Our CM facility is crowded

Your Question:

“How can the CM survive, and flourish in a crowded facility that is too small for the number of children we serve?

The Issues:

An overcrowded CM facility is a good thing, but it can only be solved by adding on to the CM facility or adding another service.  Both solutions require recruiting more CM team members.

Scripture Foundation:

“…Then the apostles returned and reported to Jesus all that they had done. Taking them away privately, He withdrew to a town called Bethsaida. But the crowds found out and followed Him…As the day neared its end, the Twelve came to Jesus and said, ‘Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside for lodging and provisions. For we are in a desolate place here.’ But Jesus told them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered, ‘unless we go and buy food for all these people.’ (There were about five thousand men.) He told His disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ They did so, and everyone was seated…”   Luke 9: 10-15

Short Answer:

An overcrowded CM facility can produce frustration in both the CM team and in the children.  The team is not able to give children the attention they need, and the children are affected by a lack of attention.


The most obvious way to solve the overcrowding of the CM is for the church to offer another service.  This decision is a very significant one that involves the senior pastor, the church board, and the other pastors or directors on the church team.  If the church decides to offer another service, hopefully the launch date is far enough in advance for you, with the Lord’s provision, to recruit additional CM team members to serve in the new service.  It is critical that you don’t expect your current CM team to serve both services!  You will lose a significant number of team members if you do that! 


Another option for reducing the overcrowded CM is to increase the rooms that the CM uses.  There might be rooms that are not being used, or rooms that are being used by groups of adults that can combine with others, or even meet elsewhere.  It would be good for you to take a tour of the facility during a service to observe the population of the various rooms on campus. 


If you can’t add another service, and if you can’t increase the number of rooms that the CM uses, you might be able to adjust the way the rooms are being used. In your “tour” of the CM during a service, do you see rooms that have a few children in them, and rooms that are overcrowded?  Are the room sizes all the same, or do you have some larger rooms that could handle more children?  The population of children can shift according to the demographics of the families who fellowship at the church.  There may be more families with second-grade children than there are families with fifth-grade children.  Can you combine ages or grades in a larger room, and free up a room for another class?  If you do this re-arrangement, make sure to let the CM team and the parents know before you do it.  Make sure you also place CM greeters in the hallway to help the parents find the new classrooms on the day that you make the shift.  Changes aren’t bad if they are done with plenty of smiling greeters who help the parents get used to the new change.


If you can’t adjust how the rooms are being used, you might be able to shift to a large group format for the CM. This can only be done if you have a large room that is big enough to hold a large number of children.  If you do this, you can use the current CM team to run the large group program.  It is important to organize the large group to include small group interactions. The one negative factor of large group CM programs is the loss of personal interaction between the children and the CM team. The best way to solve this challenge is to plan for the children to meet in small groups toward the end of the service. Jesus understood the importance of breaking the large group into smaller groups when He fed the 5,000 people. The “small groups” He used were groups of 50, but the concept is the same.  Ministering to a  large group of children is more effective when the large group is broken into smaller groups.  In order to do this, you must have room to divide the group into smaller groups of 8 or 10 children.  If you don’t have room for tables and chairs, you could just have the children sit in circled groups on the floor.  You must have a CM team member for each group, so the number of CM team members that you have available during the large group will dictate how many small groups you can afford. Click here to see the page on this site that specifically discusses large group CM programs. For more help adjusting your facility to suit your particular CM needs, click on the “Developing The CM Facility – APPENDIX” link below.

Visit other articles in the Developing The CM Facility APPENDIX

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