I read a thought provoking article on ministry to kids in the rural church. There are unique challenges to ministry in these rural settings.
The article was called 11 Tips for Serving A Small Country Church.
I will highlight the 11 Tips. I think they are helpful for all of us in ministry but it is especially helpful for those who serve in the rural church.
11 Tips for Serving in this Setting:
1. Take Charge: If a ministry does not exist – and it needs to – you may be the one to start it.
2. Be Aware: Sin is prevalent as much in the country as it is in the city. Take security measures and precautions accordingly to protect each child in your ministry.
3. Effect Change Slowly: Work with the church and not against it. We have a whole article with ideas for dealing with stubborn people.
4. Draw on Unique Church Family Dynamics: Have a farmer tell and demonstrate the parable of the soils. Offer cooking, sewing, woodworking, and outdoors
classes for kids. Provide opportunities for homeschoolers to get together such as field trips, workshops, and co-ops.
5. Teach on Location: Use unique settings for lessons such as a field, barn, stream, hiking trail, hill, forest, camp, etc. Connect the location to scripture.
6. Don’t Assume Anything: Many children in this setting have been raised in the church. They know the language and the Bible trivia. However, some of them do not have relationships with Christ. Continue to teach salvation and discipleship.
7. Incorporate Multi-Generational Ministry: Use retired teachers to work in children’s ministry. Enlist the elderly in a vibrant prayer ministry. Start a pen pal ministry for children and shut-ins. Make cookies, cards, or crafts for the young or old. Go caroling at any time of the year.
8. Creative with the Budget (or Lack Thereof): Use free lesson plans, do supply drives, recycle, talk to larger churches about using their curriculum when they are finished, and ask local businesses for donations.
9. Set a Healthy Pace: Most likely, small country church ministry leaders are volunteers and have full-time jobs elsewhere. Establish priorities, find balance, and don’t go this alone!
10. Encourage Diversity: Through books, media presentations, day trips, child sponsorship relationships, or mission trips, teach your students how to relate to others of varying cultures and backgrounds.
11. Make Sundays Count: Many children and their families are not able to attend mid-week services due to long distance drives and the price of gas. Capitalize on the time that they are there!