Family Ministry Planning Tips for Another Uncertain Year

Family Ministry Planning

January is when we begin planning the year for children’s and family ministry outreach. Last year, this planning felt so ordinary and perhaps even boring – until it wasn’t. As we enter 2021, how do we plan our spring and summer events? How do we cross the bridge of uncertainty to make sure family ministry continues to reach students and parents?

First, remember the church’s mission has not changed since the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Evangelism and discipleship remain our great mandate. Because Jesus has guaranteed the success of The Great Commission, you can trust in the sufficiency of God in your portion of this work. The Sovereign Lord has placed you in this position for such a time as this. God has already given you the right abilities, the right people, and the right resources. Be assured that this is the right time – the kairos time – all pre-ordained by God.


Father, thank you for calling me to serve you and help build your Church. By faith, I believe that since you called me, you also equip me to do the work. Infuse me with fresh encouragement, new ideas, and wisdom to spread your great message of salvation and hope to this generation of children in the contextual challenges of 2021.

Second, plan the best you can following current local and state conditions.

Winter restrictions are likely to be more constraining than next summer but prepare for the ‘worst-case scenario’. If you live in a state with few COVID-19 restrictions (that do not require masks and social distancing), include a “Plan B” accommodating for social distancing needs. When a vaccine is administered, and conditions improve, you can always return to more familiar ways of running VBS. Until then, plan and stay flexible.


Father God, your plans for us have never changed. You have plans for our well-being, plans to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus, you are the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). While my circumstances may change, you have promised that your Kingdom will grow no matter what difficulties or opponents might come. Help me to plan well. Please lead me, guide me, strengthen me, and give me courage.

Third, don’t wait.

Start now to assemble your team of leaders and other volunteers. Ask new people to help by speaking with them individually. It’s a perfect year to bring in new ideas and try something different. Procrastination never helps, so start early. Do whatever you can now, including choosing your VBS theme, determining your budget, and forming your team.


Jesus, this virus was no surprise to you. You have unique and specific plans for our church, our families, and the kids you bring to us. You also want to bless many in our church community by allowing them to serve you by serving others. Bring more volunteers with cheerful hearts that they may have the joy of using their skills and talents for your glory. Help us bond together in a spirit of unity, work well together, and solve problems together.

Family Ministry

Fourth, keep your “joy factor” high.

My grandfather had an old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” We ‘catch’ more volunteers to help, and we ‘catch’ more souls for Christ when we have joy, hope, and a positive outlook. Thankfully, joy and hope are not contingent on our circumstances. Remember that the same power that lifted Jesus from the grave lives in you (Romans 8:11). Further, Jesus promised that even the gates of hell would not prevail against the work of the church. You are destined to THRIVE, not merely survive because God is on your side!


Lord, help me to see the joy in small victories. Open my eyes to see the little things that are going well to see more clearly how you are working for good in this church, in our ministry, and in my life as a leader. The joy of the Lord is my strength! I choose joy – today, tomorrow, and every day. I ask for your grace to help me live Philippians 4:8 in very practical ways.

Fifth, communicate clearly with your pastor and with families.

Schedule your event dates and let people know in advance. If you need to limit the number of students in attendance, perhaps you can reserve more time on the church calendar to accommodate one week for each age group rather than all ages together. Also, let families know that plans are subject to change depending upon future circumstances.


Lord, you are the Good Shepherd. You feed your flock, carry the lambs in your arms, and hold them close to your heart (Isaiah 40:11). Please grant me the grace to care well for your sheep no matter their age or stage in life.

Sixth, learn from local educators.

Teachers and school administrators have learned so much about handling COVID-19 and state-required restrictions, particularly for children. Ask them to educate you. Talk to the principal of a local Christian school or connect with public school teachers whom you know.


Father God, I need wisdom. Your Word states in James 1:5 that if I lack wisdom, I should ask you for it, and you promise to give it to me in abundance. So, I am asking. Lead me to people who can help me, who can provide me with wisdom for the practical parts of holding successful summer ministry while keeping children and volunteers healthy and safe. I ask this in faith, knowing that you hear me and will answer me (1 John 5:15).

Family Ministry

Seventh, stay connected with families and children all year.

Send postcards and birthday cards, make a phone call, bring a single flower to each household, deliver Lent and Easter activity packages at doorsteps. A simple text lets people know you are thinking about them and praying for them. You might be surprised at how much it means to people to hear from you. You may also have the joy of knowing that the Holy Spirit prompted you to connect with someone precisely when they needed encouragement.


Lord, your love never stops! You never sleep nor slumber, and your love never ends (Psalm 121). I pray for the families in our community to know you deeply care for them and are always with them. Lead me, Holy Spirit, to encourage the right person at just the right time so that they will feel your compassion at work through me.

Finally, the power of the gospel, our prayers for healing and miraculous divine help, our faithful service as ambassadors of light and love in this world can all bring change to our communities. At this moment in history, many are overwhelmed with worry, fear, and burdens. Hearts are yearning for security, safety, and significance. Jesus still has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He still sits on His throne, and His plans for the children and families in your church will come to pass at such a time as this. Those whom He calls, He also equips!

Be encouraged, friends.

Maryl Darko
Senior Product Editor

Everything Kidmin

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