Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Safety Alert - Phones Are Pretty Much Everywhere

When it comes to Children’s Ministry, there are so many things to think about, but one essential, absolutely important thing we must keep in mind, is the safety of the children in our ministry. This means we are resolute about running safety checks, background checks and following up with references for each and every person working/serving in the Children’s Ministry as well as for each and every person who volunteers to serve.

It also means we keep an appropriate child/adult ratio in our classes, we do not let married couples serve together without another unrelated adult present and we have child safety policies we train all our volunteers on each and every year.

However; there is another very important thing we must do to keep the children safe . . . something you may not have considered. Pretty much every adult and teen – and even some children – in your church have phones . . . which they carry with them everywhere they go. This means pretty much every adult, teen – and even some children – in your church have cameras which they carry with them everywhere they go.

Why does this matter? Because it means they have these phones – and cameras – with them when they are in the restrooms and other places where the children in your ministry may be as well. How does this impact your Children’s Ministry and being certain it is a safe place for children? Consider the following . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

If We Build It, They Will Come . . .

I saw an interesting – rather amazing – photo on facebook which really got my attention. This is the turnoff from Banff to the Trans-Canada Highway. Many stretches of this highway run through wilderness areas and they found vehicle/animal collisions increased, so they built “animal crossings” – areas with one-way gates, overpasses and underpasses providing safe places for animals to cross where they already had animal trails. This photo shows a bridge where elk are crossing.

This photo made me think . . .

Friday, February 17, 2017

VBS 2017 - Barnyard Roundup is Available Again This Year!

Recently Concordia Publishing House let me know they are making their VBS from last year, Barnyard Roundup, available again this year. Last year it came in my top three VBS resources, so I'm very happy to share with you my review from last year. If you did not use it last year, definitely take a look at it to see if it is a good "fit" for your Summer ministry goals as Concordia calls on children to discover how, "Jesus is at work through us!"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Help Children Love God's Word with the NIV Investigator's Holy Bible - I'm Giving One Away!

As you have likely noticed from posts I've written about euipping grandparents and will likely gathered from reading just a few of the posts on my other blog, grandma’s cookie jar, it matters very much to me to be intentional about passing on a heritage of faith to my grandchildren. What will anything else I might do or gain in life matter if my grandchildren do not grow to love, know and walk with God? I know what truly matters in life and this is why I am focused upon passing on a heritage of faith to my grandchildren.

There are several things I do to pass on my faith – I pray for my grandchildren (one resource I use to help me be consistent and focused in praying is my Deeper In books which help me pray through Scripture for my grandchildren. You’ll find out more about them at this link.) I also use Science,the Bible & Fun with my grandchildren – this is a book which gives me 52 weeks of science projects, activities, Bible adventures and time in prayer journals with my grandsons. (I wrote this resource, too and you will find it at this link.) If you want to be intentional in passing on faith to your grandchildren, these resources will help you.

But today I’m writing about another resource which you could share with the grandparents and parents in your ministry, because it will help them be intentional in passing on a heritage of faith to the children they love. This resource is the Bible. Yes, the Bible. As grandparents and parents they need to read the Bible to the children they love while they are young, but there has to come a point in their lives where they make the choice to read the Bible for themselves. They will not grow in their walk with God, if they do not become people who read God’s Word for themselves.

I have been very intentional about sharing God’s Word with my grandsons. We have been learning about Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Noah and Daniel so far this year during Science, the Bible & Fun – in two weeks we will begin our month of learning about Caleb. We have Scripture blessings which we learn and say at meals and bedtime on sleepovers. My grandsons are able to see how my own Bible is underlined and has notes in the margins (I recently transferred all my notes to my new Bible – the Journal the Word Bible from Zondervan – you’ll find my review of it at this link.)

So, yesterday when my oldest grandson told me he has started reading his Bible I could not be happier! He began at Genesis 1:1 (a very good place to begin!) and is up to chapter six. He told me; “I started reading my Bible and it is way more interesting than I thought it would be!” This boy is a reader – he is currently reading Lord of the Rings, several other chapter books and some science project books – he is eight years old! I am SO happy he is reading his Bible and is enjoying it!

I recently was invited by Zonderkid to review a new Bible for children – which I’m 
going to share with you today. If you are looking for a Bible you could let the grandparents and parents in your ministry know about, so they could use it to help the children they love develop the habit of reading God’s Word, this Bible is an excellent choice!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 VBS Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

I am very happy today to make my 2017 VBS Side-by-Side Comparison Chart available for you to use as you determine which VBS resources you will use in your ministry over the coming year. As you use this chart, please keep the following information in mind . . . 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Power of Our Words

On my other blog - grandma's cookie jar - I shared how last night my grandson Caleb gave me a hug, I smiled and said; "I sure do love you! You make my heart so happy!" Then he got the biggest smile ever on his sweet face, gave me another hug and said; "I sure do love you and you make my heart happy, too! I'm not just copying you; I really mean it!" Did I mention this sweet boy makes my heart happy?!! 

This interaction with my sweet grandson reminded me once again of how important our words are. These simple words telling him I love him and he makes my heart happy, put such a big smile on his face – as did his sweet words back to me put a big smile on my face! Words are powerful; this is absolutely the truth. Our words can communicate love and value, or bring pain.

As you go through this day, and the coming days with the focus on “love” with Valentine’s Day, be aware of the power of your words and intentional in how you choose your words. It will make  difference in the lives of the children in your ministry and in your own family.

Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Top Pick in VBS - Operation Arctic from Answers in Genesis

Yes, this year my Top Pick for VBS is Answers in Genesis' Operation Arctic! If you have not already taken a close look at this excellent resource, please be sure to do so! You will find my full review at this link, but the reasons for making it my top pick, are . . . 
  1. Solid Bible teaching (all the kits I review have this, but I love how engaging these Bible lessons are!)
  2. I love the focus upon, "Go & Do" to encourage children to live what they are learning.
  3. Excellent and complete director's material
  4. Overall engaging, fun, creative and a sound resource to help you reach children and families for Jesus and encourage them to grow in their walk with Him!
Definitely take a good look at Operation Arctic - you will be so glad you did!

I'll be posting my 2017 VBS Side-by-Side comparison chart on Monday - Cokesbury's Hero Central and Concordia's Mighty Fortress are second and third, but all three were very close and are all excellent resources!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

VBS 2017 - Camp Out from Group Publishing

Today, while I still have two more kits I'm waiting for to complete this year's review, I'm happy to share one more VBS resource with you; Group's Weekend VBS . . . Camp Out! With this resource you get to provide an opportunity for the children and families from your church to learn the Gospel message, in just a weekend - or two short days!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Your Children's Ministry's Greatest Supporters

Yes, I originally posted this a few months ago, but with the focus upon choosing your VBS and lining up your plans for your Summer Children's Ministry, I wanted to remind you of this group of people who could be - and very possibly will be - your greatest supporters!

If you knew there may be a group of people in your church who were not truly being engaged; what would you do? If you knew it was possible these people were not really being equipped and encouraged to disciple children, who in many cases were part of your Children’s Ministry; what would you do? If you knew it was possible if this group of people were engaged and equipped, they very well might become some of the strongest supporters of your Children’s Ministry; what would you do?

Who are the people in this group, you ask? The answer is; grandparents. Now before you tell me your church has a ministry to and for grandparents, let me ask you if this “ministry” is more than Bible study classes, get-together, luncheons and hymn sings, because there is a significant difference between a “Senior Saints” Ministry and a Grandparenting Ministry. A Senior Saints Ministry primarily functions for those who are retired (over the age of 65) and is mostly focused on fellowship – both excellent things for a church to do, but not a Grandparenting Ministry, which focuses upon those who are grandparents (the average age for a person to become a grandparent for the first time is 47 . . . yes, 47!) and strives to engage, equip and encourage them to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. Do you see the difference? Does your church truly have a Grandparenting Ministry?

Monday, February 6, 2017

2017 VBS - Operation Arctic from Answers in Genesis

This week, on Friday, I'm going to be announcing my Top Pick for VBS 2017 - today we are looking at Operation Arctic from Answers in Genesis - it is a resource well worth taking a close look at to see if it is a good "fit" for your ministry.