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Whether you call it Rally Day, Promotion Sunday, Kick off Sunday etc., Here are some ideas on how to get off to a good start.

Please post your "Kickoff" ideas, present and past.

(Note: Some posts in this thread were edited and reformatted a bit by our editor to improve readability.)

Posted by member ROBIN:

We have always done a "rally day."

The past two years we have TRIED to incorporate OTHER groups, such as, Women's Group, Worship Team, Men's Fellowship,  etc.,  ...but honestly, they did a poor job of publicizing and supporting the concept, so we have gone back to a Sunday School-centered approach.

 (Why did the 'other' groups do a poor job?  Probably because they don't have the program start up date hanging over their heads like Sunday School does!)

In our first new & improved Open House, we didn't just let people wander in and out. We had a "rotation" schedule of three 15 minute workshops for all ages.

In Cooking, for example we had folks make their own trail mix (Jesus feeds our souls for the journey).  

In our drama workshop, we did grab-bag skits about people who didn't want to get up for church.

In video we had a singalong Veggies video and popcorn.

At the beginning of each workshop, the teacher explained the concept of their workshop, introduced the stories we were going to teach that year and some of the ideas we had, and invited adults to respond positively when they were recruited.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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We're having "Homecoming" day the same date! The plan was to get inactive members to come, but we'll see. I am doing a brochure/booklet of all the new classes, teachers to be distributed during the brunch. We normally recognize last years' teachers, but this year we'll recognize/commission them in worship.

When we started rotation we did an "open house". The workshops for the first unit were open, the teachers were in the rooms, and the navigators took their groups in the order they would rotate through. Groups moved every 5 minutes, that way there wasn't a huge cluster of people in the same place at once.

We're starting our 5th year, and making a slight modification, but one I hope will work.

Good luck!

Julie Burton
1st Presbyterian, Sapulpa, OK

Posted by member: dbock

We do a balloon launch. The kids sign and decorate little cards that have our church's name, address, and email address, tied to a helium balloon with a string. We then simultaneously launch the balloons. It was alot of fun and we received several replies from areas far away!


Posted by member EllenB

We met in our fellowship hall and divided into 5 intergenerational groups of about 15 each. We rotated to each of our five workshops for about 10 minutes each. 

We showed the video "Dinner for Two", a great short story about conflict resolution. We had just been studying Jacob and Esau and their conflict and it was the Saturday after the elections, so everyone had something to say.

The most wonderful part of the whole morning was the interaction between the generations. The youth also helped in the workshops that Sunday. It was a great way to involve everyone and get them upstairs to see what goes on.

I have been so blessed with a supportive congregation. Good luck and I would suggest doing this at anytime.

Ames, Iowa


Posted by member Jaymie

Timing is everything. One year we had a poor turnout for our Labor Day Rally/Open House, but those who showed enjoyed themselves. 

Here's what I did last year (and plan to do similarly for this year)...

I created booklets that described the process for the morning and described a little of our history, opportunities for helping and our wish list. The morning was set us as a scavenger hunt -- participants visited each room to find items mentioned in the handbook. 

Each room also had brief activities for them to do -- locate projects we had done, count the number of items in a specific project, make a snack in the cooking room, put stories in order from our hallway timeline, take a family photo with props in the drama room, do one Life of Christ lesson in the computer room, view a video I made of pictures from the previous year's rotations in the movie room, etc. It was a lot of fun!

We also published a WISH LIST of things we needed.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We had never really ever done a "rally day" if you will.

We have tried various 'events' with varying success (pool party, picnic).

The CARNIVAL we created worked well and attracted three new families!

We had a fishing pond with paper fish w/ clips and a pole with a magnet for a hook and the kids won prizes (candy for the small prizes, Sunday School booklets from old curriculum that were nice for bigger prizes and a few party favors for bigger prizes too). We had hot dogs (get lots, we went through 48 in 15 minutes, could have easily have doubled that number) and chips and ice cream cones (almost 2 gallons of ice cream and she was being kind of frugal with the icecream). In our side yard we had an obstacle course. Our regular "lemonade on the lawn" still happened. Also we had a face painting and caricature booth and the teens did a video poll of some very tough theological quesitons. I got one of those balloon tanks and put clusters of balloons on each table and covered the tables with colorful table clothes I got from Dollar Tree. We hung our leftover kites from Pentecost in the trees and it was wonderful. Well attended by all and luckily for me we had 3 new families visiting and they registered for Sunday School.


2017 - moved here from the Help Forum in response to Rally Ideas

One year, we had a rally evening a week before Sunday School started--some of this could be adapted to a shorter Sunday morning time frame.  We started with some general carnival-type games. Then we had a scavenger hunt.  Every item on the hunt had something to do with one of the stories we would be covering that year.  Someone dressed up as one of the characters in one of the stories and talked about the items.  Then we finished with an ice cream social.


Last edited by Luanne Payne

We are just starting the rotation model and our Rally Day is also the 8th. It is just for the Church School, however, not for all the church ministries. We are trying to give our small-church waning Church School a shot in the arm, and I'm so glad to have found rotation.

Our theme is SPYKIDS - St. Paul's Youth - Kids Investigating Divine Stories, kind of a detective theme.

On Rally Day we are having four rotation-type activities: (1) Picnic/Cookout on the lawn (Cooking rotation?) with Bible names for the food, i.e. Bedouin Burgers, Wilderness Weiners, etc.

(2) Mug Shots (Drama rotation?): We'll have a selection of trench coats, hats and sunglasses, and a teacher will take polaroids of each kid dressed up. We'll put them on our bulletin board.

(3) Treasure Hunt (Games rotation?): We will have an old Bible, an old map, and an artifact hidden somewhere on the church grounds. 3 teams (made up of kids and adults - our Rally Day is intergenerational) will get "clues" to help them find the treasure.

(4) Fingerprinting (Art rotation): Registration of the kids.

We're hoping this Rally Day will energize the kids and adults.

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm
We are having an Open House for our new church building in a few weeks. I am adapting some Shepherd ideas from Surprising Stoires from People Jesus Met (Mikal Keefer & John Cutshall, Group ISBN 1-55945-716-3).

We are still in the planning process, but in
* drama, we will have someone in Shepherd costume greeting and talking about what shepherds do and Jesus and the Good Shepherd (details in the book -- it's excellent)

* games -- also from the book, a herding sheep game with balloons for sheep and dowels for staffs -- talk about how difficult it is to herd sheep and keep them from getting lost...

* cooking -- make sheep out of marshmallows (use pretzel sticks to put them together) and again talk about sheep and caring for them (us) as the children work

* art -- I printed the 23rd Psalm in a nice font in a box with space around the edge of the paper for the children to decorate. we will encourage them to hang it in their rooms where they can see it and be reminded that the Good Shepherd is always watching out for them.

* video -- what I would like is for the youth to have fun with the video camera and make a short Parable of the Lost Sheep video to be looping constantly. Someone dressed as a shepherd will look all over the church and grounds ("Here Lamby, Here Lamby!") -- under rocks, in trash cans, bushes, etc. until the sheep (a youth in cotton ball sheep ears) is found. Much rejoicing by the whole youth group!

People will wander from room to room at their own pace, the activities are open ended and there will a few people at each station to help.

Hope this helps people start thinking! (and me too....)
Amy Smile
We held an open house the Sunday before we started using the Rotation Model.

Each room was staffed with an individual who was knowledgeable about the program. The parents (and their children) toured each room and "sampled" a flavor of the rooms (i.e. made a small craft in the craft room, watched part of a movie with popcorn in the movie room, listened to a story in the storytelling room, made kabobs in the kitchen/science area, etc.).

It was very fun and through the interaction, the open house even helped us recruit a few teachers that we may not have thought of before. I'd highly recommend it.

Brenda V.

We started WoRM two years ago. In June,2000 we had an Open House with four workshops set up for a Pentecost unit so people could get a taste ot this new program --which were not going to launch until the Fall. (( - we did this on Pentecost Sunday which is also our church picnic day.))


Prior to this "Intro to Rotation Sunday" I had many articles in the church newsletter, talked to many parents, teachers, the Sessions, CE Committee, and presented two little skits on rotation during the worship hour. In this way, people got the message at least once (hopefully!).


IN THE PAST, we had a Rally Day where the children registered, meet their teachers, saw some of the things they would be doing (we used a published curriculum) and had refreshments.


In September, 2000 we began the workshops. We did not have a Rally Day. Instead, registration was done through the newsletter and bulletin inserts (of course some people signed up on that first Sunday - old habits are hard to change!) The children went right into the workshops. No one seemed to mind the change.


We have done this twice and will do it again this September.

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm
We did an open house during our Rally Day. I had the children and parents go with their navigator, and they walked through their shedule of workshops. After 5 minutes everyone moved to the next workshop. That kept the rooms from being so crowded, which was a good thing - we had around 100 people that day tour The Lighthouse! It helped to go in the order of their workshops, because then they knew where to go the next week.

Julie Burton, DCE
1st Presbyterian, Sapulpa, OK

Our rally day we have done in the past have ranged from a Bible Baseball Teachers Vs Students, to a potluck, to carnvial of games during Sunday School. The kids had a good time visiting with friends and meeting new friends.


We do not have Sunday School in the Summer months June thru August, so the Rally Day seems to be an important "rallying point" for us.

We have found that we try to have classes on that day we get very little done. So we make it as fun as possible. 


Brenda Goodman

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm

For the past 5 years, our Sunday School has designated a "Mission of the Year" to which part of our Sunday School offerings (adult and children) are sent.


Rally Day has served as a wonderful "kick off" to highlight the year's mission as well as giving time to create the mission collection boxes that will be used throughout the Sunday School year.


One year, our designated mission was a Lakota tribe of Native Americans with whom our church is in partnership. We invited Native Americans living in our area to participate by showing us their native dress, sharing stories about their culture, and demonstrating their music and dance. It was a wonderful program for both adult and kids.


When we highlighted Habitat for Humanity, we had a speaker who talked about the mission of Habitat in our community. Then the children made bird house collection boxes, using real hammer and nails! (A big hit--pardon the pun).You get the idea. I hope this helps!!!

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm

Some "RALLY" comments originally posted by Neil MacQueen


It may be that Sunday Schools which take the summer OFF, may have a greater need for RALLYING in the Fall. (Some congregations have a habit of taking the summer off too!)


My sense is that the idea of "starting dates" to rally around have grown less important in today's culture.  Why? Many families and children today lead busier summer schedules than in the past. Many schools start in mid-August. And PEAK attendance in many churches has slipped later in the Fall, --meaning "September startup" is less a psychological factor.


Is "Rallying" for the kids or adults?  Good question!  The workshops in the Rotation Model are so cool (if done right), that the kids may not need the hoopla.  So I would tend to agree that RALLYING is more for the parents and congregation.


"Rally Day" may be a tradition that works well in churches which know how to throw a party, and where the adult have a tradition of attending them. But I know in some churches that is not the case.  As for "introducing adults to rotation" -perhaps true intergenerational learning events are better. 


As well, there may be a greater need these days for SEVERAL RALLYING POINTS throughout the year. 



If you invite adults to visit your workshops during a Rally Day or Open House, make sure your learning activities are LEGIT, and not "LEARNING LITE."  

You want people to get the RIGHT IMPRESSION and not reinforce any suspicions that Sunday School is just about making the kids happy.

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm

Posted by Kim H:

Our church holds an annual "community party."  So rather than holding a Sunday School Open House, we use the community party to showcase what's been going on in our Workshops.


Instead of expecting adults and visitors to wander off to our workshops, we set up BOOTHS at the party location (indoors some years) for each of our workshops. 


  • Art Workshop Booth showed off art projects from the year.
  • Bible Games Workshop Booth had a trivial wheel game they could spin and win a prize.
  • Computer Workshop had a laptop attached to a projector showing our software (kids playing it)
  • Cooking Workshop Booth gave away passover bread.
  • etc etc


We also had a printed card describing the Rotation Model and showing our list of stories.

On Rally day  I had a scavenger hunt that took the kids into every workshop-room to do some activity. (This  was my first year in leading the rotational model in our church.)  


I used Bible verses printed on a card that they would  have to "match" in  the rooms.  (The verse was printed inside the room.) Once in the room they would further "match" the activity with the verse.  Example, Isaiah 43:1 said, "I have called you by name, you are mine."  


In  that room, which was our Art room, the kids had the tools to make their own name tags for the year.  Once the activity was accomplished they received a sticker to place over that BIble verse and they moved on to the next room and BIble verse.  


In the Science room I used, Gen. 6:19 "You shall bring two of every sort into the ark."  On the Science table was a mix of plastic animals and sea creatures that they had to sort through and match up.


In another room I used Deut. 9:10 "THe Lord gave me the two tables of stone written with the finger of God." At this Ten Commandments station, they were first given ALL the commandments, then they were given a sample where one of the commandments were missing. Their job was to identify the commandment that was missing.  


Genesis 27:4 "and prepare for me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat."  This was the kitchen stop off and they got something to eat. 


In our theatre it was Mark 1:6 John was clothed with camel's hair and (wore) a leather belt."  I set up on the screen a photo shoot  backdrop  then the students  could choose what they wanted to wear from our drama closet and have  their picture taken.  I had an elderly gentleman from the congregation dress up like a shepherd wandering the halls and he wore the verse pinned to his back, John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd;I know my own and my own know me." 


He gave them a sticker when they identified the verse.  WIthout making this post too long, you get the drift.  At the end of the hour they returned to where they started and showed me their completed cards and  they received a "Smartie" for being so smart.  It was fun for the kids and I think I will have another  scavenger hunt again their year as well.  I really like the kids reading and following the BIble verses to see what treature God's word holds for them. 


[edited for typos]

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm

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