Each year at Northwest Christian School we try to think of new ways to connect our community families with our church family. A couple years ago during a brainstorming session, we decided to create a special welcome on the first day of school. Church members gather outside the doors with noisemakers, cheers, and high-fives and welcome all the new students to the new year of class. We have been told by our educators that this experience makes more impact than anything we do all year.
An important part of this welcome is the grab bag. This simple and inexpensive gift has made a tremendously positive impression on our families. The contents of the bag include things such as candy, erasers, pencils, an encouraging note, and a place to write the students name for a special drawing. We develop the bag with teacher input to see what small items kids like to play with or use during their day. Most gifts can be ordered on Amazon.com or from Oriental Trading company.
Later in the morning, when we have our first chapel experience, we culminate our welcome by giving away two Kindle Fires via a drawing — the entry form is included in the bag and turned into the teacher. The Kindles go to one to a returning student and one to a new student. We have found the investment of a couple hundred dollars each year to make the first day of school builds a positive rapport with our students, connects kids and parents with our pastoral staff and church members, and generates some great advertising as families post their experience on social media.
Seth Pierce is the Lead Pastor for the Puyallup Church in Washington