Monday, January 09, 2012

How's Your W.A.L.K.? Making Your Kidmin Environment Great

Every year, on average we get about 40 hours of opportunity to impact the life of a child and their family.  Each week children walk into our environment ready, scared, excited, pumped, and a multitude of other emotions and mindsets.  How do we make the most of our 40 hours that we have?  Here's a simple approach...we W.A.L.K.

W - arm heart and welcoming personality.  As children walk over to your square of carpet, rug, or small group space, do they know that you're excited for them to be there?  We have no idea what kind of environment they just came from, but we can set the kind of environment that they come in to.  When we welcome children with warmth and love we show them that they matter to God, and if they matter to God, they matter to us.

A - rrive early to your ministry opportunity.  When you arrive early you are more prepared.  It shows. When you arrive early, and you're prepared, you're more able and ready to do the first one.  I'm much more excited to see students when I'm prepared and know what I'm talking with them about.  Our time goes better when I'm prepared. 

L - eaders are Learners.  If you lead a small group, teach a large group, put goldfish crackers on a napkin for a prek kid, you are a leader.  And as Jim Wideman says, "When you stop learning, you stop leading." Take advantage of the meetings, gatherings, emails, articles, websites, blogs and everything available to learn how to be a better leader.  Leaders are constantly learning something about themselves and something about the people they lead and how to lead them more effectively.

K - now the children that you minister to.  One of my favorite ways to do this is whenever my son watches Diego, or Team Umizoomi or anything else on Disney or Nickelodeon I'll cue in on the commercials.  Marketers know our kids sometimes better than we do.  What are some of the lessons we can learn from them and translate that to our teaching environments?  What are some of the cool toys?  When we know the children we minister to, we can better communicate with them about what's most important.

(I owe the credit of this acrostic to Craig Jutila - it came from his Saddleback Children's Handbook a number of years ago.)