Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Be Thankful - Involve Everyone in Saying Thank You!

A few days ago I wrote about being thankful. I said; "I have recently been giving thought to being thankful. I think far too often we sound like greedy, selfish children. We are quick to ask God for things, but do not spend much, if any, time thanking God. I wrote last Summer about planning a Prayer Walk in your ministry - perhaps now your Fall ministry has begun, it is time to plan a Thanksgiving Walk. Post specific answers to prayer in each area of your ministry and invite people in your church to walk through your children's ministry and spend time thanking God for the many ways He is answering prayer and blessing your ministry. End with a time of worship and corporate thanksgiving for an evening focused on being thankful!"

While I think having a "Thankfulness Walk" is a great idea, it may be more than you can put together at this time. Another way you can focus on being thankful - a simpler way - would be to ask your volunteers to email you something they are personally thankful for. Then, each week in your weekly communication, you could include the thing one person is thankful for so everyone can thank God together! This is simpler and keeps your focus on being thankful all year!

This is just another way you can be intentional about thanking God for His many blessings. What do you do to intentionally thank God?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Build on the Foundation: Challenge Children!

Yesterday I wrote about not underestimating children; today I want to build on this and talk about challenging children. I truly do believe children live up or down to our expectations. If we treat them like they are not capable of really digging into God's Word, understanding it and living it, they will believe those things are true as well. 

While preschool is a foundational time where children are learning the basics of God's Word, elementary is different. As children learn to read and have a foundation of solid Bible knowledge, it is time to build on this foundation and help children go deep and wide into God's Word so they are able to understand and live it!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Underestimate Children

In addition to writing this blog about children's ministry, I also write a "grandma blog" -
grandma's cookie jar. Yesterday I wrote about my grandson Josiah who just turned six - he is a really fun six year old! One thing he likes to do is to read. Yes, I said he likes to read! Not only does he like to read, but he is actually shocking his aunt with how good of a reader he is! The other day we were celebrating because his daddy has earned his Master Mechanic Certification and my parents gave Dave a card. On the card was the word, "Congratulations!" Josiah picked the card up and read the word - on his own with no help.

Okay, yes, writing about this was a moment of pure, "grandma bragging", but aside from making me feel very proud and happy with him - it caused me to think about how often do we "underestimate" children and think they are too young to try something, learn something, or do something. How often do we "dumb" things down for them? Josiah has always had a large vocabulary - filled with words with lots of letters! He not only uses these big words (literally leaving his teachers shocked), but he understands what they mean so he uses them correctly. This is due in part because his parents - and we - speak to him as an intelligent person. We did not use, "baby language" with him. Plus, they and we have always read lots of books to him. I guess it should not be a huge surprise for him to take to reading so quickly!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Focus - God is Great!

When it comes to children's ministry, there is often more than one thing to focus on . . . the vision for the ministry, selecting the resources to best help you accomplish your vision, sharing your vision with others, finding, training, supporting volunteers, communicating effectively with parents . . . the list could, and often does, go on and on. But, what is your real focus? What is one thing you really need to keep at the top of your list? I believe it is spiritual growth. We can not give to others what we do not have for ourselves.

So, as you go through this week, keep your focus on what you can do to grow in your walk with God and see how this impacts your overall ministry. Consider the following from Psalm 86 . . .

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Be Intentional about Being Thankful - Have a Thankfulness Walk!

Last week I mentioned being intentional about being thankful to God. We are quick to pray and ask for help, ask for volunteers, ask for many things we need and want, but how quick are we to voice our thanks? How much time comparatively do we spend in asking God for things and thanking Him for His many blessings?

I have recently been giving thought to being thankful. I think far too often we sound like greedy, selfish children. We are quick to ask God for things, but do not spend much, if any, time thanking God. Just think for a moment of all God's many blessings which you have enjoyed this past week . . .

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beauty of Believing - I'm Giving One Away!

I have been invited by ZonderKidz/Faithgirlz to review a new devotional for young girls - they sent me a copy for free to review. Since we do want to see children grow up to be adults who read their Bibles, books such as this can be excellent tools to help children learn to be people who spend time in God's Word. So, today, I'm happy to review The Beauty of Believing - and announce a give-away as well! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Debbie Ketcham is the winner of the Adventure Bible for Toddlers! (You'll find the review at this link.) Thank you Debbie for reading About the Children's Department, (please message me your address by October 2, 2014 so I can have it sent to you) and thank you Zonderkidz for sending a copy for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

What's In the Bible? Church Edition Review with Free Sample & Discount

I was recently invited to participate in a "blog tour" for the completed, "What's in the Bible? Church Edition" curriculum and offered a free DVD for participating. Since over the past few years I've kept an eye on the resources from Jelly Telly & What's in the Bible, I was happy for the opportunity to share this resource with you.

So, first of all, what is the, "What's in the Bible?" curriculum? Well, it is a 60-week resource which walks your children grades One through Four through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The focus is on building Bible skills; which is not something most curriculum focuses on. Solid Bible teaching is combined with the creativity we've come to expect from Phil Vischer for a resource which any church could use to help the children in their ministry have a much better understanding of not only what the Bible is all about, but how to find their way around the Bible as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Top Fourteen Tips for Effective Children's Ministry - Tip #1 - Make Prayer the Priority!

For the past two weeks, I've been sharing some of the things I've learned in and about children's ministry and I'm ending up today where I began; with prayer!

As I said before, this is a, "no-brainer", but I can not stress strongly enough how absolutely essential it is for us to be people who are serious about prayer. If we really want our ministry to be effective we have to surround everything we do with prayer.

Why do we do this you may wonder? Consider the following -

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Top Fourteen Tips for Effective Children's Ministry - Tip #2 - Look for the Joy!

Well, we've almost made it through my Top Fourteen Tips for Effective Children's Ministry; today we have my, "Tip Number Two" . . . Look for the Joy! Children's Ministry should be the place where we see and experience joy everywhere we turn; what could be more joy-full than than telling children about Jesus and watching them praise Him?!!! 

While Children's Ministry is the most Joy-Full place in the church, it can often be "bogged" down in fatigue, politics, and worry, but it does not have to be! Consider the following . . .