With summer coming to an end, and a new school year beginning, there are a lot of changes on the horizon for families. “Meet the Teacher” is a popular avenue for schools to introduce children to their new classrooms, but what about church? How can we also make new classrooms and new teachers a time of celebration? What does it look like to be intentional about marking milestones and celebrating this new chapter in the lives of the children we serve? There are many ways in which Promotion Sunday can be meaningful for children as well as their parents.
- Promote Promotion Sunday – Set aside a specific Sunday and call it Promotion Sunday. Some prefer to do this the Sunday before school starts, while others prefer the Sunday after school begins. Either way, make a big deal about this special day and help mentally prepare children for their advancement to a new class.
- Celebrate Milestones – Some years are full of bigger changes than others. For instance, promoting from preschool to elementary school is a big change in the life of a child. The structure and format of the preschool classroom looks much different than an elementary-age classroom. For a preteen moving up into the student ministry, this can also be a very intimidating time as they move from being the oldest in the children’s ministry to the youngest in the student ministry. Celebrating these milestones can not only prepare the child for what is ahead, but it can also anchor where they have already been. Hosting a breakfast for these families and presenting new Bibles to the children can be a tangible expression of how loved they are and will help anchor the principles learned in their former classes. It can also mark a sweet time of fellowship that families grow to look forward to as their children reach each milestone.
- Include New and Former Teachers – Saying goodbye to a class they love can be difficult for a child. Consider inviting the new and former teachers to any breakfast gatherings or Bible presentations you host. This will help a child bridge the gap between what they have had in the past and their next step forward. For those moving into the student ministry, consider partnering with your student minister to host an event of this nature together.
- Cast Vision with Your Ministry Leaders – Promotion Sunday should not be just another day. It’s a big day in the life of a child and much preparation should go into planning for this day. Take time to recast vision for your ministry leaders, encourage them to contact their new class members, and remind them to come ready for the new children on that special Sunday. This is an opportunity to build new relationships and embrace the new group that God has blessed them with. Remind them of the joy they have in serving children and the impact they have made and will continue to make in the future.
So, why Promotion Sunday? It’s not just another day on the calendar, but a milestone to be celebrated. It’s a time to affirm, encourage, and walk alongside children as they begin a new year with a new classroom and teacher.