As a Kids Ministry Leader, it can feel like there are endless groups of people with whom you are responsible for communicating. Within Planning Center People, Lists are an excellent and often under-utilized resource for helping you stay organized. Lists help automate some tasks, remind you of others (by integrating with Workflows), and simplify data. All this will save you time and stress. 

Before jumping into the 10 most valuable lists for Kids Ministry Leaders, I first want to note a couple of general tips for lists. For any list, consider the following options under the ‘Settings’ tab:

1. Filter Settings: Create a category for your Kids Ministry so that all your lists will be easier to find later.

2. Auto-Refresh results: I can think of only a few reasons why this would not be helpful. This helps ensure your lists remain up-to-date automatically, so I highly recommend toggling this setting ‘on.’

3. Mailchimp Sync status: If you use Mailchimp for church communication, this is a fantastic tool. Toggle this ‘on’ to make sure your email lists remain accurate day-by-day.

9 Planning Center Lists Every Kids Ministry Leader Needs

List #1: All Kids

It’s best to begin with a list of all the children you serve. This gives you a big-picture idea of the kids in your ministry. Individual class rosters are also beneficial to create. With class rosters, you can target parent communication for specific age groups when needed. At times, it may be helpful to adjust classroom ages, and class rosters give you a quick and easy way to assess numbers. 

List #2: All Parents

Parents are your partners in children’s ministry, so creating a list of all parents is primary to the success of your ministry. Setup the list to return results of household adults or primary contacts. You’ll find this incredibly helpful for general communication and following up with parents of kids. 

From the Results tab of any list, you’ll see a text bubble pull-down menu. From this icon, you will be able to send an email, a Church Center announcement, or text message to those on the list. This is an easy way to communicate with everyone without hassle. When people reply to an email, it will go to your email inbox. As mentioned in the general tips above, if you use Mailchimp for mass communication, you will also be able to pull up your parent list from Mailchimp to email the group.

Parents are your partners in children’s ministry, so creating a Planning Center Parent List is foundational to the success of your ministry. This will be incredibly helpful for general communication and following up. Click To Tweet 

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List #3: All Kids Team Volunteers

A ministry to children wouldn’t be possible without volunteers. Just like with the lists for kids, it’s a great idea to have one master list for any communication that applies to the whole team and to have every team members’ information in one place. When you have volunteers dedicated to specific classes or age groups, however, it’s also helpful to create separate lists for each of those groups for more targeted information or to evaluate where your greatest volunteer deficits are.

List #4: Background Checks Needed

Create a list to alert you if any members of your team do not have a background check noted in the Planning Center People profile. Planning Center integrates automatically with a service called Checkr. Using this platform, background check results will sync directly with Planning Center. However, you can track background checks manually, so you can continue using whatever platform you prefer. 

When scheduling volunteers in Planning Center Services, select the option to require background checks for any applicable teams. This way, Planning Center will not allow someone to accidentally be scheduled or checked in without one. You may also desire to create a separate list for background checks expiring soon since it’s best practice to renew criminal background checks every 2-3 years.

List #5: Kid & Volunteer Birthdays

One simple way to love on the kids in your ministry and to show appreciation for those who serve is to send birthday cards. Setup a list that shows you all of the kids and volunteers in your database who have birthdays in the next week or month depending on the frequency you’d like. To make sure you remember these, set up a Workflow in Planning Center People that will send you a notification when new people are added to the list. 

Show some birthday love to your children's ministry volunteers and kids with the help of Planning Center Lists. Get notified as often as you'd like so you can sign postcards or pre-write some emails. Click To Tweet

List #6: First-Time Guests (Parents of)

Create a list that reveals new kids added to your Children’s Ministry. Again, utilizing the Workflow feature is extremely helpful here. Create an automation that adds guests to a “New to Kids Ministry” workflow. This is an effective way to welcome visitors and make sure nobody falls through the cracks. By adding these individuals to your workflow, you also have the chance to double-check that they are new and you will be able to personalize the email or phone follow-up according to each family. 

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List #7: Recently Absent Kids/Families

Find families who regularly attend your weekly service, but who have missed the past few weeks/months. Adjust the frequency according to what best fits your context. With this list, you’ll be able to check in on families, which demonstrates awareness and care. You may also wish to include in your list rules a condition that accounts for special events (e.g. VBS or Neighborhood Egg Hunt) because families may have shown up for those but not the regular weekly service.

List #8: Overlooked Volunteers

When scheduling volunteers, you may occasionally skip over someone unintentionally. Add a list to collect names of volunteers scheduled in the previous month, but not the current month. Further refine your filter to get more specific results for specific teams or classrooms. These individuals may be the first you call for a last-minute substitution, or you may reach out to see how the team member is doing. By running this list on other volunteer teams in the church, you may discover potential new volunteers. If they are listed on a team but not serving regularly, you may contact the other team leader to see if the individual could switch teams or balance both.

List #9: Potential New Volunteers

Do you ever wonder how you’re going to find more volunteers? What Kids Ministry Director hasn’t experienced this, right? One way to search for potential new volunteers is to create a list of all “Members” who are not serving on any volunteer teams. Start by reaching out to them personally or inviting key members of your team who know them well to encourage them to join the team. Sometimes, all it takes is an invitation.

With these Planning Center lists, you will be on your way to becoming a more efficient and effective communicator and ultimately, a better manager of the kids and volunteers in your ministry.

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What children’s ministry tips are your go-to? Share below!