(These are the tokens for our Uptown store, a few people asked what they look like.)
I thought it would be helpful to get other perspectives on the topic of rewards and the roll they play in children’s ministry.
The first take is from one of my good blogging friends from Texas. His name is Kenny Conley, he is the Children’s pastor of a great church called Gateway Community Church. He has a fantastic blog with great insight from a guy who has been doing Children’s ministry for quite a while.
Here is what he had to say.
I just stepped into a new role at a new church and officially resigned the Bible Bucks system here. This was the third church I’ve done this. Why? Lots of reasons. Most of them probably stem from me being an idealist.
* I’ve never seen a kid grow closer to God because they brought their Bible every week or recited a
verse from last week (which they promptly forget by the next week). I’ve seen grow closer to God in a
ministry that had this system, but I’m not convinced that the reward system had much to do with it.
* It’s so freaking expensive. I’ve seen churches spend more than 4 to 5 thousand dollars a year (mostly
on the tons of crappy trinkets that get lost within a week). What would it look like if I had that
extra 4-5K to spend on a big blow-out party every 4-6 months for kids and their families… or update
some other areas of ministry that directly affect the kids experience in a positive way.
* Too often volunteers will use the Bucks to bribe kids to participate, be excited or be quite.
* Shouldn’t our programming be done in such a way that kids just have fun and enjoy themselves?
Great points Kenny. Thanks for contributing!
Tomorrow I will have some thoughts from another one of my blogging comrades with whom I share a deep affinity for the decade of the 80’s.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Do rewards have a place in children’s ministry?
I believe there is a place but have found some well founded hatred of “Bible Bucks”. Bible bucks is the generic name in Christian sub-culture for child focused reward system.
I have been thinking a lot about how I want to revamp and fix our system. I stopped doing our “rockstore” about a year ago for a variety of reasons. Like most of our processes I have though long and hard about why we do what we do and have decided to make the following changes.
1. We will give wooden tokens out as an incentive. I chose wooden nickels over paper money because it goes along with our theme of a city, I feel it has a subway token feel. Also our web address is on each one so at the very worst they a promo piece.
2. We will give everyone 1 token for coming. We will not give tokens for bringing a friend.
3. We will give out 2 tokens for completing a bible study each day verified by their parents. We will not give tokens for bringing a bible to church.
4. We will give tokens occasionally for winning games. We will not give tokens for good behavior.
5. We will open our store each day after our kids worship experience. All items will be 1 token. That way every kid can get something
I believe doing this way will enhance our Uptown experience. I believe that a reward system done right can enhance what you do. The focus of everything you do must be a very hands on bible based experience. Anytime you are bribing kids to behave I believe you have much bigger problems than “Bible Bucks”.
Tomorrow I will share some of the views of my children’s ministry comrades.
I will end today with a quote from one of friends that is very applicable.
“What God blesses as a supplement, He curses as a substitute.”
We had our grand opening this weekend. It was a blast. Thanks to all the volunteers at our church it was flawless from the food, the characters to the audio visual, flawless. God gets all the credit.
It was a huge win for our children’s department and for our church as a whole. Thanks again everyone who made this past weekend possible.
Our Grand opening by the numbers:
Dignitaries: 2 – 1 mayor of our city and 1 Assemblywoman
Volunteers: 45 per service 3 services = 135 total (some served more than one service)
Rice Crispy squares: 850
Personal Invitations Printed: 1,000
Number of hits on our website the week of: 6,000
Total Attendance: 1100
Total boxes of Candy Sushi: 300
Flyers sent out: 20,000
Thanks again, can’t wait for next year.
Excited, Tired, Happy, Nervous, Blessed! Needless to say I am so pumped we are finally having our grand opening of Uptown. I am so blessed to work for a church that believes in the value of the next Generation. I am also so blessed to work along side some of the most amazing volunteers in the world.
So excited for the grand opening this weekend.
Here we go Uptown!
This day is always so hard for me. I still remember everything that took place on that day like it was yesterday. I will never forget the powerful images of pain, heroism and hate. I like many americans knew someone on one of the planes that crashed into the WTC. I still 7 years later get very emotional thinking about the events of this day. To all the families of the victims of this tragic day, we have not and never will forget!