Princess Party

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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:

Decorations.  Keeping with a low budget, we used rolls of table cloth material to decorate the room to give it the princess look.  We used tree stumps with a dowel drilled & glued in the center to help hold the draped material.  We purchased the frame from IKEA.

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Food.  Yummy treats are always a great thing to include in any party!

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Activities. We had nail painting, crafts, coloring sheets, cupcake decorating, bouncy castle, & our indoor playground.

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Photobooth.  Families could get their photo taken at the photobooth.  Pinterest has all kinds of ideas on ways to dress up a backdrop for a Princess Party.  We had princess dresses in various sizes for kids to put on for a picture, as well as other royal props that they could choose from.  Photos are uploaded to a website where families can download full size images a few days later.

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Princesses.  Adults in princess costumes freely roamed around the party.  Parents could take pics of their kids with each of the princesses.  We purchased princess dresses, a knight costume & a king costume online from Amazon & Ebay.

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Other details:

Families pre-registered for the event online through our church website.  This helped us know how many people to expect at the party so we could plan accordingly.  We charged $5 per family to help cover the cost of the event.

Volunteers helped run each activity center.  We replenished supplies as they got low, and changed garbage bags as they filled up.

We played music in each room.  Songs from Disney movies made up our playlist.

We showed a video on the TV’s and screens in each room to give people a glimpse into what Sunday mornings are like at our church.  The video was 7 minutes long, and looped for the entire length of the party.

We handed out a flyer as each family arrived at the registration table.  One side was information about the party and each of the activities.  The other side had details about our Sunday morning services for kids & adults.

The party was on a Saturday, from 1-5pm.  It was drop in style.  People could arrive when it was convenient for them, and stay as long or as little as they liked.  They rotated to the activities at their own pace.

If you have any questions about the event, feel free to post them in the comments below.

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3 Weeks of Recruiting Ideas

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Sometimes when it comes to recruiting volunteers, you need to think outside the box.  Bulletin announcements & mass emails are just not working.

That’s when you do a BIG Recruiting Event.  Here are some things that we did to make our Recruiting Event Successful:

1.  Make your events BIG!  You need to do things that will catch people’s attention and get them to notice you.

2.  Be visual!  Make a display & use media, posters or stuff to show people what you need.

3.  Show people that Kids Ministry is FUN!  Give them a taste of what you do in your program.

4.  Do more than one Sunday.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Families do not necessarily come to church every week so you need to have your BIG recruiting event take place over multiple Sundays.

5.  Be prepared with sign up sheets, applications & police check forms.  Get people’s contact info (email) so that you can connect with them.  Don’t leave it up to them to connect with you.  They probably won’t.

We did 3 Sundays and this is what we did:

Week 1: (yes, all of this happened during the Sunday morning)

  • Video Announcement on the big screens in the main auditorium during the service.
  • Bulletin announcement – casting vision about what a difference volunteers make in the lives of kids
  • Flyer in the bulletin
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)
  • TV with power point presentation running.  These slides included volunteers in action & titles of positions where we needed help
  • Music.  It’s gotta be upbeat & fun.  We played the instrumental version of the LEGO movie.  Everything was awesome!
  • BUBBLE MACHINE (see picture below) – this definitely caught people’s attention and created an element of fun.  It attracted a crowd of kids who wanted to catch the bubbles & the adults had to walk through the tornado of bubbles on their way out after the service.

Week 2:

  • Kids wearing posterboards with signs.  (see picture below) 5 kids walked around places that were populated with people with sandwich board signs on their front & back.  Many people commented on how effective these were.
  • Power Puppet (we purchased this from Little Mountain Productions).  We only bring this out for special occasions and this was one of them.  The puppet basically said things like, “we need your help”  “sign up today to help with the kids”.  You can see a video of this in action here:  http://www.powerpuppets.com/
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Week 3:

  • Kids wearing sandwich signs again.  Once again, very effective.
  • Dance Party – we had flashing colourful lights & a projector with Kids Worship DVDs.  I will admit this wasn’t as big of a WOW factor as we were hoping, as our atrium has a lot of windows and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Dance party lights & projectors work much better in a darker room.  FYI.  However, we played the DVD on a large screen TV, cranked the volume, and people noticed the great music so that helped to catch their attention.
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Here are some pictures that we took of our Big Recruiting Event over 3 weeks

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Family Event – Lego Party

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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.

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  • I had someone build this lego wall using a 4×8 sheet of wood & 15 base plates.
  • I found some lego masks online that kids could cut out & put on.
  • We had a photobooth where people could take their family photo.
  • Lego Coloring Pages for those who like to sit and color.
  • Yummy treats are always very popular.
  • I made Rice Krispie squares and added food coloring.  Then I put Smarties to match on top while they were still warm.  We cut them in rectangles and they looked like lego blocks.  (Smarties are only available in Canada).  Don’t worry, we had healthy snack options available too!
  • Families could pre-order a lego kit (I gave them a choice from 6 different kits that I ordered and they paid for) or they could bring their own lego kit.
  • Then together, they built their lego kit.
  • We had some blocks that they could build with at an activity center.
  • We had a bouncy castle so they could burn off some energy.
  • Our Indoor Playground was open for kids to play on.
  • Our Lego Decor was made from styrofoam blocks & styrofoam circles.  We painted them with regular wall paint.

We had 350 people come to this event.  It was a great opportunity for families to spend time together.  It was also a great opportunity for people to invite their non-church friends to come to visit our church.

 

 

 

Grand Opening Ideas for your church

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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.

 

 

 

What to include in your training event

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPIC Science

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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.