Recently I found one of my volunteers in her room earlier than she was normally scheduled. Normally this would be such a pleasant surprise but I found her leaning over one of our chairs scrubbing away with a brush. Obviously I quickly asked her what she was doing.
She relayed a story to me that had happened the week before while I had been away on vacation. One of the parents of the kids had come to pick up their kid for the day and rushed him off to use the bathroom. Just as she was leaving the earshot of the volunteer she mentioned to her kid ‘I know the room is gross’ My volunteer had gone home that day picked up cleaner and was here this Sunday scrubbing away at the chairs.
Gross? Gross! Gross? Now let me put some of you to ease: our rooms are by no means what I would classify as gross.We have very nice rooms with age appropriate toys and clean surfaces. However is everything in our rooms the newest? not always the case.
Now do I think this was perhaps an overstatement? Yes. However the ministry is not for me its for the kids and their parents and for a parent to say that: we have a problem. Now as we go through our room with parent eyes to make sure that no parent ever again uses the ‘g’ word it reminds me of how important first impressions are when it comes to children’s ministry.
A child is the parents biggest pride and treasure and they want to make sure that wherever they leave their child it is in safe, clean, and caring hands.It is important that we are constantly evaluating our rooms in order that we make sure the first impression we are giving is one that just makes the parents excited to come back. Here are a couple of steps on evaluating your first impressions:
1. Evaluate the welcome that parents receive as they show up for church. Are they welcomed as soon as they enter? Are they guided effortlessly to their class or do they have to figure it out all on their own? There are a reason restaurants such as Pieology and Chipotle say ‘hi’ as soon as customers walk in the door.
2. Evaluate the classrooms. Are all the surfaces, toys, etc clean? Are there any obvious safety issues? Is the floor clean or a total mess? If you had a kid would you leave them in this room?
3. Evaluate volunteers in the classroom. Are they engaging with the children or hanging to the side talking with the other adult? Do they look clean and kept? Do they seem like they are having a good time?
If you discovered any issues here it may be time to make some changes.