I have struggled with this over the years in the different churches I served. A couple of the church buildings smelled so old and musty and screamed for attention. Many buildings are decked out with original outdated carpeted floors and walls screaming for paint to cover the current 1950 paint on display. Many churches do not have a resource room to stock supplies and equipment, so the classrooms are full of these items showing off a messy cluttered look.
Many leaders race to the idea of painting murals on the wall, but STOP! Avoid these busy, overly painted walls that become sacred. There are other ideas to consider making your kids’ ministry space look terrific. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Purge– Clean out the closets and classrooms. Remove anything that resembles hoarding. Clean out cabinets and use containers to organize inside them. Classrooms should have clean and clear surfaces. Floors should not be covered with stuff piled in the corners or unused furniture items.
- Smell- Some people say buildings should smell good. I disagree. I prefer there to be no smell. Adding a kid friendly fragrance is fine as long as it is not masking a bad or stale odor. Seek to remove or wash any fabric pieces like curtains and rugs. Carpets need to be cleaned on a regular schedule too. Fabrics hold smells easily.
- Furniture– As we started a new year of Sunday School, I found classrooms with mismatched chairs and tables. These get moved during the year so make sure the furniture gets grouped correctly and age appropriate. Remove any broken furniture and any donated furniture you don’t need. Order items needed or at least create a plan for the budget to buy them.
- Paint– Choose warm colors and avoid gray cool colors. I have had great success from Sherwin Williams “Ambitious Amber” to be the perfect warm tone in the hallways and it feels like home. Use a shade lighter in the classrooms with maybe a focal wall painted a coordinating color. Stay away from primary colors and pastels since that always seems outdated and babyish.
- Accessories– There needs to be places to put coats and diaper bags. I suggest “Safety Hooks” instead of hooks that stick out from the wall to injury kids. Get them at www.hangsafehooks.com
- Decoration– I am impressed with clean and classy allowing the space to showcase pictures of your kids and ministry. I bought Styrofoam pieces from Taylor Foam, Inc. here in Oklahoma City. See www.taylorfoam.com and let them know I sent you. They are terrific and affordable. We had a logo developed from a designer at our t-shirt print shop and took the logo to have foam pieces cut out. We painted them with latex paint and used the same colors as our pallet for painting other gears. We framed pictures of kids and events to hang in the hallway. We can change those pictures easily to update each year.
- Pictures– I always thought it would be such great help if I could see what other churches have done with their space. Maybe I could get some creativity rolling. The problem is, I’m always at my church. These last three years I have been taking photos of churches as I speak and train leaders. I now have a photo gallery at MMC. Click the “PHOTOS” button on the navigation bar at the top and take a look. Feel free to send pics of your place and I can add them too. I hope that helps.
I hope these suggestions help you make decisions about your kids’ space. It’s not easy and I know you want it to be the best. What piece of wisdom would you add to my list? Leave me a comment and send me your pics. We are all in this together!