We’ve all been there. No matter how early you recruited, no matter how how many reminders you’ve sent, and no matter if you even called the night before, someone is always out at the last minute on the Sunday of Christmas week. So, we wanted to offer some help for that fantastic volunteer (usually your spouse or a close friend!) who agrees to serve at a moment’s notice at Christmas.
As the children’s ministry leader, much of the last-minute volunteer’s success relies on you. Let me encourage you to have a plastic tub prepared for emergencies such as this. In the tub, you’ll want to include a Bible with Luke 2:1-20 marked. You may want to include a page with a preschool version written out for the less experienced leaders. In addition, choose a very simple craft and have all the supplies readily available in the tub. Here are a few ideas that you can pass on to your volunteers:
- Read Luke 2:1-20. Let kids act out the Bible story while you narrate or an older child reads the story.
- Gift wrap the individual pieces of the nativity. As each piece is unwrapped, tell where that piece fits in to the story.
- Have a Christmas music CD handy. (For preschoolers and young kids, add instruments.)
- Make a Christmas card for a friend. Keep it simple – construction paper, markers, stickers, and the like. For preschoolers, help the teacher out by having the Bible verse already printed out on labels to be used in the card.
- Provide small boxes, wrapping paper, tape and ribbons. Allow preschoolers to wrap and unwrap “gifts.”
- Provide a coloring sheet that depicts the Christmas story. Encourage the teacher to sit with the kids as they color and talk about the picture.
- For older kids, provide games such as word search puzzles with words and names from the Christmas story.
Some last-minute helpers may not know the importance of “keeping it real” during the Christmas season. Give them tips on how to steer conversations away from the secular points of Christmas back to the celebration of Christ’s birth.
One last tip! Have something special to give those special volunteers (both last-minute and Sunday morning regulars) who help out that morning! That way, maybe they’ll come back next year!