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Family Fun Will Grow Your Ministry

I often hear people say, "If I had Disney's budget, I could make a big impact as well."

Hang on a minute. I think you've got it in reverse. The truth is this - Walt started out with nothing. Broke. He had been fired from one job because they said he "lacked creativity." At one point, it got so bad that Walt had to survive for two weeks by eating dog food.

But because Walt was able to create environments, experiences and events that families could enjoy together - he grew his business and began to bring joy to millions of families. The money and personnel followed.

And it all started with one idea. Here's what happened.

"When Walt’s daughters were young, he would take them out on Saturday afternoons to do fun things together – such as visiting merry-go-rounds and local amusement parks. Walt would sit on a bench nearby while he watched his daughters ride the attractions. As he sat there, he noticed that the other parents had nothing to do either and were anxious to get home. This sparked an idea – what if he created an amusement park where the entire family could have fun together?"

As Walt said many times...

“It all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”

Now more than 65 years later, Disney parks remain one of the top family-friendly destinations in the world.

Walt was told by people that it would not work.

“Almost everyone warned us that Disneyland would be a Hollywood spectacular - a spectacular failure. But they were thinking about an amusement park, and we believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun - together."

But it obviously did work. Now each year, over 155 million people walk into a Disney park (pre-covid) somewhere in the world. And the vast majority of that is kids and their parents. Walt and his team have created the ultimate destination for family fun.

You can do the same thing. Families are looking for places to go and ways to have fun together. If you can give them that experience, you can see your ministry grow.

Several years ago, we decided to create a family Christmas show for kids and their parents. No drop-offs. This would be an experience for kids to enjoy with their parents or legal guardians.

We were amazed at the turn out. Over 4,000 kids and parents showed up for the event. After the show, we had craft tables, hot chocolate stations, cookies, games and lots of other ways families could have fun together. It was a huge success. It was called "Who's This All About?" You can get the script and details for this event at this link.

Families also want to be able to look back at the memories they made. Have a Christmas backdrop set up for families to take pictures in front of.

In a previous article, I highlighted why Toy's R Us became Toy's Were Us. They simply didn't have any ways for families to make memories together. It became a "Home Depot" feel with large rows of products with no memorable experience. Costumer experience wasn't terrible, but it was not "world class" either.

Compare that to Build-a-Bear company. They are growing by leaps and bounds. Families love going there because it gives them an opportunity to make memories together.

All that to say this - if you want to grow your family ministry, then provide ways for families to have fun together. It doesn't have to be big ticket items. There are lots of simple ways you can provide families with the opportunity to have fun together at your church.

Think about this with me. Parents will wait in line for hours so their kids can see Santa Claus or their favorite character in costume.

Provide fun opportunities for families and they will come. I remember one weekend we decided to let service out early. When families came out of the service, we had assembly lines set up where they could work together to create gift boxes for people in poor countries. The attendance that weekend spiked. Why? Because we gave families the opportunity to serve together and spend time together.

And as you encourage them to invite their neighbors, co-workers, school friends and other people in their circle of influence, you will see new families come to your church.

And now it's your opportunity to think of ways that families can have fun together in your ministry. Dream. Plan. Create.

p.s. If you haven't gotten your copy yet of the best selling book "If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry," you can get it at this link.


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