There is so much that goes into making spiritual environments for children, students, and families. We work with sermons (talks), music, relationship building, and interactive elements. With all of this planning do you take the time to look at your last impressions? There is so much talk about that first impression, and there is no doubt that the first thing people see will set the expectations. Yet, we leave little thought for the final impressions, and that’s too bad; because final impressions matter.
We need to organize our dismissal times with the same energy that we organize our arrival times. This goes for Student Ministry and Children’s Ministry. To not be intentional with how we say goodbye, is to miss the greatest opportunity to help kids remember. It’s not about trying to hand out candy to that kid when they say the bible verse in front of their parents. Really, it’s not. It’s not about the youth pastor following up with the parents of insolent teenagers after church. Really, it’s not.
I believe that there will always be an element of chaos to our dismissal times, but if we are intentional just a little bit we can make them better. Here are 4 things to consider during this craziest of all times in our teaching environments.
1. 20% Showing Off what you’ve done & 80% Encouraging Families with what was taught. This is a big Kidmin thing to do. We want to let our children show off what they’ve learned, but it’s our job as leaders to help parents take that next step. We need to train our leaders to talk to parents at this time. This may be when parents are the most receptive, and we need to take advantage of the chance ot involve families in all that we’ve done.
2. Organized, smaller spaces for dismissal allow you to communicate vision to parents AND their children. If you are doing the super large dismissal where you scream a kids name over a microphone, or let teenagers run into the parking lot en mass; then you are missing it. Stay small for as long as you can, and let parents enter this environment.
3. Intentional Conversations. We all know the families that need our special attention. As a leader we identify, and then take action with the families that need our help. I dare you to write down those families you most need to be influecing, and then look for them at the end of each service.
4. Positive Reinforcement. Take the time to speak life and hope into the families, children, and students when they leave. You very well might be the last positive voice they hear until next Sunday
So I’d like to hear how you are intentional with your families at dismissal times. And if not, what are you going to do different to make the best use of this valuable part of your time with children, students, and families?