Ministry Lessons From Walt Disney


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  1. Formulate an effective system to give guests a first-class
  2. Enlist greeters to give guests special attention. Choose
    friendly, caring people who can make guests feel at ease. Station
    these people at key entrances.
  3. Make sure you have clear signage for each room and area of the
  4. Train your team to personally walk guests to rooms rather than
    pointing the way.

Cue #6: Fun

Children and their parents have fun with the mouse! I’ve met
many adults who say they’ll never go to church because their
parents made them go as a child, but I’ve never met an adult who
says he’ll never go see the mouse because his parents made him go
as a child. The truth is you don’t have to make someone go where
they enjoy being!

Some well-meaning people think children shouldn’t have fun at
church. Yes, children need to be taught to worship God in
reverence, but we also need to let them worship God as children
with fun, excitement, and energy. When your church is meeting the
needs of children in a fun and relevant way, kids will wake their
parents on Sunday morning, ready to go. When the opposite is true,
children won’t want to come to your church.

Are children saying your church is boring? Hint: If they are, it
probably is. Are you constantly telling children at church to “sit
still and be quiet”? Do parents tell you their children wake up
excited about coming to church?

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  1. Plan children’s time at church to include lots of fun,
    interactive learning.
  2. Use methods relevant to today’s kid culture to relay your
  3. Do a survey of the children and families in your church to ask
    them how you can make church a more exciting experience for

Cue #7: Visible Mission

I noticed that the mouse’s mission statement was clearly stated
in a prominent place for all to see. Part of that statement is “May
Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to
all who come to this happy place…a Magic Kingdom where the young
at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together.”

It reminded me of how important it is to let people know why we
exist as a ministry. A mission statement unites your team, gives
you a grid to run all programs and ministry decisions through, and
provides your team with direction.

Cued In

  1. Gather key leaders from your ministry team and develop a
    mission statement. Make it short, easy to remember, and
  2. Post your mission statement for all to see, and ask your
    ministry team to memorize it.
  3. Go over your mission statement with your team often.

Cue #8: The Eye Gate

It was confirmed to me again that the mouse knows this is an
extremely visual generation. The greatest example for me was when I
was waiting to get on a ride. A group of 200-300 people waited in a
theater room where a large movie screen played a film. I looked
around and saw a majority of the people intently watching the
screen. Throughout the park, the mouse used visual means to capture
people’s attention. In fact, one of Mickey’s 10 Commandments is
“Communicate with visual literacy.”

The top three influences on people today are television, movies,
and the Internet. All these are visual means of communication. We
need to use visual means of communication as much as possible if
we’re going to capture the attention of this generation.

Cued In

  1. Find out what Christian videos appeal to children and have them
    playing when children enter your area.
  2. Each week plan to use some type of visual communication in your
    lessons and services, such as video clips, object lessons, and
    PowerPoint or MediaShout presentations.
  3. Gather a team of computer-savvy people in your church and
    create a Web site to connect with children and families.

Cue #9: Teamwork

In Florida alone, the mouse employs over 50,000 people to make
the magic happen. Walt said, “You can dream, create, design, and
build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires
people to make the dream a reality.” Realizing their people are
their most valuable asset, Disney goes to great lengths to train,
equip, and care for them. Extensive training and interviews take
place before placing people on the team.

Each new person is brought up to speed on philosophy and
mission. Training, communication, and care are high priorities.
Every team member is respected. Everyone wears a name badge. Work
is fun. They even have a private lake for swimming, sailing, and
fishing. There’s a plethora of ways in which performance is
recognized. Awards, team member of the month, and peer recognition
systems abound.

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