Monthly Archives

June 2014

Events Family Ministry

Family Dedications – Part 2

June 27, 2014

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.

Events Family Ministry That's a cool idea!

Family Dedications – Part 1

June 26, 2014

Child's Frame

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”.



That's a cool idea!

Do this idea this summer, and at Christmas, you will be glad you did

June 25, 2014


Do you run a summer program for kids?  Do you stay in touch with those kids throughout the year?

Each year we have a summer program for kids called EPIC.  We take a photo of each group & save it for later.

Then, in December, we mail the kids a Christmas card with a picture of their group.  We include dates of our Christmas events at our church, as well as the next summer camp’s dates.  It’s a great way to let them know we are thinking about them, and we would love to see them again.


Leadership Training Volunteers

FREE online Kids Ministry Training Videos

June 24, 2014

Kids Kount Publishing has created some videos to help train Kids Ministry Staff & Volunteers.  Each video is 3 minutes or less, and is available online for free.  No subscription, so signing up…just click on the video & press play! Here are some of the topics they cover:

Lead Yourself

Understanding Preschoolers

Understanding Grade Schoolers

Understanding Preteens

Tips for Directors, Leaders & Coaches

Skill training for Large Group Teachers & Small Group Leaders


Welcome Team

Kids Ministry Space

Each of these sections has several videos to choose from.  Forward the link to your volunteers & help them sharpen their skills by watching these training videos online.



Leadership Training on DVD

June 23, 2014
John Maxwell DVD

I am always on the lookout for ways to sharpen my skills as a leader.  There are many options available to learn about leadership and one of my favourites is a leadership training DVD.  John Maxwell is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to leadership and his sessions on leadership apply to leaders in many vocations.

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Church Tours That's a cool idea!

Volunteer Role – Runner

June 20, 2014


When I went to visit Church in the Son in Orlando, I saw this volunteer badge.  I thought it was a great idea to assign someone the official position of RUNNER.  This person could get more supplies, or go page a parent, or ‘run’ to get what ever was needed.  This could be a great job for an older child or teenager.  Finding ways to involve kids teaches them the importance of serving, and they don’t need to be an adult before they can serve.

What other roles do you have that kids or youth can do?

Leadership Recruiting Ideas That's a cool idea!

This idea will help you fill your summer schedule!

June 19, 2014


Summer is a challenging time to find enough people to help in Kids Ministry.  Many people take some well deserved time off so it can be difficult to put people on the schedule when it works best for them.  I have found the most success when I let them choose their own dates.  To do that, I use a Google Document.  You can create a spreadsheet right in Google Docs that you can share with people.  A Google Document allows you to share the info with everyone who has the link.  The document is always up to date, and people can see what weeks have enough volunteers and what weeks still need help.  It allows people to sign up for dates that work with their schedule.

Here’s what I do:

#1.  Set up the document – Create a spreadsheet with all the rooms, dates & services.  I create one document with separate tabs (sheets) on the bottom for each room.

#2.  Share the document – You will need to edit the settings to “everyone can edit”.

#3.  Email all your current volunteers – Send them the link to the document, and ask them to add their name to the dates/times that they would be available to help.

#4.  Email all your parents – Summer is a great time to ask them to help for one or two Sundays.  They are not signing up for an ongoing basis, but they are probably willing to help once or twice when they are around.

#5.  Send reminders – Each week I send a reminder for people to sign up to help.  I do this for about 4 weeks prior to the summer.

#6.  Send more reminders – During the summer, I will email everyone who is scheduled for the following Sunday.  I’ll send the reminder email on Mondays.

To see a sample of the Google Doc I use, click on this link.


Church Tours Strategic Planning

3 Reasons Why You Should Go on a Church Tour

June 17, 2014
road trip

I am getting ready to go on a church tour.  I am taking some of my key leaders from my Kids Ministry with me.  We will drive for about 8 hours one direction, do a little shopping in the US (something Canadians get quite excited about), and spend time attending various classes & services at the church we will be visiting.  We will spend time together in the vehicles and get to know each other in the process.  We will ask a million questions to our gracious hosts (aka Kids Ministry Staff & Volunteers) .  We will come home with our brains ready to explode from all that we saw, heard & experienced.

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Events That's a cool idea! Training Volunteers

Fall Training Event – Monster Mash

June 16, 2014

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?

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Is your Vision Visual?

June 13, 2014


The last time I was at Chicago’s Children’s Museum I took a picture of this wall.  I thought it would be a great way to display the vision and values for kids ministry at a church.  It’s colorful & kid related.

Do you have a vision for your kids ministry?  Do people know what it is?  Do you have it displayed anywhere for all to see?


Try this next time you face a challenge

June 12, 2014


John Maxwell wrote a book called ‘The Maxwell Daily Reader’.  If you are looking for short, easy to read leadership ideas, this book is loaded with them.  365 to be exact.

At the moment, I am a few short weeks away from the beginning of the summer schedule for kids ministry.  It’s the time of year when people leave on vacations, and have some down time to do things with family and friends.  I am all for families spending time together and volunteers having some time off, but sometimes it’s a little challenging getting people to help in Kids Ministry during the summer.

Instead of being frustrated with the challenge of fewer volunteers, I have decided to take the road of being solution oriented.  John Maxwell talks about this in his book.  Here are some of the things he suggests if you want to be Solution Oriented:

Refuse to give up.  Determine that you will not give up until you find a solution.

Refocus your thinking.  Set aside dedicated time with key teammates to work on the problem.

Rethink your strategy.  Get out of the box of your typical thinking.  Brainstorm crazy ideas.  Redefine the problem.

Repeat the process.  If at first you don’t succeed in solving the problem, keep at it.  Remember your goal is to cultivate a solution-oriented attitude that you bring into play all the time.

As you face challenges, look at them as opportunities for solutions.  You never know what new and creative ideas you will come up with!



Books Leadership Motivating Volunteers Recruiting Ideas

Simply Strategic Volunteers

June 11, 2014


If you lead a team of volunteers, this is a must read book for you.  It’s loaded with 99 chapters that are all 1-2 pages each.

This blog post would be extremely long if I were to list all 99 topics, so I have chosen a few to highlight:

Teach Shoulder Tapping – if pastors are solely responsible for finding volunteers, growth will be limited.

If You Don’t Need a Volunteer, You’re in Trouble – Is your vision too small?

Quality Attracts Quality – If your team is known for quality, then those who value quality will be attracted to your team.

Master the Art of Celebration – Quality celebrations are key to good leadership.

You Grow at the Edges – New people reach new people.

You Can’t Steer a Parked Car – Forward direction and momentum are required to make good decisions about ministry effectiveness.

Helping High-Capacity People – Help them find the place where they will have the most effectiveness.

If you do not already have this book on your shelf, then add it to your list of books to purchase.  You’ll be glad you did.

Books My Favourite Kids Ministry Leaders Training Volunteers

This is a Must-Have Book for Sunday School Teachers

June 10, 2014


This book is on my top 10 for favorite Kids Ministry books!  It’s loaded with ideas.  Aaron Reynolds is a creative writer and story teller, and he shares his experience in this book so that people can do a better job of bringing the Bible to life through story telling.  It’s a must have on your Kids Ministry book shelf.  Here’s a breakdown of the table of contents:

Creating an Atmosphere of Excellence – memorizing, practicing, and evaluating

Fabulous Techniques for Transformational Teaching – a bunch of great stuff in this section

Power Tools of Creativity – 20 Ways to Teach the Bible Creatively

Teaching Evaluation Form – a sample form to evaluate your teaching

Personal Development Plan for Teachers – a tool to help teachers grow

A Training Guide for Ministry Leaders – How to use the book to train your teachers


Books Disney & Kids Ministry

Customer Service – Lessons from Be Our Guest

June 9, 2014
Be Our Guest

In North America, Customer Service is what determines if a business is excellent or not.  It determines if a customer would return to that business or not.  As families consider attending a church, the ‘customer service’ at that church could be the deciding factor if they return or not.  Be Our Guest is loaded with ideas that can be transferred to customer service in Kids Ministry.

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That's a cool idea!

Giant Flannel Graph Board

June 7, 2014


How many times have you heard that Flannel Graph is outdated & OLD!

On a recent trip to The Museum in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, I saw this Felt Board and it was modern & fun!  I thought it would make a great Activity Center in a Kids Room.  You could have pieces from Bible Stories available for kids to create scenes & tell Bible Stories to each other.  You could rotate the pieces from time to time so kids could have a variety of stories to play with.  What a great way for kids to see, hear, touch & participate in the story learning experience!  Betty Lukens sells all kinds of felt board sets and so does the Beginners Bible as seen here on Amazon.  eBay would be another great place to find this kind of thing.  Remember today’s kids have probably never seen flannel graph in action.  Used with the right age group, such as preschoolers, this could be a great teaching tool or activity center.

That's a cool idea!

Magnetic Wall

June 6, 2014


I am always on the lookout for Activity Centers or Creative Methods to use to communicate the message of Jesus.  When I was on a recent trip the The Museum in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, I saw this Magnetic Wall.  The magnetic pieces included images that were printed on Magnetic sheets (found in craft stores) as well as commercially purchased magnetic shapes & pieces.  An oversize magnetic center like this would make a great activity center in a Kids Room in a church! You could print Bible verses or Bible Story images & mount them on magnetic paper.  Kids could use shapes to build the house on the sand or on the rock.  What other things could you use a magnetic wall for?

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Giant Labyrinth Game

June 5, 2014

A few days ago I went on a field trip with my daughter to the The Museum in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  I saw this Giant Labyrinth Game and had to take a bunch of pictures so I could get my talented builder friends to make one of these for our church.  I love taking classic games & making them giant size.  Makes a great activity center for Kids Ministry.

Church Tours That's a cool idea!

Elementary Room Signs @ Willow Creek

June 2, 2014

On the walls before you enter one of the Elementary Classes at Willow Creek Church you will find these signs.  Here are some of the benefits of having these signs displayed:

Intentional – Each part of the service time is very intentional.  There is no downtime or wasted time.  These signs communicate what will be happening during the service.

Communicates to Kids – It lets the kids know where the boundaries are and what is expected during each of these elements.

Communicates to Parents – As parents walk past these signs, they are also reminded about what is happening in the room & where the boundaries are for kids while they are there.


The secret to recruiting volunteers

June 1, 2014


Recruiting volunteers isn’t easy.  It never goes away and you are never done.  I used to dread when someone would tell me that they were stepping down, because that meant that I would have to go recruit another volunteer to fill their spot.

But now I have a new perspective.  Here are some things I learned along the way.

It’s God’s church, not my church.  I do not have to carry the burden of “not enough volunteers” because this is God’s ministry and not mine.

Pray – Ok, so this could be THE secret, but I’m going to presume that you are already making this step a priority.

Do the homework.  You can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to you.  You need to do your homework.  I use something I call “The Matrix”.  It’s a massive spreadsheet of all the rooms I oversee, with spaces for every volunteer role for every service time.  I fill it in with people’s name who are covering that role, and then I can see visually what I still need.

Start Connecting – Go to other ministry leaders & people groups & start asking questions and meeting new people.  Do they know anyone who isn’t serving? Do things like go to the senior’s lunch, introduce yourself to people, and begin to get to know them.  You will be amazed at who you will meet and what their passion & gifts are.

Relationships – If I were to narrow it down to the best kept secret, I would say that recruiting is all about relationships.  Meeting people, getting to know them, and helping them find a spot that fits for them.  As I look over my volunteer team, most of the people serving are people I have met at events, or they are friends of my volunteers.  People want to serve with and help their friends.  The secret to recruiting?  It’s relationships.