What Is the Value of Midweek Programming?

This article was written by Meghan Clayton, a member of the INCM Blog Team.

Midweek programs for kids are being cut in many churches. The reasons range from a lack of resources, volunteers, and interest. However, despite these obstacles, the value of midweek programming is substantial. This article will explore the significance of these programs and encourages churches to continue, even when it feels like an uphill battle. 

Here are three values of midweek church programs for kids: 

Value One: Midweek programming is fun! 

In an increasingly academically demanding society for kids, the pressures they face can be overwhelming. Last year in my home state of Tennessee, all third graders had to make a certain score on their reading standardized testing to be able to go to fourth grade. We had many kids in our church who did not make it and had to go to summer school. One mom came to me after her child had not passed and said, “Wednesday nights are the only place in my child’s life right now where they feel like they are not a failure, they can have fun and they are not judged.” It brought tears to my eyes. 

Wednesday nights were my favorite part of the week as a child. I went to church every Wednesday night and loved every single moment of it. It was stress-free and fun! I seek to recreate that feeling for kids today. Their lives look different than mine did over 20 years ago, but our God is still the same. Creating a safe, fun environment for midweek programs allows kids to experience our Savior’s love, caring nature, and freedom!

Value Two: Midweek programs can help kids develop a deeper faith. 

Ask yourself, what is my church trying to accomplish in midweek programming? If you have adult classes, it is typically discipleship. Are you applying this model to your programming? Midweek programming for kids should not only be fun, but it should be with a purpose: for kids to learn more about God and grow closer to him. I use our midweek programming to challenge kids to memorize scripture, apply Bible stories & their truths to the child’s personal lives, and see God in a new way that they might not get on Sundays. 

Value Three: Midweek programming allows for a more relaxed touchpoint with kids and their families each week. 

I find that on Sunday mornings, families are stressed and more formal. But our Wednesday night feeling is more relaxed. On Wednesday nights, families relax and open up about their struggles. We find them in the middle of their lives, flying into the parking lot after picking up kids from school and running to sports practice. Midweek programming meets families in the busyness of life and fosters more honest conversations. 

You likely fall into one of two categories if you are reading this article. First, maybe you want to start a midweek program for kids. Or second, you’re trying to figure out how to give your midweek program CPR because it is on its last leg. 

If you want to begin a midweek program, here are a few suggestions on ways to start:

  1. Pray. Prayer is the most important ingredient for a midweek program. Prayer opens your heart and mind to all the decisions you must make for your new program. 
  2. Determine which curriculum you want to use. There are so many options out there. You might have constraints based on budgets, denomination criteria, and accessibility based on your size. If your church is small, you likely don’t want to begin a volunteer-heavy curriculum. If you are in a Presbyterian church, you likely don’t want a Baptist curriculum. Make connections with other churches and see what they are using. If you are part of a local association, reach out and ask if they have an old curriculum you could use that other churches have donated.
  3. Get excited and communicate your vision. To recruit volunteers and kids to attend, they must understand what you want to do and why. Families do not want another activity for their kids just to fill time. Volunteers do not want to invest in something that has no purpose. Communicate what your midweek program for kids looks to accomplish and get excited about what God is going to do!

When I was hired at my church, members shared that our Wednesday night program for kids was stale and boring, and families did not want to come. I saw this for myself and agreed. Our midweek needed CPR, and it needed it fast! The change was slow, but we have seen an almost 100% growth in our attendance and the excitement that kids have to learn more about God is amazing. 

Here are some things I did to help:

  • We changed the curriculum. Our church had been using the denominational curriculum for years and it was stale for our kids. It was a great curriculum, it just no longer fit our needs. Fortunately, the families didn’t object to this change. However, you might encounter some pushback. Approach these conversations with grace and understanding, letting them know your vision.  
  • After our first year with the new curriculum and we had a small amount of growth, I doubled our classes. We were originally groups with two grades per class, but they were full. I stepped out in faith and said we needed a class for every grade. There was panic because we already struggled to find volunteers, but God provided! You must have space to grow. If your classrooms are so crowded that there are no seats left, you cannot grow!
  • We started a large group time. I realized and was convicted, that I never had regular time to teach kids and touch base with them. We play a game, watch our lesson video, and share a joke of the week that makes the kids roll their eyes. I now can connect with them to tell them that I care, love them, and that God loves them.
  • Lastly, I implemented a Bible Bucks program. I would consider our church’s program robust, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a sticker program where once kids get 5 stickers for scripture memory, good behavior, etc., then they can get a piece of candy! Or if they bring their Bible each week, they can get a piece of gum at the end of class. It does not have to be elaborate or expensive, but it can be a fun thing for kids to be incentivized to come and take part more fully. When kids are excited about church and families do not have to fight every week about attending, families will come! 

Whether you are exhausted from trying to refuel your midweek program, wanting to start one, or just wondering if it’s even worth it, you are not alone! I have been in your position and hundreds of other children’s ministry leaders have been in your shoes too. They come to various conclusions about what is the right fit for their church, but if you are following the Lord, you cannot go wrong.


About Meghan

Meghan Clayton is a Preschool & Children’s Minister at FBC Manchester, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Carson-Newman University in Church Music, Music Performance, and Spanish, and an MA in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She currently resides in Manchester, TN with her two fur babies, cats Vera and Sophie. Meghan is a children’s ministry blogger and speaker and operates the Meghan’s Ministry children’s ministry blog. Follow her on Instagram & Facebook @meghansministry.

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