Category Archives: Children’s Ministry

Christmas Bingo [Free Printable]

Christmas BingoIn my experience, everyone loves to play Bingo. It might be because it feels a little bit sinful in a way — sort of like gambling — even though you don’t invest anything. It’s all just random chance, and yet I’ve seen kids, teenagers, and adults all get really excited when they get “4 in a row, two different ways”.

There are websites that generate bingo boards, but they often don’t include images — just words. So, I created Christmas-themed bingo boards for our Wednesday night children’s ministry. I have already re-purposed them in our after school program, and I thought, “I bet other people could use these!”

So here you go, world: Free Christmas-themed bingo cards! I used clip art, so it’s nothing fancy, but at least you don’t have to go through the work of creating them!

Click the link below to download the .pdf. The first 22 pages are the boards, and the last 3 pages are the cards to be cut out.

Download Christmas Bingo Cards (.pdf)


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Serendipitous Idea: Popsicle Stick Warnings

A little spur-of-the-moment idea that has surprisingly turned out to be halfway effective.

First Serendipitous Idea – Popsicle Stick Warnings

Initial Situation: A rowdy group of K-6 graders who refused to be attentive (or anything resembling it) during story time. We wanted to put a discipline procedure in place but everything was too confusing and ended up being more distracting than the misbehavior in the first place.

Good Idea: Each kid gets two popsicle sticks representing their two warnings before ultimate punishment (i.e. no candy and/or removal from the group). Each time someone is disruptive, the teacher or helper simply takes a stick away. No need to speak to the offender, stop the teaching time, etc. In our situation we gave each kid who had kept at least one of their sticks a piece of candy following story time. Optional: we have also allowed kids to earn sticks back occasionally.

Room for Improvement: As boring as popsicle sticks are, kids still find different ways to amuse themselves in distracting ways. They can hit them together, drop them on the floor, mini-sword fight… I have yet to find an alternative, however, that is as equally boring, inexpensive, and durable.


Merry Christmas from Preschool Pond


Christmas Program Idea: “A Promise Fulfilled”

Here’s what we did for our Christmas program last year. It was easy — even though we had very few kids.

A readers’ theater I organized for grades K-6, highlighting biblical passages regarding the promise of Jesus’ birth:  God Made a Promise

A kind of funny (well, I meant it to be funny) readers theater for grades 7-12.  To be followed by Relient K’s song, “I Celebrate the Day”: I Celebrate the Day


Lesson #8: Foster Momentum

Once you have a ministry on its way, the worst thing you can do is keep the excitement to yourself. Try to report on what’s going on in Children’s Ministry as much as possible. Show pictures, interview workers, make videos. Inform everyone of the “behind the scenes” work that doesn’t usually get the spotlight. Don’t just act like you’re excited – be excited. This is amazing stuff to be a part of! It deserves to be celebrated.


Lesson #6: Get Started

This can be the hardest part sometimes. There have been many times when we have been frozen in the planning phase, afraid to actually start our ministries. Do not be afraid to start with everything less than 100% planned. Just get started. Most of your original plans will be altered through trial and error anyway, so don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from taking advantage of opportunities.


Lesson #5: Empower Leadership (for real)

In order to foster true creativity, it is crucial that the leadership learn to humbly empower leadership. This may be the single most important lesson I’ve learned in the last four years. When starting a Children’s Ministry you cannot and should not do everything yourself. Even if you’re the best teacher/craft leader/counselor/foos ball player/theologian in your ministry, you must allow others to serve and lead.

It should be your goal that your ministry would grow to the point that you can no longer do everything. In order to foster that growth, train your leaders now by allowing them to own their ministry—sink or swim.

This is scary for leadership, because you have to let your leaders fail and come up short sometimes. But if you are constantly coming to the rescue, micro-managing, and doing things you told other people to do, you are communicating that you don’t really trust them, and they aren’t really in charge of their ministry.

Demonstrate empowering leadership by being quick to give up authority. If you’ve started a project, and another person expresses interest in being involved, consider the possibility of letting the project be their baby. Then, recognize and thank the efforts of your volunteers often and publicly.

Truly empowered leadership will manifest itself in creative, well organized ministries that create excitement throughout the church and community.