At Life Community Church it’s important to us for all of our visitors and regular attenders to have a positive experience while checking in to our children’s ministries every Sunday. We utilize The City as our check-in/out system, which makes the process quick and efficient (as long as the Internet doesn’t have a tantrum). These are the five main areas we focus on to make sure we’re ready to receive people every Sunday before the services begin:
1. Clean// Parents want their children to be in a safe, healthy, clean environment. If parents see a messy children’s area, they will equate that to the type of ministry that is done in a particular church. How does your children’s area smell? Are the floors and windows dirty? Sticky door handles and dirty bathrooms are a turn off for parents. So get rid of the dust and cobwebs! Keep the place looking and smelling clean. This is the cheapest and easiest way to achieve a good first impression.
2. Signage// A growing church tends to have new people trickling in on a weekly basis. Your signs supply the information needed to let people know where to go. Make them clear with big clean fonts rather than cool, funky ones. Your signs are there to direct not to decorate. New parents do not always want to look around or wait for someone to help them. Signs move people to the areas they are looking for. Make sure restrooms are clearly marked too- both for adult and children’s areas.
3. Test Equipment// We utilize a computerized system for check-in/out. This allows us to have more options and a cleaner system to collect information. The most important thing is to make sure the equipment is working before people start arriving. Are the computers on and peripherals connected (scanner, printer, mouse, etc.)? Is the Internet connected? Is there paper in the printers? It really is a no brainier way to make sure check-in/out is smooth and efficient.
4. Hospitality// Hands down the cheapest way to create a positive and welcoming environment during check-in/out is getting the right people and training them to be hospitable. Being patient, emitting welcoming vibes and being attentive to the families are the keys to a positive experience. Hold trainings to remind people of general hospitality. Service-oriented companies hold trainings to remind and tool their staff to present the very best customer service. Give volunteers breath mints, encourage them to dress their best (within the general dress code for your church) and most importantly recruit the right people and not the wrong people for this area of ministry. A natural gifting of hospitality can’t be taught, just refined and improved. Recruit smart, not in desperation.
5. Teachers// If, like me, your ministry depends on volunteers then you have a duty to train them and prepare them to truly be ministers of God’s Word in the classroom. These volunteers do not fill blank spots in the schedule or provide childcare for parents in the main service; they are ministers. They teach the stories of God and care for His children. This does not happen automatically – they need continual training, encouragement and resources to make this happen. If you’re strapped for cash in your children’s ministry then investing in your teachers will quickly excel your overall ministry.