By Dema Kohen
In auto racing, a pit stop is when the driver pulls the car into the pit so that the pit crew can attend to it during the race.
A pit stop is always a brief but extremely necessary interruption in the middle of an event.
It’s the equivalent of a health checkup. Every driver knows these pit stops can make the difference between winning or losing.
Just like a race car needs a pit stop to keep it running smoothly, you need to perform regular checkups on your ministry health.
In the following few paragraphs, I hope to give you a clear road map to creating meaningful and memorable pit stops in your ministry setting.
What is it?
Pizza Pit Stop is a time when children’s ministry volunteers gather to accomplish two things:
- Reflect and celebrate what God is doing in the lives of our children.
- Evaluate and discuss how things have been and decide if anything could be improved.
When is it?
We always host Pizza Pit Stop on the last Sunday in October. There are two reasons for this specific date:
- Eight Sundays have passed since the beginning of the school year. This means that our volunteers have had plenty of time to figure out the process, acclimate to their specific roles, and get to know the children and other teammates. They also have had enough time to notice areas of concern that need to be addressed.
- There are twenty-eight Sundays left until the end of the school year. This means that the road ahead is still long, and now is the time to bring up concerns, discuss challenges, and figure out solutions.
How do you do it?
- We always host Pizza Pit Stop on a Sunday. All our volunteers are already at the church, and they don’t need to make a special trip on a separate date to attend this event.
- We provide childcare. To help our volunteers with children of their own, we set up a separate room with lunch, board games, fun activities, and a short video. We invite volunteers from other ministries to help us.
- We enjoy good food and plenty of it. Since we host Pizza Pit Stop after church, everyone is hungry. And what’s the best way to love on someone who’s hungry? Feed them, of course! We designate 30 minutes for the mealtime, and it’s counted as part of the event. It’s half an hour of unstructured, informal time where people sit around the tables—sharing food, stories, and lives.
- It’s 90 minutes long! It’s Sunday afternoon. Everyone has had a full morning, so 90 minutes is all we need to accomplish the goals we set for this meeting.
- We start and finish on time. Sticking to the schedule, honoring our word, and guarding their time is the easiest way to show respect to our volunteers.
- We sit people at tables according to the age group they serve. Because we have teams that work different services, it may be the first time that they get to meet the people that work with the same age group of children.
- We engage the collective wisdom of those present. Pizza Pit Stop is all about peer-to-peer interaction. As a ministry leader and event host, I focus on two primary things: 1) creating a warm, welcoming environment; 2) providing a general direction for the discussions that happen around the tables. After setting the stage for honest and productive conversations to take place, I fade into the background.
If you would like to energize your volunteers and help them deeply connect to each other and to the mission of the children’s ministry in your church, then hosting your own pizza pit stop is the best way to get there.
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