Note #1: As I’m writing this, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. There’s a strong likelihood that you are not holding live kids church services at this point for a variety of reasons.
However, you can tuck away this idea if and when you do start live kids church services again.
In all my years of leading large group kids church services, one of my biggest logistical challenges has been developing and keeping a person or team to run media. I’ve dealt with everything from not being able to recruit someone for that position or having someone in that position that got distracted or became a distraction.
That’s why, a year ago, when I joined the staff of Family Christian Center in Clermont, FL, I decided to eliminate that position and re-think my entire Sunday morning large group media strategy.
Note #2: I think it’s important for you to know right away that, while I did eliminate the position, I did not eliminate the individuals who fulfilled that role. You’ll find out why and how if you continue reading.
I don’t remember when the idea began to formulate in my mind. Probably some time in the latter half of 2019 (it was a much different time.) But I do remember when I put the idea to the test.
I had experienced many frustrating moments during a kids church service in which I was sharing the morning’s Bible lesson and found that the person that I had designated to launch the prepared media cues was not fulfilling that responsibility. I’m not sure that there is a cringier moment in kids church than when the speaker is trying to subtly (and eventually overtly) get the media person to launch the next slide, or the video, or the..ahem…digital puppet (click the link for more info. ;) )
A large part of that rests on me as a leader. It’s possible that I had failed to communicate the vision and importance of using multimedia to create an engaging environment for kids to learn about Scripture. Or maybe I had simply not trained that individual well enough or even placed someone in that role out of necessity and desperation.
Regardless, it’s frustrating. And awkward.
In October of 2019 I had the opportunity to speak at a kids retreat in North Florida so I took along one of the young men that served in our kids ministry to handle some of the technical responsibilities for the week.
On the way there I told him that he would not be the sound person or the tech guy. That week, he was going to be the DJ. He had never been a DJ before but he was open to the opportunity. (And, honestly, DJ skills would not be necessary for this particular endeavor.)
As we set up what would have been our media booth, we placed it just left of center stage. My laptop, a portable soundboard, and a few other devices and gadgets were placed on a small table right next to the spot where I would be speaking and our “DJ booth” was born.
During the nightly services, I would introduce him as our DJ (which the audience of kids loved) and I would speak to him directly when I needed him to launch a specific media elements. Sometimes I would even ask him for something on the spot.
“DJ, do you have any music you can play that sounds like a circus?”
Sometimes he would find it and we would cheer, sometimes he wouldn’t and we would giggle and shrug it off. Either way, we would have a good time interacting with each other and our crowd loved every second of it.
In fact, it was so much fun that I decided to bring that idea to our Sunday morning kids church and got the same result.
We no longer have a “sound person” or “media guy” sitting in a cramped booth and trying to stay awake and focused. Instead we have a DJ right up front that can interact with our congregation of elementary students and help create an environment in which we can celebrate God and teach His Word without the pressure of making sure that the “show” is flawless.
Stay tuned because next time I’ll be showing you what our DJ booth looks like today and sharing some of the hardware and software that we’ve used to make our DJ experience better and better!
What are some awkward or cringy moments that you’ve had dealing with media during kids church? Share in the comments!