Create Systems So You Can Build Relationships

Create Systems So You Can Build Relationships
September 21, 2016 Kate Warnock

Here are two questions to ask when an item hits your to-do list:

  1. Is there someone else who could do this?
  2. Is there a tool for making this quicker and easier?

As a children’s minister, it may surprise you to learn there are only 40 hours in a professional work week. Many of you are superheroes who can get 80 hours of work completed in 40, but only fictional superheroes can actually bend the rules of time and space.

There will never be enough time to do everything you want in your children’s ministry. You might think “This is just a busy season, and next month I will have enough time to ___________________.” Maybe now is the time to start working smarter and opening time for the heart of your ministry.

The most important part of your ministry is the relationships you build with children, parents, and volunteers. Click To Tweet

And yet how much of your day is dedicated to fostering these relationships?

I’m guessing you spend a lot of time on the following:

  • Managing student data, paperwork, and a budget
  • Preparing reports for staff meetings
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Writing announcements and advertisements
  • Developing lesson plans and researching creative ideas
  • Printing, cutting, crafting, copying, and preparing countless materials for Sunday morning
  • Persuading staff and board members to approve decisions
  • Did I mention recruiting volunteers?

Before you are up to your eyeballs in another year of ministry, take time now to create systems and adopt these five resources:

  1. Email marketing software is your new best friend. You may not technically be a marketer, but you have a lot to say to parents and volunteers about your ministry. Use a simple tool like MailChimp to craft an automated email chain to schedule announcements, information, and reminders to everyone. Think ahead to the main messages you need to send on a regular basis to parents and volunteers, and schedule each email to send at just the right time.
  2. Save time and money by investing in a curriculum. Your job is bring kids closer to Jesus, not become an expert on writing lessons. Choose a curriculum that is simple for your volunteers, and will match your ministry goals and philosophy. If you want something you can easily adapt to your church, Dig In is flexible and contains Bible depth you would never have time to create on your own.
  3. Utilize social media. Use your church’s Facebook page as a hub for announcements regarding children’s ministry at your church. If your church doesn’t have a page, create one exclusively for children’s ministry. Encourage parents and volunteers to follow your page for important announcements. You can also schedule posts ahead of time with the use of online tools such as Buffer or Meet Edgar.
  4. Turn your to-do list into standing meetings and delegate. If you are used to prepping supplies, create a regular meeting each week where a group of moms come to organize supplies for the week ahead. Tired of entering data? Schedule a volunteer for the same time each week to spend an hour doing that task for you. You can even create a simple email reminder that is automated in your email tool!
  5. Use a simple app such as Shoeboxed that turns receipts into fancy expense reports. You are probably not an accountant, but your staff still expects your financials to be organized. Impress your church’s administrator with the output of this simple mobile app and stop worrying about tracking expenses.

These five changes will help you spend time doing your real job – ministering to kids and families.

You cannot automate ministry, but you can effectively automate the systems behind a powerful children’s ministry of any size.





Kate fell in love with ministry as a camp counselor at Wapo and a Director of Youth Ministries in Edina, MN. As a marketing manager at Group, she enjoys learning how children's ministers thrive. Kate loves being behind a camera, snuggling with her family in Fort Collins, and asking a lot of questions beginning with "What If…?"


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