Easter parties are great events to have for children in your ministry. Here some things to consider.
When will you have the party? Easter Sunday after church is not a practical time. But you could have the party during church on Easter. Or you could have the party after church on Palm Sunday. The Saturday before Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are good times to have it as well.
What type of party will you have?
Easter Egg Hunts: These are very popular, but they have drawbacks. You need to have church property large enough to hide the eggs to make if fun. If you don’t, look for a park or a parent’s yard where you can hide eggs. Don’t use real eggs. Buy the plastic eggs from the dollar store and stuff them with candy or toys you can buy in bulk. Or you can put tickets in the eggs the children can use to purchase prizes. That way, each child gets prizes. You’ll also want grand prizes you can give away to children who collect the most eggs. Easter baskets work good for this. In some areas of the country, snow and rain are problems at this time of year. If that’s the case, make sure to schedule a rain date.
Easter Carnival: A carnival can work well even indoors. Call your local carnival rental place and see if they’ll donate the games for the carnival. Some places will if the games aren’t being used. Also if you have a carpenter in your church, consider having him make some games you can use. You can give out tickets, candy, or prizes for each game won.
Fun Sunday: If you have the party during or after church on a Sunday, consider having pizza, pop, and treats for the children. You could also show an Easter movie in the sanctuary on the “big screen” like in a movie theater. You could have gospel illusions, games, crafts, and other activities.
How Will You Present The Message: An Easter party is a prime opportunity to present the message of salvation to children. Think of a gospel illusion, story, or object lesson you can use for a short 5 minute message.
Get Donations: Contact pizza places, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and fast food restaurants to see if they’d be willing to donate free gift certificates to their establishments that you can give as door prizes. Most businesses are willing to do this.
Plan Ahead: Get the workers you need. Decide how you’ll spread the word. Find people to set up and do follow-up. The better you plan ahead, the better this party will go.
Pray: This is a great opportunity to reach unchurched children. Pray for God to move during this party.
A Fun Sunday based on sports is a great idea. Most of the students in your children’s ministry participate in sports.
Theme: Being a Winner in God’s Kingdom
Verse: Hebrews 12:1 (NIrV) A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. Let us keep on running the race marked out for us.
Snacks: You can make the lunch easy but include healthy foods athletes might eat. Peanut butter sandwiches work because they have protein. You can also serve fruits and vegetables. Sugar cookies could be shaped like tennis shoes.
Craft Ideas: Here’s some links for craft ideas that will even work for people who aren’t crafty.
Fun Sunday are themed events to get children to invite their friends to church. Lots of children’s ministries do a variation of Fun Sunday, but this is the way I did it.
Theme: Every Fun Sunday has a theme from the moment children’s church starts until the event ends.
Children’s Church: Children’s Church has an evangelistic message that goes with the Fun Sunday theme.
Prizes: Have prizes for visitors and for children who bring visitors. You could have a drawing that visitors have to sign up for. When they sign up, you have a record of their information to invite them to the next event. If your church doesn’t have a lot of money to spend, try going to pizza places, ice cream parlors, bowling alleys, and roller skating rinks. Most of them will donate free coupons.
After Church Event: Fun Sunday works best if you continue it after children’s church is over. Tell the parents to pick their children up in two hours. Tell them that this gives them a chance to have a peaceful time at a restaurant. Plan activities that go with the theme, and serve an inexpensive lunch to the children. If you have more than ten children to a group, have a rotation between the activities.
Workers: It’s easier to get workers if they know they’re only doing one activity in their area of interest. They might want to do games, crafts, lunch, skits, balloon animals or a variety of other activities.
Follow Up: Make sure to follow up on the visitors who don’t attend regularly and the children who got saved.
The next post will give suggestions on themes for Fun Sunday.
Today, I asked Ingid Dedecker, the director of Partner With Schools, to write a post on how children’s ministers can get God back in our schools with this effective outreach tool.
Get God back into Public Schools !
by Ingrid Dedecker
Tag. You’re it. A game played every day in school yards. I wish finding christians who are willing to share the Good News in public elementary schools were this easy. Yet it’s not only permitted but even welcomed by schools. And three quarters of the students usually get saved. The girl in the picture up front asked with wide and hopeful eyes: “ Is it really true that God will forgive me of all the bad things I have done?”
Amazing Opportunity to reach your Neighborhood. Research shows that kids can reach their parents much better than pastors can. Showing the love of God to students often brings the rest of the family to church. It’s only one hour per week for eight weeks per semester, with amazing results. Elementary School students are still open to the love of God. Let’s reach them before they become troubled teens. 85% of people who get saved find God between the age of 5 -14.
Voluntary After-School programs for which parents sign a permission form are within the legal framework of the school. A school which has any other activities such as after-school enrichment programs must allow a Bible club as well. This even holds true for flyers and announcements as all clubs have to be treated equally.
Sixteen Federal Agencies call upon Faith-based organizations! All children who attend the local church also attend the local school. Parents of those children are deeply connected to both institutions. What other local organization has such a direct link to the school. That is why the Department of Education, The White House, via it’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and 14 other Federal Agencies promote student achievement by connecting schools and community-based organizations, both secular and faith-based.
Fourteen Churches, on average exist for each school and yet it’s difficult to find churches willing to get involved in their local school. No need to fear the ACLU. The ACLU usually focuses on the establishment clause of the First Amendment which makes sure that religion is not officially established in schools. That’s why the ACLU often challenges official prayer or religious symbols in schools. However The ACLU has never taken a school to court over a Bible Club, and due to numerous recent lawsuits won by students whose schools denied clubs, an increasing number of principals are now focusing on their student’s right to Free Speech. In prior decades schools focused almost exclusively on upholding the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause but in recent years the shift to also uphold the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause has brought much balance to the issue of Church/State Separation. Yes, schools still don’t endorse religion but they now also enforce student’s rights to practice religion in schools.
The ACLU of Tennessee, just in March 2014, decided to actually defend a student who was forced by teachers to stop reading the Bible in an After School program. In the letter sent to the school, the ACLU requests that the school train it’s teachers on religious freedom rights while at the same time not imposing religions on students. Hedy Weinberg, executive director for the ACLU’s Tennessee branch, additionally said in a statement that the goal of their letter was to: clarify how constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedoms work.
Neither School Administrators nor Church Administrators are fully aware of the recent case law opening up schools to churches. That’s why it’s important to gently inform schools that over 7000 elementary schools nationwide have Bible Clubs in schools; and many more Middle and High Schools.
Partner with Schools provides pro bono help to churches in getting into their local schools. We set up partnerships between local schools and local churches and provide teacher’s training and ongoing coaching to keep the church’s school outreach ministry motivated. You will find more information at: www.partnerwithschools.com A school principal from Akron City Schools in Ohio said: “ Thank you for impacting our school so much for the las two years. We are so glad you’re here!”
Blessing not only the students but also to the school. Schools are mandated to teach character education. Since the Bible is full of character education we might as well help schools fulfill that mandate. Character Counts is one of the two primary character education programs. Since schools recognize that program we incorporate Character Counts into our curriculum. It takes up less than 10 minutes of the class and the rest of the class focuses on faith-based character education via Bible teaching, fun activities, songs, and memory verses.
Ingrid DeDecker, Director of Partner with Schools, is available for meetings and church presentations and can be reached at: 330.309.5333 or email@example.com
Block parties are a terrific way to reach the neighborhood around your church, especially if you have a lot of children living nearby. Block parties are essentially parties you give for the neighborhood. A good block party will have the following elements.
Invitation Blitz: If you are going to have a lot of people at your block party, you will need to go into the neighborhood and compel them to come. Print out a flier as an invitation. Then have teams go into the neighborhood by two’s and knock on every door. You could also go the route of a mass mailing, but personal invitations work so much better.
Good Food: This is a drawing card. Whether you have a cookout, spaghetti, or vendors with different foods, print what you’re having to eat on the flier. Also make sure you let them know it’s free.
Music & Drama Groups: Music should be upbeat and contemporary. If you don’t have enough music and drama groups to entertain the whole time, invite groups from other churches to minister.
Entertainment For Kids: Your carnival will draw a crowd if you have lots of entertainment for the kids. If your budget allows, have inflatables such as bounce houses, slides, and obstacle courses. Make carnival games for the children to play. Have someone make balloon animals. Have a team of people do face painting. If you have somebody who does clowning or gospel illusions, have him at the block party.
Evangelism: Train an evangelism team to make friends with the people who come, to share what the church has to offer, and to pray with people.
Prayer: This and every event should be bathed in prayer.
Park Ministry is a great way to minister to children over the summer. Whether you go to different parks and low income housing projects each time, or go to the same park at the same time every week, it can be very effective. Here are some tips to make park ministry work for you.
Decide where to go. This is a very important step. Going to a park to do ministry, when there are no children there, can be very discouraging. Canvass you city. Find out when sports practices that are held in city parks are and plan to be there when they let out. Find out where children congregate. Then contact the people in charge of that area and get their permission.
Develop your team. Park ministry doesn’t just consist of front people. Teach a group of people of various ages how to witness and release them to talk with people in the park an hour before your program. One effective tool is to teach your students how to witness, then have them play in the park. They can be instructed to invite the other children to the event when it starts.
Have upbeat music and entertainment that present the gospel in a fun and nonthreatening way. Some methods you could use are balloon animals, juggling, gospel illusions, drama, puppets, and object sermons. Make sure to make each presentation short and to the point.
Have information available about your church. If someone is interested in learning more about God, have information about your church and your children’s ministry readily available.
Find a way to get names and addresses for follow up. One way could be to have a drawing for a giant candy bar or a ten dollar bill. That way, you have a legitimate way to ask people for their contact information.
Use park ministry to start other things. Park ministry could help launch other ministries in your church such as bus ministry, sidewalk Sunday school, backyard VBS, and benevolence ministries.
Bath it in prayer. Whenever you have park ministry, plan a time before it takes place to have a prayer walk around the park.
Attracting more children to your church is a goal every children’s pastor has, and it can be done easily and effectively with four easy steps.
Don’t only pray for numbers. Pray that God is in the middle of your children’s ministry and that His desire for souls is at the center of your desire to attract more children. Too many pastors, churches, and children’s ministries start with the right motives but, at some point because of pride, start wanting more numbers because it makes them look good. Your first prayer should be to change your heart’s desire into what God’s desire is not for numbers.
Your second prayer should be to ask God to give you plans and creativity. If you do ministry the way you always have, you’ll always have what you’ve always had. Ask God to show you what you should focus on changing this coming year.
2. Have an effective children’s ministry.
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t. No matter how many children you get in the doors, if you don’t have something effective for them when they get there, they won’t stay.
God will only give you what you can handle. If you have twenty children and want to double that by the end of the year, start having workers, classes, and programs that will work if fifty children show up.
3. Have Effective Outreach.
There are only so many children who will come through your doors without outreach. It’s your job to go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in.
Here are a few effective outreach activities your children’s ministry could have:
This is a step that most churches fail at. They have a great outreach event, lots of children come, many are saved, but then they never hear from the church until the next large outreach event.
Once a child comes to one of your event, make a personal contact through a letter and a phone call. Meet the parents, and invite them to church. Ask if they have any prayer needs they would like you to remember. That’s what will get them inside your church doors for more than an event.
Every children’s pastor should be an evangelist. It’s great to minister to the children in your church, but what have you done to develop a children’s ministry that reaches out to unsaved children? Here’s a few ideas to make sure you are acting, not only as a pastor, but as an evangelist.
Altar calls in children’s church are an important way to give children an opportunity to respond to the message. Unfortunately some children’s pastors have decided end having altar calls. Here’s a link to an article by Jerry Moyer called Why I Still Have Altar Calls? It’s worth reading.
No matter how you decide to do it, you should have Sundays periodically that emphasis salvation. Advertise these Sunday’s to the children in your ministry as a day to invite their friends. Create excitement and have a special theme and special activities that only happen on these Sundays. Give a salvation message. Then do follow-up for the visitors who attended.
Some children’s pastors are also ending outreach events because they are costly and time-consuming. They’ve decided to focus on the children in the church. But Jesus didn’t focus on the people inside the church. He carried His message to everyone who would listen.
There are some children who will never come to your church on a Sunday morning. Some of them have circumstances, like unsaved parents who don’t think it’s important, that keep them from coming. But they will come to your special outreach events every time you have them. If your goal is only to get more children to come to your church, outreach events are not that effective. But if your goal is to share the Gospel to children who would otherwise never hear it, outreach events are worth the time and money spent.
This will be the most effective thing you ever do as an evangelist. The children under you can reach children you will never be able to minister to. Give them the tools to share the Gospel. Teach them how. Practice with them. Then release them into ministry.