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Ladies’ Make & Take Nights

We started out with bi-monthly craft nights. Women were invited to bring thier craft supplies (scrapbooking, knitting, quilting), a snack to share, and a friend.  The church provided tables, chairs, music, and (sometimes) a few door prizes.

Recently, we have started having “Make & Take” nights. Women bring $5.00 and a friend, and the church provides food, the supplies and instruction for 2-3 craft projects that they can bring home.

Some crafts that we have made at Make & Take nights so far:

  • Various types of cards
  • “Brag Book”-style photo albums
  • Glass plates decoupaged with fabric
  • As a spin-off of Make & Take Night, we have also had a “Make & Bake Night.” The church supplies the ingredients and recipe cards for apple pies. Women bring $4.00 for every pie they wish to make, two bowls, and a cutting board.  The pies were brought home ready to bake or freeze.

Benefits of Make & Take Nights

  • We have had great turn outs at our Make & Take nights – more than double the number of women that came to our regular craft nights. Any woman can come, she doesn’t have to have prior experience or supplies to participate.
  • As often as possible, I like to involve the leadership of as many different individuals as I can. Make & Take nights allow women with a variety of talents and skills to serve.
  • Make & Take Nights can evolve into service projects.  For example, we could make cards to send to our shut ins, or could make blankets for the pastor to take on hospital visits.

Disadvantages of Make & Take Nights

  • Make & Take Nights require more planning than a regular craft night
  • Since the church provides the supplies, the Make & Take nights can be more expensive than regular craft nights.

Tips

  • It is especially important to have attendees sign up for Make & Take Nights so that you know about how many to plan on.  Usually, I plan on more people than signed up, and devote extras to be given to someone in the church who was unable to attend (if applicable).
  • I don’t make people pay until the night of the event. It is probably realistic to expect that the church will absorb some of the cost, so check to make sure you have some budget money set aside.
  • We have found that we get a bigger turn out if we have Make & Take Nights early in the evening (6:00p.m.) on Thursday nights, as opposed to Friday nights.
  • For Make & Take nights we provide more substantial snacks. In fitting with the “make your own” theme, we have served “make-your-own” ice cream sundaes and a “make-your-own” nacho bar.

Hope this helps! Happy Crafting!

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Posted by on December 2, 2008 in Events, Women's Ministry

 

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 #7: Keep Going

When we first started our Wednesday night program, we committed to 8 week sessions with month long breaks between. This was fine, we were getting started (see above), but the program didn’t really take off until we committed to providing the program every single Wednesday night, year round. Consistency is key in Children’s Ministry. Kids who come to church without their parents need to know that it’s always going to be at the same place and same time with the same people.

Absolute consistency will be impossible. But if you provide it, they will come (eventually), and if you aren’t consistent, they will never come.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2008 in Philosophy

 

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.

 

Lesson #4: Creativity, not Convenience

It is important, especially at first, to give your team numerous opportunities to be creative. For our church, this meant creating our own Vacation Bible School materials rather than relying on a ready made boxed kit. Encouraging the use of creativity had several benefits.

First, our volunteers invested more in the program because they were passionate about the results. Second, our volunteers were better informed about the program because they were responsible for creating part of it. The entire VBS from start to finish benefited from this increased involvement on behalf of the volunteers. Several parents commented how impressed they were with the extra effort and creativity put forth for their children, and the children themselves felt valued.

 

Lesson #3: Incorporate the Church’s Legacy

Whenever possible, include the church’s past traditions in your children’s ministry. Showing that you value the church’s legacy builds trust with church leadership and fellow church members. This trust is essential, because the involvement of church leadership and fellow church members is essential to a successful ministry.

Do you use every old tradition? No. There has to be a balance. Some things of the past really are irrelevant to the world today. But keep an open mind. At one point in our church’s history, they had a children’s bell choir. I reluctantly agreed to give it a shot with our kids. I was having a hard time envisioning my 4th grade boys putting down their Game Boys, let alone picking up a bell. But the concept was so foreign to them, that it intrigued rather than bored. They loved it!