Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dispatch Box #3 - 7 Family Ministry Essentials

Yes, INCM's Dispatch boxes provide great resources which you can put to use in your children's ministry, but it also provides resources to help you keep your children's ministry on-track. This is why in Box #3 you'll find 7 Family Ministry Essentials, because when it comes to Children's Ministry, it is easy to get distracted and side-tracked from what matters most. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dispatch Box #3 - International Children's Bible & Instant Bible Lessons for Toddlers

So far I've shared with you the Dispatch Vol. 3 Mini-Magazine, the Step Into My Shoes resource from Compassion and The Gospel Truth About Children's Ministry . . . three excellent resources, which in and of themselves make the Dispatch Box #3 totally worth it! But, there is more . . . much more . . . in box #3! Today I'm very happy to share with you the International Children's Bible and Instant Bible Lessons for Toddlers! Like I said, there is much, much more in box #3!

Stop "Burnout" - "Adopt" Your Volunteers

We've been talking about burnout the last couple days; yesterday I said, "Life brings its challenges and difficulties to all of us . . . volunteers included. When they experience these challenges and difficulties, they may feel serving overloads them and they are burned out. But, if we have a support system in place, then we can come to their aid and be a source of encouragement to them." Today I want to think about another reason volunteers may feel, "burned out" - if they lose their "connection" with their adult class.

For people to volunteer and serve in children's ministry, they typically "miss" the opportunity to be in adult classes. Some volunteers are able to serve and find ways to stay connected, but others serve and find themselves truly missing this adult interaction and connection. The ones who find they have a "void" from not being in an adult class, may end up feeling, "burned out".

While this may seem like a "problem" which you are not able to "resolve" for your volunteers; after all, they can not physically be in two places at one time . . . there is actually an answer which is quite "doable". Find adults to "adopt" your volunteers! Yes, adopt them out!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stop Burnout - Provide Support

As we continue to look at burnout, yesterday I said, "When we are understaffed, the volunteers we have are in a situation where they may feel tired, worn out and decide they are burned out." If we want to avoid burnout, we need to be sure we are not understaffed. 

Today I want to think about another thing which may cause our volunteers to think they are, "burned out" - if we do not have a support system in place. Life brings its challenges and difficulties to all of us . . . volunteers included. When they experience these challenges and difficulties, they may feel serving overloads them and they are, "burned out". But, if we have a support system in place, then we can come to their aid and be a source of encouragement to them. For example, if a volunteer experiences illness, we can arrange for meals, visits and rides to appointments. Most importantly, we can support them in prayer.

To provide this type of support, you have to . . . 

Dispatch Box #3 - The Gospel Truth About Children's Ministry

This past summer I was invited to review The Gospel Truth About Children’s Ministry, which is based on research conducted by AWANA in 2013 & 2014 to “take the pulse” of the children’s ministry community. They wanted to, "fully understand the wants, needs, and expectations of children’s ministry decision makers."  When I received Dispatch Box #3 and saw this book was one of the resources inside, I was very happy for the opportunity to highlight this excellent resource once again.

Before I get to my review, I do want to say, whether or not you use AWANA clubs, the information in this book is important for everyone in Children's Ministry, everyone who cares about the Children's Ministry in their church, every parent and grandparent to see and understand.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dispatch Box #3 - Step Into My Shoes from Compassion

Yesterday I gave an overview of the new INCM Dispatch Box #3, so today I will
begin my, "closer look" at the goodies in this box by sharing with you my favorite item from Box #3. As I have come to expect, there is no shortage of excellent items/resources in the newest Dispatch Box, but my personal favorite item, the item which left me thinking, "This is so cool! I love this!" is the "Step Into My Shoes" resource from Compassion which is designed to help families, "See the world through God's eyes."

At the very bottom of the Dispatch Box #3, you will find another box. On the cover it says; "Step Into My Shoes - See the World through God's eyes - no passport needed." I'm very happy to share with you what I found in this box . . . 

Stop Burnout - Don't Understaff

As we continue to think about burnout, yesterday I said, "When a volunteer says they are quitting because they are, "burned out", it is an opportunity for us to identify a need and find a solution! I'll talk more about this tomorrow.

So, let's look at one of the main reasons teachers think they are "burned out" - they are serving on their own. When we are understaffed, the volunteers we have are in a situation where they may feel tired, worn out and decide they are "burned out". 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dispatch Box #3 Is Here!

Kidmin Dispatch Logo
Yes! The new Dispatch Box arrived in my mail yesterday and I will be sharing with you, over the coming days, about some of the "goodies" I found in it. There are a couple things in it I'm especially happy to let you know about as I think they are truly excellent!

But today I just want to share with you an overview of the INCM Dispatch Volume Three and let you know what you will find in this box!

In case you are wondering what, "INCM" is and what a, "Dispatch Box" is, here is a little background information. INCM stands for the International Network of Children's Ministry and began, as they say as: "a dream shared by two local children's pastors in 1980 to gather and equip kidmin leaders has grown into a global movement connecting thousands of children's and family ministry leaders to expert training, vast resources, and passionate inspiration." 

INCM describes their, "Dispatch box" as; "Dispatch was created to answer the most common question from children's ministry leaders; 'Where do I find the best ideas?' With Dispatch, kidmin no longer need to search websites, scour Pinterest or raid the curriculum closet. We thoughtfully curate a selection of the latest ideas and products, assemble and ultimately deliver them in a quarterly box to children's and family ministry leaders everywhere."

Each Dispatch box (and this is box #3) includes a mini-magazine published by INCM which includes reviews, ideas and resources you can use along with the items in the box; today I'm focusing on this resource.

What is Burnout & What Can We Do About It?

One word can bring feelings of frustration, fear and despair to people in children's ministry - especially those who recruit. This word is, "burnout". People leave children's ministry because of it and others do not join in, because of it as well. So, what is "burnout", really? And what - if anything - can we do to prevent it?

Monday, October 26, 2015

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to say Mary Beth Dawson is the winner of the book, The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival (you'll find my review at this link). Thank you Mary Beth for reading About the Children's Department (please email me your address by November 2, 2015, so I can send it to you) and thank you Zonderkidz for sending The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival for me to review and give away!

Why We Do What We Do!

This week I want to talk about why we serve in the Children's Ministry and think about what "burn out" is really all about.

My background is fairly conservative when it comes to church. I grew up in the church when children sat and listened to their teachers, wrote in their student books and memorized Scripture. In High School I participated on a quiz team and loved everything about it. 

When I became a mom, I wanted my children to experience the same "church" as I did, so when they were little I had them involved in a mid-week program with lots of Bible memory. My children excelled at Bible memory and moved through their books quickly; they happily amassed their pins and badges. I was sure all of this was how it "should" be until something happened during one awards ceremony which began to completely change my opinion. All the little four year olds were waiting to receive their awards for the progress they made in their books . . . all except for one little boy. This boy had great difficulty memorizing. He did not receive an award that evening . . . and went home in tears. When I saw this I wondered what this little boy's "view" of God looked like. Did he see God as Someone Who would only be pleased with him if he were able to memorize Bible verses? Was this the view of God I wanted children to have? Of course it was not.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tip to Help Teachers Prepare and Teach More Effectively - Give Them Postie Notes!

It can be a challenge to get our teachers to prepare for their classes. It isn't that they are
lazy or "bad" teachers; they, like us, have busy lives. They may forget to sit down and plan out their lesson until Saturday night - or horrors - on their way to church Sunday morning!

However, there is a simple and inexpensive way you can help them prepare for their lesson a week ahead of time . . . and be ready to tell how God made the lesson real in their own lives! How, you ask, can we do this amazing feat??? Check this idea . . . 

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Do We Need to See?

In our Children's and Family Ministries we "impart" a lot of "information". We teach Bible lessons, we train volunteers, we encourage parents . . . we "impart" a lot of "information". There is good reason for all of this,  "imparting  of information" as it is important, but it is infinitely most important for us to pray for "eyes to be opened". So, the big question is, do we focus on asking God to "open eyes"? What are some things we need to have our eyes . . . and the eyes of children, parents and volunteers . . . opened, so we "see"? Consider the following . . . 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Another Giveaway of Grandparenting Resources!

Yesterday I wrote about a special giveaway of grandparenting resources on my other blog, grandma's cookie jar. Today I want to let you know about one more special giveaway of grandparenting resources. These two books are "must-read" books for the grandparents at your church - and I'm giving them away on my other blog!

When it comes to people who are speaking up about the importance of grandparents focusing on passing on a heritage of faith, Tim and Darcy Kimmel and Elmer and Ruth Towns are people who many of us are already familiar with. They have each written a book about doing exactly this . . . and I'm very happy for the opportunity to give these two books away in this year's Special Christmas Giveaway - they would make wonderful gifts for grandparents you know and for the grandparents in your life!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Giveaway of Grandparenting Resources!

I've been writing a lot lately about how a strong Grandparenting Ministry benefits the Children's Ministry. One way you can help a Grandparenting Ministry is by helping grandparents find resources which will help them pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. On my other blog, grandma's cookie jar, each November I give away a LOT of things (it is my Special Month of Christmas Giveaways) and this year I have two prize packages of resources for grandparents . . . today I'll let you know about one and tomorrow the other.

I'm very happy today to announce a special giveaway for grandparents . . . a gift pack which includes two books and a curriculum grandparents can use with their grandchildren to pass on a heritage of faith! I am the author of all of them and am delighted to include them in this year's Christmas giveaway!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why 43% Matters

Image result for images for 43%Yesterday I posted this on my other blog; grandma's cookie jar, so I thought I'd share it with you today. 

Do you know why the percentage, 43% matters? It truly matters, because according to the Barna Group, 43% of people make the decision to receive God's gift of grace and forgiveness by placing their trust in Jesus before the age of 13. Yes, before the age of 13.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Another "Bonus" to Children's Ministries from Strong Grandparenting Ministries

Image result for focus clipartA couple weeks ago I wrote about how a strong Grandparenting Ministry in a church benefits the Children's Ministry. Today I have another way this benefits the Children's Ministry . . . a strong Grandparenting Ministry, helps everyone keep the focus where it needs to be . . . helping children know, love and follow Jesus.

How does a strong Grandparenting Ministry help the Children's Ministry do this? Because grandparents know something parents - and younger people do not know. We know how very fast our grandchildren are growing up. We know the time is short. We know it matters what we do today, because we know the time is short . . . before we know it, the children will be grown up.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Are You Sure Your Children's Ministry Communicates the Message You Think It Does?

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 -

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I'm a Very Happy Grandma!

On my other blog - grandma's cookie jar - I wrote this morning about my grandson and the Action Bible - I thought I'd share it with you today, too!

My three sweet grandsons spent the night last night and this morning Josiah was looking for something to read. He is seven and thinks picture storybooks are really too easy for him (he reads at late second grade level). So, he looked around and found The Action Bible. (This Bible presents Bible events in comic book format.)

I'm very happy to see him interested in reading the Bible - The Action Bible is a great first Bible for children to read as with the pictures it is an easier thing for them to do. It is a great way for them to develop an interest in what God's Word has to say and as he has questions about things he reads, we look it up in my Bible to see what the actual full text Bible says.

Friday, October 16, 2015

More Thoughts About Burnout

A few days ago I posted an article I wrote about burnout for
kidzmatter - The Truth About Burnout. When I wrote about burnout, I said, "One word can bring feelings of frustration, fear and despair to people in children's ministry - especially those who recruit. This word is, 'burnout'. People leave Children's Ministry because of it and others do not join in because of it as well." I also said, "I have never experienced burnout. I was thinking about this in the past week and came to the conclusion the reason for this is, because serving brings me so much joy and energy! It is a delight, joy and honor to serve, so my focus is on these things and I have not experienced burnout."

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are burned out and then quit serving. When we do this we pay a huge price . . . joy. I firmly believe when we become believers, God gives us gifts which He wants us to use in whatever church we are part of. He does not do this for them to be a burden, but rather for us to experience joy when we use them. God does not want us to feel "burned out"; He wants us to experience joy! Serving and using the gifts He gives us is one way we do this.

Using our gifts does not mean we will be burned out; this is a lie from the Devil. Using our gifts means we will experience an amazing joy! This is the truth! We must make the choice to believe the truth and take steps to help ourselves and those who serve in our ministries with us so we are not deceived into believing we are burned out. Check these links for ways to do this . . . 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Truth vs Lies

While there are certainly many essential things we need to teach the children in our
ministries; there is one thing we do not tend to teach them which our failure to do so can leave them vulnerable to being deceived. What is this, "thing", you ask? Simply put; it is the truth of how the Devil is a liar.

Why is this an essential thing for us to teach the children in our ministries? Because children are so easily deceived by this Liar. The world is full of the Devil's lies; for example, so many children's books, movies and games involve magic. It is a lie from the Devil that this magic is something which would make our lives better, more interesting, fun and powerful. The truth is God is the One Who gives us better lives, makes them more interesting, fun, exciting and true power comes from Him. However; far too often this message is not given to children, so they are deceived by the Liar to think they will find what they want apart from God.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Truth About Burnout

A couple years ago I was invited to write about burnout for K! Magazine/KidzMatters; so since it is posted on the KidzMatters site, I thought I'd share part of it with you again today and provide the link for the full post.

"I do not believe burnout is really a problem in children’s ministry. Stay with me for a minute as I explain. When we, or a volunteer, are tired from serving, instead of identifying it as, 'we are tired', we call it burn-out. Or, when one of us experiences frustration because we are serving on our own or took too much on for us to be able to handle, instead identifying it as we are doing too much on our own, we call it burnout.

There are other examples, but the point is, burnout is not really the problem. Misidentifying, or even not identifying, the problem is the problem. When we fail to correctly identify the problem, we can’t solve the problem and sadly, the end result is, people leave ministry and do not experience the joy God has for them when they serve. This is a true tragedy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Safety Alert - Phones Are Pretty Much Everywhere

Image result for clipart for camera phonesOne thing we have to keep in mind in our Children's Ministry; even at the top of our list of things we must do, is the safety of the children in our ministry. This means we are resolute about running safety checks, background checks and following up with references for each and every person working/serving in the Children's Ministry as well as for each and every person who volunteers to serve.

It also means we keep an appropriate child/adult ratio in our classes, we do not let married couples serve together without another unrelated adult present and we have child safety polices we train all our volunteers on each year.

However; there is another very important thing we must do to keep the children safe . . . something you may not have considered. Pretty much every adult and teen - and even some children - in your church have phones. This means pretty much every adult, teen - and even some children - in your church have cameras which they carry with them everywhere they go.

Why does this matter? Because it means they have these phones - and cameras - when they are in the restrooms and other places where the children in your ministry may be as well. How does this impact your Children's Ministry and being certain it is a safe place for children? Consider the following . . . 

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Most Powerful Thing a Grandparent Can Do - Pray!

Image result for clipart for praying grandparents
Yes, there are many important and even powerful things a grandparent can do for their grandchildren, but one of the most powerful things we can do is to pray for our grandchildren. Why is this? Consider the following . . . 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Important Truths About Leading - Let the Joy Show!

Image result for clipart for serve with joyFirst of all, I'm telling you the answer . . . joy! Yes, joy!

Now for the question. How can you tell if you are serving and leading in your strength or in God's? I know you know the answer - especially since I started this post with the answer!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Important Truths About Leading - Gossip is NEVER EVER Okay. Period.

Image result for clipart for no gossipOkay, I know I write about this from time to time, but I think it is something we need to be reminded of, often, because gossip is insidious. It is all too easy for a conversation to turn from being a good conversation to one where we are gossiping and gossip is ALWAYS damaging. We MUST have an absolute zero tolerance for gossip whether we are listening to others gossip, or have a problem with gossip among our volunteers or worse, we indulge in this evil ourselves. 

Consider the following . . .

Friday, October 9, 2015

Important Truths About Leading - It Is Not All About You

Image result for clipart for it is not all about youYes, I agree there are many things to keep in mind when you are leading a Children's Ministry. I also agree there are many things you have to personally see to and do; however, when it comes to leading it is important to understand, it is not all about you and it. 

In far too many cases, those who lead end up on,"power trips" and become people who think everything is about them. This can damage your Children's Ministry. Let's think about this for a minute . . . 

When you think it is all about you, you are likely to . . . 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Important Truths About Leading - Pay Attention

Image result for clipart for pay attentionYou may wonder what I mean about, "paying attention" when I say it is an important truth about leading. It is easy for leaders to become so focused on the things they are doing already, they may not notice important things they need to notice. If we are going to be leaders who lead well, we need to pay attention to the following people and things . . . 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Important Truths About Leading - Be Thankful & Show It!

Image result for clipart for being thankfulWhen it comes to being a leader in Children's Ministry, there is certainly no shortage of important things for you to focus on, but one very important thing often gets overlooked - being thankful and showing it. We are often focused instead on all we, "need" . . . and in Children's Ministry there is no shortage of things we "need". We need volunteers, we need resources, we need volunteers, we need to focus on safety, we need volunteers, we need to think about the budget . . . did I mention we need volunteers???!!!

Well, yes, in Children's Ministry there are many things we need, but we absolutely must be sure we take time to be thankful and show it to God and to the volunteers we have! First of all, let's consider being thankful - and showing it - to God!