How to start an after school kids’ club

Kids’ clubs provide great opportunities for evangelism and discipleship

Kids’ clubs provide great opportunities for evangelism and discipleship

So you’ve decided to start an after school kids’ club at your church. That’s great news!

In 2011, the NCLS found that the majority of Sydney Anglicans reported becoming Christians prior to turning twenty through the influence of their families and the local church.

A kids’ club is an excellent way to make contact with children outside of the church and share the good news of Jesus with them. It is also a great way to disciple children from within the church family.

The big question

There are lots of things to think about when starting a kids’ club. You need to get a team together, train the team, and make sure that all the safe ministry responsibilities are covered. You also need to decide when and where the club will take place, what program you will use and how you will market the kids’ club to the community. These are all important questions to answer. But they are not the most important question.

The one question you need to answer before starting an after school kids’ club is this: How does this program connect with the mission of our church?

The best kids' clubs

There are many wonderful kids’ clubs operating in churches around Sydney and beyond. They are exciting, energetic, and filled with children who are learning about Jesus and engaged in studying the Bible. The best kids’ clubs are more than this though. The best kids’ clubs are those that are working hard at connecting children and their families into the broader church.

It is important to be intentional in how we encourage children and their families to attend other events, come to church, and ultimately choose to follow Jesus. It is therefore essential that from the very initial stages of planning a kids’ club we are thinking about the, “How does this connect?” question.

For example, we need to ask questions about:

Parents and families

  • How will the kids’ club connect with the parents of the children who attend?

  • How will we get to know the parents when they drop off and pick up their children?

  • Do we need people on the team whose job is to welcome and get to know parents?

  • How will the leaders help the children and their families connect with the church?

Communication

  • What regular newsletters, blog posts or Facebook communication can we use?

  • How do we follow up families after they attend an event?

  • How can we help our church children to invite the kids’ club children to church?

  • How do we let kids’ club families know about what is happening at church?

Outreach

  • What things are we doing at the church that would be of particular interest to parents?

  • Are there church families willing to open their homes to some of the kids’ club families?

  • Are our churches friendly and welcoming when newcomers arrive?

  • Are we running courses to explain Christianity in our churches that families can be invited to?

  • Should we have events such as end of term barbecues, performances and afternoon teas that we can invite parents to? 

Inclusion

  • How will the kids’ club calendar help children and their families connect with the church?

  • What things will we do in our church that our children and their families can connect with?

  • How are we including kids’ club families in church calendar events such as Christmas and Easter?

  • How will we connect kids’ club children with the youth group?

  • What things are we doing to help parents know about the youth group?

  • What can we do with year 6 children to help them make the transition from kids’ club to youth group?

Kids’ clubs provide great opportunities for evangelism and discipleship. It’s my hope that by being intentional in connecting the kids’ club up with the mission of your church you will see many more families come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.