Designing stuff for kids ministry

One of my pet peves in kids ministry is that we design below the intended age we are trying to reach. I am not sure why we do this. Personally I think it happens because we wrongly target the lowest age kids in the demographic we are trying to reach, or we are just out of touch from the main stream of design because are to busy ripping off real logos to companies to make Jesus junk shirts like taking the coke logo and changing it to say Jesus Christ “He’s the real deal”. In the church world we rip stuff off instead of using design ideas from what is hot now to help guide the direction of what we want to create. (where do I go for inspiration for kidmin design pieces? nick, Disney, Disney XD, ) Drives me nuts. Ok I am stepping off my soap box now.

I thought I would share a touch card I made yesterday and share some of my rules for designing stuff for kids ministry.

(This is the front)

(This is the back)

Here are a few of my rules for kidmin design:

1. Know the purpose of the piece

2. Content is king – what you say is more important than how it looks

3. Aim higher age than your intended audiance

  • – For Preteen think Highschool
  • – Elementary think Jr High
  • – Pre-school think elementary

4. You need to have white space

I designed this piece for parents to have something to give to their friends. We are going to make Uptown stickers and buttons, because I want kids to take our logo with them into school. We can’t be in the school but we can design some cool stuff that every kids would want to bring in the school with them. What are some other things we should print so kids can take our stuff into the schools with them?

Retro Post: To Trick or To Treat.


It’s about that time of year again so I thought I would bust out a retro post and get your thoughts on a timeless question in Kidmin. What about Halloween?

This time of year there is always a bit of a hub bub about all saints day.

As a children’s pastor I am frequently asked about child related controversies, Harry Potter, Pokemon, and every year Halloween.

How I feel about it is best illustrated in a recent event that took place in my house. My son turned 3 recently he loves swords, pirates have swords, so he wanted a pirate and pirates travel by ship, so he wanted a pirate ship. With a pirate ship comes a skull and crossbones. I have no problem with them. My wife does not feel comfortable with them so we did not put the skull stickers on the ship in any way.

To me this is where I have a problem. Many times we as Christians are more concerned with “external issues” and totally ignore the more important “internal issues”.

Being a Christian in culture is a very difficult thing. But I think at times we focus on the wrong things that make us different.

Do we want people to think of us as the people who turn their lights off and hide on Halloween?

I feel we need to be less concerned about projecting an image than reflecting an image?

One article a good friend of mine pointed me to address our role in culture in a brilliant way. The blog is called Experimental Theology check it out.

Planning an event: Steps I take

I recently outlined our process for doing events in kids ministry while talking with one of our interns. So I thought I would share it with you all. This is what it looks like for me.

Event Planning for kidmin.

1. What result am I looking for? What is the win? How will I know if this event is a success?
2. Answer all the basic questions.

  • Who? – Who is the event for?
  • What – What will take place? What will it cost?
  • Where – Where will the event take place?
  • How – How can parents engage?
  • When – Date and time.

3. Practical preparation –

  • Communicate with parents, take home fliers, word of mouth, and FB
  • Communicate with staff. Make sure you have no conflict with rooms, staff or dates
  • Communicate with the church as a whole through church announcements, FB and website.
  • Think through the amount of volunteer positions you will need filled.
  • Recruit the appropriate number of volunteers.
  • Determine budget.
  • Make a list of todo’s before/during/after
  • Prioritize todo list and set due dates.

4. During the event do the things only I can do and make sure the other things are delegated.

5. After the event Evaluate and Celebrate.

6. Tweak for next time.

YouTube Friday: Best Political Speech Ever

A few weeks ago I had a video of a southern politician who made a very funny video and had an equally funny website. This week it’s us Yankees who are at the receiving end of a crazy political video. If you want to be a more effective public speaker as you watch this make sure you have a fresh pad of paper and a pen because he has a Masters in CommuniCATION.

This guy is a Yankee and straight up nuts. Enjoy.

Lessons for the long haul: Jim Wideman Podocast: Questions Leaders Ask Podocast: Questions Leaders Ask
Lessons for the long haul: Jim Wideman

I had a short lived idea to do a video podcast that I called TakeTen. It would TakeTen minutes to make and TakeTen minutes to listen to it. My idea was to interview different people in kidmin for ten minutes and release it as a podcast unedited and uncensored. The video aspect didn’t work so well so I thought I would turn the idea into a podcast.

I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off TakeTen the podcast and wrap up my Long Haul series than to do an interview with one of the men I respect most deeply in my life Jim Wideman. He has truly been in it for the long haul. There a very few people out there who have the influence in kidmin that he has had over the past 30 years.

So TakeTen minutes and listen to what Jim has to say about the long haul. You’ll be glad you did. It is unedited and raw I don’t change anything. So if I make a mistake (something I do often) you can point your proverbial internet finger and laugh at me.