Jessica Bealer has been leading children's ministry for almost 20 years. The last five years have been spent overseeing standards, systems, staffing and atmosphere for the children's ministry of Elevation Church. She has overseen the launch of nearly twenty locations, and is considered a specialist in kidmin multi-site. Jessica is a mother of four, published author, and host of the Women's Leadership Workshop podcast. She is married to Frank, the CEO of Phase Family Centers and Executive Director of Leadership Development at Orange.
In recent years, EVALUATION has become a buzzword in ministry. Growing up a preacher’s kid, I distinctly remember phrases like, “We’re not growing in number, but we’re growing in depth,” or “It doesn’t matter how many people show up if one person gives his or her life to Jesus, it’s worth it.” I also remember my dad shaking his head and saying, “No. If we can’t measure success, it’s time and money wasted.” I’m not speaking in absolutes. I’m sure there are actions you could take or ministries you could launch to further God’s kingdom that would be difficult to measure. However, I also know that defining victory increases your odds of success.
Children’s ministry is one big puzzle made up of a thousand different pieces. It would be simple if we could look at our teams and say, “I trust you. Now go do a good job!” The problem is that success, if not defined, is subjective. Everyone will have a different take and those varying perspectives may not align with the purpose or vision of your ministry.
Policies, procedures, standards, and systems don’t handcuff your teams, they free them. They grant the authority necessary to meet expectations. They empower volunteers to identify solutions within the parameters you’ve set, and they clearly define boundaries. I call this the infrastructure of EVALUATION. A strong foundation is essential if you want excellence to translate to every volunteer across all areas of your ministry, but that requires a clear set of blueprints. Below you will find a practical list to help get you started.
Room Ratios / Small Group Ratios
Toy Replacement / Standards
Signage Requirements / Standards
Large Group Quality Control (Run-through / Actors)
Minimum Standards (By Area)
Policy and Procedures
First Time Guest Welcome Procedure
First Time Guest Follow-Up Plan
Special Needs Family Procedures
Child Bathroom Policy
Diaper Changing Policy
Infant Feeding Procedures
Snack Restrictions / Policy
Check-In / Check-Out Procedures
Room Opening / Closing Procedures
Tear-down / Set-up Procedures
Incident Reporting System
Safety / Security Standards
Active Shooter Policy
Curriculum Distribution Procedures
Transition(s) Plan (Small Group / Large Group)
Parent Paging System (During the Service)
Volunteer Communication / Feedback Plan
New Volunteer On-boarding Procedures
Volunteer Training / Coaching Plan
Volunteer Appreciation Plan
Volunteers' Children Care Plan
Volunteer Dress Code
Supply Needs / Communication Procedures
Setting clear expectations for your teams allows for advancement and accountability. This list isn’t a catchall. As your ministry changes and expands, additional policies and procedures may be necessary. Your current systems and standards will most likely be null and void a year from now if you’re experiencing growth. Building the infrastructure in advance will ensure you’re ready for all God has planned for your ministry.