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Posted by on Jan 12, 2010 in Children, Environments, Ministry Leaders, Preschool, Tips, Volunteers | 4 comments

How do you get creative financially?

I have met and talked with several orange leaders who are brainstorming new ways of doing ministry these days. Their budgets have been reduced dramatically and they have been forced to save on supplies for every program under their leadership.

One idea I heard about came from Amy Fenton, the children’s ministry director at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee. She knew that the curriculum lesson called for parachutes to be used by the children in one activity for Sunday. Instead of purchasing those parachutes, she instead emailed her volunteers and asked them to bring sheets to use in place of the parachutes. The volunteers responded joyfully, happy to help the church save money.

I am guessing that many of you have had to be creative financially in new ways as well. Can you share some of your ideas so we can all benefit?


  1. I recently talked to a school’s PTO (some states call it PTA) President who is organizing a day to clean out the back of the auditorium stage, she says they have a lot of “stuff” under and behind the stage. I asked if I could “browse” what they have for props (and of course I would help with clean up). She said that would be great. I also talked with a gentleman from our church who is doing some “spring cleaning” early and getting rid of a lot of “stuff” as well. He said I could check out the stuff he had as well. This could be a great resource to help stock up your prop supply! Ask your church if anyone is doing any spring cleaning or talk to your local school if they cleaning out an area.

  2. One very basic thing I have been doing recently is saving some of the left over snack supplies (half-empty boxes of goldfish crackers, Cheerios, etc.) and making a “trail mix” out of them for one week’s snack.

    I’ve also found that hitting high-end garage sales or second hand stores for toys and games to use in nursery and children’s areas can save big money. Of course you want to be picky about what you buy, but your savings are still tremendous on things like K’nex or Legos where the wear and tear on used ones is minimal.

    We also do a lot of photocopying of lesson materials, etc. When I have extra copies that are front-side only, I “recycle” the paper by giving it to my junior church doodlers to use for drawing. Hey, it’s even the green thing to do!

  3. We have utlized a green approach and have recycled many large group sets and props by repainting over them or mixing and matching to create a whole new look. We are also part of a Children’s Ministry network group in our area. One leader suggested the idea of sharing sets and props among churches. After camp ends or other summer programs, the creative sets get stored away to collect dust or worse, are never used again. One positive thing that comes from a reduced budget is that it forces your team to evaluate and consider what is truly impacting /reaching your famlies and kids. We are also big “Good Will” fans.

    Thanks for the great ideas above!

  4. Jenny- that’s awesome! Love that you’re connecting with other children’s ministries and sharing the wealth. We had several different storage places at my old church with years and years of old stuff. Thanks for leading all of us Orange Thinkers to be more green too- that’s the real test of creativity- can you reuse and repurpose and I agree it’s a very bonding experience!

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