Goodbye For Now
The school year is almost over and, here in Children’s Ministry, we’re coming to a finish line of sorts. Many leaders and kids will go their separate ways for the summer. Kids will soon promote up to the next grade level. Some leaders will move up with them. Others will be saying goodbye as their kids move on without them.
At the very least, leaders will be taking a break and Life Groups will disperse. Even leaders who are serving over the summer will discover that kids’ attendance will be sporadic and unpredictable at best. The end of May really is the end of an era.
So my question for each us is, “What do we need to do to finish well?”
In Acts 20, we see the apostle Paul saying goodbye to his friends in Ephesus. He knows that God is about to send him on to Jerusalem to face imprisonment and hardship. Paul knew he would never see his Ephesian friends again so he tells them, “I now place you in God’s care. Remember the message about His great kindness! This message can help you and give you what belongs to you as God’s people.”
The Bible ends the story by saying, “After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him. They were especially sad because Paul had told them, ’You will never see me again.’” – Acts 20:36-38 (CEV)
Paul definitely finished well with these guys. He poured out his heart to them, warned them, encouraged them and said his goodbyes in a meaningful way.
So how about you? How are you going to wrap up your time with the kids this spring? What can you do to finish well and give a meaningful goodbye before going your separate ways for the summer?
Here are a few ideas:
- Tell each child in the group one thing you’ve appreciated about them. For kids you don’t know very well, just tell them you’re glad you got to hang out with them. Remind them God loves them.
- Take pictures of your group on your last day together and e-mail them out to the kids’ parents.
- Give families a card with your e-mail address and encourage them to e-mail you prayer requests and updates over the summer.
- Write out a prayer that you’ll be praying for each child over the summer and give it to them.
- Give each child in your group a meaningful token of your love for them. Maybe it’s a card or a trinket to remind them of your time together.
- For you guys who are into scrapbooking, make some kind of memory book together that represents the year you’ve had. Have each of the kids sign it or contribute to it in some way.
- Schedule a Life Group reunion party over the summer. Meet for a picnic and play date at a park or do some other fun summer activity.
- Go outside the box and use your creativity to dream up some totally unique way to say goodbye to your kids.
Whatever you do to close out your year with your Life Group, just make it significant. Use it as another opportunity to remind kids of their tremendous value to you and to their Creator. This could be your last chance to speak encouragement into the lives of these children. What are you going to do to make it count?