For those of you who do not run year round, your Sunday school year is quickly coming to an end. There is much to be done in a short amount of time. Celebrate is number #1- your children and youth learned so much about God’s love! Thanking those dedicated volunteers is an important component each year. And of course, evaluation, inventory and reports, all essential to a successful future!
It is an excellent idea to conclude with a special celebration. We are going to explore this idea for two groups, children/youth and volunteers.
For small and elementary aged children, arrange to have them perform a musical number or play or puppetry display that they have practiced. It would be wonderful if you choose something that summarizes the theme of the curriculum taught during the year or uses a general theme such as Learning to live as Jesus taught us– or Love God and your neighbor-invite parents, share with the congregation. How many of your congregation members who are NOT involved in Christian Education know what happens during your Christian Education time? Having your children share their experiences and knowledge with the entire church community will be a special moment for all. Here is a great craft/puppet idea for the preschoolers- SHEEP PUPPETS!
For school aged children or high school youth, expand your teaching and put it in action! Explain what it means to act or do as we have been taught..Bethe Church…prepare a service project in advance and have them follow through the last Sunday and offer the thought of being of service to others over the summer – it’s never too early to begin giving back to the community. They will be messengers of God’s love and teaching. Encourage this concept farther by connecting it to a welcome back project. Add to your mission work by having the kids craft and give a cross to those they serve!
Follow both of these activities with a reception of lemonade and fruit kabobs or cookies!
For ALL your Christian Education Volunteers the key to happiness is expressing appreciation!
Acknowledge them during the worship service and also send a personal note thanking them for their ministry.
It would be fitting to invite them to a reception or end of year party, including spouses and children, or maybe provide childcare at the church. Even better, include the entire congregation at an end of Sunday school picnic. Our Facebook reader, Corey, does this. Her church holds an end of Sunday School Banquet with special places of honor for certain grades and a student/adult bible trivia game. “It is a great night of fun and fellowship, celebration and love.” The whole church community can celebrate the children and Christian Education Teachers. Connections and relationships made here help spread the Good News.
Does your church have a monthly newsletter? Please list your volunteers and their assignments and thank them in the newsletter following the close of your program, and of course, bless them, pray for them and thank them during the service. This may result in repeat volunteers next year! It may also cause a domino effect, a hidden bonus, some people may be more willing to volunteer in the future if they see the name of someone they know that has volunteered in the past!
Now it’s time to think about “behind -the -scenes “. Do you have a group of devoted individuals who plan during the summer and help execute your Christian education program? Gather your team and start some evaluation of the past year.
During this wrap-up meeting ask the following questions.
What was successful this year? What didn’t work as well as expected? What should we incorporate in our program for next year? How did our volunteers fare? Did we give them enough material and training to be effective? Did we have enough volunteers? Did our children flourish? Were they excited to come to church school? What about the participants. How many children came each week? Were there attendance trends? How can we increase attendance next year? How will we make more families aware of our ministry? Make note of adjustments to your program for the following year based on these assessments.
This is also a good time to take inventory of your supplies and materials.
At this meeting, wear work clothes! Once you are knee deep in supplies, clean out and organize! Remove outdated or damaged material…some items can be donated to needy organizations! Keep an inventory of stored supplies so you do not purchase items you already have in storage! We have found it beneficial to place most of the supplies in clear container and label them. This method makes clean up and returning materials more efficient also! This whole process can usually be done with a team of 4-8 volunteers. It is wise to ask people who participate in the planning or teaching, those who use the supplies. Order new supplies from Guildcraft Arts & Crafts. Try the Quik Stix- tempera paint that dries in 90 seconds….really!
Can we ever skip the paperwork?
Consider drafting an end of the year report. It will be helpful for you to summarize the program and expenses before you plan the following year’s program. The assessment and evaluation process comes in handy here. What changes do you anticipate next year, how will that effect your program and your expenses. Does your treasurer need a budget report? It is essential to know how much you spent on materials to budget for your Christian education ministry the following year.
And lastly, but certainly not least, pat yourselves on the back for a job well-done! Your energy is noticed by God and the children see God’s example through you! Isn’t that what it’s all about?