Use this fun, unusual training event
to make a yearlong impact on your team of
It's time to kick off your year with a fantastic volunteer
training and affirmation event! So why not do it with a
Training event-DOT! Help your
volunteers make connections with one another and a dynamic year of
ministry with this DOT event.
Dot Marks the Spot
Decorate your meeting room with dots, dots, and more dots! Tape
solid-color paper plates (color side up) on the floors, walls, and
ceilings of your room. Use fishing line to string plates from the
ceiling at varying levels and all over your room.
Seat people at round tables, if possible, to carry out the dot
theme. Cover the tables with white tablecloths. Then using Bingo
markers (available from S&S Worldwide for $1.20 per marker for
orders of 12 or more; www.ssww.com; 800-243-9232), dot the tablecloth
with paint dots. Run a colorful streamer down the center of the
table, twisting it as you go. Sprinkle confetti dots all over the
table, and add bowls of round candies, such as M&M's or
Skittles. Place solid-color paper plates at each setting to create
even more dots on the table.
Something extra: Even though it's not a decoration, cut any
handouts and name tags into circle shapes as well.
For those who are staffing your event, encourage them to wear
polka dots on their clothes. If you need to, have a seamstress in
your church create aprons for these folks out of polka-dotted
fabric. Also, give each of your event helpers a polka dot derby hat
($4.95 per dozen; www.orientaltrading.com, 800-875-8480). You
could outfit your staff in jumbo polka-dot ties (from Oriental
Trading Company, Inc., $1.95 each) and polka-dotted socks ($7.50 a
pair at www.jollywalkers.com, 877-597-4637).
For each guest, fill a cello bag with some or all of the following
goodies. Fifty cello bags with white dots are available for only $7
from Paper & Party Warehouse (www.paperandpartywarehouse.com/store/page19.html).
• Round Candies-The
sky's the limit here. Fill the bag with Sprees, SweeTarts, Reese's
Peanut Butter Cups (large or small), Rolos, or York peppermint
Jewelry-Have kids create special polka-dotted bracelets
for each volunteer. You'll need jewelry wire and polka dot glass
beads from Oriental Trading Company, Inc. ($5.95 per 50
Boxes-Encourage your volunteers to keep special prayer
requests for children in nested round boxes from S&S Worldwide
($1.49 per set for orders of 3 or more; www.ssww.com;
On the Spot
Use this devotion from Steve Harney, children's pastor in
Say: "Did you know that according to Barna Research Group, most
people who believe in Christ as their Savior, do so before age
Give each person a 3x5 card with a spot drawn in the middle of the
Say: "Spend a minute thinking about what you see on the card. What
does the spot say to you -- or not say to you? (Allow time.)
"Turn to a partner and talk about what you thought about the spot.
(Allow two minutes.) I'd like to hear what you talked about. What
did you think about the spot? (Take four or five responses.)
"In each of us there's a spot -- an empty spot that needs to be
filled. Unfortunately, from the day we're born we try to fill it
with the wrong things. Some try food, others try games, and still
others try alcohol, drugs, sex, violence...the list can go on and
on. We know we have this spot, and we know it needs to be filled.
We just can't seem to figure out what to place in it. Sadly, people
who try false substitutes find out, usually too late, that the spot
is still empty and they're not satisfied.
"The only thing that can fill the spot is Jesus Christ. And that's
why it's a privilege to minister to children. We can introduce them
to Christ at an early age. We can spare them years of agony. We can
help them fill up their spot with the love and grace of Jesus
Dot to Dot
Help your volunteers make connections with one another and God
with these ideas.
• Sign-In-As your
guests arrive, stick a colored dot sticker (available at office
supply stores) on the bottom of their shoes. Whenever you want to
mix people to get to know one another, you can have them find a
partner with the same color dot or a different color dot. You can
also color-code your dots to represent the age group people
• Candy Color
Codes-Have guests grab three candy dots from the dishes on
your tables. Then have them form trios with people who have
different-colored dots on their shoes. Have them follow the Color
Codes guide below to tell one item related to the appropriate color
that matches one of their candies. After three minutes, have people
form new trios with people who have the same-color dots on their
shoes and share in the same way again for a second color candy.
Then after three more minutes, have people form a new trio with
different-colored dots on their shoes and share about their third
Twister-Create a giant adapted Twister game in a large
area on your floor. You'll need a large circle for each group of
four guests. Place these randomly in your playing area. Then place
colored red, yellow, green, and blue plates randomly all over your
play area. You'll need a spinner from an actual game of
Have guests form groups of four. Each group must start out on a
large colored circle. When a direction is called out, groups must
have at least one person stay connected to the group while
following the direction, such as "left foot on green." The goal is
for the group to stay connected, but even if a group falls or
becomes disconnected, let them continue to play the game.
After this game, have your groups discuss these questions: How
easy or difficult was it to stay connected as you played this game?
How easy or difficult is it to stay connected to one another and
God as you minister to children? What things did you do during this
game to stay connected that you could use in your ministry to stay
connected to one another and God?
• Policy and Practice
Bingo-Because repetition is a key ingredient to memory,
this Bingo game will help your volunteers learn your policies and
practices in a fun, creative way. Use our Policy and Practice Bingo
card, or an adaptation of it, at www.cmmag.com.
Give each person a Bingo card and a Bingo marker. Have your guests
find other people in the room who can say they already know that a
certain policy or practice is in effect in your ministry. If
someone knows a policy, that person then dots that policy on the
other person's paper. The winner of this game is the first person
who gets every single square of his or her card dotted.
• Now You See
It-Now you don't! Use this dot illusion to make a powerful
point with your volunteers. A fuzzy, colored dot that has no
distinct edges seems to disappear when stared at. To make your own
illusion for each person, go to www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/fading_dot.html.
Or use a color printer to print the illusion from www.exploratorium.edu/exhibits/fading_dot/fading_dot.html.
Give each volunteer a copy of the fading dot page. Then have them
stare at the center dot until the outlying areas fade away.
Afterward, say, "When you focused on the dot in the center, it
disappeared. Turn to a partner and discuss how focusing on your
relationship with God this year can help all the distractions and
challenges of ministry to children also fade away."
Allow time. Then read aloud Hebrews 12:2. Ask, "What challenges will you
face in your ministry this year? How can you stay focused on Jesus
in the midst of those challenges?"
Dot to Mouth
Serve round food such as the following:
• Make hamburgers and round tortilla
chips for lunch.
• Decorate a round cake with Dots
• Make a gelatin mold with
mini-marshmallows "floating" in it.
Tell one thing about yourself for each candy you have, using these
color codes. For example, if you have a red candy, tell one thing
about your family, and so on.
• Green-one thing
about your ministry
• Brown-one thing God
has taught you this year
• Red-one thing about
• Blue-one fun fact
• Yellow-a hobby you
• Orange-one thing
that motivates you to minister to children