What does creative out reach looklike?

I was reading the message boards on the kidology site and came across this post from Todd McKeever. He posed a great question that I believe is worth all of our time. What does creative outreach look like?

Here is what he had to say:

I have been wondering for some time and will throw this out to everyone here as well.

I ran a blog post a while back asking for creative outreach ideas that people have done, and I was amazed at the few that I heard about. I have also asked here on the site before about the same topic and still very amazed by the little response. I also serve as a contributing editor for K magazine and oversee the “Bridge Builders” part of the magazine where I get to work with churches all over the world and I am sad to say, it appears that outreaches may be decreasing some.

That is why I am writing here again as well. Do you feel that outreaches are decreasing? Maybe everyone just does a yearly VBS, Halloween alternative, 4th of July or Camps.

Are these the only venues (important non the less)that your church chooses to do outreaches? Do you do other ideas? If so what? If not, why?

Todd has a great blog make sure you check it out.

Freakanomics and Final Thoughts.

imagesTo sum up my series on Bible Bucks. I think no matter what you do you should consider the following.

1. Do bible bucks enhance your overall experience?
2. Do kids love bible bucks more than Jesus? (I had a girl say to me once as I greeted her before our service started. “I don’t like you, I don’t like it here I just come for bible bucks” needless to say I change my whole thought process on Bible bucks from day on.)
3. What are you attaching a reward to and why?
4. Are the parents engaged in the process?
5. Does giving out bible bucks reflect your mission and values.

I shut our program down for about a year and a half because I didn’t feel that it was adding to the overall experience. When we remodeled our kids wing. I thought long and hard to come up with a solution that was fun, enhanced the experience, everyone could benefit from it the first day and was not more important than what takes place from the moment they walk through our doors to the moment they leave.

One last perspective I found very interesting as I looked for stuff online was this post by Larry Shallenberger he connects Bible Bucks to principles found in the book Freakanomics a fantastic read by the way. I never made the connection to children’s ministry I loved his post. Definitely something to chew on.

Next week I want to get into creative outreach. I read this interesting thread on Kidology.org.

YouTube Friday: Vancouver Film School

Love watching short films from budding film makers. I watch tons of these. Thought you might enjoy this one. It is a cute story that is short enough that if you hate it is was only 2 minutes of your life gone forever. Unlike most hollywood movies I have seen in the past few months.



Other perspectives on rewards (part 2)

The next take on rewards in children’s church comes from another of my blogging friends Jonathan Cliff he is the children’s pastor of Trinity Church in Lubbock Texas.

He has a great sense of humor and I find it so refreshing to connect with other children’s pastors around United States who think along the same lines when it comes to kids ministry. It helps me not feel nuts. Any who he was kind enough to share his thoughts about “Bible Bucks” make sure you check out his blog.

Jonathan has this to say about “bible bucks”

When I arrived here in Lubbock we had a program in Elementary where kids collected these bucks for bringing bibles, obeying rules, not killing each other, etc…. Then once a month we would open the ‘Bible Buck Store’ for them to spend their bucks. However, only about 5% of our kids kept up with the bucks; so on the weeks that we did the store the volunteers would just pass out more than usual so everyone got a chance to buy something.
In Early Childhood they had the same system, but of course parents had to keep up with them. I know in my family they usually ended up in the floorboard of my car! Of course both areas had a ‘Christmas store’ in December where these kids could use their bucks to buy gifts for their dads and moms. I do believe it can be done right, i guess….

But I just abolished them. And there were some ANGRY parents. Seem these parents had the same program when they were kids, and I was robbing their kids of the tradition. 🙁 But hey, Sacred Cows make the best hamburgers, right?

Currently we have a ‘blessing box’ in our Early Childhood classrooms. These boxes have minimal candy, and a mostly cheap little toys and tattoos, and bouncy balls. I tried to train our teachers that not every kid in attendance gets something out of the blessing box. I setup a special immediate reward system for our teachers to use with kids that obey and show God’s love to others in the classroom. Our good teachers can tie that box into just about any bible lesson. Of course I’ve had a few parents get upset that their 5 year old doesn’t get his token piece of candy when it’s time to go, but when you just GIVE away prizes for nothing then they lose some meaning. (Disclaimer: all kids get snacks and play games, and get to make things in Early Childhood. It’s not like they do without.)

In Elementary I’ve had must more success by simply improving the presentation. For our 3rd service every small group leader has a bag of small candies that they use in review-time during Small Group, but again it’s not given as a FREE thing. It’s gotta be earned. And in the 2nd service we use KIDMO, with the winning team all winning something to take home. We’ve gotten creative with this, giving away things the kids have asked for.

My standard response to parents now that complain about not having the Bible Bucks is that we want to reward good behavior immediately, and we’ve filled their day with enough exciting, attention-getting activities that we don’t need Bible Bucks to keep their attention.