A New Way to Get Kids to Bring Their Take Home Papers Back

Have you ever found a take home paper on the ground in the parking lot as you were leaving the church after services?  It can be discouraging, can't it?  You spend time creating and making copies of a take home paper with the hopes that it will make it home and be used by the kids and parents to spark discussions about the lesson during the week.

But let's be honest.  No matter how cool or creative the take home paper is, there's probably a small percentage of kids and parents using it.  This even includes digital take home papers, apps and other technology you are using to get the lesson into the home.  We use both a hard copy and digital form of our take home paper to give kids and families both options.  Some people still prefer a hard copy and some prefer it on their smartphone or tablet.

One obvious way to know if kids are using the take home paper is to see how many bring it back the next week.  We ask kids to do the take home paper with their parents and then have their parents sign it.  If the kids bring it back, they get a small prize.  We've seen some success doing this, but the percentage is not where I'd like it to be.

This past week, we were meeting with some of our key volunteers and one of them shared how he is getting the kids in his small group to bring their papers back.  When he shared what he does, it clicked for me.  Wow!  What a great idea!  I've got to tell our other small group leaders about this and share it with other children's ministry leaders across the country as well.  It's a very simple thing he's doing, but it's very effective.  He's seeing kids bring their papers back.  Ready to hear what it is?  Okay...here it is. 

The small group leader is leading by example.  He is taking a paper home and doing it as well and bringing it back the next week to show the kids his completed paper.  He is challenging the kids to follow his example and they are responding.  Wow!  Isn't that awesome?  We're going to be asking all of our small group leaders to start doing this and I believe we'll see the number of kids who bring their papers back go up significantly.  As we know, we can tell kids to do something, but when we show kids by example how important something is, they will follow our example.

Okay.  The floor is yours.  What are some other things you do to encourage kids to bring back their take home paper?  What are some other fresh ideas you have for this?  We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.