In today’s busy world, children’s ministry leaders have a lot to compete with—video games, TV, and the Internet to name a few. And, because you don’t always have the hippest, coolest ministry tools, it’s easy to fall back on candy as a motivator to get kids excited about Bible stories or memorizing Scripture or coming to church.
Here are three ways you can get kids excited about church without using candy:
1. Change the Sunday morning routine
Variety is a powerful tool we could use more in ministry. Ministries routinely drift towards uniformity. The same schedule. The same rhythm. The same look and feel. Curriculum helps us establish these rhythms and they serve us well. But what the repetition gives in structure it robs in wonder. Increase the variety. Change the schedule one week. See how pumped up they get!
2. Invite a special guest
There are men and women in your faith community who can help you amp up ministry excitement. Welcome a pastor or staff member to lead prayer or a parent to read a story or a grandparent to share a faith journey. The key is to call the invitee a “special guest.” Anything outside of the norm is interesting, so add interestingness! If you do it right, every kid will be dying to find out who the “special” is.
3. Build anticipation
Kids are always wanting to know what’s going to happen next. “When will we get there?” “What time are we leaving?” “Are we there yet?” “Is the food here yet?” We can meet that inmate need for knowing what will happen next by sharing some of the things kids can get excited about. It might be the next part of God’s story you’re going to be looking at in weeks ahead. It might be a special event at the church. Or it could be something unexpected. Create some momentum by strategically sharing what will happen next.