program for children only to observe the same people we attracted were turned off by the dynamics of some other area of ministry. It is not good, when one area of ministry puts out the welcome mat, another shows them the back door. Why is it so hard to not really see what the visitor sees—a double message.

One thing is clear, it takes the effort of the whole team, but a Kidmin can lead the way.

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