our programs are not growing

Your Question:

“How do we evaluate our CM programs and ‘refresh’ them or ‘retire’ them?”

The Issues:

The concept of “growing” is tricky.  When you view your programs as “not growing,” are you basing this on the number of children attending the programs, or on the spiritual “fruit” that is being produced? It is critical to answer that question.  Your answer will affect what you do to “refresh” the programs, or it may lead you to “retire” or end the program.

Scripture Foundation:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”  1Corinthians 3: 6, 7

Short Answer:

If a program is “not growing,” you need to ask God to help you discern why.  If, by “not growing,” you mean that the number of children attending your programs isn’t increasing, then your challenge might be to increase the “attraction” of the programs to the children and to their parents.  If, by “not growing,” you mean that the “fruit” of the programs isn’t as effective as you would like, then your challenge might be to adjust the programs to increase their targeted spiritual impact on the children.  Remember that it is God who causes programs to grow (1 Cor. 3:6,7). Does He have a reason for not blessing your programs?  Is there something in you, in the leadership of the program, or in the CM team that is preventing Him from blessing the program?  (See my story of the black widow spider and my beehive in the “Long Answer.”)  For the sake of giving you some useful answer, there will be ideas in the “Long Answer” and in the APPENDIX to possibly help with your challenge, no matter what is the “cause.”  It is important for you to identify what you mean by “not growing.”  Once you do that, you can ask God to help you “refresh” the programs, or “retire” them completely. For this short answer, here at two basic responses.  Click on the links below to explore your possibilities further.  To increase the number of children attending your programs, you can add some “spice” or “excitement” to your existing programs.  Today’s children enjoy exploring, experiencing new adventures, getting messy, being surprised, going new places, interacting with each other, being personally welcomed, and challenged. If your programs have been running for more than 2 or 3 years, they might be “tired” and need to be “refreshed.”  Spend some time with younger advisors (high school or college-age) and listen to their suggestions.  To increase the “fruit” of your programs, increase the personal connections you make with the children. Spiritual growth is always accomplished through relationships. If your programs are simply a “show” to occupy the children, the “fruit” will be small.  Ask God to help you see ways to increase the personal impact of your programs on the children’s lives.  Increasing the training of the CM team to recognize and use “teachable moments” or personal conversations with the children is an excellent way to strengthen the “fruit.”  Make sure your lessons all include personal application and interactions with the children.  Let the children ask questions or make comments, then use those questions or comments to enter into the children’s minds and hearts with answers or encouragement.  Challenge the children to be “salt” and “light” to their friends and family.  Let children share their testimonies and stories of serving others.  Encourage the children to be evangelists at school, and then let them tell their stories. For more help, click on the links below.

Visit other articles in the “Developing Programs APPENDIX

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