5 Things to Remember as Kids Return to Church
It is so exciting to begin to make plans for kids’ ministry to resume. We have been apart for over ten weeks. In some ways it feels like life was put on pause as we entered our quarantine season. Life continued for the kids in our ministry but it was extremely different. As kids return to us, we can’t necessarily assume we pick up right where we left off.
- Most kids haven’t been in a structured environment for months. No classrooms. No church. No athletics. No gymnastics. As quarantine shut down kids’ regular routine, it also eliminated much of the structure in their lives. Plan now how you will gently reintroduce expectations while showing a whole lot of grace.
- Most learning has been passive. Kids might walk in ready to share all of their words or they may have to be reminded how to interact in groups. Remember the last few months their education and spiritual education has been via screens.
- Reconnections will have to be made. It has been awhile since kids have been in your environments. For some kids, it has been awhile since they’ve been away from their parents. Be patient as you might see separation anxiety, shyness, and disinterest from even some core church kids.
- Families will have different expectations. In a recent survey of our church’s families, I learned that our parents were evenly divided in their opinions about reopening. You will have families who have high expectations about social distancing, masks, etc…. You will also have families who don’t care about any of it. Be clear about what you are and aren’t doing. Be patient with families who have concerns or who feel differently than you do.
- Each family’s quarantine experience has been different. Be sensitive to what you say or how you reference the season. Many kids had an extended vacation with family dinners, game nights, and quality time. Some kids dealt with high anxiety and it was a traumatic time. Households with working parents and homeschooling kids experienced stress. Some families were totally isolated and some were not. The children in your ministry have not had uniform experiences and you must be ready for that.
In the coming days, kids in your church have a great need for the love and stability of your ministry. They need the truth of the gospel just like always. My prayer is that as our churches adjust to post-pandemic life, God would be glorified in how we meet kids where they are and point them to Jesus.