4 Ways to Make Your Environments Attractive


Do you create a compelling place that people want to return to the next week?

The most important thing we can do to create a place people want to come back to is make sure our environment are amazing. It’s numero uno, there isn’t anything bigger, and it’s never 2nd place to anything! The environment is the place people are going. It’s the smells the smell, the sounds they hear, the things they see, and the people they interact with. It’s the parking lot, the front doors, the hallway and the classrooms.

Simply put, the environment is EVERYTHING someone experiences when they visit you. Everything. This isn’t a Children’s Ministry truth, this is a church-wide element. Here are 4 ways to make your environments better!

1. Make it Noisy. Music matters. It’s only bad if it’s missing, too loud, or too quiet. Think of grocery stores, doctors offices, and being on hold with an operator. Music calms, it’s setups something important, and it paints the walls of the mind.

2. Make it Easy.  Do we make it easy for parents to get into our spaces, and do we make it quick? I’ve been in some amazingly beautiful hallways that had such an unorganized check-in process that you’d never notice how pretty those walls were. If parents can’t find where to go, and how to get there quickly, then they won’t be happy. Just think of your first time somewhere new. You want in and you want out, and you want to do both of them as fast as possible!

3. Make it Fun. A great environment should include the sound of someone laughing, and I’m not talking the evil Disney movie  villain  laughing. It should be a fun place to be. For you it may be a play structure, or maybe a fun bus stop bench at check-in, or video games setup somewhere. Fun alone won’t do much good, but fun can be the entry door to get kids to keep dragging their parents back to church.

4. Make it Safe. Would you like every parent to know that you love their child? Then work hard to create a safe and secure environment. Background checks, pick-up receipts, locked doors during service time, and security at every exit are just the basics. If you’re not doing these things, and more, then you’re not speaking a parents love language.


I Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that  by all means I might save some.  

It’s Hard to Get to Church Sometimes

Sunday Morning

In the book, Zombies, Football and the Gospel, Reggie Joiner talks of how Sunday’s are now a day to watch football, be with family, and do just about anything else but church. I know that this varies from one city to another, but the reality is that most just don’t feel the need to be at your church every week.

Have you imagined all that happens before someone even arrives at your church for the first time?

  • They have to convince family members to attend.  Maybe it’s a cranky teenager, or a detached spouse. Most in a family will not visit a church for the first time by themselves. They’re going to try and get someone to go with them.
  • They have to wake up early, when maybe they don t usually do so. So you have a Saturday or Sunday night service…that’s not normal for the weekend warrior either. No matter the time or day you meet, you’re still asking someone to do something they wouldn’t normally do at a time that they wouldn’t normally do anything.
  • They have the challenge of getting kids ready before arriving. This isn’t even easy for those of us that attend every weekend.
  • Walked into a place where only a few know their name, and the smaller church the more of a challenge this is for visitors.

But, you know what? That’s allright. It is what it is. The question to ask yourself is a personal, and more self-directed one.

“Do you create a compelling place that people want to return to the next week?

All of those ‘reasons it’s hard to get to church’ above are  legitimate   but there is also something bigger at play. The people that visit your church for the first time and press through those reasons have something compelling them to be there. Maybe something has been sparked in their lives that  compels  them to do what they never thought they’d do.

Don t lose fact of the truth that many of the  people who visit are coming because they need something and do not yet know what that is.


Orange Conference 2013

Orange 2012

For this year’s Orange Conference I will be experiencing it from a very unique angle. For the past 5 years, I’ve had to get on an airplane, rent a car, drive through Atlanta traffic, and bum a hotel couch off a friend just to be there. This year my house and family are 38 miles away from the Gwinnett Center. I’m going to be there, and I’m excited for it to be in my own backyard.

I hope you’d consider the ONE conference for children’s workers, senior pastors, student leaders, small group leaders, volunteers, preschool directors, and family ministry directors. This year Orange has added a special NextGen/Family Ministry track for those leading the whole team of family ministry, and when you see the list of speakers for that track…Woah!

In honor of a special Orange Week with a ton of other bloggers, Orange would like to giveaway a free Year Subscription to YouLead.

Check out the resources you can find now in the new YouLead:

ISSUES A collection of media tools focused on a core topic.
Each  Issue  provides resources for you and your team, including book previews, podcasts, videos and case studies along with prewritten emails to send to your volunteers—all centered around a topic, like: creating a family experience, developing a Small Group culture and focusing your message.

SESSIONS Selected messages from ministry experts
Sessions  are featured podcasts from Orange Events that will help answer specific questions you have in ministry. For example: How do I create an environment on a budget? How do I make a big impact on families with special needs? How do I recruit and retain great volunteers?

CULTURE Executive Summaries and Book Previews
We are learning from the best!  Culture  provides you with case studies and best practices from organizations such as Pixar, IKEA and Zappos that have relevant application to your family ministries. Also, we provide Book Previews of titles like  The Way We re Working Isn t Working, Choosing to Cheat,and  Switch  to help you sharpen your leadership skills and be on the cutting edge.

SOCIAL Messages and images that inspire volunteers
Social  gives you tools to connect weekly with your volunteers. We have created messages and images that will help your volunteers learn, live, lead and laugh. Plus, these pieces will help you stay connected and cast vision!

PREZ Strategic presentations to train teams
Prez  is designed to help you become more effective in your presentations to leaders and volunteers. It provides you with a graphic package and/or audio or video file to help you enhance your PowerPoint or Prezi presentation—and in some cases, we will even include a complete Prezi presentation—a cloud-based presentation and storytelling tool for exploring and sharing ideas on a virtual canvas.

PLUS Random stuff leaders want
Plus  provides you with a variety of random resources that you will love. It includes podcasts that explain the Orange Strategy, bumper videos to enhance environments and curriculum tools to equip you and your team.

For samples and the complete YouLead Resource Catalog, click  here!

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Give a Parent a Break


Many of us that work at churches are guilty of giving parents the hardest time of anyone. Don’t believe me? Well, have you ever had the following thoughts:

Why are they always so late?  

I hate it when they pick their kid up early, right before the good part.

If these parents only knew how messed up their teenager was they’d get them to church more often!

Can you imagine what would happen if all these parents decided to show up on the same Sunday?

If those were my kids I would (insert really smart parenting thing here.)

Why do I even try to send them emails? They never read them.

I’m guilty, you’re guilty, and we’re all guilty together. For just a second we should consider that maybe, just maybe…it’s a HUGE win that they attempted to come. Maybe we could give parents some credit for deciding to be there, even if they decide to leave early. Maybe we could give parents some credit for trying, even if the trying seems half-hearted. Could we please stop complaining when they don’t engage us at every…single…solitary…event?

I’m learning to have enough faith in my church, my God, and myself to know that if they just keep trying; they will find it. If they can find confidence in my smile, then good for them. If they could be inspired by what I don’t say, but they know I’m thinking…then even better.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve watched the organization Plywood People from a distance over the past few years, and I love what they do and all that they’re about.  I was excited to find out that their director Jeff Shinabarger is  releasing a book this March entitled  More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity.  In anticipation of that book they have released a preview video titled, “Enough Time.”

HT:  Bearings.  Check out entire  the story on Bearings here.