If you have ever been to a children’s ministry conference or another type of gathering, you have likely witnessed the benefits of networking with others. There’s nothing quite like being able to connect with other people who do the same things that you do week-end and week-out.

If you have ever wanted to network with other children’s ministers in your area, but weren’t sure where to start, here are 4 steps to take:

1. Personally contact other children’s ministers in your area.

The first thing you need to do is figure out the best way to contact other children’s ministers. Usually picking up the phone is the easiest way to connect and introduce yourself to others. Call local churches and ask if you can speak with the children’s ministers. Many children’s ministers will likely be part-time so you may not get to speak with them right away. Be sure to ask for another time or method to contact them, such as email. This is the most difficult and time consuming part of the process, but it’s worth it!

2. Decide on a communication method.

Once you begin to connect with other leaders, you should ask each of them their preferred contact method. Some might like phone calls, while others may prefer email or Facebook. This is important to be sure you are able to contact everyone about meeting times, etc.

3. Pick a time and location to meet.

I have been to children’s ministry network groups who have a standing meeting every month, while others just play it by ear. When talking to others, ask them if they would be interested in meeting together and how often they would be able to meet. This will give you a good consensus for when you should plan your meetings. After you select when you will meet, contact each of them and invite them. Encourage them to invite their volunteers and any other children’s ministry leaders they may know.

4. Choose a topic for your meeting.

You may want your first meeting to simply be a meet and greet experience. However, after everyone gets to know each other, you will likely want your meetings to be more beneficial than a “hang out” time. Choose a topic of discussion for each meeting, such as volunteers, music, leadership, etc. If you need some topic ideas, you can check out our drop-down list of post categories in our sidebar.

5. Stay in touch.

It is important to find a way to stay in contact with each other between meeting times, in order to give one another support. Creating a Facebook, email, or texting group is a simple and easy way for ongoing communication.

Have you ever created or been a part of a children’s ministry network? Have any advice? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.