Stories from Local Churches

Be inspired by these stories of local Baptist churches reaching their communities through holiday Kids' Clubs

Hornsby Baptist

For 19 years, Hornsby Baptist Church has been running a Kids Club in the July School Holidays, and every part of the church is transformed into scenes from Narnia! The whole church gets made into a Narnia wonderland, and the kids love it! Imagine the book coming alive to the hearts and minds of kids!

110 kids from the community take part in this real life adventure!

The church morning tea volunteers prepare 3 weeks before, making 1500 sausage rolls for morning tea.  The camaraderie is palpable, said Leanne Shanks, along with her husband, Jono, are the new Pastors at Hornsby Baptist Church. Lots of young adults and youth get involved, and for one young person, it’s the highlight of the year!

The whole morning consists of rotations of quality craft activities, eg, kite making, science, cooking, games, and group teaching time.

God Bless Hornsby Baptist for their faithful service to God and the community!

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Narwee Baptist Church

Narwee Baptist Church goes wild at their Kids’ Holiday Club!  It’s not every day kids get welcomed from their car by a tiger and a bear. And that’s just the start of one action packed morning. Inside bellowed squeals of delight and shouts of laughter, it’s enough to lift any sagging spirits. Seriously though, watching kids having a blast does something to your soul.

With 265 kids attending and 100 volunteer helpers, the church was transformed into a scene from Madagascar!

If I told you they built a broken down plane indoors, a mini golf course, and a slippery dip down a whole flight of stairs, you’d probably not believe me. But yes they did. Who even thinks of that? What craziness exists in the minds of adults?

If I could give out medals, this church would get the purple heart! It’s a whole team effort I know, and while everything in me screams, don’t single any person out, I can’t help it. I’ve just got to say how much I rate Robyn Garlick, the Children’s Worker, who has been solidly serving for 16 years and running Kids Clubs for the same length of time – weekly & holiday clubs.

And can I also name one more, Angelo Gratsounas, their Pastor, who just loves his team and watches the shenanigans with so much pride (in a good way!) What a great testimony and support that must be for the church.

This is not the half of what this team gets up to! Mission trips to run a kids camp in Wellington, kids’ camp, Homework Club, Friday afternoon session and Sunday Stuff! They are busy! And all for JESUS!

Talking to one of the mums, she’s just so stoked that her son comes home singing the God songs! Haha, that’s got to melt the heart of anyone. Who wouldn’t want to live for Jesus? Gotta love Him!

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Blakehurst Baptist

Survivor is the theme this year for Blakehurst Baptist Kids Club.

140 kids from K-6th grade come together all week (9am-12.30pm) for an awesome opportunity to learn about Jesus and have fun at the same time! Woohoo! I wish I was a kid again, if I was, I’d drag my friends along to this crazy set up at Blakehurst Baps.

The whole church gets involved right from the get-go! Suggestions for the theme are collated at least 6 months ahead, the top 5 themes voted for, and the final reveal is all part of the build up for this fabulous event!

Over 60 helpers from the church bring this together, in what is a great display of teamwork and creative gifts.

The kids have their first session all together watching a Survivor drama unfold. They are then divided into 5 groups (age based), and rotated around activities of Teaching, Workshop, Outdoor Activity, Small Groups and Craft.

The whole shabang wraps on Friday Evening, and the parents are treated to a concert style presentation of all that they have learned! Jesus gets an opportunity to have #HisName in lights, as this band of faithful followers preach to the community.

The following Sunday, a Family Service sees a few of those in the community come back for more!

Go Go Blakehurst Baps!

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Mortdale Oatley Baptist

I swung by Mortdale Oatley Baptist Church last week, and had a brain blowout with the facilities and the ministry offered by this church.

I was privleged to watch young girls confidently striding in, ready for the ‘Girls’ outreach program, ages Kinder to 6th grade.

Eight young leaders along with Prue Laney, Melissa Tucker, Robyn Fuller and Benita Clark with support from Katherine Stogden (MLT for Children) team up to run a  1 & 1/2 hour program of games, devotions and cooking/craft in a rotation of about 40 girls. The girls are from 3 local schools that they target with notices in the schools newsletters.

It’s a real testimony to the group that some of today’s leaders were those that started in Kindergarten. They do a similar thing with boys on another night, also having parent nights once a year where families get to meet each other.

What an awesome privilege it is to see people flourish in their leadership, evangelism, teaching and pastoral gifts from just one ministry area! This church can influence three schools. Imagine if every church had even 1 school they were impacting for Jesus?

If everyone was released into their ministry gifts, that’s not too hard to imagine.

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At the 2014 Community Connections Conference, churches gathered to share stories and Kids Club ideas.  Below is a summary from this discussion.

 

Purpose

  • Ask yourself the question: “Why does our church run a Kids’ Club?”
  • Are you achieving that purpose?

 

Timing

  • Kids’ Clubs meet at various times:
    • School holidays (timing varies between holiday clubs – e.g. 8:30-5pm, 9am-3pm, 9-12:30pm)
    • Pupil free days
    • Weekly Kids’ Clubs after school
  • Consider volunteer sustainability when planning timing

 

Cost

  • Weekly Kids’ Clubs range from free through to a few dollars per child. Consider cost for families with multiple children.
  • Holiday Kids’ Clubs are sometimes charged per day (e.g. $15 per child per day) or or week (e.g. $40 for whole week). Note that long day vacation care centres are charging $70-80 including excursions.

 

Advertising

  • How do you let the community know you will be offering a Kids’ Club?
    • Local newspaper
    • Past participants
    • School newsletters (often you can pay to advertise in these). If hard copies of the newsletter are distributed, think about how well any images you use will reproduce in black and white.
    • Scripture classes
    • Church annoucments
    • Church website
  • How far in advance do you need to advertise?
    • Beginning of the term before for holiday kids’ clubs
    • End of the term before for weekly kids’ clubs

 

Recruiting leaders

  • Recruit:
    • Group leaders
    • Activity leaders
    • Connectors at registration desk
  • Important to have a safe number of leaders. Break jobs down into smaller roles.
  • Teenagers can be great leaders and bring plenty of energy, however also ensure you factor in the required ratio of over 18 leaders.
  • When recruiting leaders, ask them personally and think through their different personality styles. For example, will they be drawn by the vision of the Kids’ Club, by their particular role, what support is provided or who else is going to be there?

 

Program Ideas

  • TAG Time – Talk About God
  • Singing
  • Big groups/small groups
  • Homework clubs
  • Themes for holiday Kids’ Clubs: Circus, Farm, Jungle, Underwater, Arctic
  • Themes for weekly Kids’ Clubs: Mini Olympics, Superheroes, Parables, Prayer, Miracles of Jesus, Good Kings/Bad Kings

 

Connecting with Families

  • Make connection the specific role of one or more volunteers
  • Ideas for holiday Kids’ Clubs: parent Café, family BBQ at the end, breakfast on the last day, hand massages
  • Ideas for weekly Kids’ Clubs: dinner at the end of term, Family night with games, Fathers’ Day Night at the end of Kids’ Club for ½ hour.

 

Follow Up

  • As part of planning the Kids’ Club make follow up and essential element
  • Photo Gifts – take a photo of the child at the holiday club and turn it into a fridge magnet. Send it out a week or so after the event with a note saying thanks for being at Kids’ Club.
  • Marriage/Parenting Courses
  • Gingerbread House afternoon with a voucher for free attendance
  • Annual Christmas party