Sep 29, 2021

The Place Where Kids Meet Matters

The place where kids meet for church matters.  

I've often said this - a subpar children's ministry space will make your ministry seem worse than it really is. 

On the flip side - excellent, kid-friendly children's space will make your ministry seem better than it really is. 

I have met in children's ministry space that is boring.  Dark colors.  Poor lighting.  Crappy sound system.  Had to use the overhead projector because there was no screen or TV available.  And I have watched to see how kids would respond in this subpar space.

I have also met in children's ministry space that was truly kid-friendly. Bright paint colors. Kid-friendly lights. HD video projection systems and screens.  Cool decorations.  Interactive play areas.  Indoor play grounds.  And I have watched to see how kids would respond when placed in this kid-friendly space. The engagement factor was like night and day compared to kids who met in a generic space.  

When designing a kids' space make sure you do this - look through the eyes of a child.  Many ministries make the mistake of theming their kids' space to appeal to adults as well.  And so they end up with space that caters to adults as much as kids.  

Personally, I think it is a mistake to decorate kids' space to be adult-friendly as well.  When you loose the exclusive, "decorated with kids in mind" mentality, you shortchange yourself and your ministry. I realize many churches have to share space between ministries, but if at all possible decorate first and foremost with kids in mind (p.s. - the "big kid" adults will like it as well).

When I first started decorating kids' space at church, I decided to go after someone who wasn't "churchy" to help us. I wanted someone who had specialized in decorating kids' spaces with "fun for kids" being the primary factor of what it would look like. I found Bruce Barry, the founder of Wacky World Studios. Together we created the first animated children's ministry space in the country. Once we did that, we began to grow rapidly. You can contact Wacky World at the link above. They will work with your budget to create great space for kids.

The place where kids meet matters because it makes a statement to guest parents that your church values children and is committed to reaching them.  Your goal should be to become the church in town that loves kids and proves it by investing heavily in children's ministry.  When people in your community ask about which church is the most kid-friendly, the name of your church immediately pops in their mind.

The place where kids meet matters because it will draw families.  Parents will come to a place that invests in their children.  Parents will be drawn to a place where their kids enjoy being. 

The top 2 reasons why people pick a church:

  • How friendly are you?
  • What do you have for my child?

 Remember this quote.

When you take a child by the hand, you take a parent by the heart.

No matter how far a dad or mom is from God, when you do something nice for their children, you have their attention.  I personally believe that the most fruitful way to reach parents is to first reach their children.

I have seen this lived out time and time again.  When I was a children's Pastor in Las Vegas, we decided to update our kids' areas.  Once we completed the new ministry space, the growth came.  We great rapidly.  In 4 years, we grew from 8,000 people attending weekend services to over 16,000 people attending worship. And the new children's ministry space was a big factor in this.  

In the next ministry where I was the children's pastor, we poured a lot of money into the children's ministry.  We knew if we could become the place in town for kids, that we would starting growing. Before the new children's ministry space, we had around 12,000 people attending our weekend services.  9 years later, over 28,000 people were attending our weekend services.  Again, a big factor in this was the new children's ministry spaces we created.

I'm not trying to brag about any of this - in both cases it was a total God thing. But what I do want you to see is that the place where kids meet matters and can help your ministry grow.  

The place were kids meet matters when it comes to volunteers.  The opening weekend of our new kids' space we enlisted over 250 new volunteers.  They saw the place where we were now meeting and they wanted to be a part of it.

As you are reading this you may be thinking...

How do I get my church leadership to buy into this?  Show them the benefits that will come from it.

I don't have a big budget.  What can I do?  Take what you have and get started doing something. It might just be painting your children''s ministry areas with kid-friendly colors.  It might be updating your ministry logo.  It might just be putting some cool graphics on the walls. 

You can do something.  And it will make a difference.

When Walt Disney was building Disneyland in California so many years ago, he did something that was very interesting.  He had the architects, builders, designers, etc. get down on their knees as they planned their work.  He did this because He wanted to make sure they designed the space while looking through the eyes of a child.  

It obviously worked.  And it can work for you as you are building lives.  



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