Monday, September 30, 2013

Reduce -> Reuse -> Recycle

Reduce -> Reuse -> Recycle

It's not just something that we learned in 3rd grade.
When I entered into a life of full time #kidsmin I had no idea what I was getting into.

Here's one thing that I've noticed about #kidsmin over the last 18 months.
It's one of the few ministries in a church that has ministries within a ministry.  It's not just #kidsmin.  It's Wednesday night services, Sunday morning nursery, Children's Church, Sunday school classes.  It's all of these ministries combined into one.

What does this mean?  This means that if you serve as the #kidsmin director that you have a lot of responsibilities and a lot of ministries to plan for.  For example:  I plan theme nights for my Wednesday night program, fun activities for my pre-teens, special events for Easter and Halloween, themed mornings for my Sunday school classes once every so often, summer outreaches, and VBS!  Wow!  I got tired just thinking about all of that.

I'm not going to lie the first year on the job was hard!  Creating all of my own ideas from scratch seemed like an insurmountable task.  It seemed like I had no sooner planned for one event than I had 4 more waiting for me.  However, now that I'm in my 2nd year of ministry things are so much easier (Notice I didn't say easy... I said easier.)  Why are things getting easier?  Things are getting easier because I have so many ideas and events already put down on paper.  I am a big fan of reusing ideas, materials, curriculum, etc... Just because you've used something once doesn't mean you can't use it again.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to best reduce -> reuse -> recycle your ideas for your #kidsmin.

1) After every event make sure you have a debrief. 
Make sure that you take the time after every event to talk about what worked and what didn't work.  Grab a pen/pencil and a notepad, or create a new document on your computer.  Write down what worked and what didn't work.  Make notes on what your numbers were like, how your supplies held out, etc...  When it comes time for you to plan this same event next year you will know where you need to make changes.  You will know what your budget looked like, if you need to buy more or less supplies, and what areas you need to make improvements in.

2) Make changes to your game plan every year. 
No event or ministry is perfect.  They just aren't.  Our ministries and events aren't perfect because they are planned and overseen by flawed individuals.  Always be willing to objectively look at your ministries and events and make changes where they might be needed.  Does this mean that you should completely re-invent your event?  No!  Absolutely not!  The trick is to avoid doing that.  This means that you should make changes where they are needed.  Maybe you need to work on your registration, or maybe that pumpkin game didn't work out so well at your fall festival.  Whatever it is, always be willing to find an area to improve and improve it for the next year.

3) Make sure you properly store your supplies for every event. 
What do I mean by properly store your supplies?  I mean to take the time after every event to put all of your supplies in storage containers with a label on them.  I'm currently in the middle of planning my Fall Festival this year and I am so excited about it because I have 2 beautiful boxes sitting in my resource room with a label on them that says fall festival.  I know that in that box I will have all of my decorations, themed games, registration supplies, and many other things.  At the end of the summer last year I put all of my summer supplies that I knew we wouldn't be using into a storage container.  This year, when it came time for my first summer event I was able to go straight to that box and gather all of the supplies that I needed.  Not only will this help with your budget, but it will also help with your sanity.  You won't have to wonder around looking for everything, and you won't have to run to 20 different stores for every event.

4) Create a resource room. 
This is absolutely essential.  If you don't have the space for a room find a corner in your building, a closet, or a small space in your office that you can designate as a supply area.  Again, this will save your sanity I promise.  I created a beautiful resource room for my church within my first 6 months of working there and it has been one of the best things I've ever done.  When volunteers need basic supplies like crayons, markers, or glue they know right where to look.  When I need things from past events I know where those storage containers are.  I no longer have to buy crayons every time kids want to color, and I don't have to spend an hour or more looking for things that I just can't remember where I put them.

5) Save almost everything.  
I'm not a fan of hoarding, and I'm not a fan of keeping things that I know I will never use again.  If you know that you aren't going to ever use it again then there's no use cluttering up your resource room.  If you think that there is a more than 65% chance that you will use it again than I say keep it.  I'm not just talking about supplies here either.  Make sure you save your templates and computer files as well.  I have file folders with documents neatly organized from each event and when it's time to come back to that event I'm able to open the old documents and see what I did last year.  Don't be afraid to throw away, but don't be afraid to keep either.

What are some ways that you help reduce -> reuse -> and recycle your ideas and supplies?

One thing I love about blogging is that it is a great way to spread ideas so leave your thoughts in the comments.

Today, is the 1st day to enter my October giveaway for 2 awesome resources!
You must be a resident of the USA to enter for shipping purposes.
The winners will be announced Saturday, October 5th!

Come back daily for more chances to enter.


  1. My Husband and I have directed kidmin, children's church, puppet teams, sunday school, outreach you name it and I agree with your thought process. For years we have recycled (improved or at least made some changes) to lessons, puppet performances, skits, object lessons etc.
    We actually have 3 bedrooms in our basement dedicated to kidmin stuff. 1. Our office and Instrument practice room, 2. Sewing and all things crafts, scraps etc. 3. Storage of our puppet inventory, props, object lessons, costumes, games. Whew! It's a chore to keep everything in its proper place to be pulled out at a moments notice.
    My husband has 3 big binders full of past lesson plans and ideas (because we usually do it from scratch too) so, we can pull it out and see that we did this puppet song with this lesson or this object lesson or balloon twist lesson.
    The ideas of our Ministry are limitless but storage isn't. If we damage a prop or it looks out dated we usually replace it then. But I know that we have some props at least 10 years old.
    Keep up the excellent work and thanks for your blog and twitter account, I have found encouragement in both! God Bless!

    1. All of those are great ideas! I need to work on saving my lessons in an organized way like that. It does help to know what songs, games, crafts, etc that you used for each one and to work off of that.
      Thank you so much for visiting the blog and twitter! I hope that you'll come back often and share more of your ideas and creativity with us!