Starting with a girl walking a dog, then a tree, some ants, and a park scene, I began to sketch simple characters onto our walls. Back then I painted solid colors and outlined with a marker similar to our Mural Kits. Within a few years I had painted just about every wall in the children’s ministry of our church.
Soon churches in the surrounding area began taking notice of those walls. The buzz they were creating having an effect on the growth of our church. Shortly after this I had my first request to paint some theme designs in a larger church's children’s ministry.
In the beginning of 1999 an article was published on the front cover of the local paper. The headline read, “Pastor turned painter enjoying every minute”. Soon after this I resigned as an associate pastor and begin my journey as a mural artist. It was during this time “Painter Of Fun” was born. During that first year I wanted to be a successful artist not just a starving artist. I painted everything I could get my hands on: the local mall, home builders, a daycare, etc.
With God All Things Are Possible
In the fall of 1999 Michele resigned from her position as the children’s pastor due to some questionable decisions made by Sr. staff at the church and we moved to my home town of Peoria, IL. At the time we made this move we were $30,000+ debit mostly due to charges made for the church where Michele was on staff. We ended up living in my mother’s basement with a new born and a 3 year old. Michele had no job and I had no clients. But we knew God had a plan and if we followed that plan all things would be possible. The internet was fairly new at this time and I believed that a website was critical to our vision of only painting for children’s ministries. I purchased a 2” thick book on web design with Microsoft Frontpage. In October of 1999 we made one of the best decisions of our early company and we launched www.PainterOfFun.com. (I still own the domain name.) I didn’t want to paint other facilities because in my heart I knew Churches where to be our focus.
In January of 2000 we made the decision to place our focus strictly on churches and children’s ministries. It was during this time that “Creative Kids Ministry” was born. That first year was tough sledding and we earned a whopping $9,000. Over the next few years "Creative Kids Ministry" evolved one final time to our current identity “Creative For Kids”.
Our Focus Was To Help
Our focus has never been “Us 4 and no more”. We have always wanted to help churches decorate their children’s ministries. So in the early 2000’s we created "Do It Yourself" Mural Kits. Their purpose was to provide a way for small churches with small budgets to decorate their children’s ministry. We created our first 6 Mural Kits and offered them online. Now churches had options if they couldn’t hire a company to come in and do custom designs. We were the first to offer any kind of church specific decorating products like this. It was during this phase that Creative For Kids products were born.
Grow, Grow, Grow
Every year after that we grew in some form or another. Each year children’s ministry decorating projects continued to grow in the number of churches and in the size of projects. Our product line kept growing with the release of mural kits and the introduction of Project-A-Stencils, Wall Stickers, and Wall Hangings. The purpose behind each product being to assist children’s ministries decorate. Products were being shipped all over the US and even overseas and we just kept giving God the glory and praise for how He had worked all things together for our good.
Getting Kids Saved
I love creating themes for children’s ministries. LOVE IT! I love helping healthy churches that want to decorate their children’s ministries. For me, decorating was never the end all for Creative For Kids. Today thousands of kids see our artwork each week in churches all across the US. I know that our artwork has been responsible for drawing in many, many kids and families which in turn leads to salvations.
I am very humbled and honored that God has used me in that way all these years. Getting kids saved directly is what I have worked toward these many years. My vision to see kids getting saved directly was fulfilled 2 years ago when Michele, after 20 years as a children’s pastor resigned to work for our company full time.
God has gifted her and equipped her with the skills to get kids saved directly through writing Curriculum. So after much praying, planning and preparing “Jesus In Jeans Curriculum - Proving Jesus relevant in everyday life", was born and a dream came true. Through this curriculum we are showing kids that Jesus is relevant in their lives TODAY!
Today, Moving Forward
Today, we continue to assist churches in decoration and now education. Our website sees many thousands of visitors a month from all over the world! We continue to offer custom work through designing children ministry themes, custom concepts, custom logos, custom banners, through our partners, architectural services , soon to be announced custom check-in desks, and woodworking. We also offer articles relating to Children's ministry education, Children’s ministry décor ideas, and informational articles on decorating.
We now have over 950 products located in our online store in a variety of categories; Wall Stickers, Mural Kits, Project-A-Stencils, Posters and Banners, and a host of products in our Curriculum Resources that focus on Jesus In Jeans Curriculum.
I'd like to say "Thank you!" for supporting us through the years with custom onsite work and product purchases and for all the encouraging words from all of you. We are here because of God and you!
Our future is looking more exciting than ever. Our vision is large, our focus is precise, our dependency is on God, and our determination is unwavering. Together with you we will keep painting pictures, telling stories, and reaching kids and families for Jesus!
President, Creative For Kids
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