My Checklist for Celebrating Those in the Trenches of Children's Ministry

As 2017 winds to a close in a mere week or so, I’ve spent some down time reflecting on all God has done in me, in my wife and kids, and in those, I serve with on a weekly basis. The year 2017 has been a definite year of growth for me personally and professionally as I’ve prayed for the Lord to stretch me. And stretch me He has, to the point of downright uncomfortable (no better way to be stretched though if personal/professional growth is sought after). 

A big part of my reflection of 2017 has been focused on my children’s ministry staff, paid and volunteer. “How have I helped them develop? How have they helped me develop? What does 2018 look like for our team? What areas are we strong in? What areas need strengthening? Who am I praying for specifically to join our team? How will our team handle substantial growth?” The questions have gone on and on and thankfully, they have helped me grow tremendously. It’s not that I never thought about the answers to those questions, but it’s more of not spending adequate time evaluating those questions and what I thought the answers might be and furthermore, how my staff might answer those questions. 

My biggest goal as I looked at closing out 2017 was to honor my staff the best way I knew how, with food. The thought of just sitting around a table (OC17 reference there) and enjoying them was incredible. How was I going to pull it off though as someone who is not very good at details? I made a list, I checked it twice and shared it with my biggest asset at home and in ministry, my wife. She was a bit surprised at how well I had things put together. Quite honestly, so was I. It was so important though that I got it right. My team deserved this. They’ve been in the trenches of ministry with me for a good while. Some have come and gone of course, but many of these folks were already in place upon my arrival to First Baptist Lee’s Summit in January 2015. They’ve stayed too. That says more about the kids and families that they are impacting weekly then anything else. Such selfless folks! 

Here’s the checklist I created for the event: 

Who to invite- full list of volunteers serving Sunday AM, Sunday PM and Wednesday PM (include addresses)

Where to host gathering- chose to do it at my house as a come and go, was so personal and plus, these folks helped us pray for a new home and for many, this was their first chance to visit our new house 

Information for the invitation- where we’re meeting, the purpose of gathering, times, etc.

Creating/mailing invitations- had lots of help in this from my admin who created the design of invitation and took them to the post office for mailing

Created food/drink list- we offered milk (from Shatto Dairy, mmmm), orange juice, coffee, sweet tea from Chick Fil A (mmmm), hot chocolate, bottled water, bagels, fruit trays also from Chick Fil A, bagel spreads 

Created shopping list- needed to include plates, napkins, eating utensils, etc.

Order food- had Chick Fil A catered for the main course (chicken mini’s, mmmmmm)

Prepared venue for people- normal house cleaning type stuff plus setting up serving tables

Shopping- had to purchase/pick up supplies

Overall, this was a great “event” and an awesome time to honor so many folks in one setting. I definitely hope to grow in honoring the folks who are in the trenches and would love to hear/see how you are honoring/celebrating folks that you are serving alongside.