Recently, as I was sitting in church, I was transported to the world of VBS, complete with amazing decorations, lively music, and exciting worship that reflected God’s love for us and His incredible work in creating us, saving us, and loving us. After the worship (which was led in large part by the VBS children and teens), families were invited to stay and help with some service projects and have lunch together. It was amazing, and I was thinking about how wonderful this was for my family and for the guests and church members alike to be part of. This morning felt like CHURCH—a community of people hearing the Gospel good news, learning how to walk with God and each other, and serving our community. As someone who has been blessed to lead VBS for the past two decades, I understood and appreciated the work and thoughtful planning that went into the whole worship experience. It made me think, what if Sunday School Kickoff was like VBS?

Imagine the scene I described above. Think of your church and the incredible joy and purpose that you and others feel at the end of a wonderful VBS! Sure, you’re tired, but people were experiencing the joy of Jesus, and the church was filled with singing and laughter and fun! What if Fall Kickoff was like VBS? What if that same heightened excitement and purpose were a part of the culture of your church as you began the important work of teaching and discipling children and parents?

These beginnings do not simply come together at the last moment. Our mission to “go and make disciples of all nations” doesn’t happen without careful thought, planning, discussion, and prayer.  But starting on purpose is a great way to not only build excitement among families and teachers, but also to allow more people to serve and grow together in faith. Here are some ideas to help you create a purposeful environment that will excite kids, teachers, and parents for the year of learning ahead!

Plan Sunday School Kickoff with the End in Mind

  • Design your ideas for decorations, food, service projects, music and gifts for teachers this week. Dream and plan and do a bit of research so you can form a plan.
  • Walk the entrances and routes from the parking lot to the classroom or check-in areas, and from the sanctuary to the classrooms, etc. Where can you post signage to make the registration process happen most smoothly? How clearly are the different classrooms marked? What problems can you eliminate now that will help you on that busy Fall Kickoff day?
  • Consider how your teachers and the students can start the year off on the best footing. I liked giving teachers a small but thoughtful gift for the upcoming year, usually something to do with the theme of the instruction year. It wasn’t usually a pricey gift, but I try to make sure it was thoughtful (which you can do, if you begin thinking about things now!)
  • Begin Fall kickoff with a light breakfast snack in the classrooms and a fun, interactive game for the kids to play to get to know their teacher and the other students better. Remember that the first day of something new can be a bit daunting, and kids handle stress in many ways. Why not break the ice with an interactive activity?

Communicate with Your Ministry Partners

  • From your pastor, office professionals, the custodian, to the Sunday School volunteers and parents, be sure to communicate your plans for Fall Kickoff! Be specific about dates and times, and be sure to get the word out 3-5 weeks ahead of time. Allow families to join you, and they can best do that if they are prepared for it!
  • Maybe your Pastor would like to incorporate a Commissioning of Teachers in the worship service, or have the children sing as a special offering? There are countless creative ways for the whole church community to be a part of the important work of teaching, and with communication, your ministry partners can come up with some exciting opportunities!
  • How can you incorporate a family serving opportunity into Fall Kickoff? Perhaps you can partner with charitable groups, which could both help the community and create purposeful excitement as families are given the chance to serve together in a meaningful way.

These are only a few ideas to make your Fall Kickoff more than a one-day celebration. Starting on purpose will allow greater buy-in and excitement for the many Sundays ahead! All it takes is some thoughtful planning, brainstorming, communication, and prayer! You are in MY prayers as you continue to do this important work! Please comment below to share your ideas for Fall Kickoff!

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