An Illustrated Advent: Engaging Activities for the Season

Today’s post is a guest post by my friend, Adam Walker Cleaveland.  Adam is a pastor, artist and blogger. He lives in Chicago with his wife (also a pastor) and their almost–4-year old son, Caleb. You can find Adam online at awcillustrations.com or adamwc.com.

After working with children and youth for over twelves years in four different churches, I was beginning to feel called out of parish ministry and into something new – something different. Around that same time, I began to rediscover my childhood love of art, drawing and watercolors. It had been probably twenty years since I’d sat down with pen and paper and spent time drawing.

Illustrated Children’s Moments began when I started drawing illustrations to give kids during children’s sermons/moments at the church I was serving as associate pastor. Kids really connected with the style of my sketches, and parents told me that their kids were bringing up the stories throughout the week – more than they normally would. You can see some examples of the types of illustrations I create for this use here, or check out the images below:

EXAMPLES

A few months ago, I began to wonder how I could create something for churches and families to use during Advent, that would help bridge the gap between church and home. Everyone who does done work in children or youth ministry know that the bulk of spiritual formation that happens for kids really happens at home. Parents obviously spend much more time with their kids than children’s ministry volunteers, and so however pastors and churches can support families in that role is crucial.

On November 16, I’m going to be launching An Illustrated Advent: Engaging Activities for the Season. There will be two editions: the Church Edition and the Family Edition. There will be some overlap between content, but they are meant to be used together. A church might use some of the activities during worship or their Sunday School programs, and then kids would have other activities throughout the week at home to do with their families.

I’ve also created a series of Advent coloring sheets that are designed to be used for each of the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Joy, Peace and Love). I decided to enlarge one to 4’ x 3’ and my 4 year old son took it to his preschool Sunday School class at church a few weeks ago, and the kids all had a blast coloring on it.

Coloring

 

Sheets

My hope is that through this new venture, I can create original and fun artwork that will appeal to young children, and provide ways to support parents trying to find ways to continue the spiritual formation in their homes.

The best way to stay updated with everything is to join the email newsletter list at Illustrated Children’s Ministry. If you sign up – you will receive five free illustrations so you can get a sense of the style and how you might use them at church, home or school. You can sign up here.

Adam Walker Cleaveland is a pastor, artist and blogger. He lives in Chicago with his wife (also a pastor) and their almost–4-year old son, Caleb. You can find Adam online at awcillustrations.com or adamwc.com.

3 Practical Keys That Will Transform Your Kids Church Experience

SLAM Stage

As Kids Ministry leaders, it’s our passion to help children become life-long followers of Jesus.  It’s about getting kids excited about the Word of God.  After being in kids ministry for over 23 years, I’ve also developed a passion to equip other teachers to present God’s word with excellence so that it leaves a lasting imprint on the minds and spirits of the children we minister to.  In order to do so, we need to work with a curriculum that holds keys to unlock doors of opportunity to create a transformational kids church experience.

The big question is: What makes kids church curriculum effective?

As the creator of High Voltage Kids Curriculum I have discovered 3 incredible keys which create that irresistible environment for children.  Over 5000 churches are already experiencing the impact of the principles that I am about to share with you:

Key 1:  Have an interactive approach to teaching

Over the years I have discovered that that number one thing that will help to effectively communicate the Gospel to kids, and to get them really engaged, is to have an interactive approach to teaching.  Many times we have the “lecture thing” going on where we have a teacher stand in front of the class simply “sharing stuff.”  The kids are simply “watching” the teacher and lack real engagement with the content that is being shared.  They often seem disconnected at best.

Studies show that if you just “watch,” you retain 10% of what is being communicated.  If you hear and see at the same time, that number can rise all the way up to 40% retention.  However, if we are able to get the child physically involved in action, they are going to remember 90% of what is being communicated.  Now, there are various ways to accomplish that level of engagement.  At High Voltage Kids we’ve added several components in our curriculum that stimulate this type of interaction.  From the “Watt’s Up?” segment to the “Power Verse” segment to the “Brain Drain” game, we have purposefully incorporated interactive elements to keep your kids engaged.

Key 2:  Never let “media” take your place as the minister in the room

Technology is great.  It’s all around us.  It’s the language that is spoken by our kids.  It’s the environment that they are growing up in.  So, obviously you’re going to need to have media integrated into your lesson plan.  Whether through video, games, or interactive online environments, it doesn’t matter.  Media is an important aspect that will contribute to effectively communicating the subject matter.  However media should NEVER overtake the role of the kids pastor or class teacher.  I know it’s never our intention to have that happen, however there is a real danger of that happening anyway.

Many times, because it the current thing to do, media is the dominant driver of kids church.  I personally believe that’s a wrong approach.  Nothing can take your place as the leader and minister in the room.  Whatever you do through media should enhance what you as a leader and minister are doing, not replace what you are doing.

Key 3: Always take the lesson beyond the Sunday experience

Taking the lesson outside of the classroom and beyond the Sunday morning experience is crucial.  As Kids Ministry Leaders, we have most kids for about one hour a week.  If a kid has perfect attendance, throughout the year, you’ll have them for a total of 52 hours in one year.  We all know that perfect attendance is really an illusion.  It simply doesn’t happen. So, the reality is that you are only having your kids in your classroom for a very limited time.  When you add up those hours, you are lucky to maybe have the ability to minister and impact a kid for only 2 full days (48 hrs) of the 365 days that a year has to offer.  Understanding this limitation forces us to think bigger and bolder.  It’s crucial that we integrate tools that allow kids to take the Sunday experience with them, into the week and into their homes, so they can experience the impact as part of their everyday family life.

At High Voltage Kids we’ve developed curriculum based on these discovered keys.

Because of that, we can facilitate an environment that creates transformational experiences for our kids.  Whether you choose to use High Voltage Kids Curriculum or materials from another publisher, it really doesn’t matter.  As long as we understand these important keys, we can unlock the hearts of the children that we’ve been entrusted with and give them the experience they need to develop a strong relationship with their Father.

If you are interested in learning more about High Voltage Kids Digital, I’ve created a promo video that will explain some of the incredible value that our online membership has to offer.  It explains how you can experience the power of High Voltage Kids year around for one amazing low price.  HURRY though!  The enrollment window into this membership closes September 15th and won’t open up again until February 2016.  Check it out:

Are You Teaching Your Kids A False Gospel?

Phil Vischer - Vantage

I am at Awana’s “Vantage Conference” and had the privilege of listening to a legend of Children’s Ministry, Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales and What’s In The Bible?).  Phil told a story that gripped my heart.

Ted Turner (media mogul and founder of CNN & TBS) is an outspoken critic of Christianity.  Most people know this.  In 1990, speaking before the American Humanist Association, Turner proclaimed that “Christianity is for losers”…and this isn’t nearly the most provocative thing he has said about Christians.  Many know this about Turner, but not many know the story behind his anti-religous sentiment.

Ted Turner dreamed of being a missionary when he was a child.  His sister suffered from Lupus. When she died, it shook his faith profoundly. He couldn’t understand why a loving God would allow an innocent person to suffer. “What had she done wrong? Why did this happen to her? Christianity didn’t give me any answers to that.”

Ted Turner had been taught a simple form of the Gospel that many of us have been guilty of teaching our kids.  “We serve a gentle, loving God. If we act right and do what pleases Him, He will take care of us and prevent us from suffering.”  That is it.  End of story.  But, that’s NOT the real Gospel.

Phil Vischer spoke to each of us plainly and directly.  He said that we have to ask ourselves the same question he had to ask HIMSELF after ten years of making Veggie Tales.  “Did I just spend ten years trying to persuade kids to behave “Christian-ly” without teaching the kids Christianity?”

Phil walked through the three things that we SHOULD be doing a better job with our children:

  • Understanding the Story they are in
  • Understanding the Bad News of that Story
  • Understanding the Good News of that Story

Phil understands that the large concepts of sin, redemption, sanctification, and judgement are difficult to explain to children.  But, kids understand STORY.  “Narrative structure is what we build to find meaning to the events of our lives. Kids instinctively ‘connect the dots’ in their lives.”  So, he came up with an overarching narrative to help explain kids the story of Christianity…

The Story They Are In:  THE BROKEN AMUSEMENT PARK

The world is a broken amusement park.  God created this amazing world with all of its wonders.  He created it to be a wonderful place of enjoyment for mankind and all of the creatures.  It’s a giant amusement park.  Now, modern amusement parks are run by computers.  The computers tell the rides what to do, the lights when to come on and go off, etc.

Imagine a virus in the operating system of the computers that run all of the rides and attractions. It now isn’t functioning as it was intended to function.  The “Dumbo ride” dumps kids on the ground, the lights go off in the middle of a show.  The virus is wreaking havoc on the systems of the amusement park.  Sin is the virus. It has infected ALL of us.  It has infected the world itself – and the world is SICK.

The Bible is the story of why the world is the way it is and what God is doing to fix it.  Our role is – “We are the Red Cross. We are the ones who can explain why things are the way we are.”  When someone gets dumped out of the Dumbo ride, we should be the first ones there to help them, explain to them WHY, and help point them in the right direction.  This is a story that kids can relate to – and helps them understand the overarching story they are in.

The Bad News Of That Story:

Sin is hard to explain.  But, that doesn’t mean we ignore that part of the story.  It is CRUCIAL.  If kids don’t understand what Sin is, they will NEVER understand who Jesus is or why He came.

Now, Phil isn’t suggesting that we walk into the 3 year old class and proclaim the dangers of SIN.  The topic of sin and judgement is not EVERY age appropriate.  Before they hear about a God that is a judge who is angry and wrathful, kids need to hear about a God who is loving and forgiving.

That’s why Phil makes sin visual.  It’s a virus.  Adam and Eve can’t be with God because SIN can’t be with God.  Suddenly, the world is not perfect anymore. Thus, the BROKEN amusement park.

We can’t shy away from the BAD NEWS.  Until you understand the problem, none of the rest of the Bible makes any sense!!!

The Good News Of That Story:

God doesn’t want to leave us like this.  He wants to save us. He wants to save us from:

  • The STAIN of sinkeeps us from God (God wants to clean us)
  • The POWER of sinkeeps us doing the same thing over and over again (the more we listen to the whispers, the louder it gets) this is remedied by Sanctification
  • The PRESENCE of sinwe still live in a world that is drowning in sin.  The effects of sin on our world is seen every day.  (when God returns to JUDGE the world, He will rescue us from this with a New Heaven and New Earth)  

“Judgment” has become a bad word in our culture. It represents “looking down on people.”  In truth, Judgement means “setting things right!” If there is a bully picking on a small child, it is right for an adult to step in and say, “NO, you are NOT going to do that!”

Judgement is when God steps in and sets everything right.  He fixes everything.  Makes the bullies pay for everything they have done wrong.

Why did Jesus need to die?  Because we have ALL been bullies at one point or another.  We have ALL done mean things and broken God’s laws.  God didn’t want us to have to pay for our sin, so He became human like us and paid the price for our sin.  That’s what God has done for us.

Finally, Phil challenged us all to teach our kids:  “Once we are saved, what is NEXT?”  What is NEXT for us is NEW LIFE!  We become a part of the Kingdom of God.  We live supernatural lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, revealing God through US!

The Apostle Paul described the Christian life as, “We proclaim good news, we live good lives, we do good works!”

  • Proclaim good newssharing the WHOLE story of the Gospel
  • Live good liveslives marked by the absence of fear, full of peace and love
  • Do good workswe help, we love, we are the Red Cross in a broken world

We aren’t just sitting around waiting on Heaven…we become superheroes –  helping others to experience God’s best for their lives.

Teaching this to our kids is done best by SHOWING them with your own life. They will learn much more of what we show than what we say. We need to be the example that they can follow.

So, are you teaching your kids the WHOLE Gospel?  Or are you teaching them a rosey, pristine, in-a-nice-little-box gospel that is not preparing them to become the Christians God has intended them to be?

Phil Vischer quote vantage

How To Lead A “Creative Team”

creative-team

Ten years ago, when I first began creating High Voltage Kids Ministry curriculum, I remember being scared to death.  I had never tried ANYTHING like this before and had put it off for many years already.  You see, I had felt God leading me in this direction but wasn’t willing to take the leap.  When I finally decided to jump, I assembled a team of 10 of my best leaders in a room, and we proceeded to craft the very first High Voltage release, “Got Questions?”  It was a wonderfully collaborative process, and the end product was amazing.

When it came time to work on the second series, “BUGS”, I took a radically different approach.  I sat down in front of a computer and tried coming up with everything on my own – start to finish.  I wrote the lessons, the games, the video scripts, etc.  It took 4 times as long, and it was an excruciatingly painful process.  I realized through that experience – creativity flows much easier when it is done in community.

Now, every time we set out to do a new curriculum series (which is about every 6-8 weeks at this point), I assemble a Creative Team to help with the process.  I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned as I have worked with my Creative Teams for the past 10 years.

When Working With A “Creative Team”:

 1.  Choose a creative location

The environment bears a lot on the final result of the creative team.  Choose a place that inspires creativity.  Sterile atmospheres tend to “dull” a team.  Choose a place to meet that has personality and energy to it. It needs to be a place free from distractions, though.  Creative people are often EASILY distracted.

 2.  Set some ground rules

You want your meeting to be “free flowing” without becoming a “free-for-all.”  Let the team know that they can share ideas freely without fear of being shut down.  However, tell them that the entire team has to agree not to purposefully crack jokes or make remarks that do not inherently add to the discussion.  Let them know that you will serve as the mediator when things get off track.

3.  Work as the rudder, not the engine

During the process, you want your team to feel a sense of ownership of the ideas.  Don’t come into the meeting with a list of ideas that you are already committed to.  It’s OK to come prepared with ideas, but only share them as they become necessary.

Allow everyone to share their ideas openly, without criticism.  Tell them, “There is no such thing as a bad idea.”  Now, there is no way to implement EVERY idea.  But, exercise caution before you dismiss an idea.  You don’t want to do so too quickly.  Sometimes one suggestion sparks another that leads you to where you ultimately want to go.

As much as possible, allow the team to come up with the ideas. Help steer them in the right direction.

4.  Deliver your ideas in the form of questions.

Rather than say, “Here’s an idea…”  Instead, present your ideas in the form of a question, allowing the team to react to it.  I remember when we were working on our series called “Five 4 The Fight” which focused on five scriptures dealing with Spiritual Warfare.  I had an idea that we needed to do a “boxing theme” with this series.  Well, instead of  walking into the room and announcing,“We need to do a boxing theme.”  I said, “We’re talking about spiritual attacks.  It’s you against the devil.  What’s a modern, tangible way that we can illustrate that one-on-one fight for kids?”  The team naturally gravitated toward Boxing (although one guy wanted to go the direction of WWE Wrestling, but we quickly passed that up, LOL).

Now, if the team isn’t moving forward and you want to insert your idea, you can even be more direct in your questions if you need to.  “Would boxing be a good metaphor for a one-on-one spiritual fight with the devil?”  Then, when the team begins to talk about it, they will start to feel ownership of the idea.  The creativity will flow much smoother that way than if you dictated what the topic was going to be.

 5.  Don’t be afraid to “table” the discussion

We all have deadlines.  Sometimes, there can be a LOT of pressure to not walk away from the meeting without ALL the creative ideas fleshed out.  Although it can be helpful to “press on” at times, other times it is better to just walk away for a period.  Take a break.  Go for a walk together.  Come back tomorrow, if you can.  It is often better to walk away to “sharpen the saw” than to keep trying to cut down the tree with a dull blade.  Meeting a deadline no-matter-what can often result in a poor product.  Don’t let yourself make that mistake.  Walk away, get refreshed, then return to knock it out.

Well, those are just five principles I use when leading my Creative Team.  Do you work with a team to help you in the creative process?  What are some of the things you have learned that you could share with this community?  Please LEAVE A COMMENT and share with us!

“All About Time Change” (parody of “All About That Bass”)

Every year, our church does a great job at poking fun of Time Change Sunday (the day that clocks Spring an hour forward and for some reason people freak out because they are losing an hour of sleep).  To keep people from forgetting and ultimately being late for church that day, we create crazy videos to remind everyone.

The last few years, we have done parody songs and videos of the hottest pop songs of the day.  Well, this year is no different.  For your entertainment, here is a parody of “All About That Bass” (yes, we are fully aware of what the song is actually about and we don’t endorse the message – which is why we changed the lyrics).  After all, it’s “All About Time Change” – NO SNOOZING!

 

Wanna see some of our other videos from past years?  Here are a few below:

Time Change-ian Rhapsody”

“Call Me, Wake Me”

“On Time Style”

Kids Ministry “Meatloaf”

kids-ministry-meatloaf

A mother was making meatloaf with her teenage daughter, a ritual they’ve been doing together for years.  As part of the tradition, the two chefs cut the end off one side of the meatloaf before putting it in the oven.  One day, the teen asks, “Mom, why do we cut the end off the meatloaf before we put it in the oven?”

Taken by surprise, the mom began to think.  She really wasn’t sure of the reason, but she had observed her own mother do this many times when she made meatloaf.  So, the teen and the mother called up Grandma to find the answer.  After a brief laugh, the grandmother admitted that she didn’t really know the answer either; she’d learned the technique from her mother.  Their curiosity sparked, the three went to visit Great-Grandma in the nursing home where she lived.  Upon hearing the question, the 98-year-old great-grandmother roared with laughter.  “I have no idea why YOU are cutting the end off the meatloaf!  I used to do it because I didn’t have a big enough pan!”

We laugh at this story, but how many of us could take a long hard look at our Kids Ministry and find that we are still doing many things the same way after many years only because we saw someone else do it that way in the past.  It would do us all some good to look at our ministry with a microscope and find out how many areas we are “cutting the meat loaf” in.

It’s time to question the status quo.  Look at the programs, processes, and systems in your Kids Ministry.  Many things may have made sense in the past, but are no longer relevant.  Not everything is a “meatloaf”, but many things are.  It’s important to ask yourself the question so you know where the “meatloaf” is in your ministry.

What are some areas in your ministry that you have discovered were “meatloaf” in the past?  Share your experiences in the comments section.  Let’s learn from one another…

Get A FREE Copy Of My New E-Book, “Kidminnovation”

Facebook-Ad

I have been waiting on this day for a long time!  Today, I release my brand new e-book, “Kidminnovation.”  (#Kidmin + Innovation = Kidminnovation)  The message of this book has been building in me for many years.  I had the opportunity to speak at INCM’s “CM Leaders” event two years ago on this subject.  Ever since, I have had many Kidmin Leaders asking me to write more about it and help them unlock the creativity inside of them.

The premise of the book is that EVERYONE has creative potential.

 In Kidmin today, I see so many people falling short of their creative potential.  Innovation is happening in some churches, ministries, and pockets of the Kidmin universe.  But, as a whole, we have been reluctant to embrace the idea of every Kidmin leader as an innovator.

A large part of the problem is that there is an air of mystery and mysticism around the creative process. Because people assume and reinforce the idea that some have creative potential and others don’t, those who do harness their potential and work through the creative process become all the more “different.”  I believe the time is coming when every Kidmin Leader will believe in themselves – AND the God who created them – enough to be able to tap into the innovator that lives in each of them. When that happens, we will change the world!

In this book, I share the “10 Characteristics of a Kidminnovator.”  I also talk about the “Three Creativity Killers” that we should ALL avoid.  In the second half of the e-book, I give “Five Keys To Instantly Improve Your Creative Output.”  Then, I close the book by sharing “The Key To Limitless Creativity.”  If any of these subjects appeal to you, then you should read “Kidminnovation.”

The best part is, for a limited time I am offering this e-Book for FREE!  All you have to do is subscribe to this blog – CLICK HERE to sign up for my weekly e-mail updates!  Not only will you get this book, but you will stay up-to-date with all of the resources I share on this blog AND a couple of bonus surprises!

So, sign up and spread the word!  If you are already an email subscriber to this blog, then you will receive a copy of the e-book in your inbox shortly.  If you don’t, just contact me via the contact page on this blog.  I will make sure it gets to you!

ALSO, you can help me by SPREADING THE WORD!  Would you Tweet and Post on Facebook the following:

Hey  friends!   is giving away FREE copies of his new e-book “Kidminnovation” on his blog 

My team and I will be watching the internet this week!  We will be randomly giving away some incredible prizes to some lucky people who post about it on Social Media (like FREE resources, coupon codes, etc.)  To help us make sure we know about your posts, come back to this blog post and leave a comment telling us that you posted about it!  This is going to be a fun week!

Kindred Creative: It’s Like Having A Full-Time Graphic Artist For Your Ministry

graphic-artist

If you are like me, you are ALWAYS in need of great artwork and graphics!  Many kids are visual learners and need to be immersed in their environment to really experience the truth we are presenting.  Well, as Kids Ministry Leaders, you know how hard it can be to have a professional brand and online presence in ministry.  It’s expensive, resources are difficult to find, and frankly, its confusing!

Well, not anymore!  Enter “Kindred Creative” – owned by a good friend of mine, Kate!  Kate and her husband are full-time ministers (church planters, even) who had these same frustrations 8 years ago.  That’s when they decided to become their own solution and now have decided to share!  Kindred has blossomed into a full blown design firm that works hand in hand with churches and ministries all over the country.  In fact, I (High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources) am a client.  I have used Kate for the last 6 months and have been SUPER satisfied with her work.  She’s fast, efficient, courteous, and GOOD!!!!

Kindred is an effort to resource pastors, churches, and ministries of all sizes.  They aim to provide you and your ministry with a high quality, professional brand that clearly communicates your vision.  Something that clearly communicates your message before you even open your mouth. We strive to offer media solutions that answer ministry specific needs such as sermon series design, social media layout, and web presence that is affordable and easy to manage.

If you’ve found yourself struggling in ministry to keep up with the media game, give them a shout today, and let them come alongside you and make it easy!

CHECK OUT Kindred’s WEBSITE: http://www.kindredcanvas.com/

(THIS IS NOT A PAID ADVERTISEMENT!  I am posting this because I believe in Kindred Creative and am a majorly satisfied client!)

Kate (of Kindred Creative) and her family

 

YOUR WINNER: Here’s The Cover Of My New Book: “KIDMINNOVATION”

KIDMINNOVATION-BOOK-COVER

Thanks to the scores of people who took time to vote on the “Pick My Book Cover” contest earlier this week.  It was overwhelming – you chose #3 (pictured above).

This is a book that I believe will inspire many Kidmin Leaders to become more innovative in their approach to ministry.  It will enable many to rediscover the creative person that God created them to be!!  Keep your eyes and ears open for future information regarding release date and how YOU can get a copy!  Coming SOON!

 

 

Our NEW Kidmin Stage – Why We Did What We Did

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Four weeks ago, we tore down the Kidmin stage we had used for the past decade.  It was a tough decision.  So many memories of many kids’ lives being changed around that stage.  However, it was time.  If you want to know WHY we tore down what seemed to be a perfectly good stage, see THIS POST.

Yesterday, we unveiled our NEW Kidmin stage.  It is a significantly different approach.  Many have asked what made us go the direction we went, so I thought I would document our thoughts here.  Of course, I understand that every environment depends heavily on size, budget, and context.  So, this is not a manifesto on how every Kidmin environment should be. It is a list of the thoughts that led us to do what we did.  Enjoy!

1.  It’s simple. – Our old stage was so elaborate and overwhelming in its theme and look that it often overwhelmed the message and theming of a particular teaching series.  We were unable to really theme for each teaching series because anything we added to the stage was swallowed by the color and personality of the stage itself.

2.  It’s versatile – We didn’t want to be “locked in” to a particular look for a long time.  Too often, churches spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on theming a room so that they can “compete with Disney.”  The problem is, Disney targets an audience that visits their environment once a year (or less often than that).  People don’t get tired of a look when they only visit annually.  However, kids tire of a particular look very quickly when they see it EVERY WEEK.  We wanted to be able to set the room up in a different way depending on our needs.  This stage design (from Cinemation Design) is basically a giant LEGO set.  We can mix and match and rearrange each piece however we want.  Plus, we can purchase additional pieces down the road with minimal cost.

3.  It’s tough – Our old set was covered in styrofoam and then painted with a hardening “foam coat.”  It had a tendency to chip and peel when kids ran their hands across it (which kids tend to do).  This stage is aluminum framed with sturdy wood tiles that are virtually indestructible.  Each section of the main stage is designed to hold over 1,000 lbs on its own.

4.  It’s timeless – When we built our old set, we modeled it after a design that was very “Nickelodeon.”  Ten years later, it resembled “Nick Jr.” more than it did “Nick.”  This stage allows us to continue to simply add inexpensive deco pieces and keep up with the changing looks of today’s kid culture without breaking the bank.

5.  It’s technological – The entire stage comes alive because the pieces are covered in “milk glass”, an opaque plexiglass that has LED lights behind it.  Each week (or each song) can have a totally different look with the touch of a button.  The entire room changes because the “look” is established by the lighting.  When new lights come out, we can replace them and achieve whatever the latest technology allows.  Not too far down the road, we hope to install “Environmental Projection” in the room.  The entire area above the black portion of the wall will become a giant image screen.  We will be able to project whatever picture, image, moving video, etc. that we wish.  At that point, the entire ROOM comes alive.

6.  It’s economical – Now, I understand that when I say that there will undoubtedly be those who say, “Ha!  My church could never afford that!”  I encourage you to talk to my friends at Cinemation Design about what they can do for you.  They have been able to totally transform even the smallest of rooms.  We had originally talked to one of the popular “theming companies” about doing our room.  If we would have went with them, we would have spent almost five times what we spent and we wouldn’t have had the versatility that we have now.

We are very excited about being able to use our new stage to communicate the Gospel to a new generation of kids.  We are thankful for a church and a pastor who believe in Kids Ministry to an amazing degree.  So many families and individuals sacrificed to give in order to make this happen.  They invested in this generation, and we are eternally thankful.

So, what do YOU look for in a stage design?  What are some NON-NEGOTIABLES for you?  What are you looking for in your next phase of stage design?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.  It is important that we all learn from each other!  Thanks for joining in the conversation!

For those of you interested, here is a time-lapse video of the entire process.  Also, below that is our first “unveil” for the kids – very fun!