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An active children's ministry is valuable for almost any church. Small churches can grow by providing activities for families with young children, and large churches will keep members involved and growing by offering resources for families in every stage of life. If your church has not taken advantage of the benefits of a children's ministry, here's how you can start.

Plan the Children's Ministry

Write a mission statement for the children's ministry. Ideally, this mission should support and connect with the church mission statement, but it should be specific to children.

Appoint a children's ministry director. This can be a paid or volunteer position, depending on the resources available in the church budget. Many churches begin with a volunteer and later hire a paid staff person as the children's ministry expands.

Brainstorm children's ministry activities. Plan a regular weekly time when the church will offer specific programs for children. Consider what programs already exist in the church and when would be the best time to add children's activities. For example, many churches offer separate programs for children during the Sunday morning service. Other churches prefer that children be involved in the main worship service, and they offer programs at a different time.

Form a Volunteer Team

Recruit volunteers. Adults and teens can be volunteers in a children's ministry. Search for members of the church who enjoy children and are interested in guiding their spiritual growth.

Screen volunteers for criminal records. Conduct background checks on volunteers using references and fingerprinting. Do not allow any volunteers who have any history of child abuse or sexual misconduct.

Train volunteers. Offer volunteer orientation that includes information about the children's ministry mission and purpose, as well as about child development and strategies on how to teach children.

Delegate tasks to volunteers. Evaluate each volunteer's passions, interests and skills, and give each person a job within the ministry that fits her skills. For example, someone who plays guitar might be interested in leading music at a children's worship service, while an artist could teach crafts that connect with the Sunday school lesson.

Implement Children's Ministry Programs

Choose curriculum for children's ministry programs. Purchase or write curriculum for Sunday school and children's worship services curriculum.

Offer developmentally appropriate programs for children of different ages as much as your resources allow. For example, offer a nursery program for babies and toddlers, a Sunday school for preschoolers and a worship service for elementary school-aged children.

Include a wide variety of activities and learning styles in each children's ministry program. For example, teach Bible stories through drama or puppets. Include interactive programs like art, music and games in children's classes.