Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful or Wantful?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and today people are rushing to the stores for the "Black Friday Deals". People have turned their focus to the things they "want" . . . and this includes the children in our ministries as they think about the things they want to receive for Christmas. 

It seems like there is so little focus given to being thankful and while we might be quick to encourage children and families to take time to be truly thankful rather than focus on the things they want, how often do we actually do this ourselves? Consider the following . . . 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Be Truly Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving! As we focus on being thankful today, I want to take a moment to encourage us all to be intentional about being thankful all year . . . not just in November. I've been talking with my grandsons about being thankful people. I tell them we love to be people who are thankful and encourage them to look for reasons to be thankful to others and to God. If the habit - or "mind-set" of being thankful is one which is encouraged and celebrated from the youngest ages, I believe it is one which will become a part of who we are!

While being thankful is part of having good manners, I think it is more than a manners "issue". Being thankful goes to the heart of who we are. It can be far too easy to be a person who just takes advantage of the kindness of others; which is something people who serve in churches need to be on guard for. We have people who volunteer their time, abilities and gifts to serve in our children's ministries. These people give and give and give - and we happily take what they give. Do we truly stop to let them know how very much we appreciate them and what they do? Or, do we take them for granted?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Do You Model Genuine Appreciation & How Do You Teach Children to Appreciate?

It is oh, so easy to take people for granted and worse, to end up taking advantage of
others. While I am sure none of use want to treat others in a "shabby" way, if we are not focused on genuinely treating others with appreciation, we may find we are not treating others as we should.

So, if it matters for us to be focused on genuinely appreciating others, what do you do to do this? Especially when it comes to genuinely appreciating volunteers as they are people who often end up feeling like they were taken for granted and/or taken advantage of in our children's ministries. Consider the following ideas . . . 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Do Churches Still Have "Mean Girls" Who "Rule" in Children's Ministry?

Yesterday I asked if children's ministry is sexist because, sadly, there are times when women are "labeled" as, "bossy" or "pushy" as they are use the gifts God gave them, but a man who did the exact same things would be "labeled" as, "a strong leader" or as "someone who knows what he is talking about". Please know, I have had the joy to serve in several churches where I was truly valued and not treated in a sexist way, but sadly, there have been times when I experienced this in churches. Clearly not all churches are, "sexist", but there are some where women who serve are treated badly.

I'm not upset or trying to be negative about children's ministry, but if we do not identify and acknowledge things which need to be changed, they will not be changed. And, definitely any church which treats women in a sexist way, needs to make changes.

I said I'd share over a few days some ways this "sexism" might show up, so today I'd like us to think about if we experience this poor behavior the most from an, "unexpected" source; other women. I think in most cases the "mean girl" mind-set from junior high and high school is something most women grow out of and come to see as behavior not to be embraced, but there are some who continue this behavior and who gossip well into their adult lives. So, what might this look like in a church? Consider the following questions -

Monday, November 24, 2014

Are Churches Sexist in their Children's Ministries?

For the next few days I'm going to write about something which may be controversial; I sincerely hope you will comment as I would really like to hear what you think and what your experience has been.

Children's Ministry is a place where women are sometimes discriminated against and treated badly. Yes, there are churches where they treat women in children's ministry very well; I have had the joy to serve in several such churches, but it can also be a place where women are not treated well. Please allow me to give some examples over the next few days - one a day - of what I'm talking about . . . 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Your Thanksgiving Inventory

Thanksgiving is this week . . . so today, this post about being thankful is for you and is for fun! Are we truly thankful people? Do we get so "caught up" in the busy-ness of life we don't spend time "taking inventory" of all  God's many, many blessings in our lives?  Take a moment to watch this skit about "Your Thanksgiving Inventory" from the skitguys - it is sure to bring a smile to your face . . .

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Do You Know How History, Community & Culture Impact Your Children's Ministry?

Too often we tend to think children's ministry is just comprised of churches and children, which, technically, it is; but our churches . . . and our children . . . are not identical.  Our communities are different.  Our people are different.  Our histories are different.  Our cultures are different.What works in one church, may or may not work in another.  And, while there are components which are essential for every children’s ministry to be effective, there is no “secret recipe” where if you are certain to include each ingredient, you will be guaranteed an effective children’s ministry.  
So, what do you do to help your church’s children’s ministry be as effective as possible?  Well, while we can’t all follow the exact, same recipe, use the exact same cookie-cutter and expect our ministries to all be successful, we can discover our own unique "recipe" tailored to "fit" our unique community and people and then set about to implement our own, uniquely effective ministry which impacts the children and families in our own church and community!

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Do You Help Children Learn to be Really Thankful?

While we like to think we are thankful people, most of us do not actually live like we are thankful. Oh, yes, we talk about being thankful; especially in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and when we pray we typically thank God for something, but are we truly thankful people? Consider the following questions . . . 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Do You Do with the Potential "Controversies" at Christmas?

We are just a week from Thanksgiving and then a month of celebrating, special events, programs and parties leading up to Christmas! Definitely a busy time of year, but also a time of year which has great potential to stir up "trouble" as you try to discern the best way for your children's ministry to handle things such as; gift exchanges, special service projects, dealing with "Santa" and just how many special events should you plan in this month when families already tend to be so busy. Do any of the following sound familiar to you . . . 

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to say Sandee Cole is the winner in my give-away! (You'll find the full review at this link.) Thank you Sandee for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address by November 27, 2014 so I can have it sent to you - and thank you Zonderkidz for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!