So, You Want A New Playground (3 of 3): Making it Happen without Killing Yourself

27 Apr

Our church’s new playground project will be completed within the next month.
This last weekend, we completed phase 2 of the project.

We’re learning a ton about the playground business and what it takes to re-imagine a play space and I thought I’d share my insights.

The final post in this series will offer a couple suggestions to keep in mind before you launch into a project of this scope and magnitude.
Adding a space to your church that is designed with your kids in mind can be one of the most exciting things you’ll be a part of in CM.  Just don’t kill yourself, your ministry, or your family in the process.
Three ways you can get through a project like this with your sanity in tact can be found below:

God’s Timing, Not Yours.
If you try to tackle a project too fast, you may find yourself spinning your wheels until you’ve collapsed.
Take a deep breath when you start this process and remember to pray.  It’s not unheard of for a project like this to take over a year.  Pace yourself.
God may move in ways during this process that will grow your faith exponentially.  Keep a journal so that you can remember how faithful God is.
Matt McKee, a fellow CM, has some thoughts on the importance of remembering.  Check them out here.

Value before Vision.
Your church won’t rally behind the vision you have for your area unless they value the things you value.
As I wrote here, great ideas don’t sell themselves.  Your church has to first understand the importance and value of reaching young families in your community.  Creating a space for them to feel comfortable on campus won’t matter if your church doesn’t see that as something that will add value to the church.
Phase 1 of any large project is a process of rallying people behind your vision and raising the means to accomplish it.  Don’t try to do those things at the same time or in reverse order.  You’ll burn yourself out.

Make it Safe. Make it Last.
Save yourself time and energy and plan for this space to last 10-15 years.
This means you’ll need to get the parents of kids in your nursery just as involved in this project as the parents of your pre-teens.
Your space also needs to look and feel safe (for parent buy-in)… while also looking adventurous and exciting (for kid buy-in).  Do not sacrifice one for the other.
By making your space lasting, you’ll save yourself the trouble of redesigning the space in 3-5 years and repeating the process all over again (fundraising the second time will be harder than the first).
By making your space safe, you’ll show parents that the safety of their kids matters inside and outside of your programmed time.

Our hope is that this series has been helpful for you and your church as you think creatively about the space you provide for children in your programs.
As I said before adding a space to your church that is designed with your kids in mind can be one of the most exciting things you’ll be a part of in CM.
(Sam Luce, Children’s Pastor at Mt. Zion Ministries Church in Utica, NY, talks about his experience revamping their space in a series of posts from early 2008.)

So, what kind of project is in your church’s near future?
Have you recently undergone a similar project and have thoughts to share?

The comments section awaits your input!

Proposed Toddler Area

Proposed 5-12 Area


Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “So, You Want A New Playground (3 of 3): Making it Happen without Killing Yourself

  1. jonathan

    April 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I’m going to be adding you to my talk-to list as we move forward with new buildings and playgrounds…


  2. Christine

    April 28, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I was the nursery director at a church and headed up a major playground building effort. God gave me the gift of a church member who had done this already and had a relationship with a great playground company. She was fantastic and I could not have done it without her. Our structures looked almost identical to yours. BUt after the project I said I would never build anything ever again. My next church job came with a church building project!
    I hope many families are BLESSED by your new play space!


  3. Anthony Prince

    May 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Here’s a link to the Facebook Photo Album for the finished project:



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