Grand Rapids, MI (PRWEB) June 27, 2013
In a recent renovation to its nursery, Grand Rapids First Assembly of God decided to install a new church playground. Created by PLAYTIME, the soft indoor playground quickly proved to be not only an asset to the nursery but to the overall mission of the church, as well.
"We’ve heard that children are getting their parents out of bed to go to church," says Brenda Rijfkogel, senior pastor’s wife and project manager. "We are seeing more parents on time and they even stay longer after church, which helps us create fellowship."
Grand Rapids First was established over 80 years ago. Today, the church is debt-free and, according to Rijfkogel, it is using its many resources – human, financial and spiritual – to continuously meet the needs of its community. For example, for the last five years, the church has organized 500 people every summer to volunteer at the local schools where they do everything from painting and moving to facility repair.
"We donate over $100,000 in man-hours per summer," says Rijfkogel.
Over the course of the last decade, Grand Rapids First has been remodeling all of the different facilities on its 330,000-square-foot campus. Rijfkogel manages all of the renovations for Grand Rapids First and admits, "I’m not your typical pastor’s wife. I don’t sing, but I can knock a wall down."
Most recently, she oversaw an update to the nursery. But before doing so, Rijfkogel visited big churches in Chicago and Dallas to see what they offered children and families. Then, she visited a local mall.
"I was at the mall one day during a blizzard and I stopped at the playground," she says. "It was packed with parents and kids. I thought, 'This is something we need to look at.'"
She immediately called PLAYTIME, LLC, a commercial playground manufacturer and the global provider of unique, interactive, soft play areas and playground equipment for indoor, outdoor and water play.
The church’s new play area, called "Moose Mountain," opened in May and Rijfkogel says, "People are going out of their minds with joy."
Not only does the play area help get families to church, but it has created a space where parents can spend time talking while their children play.
Rijfkogel admits that there may have been cheaper ways to provide entertainment for children but she wanted the “wow-factor” that PLAYTIME’s equipment offers.
"We have a wide-open glass entryway where the play area is located, so it creates that wow-factor even from the parking lot," she explains. "With more people on time to church and more people staying afterward, it’s been worth every penny."