Sunday, June 30, 2013

Children's Church Curriculum Reviews - KidTrek Sunday Plus Curriculum!

I'm delighted to once again share with you a curriculum written by Wanda Parker. As with kidz Connection, KidTrek is a complete Large Group/Small Group curriculum providing materials both for Sunday School and Children's Church in one complete resource. Allow me to share with you some information about KidTrek - Sunday Plus!
  • Publisher - KidTrek 
  • Website - 
  • Price - churches pay as led
  • Type - Large Group/Small Group 
  • Scope - Through the Bible Four Year Scope
  • Available for Preschool through Elementary age children

Children's Church Curriculum Reviews - kidz Connection!

Today is the first day of my 2013 Children's Church Curriculum Reviews. All this week we will be taking a look at Children's Church curriculum resources. I will be reviewing several curriculum lines each day and the on Friday, I'll release my Children's Church Curriculum Side-by-Side Comparison Chart. 

So, let's begin with a Large Group/Small Group Children's Church Curriculum Review - kidz Connection - It's All About the GROWTH. First thing I need to say about this curriculum is, I write it. Since I write it, while I certainly want to be un-biased in my review, it really isn't highly likely this will be the most un-biased review you will ever read! kidz Connection is a complete curriculum - meaning it includes materials for Sunday School and Children's Church each quarter in one zip file. You could use the materials for Sunday School and children's church or use one week's materials for two weeks by using the Sunday School materials one week and the second service materials the following week. You will find kidz Connection gives you many options which allow you to "tailor" it to the best "fit" for your ministry. Having said these things . . . allow me to share with you some information about kidz Connection curriculum!

Never Give Up!

Many years ago - 36 years to be exact - I was a sophomore in high school and was on my church's Word of Life quiz team. I was excited to be asked to be part of the team and somewhat nervous at my first quiz match - we had matches once a month in the local area where I lived and then the local, regional and international competitions. At any rate, my first question I ever answered is one I still remember today, "According to Romans 12:1,2, how is God's will described?" The answer; "Good, acceptable and perfect" . . . and I got the answer correct!

Well, I recently was spending some time in Roman's 12 as I worked on personalizing and praying this passage and I noticed the following . . . 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Make That First Contact Memorable!

Smile Mouth Teeth Clip ArtOver the Summer and as you look to the Fall it is so very important what you do to make the first contact with a visitor to your church and children's ministry because first impressions are so important! Did you know the first ten seconds . . . yes, seconds . . . you meet and greet someone can, and usually does, impact the relationship you end up having with the person! I learned this, and five top tips for making a great impression from Maralee McKee's blog - Manners Mentor! I especially love tip three . . . 

One More Danger to Be On Guard For . . .

Yes, I know when I began this series of posts I said there were five dangers I was going to write about, but there is one more I would like you to consider . . . the danger of thinking and believing, "I'm in this alone". 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Dangers to Be On Guard For . . . #5

I've been posting about five dangers to be on guard for; the danger of gossip, the danger of child abuse, falling into the "it's-all-me" trap and the "we're-the-only-ones" trap. Now I want to share the fifth danger to be on guard and watching for . . . the danger of being at the "bottom of the totem pole".

It is unlikely leaders in any church would actually say the children's ministry is at the "bottom of the totem pole", but if you look at where resources are invested and the "visibility" of the children's ministry, you will often find the "bottom of the totem pole" is where the children's ministry actually ends up. So, how can you know if your children's ministry is at the "bottom of the totem pole"? Consider the following questions . . . 

Five Dangers to Be On Guard For . . . #4

I've been writing about "five dangers" to be on guard for in our children's ministry and so far I've written about the danger of gossip, the danger of child abuse and the danger of falling into the "its-all-me-trap". Today I want you to think about another danger . . . the danger of another trap, the "we're-the-only-ones" trap.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Dangers to Be On Guard For . . . #3

I've been writing about "five dangers" to be on guard for in our children's ministry and so far I've written about the danger of gossip and the danger of child abuse. Today I want you to think about another danger . . . the danger of falling into the "its-all-me-trap".

It is easy . . . far too easy . . . for us to fall into the trap of thinking the children's ministry depends on us. While we need to take ownership of our ministries, we need to keep the proper perspective - it is not "our" ministry; it is God's ministry. The children's ministry does not depend on us; it depends on God!

Five Dangers to Be On Guard For . . . #2

Yesterday I said, "When it comes to your children's ministry there are many things to be on guard for, and some of these things are true dangers." I talked about what I consider to be the number one danger in our children's ministries - and churches - gossip.

Today I want to talk about a very real danger - one which we MUST be on guard for, but prayerfully, one which we will never actually see in our children's ministries . . . the danger of child abuse. As I've said before, "While our top mission is to reach children for Jesus and then disciple them so they know how to walk with Him their entire lives; our top priority must be safety. If we do not provide the safest environment possible for the children we are entrusted with, then we do not deserve the opportunity to share the news of Jesus with these children. We must be absolutely committed to doing all we possibly can to make our children's ministry a safe place for children." We owe the children, parents, church and community that our children's ministries are safe places for children to be.

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - Arrow Island from Regular Baptist Press!

RBP's 2014 VBS Arrow IslandI'm very happy for the opportunity to give you a sneak peek at another VBS for 2014 - this time Arrow Island from Regular Baptist Press. RBP has this to say about Arrow Island; "Today’s world is full of choices! Too often Biblical principles are separated from the choices we make. This VBS will equip your students to choose God’s way in every detail of their lives—all while exploring an island full of exciting tropical habitats! Shady Cove Trail will lead students to five locations around the island, where they’ll learn about people in the Bible who faced a decision—whether or not to choose God’s way. This VBS shows students the importance of choosing obedience, godly friends, kindness, courage, and active faith."

Looks like there will be a lot of fun and important lessons on Arrow Island as children learn about choosing God's way! Take a look at their scope and sequence:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Five Dangers to Be On Guard For . . . #1

Yesterday I wrote about a danger to beware of - Gossip. When it comes to your children's ministry there are many things to be on guard for, and some of these things are true dangers. Today I want to caution again about the number one danger to be on guard for . . . gossip. To me, this is the number one danger because it, sadly, so often shows it's ugly head in churches across the country - and around the world. While many churches may never experience some of the other dangers I'll talk about this week, this one is a danger for all churches.

Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction - Bible Point - Release Our Sadness to God Like Hannah Did!

As I've mentioned I teach a class of first graders - mostly boys - on Sunday mornings and these children LOVE science projects . . . whenever I use one I have their complete and total focus! Plus - and more importantly - they remember the project AND the point which goes with it, so to me, it seems like a "no-brainer" to add science projects to my lessons whenever possible!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beware a Very Real Danger to Your Ministry . . .

When it comes to children's ministry there are many things we have to be aware of and on guard for, such as child safety issues, recruiting and training volunteers, communicating with parents, discipline in the classroom, keeping the church aware of what is happening in the children's ministry and the list goes on. But one thing you may not think about, yet is something which should be at the top of your list, is gossip. Gossip is insidious and causes so much damage. If you are not very, very careful, gossip will destroy your ministry and cause very real damage to people.

Small Churches or Large Churches?

 Over the years I've had the opportunity to serve in small churches and in large churches and I've noticed they each have their strengths and weakness . . . along with their similarities. Consider the following . . . 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let It Bring Him Praise!

Serving in the Children's Ministry and Family Ministry is one of the most amazing  things you will ever be blessed to do . . . even with all the challenges related to this area of ministry! I have often said, if Jesus were to physically visit any of our churches on a Sunday morning, but He only had 30 minutes to be there, I'm totally convinced He would absolutely visit the children's ministry for the following reasons . . . 

Be So Very Careful . . . Don't Be A "Sponge"!

When we serve in children's ministry - or any area of the church - it can become very easy for us to accept the kindness of others . . . 
  • a kind word to lift our spirits when we are tired - don't you typically have at least one person who speaks kindly to you each week?
  • free babysitting
  • invitations for dinner
  • gift cards, meals, books, other gifts
  • the prayers of the people in the church

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Full Disclosure!

If you read About the Children's Department, you have likely noticed I tend to review curriculum, books, Bibles, resources, music, DVDs, games, and other things for families. In the interest of full disclosure I want to share the following information with you - The FTC requires people, such as myself, who write blogs and review product to disclose where the product came from and if it was given to them for review purposes. All curriculum, resources, items for my "Family Pick" and items I review for specific posts/articles are given to me by their publisher and/or manufacturer for free for review and/or give-away purposes. I do not work for any publishers - or other companies - and will do my best to give an un-biased review of the items I review. After my review, I give most of the curriculum to churches to use in their ministries and have drawings among the people who have "liked" my blog with the tab in the "find us on facebook" box ON THE BLOG for the "Family Pick" items. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255; "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" 

Do Not Be Afraid! (re-run)

What are you afraid of? Well, if you are like me the first thing you think of is spiders! I do not like those hideous creatures at all! In fact, I firmly believe the only good spider is a completely dead spider; so one of my rules when my kids were growing up was, "kill all spiders and then kill them again!" And just so you know, there is no such thing as a "small" spider!

Well, beyond the obvious things, like spiders, what are you afraid of? More specifically, what are you afraid of when it comes to your ministry? Are you afraid you won't be able to find enough volunteers? Are you afraid the children and families won't be reached? Are you afraid of church politics? You may say you aren't "afraid" of these things, but how much time to you spend thinking - or even worrying - about them? These are all legitimate things to be concerned about, but we do not have to be afraid.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

VeggieTales - Junior Comes Clean - I'm Giving One Away!

If you are in children's ministry you can pretty well figure the children - and parents - in your children's ministry know who Junior from VeggieTales is. You can also figure these children likely struggle with telling the truth from time to time. So, when you can combine Junior, a solid message about telling the truth and VeggieTale fun, well, you have a book which is not only enjoyable, but one which children can learn from as well!

Are You Certain Your Children's Ministry Communicates the Message You Think It Does? (re-run)

When you are a children's ministry director or pastor, you practically "live and breathe" children's ministry. It is your focus, your passion. It is what you think about. While you may have designed a children's ministry which is very effective, because you are so "close" to your ministry, there could be things you "miss", or just do not "see". Consider the following ideas for how you could be certain your children's ministry communicates the message you think it does -

Friday, June 21, 2013

How Do You Measure the "Success" of Your Children's Ministry?

Is your children's ministry successful? Are you sure? Do you really know for sure how your children's ministry impacts the children and families in your church and community? How do you know?    

If we want our ministries to be genuinely effective and successful, we need to regularly ask questions to help measure where we really are and how effective we truly are. If we do not regularly ask the "hard" questions of everything we do, there isn't a way for us to truly tell how effective we are. Consider the following questions and if you are, or should be, asking them -

Treasure Your Volunteers . . . Plan A Special Event!

I've been writing this week about treasuring your volunteers . . . there are so many ways to show your volunteers you appreciate and treasure them, but one of my favorite things to do for volunteers has always been my Holiday Open House! I've already posted about how to plan a Holiday Open House, so today I'll share a few things to think about if you are planning one for your volunteers -

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treasure Your Volunteers . . . What If You Have to "Remove" a Volunteer?

We all want to be people who treasure our volunteers, but what do we do if we need to "remove" a volunteer from the children's ministry? This is a very, very difficult situation to find yourself in. Removing a volunteer may result in them feeling hurt, rejected and unwanted . . . they will likely leave your church and be "scarred" from the experience. Removing a volunteer should be avoided if at all possible, but if you must, what should you do to cause as little damage as possible? Consider the following . . . 

Treasure Your Volunteers . . . Do They Really Feel Treasured?

We may think we "treasure our volunteers", but our volunteers may not actually "feel" very treasured. Consider the following situations where a volunteer might not feel treasured . . . 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Treasure Your Volunteers . . . "Notice"!

Do you treasure your volunteers? Volunteers are a gift from the hand of God . . . it is completely appropriate for us to appreciate these "gifts". As we finish the month of June, we'll look at a variety of topics related to how we treat our volunteers. Today I want to focus on some things we might do to "notice" our volunteers so they know - beyond a shadow of a doubt - they are most sincerely appreciated! Consider the following ideas -

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - Jungle Safari from Standard Publishing

Yesterday I listened to Standard Publishing's announcement of their 2014 VBS on blogtalk radio and I am very happy to share it with you today! Standard is planning to take you and the children in your ministry on a Jungle Safari where they will explore the nature of God! Standard says, "High above the jungle floor, amid a dense tangle of treetops, kids experience the sights and sounds of the jungle canopy as they learn who God is. They’ll dig into Bible stories to discover that no one but God could be their Creator, Provider, Protector, Savior, and King. Hands-on activities and meaningful small-group discussions will help kids work through how and why they can always count on God. They will also have the opportunity to put that faith into action by participating in practical mission projects to help out kids across borders or friends just down the block. With daily and weeklong service ideas designed for all ages, and accompanying discussion material, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs—and someone else’s!"

I'm looking forward to reviewing this resource so I can see how they put a stronger focus on resources to help children with special needs and an even stronger focus on getting kids involved in serving others! Take a look at their scope and sequence . . . 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Ministry - Family Fun and Growth Night!

Each year as we work to develop genuinely effective ministry to the children in our ministries we look at ideas, programs and possibilities for ways to grow and strengthen our ministry. There are many options to choose from, but as you look at the choices you have available to you, keep the following tips in mind . . .

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - SonTreasure Island from Gospel Light

headerI have another sneak peek at VBS 2014 for you today . . . SonTreasure Island from Gospel Light! If you have ever used a Gospel Light VBS you know they do a good job of connecting everything to their setting and more importantly, to their Bible theme. Gospel Light says, "Who wouldn’t want to explore a tropical island, with its glittering turquoise waters, warm white sands and cool ocean breezes? Visitors to SonTreasure Island are welcomed by the scent of exotic flowers, the taste of tropical fruits and the captivating sound of island music. But this is no ordinary tropical escape! There is treasure to be found here. More precious than gold, more lasting than diamonds, it is the greatest treasure of all—God’s love! At SonTreasure Island, your treasure seekers will play island games, create colorful crafts and enjoy tropical snacks. But more importantly, they will discover the rich treasure of God’s love through the life of Jesus."

Take a look at their scope and sequence and please join me in January for an in-depth look at SonTreasure Island . . . 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - International Spy Academy from Answers in Genesis

International Spy Academy VBS – Starter KitI have one more sneak peek at VBS 2014 for you today . . . this time from Answers in Genesis - International Spy Academy! Sounds interesting! AIG has this to say about it; "Grab your secret decoder ring and put on your rear-view mirror glasses because next summer, your kids are heading to the International Spy Academy where they’ll train to become special agents for the one true God! This exciting new Vacation Bible School program is filled with fun mysteries your kids will love and the Bible-based apologetics you trust to teach them truths they won't forget! With International Spy Academy, your mission is to instill in your children an understanding of the one true God of the Bible they can carry with them for the rest of their lives and share with those around them. They'll uncover the clues that lead to the one true God who is the Creator of all and who calls people from every tribe and nation to have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.Synchronize your watches for next summer and join us at the International Spy Academy, where your special agents will learn to know, love, and live for the one true God!"

Investigate their scope and sequence and take a look at what kid's will learn at International Spy Academy VBS . . . 

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - Workshop of Wonders from Cokesbury!

Cokesbury’s Workshop of WondersIt wasn't that many years ago when publishers didn't release the theme/setting for their next VBS until the end of the year, now we are able to get sneak peeks at the themes/settings for next year's VBS far earlier - in many cases before you even hold your VBS for this year! I'm very happy to share another of these sneak peeks with you today . . . this time it is for Workshop of Wonders from Cokesbury . . . and I have to say, just the name of the VBS has me looking forward to the day when the kit arrives and I can dig into it to see exactly what it will have children learning and doing in the summer of 2014!

Cokesbury has this to say about Workshop of Wonders; "At Cokesbury's Workshop of Wonders (WOW) VBS, kids will discover how to imagine and build with God!
At WOW VBS, discover how the ordinary becomes extraordinary with God. Experience the love of Jesus. Start an adventure. Use your imagination and creativity to build your faith. Meet people from the Bible who used what they had to produce something amazing with God. Use your heart, mind, and imagination to participate in the creative life of God, the one who works wonders!"

Looks great to me! Check out their scope and sequence here . . . 

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - Wilderness Escape from Group Publishing

Wilderness Escape Logo Low Res SmallWhile you are likely focused on VBS 2013 right now, I'm happy to invite you to join me in taking a sneak peek at Group's Holy Land Adventure for 2014: Wilderness Escape! Group has this to say about it; "At Wilderness Escape VBS, you’ll reinforce Bible truth in a big way because the daily Bible Point is carefully integrated into each activity. God’s Word comes alive through engaging interaction with Bible history!"

Look at their scope and sequence . . . 

Sneak Peek VBS 2014 - Weird Animals from Group Publishing!

Weird Animals VBS Logo ColorI'm very happy to share another sneak peek at VBS 2014 with you today - this time from Group Publishing . . . Weird Animals! Group has this to say about their 2014 VBS; "God filled the world with a lot of crazy creatures...including you! When kids feel weird, different, or even lost in a crowd—nothing compares to the extraordinary love of Jesus." 

I LOVE the theme Group has come up with for 2014 . . . take a look at the scope and sequence . . . 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Start Now and Plan a Volunteer Holiday Open House!

As you have noticed, I am a strong supporter of making volunteer support and encouragement a big part of your children's ministry. Volunteers give of themselves and their time to serve in our children's ministries . . . they could choose to do something else with their time, yet there they are . . . week after week . . . serving in our children's ministries. We could not do what we do without them, so it is entirely appropriate and right to take time to show our appreciation to them!

Last week I wrote about planning a Volunteer Holiday Open House, so today I want to talk a little more about this. If you decide to do this, you will likely find it is one of the biggest things you could do to show appreciation to your volunteers! It is not difficult to do, but it does take some time and planning to pull it off. I'll outline the basic plan and encourage you to get a team together now to start working on your volunteer holiday open house!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Take the Blinders Off!

Okay - today I'm writing about something I care so very much about . . . children's ministry. Some of you who read this need to know, what I'm writing doesn't really apply to your children's ministry . . . but before you read a bit further and decide your ministry isn't the ministry I'm talking about, read the whole post and ask God to remove your "blinders" and help you honestly evaluate to see if there might be at least some of what I say which applies to your ministry.

I don't have horses . . . the one time I rode a horse the entire camp laughed about it all summer long (I was a counselor at a camp and they thought it would be nice for the counselors to have an opportunity to ride the horses . . . I just couldn't get my horse to go straight and we kept getting "stuck" in the bushes - it was an experience!) However, even though my personal horse experience is limited - and not highly successful - I do know about "blinders". They are put on some horses to help keep them from being distracted by the things around them. Blinders can be good, but I think in children's ministry they can also keep us from being effective.

Far too often we don't know what we don't know. We think we know what we are doing and we move forward, but when we look back for results - children and families with changed lives - we see our youth ministries still ended up being a "salvage ministry" because we really missed the mark in our children's ministry. So, what can we do to keep from "missing the mark"? Consider the following -

Summer Ministry - Children and Families Reaching Out in Tangible Ways . . . and More!

I've been talking about Summer ministry - re-focusing ministries you are already committed to so they are more effective in reaching out to the children and families in your church and community in the Summer; such as Sunday school, VBS and mid-week ministries as well as planning special outreach events. These types of Summer ministry primarily function as opportunities planned and implemented by the church. Today I want to consider Summer ministry with the goal of giving the children and families of your church the vision and opportunity for them to reach out to others in your church, community and world.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why Does Children's Ministry Matter? (re-run)

As we begin our Summer of ministry to children and families, take a moment to remember why what you are doing does matter. Children's ministry does matter, but why does it matter? Obviously it matters because children matter to Jesus . . . in Matthew 19:13-15 it says, "One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." (the Msg) If children mattered to Jesus, and they did, then they should matter to us!

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Karen is the winner in my Fruit of the Spirit Bible give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Karen for reading About the Children's Department (I emailed to let you know you won) and thank you Zondervan for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Take the Time to Support and Appreciate Your Vacation Bible School Volunteers!

Summer is here and churches will be holding their VBS outreaches and while there are so many things to think about and do when it comes to getting ready for your Vacation Bible School, I want to add one more thing to your list. Don't worry . . . this thing is so much fun! Be sure to implement a complete volunteer support and appreciation ministry! In this day and age we are all so busy . . . and yet, in spite of being busy you have people who have volunteered to serve on your VBS team! We do not need any other reason to support and appreciate our volunteers!

Summer Outreach! Family Events . . . and more!

I've been talking about Summer outreach and looked at re-focusing ministries you are already doing such as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Mid-week Ministry so they have vision, passion, a plan and are effective at reaching out to the families in your church and community. Today I'm going to talk about planning family events as special Summer outreach opportunities to the families in your church and community. 

I'm not going to talk about children's ministry vs. family ministry because I was invited to write a guest post forMinistry-to-Children and I do so in there; (Feel free to check that post out by following this link) other than to say, we need to "come alongside" parents as they teach their children by being intentional in our ministries and building on and reinforcing what the parents are teaching their children. This is where a vision statement comes in. What is it we want to accomplish in our children’s ministries? What is our plan to get there? When we join up with the parents by equipping and coming alongside them, we will experience real and measurable results.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So . . . A Few Thoughts About Why We Should Dream a Little!

I've been writing about dreaming a little . . . encouraged you to think about what you'd do if you weren't limited by money, time, space and staffing, gave you some affordable . . . and in some cases free . . . ideas of ways to see some of your "dreams" come true in your ministry and encouraged you to involve others in your church and larger community in seeing those dreams come true. I'd like to give you a couple additional things to think about when it comes to dreams . . .

Encourage Your Volunteers by Planning a Christmas Open House!

We have been talking about how to plan a ministry of support and encouragement to our volunteers, so today I want to look at another way to tell our volunteers "thank-you" by planning a Christmas open house and invite all your volunteers and spouses (maybe even the kids?!!). 

If you do this, the following are the basics to cover -

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Outreach! Mid-Week Ministry!

I've been talking about the opportunities you currently provide . . . such as Sunday school and VBS . . . and how they relate to your Summer ministry. Today we will consider another thing you are probably already doing and some questions to help you "re-focus" it to be a truly effective Summer outreach . . . mid-week ministry.

Most churches have a mid-week ministry, but many of them experience limited "success" with this outreach. Let's take a moment to consider this and then look at mid-week ministry as well as what it could look like in the Summer. Again, the first thing you need to do in regards to your mid-week ministry is determine what your goals and vision are for this ministry - think about these questions . . . 

Dream a Little - Part Two - Get Others In On the Dreaming!

In my earlier post, Dream a Little!, I encouraged you to dream about what you'd like to do in and with your ministry if money, time, space and volunteers were not an issue. I'd like to take this thought a little farther and encourage you to dream, but when you do, let others in on the "dreaming" with you!

Plan a Volunteer Appreciation Event and Dessert!

If you are looking for another idea of a way you could thank your volunteers and show them how much you value and appreciate them, consider putting on a volunteer event and dessert. The church I go to just held this type of event for their volunteers - they literally had a red carpet out the front door which was lined by the church staff so as volunteers arrived they were able to walk the red carpet into the church. The very first people who greeted volunteers was the Senior Pastor and his wife; they literally greeted and shook the hand of every person!

Let's Plan a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner!

We've looked at supporting your volunteers with prayer and encouraging them by remembering birthdays, sending emails and notes and "adopting" your volunteers. All of these are fairly easy to put in place; just takes a bit of organizing. Today we will talk about how to encourage your volunteers by planning an appreciation dinner. This takes some planning and preparation to pull off, but is well worth it! Since our "year" of ministry tends to run from September to June or August, the spring is the ideal time to have your dinner, but you could also have a dinner in the Summer or to kick off the Fall ministry year. Today I'll give an overview with several ideas for unique dinners you might want to try with your volunteers! Consider the following . . . 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dream a Little!

It can be easy to get so involved with all we have to do with children's ministry . . . recruiting, training, teaching, etc . . . we find ourselves focusing on those things and don't ever take a moment to dream. Certainly we want to be sure we are taking care of the things we need to do, but we also need to make time to think about what we might like to see happen in our ministries as well. If money, time, space and staffing were not an issue, what would you like to be able to do in and with your children's ministry?  

Summer Ministry . . . Let's Begin with Sunday School!

I've been talking about Summer ministry and have given several ideas of ministry you could involve children and families in all Summer long. I'm all for providing opportunities for the children and families in your church and community, but deciding what to do and then how and when to do it can be almost overwhelming. I mean, we all are busy . . . in many cases, too busy. Planning Summer ministry can, and likely will, add another thing to our "plate", so we need to consider some important questions before we move forward with our Summer ministry.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

That Wasn't Exactly How the Story Went . . .

You've studied and prepared for the Bible lesson you are going to teach this week to your class, then you share the lesson with the children. Of course they will remember it the way you taught it . . . don't be so sure! Just because you have "taught" a lesson, it does not mean the children "heard" and will "remember" the lesson. Consider the following examples . . . 
  • Brienna's favorite Bible story - Adam and Eve (share this clip with your volunteers when you have your next training) . . .
  • A number of years ago I was teaching a class of four years olds about the time when Moses went up on the mountain and God gave him the ten commandments. Upon Moses' return to the people, he told them to clean their tents, wash their clothes and take baths because in three days God was going to come and talk to them. I "taught" the Bible lesson, we did our activities, had our snack - very important in a preschool class :^) and then the parents returned to get their children and everyone went home. This particular morning we had a visitor to our class. The next morning I received a call from her mom. The mother told me her daughter was insisting they had to clean their house every day for three days. They had to wash all their clothes every day for three days and they had to take baths every day for three days. The reason for all this cleanliness? Because in three days God was coming to their house to talk to them! The girl's mother wanted to know why her daughter was so sure of these things . . . I explained the lesson . . . this family did keep coming to our church, but I learned a very important lesson . . . just because I taught a lesson, it did not mean the children heard/learned the lesson!

Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Summer Super Servers"!

I'm really "big" on "Putting Feet to Their Faith" and intentionally engaging our kids in opportunities to live what they believe! If we really want our kids to be serious about their faith and grow in their walk with Jesus, then we have to both model to and involve them in living their faith by serving others. The Summer is the perfect time to do this with older elementary age children . . . and with teams of families!

Consider some of the following opportunities for these kids to be "Summer Super Servers" . . . 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Where Are the Pieces and Do They Fit Together???

Have you ever felt like the pieces of your life just don't "fit" together? Have you ever felt like there was a "piece" missing? Have you ever wanted God to "put the pieces of your life back together"? Well, if you have - or even if you haven't, this passage from Psalm 86:10b-17 (The Message) is sure to brighten your day!

"God, you're the one, there's no one but you! Train me, to walk straight; then 
I'll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I'll worship in joyful fear. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord; I've never kept secret what you're up to. You've always been great toward me, what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster! You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on save your dear, dear child! Make a show of how much you love me, As you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet."

Don't keep secret what God is doing in your life. He is both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in His love for you and He never, never quits! He will give you the strength to go on, show you His amazing love and put you back on your feet! Aren't you so glad?!!! :^)