t-shirtsThere’s nothing like a new shirt for your kidmin volunteers. Especially if it’s cool.

Ever had that shirt you were ashamed to wear outside of church? Especially if you went out with some volunteers for lunch after church, then there’s be a mob of people in ugly shirts. It’s a shame, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve made it a mission to do everything in my power to avoid stupid looking shirts for volunteers in my children’s ministry. I want my volunteers to wear their shirts on Sunday, but more importantly, I want them to want to wear their shirts. It’s good advertising and I really do want people to be proud to wear their shirts out in public, not embarrassed because the person who designed it had no sense of style.

Here are some pretty important steps for getting a ministry shirt, especially one you’ll be happy with.

  1. You need an idea, concept or look you want to create. Many childrens pastors would be well served to do this step well. Visit clothing websites like Hollister, American Eagle and Threadless Tees. Consult your student pastor, college students or young adults who seem to dress like the culture of your church. Find something you like that others agree would look great too. A graphic artist can often help in this process, but sometimes it’s best to get the idea first before going to the graphic artist.
  2. Get a graphic artist to design your shirt. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then it’s probably best that you don’t design your shirt. You have a lot of options. You might hire a designer. You can find them locally or even from the web. For my last shirt, I was about 5 hours away from hiring a graphic designer I found through twitter. You’ve probably even got some designers who attend your church. It’s likely you can get a graphic designer to do it for free if you’re on a tight budget. Some vendors even have designers and if you can afford it, it might be a great option for you. They’ll know best what the design will look like on their shirt. Most importantly, ask to see the work the graphic artist has done. It you don’t see any designs they’ve made that look anything like you want, don’t expect them to be able to do what you want. Do your homework and you’ll save yourself some time.
  3. Select your vendor. This is your screen printer company. I usually like to work with the company directly. There are lots of “middle men” out there. They’ll represent you to the printers and look for the best pricing. They’ll even come to you. However, you’re going to pay for them and I don’t feel they always give me the service that’s worth paying for. Usually your best bet is to find a local screen printer that does high a volume business. I’ve worked with mom and pops print shops in the past. The experience has always been good, but usually what they can do is limited. They may say they can do anything you want, but it may mean that they’re sending it out to be done somewhere else which makes them the middle men and you’ll pay for that. Currently I use a local screen printer that does a high volume of shirts for the University of Texas. They do great work. They have to to get a client like UT. It’s not always a bad thing to use a vendor that isn’t local, just know that you’ll be paying for shipping to get the shirts delivered. When talking to a vendor, make sure to get the information that your designer is going to need. Some vendors have size, color or detail limitations that will influence how the designer designs.

So, hopefully that helps give you a little direction on having shirts printed. Tomorrow I’ll post some links you might want to check out of resources I use or plan to use.