Who doesn’t love a great Kid’s Church contest? Contests are a great way to give your kids the incentive to do something. If your goal is to encourage the kids to invite more friends to church, a guest contest is what you are looking for. If your goal is to get the kids more excited about giving to missions, an offering contest is what you need. Here are 7 ideas I have used for getting our kids excited about bringing their friends or giving to missions. Just so you know, the kids met every goal we set for them in these contests. You can use most of these ideas interchangeably. Enjoy!
1. Human Sundae
This was the first guest contest I did as a Children’s Pastor. We gave the kids 2 months to bring 20 first time guests with them to Kid’s Church. We gave them an extra incentive: every time they brought a guest they got their name into a drawing to win an iPod touch. If they reached the goal, not only did they get to make me into a “Human Sundae”, but they also got a make-your-own sundae bar. We called the day “Super Sundae” and everything was ice cream themed, including the lesson and a build a sundae verse game. We took the party outside for the sundae bar and the human sundae portion of the morning. I have seen human sundaes done before, but I wanted all the kids to be able to take part, so we made up little 4 oz paper cups of chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and cherries. We made enough of each ingredient for all of the kids to get one. The only ingredients we couldn’t separate were the ice cream and whipped cream. I stood in a baby pool to contain the mess. This is essential unless you want sundae toppings and cups all over the church lawn. Leaders dumped several gallons of ice cream on my head to get it started. Then, leaders handed the kids each individual ingredient one at a time to throw at me and topped it all off with spray whipped cream. It may sound gross, and I may have gotten a weird rash from the combination of the chocolate syrup and the sun, but the kids thought it was amazing.
Here is a video we made capturing all the wonderful moments:
Check out the pictures below.
2. M&Ms for Missions
I’m sure you have seen this contest before. It’s a great offering contest when you need something simple and easy to manage. We decided not to set a goal of how much we were going to raise. Instead, we gave all the kids tubes of mini M&Ms one Sunday and told them to fill them all the way up with cash and coins. Once they had a full tube, they could bring it back to Kid’s Church for a new tube of M&Ms. It’s so simple: Eat, Fill, Return, Repeat. We ran the contest for about four months, and still had kids bringing in tubes weekly. In retrospect though, I would probably shorten this contest to no more than three months to keep the kids excited through its entirety.
3. Human Spaghetti and Meatballs
We decided to use this idea for a guest contest, but it could definitely work for an offering contest as well. Human spaghetti and meatballs is like the human sundae bit, but 10x more disgusting. We ran this contest for a little under two months, and the kids had to bring 15 guests to win the ultimate prize of turning me into human spaghetti and meatballs. I got the idea from a theme day I had planned called Funtastic Food Day, based off the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” We had a food-themed set, games, and a costume contest where all the kids dressed up in their favorite food. At the end of the service, we went outside for the giant mess. I learned my lesson from the human sundae contest and wore goggles and ear plugs (the syrup burned my eyes and I had sprinkles in my ears and nose). The kids threw small bowls of spaghetti, cups of spaghetti sauce, and cups of parmesan cheese at me. Just a tip, don’t get the goggles that cover your nose. I was forced to open my mouth, and kept getting cheap, cold spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese in my mouth. The leaders topped it off with some giant meatballs we got from Buca Di Beppo. Wear disposable clothes.
4. Change Challenge
4. Change Challenge
We actually just finished up our Change Challenge Mission’s Contest with the kids. They made their goal by just a few pounds, (yes, pounds not dollars). Here’s how it works. We bought this big scale on Amazon and put a sign over it that said Change Challenge. We left it up in the corner of our room for the duration of the contest. On the first Sunday of the contest we brought several large items on the stage: a gumball machine, a small tricycle, a giant grumpy cat, a broom…you get the idea. The kids got to choose one item to be weighed. Next, we brought all our leaders up on stage, and the kids chose one leader to be weighed with the item. They chose wisely, and ended up with a goal of 101 pounds. Every week, we dumped the offering in the big orange home depot bucket on the scale and weighed the money. The kids started to complain about the dollars not giving very much weight, and we didn’t want to discourage giving of any kind, so we adapted the rules to say for every dollar the kids brought, we would add the weight of 100 pennies. So, what did the kids earn for meeting their goal? We wanted to do something different this time, and decided to let the kids choose their prize. We gave them 3 options to vote on:
- Slime all the leaders
- Pastor Corinne has to wear different colored highlights in her hair every week for a month.
- Reverse Lock-in.
Not surprisingly, the kids picked the Reverse Lock-in, so the kids will stay after service for a lock-in during the day. We will wear our pjs, have breakfast for lunch, play games, and watch a movie on our sleeping bags. Our Reverse Lock-in is scheduled for June 14th, so I’ll let you know how it goes!
5. Human Duck
I know you are probably wondering what in the world a “Human Duck” is. Well, this is yet another contest I came up with based off of a theme day we already had on the calendar. We were doing a Duck Dynasty Day for the kids with a themed-out stage, games, and a costume contest already, so we decided to give the kids an extra incentive for the day. The kids had to bring $500 between January and March, and if they met their goal they got to make me into a Human Duck on Duck Dynasty Day. Sure enough, they met their goal. I basically went off the idea of “tar and feathering” for this one. We gave the kids cups of water to get me soaking wet to start. Next, the kids were given cups of chocolate syrup (tar) and colorful feathers to complete the beautiful ensemble. I make a pretty funny looking duck.
6. Pies, Prizes, and Surprises
Pies, Prizes, and Surprises was born out of the idea of trying to get the kids and parents excited about getting back into church at the beginning of the school year. My leaders were not so excited, but they lived through it. Here’s how it works.
- Pies: Every service (we were running two at the time) the kids who were first-time guests or brought a first time guest were entered into a drawing to pie the leader of their choice a the end of the service. Each week we had a different type of pie to make it even more interesting. We had anything from lemon meringue to pumpkin and even a blueberry pie. It was a total mess! We gave the leader a shower cap and trash bag, but they still managed to get pretty messy. Also, we tried tarping the stage, but the pie always managed to land somewhere the tarp wasn’t. The kids loved how gross and messy it was, and we got the stage professionally cleaned at the end of the contest.
- Prizes: We had two leaders stand at the door at the beginning of every service to give each child a ticket for the prize giveaways. We gave away giant candy tubes from Five Below, and a gift card in each service.
- Surprises: This is basically anything you want it to be, and that’s what makes it so awesome. We just told the kids that at any time in any service “surprises” could happen. One day we did our entire service backwards and wore all our clothes backwards. Other surprises included double pie day, and pie pass-around day (the leader who got pied to pick another leader to pie). We could have done more with it, but it was a ton of fun. The leaders and I got tired of the pies and the giveaways, but the kids never did. I’m pretty sure they pied one leader four times! What a trooper!
7. Human Hotdog
That brings us to our newest guest contest, the Human Hotdog contest. We are giving the kids all summer starting June 14th to bring 25 first-time guests to church. If they meet their goal, I will dress up in a hotdog costume and let the kids throw mustard, ketchup, relish, and buns at me. I’m still debating on whether or not I want to make it into a slip-n-slide…it would certainly be grosser. We will also have a hotdog cookout during service that day if the kids meet their goal.
I hope some of these ideas can be helpful to you and your ministry, and get your kids even more excited about bringing their friends and offering to church. What is the grossest or craziest thing you have ever done for a kid’s ministry contest? I would love to hear your ideas.