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Happy New Year! By now you are almost halfway through the educational year, and you’ve tackled some of your most labor-intensive months. (Stop reading and give yourself a hug!) But since there’s still work to be done, I’ve prepared a little list to help you get the New Year off to a smooth start!

Review the Budget. See how much is left and plan accordingly. Make notes about those “surprise” costs you’ve incurred so they can be included in next year’s budget. And start your “wish list” for the coming year now!

Clean the Closet. Restock the supplies. Toss the dried-out markers and the empty glue sticks. Stack the paper, line up the songbooks, and label everything! Better yet, ask for help from someone with administrative gifts or hire a teen for two hours of assistance.

Set Some Dates. Flip through the calendar and plan ahead. Selecting dates now for kid’s ministry team meetings, Easter program and lesson plans, church school graduation, and other events will help you get better attendance and participation later. Email all your leaders with the new dates, and post them in a prominent place at church. (Tip: Hang them in that supply closet you’ve just cleaned!)

Evaluate your ministry. Do your teachers feel frazzled? Are the kids engaged in what they are learning? Is your Sunday school a fun and nurturing place to be? Hang out in the hallways this month and find out how things are going!

Tip: Make a point of passing on a positive comment to a teacher each week; mark it down in your planner if you have to! Hearing things like, “I noticed your kids were really engaged this week—you must have been doing something that grabbed their attention!” or “I always appreciate the time you take to make visiting kids feel welcome, you have such a gift of hospitality” are music to a volunteer’s ears!

Encourage and Challenge Take time to pass on tips to your teachers. Consider printing off one of the articles from this and to copy for each leader. Roll it into a scroll, tie it with a ribbon, tie on a tea bag, and add a card that says, “Thanks for all your hard work . . . have a cup of tea on me!

Keep Everyone in the Loop. Let families and other church members know about the exciting things that are happening each week. Take your minister on a tour and share what’s going in with the kids in the congregation! Take pictures and post them in the halls. Encourage teachers to hang kids’ work where everyone can see it. Add a note or teacher/kid quote to the church bulletin. It’s a great way to demonstrate that your church is a place that values kids!

Breathe. Pray. Be Still. Listen. Read. Take them time to stay in touch with God this year. Too often in the busyness of making sure everyone else has the opportunity to connect with God, you forget to take that opportunity for yourself.

Happy New Year! 

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