THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT! But with volunteers, you may only get one pitch at getting them to an orientation event. DON’T STRIKE OUT! Here’s how to hit a rip-roaring home run with your All-Star volunteers this year!
There’s nothing minor league about your children’s ministry team. You have a major league team that’ll take your children’s ministry to a World Series type of impact with kids this year.
So celebrate your team and orientate them to the new year with this fun Grand Slam event!
We’ve given you all the ideas you’ll need to pull off this fun-filled baseball-theme event. All you have to do now is wind up and pitch it to attract volunteers to your fall kick-off as you never have before.
So are you ready? BATTER UP!
GATE 5 When your staff arrives, greet them at your decorated “ticket stand” or registration table. Drape your registration table with the same color tablecloths as you used on your serving tables. Hang a large “Gate 5” sign above your table.
Have your paid staff — dressed in baseball uniforms — greet your All-Stars. Take people’s tickets and give them their goody bags for the event. Play the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at your ticket stand. Or better yet, invite your church organist to play this and other songs on an organ or keyboard as people arrive.
DECORATIONS For fun decorations, pin baseball jerseys, pennants, and baseball team posters to your room’s walls. In the center of your room, tape off a giant baseball diamond on the floor. Position your chairs or bleachers (if you have them) around the diamond.
Decorate your serving tables with two tablecloths: a checkered tablecloth first and a matching solid cloth draped over the top of the checkered cloth. You’ll want to have part of your checkered cloth showing from beneath.
For serving table centerpieces, make a bed of shredded Mylar plastic film in your ministry colors (if you have them) or the colors of your favorite baseball team. Lay a baseball glove on the bed of shredded Mylar. Place a ball in the glove and position a small pennant with your ministry name through any of the glove openings so the pennant stands upright.
Make this event more fun by setting up your serving tables under different vendor signs (See “Concession Stands”). Your All-Stars will have to line up for their choices — just as they’d do at a real baseball game.
GOODY BAGS For each All-Star, prepare a goody bag filled with fun baseball-theme items. For very little cost, fill a striped popcorn bag with unshelled peanuts, insert a pennant with your ministry name into the bag, and tie it off with matching yarn.
Or fill each goody bag with small gifts. These items are available at minimal cost from the Oriental Trading Company, Inc. You can order by calling 800-246-8400.
PLASTIC CANTEEN-This 5-inch, 24-ounce baseball canteen includes a carry strap and straw. Each canteen costs $1.50 or $1 each if you purchase 12 or more (item #26/461).
BASEBALL KICKBALLS-These vinyl 2-inch items are a kick! Just $7.20 per dozen (item #12/177).
BASEBALL MITT PHOTO FRAME-If your budget allows, put a photo of each All-Star in a resin photo frame of their very own. The frame is 5¼ ? 5 inches and it holds a 3-inch photo. Price is $4.80 each (item #2/873).
AUTOGRAPH BEAR-What a great idea to start the year! Give your All-Star teachers a 12-inch fabric baseball autograph bear. Then throughout the year, they can have every child who comes into their class sign the bear. At the end of the year, they’ll be able to see all the lives they’ve touched! Each bear costs $4.80 (item #6/929).
CONCESSION STANDS Of course, no baseball game would be complete without soft drinks, potato chips, soft pretzels, and Cracker Jacks snacks. In addition to these things, take your lead from some of the best concession stands at major league ballparks around the country. Offer several choices of food at your Grand Slam event so you won’t strike out with different appetites.
YANKEE STADIUM-Serve steak sandwiches just as they do in the Sidewalk Cafe (field level, Section 15).
FENWAY PARK-In the good old Boston tradition, serve clam chowder similar to that offered at the Legal Seafoods concession.
JACOBS FIELD-Label this serving table “Section 154” because it’s this stadium’s area with the best soft tacos with sour cream.
3COM PARK (formerly known as Candlestick Park)-Serve guacamole and steak taco salads just as the Compadres’ stand does in this stadium.
COORS FIELD-No game is complete without a Rocky Dog (or Dodger Dog if you’re so inclined.) Offer these ingredients for your All-Stars to layer onto their hot dogs: sauerkraut, sautéed onions and green peppers, mustard, ketchup, jalapeños, and relish.
RUNNING THE BASES For your teaching time, have your All-Stars gather around the baseball diamond. Then use the acrostic “PLAY” to quickly “run through the bases.”
PROTECT: First Base-“Protect” is your first base because the first thing you want to do in your ministry is to ensure that children are safe. This is a good time to explain your security policies and distribute your policies and procedures manual.
LOVE: Second Base-Encourage your All-Stars to hit a home run this year by loving kids in Jesus’ name. Form teams of four. Have teams race to see who can come up with the most ideas of ways to show love to kids. Time the teams for three minutes, then have the team with the most ideas read its list. (Collect all the lists and after the event compile them to send to all your All-Stars.)
APPLY: Third Base-Education without application is like a baseball game without bases. Encourage your All-Stars to pray for kids and teach for the result of changed lives.
To illustrate this point, you’ll need 1 yard of cotton fabric, one can of Faultless Wrinkle Remover, paper, and a pen. Cover the can with paper and write “God’s Word” on the paper.
For a memorable devotion, crush the cotton fabric in your hands for 30 seconds. Then show the wrinkled fabric to everyone. Say, “The world presses in on our children each week. The ugliness of the world can seek to stain our children. And the pressures to give in to the world’s ways can push in, leaving wrinkles in their lives.”
Have a helper read aloud Romans 12:2.
Then say, “God’s Word (show the can) irons out those wrinkles. With exposure to God’s Word, our children’s lives are altered. (Dampen the fabric with the Wrinkle Remover. Don’t saturate the fabric. Have three other people help you stretch the fabric.) Then as children stretch to apply the truths to their lives, God presses them back into the shape of being in the likeness of Christ. We must help our children stretch to apply God’s truths to their lives this year.”
Show everyone the wrinkle- free fabric.
YIELD: Home Base-Say, “All the bases are loaded and it’s the bottom of the ninth. Our children’s faith development depends on you. The present and the future church will be strengthened by you All-Stars as you minister to our children, but we have to remember that we’re nothing without Jesus. We show our dependence on him by praying fervently. Let’s spend the next 10 minutes praying for God to do amazing things in us and through us this year in our children’s ministry. Then let’s spend the rest of the year praying and depending on God’s power to work wonders in our kids’ lives.”
Have your All-Stars form groups of three and pray.
BASEBALL CAKE For dessert, serve this cake For every 12 people, you’ll need: 4 cups of softened vanilla ice cream, 2 cups softened chocolate ice cream, 1 cup crushed Oreo sandwich cookies, 1 cup nondairy whipped topping, and 1 tube of red decorating gel.
Follow these instructions: 1. Line a 7-inch bowl with plastic wrap with the wrap hanging over the edges. Chill the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. 2. Spread the vanilla ice cream over the inside of the entire bowl. 3. Press ½ cup of the crushed cookies into the ice cream and freeze until firm. 4. Spread the chocolate ice cream over the previous layers. 5. Repeat step 3, leaving in the freezer for two hours or overnight. 6. To remove the cake from the bowl, let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature. Turn the bowl upside down on a serving plate. Rub the bowl with a warm towel if necessary. 7. Before serving, cover the cake with the whipped topping. Then create the ball’s laces using the decorating gel.
HALL OF FAMERS To honor a special Hall of Famer in your ministry, create a mask of the person. You may choose to “immortalize” your paid staff, volunteers of the month, different age-level staff, or your children’s leadership team. Children’s Ministry Magazine’s assistant editor Laurie Copley volunteered to be our test model for this activity.
You’ll need Rigid-Wrap plaster cloth from Activa Products, Inc. Available at craft stores, or you can order a 4×180-inch roll for $4.13 by calling 978-692-9300. You’ll also need a bowl of warm water, scissors, a ruler, waxed paper, a towel or covering for clothing, a hairband or shower cap, petroleum jelly, paper towels, soap and water for clean up, and newspaper for floor and work surfaces.
Follow these steps.
1. Secure your model’s hair away from her face. Apply a liberal coating of petroleum jelly to her face, adding extra petroleum jelly around her hairline, eye lids, eyebrows, and eye lashes.
2. Cut Rigid-Wrap into six strips of 5/8×2 ½-inch lengths. Make two stacks of three pieces each with the plaster side on top and smoother surface on the bottom. Holding these together, dip each stack into the warm water for several seconds. Drain off the excess water. Then make an “x” across the bridge of the nose with the ends extending alongside the eyebrows and down over the sides of the nose. Smooth the plaster into the gauze to cover up the mesh grid.
3. Cut Rigid-Wrap into 2×6-inch strips. Dip the strips into the water and allow the excess water to drain off. Outline the model’s face, overlapping strips slightly. Work around the hairline and down around her chin for a full mask. Continue adding strips, filling in the mask shape over the entire face until you have five layers. Save the eyes and mouth until the end, ensuring that the nostril openings remain open for the model to breathe.
4. Wait approximately 15 to 20 minutes from the beginning “x” for the mask to set. Then gently tug and twist the mask to remove it.
5. Set the mask on waxed paper until dry. Then mount the mask by propping it up on a piece of velvet fabric. Add a nameplate.
PITCHER’S MOUND To close your event, play “His Banner Over Me” by Cheri Keaggy (from What Matters Most from Sparrow Records). Say, “No matter how you play this year, remember that God loves you. As you wear this hat, remember that God’s love covers you.” Then give each All-Star a baseball cap with your ministry logo on it. Thank people for being on your children’s ministry team and remind them that every player is important if your ministry is to have a World Series type season.