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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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.

 

 

 

What American Girl does to help families connect

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Yesterday I had a great day enjoying some time with my daughter at the American girl store.  We booked a reservation to attend their Bistro.  While we were sitting there, we noticed a box in the middle of the table.  The box had small strips of paper with questions on them.  The questions are meant to spark conversations while sitting at the table.  The kids at the table enjoyed asking the rest of us questions and hearing our responses.

There are many conversation starter sets available for free on the internet.  Pinterest is loaded with them.  You can even put scripture verses in a small container and pull them out as you sit around the table as a family.  What other ideas do you use to encourage discussion around the dinner table?

How to keep kids from leaving church

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I went out for lunch with my family after church on Sunday to celebrate the last few days of freedom before school started.  While we were eating, I couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation happening at the table next to us.  The lady was telling her friend about her experience growing up in a church.  The now grandmother age lady recalled a building with hard pews that were uncomfortable to sit in, a pastor who spoke long, and a Sunday morning experience that was extremely boring.  The religious experience was all about rules & consequences for breaking the rules.  When she was old enough, she decided that she had no interest in this thing called church.

As she told her story, I couldn’t help but think about how many other people have grown up with this same experience.  During their formative years, their experience of church was irrelevant & boring.

Parents, Teachers, Pastors & Volunteers wish there was a simple answer to the question:  How do you keep kids from leaving the church when they get older?  Although there is no secret formula, I do think there are several factors that increase the chances of them sticking around.

Relationships – As I think back to my own experiences growing up in the church, I had many people who greatly impacted me and were great role models.  My parents, my parents’ friends, Sunday School Teachers, one-on-one buddies, midweek leaders, youth pastors and summer camp leaders.  Note:  People who invest time in kids may not see the reward of their investment until many years later.

Regular Attendance – My parents believed in going to church EVERY Sunday.  Not just once in a while, or when it worked for our schedule. EVERY Sunday.  This taught me that church was a priority, not just optional when it worked for us.  We planned our family schedule around our church schedule.

Relevant – I went to Sunday School.  I went to the mid-week program for kids.  I went to youth.  During each stage of my life there was a program available for me to attend that was fun & taught lessons that were appropriate for my age group.

Real – My family didn’t grow up in a perfect bubble.  We had our share of challenges.  My dad died of cancer when I was 16 and that left my mom to raise 5 kids on her own.  The church surrounded our family with love & support.  They prayed for us & helped in practical ways.  They were doing what Jesus would have done.  It taught me that the church sticks with each other through the good times & the not so good times.

Serving – (sorry I couldn’t think of a word that started with ‘R’) – From the time I was a young teenager I was given opportunities to serve.  I helped in Kids Ministry & was involved in music.  It took the focus off of myself and helped me focus on others.  I was using my gifts & talents in the area of my passion.  Church was about giving, not just receiving.  In those serving roles I built relationships with people of all ages who were happy to spend time with me and encourage me as I served along side of them.

As I look at the lives of those who grew up in the church with me, many of them are still connected in a church today.  Many of them would list the same list of things as I did.  It’s probably not a complete list, but it’s a good start.

 

 

 

This idea will make it easy for parents to know what their child’s Bible lesson was about

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Crossroads church in Cincinnati, does a great job of communicating to parents what the lesson was about in the kids program.  At the door of each room they have a sign that they change each week.  They list 2 questions that parents can ask their child to start a discussion about that day’s lesson.  I loved that it was simple, visual, and user friendly!

Another thing they do is post the lesson plans online.  Parents can see what the lesson was about, what the small group questions were, what they did for connection time etc.  It helps give parents a place to start to chat about the lesson when they get home.

To take it a step further, they post the videos online that they use in their lessons.  That way, the families can watch them together at home.

What can you do to help families continue the lesson discussion at home?

 

Planning for Christmas yet?

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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.