Friday, March 27, 2015

Help Children Build Friendships!

I've been writing this week about whether Sunday school has outlived its usefulness and talked about choosing to focus on involving children in learning God's Word is for them rather than relying on "gimmicks" to get children to participate and helping children build relationships with other children who love God. As I wrap this up today, I want to share a few ways to help the children in our ministries build relationships with other children in their classes . . . 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sunday School - A Place for Relationships

This week I've been asking if Sunday school has outlived its usefulness and talked about choosing to focus on involving children in learning God's Word is for them rather than relying on "gimmicks" to get children to participate.

Sunday school has not outlived its usefulness because at its "core" it is all about building relationships; relationships between children and Jesus and relationships between children and children. We help children build their relationships with Jesus when we focus on helping them learn God's Word is for them and help them learn how to go to God's Word to find the answers they need for their own lives. But along with doing this, we also need to be focused on helping children build relationships with other children. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Help Children Discover God's Word!

Yesterday I wrote about how we need to focus on, "getting children to actually open their Bibles to look for information and learn to find answers in God's Word", so today I want to think about a couple ways we could do exactly this.

Please know when I talk about focusing on getting children into their Bibles, I am not talking about them listening to teachers talk or having to fill in the blanks in workbooks. I am not advocating a return to more traditional teaching methods. However; I'm also not saying we should just engage children in games and activities which keep their attention, but rarely have them opening their Bibles for themselves to discover what God's Word says.

Instead I would like to see us build an excitement in children so they want to discover for themselves what God's Word has to say! Consider the following ideas of how to do this . . . 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sunday School - God's Word Not Gimmicks!

Yesterday I asked if Sunday school has outlived its usefulness and commented on an article by Melissa Pandika which talked about how families are not participating in Sunday school as much as they once did. More and more families are opting out of Sunday school and mid week ministry as well; this is something I think we all see in our ministries.

So, what do we do to reverse this trend? Do we go the route of trying the latest and "greatest" new "gimmicks" to get children to participate? Does this mean we have to work more to "entertain" children so we can "compete" with sports and other activities in which children are participating?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Has Sunday School Outlived Its Usefulness?

I read an article yesterday by Melissa Pandika where she asked if the "sun has set on Sunday School"? She said; "Between 1997 and 2004, churches lost tens of thousands of Sunday school programs, according to data from the Barna Group, and more recent studies show enrollment has fallen across denominations. From 2004 to 2010, for example, Sunday school attendance dropped nearly 40 percent among Evangelical Lutheran churches in America and almost eight percent among Southern Baptist  churches, prompting speculation that the problem may be more than just a decline in American religiosity."

Melissa went on to say parents and children are just too busy on the weekends to attend church and churches in general are paying a higher price than they anticipated for the occurrences of sex abuse in some churches leaving some to wonder if, "Sunday school has outlived it's usefulness". She wrapped up her article saying churches are trying new things to get people to come back to Sunday school. (You'll find the full article at this link.)

So, has Sunday school outlived its usefulness? Is our answer to give it one last "push" by trying new things to get parents and children to return? Do we need to use "gimmicks" to "compete" with sports and the other things children attend and participate in on Sundays? 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Let's Educate Ourselves About Child Slavery & Act

I recently wrote about child slavery and was asked how we can find out where the things
we buy were made so we do not end up supporting child slavery. I will give you several websites where you can find out more about this, so along with checking labels - look for information about where the item is from, the fair trade label, Rainforest Alliance label - shop the frog - or even if it is listed as "organic" - all these can help you find manufacturers who do not use slaves.

But, please keep in mind, simply boycotting items is not the answer in and of itself. In some cases entire families work to provide a living for the family. In these cases it is important for manufacturers to provide a living wage and to insure safe working conditions along with education for children. In the cases where children are sold as slaves or kidnapped and used as slaves or work in the sex or porn industries, it must be stopped. Where children are exploited we do have to speak very loudly with our dollars as it is often the only language they understand. The following links will help you learn more about this -

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why Integrity Matters in Children's Ministry

I've been writing this week about integrity and Children's Ministry and looked at if we are people who do what we say we will do, who do not gossip and who give credit to those who have ideas and do things.  I said; "It truly matters if we are people who show the highest integrity if we are Christians; it matters even more when we are people who are leaders in Children's Ministry, because if we do not show this type of integrity, we harm others and damage our ministry.

So, as I wrap up this conversation about integrity, I want to say, aside from being someone committed to acting in a way which shows integrity because it is what God's Word tells us to do, we must do so because otherwise we hurt people and show we can not be trusted. Sadly, there are people who have been harmed by people in leadership positions in their church who did not show integrity. Some of these people who have been harmed end up leaving the church; they may not ever return. Some of these people think if they can not trust leaders in their church, they can not trust God. They do not differentiate between people who hurt them and God. These people do more than just leave the church; they "leave" God. Look at Jeremiah 23:1,2 -

Friday, March 20, 2015

Don't Contribute to Child Slavery

I know this blog is about Children's Ministry, but after doing some research on Children's
MInistry around the world, my eyes were opened to the horror of child slavery. In many places around the world children as young as five years old are forced into dangerous and difficult labor as slaves. I'm confident you all are as horrified by this as I am.

But, are you horrified enough to actually do anything about it? True, there may not be much we can do to physically stop the selling and abuse of children by making them slaves, but we can choose to not purchase things which are a result of child slavery. 

In my research I learned there are so many children in slavery who are forced to work on cocoa farms in Africa and 70% of the cocoa used in this world is from Africa. I love chocolate, but I hate child slavery, so I will no longer buy chocolate which is a result of child slavery. And just so you know, coffee, tea and vanilla are also crops where children are forced to work long and hard as slaves; children as young as five years old.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why Integrity Matters in Children's Ministry - Give Credit Where it is Due

I've been writing about integrity and Children's Ministry and have looked at if we are people who do what we say we will do and who do not gossip. You know, it truly matters if we are people who show the highest integrity if we are Christians; it matters even more when we are people who are leaders in Children's Ministry because if we do not show this type of integrity, we harm others and damage our ministry. 

When Jesus was on Earth, He didn't condemn sinners; He ate with them, talked with them and showed them God's love. He did, however; condemn religious leaders who did not show integrity - He said they were hypocrites. In fact, He had a lot to say about them and none of it was positive, so if we think for even a moment, it does not really matter if we are "lax" with our integrity, we are definitely mistaken. It matters, so, today let's think about being people who do not take credit for what others think of or do. When might we do this? Consider the following . . . 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Integrity Matters in Children's Ministry - Do Not Gossip

Image result for clipart for no gossipA couple days ago I asked if we actually live as people who show integrity in our children's ministry and if when it came down to it, do the volunteers, families and children truly see us as people of integrity. I looked at whether we are people who actually do what we say we will do. Today I want to talk about if we are really people who do not gossip. Consider the following . . .