Pinterest provides beautiful and inspirational ideas for volunteer 'thank you' gifts. Recently, I noticed an idea to use permanent markers to write inspirational messages on a mug. It was a great concept, especially as it is relatively inexpensive and the kids could be involved in personalising and perhaps even signing the mug. I decided to use the quote, 'Teachers touch eternity, one heart at a time.' The markers were easy to use and I added a couple to extra hearts with the text- easy!
However, I found that the lettering washed off in the dishwasher.
So, I researched a little more and found a helpful article that listed a number of helpful hints to add some permanency to the design:
1. Use an inexpensive mug. Apparently, the better quality mugs also have a better glaze that prevents the lettering adhering well.
2. Ensure you have cleaned the outside of the mug thoroughly. It was suggested that rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth be used to clean the mug.
3. Bake the finished mug for longer and at a higher temperature than most instructions suggest.
I followed these instructions carefully... and the design still washed off. So... my suggestions?
It's certainly a great idea for a gift and if you still would like to create them, keep a couple of things in mind. First, you can buy ceramic pens that are a little expensive but easy to use and will not wash off. Check with your local art and craft store (as I did) for these pens. There are also ceramic paints that could be used, too, which will look attractive but perhaps will not be as easy to use for quotes and text. My second suggestion is to create your designed mug with permanent markers but pot a little plant in the mug rather than use it as a regular coffee cup. I planted some little 'heartsease' in the mug which combined nicely with my quote.
A ministry newsletter or bulletin for your volunteers is a great way to maintain good communication, to encourage and inspire your team. Excitement and enthusiasm is catching and this is a great way to share the excitement of what's happening in your kids' ministry, while making sure that everyone is on the same page. Now, you can prepare and produce a monthly newsletter in less than no time at all.
Purchase a subscription for Group's 'Be Awesome'
newsletter and most of your work is done. Each month you'll be sent a link to download the 4-page newsletter as a Word file. Add your relevant information, upcoming events and an inspirational devotion or article and it's done.
Then print off copies for your team or email the newsletter directly to them.
If you need some ideas for inspirational content or training to include in your newsletters, take a look at 'Training on the Go,
' or '2-Minute Encouragers for Teachers'.
| | Each 4-page issue of Be Awesome includes:
A relevant article.
Customizable content areas for you to include updates for your team.
Calendar where you can add events, meetings—whatever you want!
Download a free sample ...here
If you're looking for a 'thank you' gift for your volunteers and leaders that is a little more meaningful than an Easter egg or a box of chocolates, then this simple egg candle may be useful- it's very easy to make. Then package it up with some plastic film and add a 'thank you' label'.
1. Carefully cut the top off an egg and remove the egg. Rinse and dry.
2. Add a candle wick inside the empty egg shell and fill with candle gel. (The gel candle kits are readily available from most toy shops and contain the candle wicks and gel.)
3. Pop the egg shell candle in an egg cup.
4. Cut out 2 x 6cm diameter circles of styrofoam or corrugated cardboard
5. Cut a piece of clear plastic film 15cm x 21cm. (OHP transparency film would be fine.)
6. Place the egg cup with candle on one of the styrofoam circles.
7. Form a cylinder by wrapping the plastic film around the styrofoam circle and eggcup and secure with clear tape.
8. Attach the other styrofoam circle at the top of the cylinder.
9. Print the label. (see below)
10. Cut out and wrap around the base of the cylinder with eggcup.
11. Add a ribbon bow to the top of the cylinder, if required.
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Thank your children's ministry volunteers, this Easter, with a simple iced cookie ('biscuit' in Australia) and thank you note.
The cookies can be prepared beforehand and iced. You may even have a creative church family mum who loves to cook and would love to help you make these little edibles.
The basic recipe is listed below, but you may have your own recipe that you prefer to use. After the cookies have been baked and cooled, cover with fondant icing and attach a bow to the stem.
Print off the small 'thank you' notes onto light card.(see file below) Cut out and attach the cookie stem with a small piece of tape. Slip the completed cookie and note into a cellophane bag and hand out to your volunteers.
Basic Cookie Recipe
*1 cup butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teasp vanilla essence
* 3 cups flour
* 1 teasp baking powder
* pinch salt
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
2. Add egg and vanilla
3. Mix in dry ingredients gently, one cup at a time. Mix thoroughly until the consistency of the cookie dough is no longer sticky and can be handled.
4. Roll out half of the cookie dough between two sheets of baking paper until 5-6 mm thick. Use a flower shaped cookie cutter (or egg shape) to cut out cookies. Gently, insert a candy pop stick into each. ( If you have trouble with this, they can be attached later to the back of the cookie with icing.)
5. Place the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper.
6. Bake in oven 180 degrees for 8-10 minutes or just until the edges begin to lightly brown.
7. Ice with fondant when cool.
(This recipe should make around 24-30 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.)
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How often do we access daily news media sources and learn of dangerous situations needing the help of emergency services? Whether it's police, fire and rescue services, ambulance, Life Guards, SES, St John's, Rural Fire Brigade... these organisations provide help and assistance to many, often without thanks or real appreciation.
You may wish to take the opportunity, as a church or a children's ministry, to invite members from these groups to a special 'thank you' family service or event. A simple postcard-style invitation has been included in the file below plus a couple of decorative pieces- bunting, small labels for attaching to packs of chips or drinks, cupcake toppers. When we contacted these organisations, some offered to bring along their emergency vehicles, much to the delight of the kids! We also painted up some cardboard boxes as firetrucks and emergency vehicles and held races for the kids.
You may wish to present a special certificate to all the emergency service personnel present. A simple certificate is available below. Another gift suggestion is to present each organisation with copies of the popular movies Fireproof and/or Courageous.
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Earlier this week, we were flooded in. The aftermath of ex-cyclone Oswald caused wide-spread flooding to a large part of south-east Queensland and although our home was high and dry, we were certainly affected. Roads were impassable, electricity was cut, phone and internet coverage was down. I had no way of contacting my family and no way of determining their safety, circumstances or needs. I was totally isolated.
If you work in children's ministry you can not function in isolation.You need to connect with others- your church families and the community, your team and a wider ministry network. You need to develop 'Relationships', the second element of our F.R.E.S.H. approach to children's ministry. Building relationships is an integral part of a thriving ministry. So.. how do you go about it? Check out these 3 areas and click through to the practical suggestions and ideas.
- Communicate often through church announcements, bulletins and flyers.
- Update the church family following a special event. (We produce a short clip of photo highlights using SmileBox or Animoto.)
- Provide information about your ministry prayer needs.
- Upload photos of lessons & crafts to your ministry Pinterest boards and Facebook page.
- Send news releases about events to the local/community newspaper.
- Provide regular newsletters to families ..see here
Don't do it alone.
- Develop teams in your ministry to share the load, to encourage and support each other.
- Take time to discover your leaders/volunteers' strengths and skills.
- Have fun! If you and your leaders are enjoying ministry, so will the kids.. and parents will notice.
- Develop a circle of key leaders for each department or group.
- Encourage key leaders to connect with those in their group.
- Encourage leaders to connect & encourage parents.
- Equip your team. Schedule training and resourcing. Try email training.. see here
- Make training fun! include inspirational content with practical hands-on skills- teach face-painting, balloon sculpture, puppetry, photography...
- Involve in other ways those who cannot be actively participating: sending birthday cards to kids, prayer, website updates, buying supplies, emailing roster reminders, painting backdrops.
- Share inspiring stories.
- Join a children's ministry network in your area. It's a great way to encourage other leaders and share skills, information & ideas
- Start one, if none exists.
- If all else fails, look at an online group.
- Connect with your senior pastor and/or church leadership. Meet once a month to share what's happening with families and ensure your ministry is in line with the direction your church is heading.
- Develop a link with other church ministries. Develop a link with youth ministry and leadership programs. Ask the seniors' group to share their skills with midweek programs. Highlight Grandparents' Day with kids and the church family.
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While every children's ministry coordinator is aware of the need to maintain good communication with their team, individuals and families, it is much harder to put this into practice. It's time-consuming- working out your content, ensuring you've included all relevant information, maintaining all your contact details. And, you want any message to be well-presented; to stand out from the sheer volume of information most people receive daily, and catch the attention of the recipient.
High Impact eMail app may be well worth investigating. This app provides quality email templates for any occasion- casual messages, newsletters, announcements, events- that are easily customised for your individual use. You can add your own images, alter template text, insert links and more.
You can also create an unlimited number of email groups straight from your iPad contacts list or add the information manually. And, you can set up your own profile with logo and contact information to be included automatically in your emails. Once you have sent your email, share it easily on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out here
for more information.
Pinterest is a wonderful source of information, ideas and inspiration and well worth your while investigating, and setting up interest boards for your own children's ministry. (See earlier post about Pinterest here
So, when I recently needed some inspiration and ideas to thank the volunteers of our Kids' Club, I checked out Pinterest. The illustration is my version of a pinned idea I found there and it was so
easy to prepare. And the recipients of my little 'thank you' gifts? ... laughed, groaned at the pun, and happily passed them around to each other. We ate them while we discussed our next term of Kids' Club (and which flavour doughnuts we preferred.)
If you'd like to use this simple design, I've attached a file ready to print off. I purchased the jam doughnuts but the cinnamon ones would be fine. Simply wrap each doughnut in food-safe cellophane. (It's a bit thicker than the gift wrapping variety.) If you're using jam or cinnamon doughnuts, wrap the 'Thank you' strip around the doughnut and then use double-sided tape to adhere the circular note of thanks to the top. I added a final ribbon bow, as well. If you decide to use iced doughnuts or Krispy Kreme style doughnuts, then omit the strip around the doughnut. (It won't be long enough.)
Our volunteers enjoy helping out at Kids Club and love being part of the group. They don't expect any thanks, but.. they certainly appreciate it when it's given, even if just as a simple bit of fun like this one. And.. it helps create an atmosphere of acceptance and appreciation of each other within our team.
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"Seagulls screech, waves crash, salty mist sprays your face. Welcome to Rocky Point Lighthouse.. where kids shine God's light!' It's a great introduction to Group's Rocky Point Lighthouse program and our kids' club theme for this term. The format of this program covers just two 21/2 hour sessions and one Sunday celebration, so we've combined this exciting theme with lessons from FaithWeaver Friends.
We promoted this upcoming program for a couple of weeks, and then held an orientation lunch following Sunday's worship service for leaders and others interested in knowing more about this program and possible involvement.
So..I decorated our lunch table in a nautical theme and set it up in a prominent area. The lunch went well and created a lot of interest. Following lunch, I handed out individual activitiy station manuals I had created with all the leader information included (printed off from the program resources CD). I highlighted some of the activitiers, crafts and features of this program...and the result? Two new leaders joined our Kids Club team!
If you're interested in the decorative media used for our lunch table, you can find the downloadable set at Bird's Party Shop. (See here..)
It includes cupcake toppers and wrappers, water bottle labels, napkin rings, mini snack boxes, party bunting, icons, straw flags, buffet labels and patterned paper.
Continuing the focus on volunteers, Craig Jutila has posted a blog on his site 'Empowering Leaders'
titled '8 Traits You Need to Get and Keep Volunteer Leaders', that is worth checking out.
He reminds us that 'The secret to a great volunteer team is not getting more people, it's keeping the great ones you already have!' Good point!
Have a look at the whole article HERE...