Every ministry has them — quirky corners, pesky problems, and messy mishaps. Here are simple solutions you can use to make sense of common ministry problems.
8 Solutions for Those Pesky (But Common) Children’s Ministry Problems
1. Dissed Posters
The Problem: You love the idea of storing posters so you can reuse them — but they always end up crushed, folded, or lost.
Your Quick Fix: Save empty paper towel rolls. Tightly roll your poster, and slide it into a paper towel roll. Label each paper towel roll with the poster’s theme or title, then store all the rolls upright in a cardboard box for safekeeping.
2. Over and Out
The Problem: Someone keeps inadvertently flipping off the backstage light switch — which cuts power to your lights, microphones, or sound.
Your Quick Fix: Switch out your switch plate. Find a bright, solid color switch plate that’ll visually give people pause before they flick. A great attention getter is at Switchhits.com under “Red Polished Diamond Tread.” Also label the switch plate with words such as Don’t Touch — Sound System Power or something to let people know why they should not touch that switch.
3. I’m Not a Professional
The Problem: Grainy, out-of-focus photos detract from your otherwise great Web site or newsletter.
Your Quick Fix: You can access loads of free, professional-quality stock photographs depicting themes and ideas related to your ministry. Visit GettyImages.com or NYIP.com, read their terms and conditions (make sure you’re not exceeding their free usage limit), search for your free images, download the ones you like. It’s that easy.
4. Something Stinks
The Problem: There’s an odor of unknown origin in your classroom. You’ve cleaned. You’ve deodorized. You’ve got a search-and-seize warrant for a rotten salami sandwich. Nothing works; your room still stinks.
Your Quick Fix: Air vents can carry odors from other areas of a building. Rodents have been known to expire in walls and ceilings. Sometimes classrooms just smell less than fresh. If cleaning and disinfecting don’t cut the stink and you can’t tear out the carpet, try these fixes for odors in your class.
- Epoleon: This elixir is for the most serious of odors, such as a dead animal or skunk odors. The water-based liquid or gel solution creates an organic chemical reaction that eliminates odor. Find it at epoleon.com and keep it out of kids’ reach.
- Scented light bulbs: With the lights off, use a cotton ball to dab the bulbs with peppermint, cinnamon, or lemon essential oils. The oil will dry on the bulb, and when your lights are on, the bulbs warm to gently scent the room.
- Fresh tubs: Fill clean plastic butter tubs with several cotton balls, and drip citrus essential oils on them. Poke several holes in the tub lids so the scent can escape, close the lids, and then position the tubs around your room out of kids’ reach. Reapply the oils once per week or as needed.
5. Lost in the Noise
The Problem: The noise is out of control! You share your space with other groups or there’s a terrible echo terrible echo due to poor acoustics — making it difficult to carry on a conversation, let alone lead your class.
Your Quick Fix: Cushion yourself. Foam blocks make a remarkable sound wall, so invest in giant, flame retardant blocks that are colorful and inexpensive (try amazon.com), and then use them to build a barrier to the noise or to box in your class.
6. A Landslide of Music and Movies
The Problem: You have a great supply of music and videos — but they’re disorganized and spilling out everywhere.
Your Quick Fix: Purchase a large, pocketed CD case and store all your CDs and DVDs in it. Recycle the jewel cases, but keep the inserts folded in the storage pocket along with the corresponding CD or DVD. Label well or you’ll go crazy looking for just the right CD or DVD.
7. Shallow Space
The Problem: You need a place to store props and other tools of the ministry trade while they’re not in use, but your storage space is at a premium, you’re on the move, or your storage area is also your stage area.
Your Quick Fix: Try collapsible bins and soft hanging storage options. These options are sturdy enough to hold props, but flexible enough to practically disappear when you need the space.
8. Buried Alive
The Problem: Papers, crafts, clipboards, class rosters, schedules — stuff is everywhere, taking up space and drowning your class in clutter.
Your Quick Fix: Wire organizers are one of the greatest inventions known to humans. Okay, maybe not really, but they’re right up there. Here’s just a start on how you can repurpose these once-glimpsed-only-in-the-office-or-kitchen items.
- Perfect for holding trays or cookie sheets for snacks
- A great place to store craft projects while paint or glue dries
- Works as a message board or central document station for parents (holds permission slips, take-home papers, seasonal information, and more)
- A wonderful way to organize your class information, such as curriculum notes, supply lists, copies, and other paperwork