People are busy! It is hard enough to get people to volunteer, so how can we ask them to serve every week? Weekends are busy with family commitments, or time to relax and sleep in. Volunteering weekly will be the most rewarding for volunteers but how can we get them to understand that?
Recently we hosted a Princess Party at our church. We had over 800 people attend the event. 60% of people were not regular church attenders. We received a lot of positive feedback after the event about how much people enjoyed coming to the event. Here are some of the things we included at the Princess Party:
Four times a year we do an event that is meant for families to do something together.
Gingerbread Party – to kick off the Christmas Season
Princess Party – in the winter
Family BBQ – during our EPIC kids summer camp week
LEGO Party – in the spring
Here are some pictures of our LEGO Party and what we did:
This past weekend, we had the Grand Opening of our new church building which has been under construction for over a year. We built a new kids area, renovated our office space, and built a 2nd auditorium that seats 300 people.
Having a Grand Opening creates an opportunity to invite people to come and see your facility & experience a little bit of what your church is like. Here is what we did for our Grand Opening.
Saturday Open House: (drop in format & people could stay as long or a little as they liked)
Kids Entertainment. We had 7 activities or shows happening at various times throughout the kids area which included:
- Birds Of Prey Show – a Raptor Conservatory that brought live birds for everyone to see
- Kids Music Entertainer – did 2 interactive shows for families
- Disney Princesses – 6 teens/adults dressed in costume and looked a lot like the Disney Princesses that you would see at a Disney Theme Park. Families could meet & greet & take photos with the princesses.
- Indoor Playground – our newly installed playground was open for families
- Craft Room – tables, chairs, supplies & craft examples for families to make together
- Balloon Animals – volunteers made balloon animals/shapes for kids
- Interactive Electronic Puppet – a software program we purchased from Little Mountain Productions.
Food – Several areas throughout the church had food stations for people to pick up a snack.
Decorations – We ordered punch balloons that had our logo on it. We started a few days before grand opening to blow up all the balloons. We used a tree stump as a base, and then attached a pole to the base. We put the punch balloon elastics over the poles to create balloon pillars.
Give Aways – Kids could take a punch balloon home with them on their way out.
Other Entertainment – The youth band, and a drum circle did several shows in other parts of the building.
Ministry Displays – Many of our ministries made a display for people to see. This helped give people an idea of some of the programs that are offered at our church.
Sunday Dedication Service – We had a service to dedicate the building. We invited the trades who worked on the project as well as dignitaries from our area. We also included a ribbon cutting in the service.
This weekend we had our annual Kids Ministry Volunteer Training Event. Here’s what we did:
Promotion – Start months ahead with a few “save the date” emails. Then 3 weeks before the event, send emails weekly, and get your leaders from each room to email their teams of volunteers. Put posters of the event up in kids ministry spaces. Get people to sign up online.
Theme – Choose a theme that is fun! This year we went with a Transformers theme and focused on moving beyond Supervision (of kids) to Transformation (in their lives)
Set up – Have the room decorated, set up & stuff on people’s chairs like training manuals & chocolates when they arrive. The first impression when they arrive will be a great one if you have everything ready to go & you pay attention to detail.
Food – Definitely include food. It’s even better if you can get your food to match your theme!
Fun – Include a game or event that is just plain fun. Because we had a transformers theme, 5 volunteers had to try to transform the transformer toy from a robot into a vehicle. Game music & cheering help to bring energy to the game.
Prizes – Door prizes are a great way to go. People love to win things. Get as many as your budget will allow. Ask for donations if you have a limited budget.
Have people talk other than you – We had a discussion panel of volunteers. I sent them questions ahead of time so they were prepared with their answers. It was so great to have them talk about stuff that I usually say. It was very powerful coming from them.
Power Point & Video – Keep things visual whenever possible. Media helps to keep people’s attention. Video clips bring variety and can help drive your point home. I used a video clip of Bill Hybels, “Coffee with God“. It helped to illustrate about the life transformation that can happen when you spend time with God.
Motivation Talk – Remind people why we do what we do. Tell stories. Show videos.
Neighbour discussion – To help break up a longer time of “sit and listen”, have volunteers turn to their neighbour & tell each other one thing they just learned from what was just talked about.
Take Home – Have them write down (on a card that you make ahead of time) one thing they can do to improve what they are doing & tell them to take it home & put it in a place where they will see it on a regular basis to remind them.
Appreciation Video – a few weeks before the event get video footage of as many volunteers in action as possible. Edit it together & add some music & play it at the end of your main session.
Breakout Groups – Give people a chance to chat about their own area of ministry with their team. The last hour of our training event is spent in ministry specific groups all over our building. They chat about things that are specific to where they serve.
We have just finished an EPIC week at our church. Here is a little video I put together with highlights from this past week.
Every summer we run an EPIC week for kids at our church. It’s basically kids ministry on steroids. The energy is high, the kids and volunteers are excited to be there and God does amazing things during the week. Months of organization & preparation come to a conclusion at the end of this week, and each year we do it, it gets better and better. We focus on helping kids grow closer to Jesus. Some kids have never experienced church before, and others are used to coming regularly. We post stories of what God is doing throughout the week on our “God Sightings” wall & it’s quite an experience at the end of the week to read story after story of lives that were impacted during the week.
This year we have 330 kids and a little over 150 volunteers. It takes an incredible team to make everything happen with excellence. Tomorrow’s post will be all about the team. I will list the volunteer roles that are needed to make our EPIC week happen.
I am starting to plan for the fall & the events that we will do for this next ministry year.
To kick off the Christmas Season, we have a Gingerbread Party on the last Saturday in November. It is for families to build a Gingerbread House together. We have several stations that families can go to:
Gingerbread Station – all the ingredients needed to build a Gingerbread House. The house pieces are ready to be assembled. The icing is ready to go in a piping bag & there are 6-8 kinds of candies on each table for them to decorate their house with.
Craft Station – a fun foam gingerbread man ready to decorate. Glue & decorations ready to go.
Coloring Station – several options of Gingerbread people & houses ready for coloring.
Bounce House – to burn off some of that sugar.
Photo Booth – a professional photographer takes photos of families. They are emailed a link where they can download their pics.
Snack Station – home made sweet treats to have a little snack so they don’t eat all the candy before it gets on the Gingerbread House.
Take Home Bag – info about our upcoming Christmas Events at our church, Christmas stickers & coloring sheets.
This event is for church families & for families from the community. It’s a great opportunity for church families to invite non-church friends.
Family Dedications happen several times a year at our church. We hold this event on Saturdays from 4-5pm. Here’s what we do:
Dedication Service – We hold a 30 minute service where the dedication ceremony takes place. We have live music, video, & a talk from our lead pastor about parenting. This is also the time in the event where families who are participating come to the front, and make their commitment to raise their child to follow Jesus and grow in a relationship with Him. This service is family friendly. There are a lot of young children, so it’s not really a quiet event. I have preschool packages ready for children to pick up on their way in. This includes coloring pages (all about families of course), a pack of 4 crayons, stickers, goldfish and pipe cleaners to play with.
Reception – After the service, we have cake for everyone. We create an atmosphere for families to chat with their friends and family, and to get to know other families with children.
Excellence is found in the details. We want our families to feel like they have come to a first class event. Here are a few things that we include in every event:
Decorations – tablecloths & fancy decor as much as your budget will allow.
Food – we try to do a great job of this, so a 3 tier cake it is!
Frames – Each child receives a Frame that has been personalized with their name, photo, the date of the event, & the Bible verse that their parent’s chose for them.
Blessings Booklets – We hand make a Blessings Booklet for each child. Friends and family can write a prayer, poem, or special message for the child. Great keepsake.
Professional Photographer – We book someone to take photos of the event as well as family portraits. After the event, families can download these pics for free.
The following Sunday – We want the church to partner with these families as they raise their children. Because we have 4 services on a Sunday morning, we video the Dedication Event, and then show a 2-3 minute video of the families at the Dedication Event.
If you have any questions about how we run our event, feel free to comment below.
A few times a year we hold a Family Dedication Event. Instead of calling it a baby dedication, we call it a family dedication. It’s a chance for parents to:
#1 Publicly thank God for these children
#2 To commit themselves to raising their children to follow God
#3 To ask for God’s blessings on their children
#4 To ask the church to partner with them
We give each family a framed picture like the pic shown above. It’s a great keepsake of the day, and reminds parents of the commitment they made to raise their children in a God-honoring way.
We hold our events on a Saturday afternoon. To see photos and find out details about what we do at our dedication event, be sure to read “Family Dedications – Part 2”.
Once a year I host a Kids Ministry Training Event for all my Kids Ministry Volunteers. I do it “conference style” with Main Sessions and Workshops. I work hard to create a fun event that people enjoy coming to so that they will want to come to the next training event. This particular event was a Monster Mash. Complete with decor, food, & music, we played on the Monster Mash theme. I chose this theme partly because I was planning to use some video clips from a training event that Sue Miller did at a Promiseland Conference many years ago. You can read about the Ministry Monsters in her book, “Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week”.
When putting together a training event, be sure to remember the following:
Make it Fun – If it’s not fun, people won’t come back. Decor, music & door prizes help.
Make it Count – Everything should be intentional and time well spent.
Make sure there is Food – If you provide food, people like that.
Make it Motivational – Always include a talk that reminds people WHY we do what we do.
Make it Practical – People want to learn something that they can implement as they volunteer with you.
Provide a take home – I give each volunteer a reuseable bag & stock it with helpful print material, a pen & paper & candy. (usually chocolate is involved)
What do you do for training events with your volunteers?
Did you ever play Kerplunk when you were a kid? We built one of these games for our church. It’s a great game to play as a group and have fun together.
You can find detailed instructions and a how-to video on this website, This Old House. Find someone in your church who likes to build things and ask them to build it for you!