Sermon. Ask your pastor to preach a sermon on the worth of children. Give the pastor statistics to use from George Barna’s research about how early in life people make up their minds about God. Provide statistics and stories about your Pioneer Clubs ministry as well.
Possible sermon topics:
- boy with the loaves and fish
- the boy Jesus growing in wisdom, stature, favor with God and people
- Jesus welcoming the children
- Naaman’s servant girl
- Jesus saying we must become like little children (children can be examples to adults)
Regular Service. Ask for children to be made part of the regular teams of ushers, greeters, musicians, and so on. Even quite young club members can do these jobs if they serve alongside an adult “buddy” or mentor. Help interested club members practice, and have them wear their club outfits on the days they serve. If children regularly serve in church, rather than just during a special event when it’s seen as cute, the congregation sees that the church really means it when they say that children are important members of the congregation.
Commissioning Time. Plan an official commissioning time for your club leaders at the beginning of the new club season. This will show the congregation the high value you put on the leaders and the work they do with the kids. Ideas:
- Hold a special prayer service, and let the congregation pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for the club leaders.
- Have the pastor dedicate the leaders during a worship service. The pastor could also present leaders with Pioneer Clubs shirts and pins as tokens of appreciation.
- Hold a reception after the service in honor of the leaders.
Bulletin/Newsletter Spotlight. Include something about club in every church newsletter or Sunday bulletin. Show the value of club by telling what each age-group is learning. Tell brief stories of how club made a difference for a child or leader. (Be sure to ask permission of the story’s subject.) Include quotes from children, such as “At club I found out that God/Jesus “ or “I decided I want to (something the child wants to change in his/her life).” Also include quotes from the leaders or parents about how they see God at work in the kids, and so on. (Option:Adapt these ideas for a club bulletin board in the lobby.)
Pastoral News. Work at getting the pastor, youth pastor, and any other members of the pastoral team 100 percent behind your Pioneer Clubs ministry (if they’re not already). Don’t be content with running a “babysitting” service or “invisible” program! Pastoral support speaks volumes to the congregation about your club’s value. Try sending notes to the pastors, telling how God is working in club members’ and club leaders’ lives. Be specific. Rather than just saying, “God really touched Jordan’s heart last week at club and we saw such an attitude change this week,” try something like this: “During Bible Exploration last week, all of a sudden Jordan said, ‘I get it! Jesus is kind to us, so he wants us to be kind to our friends.’ This week we had the privilege of seeing how God is working in Jordan. Instead of laughing (as we usually expect), yesterday Jordan ran for paper towels to help out when Sam’s juice spilled.”
- Extend an open invitation for the pastoral team to show up at club any week.
- Invite the pastors to join in a specific club meeting now and then. Tell them one or two things that will be going on, to catch their attention.