You have a story, and a place to share that story. You have the right props and a killer stage design. But you’re not finished. Who is going to tell your story? What are the key relationships that you need in the room to make that story come alive to those kids?
This can be a long list: communicators, worship leaders, dancers, actors, tech gurus, group leaders, and greeters. All play a vital role in creating an environment for your kids. For the sake of space (and your precious time), I’m going to focus on a few.
The Executive Producer and Creative Director:
Every environment needs people who will keep everyone accountable to the story. The EP and CD are these people. They have a vision for the story and how it should be delivered. They make ensure that week after week your story is being told with excellence. They build momentum and propel vision to the rest of the team.
In your church environment, this could be the children’s director or a large group production director. Really it doesn’t matter where they are on the org chart; what matters is that the roles are filled in your environment.
Hosts AND Storytellers:
This is one of the most important lessons I have learned from Camp Kid Jam. You need someone who can be zany and off-the-wall getting the kids excited about being in the room. Hosts build energy, lead games, and tell funny stories. SImply put: they are crazy. In contrast, the storyteller is the credible voice on stage that communicates the Bible story to the kids.
You need both. If one moment your host is telling some off the wall story about how he surfed blind folded in Santa Cruz and the next he’s trying to communicate the feeding of the 5000—both fantastical stories— a child may not be able to discern that one of those is actually true. Having a separate storyteller to come in and deliver the feeding of the 5000 story will actually give credibility to the storyteller and that great story.
Let the host be crazy to free the storyteller to be credible.
NOTE: If you are in a church where this is just not possible due to the amount of volunteers available, you will need to program something between the crazy and the story like worship or a video that will give your communicator a chance to break the host character and transition into the storyteller. This helps the kids differentiate between those two roles as well. (We’ll talk about this more tomo
Small Group Leaders:
We often see SGLs as care-givers or shepherds for our kids, and they are. But they are also the people in the room who help make the story concrete and applicable to the kids. Yesterday, we talked about remembering the story. The small group leader is all about helping kids remember the story. If the storyteller and host did their job right, they’ve set up the storyteller to bring home the bottom line for those kids in a way that will make sense to the kids throughout the week.
Don’t scrimp on a host team. Don’t allow computers to do what a person should. Your story begins as soon as people step out of their car. Give them a host team that will welcome them with open arms and start the story off in the right direction.
Sometimes we forget that we need people to experience the story. We can put together a great show, but if no one is there to watch and engage, our efforts have been in vain. Create and environment where kids will want to come week after week. Once they come, remember something important about audiences: Their collective intelligence is greater than yours. Respect those kids. Don’t talk down to them. Engage them in the story, because after all, it’s their story too.
Again, these posts are just scratching the surface of creating engaging environments. These are just a few of the important roles. Who have I left out? Comment below!