Children miss Sunday school for a myriad of reasons–sports, sickness, travel, weekends with non-custodial parents, just to name a few. When a child misses for two consecutive weeks, a red flag should go up and you should make an effort to connect with the child and his or her family. Doing so–or not doing so–could have a huge impact on your ministry.
I recently had lunch with a friend whose child does not like his youth group and who hasn’t attended the Sunday morning programming for an extended period of time. As the conversation continued, my friend not only shared his frustration about not knowing how to handle this situation but his frustration in another area: “My child’s small group leader didn’t seem to notice that he wasn’t there.”
So how can you connect with absentee children, before it’s too late?
Track attendance. This will help you to know when a child has missed for two or more weeks.
Contact the parent/guardian. This can be done very casually by phone or email. Don’t invade on their privacy, but let them know that (1) you notice that the child has missed church for “x” amount of weeks and (2) you wanted to follow-up to see if everything is ok. Is there an issue or need that needs to be addressed?
Send a postcard to the child, saying that you miss seeing them and that church is not the same without them. Not only do children love getting mail but they also love knowing that someone cares enough about them to not only miss them but send a note. Here are inexpensive cards that you can purchase for your ministry.
Make a big deal when they return to class. Shower love on them and warmly welcome them back to the class.
Let it never be said that your ministry “didn’t seem to notice I wasn’t there.”
How many weeks do you allow to pass before you connect with absentee children? How do you connect with them?