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Q&A

Children’s Ministry Conferences Elevate

Q&A: “How can I extend my weekend curriculum to Wednesday nights?”

Seven Ways To Extend Your Curriculum

There are many ways to extend your curriculum an extra hour or even two. In Elevate, we’ve purposefully included additional small group activities and review games that you can use in an additional worship hour, or on a weeknight while showing the Bible Lesson again. Here are a few time-tested ideas to extend your lesson, no matter which curriculum you use:

  • Show the Bible Lesson and Main Point from the weekend – repetition is key at this age and the Bible Lesson is short enough to be seen again, even if you don’t show the Skit.
  • Use more or all of the small-group lessons – each Elevate lesson includes 4-6 activities for you to choose from and you can use whichever activities you did not use from the weekend.
  • Play the full review game – yes, this is included for each lesson in the Elevate curriculum but you can make up your own review game to play as well. We like to come up with wild ways to “buzz” in the answer (bean bag toss, catch the ping pong ball, etc.)
  • Add songs – you can add music videos to your media software, like an additional worship song or two. You can play your favorites from a past series or you can ask the kids which one they want to play. You can check out all the Elevate music videos on our website.
  • Use “Game Break” time – these Large Group games don’t have to relate to the lesson, they can just be fun themed games. You can search online for “Large group games for kids” and pick one that fits your time and space.
  • Minute to Win It – these type of games take very little supplies and are a lot of fun. You can use these at the beginning of your time as children come in or toward the end of the time as children are being picked up.
  • Make the time Game-Show style – if you are using the same lesson, capitalize on the review game style, ask the questions, and then have a spinner to spin in between each question that lands on either Song, Game, Minute To Win It, Activity, Messy Game, etc. Our kids LOVE this style as you can also make it a competition between teams and not just individuals.

Another option for your Wednesday night, especially if you have used Elevate for an extended amount of time, is to grab other lessons that reinforce the weekend lesson. For example, Elevate teaches many lessons on prayer from different Bible characters. If you learned about prayer from the lesson of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane on Sunday (Good News Kids), you can follow up with the lesson about the life of King Asa on Wednesday (To The Depths Kids).

What ways do you extend your curriculum lesson past an hour and a half?

 

This was one of many additional questions from Pastor Mike’s C3 Conference Q&A session. Stay tuned for more or click the Q&A tag to see other questions and answers.

Children’s Ministry Conferences Volunteers

Q&A: “What should a volunteer schedule look like to avoid burnout?”

avoid burnout

A Balanced Spiritual Life

This is a common question in any ministry, but especially for those working with children. The easy answer is balance and consistency, but the logistical answer depends on your church schedule.

Let’s start with balance. We want everyone who is a part of our church to find a place to serve so they can grow as Christ followers. That being said, we have the policy that if you are not attending church, you need to stop serving. Does that sound harsh? We have this policy to protect our volunteers. For example, we all probably have those “super volunteers” in our ministry who will say yes to everything we ask of them. Can they serve an extra service? Of course! Can they stay late to watch the staff kids? Their pleasure! Can they come Tuesday and count out small group supplies? Sure! However, the longer we ask them to do everything, the swifter they burnout, especially if they do not have an opportunity for corporate worship. It is better for us to protect our volunteers and help them learn a balanced spiritual life so they can be an example to others long-term.

On the other side, we all have the volunteers who are so afraid of committing because they don’t want to experience burnout. They may have already experienced burnout before, at a ministry or even as a PTA parent. So they try to “balance” serving with the rest of their life by signing up to volunteer once a month or just “when they can.” However, in this scenario, they miss out on true connection with the kids and other volunteers and eventually drop out of serving entirely.

That is why we talk to our volunteers about this up front during recruiting and in volunteer training. We first talk about Matthew 22:37-40 and God’s plan for a balanced spiritual life, and then we show this short video example to our volunteers.

A Balanced Spiritual Life (volunteer training video)

Hopefully, as volunteers see this modeled out by our leaders and other volunteers, they’re able to grow into consistent, thriving volunteers who do not burnout.

The Logistics Of A Balanced Schedule

Now onto logistics. As I mentioned in our Q&A breakout at C3, I’d encourage you to talk to your pastor or leadership team about having two services; then volunteers can attend one and serve the other every weekend. We have 3 services available at our Grapevine campus. When we first opened our Fellowship Church Celina campus, volunteers had the opportunity to come to Grapevine on Saturday night and serve at Celina’s single service on Sunday morning. The Celina campus has since moved to two services on Sunday morning.

If you only have one service for the foreseeable future, we have heard of churches on a 4 week or 8 week schedule – where the same teachers teach the whole Elevate series, or at least 4 weeks in a row. Other churches’ volunteers serve on an every other weekend schedule. There are pros and cons to both. Whatever your schedule, remember consistency and balance is key to connect with kids and avoid volunteer burnout.

What ways does your church help volunteers avoid burnout?

 

This was one of many additional questions from Pastor Mike’s C3 Conference Q&A session. Stay tuned for more or click the Q&A tag to see other questions and answers.

Children’s Ministry Elevate FC Kids

Q&A: “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?”

To answer the question “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?” we have to go back to why we use games in the first place. We believe that children learn while having fun, which is why we revolve all our games around the lesson or theme to engage the children’s attention for each lesson. The number of games we use in FC Kids at Fellowship Church varies from 3-6, and some weekends a lot more. This is also why we write 5-6 different activities per lesson in Elevate Children’s Curriculum. These include Small Group application activities, Opening Activities, and Review Activities. We usually start off with an opening game to help all of the kids become involved. We do this because children can be dropped off in our FC Kids ministry up to 15 minutes before service actually starts. Then there are games that help illustrate the lesson, like “Forgiveness Freeze Tag,” “Courage Shield,” “Thank God And Share,” or “Worship Cube” to name a few. How many of these we pick depends on the time we have available to play games. Are we having an extra long service? Even if you are not sure how long service will go, it is always best to prepare a few extra application activities and games just in case! We also like to play Minute to Win It games or other games like I Spy during the review time of the lesson.

So the short answer to the question “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?” is, “However many games you need to fill the time and teach the children that week’s lesson.”

 

This was one of many additional questions from Pastor Mike’s C3 Conference Q&A session. Stay tuned for more or click the Q&A tag to see other questions and answers.