Great Ideas From Great Churches (Pt.1)

This past weekend I took some of our Early Childhood staff to visit three churches in the Dallas area. I enjoy going to conferences for ideas and inspiration, but I also get just as much out of visiting churches that are getting the job done and making an impact in their community. We picked up some great ideas from these three great churches. For the next three days, I'll be posting each day about one of the churches and what we learned from them. So..let's get started.

Day One: Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas

Some of our awesome Early Childhood Staff Members

It's a marathon...not a sprint.
Sondra Saunders is the Children's Director at Prestonwood. She is a friend and one of my heroes in Children's Ministry. This summer, Sondra will lead her 51st VBS! The church recently named their new children's building in her honor. How do you remain faithful in Children's Ministry for the long haul? You pace yourself, have lots of tenacity and perseverance, and don't let the up's and down's of ministry get you discouraged or disillusioned. Sondra has seen it all...but remains as passionate about Children's Ministry as the day she started.

There were several children baptized in the adult service while were there. Cool thing...when a child (or anyone) is baptized, the person's family, teachers, friends, etc. stand up in the audience to show their support and love. It was such a blessing to see people stand and know that many of them had a part in helping the person being baptized connect with God.


Another tip I picked up from their child/parent dedication was not only saying the child's name on stage, but the parent(s) name as well.  This may seem like a small thing, but it was a reminder that the parents are dedicating themselves to lead their child spiritually.

One other really great idea I got. In the elementary worship room, they have the usual chairs that kids sit in during the service. But they also have a few couches up front. When a kid brings a first-time guest, they and their guest friend get to sit on the couch during the service. And...during the service, a waiter serves them food, drinks, etc. This results in kids bringing guests every week...they all want to bring their friend so they can both sit in the "first class couch section."

Stroller parking designated by last name. 


Volunteer Enlistment Campaign - "Be a Kid's Hero...the Eternity Tour."


Portable Flatscreen/DVD combo. Great for playing announcements, videos, parent info., etc. in key spots in the hallways. Gives you lots of flexibility.


Preschool Chapel Area


When kids are baptized, they have the opportunity to write their name and a praise note on this canvas.


Self Service Check-in Kiosks. Each family has a card they scan to bring up their info. Then using the touch screen, they check-in and get their security tags.  


They have beautiful themeing in their hallways that tell key stories of the Bible. Their themeing was done by my dear friend, Bruce Barry (Wacky World Studios).


Prestonwood is making a huge impact in Dallas. Over 3,000 children attend their services each weekend plus hundreds more are involved in their mid-week discipleship.

Join me tomorrow as I share ideas I picked up from the second church we visited.