I was so impressed to see what Woodstock City Church does to celebrate birthdays for kids. The kids look forward to their Birthday all year long so that they can visit the Birthday Cart. The Birthday Cart is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t compare to the PERSON who is at the Birthday Cart. I did not find out this person’s name, but he was amazing as he celebrated each child and their birthday.
His enthusiasm was off the charts as the kids approached the Birthday Cart. He called them each by name and asked how old they were. Then he proceeded to do this:
He had a bucket full of confetti and he piled it on each child. He threw it in the air & sang the birthday song! He made each child feel like the most important person on the planet because it was their birthday.
At the end of the celebration he pulled out a broom and cleaned it all up, so the area was ready for the next child who came to celebrate their birthday, and he treated them in just the same way.
It doesn’t take much to make a kid feel special on their birthday (or on the Sunday closest to their birthday). A cart with some prizes, a bucket full of confetti, and a very enthusiastic volunteer who is willing to go all out to make each child feel special.
Here are a few other ideas I picked up from my visit to Northpoint Church:
Make a sign so that parents and kids know where to go to celebrate birthdays.
Have stickers or buttons available for kids to wear so that everyone knows it’s their birthday.
Make sure you have several different prizes for them to choose from.
Try to find a volunteer who is outgoing and would be willing to be the Birthday Cart Volunteer. Birthday prizes are fun, but an enthusiastic volunteer is what takes the experience to a whole new level.
They even had a Birthday Cart in the Preschool Area. The prizes were age appropriate and someone dressed in a bee costume greeted each birthday child. This bear can be found in the preschool area at Northpoint Church.
This is the Preschool Birthday Cart at Woodstock City Church.
What do you do for birthdays at your church? Maybe one of these ideas will help you take birthday celebrations to a whole new level!
Recently I went to the “Drive Conference” at Northpoint Church in Atlanta, GA. It was like drinking from a firehose. I learned so much and took so many pitures. I decided to share my info with all of you in hopes that you can learn from them just like I did.
Before the conference began, I had the opportunity to tour Woodstock City Church, and spend a lot of time behind the scenes. Woodstock City Church is one of Northpoint Church’s campuses. They use the same curriculum, systems and processes. Their staff and volunteers were absolutely incredible. Over the next few posts I will share with you all kinds of things that I learned and show you pictures of some of the things that they do to make their kids ministry awesome! Today I’m going to show you some of the pics from the Preschool Area, aka, Waumba Land.
This is the entrance to Waumba Land. (above)
The view from inside the doors. I will be posting on their Birthday Area & how that works in a future post.
The hallways in Waumba Land.
Stollers are ready in the hallway in case they need to evacuate quickly.
Love that they incorporated 3-D sculptures for the kids to touch as well as murals.
This interactive feature was a huge hit with the kids. They would spin the flower and it would make the fish “jump”. (It made the wheel turn that had fish on it so it looked like they were jumping behind the rock.)
They bring their preschoolers to one area for Large Group Time. This place looked fantastic! More about this in another post.
Preschoolers sit on a tiered seating area with their small groups.
I loved how organized their curriulum and supplies were for their toddler program. It was super easy for any volunteer to know what to do and where to find what they needed. More on that in another post.
They had signs in their rooms that clearly outlined expectations for volunteers. They looked professional and communicated policies in a way that was easy to understand. More about signs that are helpful in a kids ministry space in another post.
Their preschool classrooms were very organized and only had what was needed in them. Their curriculum was very intentional about the activities the kids would be doing that day, so they didn’t have a lot of toys to clutter up their space.
Their nursery rooms were neat and organized and looked like they were ready to care for babies when they arrived.
Their nursing mother’s room was comfortable for moms. The wall art communicated the vision for their preschool ministry and the TV allowed them to watch the service while they were there. They even had a small fridge stocked with bottles of water. Love the attention to every detail!
Over the next few weeks I will share more pictures of the things I learned at Woodstock City Church. I’ll add some links on this page as I add more info. If you want to know when more posts are added, be sure to sign up with your email address to be notified when a new post is added.
When I was visiting The Grove Community Church in Riverside, California, I saw a system that they used to help motivate kids to listen & participate. They used ping pong balls to give to the kids when they brought their Bible, or a friend, etc. At the end of the service, the kids could put the ping pong balls that they earned into their display box. The group who filled their box first was rewarded with a pizza party. I liked that the reward system was visual for the kids, and they worked together to achieve a goal.
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 visit with them.
1. Their average weekend attendance is 5799 people and in 2014 they had 3890 first time attenders. They run 7 services at 2 locations each weekend.
2. Their kids and youth area were themed in a way that was appropriate for each age group, yet it all tied into the look of the whole building.
3. They have some creative people on their kids staff who write their own songs & make videos for their kids worship. It was fantastic! (Shout out to Andrew & thank you for giving me a jump drive of your videos at CPC. You rock!)
4. They had bulletin board for their volunteers where they communicated “stuff” with their volunteers.
5. Kids got a button on their birthday (just like at Disney!).
Here are some pics of the youth/student ministries area at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
I am enjoying being in sunny, warm California in the middle of February. I am attending the Children’s Pastor’s Conference in Ontario, California. While I am here, I am taking the opportunity to visit churches in the area, and learn from their staff & volunteer teams in Children’s Ministry.
Here are some pictures of the main campus of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. Their staff were more than friendly and very willing to share their ideas and information with us.
They have a separate building for their kids ministry. Around the outside of the building, they have several areas that they can use as teaching spaces. The tomb & 3 crosses are a great place to take kids to teach them about the death & resurrection of Jesus. The stone wall with windows make a great backdrop for just about any story.
Each room in the 3 story building, had age appropriate toys, games & interactive spaces where kids could connect before the lesson began. The preschool room had little doors that could be inserted into the doorway of any regular door. The older kids area had an entire wall that was a whiteboard. They did a great job of making each room age appropriate & fun for kids.
They used a WIN system for the volunteers in each room.
W – Welcome – the person responsible for welcoming each child as they enter, & help them get their name tag
I – Integration – helped kids move from the door & get connected with other friends
N – Networking – this volunteer kept everyone on schedule & doing the activities for the service
In the next blog post, I will share pictures & ideas from the student ministries building.