How to find an early childhood ministry program that works

Sep 24, 2018 7:00:51 AM / by Linda Tibbitts

Early childhood family ministry development: What to know | Sparkhouse BlogWalking into the church nursery, you see families laughing and learning together as they play their way through the Creation story.

At the sensory table, a father and his three-year-old son are playing with cups, sieves, and water while talking about God, creator of wind and rain.

At the art table, grandparents work with their grandchildren to make an earth with coffee filters and watercolor paints.

Meanwhile, a couple has taken their children to two spots – one cutting out animal shapes with cookie cutters and play dough – the other cuddled in a rocking chair, reading Frolic storybooks.

The power of image

In this scene, you see engagement, from young to old; from small to big families; from birth through preschool.

We see families building spiritual growth in their children while strengthening their own faith. In doing so, they talk about God and the Bible so they can all grow.

​And while playing at stations, families are talking to each other about parenting, biblical wonderings, and life. As these families engaged and grew over the course of 10 weeks, it became my model for other age groups.

What is your why?

Clearly defining your purpose serves as the hardest part of developing a new early childhood family ministry. Once that's defined, you need to form questions that help you develop your program. After a scan of articles about early childhood family ministry, I arrived at these questions:

  • What ministry programs can we create to draw parents/caregivers and their children together for fellowship, mission and service, and faith development?
  • What ministries can we grow to promote faith development where parents and caregivers take responsibility and the church serves as a resource?

A model that works

After meeting with the pastor, church leaders, and parents, our church decided to move toward a model that met the needs of children of all ages. Children and youth ministries work together to create resources that help families grow together spiritually.

Current plans include:

  • Continuing Thursday evening with our Frolic ministry focusing on play to learn about the Bible
  • Re-configuring preschool Sunday school
  • Leading a family retreat at a camp with a focus on fellowship and supporting spiritual growth at home
  • Hosting seasonal Parent’s Nights Out when parents rejuvenate while their kids participate in meaningful activities at the church
  • Offering talking points to start conversations about faith

Throughout the year, our fministry team (pastor, children’s ministry, and youth workers) review ministries. Our goal aims to find how to draw parents and caregivers together with their children.

​In the end, we strive for parents and caregivers to take responsibility for their children’s spiritual growth. In this review, we determine whether we will keep, eliminate, or change what we're doing to serve Christian homes in the best way -- always with an end goal to build faith in Christian homes.


Interested in learning more? See how you can start your early childhood family ministry with Frolic.

Topics: Early Childhood Ministry

Linda Tibbitts

Written by Linda Tibbitts

Linda's ministry focus is to help build Christian homes by equipping families to nurture children in the faith. She serves as director of children’s ministry at Trinity UMC in Orrville, Ohio where she previously served as director of youth ministries. Her first career was teaching and leading curriculum review and revision for Orrville City Schools.


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