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Why Creating Engaging Experiences Matters in Kids Ministry

Today we need to emphasizes the importance of creating meaningful experiences for kids while highlighting the need for leaders who genuinely care about children and families. This blog underscores the significance of managing the tension between producing engaging programs and fostering authentic relationships, all with the ultimate goal of building trust with kids and helping them trust God.
Creating Engaging Kids Ministry

Creating experiences for kids should involve leaders who love kids.

While there is no guaranteed formula for creating experiences that kids love, there are a few proven principles for leaders who love kids. If you are a kids ministry leader, we assume you care about kids and families in your church or community. Hopefully, you have discovered that something magical can happen when leaders who love kids create experiences. That’s why you do what you do. The primary motive for creating experiences is to connect kids relationally to leaders who love God and who love them. What if we actually learn how to improve our experiences so every kid who shows up realizes they are seen and loved by God?

Creating experiences for kids will require you to manage tension.

Chances are you have heard a well-meaning leader say:

“Your programs don’t matter; kids matter.”
“Your ministry isn’t supposed to be a production; it’s church.”
“Our job isn’t to entertain kids; we are called to disciple them.”

I’m sure I have actually said some of those things to make a point. But if we are not careful, those same statements can become excuses for not improving the environments we create. If we are doing our job as leaders in ministry, then we should also consider thinking like this:

“Programs matter because kids matter.”
“When kids are in the audience, you need to think like a producer.”
“If you want to disciple kids, you probably shouldn’t plan to be boring.”

If we had time, we could pause here and talk about the theology behind fun, but that’s another conversation.

Experiences for Kids Matter More Than You Think

So, before you decide that programs and productions in kid’s ministry don’t really matter, we would suggest they actually do. Regardless of your church or ministry size, kids and families live in a culture skilled at producing. Millions of dollars are spent annually by companies who know how to inspire, influence, and woo kids. There are countless experts skilled at shaping the heart and mind of this generation, sometimes for reasons that are not good. All we are suggesting is when kids show up to your ministry, you should have a plan to engage them, and for good reasons. Whether you like it or not, you are competing with voices and messages in their world that confuse them about their sense of identity, belonging, and purpose. So, what you produce and how you program for them is important.

For the sake of their faith and future, you should do whatever you can to engage a kid’s . . .

interests,
emotions,
talents,
and imagination . . .

to help them understand who Jesus is and how God loves them.

That being said, your calling as a ministry leader is not to try to out-produce culture. You live in the tension between what you can do and what culture can do. You don’t have the talent, resources, or budget that Marvel, LEGO, or Pixar does, and you probably never will. However, you can do something the rest of culture can’t do.

Do What Only You Can Do

You can out-relationship culture. If you fall into the trap of making the production or program more important than the kids, you have definitely missed the point. Your goal is simply to create catalytic experiences that can turn lights on spiritually and build bridges relationally.

Creating experiences for kids is an important way to build trust.

In light of shifts that have happened in how communities see the church, we think trust matters more now than it has in any generation. If you want families to come back every week or every month, then you have to create experiences that have a degree of predictability. So, you have to become more consistent in how your curriculum, messaging, and programs move kids in a positive direction toward deeper relationships within their home, church, community, and God. At the same time, most families are looking for shared positive experiences with their kids. Creating experiences is not the only way you need to open a door to rebuild trust with this generation, but it can be one way.

The hard truth is that every kid’s ministry lives with this reality:

We have a short window of time during this phase of life to build trust with kids and families in our communities.

Maybe you can start building trust by creating better experiences for kids who walk into your rooms. It’s just another reason you need to improve your skills to produce something that is engaging. Kids will know if you see them through the music, the décor, the stories, the activities, and how you interact with them. Families will know their family is a priority to you by how you leverage productions to celebrate and cue conversations in the home. Remember, there is a difference between a ministry approach and most marketing approaches. You are not influencing them to buy into something; you are influencing them to trust someone.

So, that’s why how we create experiences matters. 

The goal is to create experiences that kids and parents can trust.

The goal is to create experiences with leaders that families can trust.

When you create the right kind of experiences for kids, you learn to filter everything through the question, “How do we build trust with a generation so they will trust God?”

Then, every production, event, program, or experience you create for kids will have the potential to positively influence their faith and future. So, write this down and put it somewhere as a reminder. 

We are striving to create the kind of experiences that will move kids to . . .

discover,
hope,
care,
connect,
and feel seen.

We are building trust with kids so we can help kids trust God.

If you want to learn more about how to produce these types of experiences for kids, grab your copy of Creating Experiences for Kids today. 

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