What you see is what you get...is it what you want?
(Photo Credits: CreativeForKids.com and one of their featured churches. Love it!)
Hey Friends! I hope you have all had a wonderful week...and looking forward to a nice weekend. We have had a great week away at a rental house on a lake. So nice to just enjoy family, the beautiful lake, and spending time reflecting. These are times when I always feel the Lord impressing things on me...sometimes just reminders, and other times new ideas and exciting things! :D This week has been a lot more on the rest/reflect type of thoughts. I am grateful for His peace and rest, when it seems we are always on the "run", in our normal day to day life.
I have had something on my mind lately, which you've now seen in the title....FIRST IMPRESSIONS. This is a pretty self-explanatory title, so this blog post will probably be somewhat short. LOL But it's still a necessary subject. Let's chat about a few things...
When you first walk into a restaurant, see the hostess station and the person behind it, what are your thoughts? Usually things like..."This looks like a nice place!" "Wow, very nice!" "Hmm, looks clean and tidy." "She/He's nice and friendly."
"I don't think I like the looks of this." "I wonder how long it's been since they've wiped the menus down!" "Boy, they sure aren't very friendly!" "The food will be kinda iffy if things look like this!"
>>> First Impressions set the stage for your entire experience. <<<
I know, I know...this is something we've all heard and actually KNOW. But at the same time, I think it's a good reminder.
Take an imaginary walk into your Children's Ministry entryway. Maybe you have a foyer, a hostess station, or even just a hallway. What does your area portray?
Excitement, Color, Anticipation?
Children's Area or just an all around section of the church? (I realize some of you have to share spaces, so this doesn't necessarily apply to you. ;-) )
Cleanliness and Safety?
Friendly Staff and Welcoming to New Children?
I'm sure the list could go on and on. But in your mind, what do you see? Imagine yourself as a new family in your church, and taking your child/children to the Children's Ministry Department area for the very first time. Would you feel confident in leaving your child there? Would you feel you need to stay and oversee their first visit? Are you worried that your child will sit alone and be forgotten? Does the entryway look drab and uninviting?
First Impressions are NOT only about what our space looks like, but also what the STAFF "looks" like. You and all your staff MUST be dressed nicely, friendly, outgoing, encouraging, have initiative, and make the new families feel that this is a perfectly safe and fun place to be.
On another note...if you DO have a shared space, what about creating some moveable props to set up in your hallway, doorway, etc. that would create the atmosphere you would like to have. Don't settle for doing nothing, when you need to share the space. And believe me...I've been there! For a long period of time, I had to use the Family Center/Dining Hall for our Children's Church. We would go all out for decor, then have to take it all down for church use of the hall. It wasn't fun! Buuuuut at the same time, it's important to put forth the extra effort to STILL make it a wonderful experience for your children.
>>> Don't take the easy way out! <<<
The site mentioned above CreativeForKids.com is the site we have used to make our Creative Environments. We are blessed with an entire wing of our church now, and have the old sanctuary as our Junior Sanctuary. Because of this, we have made every hallway, the foyer, classrooms, Junior Sanctuary, and even the bathrooms (in that wing, of course), an environment conducive for the children's enjoyment. Each classroom has a different Bible theme, the hallways are painted to look like a stone courtyard with birds and sky at the top. Two bathrooms are pond scenes with cartoon like frogs and butterflies. The other two bathrooms are...well...will be...underwater scenes with blue walls and ceiling and fish.
Yes, it's lots of work...and no, you don't have to be an artist! Do some Google searches for Children's Ministry spaces, and come up with a plan - whether it's permanent or temporary and movable...YOU CAN DO THIS!
Make those first impressions count, and encourage those new families to come and visit again.
>>> REMEMBER: What you see is what you get...are you sure it's what you want them to see? <<<
I hope you all have a blessed weekend, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Sara Vojtasek & Joel's Vision Ministries
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