On a recent trip to California, I went to visit Sandals Church. This amazing group of people showed us around their building & shared their stories of what they are doing to see people come to know Jesus. Here are a few things that I learned from our Sandals Church Tour.
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.
One of the first church tours I ever went to was at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN. Their creativity and innovation was like nothing I had ever seen before. (well, other than Disney) Every kids room was designed in a different theme. They even had slides that took you from the kids check in area, right into the class room. When kids landed in the room, they could look at the monitor and wave good-bye to their parents. The parents could wave back using cameras and monitors at both ends of the slides.
What I love about themed spaces is it communicates to kids… “we think you are pretty important and we hope you have fun here”. If kids want to come to church they will beg their parents to bring them. That means more opportunities to tell them about Jesus and build relationships with them.
I love to take teams of volunteers to visit other churches that are larger than ours. It helps them to catch the vision of what is possible in Kids Ministry and some next steps to focus on. I love to visit a church called Crossroads in Cincinnati. Their Kids Ministry, Crossroads Kids Club, is AMAZING! Their facility is fantastic & they produce amazing videos that are downloadable and FREE! They also have curriculum that goes with those videos that is also downloadable and FREE!