Given a choice, most children prefer the local hamburger joint to a fancy five-star restaurant. Why? A fun but safe playground, chairs that are the right size, and bright colors might have something to do with it.
Now take a look around your church. The food you serve your youngsters' souls is more important than any hamburger they will ever eat. But is your children's church environment as attractive and safe as the nearest fast-food chain?
"The children's area of the church should be unique and designed especially with children in mind," says Dale Hudson. Dale Hudson, Director of Children's Ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida, knows a lot about environment and its effect on ministry. He remembers the impact of environment at a church he used to work at, First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, which built two age-appropriate children's areas, Toon Town for the younger ones and Space Place for the older group, attendance by children doubled to more than 500 per week and hundreds have been saved he says.
"The environments we created help capture the kids' attention and draw them into the message we are trying to communicate each week," Hudson says.
Church Meets Disneyland
Dale Hudson had a big vision for the children's worship space at First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas. To make his vision a reality, Hudson approached a top designer of children's amusement rides, Bruce Barry. Barry had designed the E.T. ride at Universal Studios and stage sets for Nickelodeon.