Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teach Your Class to Sign!

If you are looking for something fun, useful and engaging which you could do with the children in your class, consider teaching them some American Sign Language. Sound interesting? It is really pretty simple to do if you just take one or two words or a sentence at at time. 

Last year I taught the children in my first grade Sunday School class one word a week which connected with the point of our Bible lesson - the kids loved this and each week we reviewed the words/signs from previous weeks!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to say Wayne Stocks is the winner of The Jesus Bible! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Wayne for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address by April 28, 2014 so I can send it to you) and thank you Zonderkidz for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

God's Grace Requires Us to Show Grace

Yesterday at my church, as in many churches across the country and around the world, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus! It was awesome to sit in a service with at least a thousand people and hear the joy as we sang about how Jesus is alive, listed to my pastor talk about Jesus's resurrection and how He gives us His grace, forgiveness and life and watch as an entire family was baptized (son, mom, dad, grandpa and grandma!) 

Today, before we all get back to our day-in-day-out lives, I want to share something with you which I read from UpWords with Max Lucado. He said, "So, how often do you sin, hmm… in an hour?  For the sake of discussion, let’s say ten times an hour.  Ten sins an hour, times sixteen waking hours, times 365 days a year, times the average life span of 74 years.  I’m rounding the total off to 4,300,000 sins per person!  How do you plan to pay God for your 4.3 million sin increments?  You’re swimming in an ocean of debt. But God pardons the zillion sins of selfish humanity.  He forgives sixty million sin-filled days.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be.  And He did it by the grace of Jesus Christ."

If we are Christians, then we have been the recipients of God's incredible grace, pardon and forgiveness - which we all celebrated yesterday. Do we freely offer this grace, pardon and forgiveness we have received to those who hurt, offend, upset or wound us? Are our lives marked by grace - not only receiving it, but in generously giving it to others? Consider the following -

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia!

Today is Resurrection Sunday - the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! I thought I'd share Glad's performance of the classic, Christ the Lord is Risen Today - enjoy and remember . . . because He is risen today, you can raise your joys and triumphs high and sing because death no longer has a sting or victory! Jesus did fight the fight and the battle is won because Jesus lives again! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jesus is Bigger Than We Think!

Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday; the most important day in history! As I Corinthians 15:13,14 says, "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.". But He is alive! We do have hope! We know He will return for us one day! (1 Thessalonians 4:14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.)

Jesus is alive, He is bigger than we think and He is able to do ever so much more than we can even imagine; but do we live our everyday lives as if we really believe this? Do we serve in our children's ministries as if we really believe this? Or, do we become overwhelmed and frustrated with all there is to do and think there is no way we can actually do all the things we need to do?

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Curriculum Do You Use and Why?

What curriculum do you use? Why do you use it? What do you like the most about it? What might you like to see be different with it? Throughout the month of May I will be focusing on curriculum. While I can sit down with a curriculum, read through it and give you a review of it's strengths and challenges, actually using it is the way to know the most about a particular curriculum line. 

I have actually used a number of curriculum lines throughout the year; but not all of them. So, I'm asking you to please get involved with this year's Curriculum reviews. As I post the reviews, please comment if you have used the curriculum in the review. Please tell us why you chose it, what you like the most about it and if there is anything you might like to see be different with it.

My reviews focus on the features of a curriculum, the type of curriculum and it's strengths. Your comments can truly serve to help those of us who are trying to find our best curriculum fit by hearing first-hand from people who are using the curriculum; please share your perspective! Thank you!

Sunday School Curriculum Reviews - Why Make a Curriculum Change?

In a couple weeks my curriculum reviews for 2014 begin; I'll also be releasing Side-by-Side Comparison Charts to help you as you evaluate curriculum looking for your best curriculum "fit". This year I'm also including info from people who use some of the curriculum, so, as we move closer to the start of my reviews I want to take a moment to consider some reasons you would NOT want to make a curriculum change as well as some reasons you WOULD want to make a change . . .

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jesus and the Bible are Not Boring; Why do Children Think They Are?

Jesus was not boring. While there is no verse in the Bible which says, "And He was not boring.", I believe we can see from Scripture how He was not boring because adults and children wanted to be around Him! We all know children do not want to be around people who are boring; and they do not want to listen to boring people either.

The Bible is also not boring. Think about it! In the Bible we have true accounts of real people; real people just like us, who either made the choice to know and walk with God, or not. These real people; real people just like us, actually talked with God . . . and had Him talk to them! These real people; real people just like us, watched as God did miracles . . . such as parting the Red Sea! Can you imagine what it was like to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground!!!! These real people; real people just like us, fought real giants, believed God when He told them not to be concerned about an army significantly larger than their own which was on it's way to fight them and then led their people to "battle" singing all the way, did not burn up in a fiery furnace, spent a night with hungry lions, walked on the water with Jesus, saw Jesus raise dead people, give sight to the blind and on and on the true and exciting accounts go! The Bible is absolutely NOT boring!

So, since Jesus is not boring and the Bible is not boring, why do so many children think they are? Why do so many children think the Bible is just a book they take to church with them and then leave in their van all week until they are on their way back to their Sunday School class? Why do so many adults think these things, too?

There are probably several reasons for this, but I think some of them are . . . 

Sunday School Curriculum Reviews - Think About the "Tools"!

My 2014 Curriculum Reviews and Side-by-Side Comparison Charts begin to release in May, but today we will talk about the "tools" you'll find in your curriculum; scope and sequence, intentionally engaging children in the teaching of the Bible lessons, how to get even shy children talking about the Bible lessons, a unified scope and sequence, "live-it" activities and "Put Feet to Their Faith" service projects!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunday School Curriculum Reviews - What "Type" of Curriculum is Your Best "Fit"?

Yesterday I wrote about finding your best curriculum "fit" by identifying your vision/purpose first, because once you have a vision/purpose, you are ready to select your best curriculum “fit”. 

As you look for your best "fit", keep in mind, the Bible is what you are teaching. Not a particular curriculum. Curriculum is only a “tool” to help you engage children so they experience, remember, understand and live God’s Word for truly changed lives. If it is Biblically sound, any curriculum can be made effective – some curriculum just provide better, more effective tools than others. We select curriculum because it is the best “tool” for our volunteers to utilize so our children will be truly engaged and know how to live God’s Word; not because it has fun gadgets, DVD’s, or colorful artwork! Make sure the curriculum you select provides tools to not only teach the Bible facts – which are important and we do want our children to learn – but also engages children so they understand what these “facts” mean for their everyday lives!

When finding your best curriculum “fit”, keep in mind the different types of curriculum as they each utilize specific teaching styles and tools. Think about what will best help you accomplish your vision/purpose for children’s ministry.