Maybe you’d like to give your room a face lift, but you see too many barriers in your way. Don’t worry. Those barriers probably aren’t as tall as they seem.
- How to finance your renovations. Ask church members, parents, and ministry supporters to chip in for your project. It doesn’t take much to revamp your room’s look, so get a lot of people to give a little money. Try inexpensive fund-raising approaches such as a pumpkin sale or a rummage sale featuring items donated by church members. Also, to spread out the cost, don’t try to decorate all at once. Come up with an overall plan and attack it in parts.
- How to find time to do the work. Just as you schedule your other important programming activities, schedule a time to do your renovations. Make it fun by planning a decoration lock-in. Kids will love staying up all night working on your room, and you’ll get a new room PLUS hours of relaxed relational time with your kids. Ask parents to help, too.
- How to come up with creative decorating ideas. One of the best ways to gather decoration ideas is to ask kids to bring in pictures of their bedrooms (or, with your kids’ permission, take your group on a whirlwind tour of their bedrooms). While you’re at it, you could take a tour of other churches’ youth rooms in your area. You might even tour teenager-friendly restaurants, retail stores, and other hangouts. Then brainstorm a list of great decorating ideas and pick the best ones for your room.
- What to do if other groups use your room, too. If another church group uses your room occasionally, make sure you meet with representatives from that group to find some “common ground” for your decorations.
- If you can’t find common ground, maybe the answer is to agree on paint for the walls, then brainstorm “movable decorations” that you can take down after your group meets. For example, instead of plastering colorful posters to your walls, put up several removable billboards around your room and pin posters to them.
- How to get approval to redecorate from the powers that be. If you help your church leaders understand why you need to decorate your room and what you plan to do, you can often neutralize their fears. Start by talking about little changes you’d like to make, then work your way up to the big changes.
In some ways, your meeting room represents the hub of your ministry, because that’s where much of the ministry goes on. There’s no better reason to invest time and energy making it the “wanna- be” place for your kids.
Rob Marin is a junior high minister in California.
- Avoid making dated decor a permanent part of your room’s “look.” Watch out for decorations that feature movies, trends, or trendy music. You can use trendy decorations if you use them in addition to your permanent decorations. This gives you the freedom to quickly change the look of your room without disrupting your permanent decor.
- Make your room decorations reflect something unique about your ministry. If you stress music in your ministry, surround your room with music-oriented decorations. You might even hang old musical instruments such as guitars on your walls!
- Remember that kids don’t care how much money you spend on the decor; they care only about the decor itself. Often, the cheap way to go is the best way to go.
- Paint is probably your most important decorating tool. Kids love lots of bright colors. So give them bright colors by creating stripes, a “splatterpaint” look (make sure you have plenty of dropcloths for this), or murals.
- Find or make street signs to decorate your walls. Find a company in your area that manufactures street signs and ask if they have rejects. (The best place to call is the public works department of your local government.) Or go to shopping centers or stores that are remodeling and getting rid of their old signs. Or make your own personalized street signs using poster board or cardboard. We’ve used all three of these methods and now we have a room with signs all over!
- Plan your room around a theme. Choose a theme, then ask church members to donate items that fit the theme. For example, if you choose a safari theme, ask people for palm leaves, ropes, pith helmets, binoculars, old parachute cloth, or anything that looks “jungle.”