CONTEST: Decorating Your Classroom on a Budget

childrens-ministry-classroom-decoration

Last year I needed to design a special bulletin board that focused on the Bible. We were encouraging our kids to get in the habit of bringing their Bibles to Sunday School. I wanted a fun, colorful bulletin board that highlighted the Bible and the facts about the Bible that we would be teaching the kids. Our church doesn’t have a resource room and so I had to get creative if I was going to design this bulletin board. I created some Bible verse posters, and made some New Testament and Old Testament signs. I still needed trim and letters so I decided to try the local dollarstore. I was pretty excited to find that they sold letters and trim! I didn’t have a budget for this project but I didn’t mind spending my own money since it was only a few dollars.

Often Sunday School teachers have a great idea for decorating their classroom but they are constrained by budget (a small budget or no budget at all!)

So teachers need to get creative to find ways to have a fun, engaging classroom with little to no budget.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make pictures and posters yourself (if you have the talent!) or ask your class too. Kids love to see their own artwork on the walls.
  • Use the dollarstore and the thriftstore. I have found all kinds of interesting materials and ideas when browsing through the local thrift store and dollarstore.
  • Don’t throw away old curriculum until you have searched through it for posters, pictures, and resources that you can re-use in your classroom.
  • Ask a creative, artistic person to help you design some posters for your classroom.

Contest

I want to see how you decorate your classroom and I’m giving a prize for the best decorated classroom I see. I am giving away a signed copy of my book, The Well Equipped Volunteer Children’s Ministry Handbook. Take a picture of your classroom and send it in, along with the approximate amount it cost to decorate. Send your pictures to janelle@wellequippedvolunteer.com.

I will be looking for the most creative, fun classroom that uses its decorations to focus the children on Jesus, the gospel, and the Bible (and does it affordably!)

Rules

  • Please send no more than 5 pictures of your classroom (please keep your email below 5mb to ensure I receive it.)
  • I’ll be the judge.
  • Multiple submissions for multiple classrooms are okay, but you can only submit one classroom once.
  • Submitting pictures allows me to post them on my website so please ensure your pictures do not include children.
  • This contest is limited to Canada and the US.

The winner will be announced on March 2, 2015 at 12:00pm central time.

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How to Schedule Your Day When It Feels Like You Have Too Much to Do and Not Enough Time

Overworked businessman.There is always something to do in Children’s Ministry. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. But there are a few simple things you can do to schedule your day and help you wrest back control of your time and your responsibilities.

Plan Out Your Day

The last thing you should do at the office before you go home is plan out the next day. What responsibilities do you have; what phone calls do you need to make; what meetings do you have scheduled; what projects do you need to work on.

Taking the time to plan is really important, especially when you feel you don’t have the time. It is all too easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. But if you take some time to plan your day, your week, your month, and your year, you will find yourself being more productive and less overwhelmed. Don’t feel guilty taking a day or two to plan for the upcoming year. Take 10 minutes on a Friday to plan for the upcoming week. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day to play for the next day. It is time well spent.

Figure Out When You’re the Most Productive and Then Make the Best Use of That Time Slot

My husband has figured out that he is most productive in the mornings and so he has been getting up at 6am to work. His productivity has skyrocketed. If I got up at 6am to work, I would spend hours staring blankly at my computer screen wishing I was still in bed. Everybody’s different, but everybody has a peak productivity period during the day. Figure out when yours is and make the best use of it.

Use your peak productivity period for creative work, for long-term planning, vision casting, and completing projects. Save phone calls, emails, filing, etc. for the rest of your day.

Prioritize Your Tasks

You know what needs to be done in your day and you know when your most productive time is, now prioritize what you need to do. Prioritize what needs to be done during your peak productivity period and prioritize what needs to be done outside of that block of productivity.

Figure out what the most important thing is and do that first. Then move on to the next most important or time-sensitive thing on your list. We can’t always tell how much time it will take to complete certain tasks, so do the most important or time-sensitive tasks first.

 

Plan out your day ahead of time, figure out when you are most productive, and then prioritize your tasks. These three tips will help you to schedule your day.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines DayAnd this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.   Philippians 1:9-11

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Bigger is Better, Right?

Are you a small children’s ministry? Do you sometimes look at larger children’s ministries and think, “If only we had their budget, their volunteers, their space?”

Bigger has become equated with better. Bigger children’s ministries have more money, more space, and more volunteers. That must mean that they offer more value to the kids who attend their programs. They must offer better children’s ministry.

We all have these thoughts. But is bigger automatically better?

Where does the true value come from in children’s ministry?

Making DisciplesRelationships

The true value in children’s ministry is not in the budget or the space, it starts with the relationships you and your team build with the kids in your care. Do you take the time to get to know the kids in your programs? Do you start outreach programs with the express purpose of getting to know the kids in your community? Building relationships is a key part of children’s ministry.

Gospel

Children’s ministry is important because it is an opportunity to share the gospel in an age-appropriate, targeted manner with kids that you have been building a relationship with. Budgets, space, and a huge volunteer base won’t mean anything if they are not being used to help you share the gospel with the kids who attend your programs. The gospel is key; it’s central to everything we do in children’s ministry. Are you regularly sharing the gospel with the kids in your ministry?

Are you making disciples?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

This is what it’s all about: Children’s Ministry is about making disciples. Jesus commands us to make disciples. The true value in children’s ministry is the opportunity it allows us to make disciples of kids. We build relationships, we share the gospel. Why? In order to make disciples. And when children do put their trust in Jesus, we build them up as disciples teaching them how to pray, how to study their Bibles, how to use the gifts God has given them to serve and build up the church.

Are you making disciples in your children’s ministry?

Budget

Whatever your budget is, use it to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Volunteers

However many volunteers you have, make it your goal as a team to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Space

Whether you have a huge amount of space or one small classroom, creatively use the space you have to help you build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

So, is bigger always better? Not necessarily. The focus shouldn’t be on how big your children’s ministry is. The focus should be on making disciples. It doesn’t really matter what size your budget is, what size your space is, or what size your volunteer team is. What matters is whether you are using those things to help you make disciples.

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Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing – Duck, Duck, Goose (plus an awesome outdoor variation!)

This game is fun and a great mix of quiet and active!

This game can be played inside or outside. It requires little or no equipment.

Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing

Duck, Duck, Goose is a well-known game that kids love! It is simple and lots of fun! The object of the game is for two players to run around the circle in opposite directions trying to reach the empty space first.

 Here’s how to play:

All players sit in a circle. One player is chosen to start (IT). IT will walk around the outside of the circle touching the head of each seated player as he/she passes. IT has two choices for each head he/she touches. IT can say “duck” in which case the seated player doesn’t move. IT can also say “goose” in which case the seated player gets up and starts running around the circle. IT starts running around the circle in the opposite direction. Whoever gets to the empty space first wins the round. The player who didn’t get there first becomes IT and play resumes.

 Variation – Drip, Drip, Squeeze

This variation is great for summertime play. It is best played outdoors.

Equipment needed:

  • Ice cream bucket
  • Sponge
  • Water source

In this variation, players immerse a sponge in water and let drops of water fall on the heads of the players seated in the circle. When the sponge is squeezed over the head of a player, the two run around in the circle in opposite directions trying to reach the empty space first. In this version, the player says, “Drip, drip, squeeze” rather than, “duck, duck, goose.”

This game is best played when everyone is already wearing bathing suits or has a change of clothing. Always let kids know ahead of time as some children don’t like to get wet.

 Reasons Why I Love this Game:

  1.  All children play at the same time. No one is left out. This is not an elimination game.
  2. It is easy to learn and simple to play.
  3. It is easy to include new players into the game, even in the middle of the game.
  4. It is extremely versatile – it can be played almost anywhere, requires little or no equipment, and can be played with almost any number of children.
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