Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Look Back . . . and a Look Forward! Sunday School Curriculum Reviews!

During the month of April I focused on Sunday school curriculum reviews and looked at Large Group/Small Group, Traditional, Bridge and Non-Traditional curriculum resources. I also looked at Special Needs curriculum. I reviewed a number of curriculum lines and provided side-by-side comparison charts. I also spent a week looking at curriculum which was  Biblically solid, well written and priced affordably - all of which matter and in this economy matter even more. All the curriculum lines I reviewed are Biblically solid and they all use the Bible in each and every lesson. I'm so glad there are so many excellent resources available for us to evaluate as we look for the curriculum which is the best "fit" for our own unique ministries!

Next week I'll be releasing my Children's Church curriculum reviews along with a side-by-side comparison chart and later in June I'll release my Mid-week curriculum reviews and chart as well. When it comes to these types of curriculum - Sunday School, Children's Church and Mid-week, I won't re-review them each year, but rather will update my reviews each year as publishers update their curriculum and release new resources for us to consider, so these reviews and charts will be available for you to access and use whenever you are evaluating curriculum.

If you have a particular line of curriculum you'd like me to review, let me know and I'll see if I can get some for review!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Look Back . . . and a Look Forward! Vacation Bible School 2011!

The month of January I focused on Vacation Bible School with my top ten VBS reviews and posts on all things VBS! There are some truly excellent VBS resources available for sumer 2011 and beyond, so if you haven't made your choice for VBS yet, know there are many Biblically sound resources to choose from! All the curriculum I reviewed are biblically sound and they all use God's Word each and every day to share the Good News of Jesus with unsaved children and they all have a focus on growing in their walk with God for children who already know Jesus. Some curriculum have a stronger focus on evangelism - such as Regular Baptist Press, Answers in Genesis, Gospel Light, Lifeway and Go Fish - while others have a stronger focus on equipping children who know Jesus - such as Standard, Cokesbury. Group and WordAction, but they all are solid in their use of and teaching of God's Word! Since you will have both children who do and do not know Jesus at your VBS, it is important for your VBS to focus on both evangelism and providing an opportunity for saved children to grow in their walk with Jesus.

I pray you will all have excellent VBS outreaches in your churches and communities! I pray children and families will be reached for Jesus and grow in their walk with Him! Be sure you have a plan in place to follow up with the children and families your VBS ministry allows you to make contact with . . . be sure to check my Mid-week curriculum reviews later this month!

And, on January 1, 2012 my VBS reviews for 2012 will begin!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Look What We Will Be Talking About This Week on About the Children's Department!

Well, it's been six months now since I began writing About the Children's Department! In these six months I've written about a lot of things . . . this week I'll be looking back at some of the topics I've written about and will also be looking forward to the month of June . . . I'll be reviewing curriculum for Children's Church and Mid-Week Ministry in the month of June! It will be a full and fun month!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who reads About the Children's Department! In the first six months we've had almost 30,000 page views and have people from 98 countries reading my blog! Thank you! If you haven't "liked" About the Children's Department using the tab in the "find us on facebook" box here on this blog, please take a moment to do so and you'll be entered in my drawings and give-aways! Please share this site with the people you know and when you have a moment, please check my new blog - grandma's cookie jar!

Some Facts and Statistics on Hunger in America

My Put Feet to their Faith project for the month of June is a food drive . . . you can involve the children in your ministry in gathering non-perishable foods for your church's own food pantry or for a food pantry in your community. I'd love to be able to say there are not children and families in America who go to bed hungry . . . but sadly, this is not the case. In your own community - and very possibly in your very own church - there are children and families who go to bed hungry. Consider the following facts and statistics on hunger in America from Share our Strength . . . 
  1. 18.6 American kids receive food stamp benefits
  2. Nearly one in four kids in America can’t count on having enough to eat
  3. 15.5 million kids in America live in poverty
  4. 19 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day
  5. Only 9.4 million kids get a free or reduced-price school breakfast on an average school day
  6. Just 1 in 6 eligible kids get free summer meals
These statistics are just not acceptable. We can and must do something to help those in our communities who are hungry! Consider the following possibilities . . . 

  1. Put on a car wash in your church parking lot and charge a donation of non-perishable foods
  2. Plan a family movie night and charge an admission "fee" of a donation of non-perishable foods
  3. Hold a crafting event and ask participants to bring a non-perishable food donation
Get a group of children, families and volunteers together and see what ideas you can come up with, but whatever you do, "Put Feet to Their Faith" and involve the children in your ministry in projects to help raise money and gather food for your local food pantry!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like a Child!

As we enter Memorial Day Weekend and the start of a summer of ministry to children and families, take a moment to watch this video from max7.org and remember . . .  "He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" (Matthew 18:2-4) Let's hold up Jesus' "Upside-down teaching" in all we do this summer and reach children and families for Jesus!

Friday, May 27, 2011

We Have A Winner!

Shannon Dingle is the winner in our Rob Biagi "Get Out There!" Cd give-away! Thank you Shannon for reading About the Children's Department and thank you Rob Biagi for sending your music for review and for give-away! 

Don't forget, next Friday, June 4th, I'm giving away two VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly DVDs! So, if you haven't "liked" About the Children's Department using the tab in the "find us on facebook" box ON THE BLOG, please take a moment to do so! If you have, then you are entered in our drawings! 

Thank you for reading About the Children's Department!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Pick - VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly DVD!

I'm having a special Family Pick next Friday, June 4th . . . VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly! This first-ever VeggieTales live dvd features 18 silly songs and the Veggie friends your children know and love as they "take to the stage with the silliest Silly Song Countdown ever!" This new dvd releases June 4th and is chocked full of music, silliness and fun with the following songs and bonus features - 
  • VeggieTales Theme Song
  • The Water Buffalo Song
  • Big Things Too
  • Gourds Just Wanna Have Fun
  • Song of the Cebu
  • Dance of the Cucumber
  • God is Bigger
  • His Cheeseburger
  • Love My Lips
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
  • Do the Moo Shoo
  • Rumor Weed
  • Endangered Love (Barbara Manatee)
  • Bellybutton
  • Footloose
  • The Hairbrush Song
  • I Can Be Your Friend
  • VeggieTales Theme Song (reprise)
Bonus Features:
  • Larry's Backstage Pass - Behind the scenes of VeggieTales Live
  • Pick-a-Song Singalongs
  • Show Trivia Game
  • Studio Store
  • English Subtitles
  • Widescreen version
  • 10 Ways kids can share and help others - Discussion Guide

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FREE VBS Game from Big Bible Town for the Children in Your VBS!

BIG Bible TownI'm so happy to pass on the information from Big Bible Town about how you can extend your VBS to the home computers of the children who attend your VBS . . . for FREE!

"You can now use BIG Bible Town as a free video game take-home to extend your VBS to home computers. Choose from four free VBS Take-Home Editions of BIG Bible Town.  Each includes two free Bible adventure games for two of the Bible stories taught in these popular VBS programs. 
The links above let you download a flyer to handout to kids or e-mail to parents.  As you will see, the flyer will get the kids excited about the game.  It will also give parents all the info they need to register for their FREE account which will automatically unlock the Bible adventure games for two of the Bible stories in the selected VBS program.

So by simply handing out a flyer to your kids, you will be giving them a fun and powerful Bible education game which will add more fun and meaning to your VBS and also keep kids connected to the Word where they are…at home… long after VBS is over. And then if parents want to access all 30 Bible games at BIG Bible Town, they will receive a 15% discount on their subscription. This is it!  We do the rest.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project to Provide Food for Those in Need!

What would you do if you didn't have the money to buy enough food for your family? Where would you turn for help? Does your church, and/or churches in your community have a food pantry? Feeding America is the largest food bank in the country. Their "mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger." My church is a distribution site for their monthly food distribution to our community. I checked Feeding America's website and found the following information on hunger in America - 

  • Through Feeding America's network of food banks, they distribute over 3 billion pounds of food a year.
  • 1 in 6 people rely on the services of the Feeding America network for food.
  • Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children. This is an increase of 46 percent over 2006, when they were feeding 25 million Americans, including 9 million children, each year.
  • That means one in eight Americans now rely on Feeding America for food and groceries.
  • Feeding America's nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than we did in 2006.
  • Thirty-six percent of the households they serve have at least one person working.
  • More than one-third of client households report having to choose between food and other basic necessities, such as rent, utilities and medical care.
  • The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.
  • In the United States, more than one out of six children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 17.2 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project For Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry!

For the past month I've been writing about involving the children in your ministry with a project to help the children in the Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry in Pakistan. I'd like to encourage you to consider this project . . .  as we know, Pakistan is a Muslim country. I personally am so happy to hear of this ministry and the children they are reaching with the Good News of Jesus in Pakistan! The project is really quite simple . . . ask your children to bring in boxes of crayons and money to pay for shipping them to Pakistan. In addition, make use of your copy machine and print out some of the free coloring pages from Ministry-to-Children's website - Daniail said he doesn't have the ability to print these pages for the children in his ministry - these pages are free to download and print; I'd recommend the Easter and the Days of creation coloring pages. Package up your crayons and coloring pages and send them to the Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry. Most importantly, involve the children in your ministry in praying for the children in Pakistan! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Josiah, grandma and the Quaker Oats Man!

Yesterday on grandma's cookie jar, I shared the story of my two year old grandson Josiah, myself and the Quaker Oats Man . . . "Another time when Josiah was over here he saw a box of quaker oats on my table, pointed at the quaker oats man and said, "grandma!" I said, "Hey! Wait a minute you funny boy! That's an old man! That isn't grandma!" He smiled, pointed at the quaker oats man again and said, "Lynda!" Apparently he has a sense of humor!!!!" 

Okay, yes, this is funny . . . although I really do not look anything at all like the Quaker Oats man! But, how often in our ministries do we look at someone and think we "have all the pieces" and decide they are someone . . . when they really are not? Sadly, I think this happens all too often and when it does someone usually ends up hurt and our ministry is less effective. So, what do we do when we have misjudged someone? Do we say, "Oh, that happened in the past." and then go on to leave it there - without ever going back to the person we misjudged and apologizing? Do we ever go back to others who were influenced by our inaccurate perceptions and make sure they understand the other person was misjudged? Again, sadly, far, far too often we do not do these things.

How can misjudging others and not making it right when we realize we have misjudged others cause our children's ministry to be less effective? Consider the following possibilities 

Resources for Everyone!

If we are serious about reaching children so they are able to know, love and walk with Jesus all their lives we need strong children's ministries and we need strong families. If we do not have strong families we can still have a strong children's ministry, but just think how much more effective we can be if our families are strong! I'd like to share with you a resource whose goal it is to provide information, ideas and resources to help grandmas - and grandpas and moms and dads, too - pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren - and children! Please take a moment today to check my new blog - grandma's cookie jar and please share it with the grandmas, grandpas, moms and dads you know. While you are there, please "like" it using the tab in the "find us on facebook" box . . . I'm giving away the book, "I'll Be There" and two "Grandmother's Bibles" and if you "like" grandma's cookie jar you'll be entered into the give-aways!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With a Project Through Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry!

Pakistan has been in the news quite a lot these last couple weeks . . . but what do we really know about Pakistan? According to Wikipedia . . . 
  • Pakistan sits "along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast."  
  • Pakistan has "over 170 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia."
  • "Pakistan has the seventh largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons. It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. It is a founding member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and a member of the United Nations"
  • "The name Pakistan means Land of (the) Pure" 
  • "Pakistan is the second-most populous Muslim-majority country and also has the second-largest Shi'a population in the world. About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim."
  • There is no freedom of religion in Pakistan
You have an opportunity to involve the children in your ministry with a service project to "Put Feet to Their Faith" and help Pakistani children. Involve the children in your ministry in a project to provide crayons and coloring pages for the children in Pakistan. I'm very happy to share with you the ministry of the Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry - Rev. Daniail Bashir is the Director of the Star Sunday School & Youth Ministry. I was amazed to learn he leads 30 Sunday schools of nearly 1000 children in different villages and urban areas throughout his area of the Punjab, Pakistan! Challenge your kids to donate new boxes of crayons and money to pay for shipping them to Pakistan. In addition, make use of your copy machine and print out some of the free coloring pages from Ministry-to-Children's website - Daniail said he doesn't have the ability to print these pages for the children in his ministry - these pages are free to download and print; I'd recommend the Easter and the Days of creation coloring pages. 

Take a moment to pray for Daniail and his ministry to the children of Pakistan and consider sharing this ministry with the children in your ministry, because while we may speak different languages, wear different clothes and live in different countries we all need Jesus. Most importantly, when we receive Jesus' forgiveness we are all part of the same family! Consider what you can do to introduce the children in your ministry to their Pakistani family!