So many things go into having a great year of club. There’s recruiting leaders and promoting your club early on, special events during the year, and year-end award celebrations, to name a few. In fact, there is a never-ending list of children’s ministry ideas you can implement, all geared to help you say at the end of the year, “That was a great year.”

But when all is said and done, your club year won’t be a great one because of detailed planning, extraordinary activities and great celebrations. The true measure of a great year lies with children you serve. Your ultimate goal is to help them learn and grow and become more like Christ. And when you see that happen through the course of the year there will be no doubt that you had a great club year.

So what can you do to cultivate an environment for that to take place? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get to know your children. At the beginning of the club year, set aside time to play get-acquainted games so that kids can get to know each other—and you. One idea is to have each child write down a “fun fact” about themselves and put them all in a bag. Then draw one out, read it out loud and have everyone guesses who the fact is about. Try to get through all the “fun facts.” If you have a lot of children, do this over the course of the first few weeks of club. Also take time to talk to your kids while you’re doing other club activities. Ask them about their family members, pets, activities and favorite school subjects. Be sure to jot down notes about each club member and follow up with each one of the course of the year. Kids will learn that you listen to them when they talk and that will make a big difference in your club program.

Communicate often. Be sure you have the information you need to communicate with kids, such as mailing addresses, email addresses and home phone numbers. If calling, always speak to an adult on the phone first to get permission to speak to the child. Send postcards to remind your club members of special events, field trips, Pioneer Clubs Sunday, and other activities to get them excited. Consider sending a personalized birthday card or note, or a “missed you” card if a child has been absent from club that week.

Include everyone. Some kids are more quiet or “shy” while others actively seek out attention. Be sure to devote as much time getting to know the quiet kids, as you do the more outgoing ones. Every child is different and that means that they all learn differently. Our programs are designed with different learning styles in mind. Try using a variety of teaching techniques especially for Bible Memory and Prayer time from week to week. Understand that some kids are more energetic so try to include a game time each week. This way all the kids in your group will be touched in a way that they respond to best.

Show you care. As you gradually get to know your kids better, observe where their individual strengths lie. Encourage club members by providing opportunities for them to help or use their strengths and talents during club. Remember to thank them afterwards. For example, allow kids to assist you in demonstrating a game or Bible Memory technique. Pair a friendly outgoing club member with a new club member to help the new club member feel more welcome. Remember to tell kids when you notice they are doing something positive, “Thank you Brandon for helping me clean up! You are such a thoughtful person.”

These are just a few ideas to help you make a lasting impact in the lives of your children. Demonstrating the love of Christ in your actions and words is one of the most important things you can do to help children learn to be more like Christ—and to make your club year a great one.