Friday, April 18, 2014

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.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sunday School Curriculum Reviews - How to Find Your Best Curriculum "Fit"

Once again, during the month of May I'll be focusing on Sunday School curriculum reviews. I like reviewing curriculum in the Spring so you can make your decision about which curriculum is your best fit by the beginning of the Summer. This allows you to have time to fully train your volunteers so when the Fall begins they are ready to use the new material! With this in mind, today I want to talk about how to find your best curriculum "fit". 

There are many curriculum options available on the market, so how do you find the best curriculum “fit” for your church; and once you determine your best “fit”, how do you know when or even if you should ever make a change?  

Too often we base our curriculum choices on familiarity, marketing and even tradition rather than the carefully thought through and prayerfully considered vision and purpose for our children’s ministry. When we make our curriculum choices based on “familiarity” or marketing, we end up changing curriculum so often the children in our ministry never receive a complete understanding of God’s Word, as no one scope and sequence is completed. When we choose our curriculum based on tradition, we may find ourselves utilizing a teaching model no longer as effective, resulting in our children not really understanding or living God’s Word. Consider the following components to help you find your best "fit" . . . 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Get Rid of Gossip

Yesterday I wrote about gossip and shared some excellent information from Maralee McKee
about how to stop gossip. I also said, "Gossip is something I hate. Gossip is not "harmless". Gossip is not something those of us who serve are okay to "participate" in. Gossip causes pain and is something we must not only be on guard for, but it is something which we must be resolute in having nothing to do with it."

I understand how it can be extremely easy to find yourself in a situation where we not only hear others gossip, but where we take part in the gossip as well. But, we must be on guard for gossip and see it for the vile and hurtful thing it is, rather than something harmless which everyone does. When we allow gossip to be part of what we and our ministry does, we will have ministries which cause damage.

In the past I was at a church where the pastor in charge of the children's ministry not only listened to gossip, but he justified doing so as, "part of his job". He mistakenly thought it was acceptable for him to listen to gossip because as a pastor he thought he should be hearing what others had to say. Sadly, he allowed gossip to form his opinions of others and then he spread the gossip. As you might suspect, this caused significant damage because when he, as a pastor, said something about someone else, others believed him; even when what he said was not the truth.

Whether we are the pastor, children's director or a volunteer in the children's ministry, we absolutely must have a zero tolerance for gossip. We must see it for the vile and hurtful thing it is. We must be absolutely committed to not only be a person who does not speak and spread gossip, but to also be a person who does not listen to gossip for the following reasons . . . 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gossip - Stop It.

Gossip is something I hate. Gossip is not "harmless". Gossip is not something those of us who serve are okay to "participate" in. Gossip causes pain and is something we must not only be on guard for, but it is something which we must be resolute in having nothing to do with it.

My friend, Maralee McKee wrote an excellent post about gossip, which I'm going to share a bit of with you and link to the full post so you are able to read it all. Please take the time to do so.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Freshen Up" Your Vacation Bible School!

Okay, Vacation Bible School is almost a "given" for many, if not most, churches when they think about Summer Ministry Possibilities . . . but there is a very good reason for this! VBS is one of the most effective outreaches - and for many churches - their only outreach of the year, so as we consider Summer Ministry Possibilities, we need to first of all take a good look at Vacation Bible School. Why is VBS a good Ministry Outreach Possibility? People expect it. While this might sound like a negative thing, it is actually a very good thing because since they expect it, the people in your church are more likely to volunteer to help with it and the people in your community will be watching for the dates so they know when to send their kids.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Do You "Roll Up the Sidewalks" or "Kick it Into High Gear'?

What does Summer look like at your church? When it comes to your children's ministry, do you pretty much, "roll up the sidewalks" or do you "kick it into high gear"? If a new family were to visit your church in the summer, what would they think about your children's ministry? Would they be able to easily see your passion and commitment to children and families? What does it look like if you are a church where they "roll up the sidewalks" or a church where they "kick it into high gear"? Consider the following -

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Prayer For Your Ministry - Pray For the Most Important Thing!

There are certainly many things for us to pray about when it comes to praying for the children, families and volunteers in our ministry, but I think we can take a cue from Jesus as to the most important thing for us to pray about. In Matthew 22:37-40 someone asked Jesus which command was the most important; He said, "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”