Welcoming Children and Families into a New Year of Ministry—

“Promotion Sunday”

“Movin’ on Up”


“Step-Up Sunday”

“Open House”

Whatever you choose to call it, just do it! This is a time of transition and a milestone in the life of a child, and we should celebrate as a church family. It is also a way to intentionally partner with families in the development of their children’s faith and to communicate our vision for the next year.

There are so many ways to kick-off, blast-off, and jump-start a new ministry year. It doesn’t matter when or where in the church calendar—this is a really good opportunity to invite children, parents, families, and visitors to check out what you are doing, planning, and praying into the lives of their children.

Here are the basics to welcome your children and families:

WHAT: A starting place to introduce children, parents, and volunteers to your new year of ministry.

WHO: The children and families in your ministry, your teachers, leaders, and volunteers who impact and invest into the lives of your families.

WHEN: End of summer or beginning of fall ministry year during the Sunday School hour. Publicize the dates and theme weeks before Promotion Day. Share the details for the morning with parents as an invitation for them to consider committing to attend Sunday School this new ministry year. Encourage them to participate in prayer, serving, and helping.

WHERE: In your ministry spaces that are fully stocked and decluttered.

WHY: There are so many benefits to your church family as you explain and introduce your vision, the curriculum, current teachers, and ready classrooms. Throw in a theme, snacks, fun, games, and you have a party!

HOW: This is your meet-and-greet time. Tailor your morning to welcome the children, sing your favorite songs from VBS, introduce each new class, present new name tags, sit together with teachers, describe and preview curriculum focus for the next ministry season.

  • Give out “Upgrades” for the new Is there a ministry theme or verse for the year? Explain it and practice it.
  • Visit the classrooms and explore the inviting and welcoming space.
  • Have some games or ice breakers appropriate for each age group.
  • Serve snacks to welcome and crafts to take home.
  • How will you celebrate birthdays this year?
  • What are arrival and dismissal procedures?
  • Have coloring sheets, “get-to-know-you” info for extra  activities.
  • Give out worship bags to the rising PreK class to help with transition into worship.
  • Give “Parenting in the Pew” to PreK parents.
  • Help the children to connect with their peers in a new class and introduce parents to each other.
  • Follow up with parents after Promotion Sunday to answer questions and help children adjust to a new classroom.
  • Use this time to also remind parents of your church’s Child Protection Policies and background-checked teachers, leaders, and volunteers.
  • Remind parents of how you communicate through the church website, emails, etc. for newsletters and upcoming events and announcements. Have plenty of ministry calendars on hand.
  • Clearly mark classrooms with room signs and maps in the event of an emergency.


As you close the morning, pray specifically for your ministry.

  • Protection for volunteers (against sickness for them or their children, transportation, )
  • New families
  • Children entering a new classroom environment.
  • Anxiety (for parents, children, new volunteers)
  • Excitement for the beginning of a new ministry year
  • Stamina, rest, and contagious energy for our staff team
  • For your children to know, believe, and follow

Promotion Sunday is a way to boost your ministry as the new year begins. It’s a starting point to show everyone the details of your ministry plans. Every parent will hear your vision for teaching and leading their children in God’s Word.

May the Lord bless your new ministry year with great growth and depth in the hearts of your children and leaders.

1 Peter 4:9 – “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Betsy Palm is in a new role as Family Care Coordinator at Valley Presbyterian in Madison, Alabama. Her ministry is to connect with kids and encourage them in their faith, helping them to Know, Believe and Follow Christ. It is also keeping parents and families informed and included in ministry opportunities. Betsy and Kevin, her husband of 40 years, have three daughters, two sons-in-love, and two adorable grandsons: Hank and James.