Three Desirable Ministry Features from a 2-Year-Old with an iPad

I recently had the opportunity to watch a friend’s little girl while her mom and dad had a date night. She’s a real cutie and I love those chances to spend time with her.

We had a full evening of puzzles, stories and make-believe. Then, after her bath, it was time to wind down for the night and part of her routine is to climb into bed and watch Mickey Mouse on her mom’s iPad.

I sat in amazement as this little two-year-old moved quickly from icon to icon finding the perfect cartoon. If she got tired of a particular story, she knew just how to stop it, click on the right button and choose another program.

Two years old. Entertaining herself on an iPad. Without any help from me.

That made me think. How “easy” are we to others who meet or visit our ministries?

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus reminds his followers that real faith is through the eyes and heart of a child. It is simple belief and obedience.

So, with that instruction, let’s consider three ministry lessons from a 2-year-old with an iPad:

  1. Navigation is as simple as a touch
    An iPad is driven by simple touches. Touch the picture you want and it expands. Touch the play button to begin watching a video and touch another button to pause it. Simple navigation. Can we say the same thing for our visitors? From the moment a visitor enters our parking lot, how easy is it to feel welcome and comfortable? Do they rely on signs or are they greeted personally? And once inside, how easy is it to find a restroom or childcare?
  2. The purpose is clear
    This little girl knew what she wanted to do on the iPad. We didn’t use it to play with puzzles or blocks. Its purpose was to watch Mickey Mouse. What about our ministries? Do we make it clear to visitors [and members] what we are about? How “real” do we make the Gospel? Does the church feel welcoming, inclusive and genuinely friendly?
  3. There is more than meets the eye
    The iPad we used had, what seemed to be, endless episodes of Mickey Mouse. Behind those icons, all types of adventures awaited this little girl. And you know what? She (and I) watched episode after episode. She couldn’t get enough. Hmmm . . . what about our ministry? Do visitors sense a real depth in their experience with us? How would they describe our church to others? Does it go beyond a friendly hello? Does someone really take an interest in making them feel welcome?  Do they feel safe? Does the service feel “warm” or “cold”?  And most importantly, do they want more?  Will they come back?

If you take a step back and examine your ministry through the eyes of those who know nothing about it, is there any perceivable depth? Is it simple and clear?

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4 thoughts on “Three Desirable Ministry Features from a 2-Year-Old with an iPad

  1. Kayla, very good points! This is often one of the first things we judge when we enter a church building. We spent almost 2 years searching for a new church and you can tell almost instantly how warm and welcoming it is by the foyer. But i can see this post as the same on our websites because that is my ministry (and my book). I often leave websites because I can't find what I'm looking for right away or easily. How hard is it to find their facebook and twitter icons? If I have to search through gobs of ads and blinking stuff, I won't come back. I use FB and twitter to help me keep track of the sites I really like. Otherwise, I forget where I've been :)

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  2. Mel,
    Thanks so much for your comments. First impressions are HUGE in ministry. And in today's world, first impressions occur online too. We rarely get the chance to change someone's view of us once it's a negative or frustrating one. I look forward to checking out your site. Thanks!

  3. Yes, I went to a church where it took me 15 minutes of wandering thru the church building to get to the sanctuary. It made me late, which was frustrating. They also had two other 'rental churches whose members could not communicate where the English speaking congregation met. I laugh now, but it was a turn off at the time.

  4. Thanks for your comment Sarah. It's so easy to forget what it's like to be a visitor. But oh so important to walk in their shoes and feel thier frustrations. We don't intend to make it difficult to attend our churches but sometimes turn off a potential visitor before a service even begins. Thanks for sharing.