You recruited way in advance — even before Thanksgiving. You sent reminders and even called the night before, but when you get to church the Sunday of Christmas week, a small group leader comes up AWOL. They don’t show up. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.
Here are ideas to help that priceless volunteer who agrees to fill in a need at the last-minute at Christmas.
- Have a plastic tub prepared for emergencies such as this. Include a Bible with Luke 2:1-20 marked and maybe a page with a preschool version written out for the less experienced leaders.
- Choose a very simple craft and have all the supplies readily available in the tub.
- Leave instructions for the teacher to read Luke 2:1-20. Suggest that the kids act out the Bible story while she narrates or as an older child reads the story.
- Provide individually gift-wrapped Nativity pieces. As each piece is unwrapped, tell where that piece fits in the Bible story.
- Have a Christmas music CD handy. (For preschoolers and young kids, add instruments.)
- Let the kids 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 and young kids 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 guide conversations away from the secular points of Christmas back to the celebration of Christ’s birth.
One last tip: Have a “thank you gift” to give those special volunteers (both last-minute and Sunday morning regulars) who help out that morning! That way, they’ll come back next year!
What are some last-minute activities you use on December Sundays? Please share!