A couple years ago after taking my own son to a Paw Patrol Live event here in Nashville, I realized that parents want to create memories with their children. They will spend money, time, energy and even endure the inconvenience of parking and travel to go to an event where they can create a fun time spent with their child.
Realizing this as a parent made me even more grateful as a minister for the opportunities I’ve been given to partner with churches. I love helping churches create fun, engaging and Christ centered events that parents and kids will point back to and remember for months and years to come.
Please keep reading below to hear about an amazing live event from Brooke Gibson (Minister to Preschoolers) at Dawson Family of Faith Church.
Yancy has had a significant impact on the young families of our church. From the time Yancy stepped on our campus and until she left, it was clear that her primary goal was to bring glory to God by drawing children and their families into age-appropriate worship.
Waffles & Wiggles is a family event for children and their families with three components: meal, concert, fellowship. The meal includes waffles, and we have done this both at 10:00 am on a Saturday and at 5:00 PM on Sunday (breakfast for dinner). We have used Waffle House catering, but could easily use church kitchen staff or volunteers to make and serve waffles as well. We round out the menu with bacon, go-gurts, water and coffee. The concert/ worship experience is fully led by Yancy. We simply welcome families and guests at the beginning, and give instructions for the next steps afterwards.
The following fellowship time has looked a little different each time but includes rented inflatables, Yancy merchandise for sale, family photo booth, ministry information table, etc. We sell tickets to our church members for $10 per family, and their family ticket includes a second ticket to invite a guest family. We also invite families from our weekday preschool who are not church members to come as our guests (no charge).
There are so few events with timing and content that is geared toward young children, and even less options that point them to Jesus. Our church families know and love Yancy’s ministry so they are quick to attend and invite their friends. We (church staff) are at ease because we know that Yancy will deliver a fun, professional, age-appropriate, Biblically sound, God-honoring concert. This event is always a crowd pleaser and one that children and their parents continue to ask for. We plan three preschool family nights each year for our families and this one honestly requires the least amount of planning and physical labor.
Our Sunday mornings tend to be segregated, especially for preschoolers while their parents attend adult Bible study and worship. I love that Yancy’s concerts provide an opportunity for preschool families to worship God together. Yancy’s Bible teaching models for parents how to share simple Bible truths with their children. It is wonderful for unchurched families to see the church as a fun, welcoming place- and to hear about God’s love in such a non-threatening way. These events also encourage families to have fun together and build memories they can look back on. (A family photo booth and/ or a photo with Yancy provide great keepsakes/ reminders.)
In addition to my previous comments, bringing in such a high-quality, meaningful event helps us (church staff) gain the trust and appreciation of our families. The use of ministry budget money shows that our church prioritizes ministry to families. It is an EASY invite for our families to invite guest, which introduces many people from our community who may never come for the first time on a Sunday morning. And, I can’t over-say how much I value Yancy’s humble attitude, nor the amount of energy she pours into each minute of the event to guide families to worship God together.
Bring her back! Bring her back! Bring her back! Children and parents ask over and over for a repeat! We have had Yancy on our campus more than any other musician because it is a joy to work with her, she draws a huge crowd, children fully engage in worship with her, and our families consistently ask for a repeat visit. I would highly recommend giving it a try at your church.