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Behind the Scenes FC Kids Uncategorized

Imagination Theater (Preschool Renovation Part 3)

More changes in our preschool ministry!  This time, the renovation took place in the south lobby of the Fellowship Church, Grapevine Campus. A small wooden stage and blank walls were pulled back and ripped out to transform it into Wonder & Palette’s Imagination Theater!

Imagination Theatre, the fifteen minute skit portion of our children’s worship experience, has been a part of Fellowship Church for about 10 years. While we have used Imagination Theater different times over the years, the format of our Elevate Jr. curriculum has once again helped it become an important teaching tool for our 3, 4 & 5 year olds

Using an adapted portion of the Elevate Jr. Large Group Script (which you can find in the latest Elevate Jr. series, starting with Elevate Peak 4) a teacher and puppet bring the Bible Story to life and the kids get to worship together as a large group. Each group of kids rotates in and out of the classroom to travel down to Imagination Theater. The children are greeted by a fun song, written by our children’s pastor Ryan McMackin, and by a lead volunteer as the teacher. Once all the kids are seated ‘criss-cross applesauce’, the teacher goes over the rules.
Rule #1: No talking while the teacher or puppet are talking
Rule #2: Stay seated
Rule #3: No poking your friend or neighbor (otherwise known as “no touchy-touchy”)
Rule #4: Have FUN!
The kids love to shout the rules, and it helps any new children know what to expect.

Once that part is finished, one of the many Elevate puppets are introduced. Here are a few of them:

Fernando                         Fezzik                              Pixie

These fun polyester-cotton blend friends help sing the song, say the Main Point and teach the Bible lesson to the children. It usually begins with the puppet NOT understanding the lesson, and then coming to the realization of what God wants them to do right after they hear the Bible Story.
From here, the kids get to go back to their classrooms and continue learning more about the lesson for the day. It is important to note that with Imagination Theater each child will have heard the Bible Story twice. For preschoolers, repetition is important.

The new set design of Wonder & Palette’s Imagination Theater helps keep the children’s attention even more focused with the bright colors and fun decor. The volunteers enjoy having a “door” to come out of, and the puppeteers enjoy having an extra ‘window’ to pop in and out. In all, the remodel was a success. Now if only we can keep Fezzik from eating the fake flowers every weekend…

DIY Uncategorized Volunteers

Making a Creative Volunteer Team (Preschool Renovation part 2)

Here’s a shout out to a great group of creative volunteers who make Fellowship Church an awesome place for FCKids. Every couple of years we remodel our Preschool Building to update and re-innovate all of the spaces. Our latest job was to tackle our Preschool Rooms and the North lobby check-in area. As always it was a joy to see volunteers stream in and offer their talents. I am always amazed at the skills people have and are willing to share with the church. Take a look at some pictures I took of the creative volunteer team in action.

Here’s advice I give to people who ask how we get so many volunteers out to do creative projects like this.

First: Start Small but be Visible
1- Find a creative person, or two, who can work on a small project for you, something that will catch some attention.
2- Put on the finished project a sign that says “Done by Volunteers of “Fellowship Church” (your church name).
3- Put the project out where it can be seen by as many people as possible.
4- Have a sign up sheet beside the project that says something like: “Interested in being involved in a creative project like this? Sign up here and we’ll get you started”
5- Contact the 1 or 2 (or more) that sign up and you’ve suddenly got the workings of a team.

Second: Be Bolder and Bigger
Follow the same steps as above but use your newfound people to make an even bigger scaled project. Use it to attract even more people.

Third: Be Patient
Keep this process up and slowly, but surely, you will find a group of people that you can use to do just about anything. Just don’t expect it all to happen overnight. The team for FCKids took several years to develop and we are continuing to grow.

DIY FC Kids Uncategorized

Wonder and Palette's playroom now open!

Wonder & Palette's Playroom

Preschool Renovation: Part 1
What once was a seldom used area near one of our Preschool lobbies at Fellowship Church, is a space that has now become an interactive playroom for kids to hang out while mom and dad chat and check in before services! All themed by Wonder and Palette!

With a week of work and a lot of volunteers, our team transformed the lobby in time for Easter services. First we removed the old walls, created cubby spaces for the window TV’s, reframed and drywalled the area, cut out the foam core graphics, painted the edges, and placed the final touches from our favorite store…IKEA!

These updates changed the entire atmosphere in our Preschool lobby. Now, the 2-3 year olds sit down to color while moms and dads meet other moms and dads, and new families immediately see how important their children are to us in FCKids.

Taking on a build project to change the environment of your church may seem like a daunting task, but it makes a big difference in the atmosphere of your church. Think of it like this: you remodel your home to make it comfortable and inviting for yourself and for your guests. In the same way, we remodel the areas of our church to make them more comfortable and inviting for our attendees and visitors.

Over the next few weeks I will share the details of how we made this project come together successfully.

You can use the same graphics we did to decorate your preschool area too! Visit to download the full sized Preschool Wall Art and Graphics.

Elevate Production Uncategorized

Meet Wonder and Palette!

Have you met Wonder and Palette yet? They are the two newest characters in Elevate Jr! Wonder and Palette will be a consistent part of each new Elevate Jr. series. They bring even more fun to the Biblical teaching your preschoolers get from Elevate Jr!

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 4: The Plan-less Paralyzer

The last three weeks we talked about our time Gobblers,  the Programming Pac-man, the Meeting Miser, and the Interruption Immobilizer. What is a time Gobbler, you ask? They are the things that leave you feeling disappointed each week with the amount of
time you actually gave to doing the things that are important to you and your ministry. Now on to our last Gobbler!

Gobbler #4 The Plan-less Paralyzer

This may seem extremely basic, but you have to have a plan
of action for your week. If you begin your week without a plan, you might as well be jumping into a den of hungry lions with a steak tied around your neck. Either way, you’re in trouble.

Know what you want to accomplish and set out to make it happen. Some people like “to do lists”, others like to set a schedule for their
week so they are able to keep track of when they are supposed to be in a meeting or in the office. Do what works best for you.

It might take an hour of your week to get your plan down, but the benefits will be ten-fold. Take charge of your week by stopping the
Gobblers before they attack. Don’t allow them to keep you from doing what God has called you to do, ministering to the kids and families He has brought to your church.

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 3: The Interruption Immobilizer

The last two weeks we talked about our time Gobblers, the Programming Pac-man and the Meeting Miser. But what is a time Gobbler? They are the things that leave you feeling disappointed each week with the amount of time you actually gave to doing the things that are important to you and your ministry. Now on to our next Gobbler!

Gobbler #3 The Interruption Immobilizer

Interruptions, whether electronic or human, can keep you from getting anything done. A recent study in England showed that checking and responding to e-messages or phone calls actually hurts your IQ worse than the effects of smoking marijuana.

Here is something to remember; our modern methods of communication are great tools of efficiency, but they are just tools, nothing more. You are not a slave to these items. Don’t answer the phone every time it rings. Don’t take your cell phone or Blackberry to lunch with a volunteer you need to counsel. Don’t keep your email open if you check it every time you get a message.

If you have an office, close your door. And don’t answer every knock. It will give you the time to get things done, and it will empower your leadership to figure things out on their own. Sometimes the best training you can give your staff or volunteers is your absence.

Spend this week looking at the ways you interact with technology and how you deal with interruptions. Then take steps to keep interruptions from gobbling your time. Next week will be our final time Gobbler: The Plan-less Paralyzer.

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 2: The Meeting Miser

Last week we talked about the first of our time Gobblers,
the Programming Pac-man. But what is a time Gobbler? They are the things that
leave you feeling disappointed each week with the amount of time you actually
gave to doing the things that are important to you and your ministry. Now on to
our next Gobbler!

Gobbler #2 The Meeting Miser

<img alt="Meeting Miser Only" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a011570b6b9c8970b013484878c30970c " src="http://www.mikejohnsonblog best slimming” style=”margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px” />Whenever it is within your power, try and keep all of your
meetings within one day of your week. Meetings are great for getting face-to-face contact with your staff or volunteers, but when you spread your meeting
schedule out over the week, you will find that you only have small increments
of time to accomplish the actual “ministry” you’re meeting about. 

Try to keep
one day aside and schedule all of your meetings then. This way you will have
larger blocks of time during the week and you will be surprised with how much
you can get accomplished.

Spend this week looking at the way you do meetings and then take
steps to keep meetings from gobbling your time. Next week’s time Gobbler: The
Interruption Immobilizer.

Children’s Ministry Leadership Uncategorized

Time Gobblers – Part 1: Programming Pac-man

Children's Ministry Time Gobblers

180,000 seconds. 3000 minutes. 50 hours. That’s the amount
of time given to you each week to build into your ministry. 50 hours to make an
impact in the lives of the families in your church by providing for the
spiritual needs of children. 50 hours to make your contacts, pray, invite,
counsel, write letters and do everything you can to let your families and
volunteers know that you are there for them. 50 hours to invest in the lives of
your kids and make a difference in their walk with Christ. 50 hours…seems
like a lot. But if 50 hours is such a long time, why do you usually feel
disappointed each week with the amount of time you actually gave to doing the
things mentioned above? Why, at the end of the week, do you look back and
honestly say that you worked hard, yet you can’t really account for anything
meaningful you did? I’ve found the answer for my own life…Gobblers.

No, I’m not talking turkey. I’m talking about those hungry
little monsters that visit us each week and eat up not only the time allotted
to them but also the time you and I have to devote to ministering to kids. If
you don’t get rid of them you will never accomplish all that God wants for your
ministry. So, how do you keep the Gobblers in check? It begins with knowing who
they are. Here is the first of four Gobblers that seem to hang around Children’s departments a lot. Keep an eye out for it and squash it in its tracks.

Gobbler #1 The
Programming Pac-man

Children's Ministry Time Gobbler: Programming Pac-man
Programming is important…in fact it’s very important. One
of the biggest programming events happens each and every week…the weekend.
It’s the bang, it’s the fun, it’s what the kids love to come and see. Make no mistake;
your weekend programming has to be GREAT! Rolling out a sorry program each week
is a good way to ensure your ministry will never grow. The Programming Pac man
doesn’t address the relevance of your programming. Instead, it sneaks in on you
as you work on the content of your programming. Most children’s ministers
didn’t get into ministry to spend their hours as producers, graphic designers,
or sketch comedy writers (all skills that come in handy when writing a good
weekend lesson). Yet, every week Children’s Pastors across the country sit down
at their computer and spend an inordinate amount of time pounding out the weekend
script and small group lessons. After that even more time is devoted to finding
the multimedia elements to really make the lesson pop. My question is…Why?

I know, I know. The justification and allure of writing your own stuff is so that you can have something that is just the way you want to teach it. But like I said earlier, if you wanted to write for SNL or animate cartoons for Saturday morning, you wouldn’t be in ministry. The truth is there are a lot of good curriculums out there. Pick one. Order sample packets, go
online, study the flow of the material, then try it out for a couple of months.
If it doesn’t work, try another one. Keep trying until you find one that is
easy to use (without having to spend hours rewriting it), works well with your
volunteers and, most importantly, doesn’t take more than about half a day to
get ready. Get it out of the way at the first of the week, and then you will
have the rest of your week to get involved in the lives or your kids. Just
think of what could happen if, instead of using up your creative abilities to
produce the weekend’s lesson, you focused that creative ability on building
meaningful relationships with families and their kids.

This week, focus on protecting yourself from the Programming Pac-man. Over the next several weeks we will look at the other three Time Gobblers. Next week: The Meeting Miser!