Wednesday, November 01, 2006


My brother-in-law was always fond of saying, "if necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father." I'm not sure what motivated us to change our stage design, but maybe it was a little of both. You see, like hundreds of other churches across the nation, we don't have the size or the budget to build a million dollar, multi-media, special effects filled wonderland for our children. I'm not knocking churches that do that--God has obviously blessed them with the resources to connect with kids on a Disney-land like level. And most of the pastors and children's workers from these churches will tell you that their ministries boil down to relationship! So the "wow" factor may differ in different churches of different sizes, but we have the same mission. End of sermon on "Philosophy of Children's Ministry". Now where was I?

Oh yeah...necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the father! The last time we designed our stage, we played up our ministry theme of "Building His Kingdom, Reaching His Kids." One of our KidServants (who also happens to be an elder) works for a local contractor. I asked for street and road construction signs. He came through. Before long, we had the stage decked out:

It was good, it was colorful, it was fun. But since our children's ministry takes place in our fellowship hall, everything has to be moved whenever there is a special event. Thus it came to pass in the fullness of time (usually on Friday afternoons), that I had to "strike set"...a process that took over an hour. And then, on Saturday night, the stage had to be reassembled. I was glad to do it, but I kept thinking, "when we get to the point when we want to refurbish the stage, let's go for simple."

Well, the time came. Our ministry theme is the same, but we opted for a less cluttered appearance. One of our first tasks was to clear out everything...a task that made the stage even more cluttered.

Before finishing the stage, we wanted to do a couple of things in the room itself. We don't have a picture of it, but we moved a set of red, blue, and yellow blocks (previously props on the stage) to the floor as reading benches near our bookrack. We set up a table on the floor to put one of our games--after covering it with a colorful table cloth purchased from the dollar store.

We wanted some smaller, kid-sized tables. Our contractor brother came through again with three black cable spools. On the church work day, we put some teens to work with spray paint:

Then our friend glued a clear solid plastic sheet over one end to make the surface flat. The result: three cool looking kid station tables:

During the church work day, the men were going to toss out a table that had been used as a counter in our day care center. It had a beautiful top and it seemed like a shame to throw it out. So I claimed it. A fresh coat of paint, a foam board sign with cardboard letters purchased from a school supply store, and ta-daaa: our new check-in table:

As for the stage, we got rid of most everything. One of our former high school students, who happened to be active in set design, made some lightweight, portable backdrops that we can move, paint, re-paint, turn-around, whatever we have need of. Our plans called for dark curtains on either side of the stage (front to back). A very talented seamstress in our church made the curtains at a fraction of what it would cost us to special order them. The transformation was startling:

No, we're not really done. As long as good people have ideas, we will keep adjusting and changing and upgrading. We're wanting to integrate our sound system and computer system. There's talk of getting a projector system and mounting a screen.

But in the end, these kids and their friends is what its about...building His kingdom, reaching His kids!