Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We are visitors (part 2)
One of the first things we noticed when we went into the churches is what I call the welcome factor. Actually this is comprised of many areas all coming together to give an overall impression of "welcome-ness."
One of these areas is obvious: the condition of the building. So many "behind the scenes" people play a part in this one. Cleaning/maintaining a church building is a thankless job -- and sometimes an unpaid one.
The funny thing about this area is that it goes absolutely unnoticed unless it's not done properly. Most churches focus on presenting a clean foyer, sanctuary, offices, etc. But sometimes the Children's Ministry rooms leave a bit to be desired... (and don't even get me started on the bathrooms!)
It's not uncommon to see the sides of a Children's Church room(s) stacked with toys, past object lessons, puppets, miscellaneous papers, etc. This is especially difficult in the Children's Ministry because so many different activities take place in one room... and each one requires props, materials, etc.
But few things make a visitor feel more uneasy than sending their child into a room that is unkempt. It gives the impression that the entire program is in disarray or second-rate, at best.
A simple solution is to provide closets or storage rooms specifically for the Children's Ministry to use. Or they could be given storage cabinets that could actually be placed in the room. But these need to be organized in such a way that they don't become giant trash cans.
Another solution, although one that requires more effort, is to regularly organize the storage areas. Then you just need to find a place to either donate or recycle equipment that is either broken or no longer used. If you ask for volunteers to repair damaged equipment, you'll often find willing ones. And other volunteers with organizational gifts may be willing to help with cleanup and with rearranging the storage areas.