PICTURE DAY - New Babies

New parents are thrilled when people show an interest in their baby.

Capitalize on this by taking a picture of each new baby in the nursery.

Give the picture to the parents in an envelope with a note: "It was a pleasure to have your baby in our nursery. Do hurry back to worship with us again soon. We provide nursery facilities for infants and children up to three years of age during all our services. We invite you to leave your children with us."


During Sunday School, have all the children create appreciation cards for their minister. After The morning worship service, boys and girls, their parents, children's leaders, and the pastor can meet together for a potluck lunch. The various classes can share bible verses and songs they have learned.

The children present the pastor their cards and then he speaks briefly in closing.


Encourage the boys and girls to invite their grandparent's to attend Sunday school with them.

Prizes can be presented to the oldest grandparent; youngest grandparent; grandparent traveling the most miles to be present; and grandparent with most grand-children present.

The children could do a pictorial interpretation of "Grandparents" on overhead transparencies to be shown with background music on this special Sunday. Perhaps some of the grandparents and grandchildren could present special music. A grandparent with an interesting life story could be invited to speak.

DO YOU KNOW JESUS? - Salvation Emphasis

Children's leaders have a great opportunity to teach children about Jesus and His love. Special days should be planned when the plan of salvation is presented to boys and girls.

All boys and girls who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior should be given a Bible and a listing of verses to read daily, such as: Hebrews 11:6, Luke 2:52, John 14:26, Psalm 119:11, Genesis 1:27, Acts 1:11, John 3:16-17, Romans 3:23; Psalm 27:14, Matthew 28:19-20, Psalm 1, Matthew 7:7, Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 5:44-45, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 5:16, 1 John 5:7, John 14:6, 1Peter 1:15-16, John 14:1-3, Romans 5:8, Exodus 20:3-17, Mark 12:29-31, Psalm 23, Matthew 5:3-12, Psalm 103:1-2, 1 John 3:1, and Psalm 100.

B-O-O-M DAY : Bring One Or More

Challenge each student in your children's division to bring one or more friends on the designated Sunday. Plan a program with a top-quality feature such as a chalk artist, ventriloquist, puppet show, musical group or outstanding children's speaker. A prize may be given to all boys and girls who bring one or more with them to Sunday School.

BALLON BURST DAY - Attendance Booster

Select inexpensive prizes and write the name of each on small pieces of paper. Fold the paper and insert into the balloons. Blow up the balloons and tie strings on the ends. Use a permanent felt-tip marker to write a number on each. Fasten the balloons securely to a bulletin board.

All boys and girls who attend on "Balloon Burst" day receive a number. Each child pops his respective balloon with a hat pin and claims the prize.

QUICK START DRAMA FOR KIDS by Debbie Salter Goodwin

Don't have a lot of time to rehearse? Try these quick-start techniques using imagination starters, signs, props, hats and a variety of other ideas to immediately engage children in a sketch or interactive story. Help your kids discover the richness of God's word by connecting them to a biblical message through drama. Use the skits to enhance a teaching lesson, let the kids present to other children, or involve children as worship leaders in a worship service. Everyone involved in children's ministry will benefit from this book.

Order HERE.


Making a Lasting Difference in Your Kids' Lives

By Debbie Salter Goodwin

Pray for your children at the beginning of their day.

Pray at the beginning of a project.

Pray at the beginning of a friendship.

Pray at the beginning of a job.

Pray that you, your spouse, your child, or any other friend or family member will give God full freedom to do His best creative work from the very beginning.

Order from Beacon Hill Press.


A young boy lived with his grandfather on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. Often, just to hear the sound of his own voice echoing back to him, he would go outside, cup his hands around his mouth, and shout, "HELLO!" Up from the canyons the reply reverberated, 'HELLO . . . HELLO... hello."

Then he would call out, I LOVE YOU... I LOVE YOU... I love you.

One day the boy seriously misbehaved and his grandfather disciplined him severely. Reacting violently, the child shook his fist and screamed, "I HATE YOU." To his surprise, the rocks and boulders across the mountainside responded in kind: "I HATE YOU . . . I HATE YOU.

And so it is in life. Children echo their parents and teachers.

The strongest element in Christian education is EXAMPLE. Children are led almost irresistibly by the examples they see and experience. You as teachers and educators help to mold children's lives. This is called modeling.

What is modeling? Modeling is an "example for imitation." Like it or not, children play "Follow the Leader."

Teaching is not just a classroom affair that involves instruction. Teaching should be life-sharing interaction.

Teaching is love
Teaching is guidance
Teaching is encouragement
Teaching is modeling an example worth copying.

Children are naturally great imitators. For better or worse, they imitate actions more than words.

If you get frustrated and yell at your kids, "Shut up" -- what are you modeling?

If you gossip about another teacher -- what are you modeling?

Being Christlike is important. The more you as a teacher can reflect Christ in your life, the more likely the children you teach will reflect the Christlike qualities they see in you. Because . . . the strongest element in Christian Education is EXAMPLE!

A BOY AND HIS LUNCH - Interactive Bible Story

John 6: 1-14

Instructions: Every time you hear the word "sleeping", put your hand on your lips and say, "Shhh." Every time you hear "see Jesus" raise both arms upward and yell, "Yeah!" It may be helpful to have another adult lead the class with the sounds.

It was dark outside. The moon and stars were shining. The sun was not yet up.

Everyone was still sleeping.

Daddy was sleeping.

Mother was sleeping.

The boy was sleeping.

Pretty soon mother rolled over. But she did not wake up. She was still sleeping.

Daddy pulled the covers up around his neck. But he did not wake up. He was still sleeping.

The boy had a dream. But he did not wake up. He was still sleeping.

The sun started to shine. Mother got up. But Daddy did not. He was still sleeping.

The boy did not get up. He was still sleeping.

The mother went to the kitchen. She found five small barley loaves of bread and two fish. She put them in a sack. She worked quietly. Everyone was still sleeping.

She went to the boy's room. She gently wakened him and said: "Today, you can go see Jesus!"

The boy quickly jumped out of bed. He wanted to shout, "WOW. I can't wait to see Jesus."

But his daddy was still sleeping.

As the boy dressed, he thought about all the things he had heard about Jesus. Jesus told stories. Jesus healed people who were sick. Jesus raised to life a little girl who had died. Jesus took children in his arms and showed how much He loved them. Today, Jesus was going to be close to where he lived and his mother and daddy said he could go. He dressed hurriedly because he just couldn't wait to see Jesus!

He told his mother good-bye. He headed down the road to where he had heard Jesus would be today. He just couldn't wait to see Jesus!

Pretty soon he saw a large crowd of people. Instead of walking fast, he started to run. He didn't want to miss anything. He just couldn't wait to see Jesus!

All day long, the boy watched as Jesus healed sick people. Pretty soon his tummy started to growl. He was hungry. It was past suppertime. He remembered his mother had packed him lunch and he opened his sack and took out the bread and fish. He was just about ready to take a bite when Andrew, one of Jesus' disciples said to him: "I notice you have a lunch with you. There are 5,000 men here, plus women and children. We have no food for them. Jesus has asked that I bring him your lunch. Is that okay?"

The boy put the five barley loaves and the two fish back into his sack and handed it to Andrew. Andrew took the lunch to Jesus. He opened the lunch and said to Jesus, "All we have are these five small loaves of bread and two fish."

Jesus took the five loaves, looked up into the sky and asked God's blessing on the meal. He broke the loaves apart and gave them to the disciples to feed the people.

Then he took the fish, gave thanks to God, and passed them out to the people. Everyone ate and ate and ate and ate until they were full! When the scraps were picked up, there were 12 baskets of food left over!

The little boy was so excited he had given his lunch to Jesus and had been there to see this
miracle and to see Jesus!


1. When wanting to teach the children the words to a song, a Mr. Echo puppet could be brought out. He sings one line...the pupils echo it.

2. Let children sing through puppets. These could be named Do, Re Mi.

3. Play "Follow the Leader." The leaders sings one line, the children follow.

4. Video the children singing. Play it back and let the children sing along.

5. Song Select - put titles of songs learned in eye-catching container. Children take turns choosing. This helps keep variety in music.

CHILDREN'S MUSIC - Overcoming Problems

Teachers often don't use music in their classes for these reasons:

1. Comfort zone

We often teach what we know. It's easier to teach the songs we know than to try and learn new ones which are now available, with dynamic messages that relate to a child's life.

"I've always done it this way," is always a barrier -- not wanting to try anything new or different.

2. "Can't Sing" syndrome

If you haven't had professional training, we often say "I can't sing." Someone may have made a derogatory remark about your singing sometime in your life and you decided, "I can't sing." You may not be able to sing as well as someone else you know and so you claim, "I can't sing." SO -- you never include singing in what you're trying to do. The bottom line with music for boys and girls is: just have FUN with it! Be creative! Enjoy!

3. Collector skills need to be improved

Constantly be looking for new music and file it.



Hallelujah Kids Choir
Heaven Bound
Joyful Noise
Kid’s Praise
King’s Kids
Minor Miracles
Music Makers

HEBREWS 13:5 - Song

Tune: On Top of Ole' Smokey

Keep your lives free
From the love of money
And be content
With what you have.

GENESIS 1:1 - Song

Tune: Three Blind Mice

In the beginning
In the beginning
God created
God created
The heavens and the earth
The heavens and the earth
Genesis 1:1
Genesis 1:1

EXODUS 20:12 Song -- Honor Your Father and Mother

Tune: Happy Birthday

Honor your father
Honor your mother
Honor your father and mother
Exodus 20:12

PSALM 56:3 SONG -- "When I Am Afraid I Will Trust In You"

Tune: London Bridges Falling Down

When I am afraid
I will trust in You
Trust in You
Trust in You
When I am afraid
I will trust in You
Psalm 56:3

ROMANS 12:9 SONG -- Hate What Is Evil, Cling To What Is Good

Tune: Are You Sleeping?

Hate what is evil, hate what is evil;
Cling to what is good; cling to what is good.
Hate what is evil;
Cling to what is good.
Romans 12:9, Romans 12:9

ELIMINATE HASSLES: Directing Children's Musicals

by Susan Ledsome

1. Children have diverse interests. Therefore, choose a musical with different styles and rhythms. Boys and girls learn what they like at a faster pace. You will also have fewer discipline problems if the children are interested in what they are learning.

2. If you cannot find an appropriate musical, write your own words to familiar tunes. This actually makes memorization easier because the children already know the tune. For example, the following could be sung to the tune of Jingle Bells for a Christmas program:


Dashing through the glow
Of Bethlehem's bright star.
O'er the field we go
Traveling from afar.
We three Wise Men bring
Gifts to the new king.
The Son of God we want to see
And praises to Him sing.

Frankincense, gold and myrrh
Are the gifts we bring.
Herod was beside himself
When we talked about the King.
Frankincense, gold and myrrh
From our native land.
We'll return a different way
And save from Herod's hand.

Copyrighted by Susan Ledsome
(Permission granted to reproduce for local church use only.)

3. Get to know the boys and girls before casting so matching up parts will be easier.

4. When learning new songs:

a. Play them over and over while the children are playing or working on projects.

b. Say a few phrases at a time and have the children echo the words back to you.

c. Use rhythm instruments.

5. Explain the meaning of the songs. Understanding what the words mean can aid in retention and have a lasting impact on the children.

6. Be sure the children understand what your directives mean.

7. When working with children on their speaking parts, read the lines using expression. This gives the boys and girls an idea of how the parts should be played. Have then imitate you.

8. The key to memorization is repetition. Go over and over the songs.

9. If the song range is too high, lower the whole song or change a few notes.

10. Plan exits and entrances for the younger children. Sometimes a performance is too long for their attention span. Make sure movement flows with what is happening. Bring everyone back on stage for the last song.

11. Costumes can be handmade or purchased from yard sales, catalogs or after-Halloween sales. Sweatsuits can be inexpensively purchased and easily decorated to represent animals.

12. At the first practice on stage, work with the sound technician to ensure microphones are placed where maximum benefit can be reached.

13. Bulletins enable the audience to follow the program's progression and become a memento for parents and children. Include the songs, soloists, and every child's name.

ELIMINATE HASSLES: Directing Children's Drama

1. Plan ahead.

2. Plan ahead.

3. Plan ahead.

4. Determine what you want to accomplish through your program. Write down your goals and purpose.

5. Obtain ideas from other children's ministry directors. Be on the lookout for new material at Christian bookstores and in catalogs.

6. Select material with a clear, religious message.

7. Watch for limitations such as unavailable talent, elaborate production scenes or large cast.

8. Establish a tentative budget including scripts, wardrobe, properties, and advertising.

9. Discuss your ideas with the appropriate governing body of your church and secure approval.

10. Order books.

11. Request permission from the publisher to videotape at the performance and keep the letter in your file.

12. Highlight stage directions and study carefully. Know which entrance and exit each child will use.

13. Make notations for any props needed.

14. Develop a ground plan which is a skeleton sketch of essential staging props.

15. Chart large movements within each unit of action to form an effective stage picture.

16. Find volunteers to assist with wardrobe, lighting, sound, rehearsals, publicity and video taping the performance.

17. Make a rehearsal schedule and see that all parents receive a copy.

18. Record light cues, and warning cues, in a script for the lighting technician.

19. Develop a rehearsal schedule. Check the church calendar to avoid conflicts.

20. Starting with the lead character in your drama, assign roles. Involve all boys and girls either on stage or as a part of your crews.

21. At the first rehearsal, have the children read their parts. Let them know when you expect their lines to be memorized.

22. Plan well-balanced picture scenes to draw the audience's attention. Keep the middle of the stage from being center stage. Avoid getting children in a straight line. Provide an interesting variety of line and mass.

23. Create a believable presentation by effective pacing. The play does not stop while a child sits down, gets up or walks off stage.

24. Check projection. The audience must hear what the children are saying, as well as see the action.

25. Props should be simple and kept to a minimum. They are necessary only for establishment of time, creating action and reinforcing mood.

26. A children's play can be effective without lighting, but the following basic equipment is helpful to light faces: ellipsoidal spotlight which throws a sharp-edged beam, shaped by moving the shutters; resenel spotlights which provide softer light, controlled by the use of barn door shutter devices; and a dimmer board which is the central control for ten or more lighting instruments.

27. Normally, the center and upstage areas require lights from above the stage. The downstage and forestage areas are illuminated by front-of-house suspended lights. These can either be hung from light trees or wall brackets. Be sure to eliminate shadows.

28. Use colored lights in subtle quantities, diluted with white lights. An untrained eye may not even notice colors, but their presence helps set the mood for each scene. Color is added by the use of gels.

29. Be sure the electrical system is kept at a safe level so currents are not overloaded, thus blowing fuses.

1 JOHN 4:19 -- Song

Tune: (Jacob's Ladder)

We love because
He first loved us.
We love because
He first loved us.
We love because
He first loved us.
1 John 4:19


There Just Isn't Anything. . .Anywhere. . .Above Love

(Source Unknown)

How does it act? This love.

Well, for one thing...

When no-love says, "Look, I've had it with you. You've had plenty of chances."

Love says, "I believe you'll make it. I'll wait." And does. Without making anybody uncomfortable.

When no-loves says, "How would you ever get along without me?"

Love says, "What would I ever do without you?"

When no-loves says, "After me."

Love says, "After you."

When no-love says, "What's in it for me?"

Love says, "I'll be glad to share."

When no-love says, "Get off my back."

Love says, "I'll try to understand."

When no-love says, "Well, I'm not one bit surprised. That's just what I thought."

Love says, "Let's keep hoping."

When no-love says, "I could have told them a long time ago she's no good."

Love says, "I wonder what I would have done under similar circumstances?"

When no-love says, "I quit."

Love says, "Never. Never ever."

And goes right on. Believing the best.

And it doesn't just talk. It acts.


by Betty Robertson and Sharlene Wade

1. Maintains a consistent, daily devotional life. It's so easy as a children's director to get bogged down in busyness and overwhelmed with deadline demands that personal time with God becomes sporadic. By carving out time for solitude, Bible reading, prayer, and soul-searching we can develop an intimacy with God to provide the strength necessary for effective ministry.

2. Lives a godly life of high character. Children don't remember as much of what we teach them as we might like, but they DO remember us! Living a life of godly example emphasizes that life has its ups and downs, but God is consistent, reliable, dependable, and therefore the responses given for joyous and difficult situations are reflective of actions pleasing to God.

3. Collects ideas on a regular basis through book reading, on-line research, and attendance at regional and/or national conferences. These insights will not only keep the children's pastor's ministry fresh, but provide solutions and continued excitement as they are shared among all at of the people working with children.

4. Chooses to care by praying daily for all children at the church and their families; by regular contact with the boys and girls through E-mails, letters, and special birthday recognitions; and by attendance at off-site events in which the kids participate, such as ball games and concerts.

5. Understands and applies the principles of lay involvement including effective recruitment; consistent staff training; and encouragement methods. Develops a viable children's ministry team (coalition, board, etc.) to share the passions for children's ministry.

6. If not endowed with the gift of organization, learns how to become proficient in time management and also in putting order to both structures and programs. Seeks to streamline processes to optimize the hand-son time with children and staff. Prioritizes goals, commitments, and deadlines.

7. Evaluates current ministry approaches continually to determine effectiveness and adapts programming accordingly.

8. Is coachable and develops opportunities to coach others - discipleship. Removes the "mystic"from ministry so that others develop confidence in positively impacting the lives of children for Christ. Understands the value of delegation as not only a time savings, but also an opportunity for others to share in ministry.

9. Seeks to merge/incorporate children's ministry into every ministry of the church versus a minds set of a distinct ministry area, thus providing the church as a whole to embrace the blessing of ministry to and by children.

10. Communicates the passion for children's ministry to the congregation as a whole. Publicizes events to children and adults to increase awareness and to relay the purposes of special programming.

OPERATION T.A.D. - Teacher Appreciation Day

Plan a Teacher Appreciation Day to provide opportunity for students to show appreciation to their teachers. "Top Secret" is the label placed on Operation T.A.D. Send each child a letter the week before this special day, giving these instructions:

Assignment No. 1: Tie this string on your finger so you don't forget that this Sunday is "Teacher Appreciation Day" in the children's division of our Sunday School. (A string is taped to the letter.)

Assignment No. 2: Seal your lips! The Sunday School teachers don't know anything about this special day. So -- shhhh! Let's surprise them! Don't let the secret out!

Assignment No. 3: Write a poem, or a letter, or buy a little gift to show your appreciation for your teacher. Bring it Sunday, hand it to your teacher and tell her thanks for being your Sunday School teacher.

HE'S ALIVE - Free Children's Easter Drama

Matthew 28: 1-10; Mark 16: 1-10; Luke 24: 1-12

Cast: 8 girls; 5 boys (Can combine parts for smaller group.)

At Rise: All girls and boys (except Boy #4) are standing around, talking.

B1: Is it really true?

G2: I don't know but that's what I heard.

G3: It can't be true.

G4: My dad was there.

B2: Really?!

B5: Then it's really true that they killed Jesus?

G4: I was already in bed Friday night, but I heard my dad and mother talking. They crucified Jesus, buried Him in a tomb, and rolled a great, huge stone in front.

G6: Didn't that make you upset, hearing all that?

G4: I was so worried I couldn't sleep.

G5: Why would they kill Jesus, after all the great things He did for people?

B3: Because they didn't understand Him and they were afraid.

G6: I just can't believe that Jesus is dead.

G7: Did you guys know that Jesus brought my 12-year old cousin back to life?

B2: Wow!

B3: You're kidding!

G7: No, I'm not. She had been really sick. My aunt and uncle had the best physicians, but she died. My Uncle Jairus raced from the house one day. Everybody knew where He was going.

G8: To find Jesus?

G7: Yes.

B1: Did your Uncle Jairus find Him?

G7: Yes, and Jesus went to their home. He said, "Get up." And she jumped up and walked around! My aunt and uncle couldn't get over it!

B2: Wow!

B3: He really was the Son of God.

B5: I'm going to miss Him so much!

G1: You knew Jesus?

B5: Yes, I went to hear Him teach one day.

B2: Wow!

B5: Before leaving, Mom fixed me a lunch with five of her homemade barley loaves and two fish. Late afternoon, one of Jesus' disciples noticed I had a lunch with me. He explained to me that all the people were hungry and wanted to know if I would be willing to give my lunch to Jesus.

G2: I heard about that! I didn't know that was you!

G3: I heard about it, too! Jesus took your lunch, gave thanks to God and passed the food out to everyone.

B5: Yeah! Someone said that the approximate count of just the men was 5,000!

B2: Wow!

G5: Was it true there were 12 baskets of food left over?

B5: That's absolutely right!

G8: What a great miracle!

G1: And now He's gone . . .

G2: Forever.


B1: This is the Sabbath. Who in the world would that be?


G3: Well, someone needs to answer the door.

(KNOCK . . . more insistent)

B3: I'll go see who is there. (PRETENDS TO OPEN DOOR)

B4 (ENTERS): He's alive!

B2: What?

B4: He's alive!

B2: Who is alive?


ALL: Jesus?

B4: Yes! The women had gone to the tomb.

G5: What women?

B4: Mary Magdalene, and James' mother Mary, and Salome. The stone had been rolled away!

G8: Rolled away?

B4: And the tomb was empty!

B2: Empty?

B4: And there they saw -

G8: What?

B4: Two men in shining garments! They were angels! And the angels said, "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He is RISEN - just as He said He would. Don't just stand there. Go - tell His disciples."

G1: He's alive!

G1,2: He's alive!

G1,2,B1,2: He's alive!

G1,2,3,4, B1,2,3,4: He's alive!


JESUS IS BORN - Christmas Skit

by Betty Robertson

{Copies of this skit may be made for non-commerical use.}

At Rise: Shepherds are sitting are the fire, warming their hands.

Narrator: The sheep on the fields outside Bethlehem were all tucked in for a good nights sleep. It was dark, but they weren't afraid. They knew their shepherds were watching over them. The fire felt good; the night was chilly.

(Shepherds put hands over their eyes; act scared)

Shepherd # 1: Do you see what I see?

Shepherd # 2: Yes!

Shepherd # 3: Me, too!

Shepherd # 1: I'm scared!

Shepherd # 2: Me, too!

Shepherd # 3: Look at that light in the sky!

Angel: Don't be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight.

Shepherds (in unison)? A BABY?

Angel: Yes, a baby. The most important baby in all the world.

Shepherd # 1: Important baby?

Angel: A very special baby. A Savior. His name is Jesus.

Shepherd # 2: A Savior?

Shepherd # 3: Can this be true?

Angel: It's true. He is in Bethlehem, right this very minute. He's in a stable -all wrapped up and tucked in - lying in a manger.

Shepherd # 1: Do you see what I see?

Shepherd # 2: Yes!

Shepherd # 3: The sky is full of angels!

Shepherd # 1: Do you hear what I hear?

Shepherd # 2: Yes!

Shepherd # 3: The angels are all praising God!

Shepherd #1: "Glory to God in the highest...

Shepherd # 2: "...and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Shepherd # 3: I've never heard anything so wonderful!

(Shepherds fall on their knees to the ground in worship)

Narrator: The angels in the sky disappeared. The light disappeared. It was dark again.

Shepherd # 1: I wonder if it's true?

Shepherd # 2: It MUST be true! An angel told us!

Shepherd # 3: There's only one way to be sure. We must go to Bethlehem and find out.

(Shepherds cross stage to "Bethlehem" and kneel at a manger.)


by Debra Baker

When people register, and EVERYONE should register, we give them 10 free tickets. Each game takes 1 ticket. If they want more, then we charge $1 for 10 more. The registration form I made up on my computer, 4 on a sheet, asks for name, address, phone, and birthday or grade.

Besides carnival games, we also have a chili and brownie bake-off. One ticket is needed to taste and vote. The winners get silly prizes.

We ask area businesses to donate door prizes. Periodically through the evening we draw out a name from the registration papers, announce the name, and the winner gets to choose which prize they wanted. We send out thank you letters to the businesses and have signs up at the party that list all the businesses who donated. We also mention them in our church newsletter.

Some possible games are: guess the weight of the giant pumpkin; ring toss onto soda cans; fishing game; and cake walk.

We also have displays in the fellowship hall of all the ministries of our church. Posters and pictures, as well as brochures of what happens at the church will let new people get an idea of what your church is all about.


A complete program to help you plan and organize a fall back-to-school celebration with food and Fellowship ... or a Halloween alternative with game booths ... or a Thanksgiving program with crafts and devotions ... or all three! This is an inter-generational program your entire church family will want to attend. Families, singles, and seniors can enjoy this joyful celebration of games, crafts, and worship. It's also a great opportunity for evangelistic outreach to your community and for members to invite friends and neighborhood families to your church.


An event for all the children of the church, their families, friends, and neighbors. Amusements Can often be rented from local companies, such as giant slides, obstacle course, moon walk, and dunk tank. Other fun events can be planned, such as pumpkin seed spitting contest; shoot the pumpkin (with bow and arrow); and various skill booths. Include Christian entertainment, food, and lots of fun!


Day camping involves a planned program of experiences for children in an out-of-doors setting during the day. It can be conducted at the church, making use of the parking lot and other available nearby space; at a local park; at a nearby state park or resort area; or anywhere that camp-like activities can be conducted.

The director has overall responsibility for the camp. Duties include: (1) stating the basic objectives of the camp; (2) deciding on the location of a campsite and becoming familiar with this area; (3)outlining a suggested schedule of activities; (4) reading the curriculum materials which are used; (5) organizing the publicity; and (6) correlating the day-camp activities with the total Christian education program of the local church.

VBS Day Camp is an open-ended program, offering many of the opportunities of resident camping (nature study, recreation, crafts, outdoor education, and fellowship) without the extended absence from home.

Program activities include:

Bible Adventure Time: Usually the regular VBS curriculum materials are used. The counselors are responsible for telling the Bible story each day, making maximum use of visual aids. They help the campers learn the suggested Bible memory verses and carry through on other activities as suggested in the teacher's manual. Classes are informal and are held outdoors to make it more like "camp."

Worship: The program should include both planned times of worship and spontaneous worship. (The outdoor setting will prompt the latter.) Counselors who are alert will find many times when campers can be led into a genuine experience of recognizing the presence of God.

Singing: Appropriate songs help lead into a worship experience. Singing also helps to bind the campers into a whole unit.

Games and Recreation: These should be well-planned, have a definite purpose, and be supervised carefully.

Crafts: Materials found in an outdoor environment should compose the basis for the craft activities. Possible projects are making a nature collage, a terrarium, spatter leaf-prints, nature boxes, and seed pictures.

Outdoor Fun: Various activities centering around nature study give the campers opportunity to use their God-given senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling. Examples are: following nature trails, flying kites, studying the growth of trees, taking discovery hikes, bird watching, plant observation, and so on.

Field Trips: Opportunities in a local area might include trips to a museum, art gallery, planetarium, newspaper office, zoo, or manufacturing plant.

Special Feature Time: The creativity of the director and counselors may be given full use here. Some ideas which have been used successfully are: Hat Day (everyone wears a hat, and the hats are judged in such categories as funniest, most original, ugliest, prettiest, and campers' choice); Peanut Hunt (some peanuts are marked with numbers; when time is up - teams count the number of peanuts found and get a bonus for the specially numbered ones); Treasure Chest Day (everyone receives a free gift); videos; and lunch hike.

Lunch: Each camper brings a sack lunch. Drinks are provided.

Group vs. Activity Organization - Most day camps are organized for programming either according to age-grade groups or according to activities.

Group Organization - Major part of program handled by regular counselors:

1. Since the counselors are constantly with the same children, they become well-acquainted with individual problems and habits of each camper.

2. Tends to develop well-rounded counselors.

3. Group sizes can vary.

4. Allows a camp to handle a much larger enrollment of children.

5. Easier to set up and administer. Movement to and from each area, supervision during every part of the camp day, and the bulk of the activities are all handled by the person running a group.

Organization By Activities - Children move from place to place and counselors remain at a specific area as specialists:

1. Counselors work in activities for which they are particularly well-qualified and which they enjoy.

2. The children are exposed to many talented teachers, rather than just the one who heads their group.

3. Limits enrollment, as no group can be any larger than can be comfortably accommodated in the smallest specialty area.

Combinations and variations of these two types of programs are most practical!


Conduct VBS for 5 weeks during the summer on Sundays, combining Sunday School and morning worship. Encourage church members to bring neighborhood children. Besides the regular program, add videos or special speakers. Option: Give your regular Sunday School teachers a break by recruiting a "Super Summer Spectacular" staff.


All age groups meet on Saturday for a 5-10 week period, using VBS curriculum.


Plan a series of 5 field trips to places of interest in your area. Take along a special guest for each day to give the devotional. Work on Bible memory verses as you travel to the places of interest, and have your music time in transit, too. Concentrate on kids bringing friends and making new contacts for your church.


Students rotate to teaching teams, who present the same Bible story to 5 different groups in 5 separate sessions. Activities vary by age group. Adult or youth guides accompany students to each team’s area. If you have large numbers of children, you may need multiple teaching teams for each lesson. Preschoolers have separate classes. Specialty teachers may lead select activities. Key benefits to this option include: learning activities which are age-appropriate; teachers learn and prepare less content since they focus on one story, instead of five; fewer teachers may be needed; students meet and get to know many different adults and youth; specialty teachers can lessen the workload. Many VBS curriculums now provided needed resources for implementing site rotation.


A Neighborhood Bible Club can be an intensive children's outreach ministry for churches. It is similar to Vacation Bible School; however, instead of meeting in a church building, it takes the Gospel to where the children live, right into their neighborhood.

NBC is composed of a teacher, a host, and a prayer warrior, along with neighborhood children. This 5-day summer ministry meets Monday to Friday for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

A clear Gospel message is presented at each meeting, along with a Bible lesson, upbeat musical memory verses with hand motions, a review game, a hands-on craft activity that the children take home each day and outdoor games. NBC is true outreach because it takes the Gospel to where the children live; right into their own neighborhood. Truth is presented simply and clearly, not assuming that its hearers have Bible knowledge.

TEACHER TRAINING - Mary Rice Hopkins & Darcie Maze

Mary Rice Hopkins and Darcie Maze combine music and puppetry, two of the most powerful teaching tools for communicating the gospel to our world, to inspire and equip teachers to effectively convey the good news of God’s love to His children. With over 30 years experience in their gifts of music and puppetry, they come with proven and effective tools that work in children’s ministries.

Their passion for teaching and heart for ministry, combined with their enthusiasm and contagious excitement, create a unique team that is motivating teachers at national conferences and church assemblies. At the center of Mary’s and Darcie’s teaching is a love for the Lord and a desire to see teachers effectively communicate and share His love with others. Fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples, this dynamic duo is teaching and equipping thousands to “walk like Jesus.”

Brenda Carpenter, an elementary school teacher at Liberty Christian School in Richland, Washington, shares how Mary’s seminars motivated and challenged her as a teacher. “After attending one of Mary’s teaching seminars,” she said, “I left challenged and excited about the new tools I had acquired to communicate and effectively teach. I discovered that music was a highly motivational technique to teach the truths found in God’s Word. Mary inspired me to incorporate this musical gift in all my lessons, and I’ve found it extremely effective. When children leave the classroom with a song in their hearts, and teachers are singing the songs long after the class is over, I witness God’s Word taking root in our lives.”

Darcie Maze is also touching hearts and encouraging teachers with her unique gift of puppetry. Jo Ann Clark, Director of Children’s Ministries, Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church of Burbank, reflecting on a training event with Darcie, said, “Darcie came to help us with our Emmanuel Puppet Team training. She came with lots of puppets, ideas, methods and helps. Some of the visitors were so excited that they decided to join the team that night. Several on the team shared that they learned more than just puppet techniques. They heard God speak though Darcie correcting their attitudes and revitalizing their purpose in ministry. We were blessed with even more than the practical and helpful ideas in ministry.”

Whether a new teacher just beginning in ministry or a seasoned teacher with years of experience, Mary and Darcie will challenge, motivate, inspire and revitalize their purpose in ministry.

If you would like to schedule them for a one-day event: 540-366-7989


SEMINAR TOPICS by Mary Rice Hopkins and Darcie Maze


Chocolate meets Peanut Butter!! (Combining music and puppetry)
Music and puppetry are two of the most powerful teaching tools for communicating the gospel to His little ones. You will learn how to share the gospel, teach Bible stories and have fun at the same time. You can combine a song and simple story that will last a lifetime. You might think you are non-musical and have no acting abilities. That's OK! We are here to give you tools to share and teach the way that Jesus taught.


Training Wheels

Tools, ideas, songs, and stories that not only encourage but also provide ways they can make a lasting impact on each child.

Teach them, Reward them, Affirm their differences, Include them, Nurture them as the Bible says “T.R.A.I.N. our children in the way they should go.”


Need a New GPS?

It's time for a GOD POSITIONING SYSTEM! Need a new GPS in your children's ministry? Need a new and exciting direction to navigate you through the tough areas of ministry? Using proven teaching techniques, quality music, and object lessons with direction, you will be equipped and encouraged to further the gospel with unique and creative teaching ideas.


Do Not Fear, Sing Through the Year and You’ll Get VOLUNTEERS!!

Have you ever said, “I need a great song to bring volunteers to help in our classrooms?” Music with a great object lesson is a powerful tool for stirring the heart to help and to demonstrate how children are capable of worship and focus. Have you ever said, “What music will fit best with our daily lesson?” Around every corner there is an event or club to prepare for with a different season and emphasis, whether it is Easter or Christmas or Mother’s Day. Why not reinforce the time of year with Biblically-based songs and lessons? We’ll help you prepare with simple songs, motions, and ideas that are sure to impact your programs and lessons with fun, laughter, and worship. We will provide you with hands-on tools and ideas to help eliminate your stress!


Positive Discipline for Children

Do you often feel more like a drill sergeant than a parent or teacher? You are not alone! Without proper management of discipline problems, utter chaos can break out in a matter of seconds. Learn to provide boundaries with dignity so that both you and the child can make the most of your time together.


The ABCs of Praise

So many ways to praise You Lord, I don't know where to start. But with these ABCs of praise, I can express my heart…from A-Z! Are you having trouble getting your kids to sing? Are you looking for ways to include the little ones? Are you in need of new object lessons to reinforce your main point or Bible story? Do you want to incorporate music into your lesson theme? With simple hand motions, performance ideas, and more, you can be musical EVEN if you are not musical. You don’t have to be a singer to attend; however, knowing how to operate a CD/Cassette player will help!


Minister to the Spanish Speaking World with Music and Motion

Learn how to minister to the Spanish speaking world. Using 12 of Mary’s much-loved songs, you’ll learn how to imprint God’s message of love on children’s hearts and teach them how to “Caminare´ Como Cristo (Walk Like Jesus). You’ll learn hand-motions that will make learning the songs fun and memorable, explore exciting ways to use the songs in the classroom, and discover a great language-teaching tool. Songs recorded on Canciones para Toda la Familia will be taught that are recorded in both Spanish and English. This will truly be a fun and unique seminar for all.


Sharable Parables: Every Important Lesson, I learned from the Parables

Jesus was the best storyteller of all. Learn how to incorporate these important stories through music and activities and fun hand motions into your lessons. Teach children about forgiveness through the Prodigal Son, being a giver vs. greediness from the rich young fool, being a Good Samaritan, how to use what God has given you from the talents. These are incredible ways to remember and sing the lesson way beyond the classroom.


Music in Motion…Singing Through the Bible from Creation to Parables

Why not have your children singing through the Bible as they leave the classroom? Simple ideas, tools, fun hand motions make this teaching time a great way to recharge any children’s ministry.



With use of creative teaching tools such as food, games, songs, and puppets, this seminar goes to the hard places where children's hearts have been hurt.


Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear ME NOW?

Just like the cellular commercial, this class will teach you how to filter through the static of today’s world by using creative teaching tools such as food, toys, household objects, popular videos, games, songs, illusions and puppets, to help you teach the Word of God.


Practical Problem-Free Puppetry

Can you believe it? Using a simple puppet can be intimidating! But the second leading tool of ministry to children does not have to be the least used. Do you need an assistant in the classroom? Do you know that a puppet can do everything but grade papers? This class will show you how to create simple hand puppets, how to work without a stage, and how to increase the excitement level of reading time.


"Got Volunteers?”

Just when you and your co-workers are wondering if you are making any progress, that’s the time to “dig in” and realize that the battle is the Lord’s. “Got Volunteers?” reveals the keys to finding and keeping volunteers by helping them find a renewed vision and strength. This class may also help you renew your courage and restore your vision. You will learn: How to recruit and keep volunteers, ways to continue making progress, ways to help restore hope and courage by discovering the value within each other, and, when changes occur, how to avoid the feeling of discomfort and feeling paralyzed.



Mary Rice Hopkins, Recording Artist, Author and Speaker

Celebrating 30 years in family music ministry, the unique songs of recording artist Mary Rice Hopkins have captured the hearts of children and grown-ups alike. Mary is also known for keynote speaking and leading worship at events such as MOPS, Moms in Touch Int’l, Women’s Retreats, ACSI, CPC, and more. You've heard her works with Group Publishing, Cook Ministries, Crossway Books, Harvest Crusades, Time Life’s Praise & Worship Series, and Maranatha! Music.

Darcie Maze, Puppeteer & Teacher-Trainer

Darcie has been in children’s ministry for over 30 years. She creates and designs puppets, conducts teacher training workshops and seminars nationally, crossing many denominational lines. She studied Child Evangelism at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, and Life Bible College in Los Angeles and is an ordained minister. Her vision is to train teachers for children’s ministry and to supply puppets and resources.


Schedule one month for preschool and kindergarten children; another for primary and middler; and the final time slot for junior and teens.

This alternative plan works great for churches short on space and staff.


This program runs for 2 hours with a 15 minute combined opening and a 15 minute closing.

Children rotate to 3 modules: (l) Bible Adventure - Bible story/study and life application; (2) Singing and Memory Fun - teach songs and verses to groups by age; and (3) Special Features - beach ball, volleyball, relays, films, videos, crazy contests.

Preschool children follow a traditional VBS scheduling.


An incredible week in the summer designed especially for children, Kindergarten to
6th grade, to experience the truths of God's Word in a unique and fun atmosphere.

The week is filled with Bible stories, dramatic adventures, crafts, games, snacks, and more.

VBS - Attendance Boosters

Balloon Burst

Write names of prizes on paper, fold, and insert into balloons. Blow up the balloons, tie a string on the end, fasten to a long string stretched across the room. All who qualify can break the balloon of their choice with a hat pin, and receive the prize listed inside.

Battle of the Sexes

Have the boys and girls compete against each other. Award 500 points for attendance and 1,000 points for each new visitor brought.

Gift Pyramid

Businesses in the community will often donate items for you to use as prizes. Be sure there is an extensive display of prizes, so numerous children can receive something. The person who brings the most friends may choose first what they want. The next runner-up may then choose. This way, a child can select a gift they will really enjoy and use.

Millionaire Acres

Print play money in $10 denominations. In the center of each piece write, "This is valuable to you! You may spend it at Millionaire Acres the last day of VBS." Award the money daily for attendance and visitors brought. Set up a bank where children may turn in their money and accurate records are kept. Organize Millionaire Acres with gifts containing price tags. Each child may withdraw his money the final day of VBS and "shop" for items at Millionaire Acres.

Mystery Names

Daily select "Mystery Names" from the VBS enrollment. Each child who is present receives a small gift.


On the Saturday after VBS, you can have a "Fun Fest" and invite the parents. During the week, the children attending Vacation Bible School are awarded tickets for attendance and bringing friends which they can spend at the fair. Adult Sunday School classes can sponsor booths.


Boys and girls love to receive trophies. Award trophies to all who bring 3 friends to VBS who have never attended before.


I believe the one common denominator of creativity is this: We are most creative when we put ALL of ourselves into the effort.

The key word in that sentence should be spelled ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL !

That little, tiny 3-letter word has a 3-inch definition in my Webster dictionary, including:
the whole of
one's whole interest, energy
in spite of circumstances

We are most creative when we put ourselves WHOLLY - our whole energy - our whole interest into the effort.

We are most creative when we put EVERYTHING into the effort.

Are you a Sunday School teacher?

Are you putting your ALLLLLLLL into your prayer, your preparation, your presentations?

Are you a children's ministry leader?

Are you putting your ALLLLLLLLLL into your efforts?

Are you a mid-week helper?

Are you putting your ALLLLLLLLLLLL into your responsiblity so you'll make a lasting difference in the lives of boys and girls?

WRITING TIPS - Submit Your Ministry Ideas

If you have been in children's ministry for years, you probably have lots of ideas which you have tried successfully.

Why not share them with others?

Here's how:

1. Study Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide, which covers everything you need to know about locating markets and submitting your manuscript. This resource may be ordered from Sally's web site: http://www.stuartmarket.com/

2. Request writer's guidelines from publishers in your interest areas.

3. Send for sample magazine copies and file writer's guidelines with them. Peruse the magazines to learn all you can about slant, audience, doctrine, and types of material used.

4. Compile a target list of potential markets.

5. Carefully edit your material.

6. Editors look for the following:

* Main idea stated clearly so readers recognize significance of the article

* Stories, anecdotes, examples and figures to support the major proposition

* Logical, point-by-point case with transitions

* Avoidance of technical jargon and professional academic language

* Fresh, creative ideas with new insights or wisdom

* Relating to real problems and needs

* Applications of Christian values and principles

* Introductory paragraph which holds attention

* Ending which summarizes and provokes thought

* Adherence to word limits

* Vulnerability - showing you have wrestled with the subject matter in your own life

* Realistic, positive and practical tone

7. Use one-inch margins on all sides of your manuscript.

8. In the upper left corner, type your name, address, phone number, and social security number.

9. Purchase rights, and the word count, go in the upper right corner.

All Rights - publication is buying all publication rights to the material

First Rights - publication is buying the right to be the first to publish a specific piece of writing

Reprint Rights - offers a periodical the opportunity to use something that has appeared in print elsewhere. (If you submit a reprint, indicate where it was previously published.)

One Time Rights - selling the right to publish the material one time to any number
of periodicals which do not have overlapping readership.

10. If a Simultaneous Submission (same piece of writing offered to multiple markets which
do not have overlapping circulation and are not of the same church denomination) is being offered, type this under the rights.

11. Halfway down the page, center your title in all caps.

12. Drop four lines and center your byline in upper/lower case letters.

13. Drop down six lines and begin your lead sentence.

14. Double-space, using only one side of the paper.

15. On the tops of consecutive pages, type the page number, your last name and the title.

16. Keep a copy of your manuscript.

17. Enclose a SASE (Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope) with correct postage.

18. Don't stuff an envelope.

* Manuscripts less than 6 pages should be folded like a business letter and mailed
in a #10 envelope.

* Manuscripts 7-10 pages may be folded in the middle and mailed in a 6x9 envelope.

* Manuscripts more than 10 pages should be sent flat in a 9x12 envelope.

19. Keep in touch with your manuscripts. If your material has been out with no response for
longer than the holding time listed in the market guide, write a status inquiry.

20. Four or five rejections probably means:

* Your piece needs revision

* It has been sent to the wrong markets

* The timing is not right

21. Keep accurate records:

* Title of manuscript

* Name of periodical

* Date sent

* Response (accepted/rejected)

* Date of publication

* Tear sheet received

* Amount paid


When you constantly ask me what I want,
I learn that holidays are for getting.
When you tell me I'd better be good,
I learn that holidays are conditional.
When you break your promises,
I learn that holidays are disappointment.
When you are short-tempered and make idle threats,
I learn that holidays are unpredictable.
When you hit and scream,
I learn that holidays are scary.
When you are mean and lose control,
I learn that holidays are disaster.
When you eat too much,
I learn that holidays are indulgence.
When you hurry around, get up early, and stay up late,
I learn that holidays are busy.
When you do things for other people and help me do the same,
I learn that holidays are for sharing.
When you buy and make gifts for others,
I learn that holidays are giving.
When you hum to yourself and smile at strangers,
I learn that holidays are peace.
When you stop in your busy day
and spend time with me,
I learn that holidays are love.

(Source Unknown)