DESIGNING THE TEAM
Building a great team is vital to building a great ministry with kids. Over these next few posts you’ll explore tangible ways to change the way you think about recruiting and building a great children’s ministry team.
Our model is primarily large group – small group. So the key roles we need are below. If you’re in a small church, you’ll be combining these roles. If you’re in a larger church, you’ll be adding additional roles. This is just where we are right now.
Communicator/Storyteller – This person tells the bible story and teaches what it means and how it applies to kids’ lives. This person should be creative, energetic, practical, and able to relate to kids. They should be fairly mature in their own spiritual life. Because they’re the primary up front person teaching the bible, they must be willing to be held to a high standard of conduct.
Small Group Leader – This person is the primary spiritual care giver in the life of a child. They must be highly relational, compassionate and caring, and consistently dependable. They must be able to read the curriculum and come prepared to lead discussions, group activities, and crafts. They should also be able to graciously manage behavioral dynamics and navigate some difficult issues in the life of a child (or at least be willing to learn). A Small Group Co-Leader or Helper may be someone who is learning to be a small group leader or is perhaps willing to assist the primary SGL in leading a group. They should be adults but they can also be well trained teenagers. You should have 1 SGL for every 4-8 kids depending on their age.
Coach to Small Group Leaders – This person is the primary support for a group of small group leaders. They must be highly relational and experienced in ministry with kids, parents, and leaders. They must be able to provide guidance and support to a group of small group leaders. They’ll need to be able to help them figure out how to manage behavioral challenges, navigate difficult issues, manage conflict with parents or other people on the kids ministry team. During the program they can roam the hallways and rooms to be a healthy, relational ministry presence while also assisting with little things as they pop up.
Coordinator – This person supports the programmatic needs of the ministry and its leaders. They must be organized, routined, and able to think on their feet. They can help prepare things for the program and get things setup ahead of time or work with other volunteers who do this. During the program they can be the one to trouble shoot issues, track down missing supplies, or even help find that missing kid.
In many smaller churches or in ministries just beginning to develop these roles, the Coach and Coordinator roles may need to be combined at first but should be split up to separate people as soon as possible.
Welcomer – This person must have a very warm and welcoming personality. They’re responsible for making the first personal impression on new kids and parents as they come in. They help get kids registered or checked in (using whatever check-in system you have), and provide parents with any welcoming materials you may have for your church. They should stay at their station at least part way into the program and return to it at while before the program ends. They also get kids checked out at the end of the program, making sure that they leave the building with the right authorized adult(s).
Safety Monitor – This person must have a warm presence but also be able to be firm and confident. They are responsible for monitoring the safety of the children during your program. While roaming the hallways, they watch for suspicious individuals (people who may be carrying weapons with the intent to harm, estranged non-custodial parents who may try to take their children, thieves, sexual predators, people who may be mentally unstable, etc.), take action and give instruction during emergencies (threatening weather, fire, shooter, violent person, lost child, etc.).
There are some additional roles that are helpful if you can find the right people to fill them. These might be:
Bin Stuffer – We don’t really have an official title for this person. They’re just the one who makes sure all the leaders’ bins have all the curriculum and program supplies they need for the night. This could be someone who serves in another role but it’s nice to get someone else to do it so we don’t burn people out.
Games Leader – This person might lead big games in a gym, or stage games, mixers and competitions during during large group. They have to be organized and skilled at giving instructions as clearly and efficiently as possible. They have to be able to command the room, get, and keep kids’ attention. They should also have a light-hearted, creative personality that loves having fun with kids.
Para / Special Needs Leader – If you have any special needs kids, it’s a good idea to have a person designated to assist that child (depending on the level of their needs) through out the night. Their small group leader may not be able to give them the attention they need as they lead the others in the group. If they do, they may be sacrificing the needs of the group to tend to the individual. If you have several special needs kids, you may want to form a team of special needs leaders so they can work and learn together. This person should be compassionate and caring while also confident and firm. They should be able to become thoroughly acquainted with all the diagnoses and needs of the child, communicate consistently with the parent, and work well with the small group leader, and coach.
A/V/L Technician – This person is dedicated to setting up and running the technical equipment for the audio, visual, and lighting (if present) needs of the program. There are so many details involved with these things that no one else really wants to have to deal with them while, ironically, usually wanting to use them. It’s important to have someone designated separately for this role so they can do it well and aren’t stuck trouble shooting while also responsible for a group of kids, having to tell the story, or coordinate the whole program.
Large Group Host – This person should have a fun, engaging personality that can warmly welcome the kids at the beginning of large group, creatively give any announcements, and host any transitions between major segments of the large group experience. They should be able to memorize information for announcements and lines for skits. And, they need to be able to “see the room” and what’s happening as well as make quick adjustments on the fly like creatively filling time in case there are technical difficulties.