Junior Church Organization
Junior Church is a huge key when it comes to making your Bus Ministry successful. It is where the children hear good Bible preaching from the Word of God.
Since it is so important, here are some ideas and tips to have a great Junior Church and some key points on how to keep your kids’ attention. Some of this may be new to you, and some of these tips may be things you’ve practiced for years.
A good Junior Church starts with the ride to church! Many times the Junior Church worker will blame a child’s misbehavior on the kid alone, when really it was the bus captain and workers’ fault. There are two tips that need to be given to the Bus workers in order for Jr. Church or Sunday school to go well.
1. Arrive on time. Arriving on time for a bus does not mean 5 minutes late or even 5 minutes early! When a bus arrives late, it disrupts all the other children that are already in class. That is something you probably already know, but another mistake is arriving too early!
You may ask, “How can I get there too early?” If kids are going into a class before the teacher is there, it is too early! There have been many times property has been destroyed or a Junior Church service has been ruined because everything the teacher set up is on the ground or mixed up when he walks in.
Arriving too early also allows too much time for the children to get too familiar with his class. For example, when a student comes into class before it is time for class, he may get up and throw things away in the trash without permission. There is nothing wrong with this, but if that student thinks he can throw it away before class, he will get up right in the middle of class and throw something away again. When your kids are in class too early, they begin to play and talk and lose respect for the room they are in.
2. Don’t give “much” candy out on the way to church. When you fill a kid full of sugar on the way to church, you are asking him to get into trouble at church. Even the best kid will misbehave when filled up with sugar. Also, NEVER give away gum on the way to church or while in church. This may sound simple, but it is an important rule to remind your workers.
Here are a couple ideas on how to replace giving candy on the way to church. Instead of giving candy on the way to church, give the child a coin or coupon that can be redeemed for a piece of candy on the way home or when they get off of the bus. If you excitedly promote the coin, the kids will often get more excited than if you were giving them a piece of candy.
Another way to keep from giving away candy on the way to church is to give out only two rewards on the way to church. Instead of 30 pieces of candy, give out two candy bars, two dollar bills, or whatever you want to give. If you give away two candy bars, tell them you’ll give them to them right after class.
To have a good Junior Church, you must prepare your workers. It is so important that ALL of your workers participate in the program of the Junior Church. No one should just be a spectator. If a worker isn’t participating in the program, the kids around him aren’t going to participate.
Sometimes, it is better to not have a worker at all than it is to have a worker that won’t participate. You should train your workers to be examples!
Here are some jobs for your workers:
1. Eagle eyes. At the very beginning of class, choose two workers who will watch and give prizes for “quiet seats.”
2. Crowd Control. Assign workers in the hallways to direct people into the classroom. During the lesson, these workers would then sit among the kids and help with immediate needs. If a need can be cared for quickly by a worker who is nearby, then fewer people have been disturbed. Never allow any child to sit behind a worker. Make sure that there is at least one worker who sits just behind the last row of children. You should also be sure you don’t have a worker sitting in the back of the room if only half of the seats are filled. A worker can not help you when he is so far removed from everyone.
To have a good Junior Church, rules must be clearly stated. Disciplining a child without instructing a child is abuse. You can not discipline a child, whether you discipline them verbally or by sending him out of class, without instructing him. You must have rules, and you must state them every week. Teach your kids that rules aren’t to keep them from having fun, but to make sure EVERYONE has fun.
Here are 5 simple rules that I use in my class: (Keep it simple!)
1. No Talking while I’m talking.
2. Don’t get out of your seat unless you get permission by raising your hand.
3. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
4. No electronics!
You might even joke about rule number 4, and say “Now ladies, if you have a laptop in your purse, you aren’t allowed to get it out during church. Men, if the President calls you, you’ll have to call him back after church.” Do your best to make the rules fun! I also have a rule number 5 that I use on occasion.
5. If you bring any fried chicken to church, you have to share it with me, because Bro. Joel LOVES fried chicken! Haha! Isn’t that fun? The kids always get such a kick out of that, and I enjoy joking around with my kids. I have as much fun in Junior Church as my kids have!
In order to have a great Junior Church, you must prepare a program! Preparation is such a huge key in all areas of life. My dad, Pastor Fugate, always says, “You can prepare a program for them, or they’ll have a program for you, but there will be a program on your bus this Sunday”.
1. Prepare an order of service. This is a written list of what you are planning to do. If you don’t have a written list, you will get in the moment and forget which song to sing. You can get a basic order of service established and then just change the songs, games and other parts of your service weekly.”
2. Prepare your lesson. This is so important. If you don’t have a very good lesson or sermon, the children aren’t going to pay attention. You are cheating your kids if you tell them the story of “Jonah and the Whale” every week. Give your kids some spiritual meat, but break it up into little bite-size pieces so they can understand it.
Use stories and object lessons to keep them interested. Start studying your lesson on the previous Monday so you can start gathering stories and preparing ideas to keep their attention.
3. Prepare your games. There are two types of games and two theories of when to play them. The first type of game is team games and the second type of game is individual games. Games that have individuals up front eating something or doing something are good, but my favorite type of game is a game that includes everyone. Here are some ideas: “Brown Shoe,” “Heads Up 7-up,” “Doggy Where’s Your Bone?”, and many more.
Whether you do the game before or after the lesson is your choice. In my opinion, the better time to do a game is at the end of class! You can choose the best behaved people to participate and use your game as a method of rewarding behavior. You can also use your game as a review of the lesson. Games are very important because you are trying to make Junior Church fun, while at the same time teaching them truths that they’ll remember.
4. Prepare your song service. Pick songs that talk about the subject of your lesson. Choose songs that start loud and get soft to get the kids attention. Songs are a huge part of Junior Church. The song service allows me to get control over the kids.
Here is a sample order of service:
Welcome as they enter the room
Song: “Oh Soldier”
Rules – Quiet Seat Prize
Song: “Stand Up and Shout It”, “Sit Down and Whisper”
Song: “I’m In Right, Out Right”
Song: “Jesus’ Love Is Bubbling Over”
Song: “The B-I-B-L-E”
Give out candy for Bibles
Offering – “Jesus Loves Me”
Song: “God is So Good”
Song: “Jesus Loves the Little Ones Like Me”
Game: Brown Shoe & Bowling
Prayer – Dismissal
Hopefully, these tips and insights will help you in your Junior Church or Sunday school.
The above article, “Junior Church Organization,” is written by Joel Fugate. The article was excerpted from www.busministry.com website, where it was published in May of 2012.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”