10 Fantastic Fall Kickoff Ideas for Children’s Ministry

Here are 10 classic fall children’s ministry kickoff ideas to help you start a winning season of ministry to children.

The school year is kicking back into gear. If you’re a children’s ministry director, you need to have your team recruited, trained, organized, and excited about all that God is going to do in the lives of children this year.

We have 10 tried-and-true ideas to help you start a phenomenally faith-enriching year for children and their families. You’ll find everything from organizing crafts for lessons to intentionally growing friendships with kids, to ways to grow in your leadership!

1. Revamped Roll Call

Accurate attendance and follow-up can be difficult for teachers with all they have to do during class time. So we solved this problem by putting one person in charge of attendance for each service. This person takes a clipboard with attendance lists for each class. The helper goes to each room to take attendance and fill out visitor information cards for new children.

After all the attendance is taken, the helper checks the list for kids who’ve been absent for more than one week in a row. The helper then addresses and stamps a postcard for each absent child and gives it to the appropriate teacher at the end of the service. The teachers then write personal notes to the missing children and mail the cards that week. This has worked tremendously well and has been a real improvement in our organization.

Amy McMunn
Lambertville, Michigan

2. Resource Closet

Our church members have been very generous in offering craft items, such as paper towel rolls, fabric remnants, and egg cartons, to use with the children. So we needed a place to store and organize all the stuff to maximize its usefulness. We cleaned out and painted an unused room, put in plastic shelving, and bought plastic baskets from a dollar store. We organized the resources so like items were together. Then we let our teachers and volunteers know about the room. This has been quite useful all year—and especially at vacation Bible school time. Getting organized is the perfect kickoff idea for fall!

Annie Yelton
Charlotte, North Carolina

3. Information Binder

To help me get to know kids better, I’ve created a class notebook.

First of all, I help each first-grade girl fill out a get-to-know-you sheet with questions about her address, phone, family, interests, and more. I put all these forms in a three-ring binder.

Behind each girl’s information sheet, I put a few sheets of lined paper to record when I call or send notes or cards to the child. I try to write or call each girl at least every other week. When I send a note, I send along the week’s memory verse, and I also tell something fun we’ll be doing the following week in class. Or I comment on something the girl told me in class or on an upcoming event in her life. This makes the girls feel very special.

In my binder, I also keep my class’s attendance record, notepads in fun colors, stickers to put on the outside of envelopes, and bookmarks to surprise the girls.

Amy Szlapak
Columbus, Ohio

4. Mystery Person

Our children’s church averages 40 to 45 children each week, but many individuals don’t attend every week. To encourage a family feeling even though kids are in and out, we feature a Mystery Person each Sunday.

The kids each fill out Mystery Person forms that tell us their favorite colors, foods, school subjects, and more. Each week, we choose a form of a child who is present that day. As we read the clues one by one, the kids try to guess who the Mystery Person is.

We review the rules each week:

  • No saying “yuck!” to the Mystery Person’s favorites.
  • Only one guess per child.
  • When you realize you’re the Mystery Person, keep cool. Even guess somebody else.
  • Everyone gets a piece of candy, and the Mystery Person and the one who identifies the Mystery Person each get two pieces.

Our children look forward to this every week. We all benefit from getting to know each other better, and we’ve found out some amazing things about our children. We’ve even asked our senior pastor and the children of our missionaries to fill out forms for us so we can feature each of them as our Mystery Person at different times.

Debbie Rowley
Santa Ana, California

5. Children’s Rally

For our fall kickoff idea, we hold a Children’s Rally. We serve a free spaghetti dinner with all of the fixings and invite neighborhood families, our day care families, and folks within our church body. We have a team of people who love to cook, so they volunteer their time to prepare and serve the meal. They make homemade spaghetti, tossed salad with dressing and croutons, garlic bread, and brownies.

We set up tables at one end of our fellowship hall for our meal and tables at the other end that serve as booths. Ministry leaders run the booths, and booths have information on all the programs we offer to minister to children, our partnerships with area elementary schools, upcoming events, parenting classes, and family fun nights. At each booth, kids get candy, balloons, and informational handouts. Parents can also sign up to receive additional information or to help out in each area of ministry.

We make sure this is the only event scheduled so we have plenty of room. We also open up Sunday school classrooms and ask teachers to be present, so our Children’s Rally is an open house, too.

Because we provide a meal and child care, parents are willing to invest time in this event. It’s a huge success, and we plan to do it each year to kick off our ministry season and to promote how we love God’s kids!

Brenda Stearns

6. Book Club

I like to include professional growth in my fall kickoff plan. When making goals for the new ministry year, I often include a few goals for my professional growth. Countless times I’ve made it my aim to read books that I know will be of great benefit to my growth as a children’s minister. But much to my disappointment, 365 days fly by, and I’ve barely opened a book. Well, not this year!

In the St. Louis area, I’m starting a children’s ministers book club. During the course of the year, we’ll read four to six books together. We’ll meet every other month to have lunch and discuss ways we can implement what we’ve read. That’ll give us 50 to 60 days to read each book. Our club will most likely run with the school year since most children’s ministers’ summer schedules are so busy.

Here’s a sample outline we’ll follow for our discussions:

  • What was your overall impression of this book?
  • What are the most valuable insights you gleaned from reading this book?
  • Are there any points at which you disagree with the author?
  • What did you learn that you want to apply to your ministry?
  • What challenged you the most?
  • Is there anything you didn’t understand?

If you want to start a book club, call a few colleagues in your area and make yourself accountable to reading in the new school year!

Lori Salomo
Ballwin, Missouri

7. Mentor Relationships

To encourage preteens and teenagers to serve and to train them to be leaders, we invite children to team up with mentor teachers in the kindergarten department. Each mentor teacher works with a child, builds a relationship with the child, and provides an opportunity for the child to actually teach the mentor teacher’s small group during class time. We give the children special name tags to set them apart from the younger children. And we give them special recognition at our annual volunteer appreciation event.

Samme Rousopoulos
Indianapolis, Indiana

8. Crafting Parents

If you’re not looking forward to all the crafts you’ll need to coordinate for the upcoming school year’s lessons, use this fall kickoff idea to get some help.

Ask a few parents of children in your class to periodically help prepare crafts for your lessons.

Make a list of future lessons and corresponding crafts. Assign each parent a different craft to prepare, gather supplies for, and teach to the children. Encourage parents to come up with new crafts if they don’t like the crafts in their lessons.

This brings fresh ideas to your class. And children love having their parents in the classroom. It also encourages parents who might want to help but aren’t sure how to get started.

Post a sign-up sheet so you give teenagers and college students the chance to sign up, too. And remember to send thank-you notes to all helpers and volunteers.

Here’s another idea: Parents who don’t do crafts (like many dads) may want to plan and lead games instead.

Deedra Mettlen
Liberty, Texas

9. Photo Recruiting

We discovered a great way to impact our church members during recruiting time for our new church year. Because most people don’t see all our children together at one time, we decided to show people what a great group of preschoolers we have.

Using our church’s digital camera, (and with parents’ permission) I took a photo of each of our 145 preschoolers. We then downloaded the photos to the computer and enlarged each one to an 8×10 print. We mounted each photo on a brightly colored sheet of paper and laminated the mounted photos.

Near our front entrance, we made a display using all the photos with the slogan “Here are 145 good reasons to serve in children’s ministry! Get the picture?”

This display was a hit! I heard many people say, “I didn’t realize we had that many preschoolers!”

Janet Butler
Independence, Missouri

10. Whose Policy Is It, Anyway?

One important idea for your fall kickoff should be ensuring safety in your children’s ministry. Here’s a fun way to get your volunteers to become experts in your ministry’s policies and procedures.

You’ll need:

  • several copies of your volunteer handbook
  • one hat or bowl with several slips of paper, each containing a challenge that your handbook addresses, such as “You’re out of construction paper,” “Two children get in a fight, and one gets a bloody nose,” or “A parent tells you Johnny is deathly allergic to peanut oil”
  • one hat or bowl containing slips of paper listing movie and TV genres, such as soap opera, low-budget action movie, western, or infomercial

Form groups of four. Have each group draw one slip of paper from each hat or bowl. Instruct groups to first find the solutions to their ministry challenges in their ministry handbooks. Once group members find the solution, their next job is to create a skit to present their findings using the movie or TV genre they drew.

Give the groups 10 minutes to prepare. Then have groups present their skits one at a time. After each skit, provide any other pertinent information that may have been missed in the drama. Your volunteers will have a blast and will actually read their handbooks.

It is also important to conduct background checks on each of your volunteers to also ensure safety in your children’s ministry.

Note: Some policy matters shouldn’t be explored using this exercise. Avoid discussing your child abuse reporting policies and other sensitive subjects with this activity.

Larry Shallenberger
Erie, Pennsylvania

Resources in this article:
  • DIG IN Children’s Church: Introducing an all-new curriculum with activities designed for kid-friendly worship! Children’s Church can be a standalone curriculum or go hand-in-hand with DIG IN Sunday School.
  • The Giant Book of Games for Children’s Ministry:  Each of the 200+ games in this book is specifically designed to deepen kids’ understanding of a Bible point or concept while evoking emotion through fun and unexpected experiences.
  • Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks: Ensure the safety and security of your ministry with Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks, offering compliant and accredited background checks through First Advantage, starting at just $9!

Looking for more fall ideas? Check these out!

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