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Ducks!! Or, Why BIGGER isn’t always Better

We just got home from Disney World in Orlando, FL. We got to ride Soarin’, a ride that virtually lets you fly all over the world like a bird, three times!  We rode roller coasters, saw incredible shows, went on a safari and saw lions and giraffes and hippos and rhinos. We met princesses and hugged the Mouse himself. We ate amazing food and met amazing people from around the world.

But nothing, literally nothing, elicited more cries of delight from my youngest daughter and her brother than seeing… a duck. No, not Donald Duck. Just regular old, run-of-the-mill, ducks. The kind that hang out in the McDonalds parking lot and beg for your french fries.

duck-2090633_1920But, it wasn’t just my kids, not by a long shot. Every time we passed a family with children who happened to spot the same duck my kids had, I would hear, “Look Mom!! A duck!!!” or “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy… a duck!! Do you see it?”

The adult in me wanted to shake my head and say, “It’s a DUCK. Just a duck. Look around you. You’re at Disney!!  Who cares about a duck?

But, somewhere under that adult veneer, the child in me smiled and said, “Yeah, isn’t that cool? It’s a duck!

My point is…. often times in children’s ministry, we work really hard to deliver the over-the-top, biggest, brightest, most trendy experience because…well, that’s “Disney” right?

We buy super-expensive curriculum with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. We build huge sets that make kids go “Ooo” and “Ahh”. We play the best games and have the best activities and, at the end of the year when we have to report our numbers to the church, we want to say, “We had the biggest and the best!”

But, on a whim, I asked my kids, “What do you remember most about the different VBS’s you’ve gone to over the past few years?”  Guess what they answered. Didn’t hear a word about sets or themes or crafts or songs or even the incredibly cool curriculum. Nope, they told me about…the people. 

They remembered teachers and they remembered friends.

They remembered Mr. Adam and how welcoming he was when they came to a new church.

They remembered being with their friends and laughing together.

They remembered the older couple that greeted them outside one VBS every single morning.

They remembered being with us (Mom and Dad) at the Family VBS we attended.

They remembered all the people. 

So, maybe your kidmin or fammin budget doesn’t let you be BIG when it comes to your ministry experience. Maybe you can’t afford the newest and greatest thing or make the brightest and biggest sets.   Or maybe you can.  Regardless, here’s something I think we adults need to remember.

Don’t focus so much on the Disney that you forget about the ducks.

The kids see the ducks…and they love them.

The kids see the people…and they love them.

I’ve blogged so often about the importance of creating space for intergenerational relationships within the church community and finding ways to connect the generations in meaningful ways. This is why.

Because all the glitz and glamor in the world cannot replace the simple love of one person for another. The people are what really matter.

Creating space for children to experience the connection to a caring adults and to like-minded peers will have much longer lasting and farther reaching effects than any stage, set, story or song could ever have.

So whether your kidmin experience rivals Disney World or not, remember…the kids you are reaching, really, really, really like ducks. Create the experience but focus on the people.

For more information about

Check out to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page. Join our conversation at theReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry group on Facebook.

About this Blog


Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and  Seedbed


  • Michael Olivier
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Such a true observation. For years I have watched US churches and their facilities are phenomenal. (Trying for no jealousy or envy). In South Africa and particularly in Africa where we are involved, facilities and equipment are minimal. That’s were we must “REFOCUS” on what is really important and what will make the ministry effective. Loved this blog and I would like your permission to use it on my blog in the near future please. I will insert the links and give the due credit. Thank you Christina

    • Christina Embree
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Absolutely! I’m glad you were blessed. Feel free to share anything you’d like.

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