Wednesday night ministry has many challenges and many opportunities. There is not an “easy button” when it comes to determining the best Wednesday night strategy for your church. Every congregation and community is different, which means there is not a “one-size-fits-all” plan. What works for me in Bradenton, Florida may not work for you.
Over the past year, our team has re-evaluated Wednesday nights and have made some major programatic and philosophical shifts based on the challenges and opportunities I discussed in the last two blogs. These values listed below are six of the ones we wanted to make sure we incorporated into our new plan.
- It has to be worthwhile. Be a good steward of the time families are investing. You know they are busy and you know it might be a difficult choice. Make sure that you are making the most of the opportunity by creating the very best ministry that you can. The kids deserve that. Busy moms and dads want more than babysitting on Wednesday nights. If you are going to do Wednesday nights, do it very well!
- Make it valuable, but low-stress for families. We chose to move to a plan on Wednesday nights where all kids are memorizing the same verse. Our hope was that the least complicated we made it for parents, the more likely they would be to connect with what their kids are learning.
- Make it valuable, but fun. Kids have been in school all day long and probably rushed to your program after completing homework. For the love, be fun. But don’t be only fun. They can do only fun anywhere. Make learning about Jesus fun!
- Create easy on-ramps. Don’t create a culture where it is difficult to come in mid-year or part way through. Help kids feel welcome at any time. Additionally, if a child misses a week or two and can’t easily come back in, you are running the risk of alienating them.
- Show attendance grace. Create a Wednesday night program that kids desire to come to and they are disappointed when they have to miss, but they don’t feel guilty or out of place when they have to miss.
- Build genuine community. Kids are most likely to stick when they feel cared for, feel they have friends, and feel that there are adults who will notice when they aren’t there. Coach volunteers to prioritize relationship building and put them in positions where they have the ability to do so.