So last time I talked a little on what our regular take home activities look like. What we send home is so important, and for me integral to our ministry. Parents can be flustered by the many options and available and so if we send home high-quality resources and show them how to use them we are on to something good!
But. Do they even make it out of the building or is your magnificent take home a paper airplane on the floor somewhere in the building? I want to share a few things I’ve done that I believe are helping us to tackle that problem.
The first thing I want to share follows a similar principal to what you likely do with your church notices – share it in as many ways as possible. For a while, I would upload a copy of our take homes to our kids Facebook page, but as brilliant as I believe that is the viewership just isn’t there. So, be tactful.
Most churches use some sort of fancy church management software and have electronic check-in procedures. This gives us a great, easy opportunity. I am able to, in relatively no time at all run a report of all kids who attended on Sundays say within the last three months. I then add both of their parents to a mailing list. Easy. Even if the family visited us one time, I’ll add them. It shows we are interested in them and their children. That we value them. And, if they want to opt out there is a very clear unsubscribe option at the bottom of each email. So, after our Sunday sessions I type up an email with a review of what the kids explored on Sunday, some ideas for families to discuss, any relevant notices/resources and attach a scanned copy of the take home activity page. So their kid may have lost it, they may have been out of town that week or they may not have been to church in several months – they all get what we want them to, a high-quality family devotion.
I set up the exact same thing for my midweek activities with the review questions the kids discussed in class and a link to the YouTube review video. Our system shows us who didn’t receive an email because it bounced back or we don’t have their address, so I can ask them for it and update our records easily to ensure everybody receives they emails!
Granted, this may take more work if your system isn’t as high-tec. But it’s worth it. I also must confess I realized in writing this post on a Tuesday I had forgotten to send out my email yesterday to recap Sunday, but was able to rectify my error in a matter of minutes!
A second idea I had was actually based on a display I had in my high school math classroom while teaching in England. A colleague of mine had a beautiful display with homework sheets pinned to the wall for kids to grab if they missed school. My sister helped me create my own display to resemble clipboards in an attempt to make things more accessible. Fast forward a year, and the idea hit me that I should be doing that for my ministry – thus the nbc kidz @ home wall was established!
Each week’s take home is hole punched and hung on a picture hook above it’s description. Parents whose kids missed a week can easily grab one. Parents whose kids don;t come midweek can easily take a copy. Parents who just want a good devotion activity have access to one. There has been a genuine buzz about this and every Sunday I see families checking it out and taking something.
We have to be creative and relentless in our pursuits of winning kids for the Kingdom. Please let me know of any other ideas you have for getting take home activities into the home, I’d love to hear them!
That’s ministry, to-go style!
– Jared Simpson