Tag Archives: Outreach

5 Tips to Host a Easter Egg Hunt on a Small Budget

Rent a helicopter.  Get the real Easter Bunny to attend.  DC Talk reunion tour concert to open the festivities.  What happens if you don’t have a large budget for your Easter Egg Hunt?  No problem.  There are ways to still host a fun event for your community.

If you are looking for tips on how to host an Easter Egg Hunt – check out my previous posts here and here.

But if you are looking to host an Easter Egg Hunt on a low-budget.  Here’s some tips you need remember:

Get the Church to Help.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, this keeps the budget low when the church donates towards the cause.  Eggs, candy, bottled water…and even cash donations go a long way to keep costs down.  In past egg-fills, we might make a quick run to the dollar store for more eggs or candy, but for the most part we have enough filled eggs for the event.

Egg Return.  Make provisions to have a place where eggs can be returned.  This will save you next year when you ask for more donations.  You will already have a nest egg (pun intended) for your event the following year.

Free.  When you have an event that is free, the expectations are not nearly as high.  When people pay for an event, they desire something in return for their payment.  Keeping it free is not only good practice as a church, but also will allow for a good spirit among those that attend.

Limited but Effective Activities.  Each year we evaluate what activities are worth keeping for the following year.  The majority of our small budget is placed into bounce houses.  These are something every kid loves and are worth the money.  Other activities like crafts, face painting, and prayer table are low-budget activities.

Keep Program Simple.  Each year we make sure to share the Gospel at our event.  It’s not a bait and switch, because it is advertised as people come to the registration table.  But let’s be honest, hundreds of people (especially kids) anxiously waiting for the Easter Egg Hunt are not going to be held at bay for very long.  So the puppet show, video, or speaker should not be much longer than 15 minutes.  That’s all the attention span you got, so use it wisely.

Hope these tips are helpful for your Easter Egg Hunt.  Feel free to comment on how you accomplish your Easter activities. 

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The Value of Vacation Bible School

It’s that time of year where Vacation Bible School is in full swing.  Maybe your church is thinking about hosting one…or you just need some encouragement to pull through another year.  Here is are some values that Vacation Bible School (VBS) can bring to your ministry…

Team Effort. Vacation Bible School is a total team effort, especially if you are in a smaller church. All of sudden, when you place that banner in your front lawn and offer 2-3 hours of child care, snacks, & fun for children…they will come. And BOOM, the children you have there is 3, 4, 5 times the size of your normal Sunday of children. You know what this means…all hands on deck. You need class leaders, teachers, snack-makers, decoration help…and the list goes on. It is a team effort by your church.

Community-Driven. Open up those doors for kids to come in. Provide ways to help parents, like providing meals for families prior or after VBS. Promote the event in your local newspaper and with banners and on your church sign. Be clear that the event is free and for the community. Let your community know this is not an exclusive club, but a week-long event for our neighbors kids to have fun and learn about Jesus.5258580_orig

Kids Meet Jesus. Speaking of Jesus, don’t weaken the sauce during this week. Make sure you have a dedicated Bible teaching time for the kids. Snacks, games, and crafts are all dynamite ideas, but do not neglect the Bible study and teaching. Build up to this…provide experienced teachers…give the teachers all the materials early for proper study time. Make this a priority, and tell your volunteers to make sure this time is focused and special.

Baby Steps. VBS is a great opportunity for new members or new teenagers to gain ministry experience before your school year schedule ramps up. Rather than put someone’s name down for a year of serving in children’s ministry, this could be an opportunity for a new person to see where they fit, their gift set, and if children’s ministry may be a place they can serve. (*Make sure to do background checks for your incoming children workers).

Fun. VBS should be synonymous with fun. Bring up the energy. Get your church excited about this week with early promotion and hype. Seeing kids sing and learn about Jesus…doesn’t get much better than that. Your joy and fun levels should be at an all-time high!

 

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Community Event Idea: A Free Garage Sale?

Poster

Idea: A Garage Sale Giveaway or Free Garage Sale is pretty self-explanatory. Essentially, you have a garage sale or rummage sale at your church. However, the big difference is that EVERYTHING IS FREE. The goal is to show your community you care about them as Christ cares for them, and provide a way for your church to demonstrate that love.

Rules: No donations can be taken at any time. Keep this as a strict policy. If someone presses, invite them to come on Sunday morning and drop the money in the offering as worship, not as part of this sale. Second, use tickets or set a limit of items people can take in the beginning of the event. This will hopefully prevent those that are just there to take a truckload to their own garage sale (yes, this did happen in one of our past events).

Donations: People have stuff! Believe me, people will gladly give you things lying around. Opening it up to your church family to bring in their “stuff”, if you give them 2-3 months to prepare, it will come!

Organization: Have a drop off location (ours was our garage), and make this clear. Be clear in setting a drop off date. Formulate a team of volunteers to take a week to organize the donations into categories like clothes, housewares, books, etc.

Promotion: Keep this in front of your church in announcement and bulletin information.  Place an ad in your city newsletter. Put a large banner/sign in front of your church 1-2 weeks prior to the event. Provide flyers for your church family to invite others. Put an event on the app called Nextdoor.

Evangelism: Train your volunteers to respond to the “Why are you doing this?” question. Give them tips to answer that question with “Because we love our community/neighbors” and “Because Jesus gave us forgiveness/salvation for free, so we want to follow his example and give you something for free”.

Opportunity to De-Clutter: Use this event as an opportunity to de-clutter your church. Because ministry leaders will be more willing to depart with materials if they know it is going to help their community.

Important Details: Remember to call Salvation Army (or other thrift store organization) for pick up of leftover materials. Don’t forget this! Make sure to have parking lot & security available. Registration table – give information about church and place to sign up with name/address for future mailer. Volunteers needed for loading of cars and for friendly interaction with crowd.

 

I hope this provides your church a way to love your community. It is hard work, but in the end, it was worth showing others the love of Christ.

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6 Tips for a Successful Easter Egg Hunt

Last year, I wrote how to plan an Easter Egg Hunt for the community.  This time, I’d like to follow-up with six quick tips to help you have a successful hunt.  Feel free to comment with ideas you have…Easter_0000_Egg-hunt

Gospel-Driven. I put this first for a reason. I believe these events can be an opportunity for Jesus to be shared. I’m not suggesting a 4 act play on the story of Easter, but a simple object lesson that would be enjoyable for the kids and their parents.

Church Effort. Listen, the idea of a community Easter egg hunt seems pretty overwhelming to do by yourself…so don’t. Allow it to be a church effort. Encourage your church each year to donate the candy and eggs.

Sunny Bunny Eggs. Even though we support this event mostly with donations, I would suggest purchasing a base amount from Sunny Bunny Eggs for two reasons. One, it helps ease your mind that at least you will have some eggs if donations go awry. Second, it is a great organization that supports those with mental disabilities.

Divide the Ages. Too often, I see Easter egg hunts that are not divided by age and the older kids run over the little ones, like Bigfoot over cars at a monster truck rally. Splitting up the ages is always appreciated by the parents.

Bounce House. Book it right now. Book two if you can. Trust me on this one.

Teen Leadership Opportunity. Our student leaders plan and administrate this entire event. You heard me. They recruit volunteers, plan the games, contact the bounce house people, and even give the lesson. Never underestimate what teenagers can do for their community for God’s glory.

 

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2014 Year In Review

497606412_640Last year, these were my 2014 ministry goals.  Each year, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in such a wonderful ministry, church, and community.  Here’s how things played out this year, and maybe these ideas will help spark ideas for you new year.

  • “Bible Doing” – Bible Studies are great, but so is “Bible Doing”. During our local mission trip we held a Bible study that put our Bible lessons in action. Grade: A
  • Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This took a great deal of prep work and discipline to sit down and write wedding scripts and funeral scripts even when I didn’t have any weddings or funerals to perform. But God knew…I had the privilege of officiating my first wedding, and had the honor of doing my grandmother’s funeral. Grade: A
  • Music Training Class – This class in still in the planning process. However, God supplied a new student praise band of 6 members.   This student-led band was a huge answer to prayer. Grade: Incomplete
  • Junior High Mission Trip – We held a mission project at the apartments right next door to the church. We helped landscape and clean up areas surrounding the apartments. It was a huge success building relationships with neighbors, and some even visited the church the following Sunday! Grade: A
  • Community Project – This project was combined with the Mission Trip described above. Grade: A
  • Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – This night was a true blessing. Teens asked both informal and in-depth spiritual questions. Examples included questions about dating, afterlife, creation, and much more. Grade: B. Not every student was prepared with a question. I could have done better in allowing to think about questions for a longer period of time than just a few days
  • Sunday School Rehab – High School Sunday School has made some positive changes to teaching structure and discussion. And a Junior High Sunday School started this year!! Grade: A
  • Equip Parents/Families – Spiritual Growth Planning with several families, and expansion of Parent Training in Parent Meetings. Grade: B-. I still need to improve here. The meetings are my strength, but the informal discussions and meeting with parents outside of church walls needs to improve.
  • Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Young at Heart Lunch & Service, Combined Adult/Teen Service Projects. Grade: B+. Always room for improvement here, but was pleased with the progress.
  • Outreach – Easter Egg Hunt, Teen Outreach Events, & Better Visitor Discipleship/Follow-up. Grade: C. Sure there was great outreach with events and those that attend the church, but what about on the school campuses. Please pray I will have more opportunities to go on campus to share Christ.

2014 G.P.A. – 3.38.

Didn’t make the honor roll this year. Still have room for improvement. But I will say this, God truly blessed. I was able to perform a wedding for my sister-in-law, honor my grandmother in her homegoing, be part of two teens accepting Christ, serve alongside teens in numerous service projects in the church and community, and saw some incredible growth in teens and their parents. Thank you Lord for all you did in 2014. To God be the glory.

 

 

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5th Quarter Video Ideas

It’s 5th Quarter season again.  Many of you are gearing up for that 5th Quarter Party, and hoping for a great turnout from the big game.  If you need some help planning, check out this blog post and this one too.  Maybe your speaker cancelled on you, you need a back-up speaker plan, or you simply wanted to show a video this year.  Here are some video ideas that may work:

 

Other Ideas: 

Feel free to comment and leave video ideas that you have used in the past.  Let’s help each other make these 5th Quarter parties a success…which means seeing students meet their Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

 

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Youth Ministry Goals 2014

Here are some specific and practical goals for the coming year that God has placed on my heart.  Looking forward to what God will do with these things…

1.       “Bible Doing” – We know what a Bible Study is, but what about a “Bible Doing”.  It is taking a passage of Scripture and going out and doing it!  (Idea taken from book “Love Does”)

2.       Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This is something that has been on my mental list for some time.  Now it is time to get this together.

3.       Music Training Class – With my guitar player graduating this year, I look at my youth group and see very little musical ability.  Singing maybe, but not instrumental.  Part of my responsibility is to train our young people in ministry…well this may need to start in elementary, so they are ready to play in the praise band in junior high or high school.

4.       Junior High Mission Trip – Local trip where junior high students can participate.  Evaluate whether this can continue from year to year.

5.       Community Project – Connect with neighborhoods and communities, find needs and do what we can as a church to meet those needs.

6.       Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – Provide a night where students can ask those questions on their mind, address doubts, and converse about questions that may not come up in regular discussions.

7.       Sunday School Rehab – Conduct Sunday school in a way that promotes the gifts of the teacher; evaluate forming a junior high Sunday school

8.       Equip Parents/Families – Continue/Broaden Spiritual Growth Planning, Parent Seminar/Meetings, other Parent training opportunities

9.       Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Find ways where generations can minister to each other, promote mentoring/discipleship

10.   Outreach – Continue to improve outreach which includes:  better visitor follow-up, Community Easter Egg Hunt, and promotion of outreach events.2014-goals

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Evangelism & Discipleship – Is it really both?

I love to fish.  For me, the best part is the jolt of the fish attacking the bait and reeling that sucker in to see how big it is…so I can be sure to add a few inches in my fish story.  Catching the fish is fun, but reeling in the fish is a huge part of it.  That’s how I feel about evangelism & discipleship.  Evangelism is the jolt of the fish attacking the bait (not saying the Gospel is the bait), but is exciting that someone accepted God’s free gift.  But if you don’t disciple that new believer…it’s like just leaving that fish out there on the line…you’re missing a huge part of the experience!

Read these verses:  Matthew 28:19-20

Okay, now read them again and circle the first 2 verbs in that passage – Go & Make Disciples.  I think we often emphasize the Go part (and with good reason, we need to go and share the Gospel with others), but we also often forget to mention, implement, or dig into the difficult work of discipleship.

You see, discipleship takes time, it takes a great deal of effort, it takes patience, it takes spiritual maturity…are you still with me?  Discipleship is hard!  You may not even see the results until much later in life…anyone involved in youth ministry knows how true this can be.

We live in a world of instant gratification.  Minute rice, instant video download, fast lane on the freeway…there’s even instant underpants (just add water!).  But discipleship is just the opposite.  There isn’t instant gratification.  Sure, there will be victories and joys of Jesus coming and changing one’s life.  But there will be many battles of the old self, old life, and old habits.  Those will drain you, disappoint you, and want to defeat you.

But, take heart.  The time you spend in discipleship is worth it…Jesus chose 12 disciples…and 11 of those men set out to change the world.  Who knows what may happen if you choose someone to mentor & disciple.  Watch this video, and see what kind of impact you can have…you too can change a generation!

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Great Outreach Idea…That Resulted From a Good Outreach Idea, That Failed

God can work in failure.  You want an example, just look in the mirror.  Wow, that was harsh for something right after breakfast.  But how true is that.  God chooses to use sinners like us…for some reason we are His plan for reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We fail, we mess up, and our plans often fall apart.

But here is the good news:  God can use our failures for His glory, and for His purposes.  Why?  Because God is not surprised by anything.  Let me just give you an example that happened recently.

Each month, my student ministry is to have a service project of some kind, whether it is serving in some way in the church, or in the community.  So let me just break it down for you to save you some time:

Good Idea:  Host a Spaghetti Dinner for a Local Football Team (failed when 3 schools either refused or were not able to commit)

Great Idea:  Pack To-Go Spaghetti Dinners & Deliver Them To Our Church Neighbors (Honestly, came out of the question, “What are we going to do with all this spaghetti?  God answered that question.

Here are 10 steps to make this happen:

  1. Ask the church to donate 50 meals:  Spaghetti sauce/noodles, 2 liter, can of fruit
  2. Bag them nicely
  3. Add:  Church brochure, tract, Christmas invitation
  4. Plan your route, and have a bus/church van driver to drop off & pick up
  5. Group your teens with adults (inter-generational ministry!)
  6. Make sure each group has adult male (safety) and a female (less intimidating)
  7. Each person carries 2 bags
  8. Go door to door saying something like “We are from _______, we are your neighbors, and we care about you.  Here is a dinner on us.  Feel free to visit us anytime.  God bless”
  9. Come back & pray for each street where bags were delivered
  10. Have hot chocolate & coffee to warm back up (or cold drinks, depending on weather/location)

We didn’t cook the meals, just delivered the goods, so they could have the meal anytime.  And we got to meet our neighbors, showed them we loved them, shared the love of Christ…and we were able to do that in about a half hour.

God turned a failure into something that could affect eternity!  Sound familiar, it should…just look in the mirror!

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