Monday, June 30, 2014

Anything - Love = Nothing!

Do you ever listen to sermons from pastors at churches you do not attend? I'd like to share a sermon by Dr. Jim Samra on I Corinthians 13 - Think. Love. Live. Love Never Ends with you. Take 33 minutes and seven seconds to listen to this sermon . . . you will be so glad you did!

There! Did you listen to it? If not, please do!

Okay, now, a few thoughts . . . 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Other Part of Effective Children's Ministry . . . Part Two!

Two days ago I wrote about, "the other part of effective ministry" and said, "I
believe there are two primary areas the church can and should focus it’s attention on . . . the first being that of equipping and encouraging parents to teach their own children and the second of coming alongside to reinforce and build on what the parents have done and are doing."

So what can and should the church do to help parents in these areas? Equipping parents involves training them and this is a vital – sadly often ignored – area of critical ministry the church is in the unique place to offer to parents, both from the church as well as the community. The church can impact church families by offering classes to help parents in the following areas:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"He is Jesus!"

Thursday night at a special meeting at my church for the Sunday children's ministry
volunteers, the Children's Pastor at my church prayed for my family; in particular my son's family because my daughter-in-law is in the hospital. When I told my grandsons Pastor Joel prayed for them, Josiah's eyes got big and he had the biggest smile on his face (he is close to turning six) and Caleb (almost three) smiled. I knew Josiah knew who Pastor Joel is, but was not sure about Caleb, so I asked him if he knew who he is. Caleb answered; "He is Jesus!" 

While, of course, Pastor Joel is not, "Jesus" he does reflect the love of Jesus to the children at our church; so much so, my almost three-year old grandson - who actually goes to another church on Sundays, but to my church on Wednesdays, is able to see Jesus in him!

This got me to thinking . . . how do the children at our churches see us? Do they see Jesus in us? I'm the third hour Team Leader for the Kindergarten and First Grade at my church and as I think about these teachers I am certain the children in these classes see Jesus in their teachers! This is how it should be . . . in John 3:30, John the Baptist said; "He must become greater; I must become less." This is true for us as well.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Other Part of Effective Children's Ministry

What does and should children's ministry look like in our churches? What is
the true, God given role for the church to fill in the area of training and teaching children? For many, many years we have mostly focused on the area of teaching in Sunday school, mid-week ministry and for special events like Vacation Bible School. While these are certainly areas the church can and should strive to be as effective as possible due to the tremendous way they allow us to reach in to the “church” kids and out to “community” kids, true, genuine and lasting effectiveness is achieved as the church fills it’s role in equipping and encouraging parents to fill their God-given role as the primary teachers of their children.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review - Get to Know Jesus - I'm Giving One Away

One of the primary things we do in children's ministry is to introduce children to Jesus! This is also one of the best things we do! So when I received a copy of a, "Full-Color Biography for Kids - Get to Know Jesus" book from Zonderkidz, I was very happy to review it - and am happy for the opportunity to give one away as well!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . STRAIGHT4ward with Loretta Baughan!

Okay, first of all, STRAIGHT4ward with Loretta Baughan isn't "technically" a children's ministry blog and secondly my sister is Loretta Baughan, but this is absolutely a blog well worth adding to your list of must-read blogs! Loretta writes this blog because, "Life is full of twists and turns, triumphs and pitfalls, ups and downs. This blog and the coming podcasts will attempt to tackle issues confronting modern-day families, from the perspective of a Christian conservative, straight-talking mom."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . CM Buzz!

I've been highlighting websites and blogs well worth checking out with the goal of adding to your daily-must-read-list. Today I want to encourage you to check CM Buzz

CM Buzz stands for Creative Ministry Buzz . . . and is the work of Keith Tusing . . . "he is a Family Ministries Pastor with 20+ years of experience serving churches in Texas, Arizona and Florida. His passion is to see Children's and Family Ministries which encourage leaders to partner with parents in developing the next generation." Keith says, "CM Buzz is a blog dedicated to sharing insights and ideas to encourage creative ministry to children, teens and families." 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . Ministry-To-Children!

children's ministry blogsAs you consider the variety of different children's ministry websites and blogs available for you to utilize, Ministry-To-Children absolutely must be on your daily-must-read-list!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . Lemon Lime Kids and Lori Bethran!

I've been posting all week about websites and blogs for you to consider making part of your daily-must-read-list and invite you to consider two more . . . Lemon Lime Kids and Lori Bethran!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . Kidology and Kidologist!

Kidology logo
Today I'm taking a look at another well-known must-follow website and blog . . . Kidology  and Kidologist. Both of these sites are written, designed and developed by Karl Bastian. 

So what is Kidology? According to their website, "Kidology is a non-profit organization which exists to equip and encourage those who minister to children. Our primary ministry is, a website where each day over 20,000 children's ministry leaders and volunteers find help, ideas, training, and resources which enables them to most effectively reach and teach kids.

When I say there are a wealth of resources on this one website, I am absolutely not overstating it! If you are looking for object lessons, games, puppet scripts, articles, reviews, creative PowerPoint tools, magic tricks, and much more you will absolutely find them here! If you are looking for children's ministry resources to buy - or sell - you can do it on Kidology! There are surveys, conference info, job postings and so much more. Take some time to check out Kidology - you will be so glad you did! When Karl Bastian says the goal of Kidology is to equip and encourage those who minister to children . . . he is absolutely right!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sneak Peek VBS 2015 - Thailand Trek, Everest & Hometown Nazareth from Group Publishing

I am very happy to let you know about two more VBS resources for 2015 - this time from Group Publishing. While we all know Group puts out a two engaging VBS resources each year; and I fully expect Everest and Hometown Nazareth to be excellent VBS resources from Group, in 2015 they have a new VBS which I find very intriguing! Check these scopes . . . 

Sneak Peek for VBS 2015 - SonSpark Labs VBS from Gospel Light

While you may be, "knee-deep" in VBS 2014, I'm happy for the opportunity today to let you know about Gospel Light's VBS for 2015 - SonSpark Labs! I have to say, it looks really interesting!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . Diving for Pearls, Church4EveryChild and Key Ministry!

In my last post about Children's Ministry resources around the web, I wrote about two wonderful sites filled with information, ideas and resources to help families with children with special needs and equip churches so they know how to serve them in the most effective ways. Today, I'd like to mention three more sites which will give you additional tools to help you serve this very important group of parents.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Don't Forget the Grandparents!

On my other blog, grandma's cookie jar, I wrote this morning about a very LOUD thunder
storm which went through the area where I live last night. My grandsons were spending the night and I was sure the storm would wake them up; I was extremely surprised when they slept through it! You'll find the full post about this storm and how it caused me to think of Psalm 57:1 at this link, but I want to take a moment to encourage you to remember grandparents when you think about your children's ministry!

As a grandma, I can assure you I am extremely interested in seeing my grandsons grow to be men who know, love and walk with God. I want them to know God's mercy and when they face the difficulties and "storms" of life, they will find refuge in God. So, when it comes to your children's ministry and grandparents, consider the following . . . 

Children Must Know and Walk with God Themselves!

I was reading in Judges 2 where there are some of the saddest verses in the Bible. It said; "10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.

Throughout Judges we read where the people of Israel did evil and forgot God. God sent other nations to test and see if they would obey Him; so, when the people called out to God for help, He sent a judge to fight those who were oppressing them. The people turned back to God - for awhile, then they did evil, forgot God and this pattern continued.

When I look at the world around me it is clear new generations are doing evil and forgetting God. Why is this? In Judges it said a generation came along who did not know or experience how God saved them from Egypt. They did not have a relationship of their own with God. So, they did what they wanted and forgot God. Isn't this what we see happening around us today?

Our children have heard about our relationship with God, but if they do not know and walk with God themselves, they will at some point, turn to doing what they want and will forget God. This tells me several things . . . 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There Are No Grills or Microwaves in Heaven!

I am a grandma - I love being the grandma of Josiah, Caleb and Shane! When you think about children's ministry you may think about parents, but don't forget grandparents. Grandparents are in a unique position to have many important conversations with grandchildren. There is something "special" about grandparents because most grandchildren do not see them everyday; which makes the times they do see them, very special . . . for grandparents as well!

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . CM Connect!

I remember years ago when I began serving in children's ministry . . . resources were limited and unless you knew someone from another church or attended a convention, there was virtually no way to communicate with people from other churches from around the country - and most certainly not with people from around the world. Thankfully this is no longer the case! With the internet, resources, ideas and information as well as encouragement and answers to our questions are literally at our fingertips! Now is the perfect time to commit to "connecting" with others who serve in CM!  You do not have to do this on your own!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Surf's Up! Children's Ministry Resources Around the Web . . . The Inclusive Church and A Different Dream!

As I share information about children's ministry websites and blogs, I am so delighted for the opportunity to let you know about two "must-read" sites! 

One of the most under-served areas of children's ministry is the area of serving children and families where there is a child with special needs. It can be difficult to find resources, ideas, information, answers to questions and encouragement so you will be able to fully welcome these children and their families to your church. Far too often when a family has a child with special needs they end up disconnected from church, because the church doesn't have a plan to welcome their child and train volunteers so they are able to know how to most effectively engage their child in class. This leaves some parents taking turns going to church, but far too often they end up just staying home. All parents need the support and encouragement a church can offer them, but parents of a child with special needs absolutely need this support and encouragement so much more. 

I'm very happy to be able to recommend two resources chocked full of information, ideas and genuine help for you in this very important area of serving children and families where there is a child with special needs . . . the Inclusive Church and A Different Dream.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

So . . . What Are Your Favorite Children's Ministry Websites and Blogs?

One of the best things about the internet is the ability it gives us to find information, ideas and resources at our fingertips. There are a wealth of websites and blogs available for us to learn from, be encouraged through and find answers for our children's ministry questions; so this coming week I'll be talking about children's ministry websites and blogs . . . both those we all know about as well as some you may not be as familiar with. In the coming days I'll post some thoughts about well-known websites/blogs and lesser known sites as well. 

If you have a favorite site, please take a moment to let me know about it - maybe it'll be one I include in my posts!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Keep Perspective!

It can be difficult to keep focus and perspective when we are serving in the day-in day-out work of children's ministry. This is the reason it can be oh-so easy to lose perspective and become discouraged or worse, bitter. But, I am here to tell you, do not lose heart! Hold on! While there are times it can be difficult to believe; or at the very least, confusing, God does know what He is doing and He does not waste anything which happens in our lives! Even better . . . He does have a plan and His plan truly is for our good!

Friday, June 13, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Believe Your Own "PR"

It is far too easy to get in a situation in children's ministry where we believe our own "PR"
and think it is up to us to "save" it because we know what to do and the best way to do it. If we stop listening to others and ignore or belittle things and ideas which are important to others we are "blowing" our children's ministry.

This one is really pretty self-explanatory, but I'll give a few examples . . .

Thursday, June 12, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Use Negative Labels & Show Favoritism

Positive Signs For Restaurants The Restaurant BrokersIt is easy, far too easy, to label others. We label some kids as "good" kids and others as . . . "not so good". We label some volunteers as "amazing" and others as . . . "not so amazing". We label some parents as "great" and others as . . . "not so great". We label some church leaders as ones who "get it" and others as . . . "ones who don't". Any way we use labels we are "blowing" our children's ministry. Consider the following . . . 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Manipulate People

Of course we all are quick to agree manipulating others is wrong, but how often do we actually manipulate others? Far more often than we might want to admit. It is important for us to understand, whenever we manipulate others we are absolutely "blowing" our children's ministry. So, how and when might we manipulate others? Consider the following . . .

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Stop Having Fun

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I completely believe if our children's ministries are going to accurately reflect Jesus, they have to be places which are fun . . . fun places to be, fun things to do and filled  with "fun" people. I believe this because I absolutely believe Jesus was a "fun" person. He certainly wasn't boring, stuffy or cranky. How do I know this? Because children wanted to be with him and children do not tend to want to be around boring, stuffy or cranky adults. Boring, stuffy and cranky adults tried to send children away from Jesus, but He would have none of that! Jesus stopped what He was doing with adults to make time for children! They are precious to Him! If we are accurately reflecting Jesus to children, then our ministries need to attract children and they should be fun! If our ministries are not "fun", then we are "blowing" our children's ministry. Consider the following ways we can reflect "fun" in our ministries . . . 

Monday, June 9, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Stop Showing Love

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If we are in children's ministry, we love others; right? After all, we wouldn't be in ministry if we didn't, right? Well . . . while we likely do love others, and may be quite proficient at "saying" we love others, do we actually show our "love" for others? There is a significant and very real difference between "saying" we love others and actually "showing" we love them, so if you are actually only talking about love and not showing it, you are "blowing" your children's ministry. Consider the following . . . 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Encourage Each Other to Skip the Hard Things

Girls laying in circle on grass
Okay, you may not out-and-out "encourage" each other to "skip" the hard things, but you also may not encourage each other to do the hard things either. If you do either of these two things, you will be "blowing" your children's ministry. So, what does it look like for you to "encourage" each other to "skip" the hard things? Consider the following . . . 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Argue . . . or at Least Have Lack of Unity

Arguing. It is easy to do . . . sometimes we often argue without even realizing it. How often do you argue in your children's ministry?  Arguing with anyone in your children's ministry is a way you can be sure of "blowing" your children's ministry. Think about the following . . . 

Friday, June 6, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Be "Stingy"

BoundaryIt is so, so very easy to say one thing and do another. We tell children to share, be kind, if they do not have something nice to say, don't say anything and on and on. But, as adults we do not necessarily share, we are not always the nicest people and gossip among church adults runs at epic proportions. Basically it all boils down to being "stingy" . . . stingy not just with our money, but with our time, our kind words and our love. When we are "stingy" we absolutely will "blow" our children's ministry. Consider the following . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Label People

Happy Pink HeartWhen Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39 HCSB) Of course we all want to believe this is what we do; love our neighbors as ourselves. But do we really? If we do not, then we are absolutely, "blowing" our children's ministries.

In the article I've been "tweaking" from an article about marriage to one about children's ministry, the author said if we call our spouse names, we are "blowing" our marriage. He is right. The same is true in children's ministry. If we call names . . . or "label" people, we are "blowing" our children's ministry. So, how and when might you "label" people? Consider the following . . . 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry . . . Be Lazy

Cartoon Tired DogAs we think about another way to "blow" our children's ministries today, lets think for a minute about how being lazy will damage, or "blow", our children's ministry.

In the article on marriage, the author said to stop "yelling". He said this wasn't the type of yelling which is angry or abusive, but the yelling where you "yell" from one room to another because you are too lazy to get up and go get or find something for yourself. So, how are we "lazy" in our children's ministries? Consider these ways . . .

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Stop Doing the Little Things

Important Post-it Clip ArtAs we continue to think about things we do - or do not do - which result in us "blowing" our ministry, this one is a big thing . . . even though it is about the little things.

Monday, June 2, 2014

FREE Family Resource - HomeFront Magazine!

Serving in Children's Ministry is not particularly "boring". Not only do you work with some of the least-boring people on the face of the earth (children), but there is always something to be focused and working on! In all our focus on children, it can be easy to lose focus on another important aspect of Children's Ministry . . . ministry to the family. For our children's ministries to be the most effective as possible, we need to be supporting, encouraging and equipping parent s to help families be strong places where children grow in their walk with God.

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry - Be Negative

As we continue to look at ways "we can keep from 'blowing' our children's ministry", today let's think about, "Being Negative".

When a couple always points out the other's weaknesses their marriage has taken a turn to the negative. In children's ministry we too, tend to take a turn to the negative when we are critical of families, volunteers and other ministries in the community. This is definitely a way to "blow" our children's ministry. So, to keep your ministry from being negative, consider the following . . . 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

14 Ways to "Blow" Your Children's Ministry . . . Stop Making Your Ministry "Attractive"

As I said yesterday, there are ways "we can keep from 'blowing' our children's ministry, so for the next  14 days, I'll share the ones which apply to children's ministry . . ." today let's think about, "Stop Making Your Ministry 'Attractive'".