The First 5 Minutes

Family / Featured Articles //


  1. Provide wagons near your parking lot so families with multiple children can load them up and pull them into the church building.
  2. Fill the hallway or outdoor walkway into the church with energetic kids’ music.
  3. Have familiar, fun volunteers personally greet families as they arrive with high fives, fist bumps, and big smiles.
  4. Occasionally reward students who arrive early to encourage a culture of arriving on time.
  5. Set up an activity that you will use to introduce your lesson. Highlight the activity with colorful flags. This will build curiosity and anticipation for the Bible lesson.
  6. Create a warm inviting scent as families enter. (Fresh baked cookies or popcorn are favorites!)
  7. Scroll pictures on a TV showing kids learning and having fun from a previous week.
  8. Have a regular Sunday schedule of events (photo book) available for parents to review in advance, if their child is nervous. (This is ideal for preschool and special needs children.)
  9. Play a high-energy, interactive review game that students can join immediately when they arrive.
  10. Clearly mark where each class is sitting. This will help kids quickly connect with their classmates and friends.
  11. Bring the Bible to life by occasionally having a guest from the Bible lesson of the day greet children as they enter. Have the greeter challenge the student to listen carefully in class and then return to him/her after class for a review question that is worth a prize.
  12. Display mystery clues for the day’s lesson. Create anticipation for what they are going to learn.
  13. Have a “Care Team” prepared to work with students who are having a hard time transitioning into classrooms.
  14. For younger students and students with special needs, have a clear, set schedule. Post the schedule online and make it available so parents can walk through it with their children in advance.
  15. Welcome preschool students with an animated puppet from a small puppet stage. Have the same puppet reappear during worship. Or, have a full-blown mascot greet them.
  16. Create a bright sign highlighting what you are teaching for the day. This helps parents know that their children are not just being entertained, but are being truly educated.
  17. Set the scene of your Bible lesson and allow students to walk through it as they enter. For example: Create your hallway into the divided Red Sea. As kids enter, take pictures. Print off pictures for the following week.
  18. Provide “Parent Passes” for parents. This will help parents who would like to stay with their child for the day and become familiar with your ministry.
  19. Create class-based wagons or containers to collect Bibles or coats. So kids can be fully engaged during worship, drop off items to classrooms during worship.
  20. Provide a simple, healthy breakfast snack before your earliest service begins, such as apple or orange slices.
  21. Give visitors a family pass for a post-service treat at a kids’ café. Give the pass to both the visiting family and the friend who brought them.
  22. Print poster-sized pictures of your ministry in action. Hang pictures in the entry or hallway.
  23. Creatively advertise that your facility is clean and safe!
  24. Provide a map to send with visiting parents so they know where to pick up their children.
  25. Provide friendly guides to escort visiting parents to the worship service (after student drop-off).
  26. Give visiting students a different nametag—nothing wildly different, just a tasteful color. This will help leaders intentionally welcome and transition them into the class with friends.