As a busy ministry season kicks off, it’s tempting to skip the face-to-face time with our team. After all, we have bright leaders. We have a slick system for passing out supplies. We’ve chosen material that is easy to use. Why not just pass out the leader’s guide and send everyone off with a smile and a pat on the back?
Unfortunately, if we skip the start-of-the-season meeting, we’ll miss out on these must-haves:
- Casting the bigger vision. We want kids to learn the Bible stories and the doctrines of the church, but we also want them to feel connected to a mentor who cares, and peers who will journey in faith with them for years to come. The kick off meeting lets us tell leaders there’s more to their ministry than lesson planning. They are nurturing the faith of Jesus’ youngest disciples! We need to affirm this awesome role and invite them to invest in the kids in their group. To listen to their stories, learn about their lives, and love them just as they are. We need to encourage each leader to share their own stories and personalities, and to grow right along with the kids. The best gift they can give their group is a window into their own hearts, to show them what it looks like to live in faith.
- Inspiring confidence. Leaders should to feel comfortable with what they are teaching, and confident that they’ll have everything they need to make each lesson great. We need to explain what’s great about the material we’re using and how they can make the most of it. Nuts and bolts like where the supplies are kept, how the schedule works, and who to talk to when they’ll be absent are also important. But most of all, leaders need to know that we have a plan, and that what we are asking of them is doable.
- Cultivating community. It is energizing to spend time with others who are passionate about Christ and about kids! Getting together gives us the chance to see that we have this one big thing in common—a mission from God. Each season comes with its fair share of ups and downs, so it’s important to start out positive, affirming that we’re all in this together and we’re part of something exciting that Jesus is doing in our midst.
What do you hope to accomplish at your start-of-the-season leader’s meeting?