Sunday, September 30, 2012

VeggieTales the League of Incredible Vegetables Give-Away is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, October 1, 2012, is the day I'll be drawing the name of one winner from each of my blogs, (grandma's cookie jar and About the Children's Department) and this winner will receive one DVD of the new VeggieTales movie, the League of Incredible Vegetables . . . my grandson Josiah's FAVORITE movie! You will find my review of this movie at the following link, but today I want to share VeggieTale's Parent's Discussion Guide for this movie!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Do I "Shift" My Church's "Resource Base" to "Change the World"?

Yesterday I posted a video clip of George Barna asking an important question - "Do you need to shift your "resource base" from "maintenance" to "changing the world in ways you've never seen in your lifetime"? So . . . how can we tell if we need to shift our resources in our church, what does it mean to shift our resource base and how might we do this? Consider the following -

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Maintenance" or "Change the World"? Which Will You Choose? (re-run)

I saw a very interesting video by George Barna. It is only one minute and four seconds long, but in those 64 seconds he asks a very important question - one every church needs to answer! Watch it and answer it for your church -

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Berenstain Bears - God Made the Seasons - I'm Giving One Away!

As the seasons change outside, it is a wonderful time to talk with children about the amazing world God created - and the different seasons He designed for us to enjoy! This new Berenstain Bears book from Zonderkidz is a fun way to get the conversation going!

Can Manners Help Us Be Real in How We Interact With Children, Volunteers and Parents?

Maralee McKee is the Manners Mentor - she speaks and writes about manners on her blog, the Manners Mentor. I recently was browsing and noticed a post about how to be Real and Polite. In it Maralee said, "Etiquette and manners are two different things. They tend to be lumped together. To be understood, they must be separated. Manners are the language of our truest self. Their foundation is anchored in our heart. They can’t be faked. Kind manners are our regard for the feelings and comfort of others. Manners are the hidden fruit our spirit yields. Hopefully it includes a healthy crop of kindness, gentleness, self-control, patience… the list continues. Don’t be fooled; when expressed properly, manners never cause us to become a doormat. Instead, we’re a beacon in an unsteady world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

American Girl Doll and K'nex Give-Aways on My Other Blog

I wanted to take a moment to invite you to check out my other blog, grandma's cookie jar. I'm planning some wonderful special give-aways for Christmas this year - including an American Girl doll, a K'nex roller coaster, a Little Tikes Action Fliers play set, a Cuisinart Coffee on Demand and so much more! Check the link and get in on the fun . . . I'll be giving away some wonderful things all throughout November! :^)

Who/What Influences Kids and How Does This Change Your Ministry?

I'd like to share another George Barna video with you today - in this one he is talking about seven major influences in our life. Take a moment to watch it . . . 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking for Writers

I've been writing About the Children's Department for almost two years. In this time I've been blessed with many faithful readers. Thank you! About the Children's Department has been included in Ministry to Children's Kidmin Blog Maddness both years - and both years made it into the second round! Last year we made it into Ministry to Children's Top 100 Children's Minsitry Blogs - we actually made it into the top 50! (I haven't heard if they are releasing a Top 100 this year or not) As I said, thank you so much everyone who takes the time to read About the Children's Department!

Let's Let Our Actions Speak!!!

Yesterday I posted about how our actions speak louder than our words . . . today I'd like to consider how just a few actions can communicate our love so much better than any amount of words. Every church has children who have a difficult time "connecting" with other kids. What can we do to help these children feel like they genuinely belong? Consider the following -

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Operation Christmas Child - Involve the Children and Families in Your Church!

Operation Christmas ChildDo you remember Christmas when you were a child? I do! I LOVED Christmas! I loved everything about Christmas . . . although, admittedly, as a child I loved the "fluff" of Christmas more than what Christmas was really all about. I loved putting up the Christmas tree - I remember one year my parents took us out, in the snow, to find and cut our own tree - since I wasn't a huge fan of snow . . . and we lived in Michigan so there was lots of it . . . while it was fun to go pick a tree and cut it down, it was too cold for me! I loved the Spritz cookies my mom made each year and how we got to help decorate them . . . and of course eat them! I loved watching the Christmas specials on TV - particularly Rudolph and the Little Drummer Boy. I loved spending Christmas at our cottage and I especially loved opening presents on Christmas morning . . . we had to wait for our parents to get up to see our gifts and I always wondered if they would EVER wake up!!!! How could they possibly stay in bed so long on Christmas morning???? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Have a Winner . . .

I'm happy to announce Brigitte Rottman is the winner in my Berenstain Bears, Faith Gets Us Through book give-away. (You'll find the review at this linkThank you Brigitte for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address by September 28, 2012 so I can have it sent to you) and thank you Zonderkidz for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Not Too Late . . .

Your new Fall ministries have begun, but did you take time to sit down with the parents and share your vision/purpose, the curriculum their children will be learning from and how they as parents will be able to continue the learning all week at home? If not, it isn't too late to do so! Consider the following -

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This IS Job One . . .

I watched a video by George Barna today and want to share a few of the main points he makes . . . consider the following -
  • Children are THE most important mission field you as an adult will ever encounter!
  • Children are THE mission field God sent parents to win over for Him!
  • Nobody else can have the impact on kids a parent can have!
We all agree, children are the most important mission field in the world - and we agree parents have the most influence on their children and who they become, but as Barna said, "The problem is, parents surrender this impact to the world." We surrender children to -
  • the media for eight hours a day
  • the schools for six hours a day
  • the church for two hours a week

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Can We Be More Effective?

I like video clips with George Barna . . . they give me definite things to think about. Please take a moment to listen to this clip with George Barna as he talks about how the church can minister more effectively today . . . 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Manners and Children's Ministry

header imageWhen we serve in children's ministry we are dealing with people all the time . . . young and old. It is essential for us to show good manners in the way we interact with others . . . I'm so thankful for my friend Maralee McKee, the Manners Mentor. She knows how to help us "discover the manners which matter today: simple, savvy, sincere skills which help you become your best self!" I encourage you to check her blog for specific answers to your every day encounters and her facebook page for daily tips to help you as you interact with others. For example, her tip for today - "When an acquaintance or friend says, 'No' to an invitation or request it's a matter of respect to accept their answer without hesitatioin or question. Asking, 'Why not" can make them feel guilty or like they're being interrogated. When someone says, 'No' you can answer, 'Perhaps another time. You're always welcome to join us!' Or, 'Maybe next time. We can always use extra hands!'" Keep this advice in mind when recruiting . . . if a person says "No", accept their answer. It is fine to leave the door open for them to reconsider another time, but graciously accept their answer without trying to "guilt" them into serving!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Put Feet to Their FaithIf you are looking for a way to "Put feet to their faith" and help the children in your ministry focus on what Christmas is really all about, then take a look at Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child. You could have the children in your ministry work on projects to earn money so they could purchase items to fill gift boxes for children around the world who otherwise will not receive a gift at Christmas. Most importantly, they will be helping children and families learn about Jesus - and He is the reason for the season!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Berenstain Bears - Faith Gets Us Through . . . I'm Giving One Away!

Do you have books in your church library, in your classrooms or do you recommend books to parents? If so, take a look at this new Berenstain Bears book which encourages children to put their faith in God!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Joy to the World the Lord is Come! Free Christmas Program!

Nativity Scene With StarChristmas is just three months away, so have you decided what you are going to do at your church for a Christmas program? If not, take a look at this free resource I'm giving away - Joy to the World the Lord is Come! This is a program which can involve everyone in your church from the little children to adults. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Please Check My New Post on CM Buzz - Make Your Children's Ministry Volunteers "Visible"

Make Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers Visible! Children\s Ministry Youth
In addition to writing About the Children's Department I also am one of the writers for CM Buzz. Please take a moment to check my new post - Make Your Children's Ministry Volunteers "Visible"! I said, "Last month I asked if your children’s ministry volunteers were 'invisible': I said, 'Are your children’s ministry volunteers "invisible”? By this I mean, in the eyes of the rest of your church, are they invisible? Do the people in your church know who they are? In far too many churches the children’s ministry volunteers are 'invisible'. People do not know who they are or what they do.' I then shared some of the problems we experience when our volunteers are 'invisible', so today I want to share a few ideas of ways to help your children’s ministry volunteers be 'visible'!" 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review - Manners that Matter for Moms

Yes, Manners That Matter for Moms: The Essential Book of Life Skills for Your Kids is a book about manners so moms will know how to help their children know everything they need to, as Maralee McKee the author says, "equip their kids to flourish in their relationships." But, just because it is written by a mom for moms, don't think there isn't a wealth of information for dads, grandparents, teachers, children's ministry leaders and pastors to use with children . . . and with ourselves, because there is! Manners is not about a list of do's and don'ts which you only need in the most formal of situations. It is not just about knowing when to say please, thank you and excuse me. Maralee says manners are about, "developing the interpersonal skills which will help them become the best versions of themselves they can be in any setting." We all need to know how to do this, for sure!

Monday, September 10, 2012

be still - True Beauty Series

I was recently asked to participate in a "blog tour" for Lisa Chan's film, be still (True Beauty Series). In this short film she talks about taking time to be quiet and still before God where "they will find power and strength in just being quiet and listening." As grandmas and moms (and as women who are serving in children's ministry) we have busy lives - just as all women - and it is so easy, far too easy, to be caught up in our busy lives and not take the time to just be still before and with God. In this film Lisa challenges women to make being still a priority in our lives.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Put Feet to Their Faith with Operation Christmas Child!

Put Feet to Their FaithIf you are looking for a service project for the children in your ministry; one which they will be able to understand and get excited about working on, consider Operation Christmas Child! This is a project children, small groups - and families - can work on together as they purchase items to fill a shoe box for a child and then pray for the child. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Increase Your Awareness of Children In Grave Need

Yesterday I posted about missing children. I said, "The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day.” More than 2,000 children each day are reported as missing. Most of these children are runaways. Does this number shock you? It shocks and breaks my heart. So many hurting children."  I also said, "for the next few posts I’ll write about what we can do to reach out to children who are at risk. Children who are in serious need. Children who we need to be praying for and who we need to keep our eyes open for so we are able to see and help them."

So, the first thing we can do to reach out to children who are at risk and in serious need is to increase our awareness. If we are not aware of a need or problem, how can we possibly hope to respond? Consider the following ways to increase your awareness -

Don't Lose Sight of Children In Grave Need

I’ve served in children’s ministry for 41 years and all this time the kids in the churches where I’ve served have been a mixture of “typical” kids . . . if there is such a thing. Children from homes where their entire family went to church, children from homes where part of their family went to church (most often from homes where their parents were divorced) and children from homes where nobody went to church (community, non-churched kids). But, in spite of all these years of experience with a fairly wide variety of children and families, I have not worked with children who were runaways. Honestly, my exposure to runaways is fairly limited . . . well, when my husband and I had been married for one year, we did work with children who were in a group home for juvenile delinquents and many of these boys were runaways at one time or another . . . but, my overall exposure was limited. I had no idea how many children in this country are runaways. This is until I added a tab to my blog for grandmas where I highlighted missing children so the grandmas (and grandpas, moms and dads) who read my blog could pray for the children and their families. I signed up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children‘s website so they email me alerts to let me know when and where children are missing. I have to say I am shocked. There are days when my inbox is filled with these alerts. (I’m stunned how many of these children are from the state of Florida)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Take a Moment to Give Thanks . . .

I've been talking this week about pausing, reflecting and evaluating in our children's ministries; yesterday I wrote, "Evaluating is all about measuring, judging the worth of something, and like I said yesterday, 'if we do not evaluate the things we do, how will we know if we are 'on target' or just throwing everything at the wall hoping something 'sticks'?' Ministry to children and families matters too much to not take the time to regularly evaluate; to regularly measure what we are doing and if it is 'hitting the mark', or not." Take time this week to reflect,  pause and "evaluate", but while you are doing these things, don't forget to take time to give thanks! I looked on-line and found the following definition for giving thanks . . . "Express gratitude or show appreciation to." So, with this in mind, let's think about taking a moment to "give thanks" . . . 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

VeggieTales the League of Incredible Vegetables . . . I'm Giving One Away!

I can not even begin to express how happy I am to share this new Veggie story with you . . . The League of Incredible Vegetables not only is great fun, but the message is one I especially wanted my grandson to hear! My sweet Josiah is almost four years old and he has been having "scary dreams" lately, so when I heard this new Veggie story was going to deal with fear and trusting God, I was very happy! When I heard it was going to have Veggie "super heroes" in it, well, I couldn't wait for it to arrive as my house has been "blessed" to have "Super Josiah" here when Josiah visits - he loves being a "super hero"! I thought this combination would be perfect for my sweet grandson!

Take a Moment to Evaluate . . .

Yesterday I wrote, "Reflecting is all about evaluating and if we do not evaluate the things we do, how will we know if we are "on target" or just throwing everything at the wall hoping something "sticks"? Take time this week to reflect, chew over, think over, ponder and contemplate . . . and be sure to take notes!" and Monday I said, "The Summer is over and Fall ministries are beginning so now is the perfect time to take a moment to pause, reflect, evaluate and give Thanks!" and then took time to consider pausing. Today I want to take a moment to consider what it means to "evaluate" and why we should do so, but first, let's think about what "evaluate" means. I looked on-line and found the following definition . . . "Place a value on; judge the worth of something" So, with this in mind, let's think about taking a moment to "evaluate" . . . 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Take a Moment to Reflect . . .

Blue Stick Man Reflect Clip ArtYesterday I wrote, "The Summer is over and Fall ministries are beginning so now is the perfect time to take a moment to pause, reflect, evaluate and give Thanks!" and then took time to consider pausing. Today I want to take a moment to consider what it means to "reflect" and why we should do so, but first, let's think about what "reflect" means. I looked on-line and found the following synonyms for "reflect" . . . "chew overthink over; meditate; mull; mull over; muse; ponder; ruminate; reflect; speculate; contemplate". So, with these in mind, let's think about taking a moment to "reflect" . . . 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Take a Moment to Pause, Reflect, Evaluate and Give Thanks!

Well . . . today is Labor Day and tomorrow school begins . . . at least here where I live in Michigan. The Summer is over and Fall ministries are beginning so now is the perfect time to take a moment to pause, reflect, evaluate and give Thanks! First, today, lets consider taking a moment to pause . . . 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Put Feet to Their Faith - Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas ChildWhen I was a child I always looked forward to Christmas - I loved the lights on the tree and I knew I'd receive gifts from my parents and grandparents! When my children were young, they always received gifts from their dad and I at Christmas - they still do as adults! One of my favorite times of the year as a grandma is most certainly Christmas! I love celebrating it with my grandchildren - and they absolutely receive gifts from their grandpa and me!

Of course Christmas is far more than giving and receiving gifts, but the gift part is a part of Christmas for sure . . . however; not for all children. There are children around the world who do not receive gifts at Christmas. This is where Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child come in. Giving gifts to children who otherwise would not receive a gift provides the opportunity to do something which matters far more than gifts . . . sharing Jesus with these children and parents!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Focus for September . . . God is Great and He Does Great Things!

A couple months ago I wrote about what we focus on in children's ministry. I said, "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 the 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. I provided twelve things to focus on from Psalm 86, so at the beginning of each of the coming twelve months, I'll post about the monthly focus and encourage us all to keep our focus on growing in our own walk with Jesus!"