It’s so crazy to think that the holiday season is approaching, which typically means for us—as KidMin leaders–we’re prepping for three large seasons with bigger events. But if you’re anything like me, you’re currently trying to stay afloat and waiting for a pandemic to go away. 

However, we can’t just wait, we have to innovate. The best thing we can do right now as KidMin leaders is partner with our families—which, by now, I know each of you have become pretty good at doing—whether that be online or in person. The real question in this holiday season is: How do we partner with our community in this season in the midst of a pandemic? 

We have to be the CHURCH! Sounds easy, right? Well, you’re wrong! How many weeks have we sat in our offices or homes and tried to figure out things from inside our walls and not gotten out? Your goal now is to get out of your walls and meet the needs of your community.

 I have five tips and tricks for you to try as you enter this new and strange season. 

  1. Help your schools! Our school admins and teachers are currently trying to teach kids safely and their morale could be down. What does it look like for you to provide all the books a kindergarten class needs, pay for a sensory room at the school, feed the teachers on a teacher workday, or grab a group of families from the church and clean up the school on a weekend? Reach out to your local school admins and ask what they need! You don’t need to have money to help during this time, you just need willing hands.
  2. Trunk or Treat, Family Fall or Winter Festival. Before you say no to them, let’s think of something out-of-the-box and different. Maybe that’s taking a trip to the 1950s and doing a drive-in with a large screen. Or maybe that’s doing a physically distanced Block Party, or maybe that’s a drive-thru event where you invite local businesses to be a part so you can partner with them and church families. Be sure and invite your community and leave room for walk-ups to any ticketed event. You want your church to be known for being for your community.
  3. Thanksgiving = Thankfulness, so what are you doing to show thankfulness to teachers, community leaders, partnering organizations, and families? Find a local business, feature them on your Instagram, and encourage your families to stop by! It’s the little things that can make a huge difference. Have kids in your ministry make thank-you notes and cards for local law enforcement and healthcare workers, have families donate snacks to put together goody bags or baskets to go along with the thank-you notes. There are so many things you can do to get outside your walls and let your kids and families be a part of it. 
  4. Christmas! JINGLE JAM is our favorite way to celebrate Christmas. We add this experience on to the beginning of our Christmas Eve service as a pre-service to help make it even more family-centric. For this year, this may look like a virtual option or it may look like an entire Jingle Jam program. The goal of this isn’t only to invite your church, but also to invite your community as an outreach point. Try and think of ways you can show others that the church is for them through this and that you want to partner with them. 
  5. Do a community service project. Plan for it to be outside so families feel more comfortable and can be a safe distance away from others. Clean up a local park, clean up outside your church, find some elderly people at your church who need help with yard work, help organize and sort a local food pantry if they’re taking volunteers. Get creative and don’t be afraid to make phone calls to ask people and organizations in your area what they need. You may not be able to meet every need, but you can meet at least one. 

Ultimately, ask yourself and your team if you’ve widened your scope. Your community is looking for things to do. Think of creative ways you can safely meet the needs of the families outside your church during this holiday season and how you can invite them in to what God is doing in your ministry.