By Gail Marsh
Labor Day (Monday, September 4)
- Make a special effort to recognize the members of your church staff who usually work behind the scenes. Consider creating a thank-you bulletin insert with their names and a brief bio of each member. Or, dedicate the altar flowers to the group and give each individual one of CTA’s Christian worker appreciation gifts on the Sunday before Labor Day.
- Invite young children to dress as their favorite laborer on Sunday, September 3. During Sunday school time, discuss Colossians 3:23, emphasize the importance of all occupations, and pray for workers everywhere. Form a “worker parade” to end your time together. (Hint: you may want to provide hats or props for those children who forget to come in costume.)
- Arrange a special campout or rafting trip for Labor Day weekend. Invite all families with campers or tents, and reserve cabins for others. Encourage families to fish, float, and have fun together. Check out this article to get ideas for group activities. Plan to provide hot dogs and hamburgers, and invite families to bring other fixings for potluck dinners together. End each day with a group devotion (CTA offers FREE devotions here) and make the evening fun for the kids by handing out CTA’s glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
Back to School
- A new school year is the perfect time for kids to begin their collection of CTA’s My Faith Story dog tags. Plan to take the last few minutes of each Sunday school or midweek session to talk about the dog tag for the week. Encourage children to work toward earning it by the following Sunday!
- During a Sunday service in August, call all college students up to the altar for a sending prayer, asking Jesus to protect and provide for these young people during their time away from home. Then, send them back to school with a CTA Journey On, Never Alone power bank charger.
- Invite college-bound students to partner with a church member during the coming school term. The church volunteer will regularly pray for the student, send e-mails or texts of encouragement, and perhaps mail a care package each quarter.
- Invite children in your community to join you in a backpack blessing prayer service before school begins. Remember, CTA created a few prayers and worship ideas for back- to-school services - download them for FREE! Encourage all students to bring their backpacks to the altar and pray for the coming school year. Then, hand participants a whistle key chain with flashlight to attach to their backpacks as a reminder of Christ’s presence, power, and love.
- Ask parents to pick up one extra set of school supplies as they shop for their kids this back-to-school season. Gather these extra supplies, pack them into backpacks, and deliver to students in need.
- Check out CTA’s new Fall Festival event outlines. The outlines give several ideas for Jesus time, crafts, games, snacks, and more. These FREE resources make planning and hosting a community Halloween Alternative event easy!
- Add these three new activities to your regular festival repertoire:
- “Sheriff and Deputies” is a fun, ongoing activity. Your pastor or youth leader can serve as Sheriff, “arresting” festival participants and putting them in “jail.” For more fun, allow the Sheriff to deputize other festival participants (children or adults) by pinning on a paper “Deputy” star. In order to be released from “jail,” the prisoners must say a Bible verse, name a person in the Bible, sing “Jesus Loves Me,” or provide other nonthreatening “bail.”
- Every hour, on the hour, ring a bell or sound some other signal that calls children to an open area where a piñata is hanging. Let participants take turns attempting to break the piñata and allow everyone to grab some of the goodies! CTA offers some great items to put inside your piñata - check out Scripture candy, bracelets, and magnets. (For very young children, consider an easy-to-open string piñata.)
- Dress a volunteer in a clownlike costume that features several pockets. “Mr. Pockets” or “Mrs. Pockets” then walks around the festival and gives children prizes from the pockets. CTA offers many pocket-size giveaways like the Shine Bright, Little Light LED finger light and slap bracelet.
- Invite artists, crafters, quilters, and woodworkers to sell their creations at your Fall Festival. Instead of a booth-rental fee, suggest that they donate 10% of their proceeds to your ministry.
- Choose a few festival activities to take to your local retirement home. After the games, invite your ministry’s teens to interview residents as they recount fall memories from their past. Conclude your time together with snacks and a guessing game. Ask questions based upon the earlier interviews, like: Who once drove a tractor for a hayride? Which resident was an apple-dunking champion? Who won a prize for her Halloween costume contest?
- Do you have an out-of-town speaker coming in for your event? Consider giving her a collection of welcome gifts: a small pack of tissues, breath mints, bottled water, hand sanitizer, trail mix, and a handwritten welcome note that includes your name and contact information. Place all of the items inside a welcome bag. (She might not have suitcase space to take home a basket or box - no matter how beautifully you’ve decorated it!)
- Check out CTA’s new men’s ministry retreat theme: Man of God: Renewed for Life. This FREE retreat guide will help you plan a meaningful event that encourages men of all ages and life stages to grow in faith. Consider giving each participant a few take-home gifts to keep his focus on Jesus - a microfiber screen cleaning cloth, travel mug, or a book of 25 brief devotions.
- Did you know that CTA can customize t-shirts, caps, and even wallets and purses to reflect your retreat theme? Check out all of the offerings at Custom Connections today!
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