Small Church Ideas: Happy Birthday Jesus Party
One of our favorite children’s ministry events each year is a “Happy Birthday Jesus!” party. It’s super fun and simple to put together. If you’ve ever planned a birthday party before, you basically just do the same thing you always do. Except at this party we wish Jesus a happy birthday!
Other than planning the event / church service itself, a birthday cake is probably the only must-have item for a “Happy Birthday Jesus!” party.
7-Up sherbert punch goes perfectly with birthday cake and is simple to make. There are a number of different recipes for 7-Up sherbert punch online. We made our punch with one carton (which was around a quart) of orange sherbert mixed with one 2-liter of 7-up.
For the service we started with an opening prayer, followed by a few intentionally silly Christmas-themed jokes from our senior Pastor. Next up we played three games. The first game, pictured above, was “counts.” We learned about counts from Pastors Paul and Jessica Dietzel of Faith Family in Owosso, Michigan. Counts is an ice breaker game where participants turn back to back and hold up a number of fingers that they have selected. On the count of three, the participants spin around and try to add up the total number of fingers being shown between their own hand and their partner’s. You can play this game using the fingers on just one hand or both hands.
The second game we played we also learned from Pastors Paul and Jessica Dietzel of Faith Family in Owosso, Michigan. It’s called, “Belly Button.” When the leader in front says “belly” all participants are supposed to tap on their belly. If the leader says “button” all participants are supposed to tap on the top of their head.
This is another simple game that gets both kids and adults alike engaged in the service. From the front of the room, the leader will demonstrate tapping on their head when they say “button” and tapping on their belly when they say “belly.” The game really gets fun when the leader demonstrates the opposite and tries to trick the participants. Participants are “out” if they missed tapping on their head when the leader says “button” or their belly when the leader says “belly.”
The third game we played we called, “Deck Your Pals,” and there are a number of variations of this game. We picked one of our pastors (Pastor Stephanie) and Miss Lonnie for the game and the kids decorated them in wrapping paper. The first team that used up all of their wrapping paper and ribbon won. This was one of several areas where we saved some money. We went to the dollar store to purchase the wrapping paper materials.
After we finished playing games with the kids we sang a few songs. One of our volunteers (Miss Paula) contributed an idea for a song and suggested holding up poster board letters that spelled out “Jesus” while the congregation sang.
As the congregation continued to sing songs, I had to skip out for a few minutes and go get the ingredients for the punch! Our Pastors actually took a number of these pictures. We are such a small church that we don’t even have one fridge! 🙂 So we have to be creative and stay on our toes.
After a homily from Dwayne, the pastors’ daughter played “Silent Night” on the clarinet while everyone sang along. She also played “O Come All Ye Faithful” earlier in the service and “Happy Birthday” at the end of the service on the piano. Do you have kids in your ministry that are learning instruments and would love to play for the congregation? We love to encourage kids in ministry to utilize their growing gifts and talents.
At the end of the service, we brought out the cake and all sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus together. Then the kids ran to get some cake! While the children and adults ate cake and drank some sherbert punch, the pastors’ son and daughter performed a skit from The Creative Storytelling Guide for Children’s Ministry by Steven James. The skit was called “No Iguanas Allowed!” and it told the story of the birth of Christ.
After the children ate cake, we divided up the party favor bags. Some of our volunteers had already placed a glow bracelet and a few treats in each bag for the kids to start with. Then we had the kids fill their own bags by playing a game. The game was very simple! We asked the kids to line up in a single file line. Then, each time the child in the front of the line tossed the ball into the candy bucket they could pick up a handful of candy and glow bracelets. There was no “losing” to this game because the child in front was allowed to take as many turns as they needed. But when they did win, they had to go to the end of the line if they wanted to play again.
The children also each had an opportunity to sign their names and write a message on a large birthday card that we painted for Jesus on a 3 fold presentation board.
As the children were getting ready to leave, Pastor Stephanie gathered up the balloons for the children to take home.
We also made balloon animals for the kids. We like to draw a face on the balloon animals and write a message on each one. So in order to keep the line moving fast we asked the kids to help us draw the faces and write the messages. We like to write messages like, “Thanks for visiting our church!” and “God loves you!” Of course giraffe balloons have to have their spots drawn on, too. That is a must. While the remaining children were waiting for a ride home, we finished the day by teaching the kids how to make balloon animals, themselves. If you’d like to learn how to make balloon animals there are a lot of free resources online. For example, click here to check out our beginner series for making balloon animals!
That’s about it as far as the breakdown of our service. We had a great time and received great feedback from both kids and adults alike! Have you ever planned a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party before? What did you do differently? What things worked for you? What things didn’t work? Please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion by commenting below! Until next time, this has been Aimee from RemGen!