Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Your Busyness, Don't Forget to Pay Attention!

There are so many things to do in children's ministry on a Sunday and Wednesday . . . be sure we have our curriculum ready, all volunteers present and accounted for, supplies ready to go, people ready to help visitors and the list goes on and on. While there are so many things to do, don't forget to pay attention. Children and families may have needs they won't voice, so be sure to pay attention to the following things . . . 

  • as the weather gets cooler, do you have children showing up in clothes which are not appropriate for the season? Do they have coats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, sweatshirts, shoes, socks, etc? Do the clothes they wear fit? Are they worn out? Pay attention to these things because if a child shows up in summer clothes or missing warm weather items, it may mean their family needs help.
  • do you have children who are too skinny? When you serve snacks do they practically "inhale" the food or tuck it in their pockets to take home? As the cooler weather arrives parents may have higher utility bills and have to skimp on other areas of their budget and children may be hungry as a result of this. 
  • when you have special events which cost money to participate, do children from the same families never participate? It could be the family just doesn't have the budget for extras of any kind.
Some families will not ask for help, but if you are paying attention, you will be able to see which families may be in some level of distress. Consider the following ways you could help . . . 
  • regularly make it known if families are in need they are welcome to let you know - so many families struggle in this economy and many need a little help.
  • if you have families who are hesitant to ask for help, approach them and ask them to help you set up and run a clothes closet and food pantry. If they are able to do something to "earn" these items, they may feel less embarrassed at needing help.
  • always provide a way for children to "earn" at least part of what they need for special events - you could even require all children to "earn" part of their cost for events so all children are doing this. Find families in your church who are able to help others and ask them to sponsor children who otherwise would not be able to participate. 
These are just a few ideas, but whatever you do, be sure to pay attention and have a plan for what you will do when you see families in need in your ministry.

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