Saturday, July 30, 2016

Spiritual Warfare in Children's Ministry

What does, "spiritual warfare" look like in Children's Ministry? It definitely, "shows up", because Children's Ministry has the potential to literally change the world. In the book The Hope Quotient, it says; "Whoever changes today's kids, changes tomorrow's future. Whoever wins the kids, wins the culture. Whoever wins the kids, wins the nation. Whoever wins the kids, ultimately wins. Our best focus is on children."

All of this is true and it is because of all of this, when it comes to spiritual warfare showing up in a church, it will most likely - in my experience - show up in the Children's Ministry. While Children's Ministry should be a place of excitement and joy, it is often a place where power-plays and negative attitudes poison and limit ministry. These things also tend to cause pain and leave people with deep wounds. Satan does not want our Children's Ministries to, "win", so it is no surprise spiritual warfare shows up in our Children's Ministries.

So, what can we do to put a, "halt" on spiritual warfare? Consider the following . . . 

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #1

Yesterday I wrote about what I consider to be the second biggest danger to our Children's Ministry: the trap of "gossip". I said; "Falling into the trap of, "gossip" will stop your Children's Ministry from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out and pray, because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for gossip when it stifles and/or stunts our ministry and causes real harm to others."

Today I'm writing about what I consider to be the #1 Danger to our Children's Ministries . . . 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #2

Yesterday I wrote about what I consider to be the third biggest danger to our Children's Ministry: the trap of "comfort". I said; "Falling into the trap of, "comfort" will stop your Children's Ministry from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out and pray because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for comfort when it stifles and/or stunts our ministry."

Today I'm writing about Danger #2 . . . 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #3

Yesterday I wrote about what I consider to be the fourth biggest danger to our Children's Ministry: having too big a view of ourselves, what we know and what we can do. I said, "Having too big a view of ourselves, what we know and what we can do will stop your Children's Ministry from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out and pray, because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for having too big a view of ourselves, what we know and what we can do."

Today I'm writing about Danger #3 . . . 

. . . comfort. This is also an easy trap to fall into . . . in fact, it is one we might not even realize we have fallen into. So, how can we know if we have fallen into the trap of, "comfort"? Consider the following . . . 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #4

Yesterday I wrote about what I consider to be the fifth biggest danger in your Children's Ministry: selfishness. I said, "Selfishness will stop your  Children's Ministry from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out and pray, because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for selfishness."

Today I'm writing about Danger #4 . . . 

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #5

Over the years I've served in children's ministry, (44 to be exact!) I've had the opportunity to serve in churches where the children's ministry - and the church - were effective! Ministries where it was a blessing and joy to serve! Sadly, I've also served in churches where this was not the case. 

As I look back on the years of ministry and the churches where I've served, there are five things which stand out to me as the, "Biggest Dangers to Our Children's Ministry"; today I'll write about Danger #5 . . .

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why Grandparenting Ministry Matters

I've been writing quite a bit about Grandparenting Ministry. You may see these posts and wonder why I'm writing about grandparenting on a Children's Ministry blog. The reason is because when a Children's Ministry is a strong supporter of Grandparenting Ministry in their church, the children, families, Children's Ministry and entire church benefit.

One time when my grandsons were at my house and we were getting ready for bedtime, Josiah, Caleb, Poppa and I talked about what it means when the Bible says, "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." A few days later when the boys were here, we had a big thunder storm pass through and our power went out. Since it was bedtime, this meant it was quite dark here in the house without any power. We used a flashlight to see where we were going.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Grandparent on Purpose - 4 Roles of a Grandparent!

A year ago I heard Tim Kimmel speak about grandparenting on purpose, and today I want to share with you what this means, and looks like. Please think about this in regards to the grandparents in your church, and then think about what you do as a Children's Ministry, to help engage, equip and encourage these grandparents to be intentional in passing on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren.

Tim said grandparents need to employ a "gracious grandparenting" plan . . . which basically means we treat our grandchildren with the same grace God lavishes upon us! When we mess up, God gives us His grace and forgives us - He does not hold it over our heads nor brow-beat us. God gives us grace and grandparents need to do the same!

He said there are four roles for a grandparent . . . 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Let's Talk Grandparenting Ministry - The Role of Grandparents

I've been talking about Grandparenting Ministry and how our churches need to engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. Today I want to share something Steve and Valerie Bell shared with us at the Legacy Coalition meeting I attended last year.  They said when it comes to raising children, parents focus on peace. They want to get through the day in as peaceful a way possible - a peaceful day is a good day. Parents need to provide a peaceful setting for their home; a peaceful place for children to grow up. Peace is the bottom part of a "triangle" - and gives a firm base or foundation for their family.

The "middle" part of the triangle is, "principle". Parents need to provide principles, standards for their children as they grow up, so they know right from wrong. Also an important role for parents.

Grandparents, however; have a different role. Grandparents need to provide, "personhood". They do this by helping to give grandchildren a solid view of who they are, because however grandparents feel about and see their grandchildren is the way their grandchildren will feel about and see themselves. This part is at the top of the triangle.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Let's Talk Grandparenting Ministry - the Single Grandmother

As I mentioned yesterday, last year I had the wonderful opportunity to hear a number of people talk about Grandparenting Ministry and what it might look like in a church. Cathy Jacobs, from Pass the Legacy, spoke about the challenge facing the single grandmother; and today I'm delighted to share with you some of what she had to say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Let's Talk Grandparenting Ministry - What About the Grandpas?

Children's Ministry may not be the area where you initially think about also focusing upon Grandparenting Ministry, but what might this look like in your church? A couple days ago I shared what Linda Ransom-Jacobs had to say about the divorce and grandparenting; today I want to talk about the role of the grandpas.

Ken Canfield spoke at a meeting I attended about the, "Grandfather Factor" and shared about the three events in men's lives which transforms their lives. He said these three events are . . . 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Notice & Engage Grandparents in Your Children's Ministry

I am a member of the largest church in Grand Rapids, MI. Each Summer, my church plans and holds a special event for the families in our church; a time for us to come together as a church and as families. This year the church rented John Ball Zoo, so from 6pm to 9pm thousands of people ate together (hot dogs were provided), enjoyed music in the band shell and enjoyed seeing the many animals in the zoo.

I noticed something as families ate together, and walked through the zoo - many, many of these families included grandparents who were enjoying the opportunity to experience the zoo with their grandchildren. I was one such grandparent, because my grandsons were at this event with me.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of an important truth. When it comes to people who love the children in our Children's Ministries, grandparents are often at the top of the list. This is important for us to keep in mind, because not only do grandparents love their grandchildren, but they also care very much about the ministry of their church to their grandchildren. 

So, as you finish the details for the start of the new school year of ministry to and with the children in your church, keep in mind the grandparents. Think about how you might engage them in the Children's Ministry, because they are some of the people who care the most about the children. Consider the following ideas . . . 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let's Talk Grandparenting Ministry - What About Families With Divorce?

When you think about Children's Ministry, grandparents and Grandparenting Ministry, you may picture both grandpas and grandmas. While in many families they do have two sets of grandparents - both grandpas and grandmas, there are families in your church with single grandparents; most often single grandmas. 

At the Legacy Coalition meeting I attended last year, we were blessed to hear both Linda Ransom Jacobs (DC4K) and Cathy Jacobs (Pass the Legacy) speak to us about how divorce and single grandmothers impact your Grandparenting Ministry. They had very valuable information for pastors and church leaders, so today, I want to share with you some of what Linda had to say.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Are Your Volunteers "Invisible"? Make them "Visible" - Check these posts on CM Buzz!

Make Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers Visible! Children\s Ministry Youth
In addition to writing About the Children's Department, I was one of the writers for CM Buzz. A couple years ago I wrote about invisible and visible volunteers. You can still find these posts - just follow these links . . . Make Your Children's Ministry Volunteers "Visible"! and . . . 'Are your children’s ministry volunteers "invisible”

"Catchy" titles? Well, in these posts, I ask, in the eyes of the rest of your church, are your volunteers 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' and a few ideas of ways to help your Children’s Ministry volunteers be 'visible'!" 

What do you do to make your Children's Ministry volunteers "visible"?

Friday, July 15, 2016


Yesterday I wrote about planning a, "Prayer Walk" for your church to involve everyone in praying for the 2016/17 school year of children's ministry. Today I want to give you another idea for a way to begin the school year of ministry with prayer.

If you are looking for a way to start your new school year of ministry with a focus on supporting and encouraging your volunteers and under-girding your ministry with prayer from the "get-go", hold a "Back-to-Sunday-School-Prayer-Event"! The idea behind this is to provide an opportunity for parents, grandparents and volunteers to meet and talk together before, or at the beginning of, the new Sunday school year and to involve your entire church in praying for your Children's Ministry . . . and you do have time to do this as it is really simple to plan the event - all you need to do is . . . 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Plan a Prayer Walk to Start your 2016/17 School Year of Ministry!

While it may seem like Summer just began, the new school year is almost upon us. There are many things to do before the new school year begins, including -
  • Select curriculum
  • Train volunteers
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Plan and hold a back-to-school parent/grandparent meeting
  • Plan and hold a back-to-school prayer walk
There are other things to do, but these are five of the big ones - they all are important, but, today I want to focus on planning and holding a back-to-school prayer walk!

In the past my church has held a, "Prayer Walk" which gave everyone in the church the
opportunity to walk through the children's and youth areas of our church and pray for all the ministry which would take place in the coming school year. It was wonderful!

So, I want to, give you some ideas for a Prayer Walk. If you have not planned to do something similar, you still have time to plan a prayer walk of your own to help families understand what will be happening in the Children's Ministry at your church in the coming year - and most importantly, how they can pray!

A few details to cover . . . 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Equip the Parents & Grandparents in Your Ministry

There is nothing more important for grandparents and parents to do, than to be intentional about passing on their faith to the children they love. However; while some of them know how to do this, and have resources to help them with this, others struggle to know what to do to engage the children in learning how to love, know and walk with God.

This is where you as a Children's Ministry leader can be a real help to the parents and grandparents in your ministry. You can let them know about resources designed to help them pass on their faith. 

One such resource is Science, the Bible & Fun - and yes, I wrote it. I have three grandsons and I want to pass my faith to them. While it matters for me to share my faith with my grandsons - and I do this - there has to be a point where it becomes their faith. Where they choose to love, know and walk with God. So, since I know my grandsons enjoy science projects, I wrote a curriculum to use with them which will engage them in science projects, gives us time to play fun games and make crafts, but most importantly, helps them learn about Bible people and how they chose to love, know and walk with God, so my grandsons will be able to make the same choices.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Our Response to Last Week . . .

This past week has been difficult. Difficult to hear the news. Difficult to explain to the children in our ministries. Difficult to understand for ourselves. So much sadness. So much heartbreak.

I, and two of my friends who are also on the staff of the Legacy Coalition, have written about the events of the past week. Please take a few minutes to check these posts - and please share them with the people you know. As my friend Bill Gibbons said; "If there is to be any lasting healing and racial reconciliation, we must know it doesn't start with politicians or legislation. . .it starts and ends with JESUS. Parents and Grandparents may never have a greater occasion to teach their children what it means to love their neighbors!!"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pray for Eyes to be Open and for Children to be Drawn to God!

We believe in prayer. We pray for the children in our ministries. So, today I'd like to share a prayer for salvation . . . of course while we can not pray the prayer for salvation for a child, we can pray and ask God to make their hearts tender and open, so they will choose to believe and be saved!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

What Do You Look For in a Curriculum?

What do you look for when you look for curriculum? Let's take a minute to think about this and how Deeper in 4 Children measures up to the things you want to see in curriculum . . . 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Legacy Grandparenting Summit - Save $40 . . . Spread the Joy & the Savings!

Would like to know what one of the single-most powerful things is which you can do in the coming year to strengthen your Children's Ministry? I believe it is to become a strong, committed supporter of Grandparenting Ministry in your church. What is Grandparenting Ministry and why is this one of the single-most powerful things you can do to strengthen your Children's Ministry, you ask? Please give me a moment to explain.

Grandparenting Ministry is not Senior Saints Ministry. It is not ministry to grandparents. It is ministry which engages, equips and encourages grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. It is ministry which gets grandparents "on-board" with intentionally impacting their grandchildren for Jesus. This is what Grandparenting Ministry is.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Walk Through a Lesson with Deeper in 4 Children . . .

I've been sharing with you this week, the features which make Deeper in 4 Children a curriculum which engages children and helps them go deeper into God's Word. Today I want to look a little more closely at what children will do each week with a Deeper in 4 Children Bible lesson.

With Deeper in 4 Children, when the children arrive in class, they are put into one of four groups. Each group has a portion of the day's Bible event which they will explore. Children read the passage in the Bible. They may look up additional information in reference books to help them understand what their portion of the Scripture says and then "illustrate" their portion of the lesson.

During Large Group time, each group will be invited to stand and share their poster illustrations with the rest of the class. The teacher will ask questions to discover what each group learned about the portion of Scripture they studied and prepared.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Free Lesson from Deeper in 4 Children!

For the past two days I've been sharing a curriculum I write with you - Deeper in 4 Children. The focus of this curriculum is to do what it's name says - help children go deeper into God's Word. Too often Sunday school just retells Bible events without children even opening - or bringing - their own Bibles. Not so with Deeper in 4 Children. Too often curriculum covers a Bible "topic" one week and then moves on to a different one the following week, leaving children without a real deep understanding of what the Bible teaches about such important topics of Grace, Obedience and Prayer. Again, not so with Deeper in 4 Children as they focus for three quarters on what God's Word, from the Old Testament through the New Testament, has to say about these vital topics.

You will find more about Deeper in 4 Children at this link - along with free sample lessons. Take a moment to download the free lessons, check them out, try them and see what Deeper in 4 Children is all about.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Does Your Curriculum Help Children Go Deeper Into God's Word?

So, is your curriculum effective? I mean truly effective? Does it help the children in your ministry learn how to read their Bibles? Does it even have the children open their Bibles in class? Does it focus on understanding and living God's Word? Do children leave your classes knowing more about God and how to love and walk with Him? Is it truly effective?

Or, does it just focus upon the telling, and re-telling of Bible events without getting children to even open their own Bibles? Do children leave not really having learned anything about knowing God and how to love and walk with Him?

The whole point of having curriculum is to help us effectively engage children so they know God and how to walk with Him - so they learn how to read their Bibles and understand what God's Word says. If the curriculum you are using just focuses on the telling and re-telling of Bible events or focuses upon character traits and not God's Word, then you likely need to find a new curriculum.

If this is the case for you, I'd like to recommend taking a look at Deeper in 4 Children. (And so you know, I write this curriculum.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Deeper in 4 Children . . . What Makes it Unique & a Great Fit for Your Children's Ministry?

It is July and in just two months your new school year of ministry begins. Do you know what curriculum you will be using? Are you using what you have been using? Are you looking for something new? Have you made a choice to try something new?

Curriculum is a big decision, because there is far more to Children's Ministry than just giving a volunteer a teacher's book and letting them "teach" their class. In Children's Ministry we have the opportunity to start children on a life-long journey of learning to know, love and walk with God. We have the opportunity to help them develop a love for God's Word and a desire to read it. We have the opportunity to help them learn how to talk with God.

If the curriculum you are using does not do these things, then you either need to train your volunteers how to use it more effectively, or you need to find something else. Children's Ministry is not just a place where tell children Bible "stories" and sing songs. It is far more than this; at least it should be.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Register Today & Save $50!!!

Have you been thinking about registering for the first-ever Legacy Grandparenting Summit, wanted to take advantage of their special Early Bird Discount, but know the discount ended the end of June? Well, I have wonderful news for you! The Legacy Coalition extended their Early Bird discount of $50 off the registration until July 7, 2016! 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Some Facts About Grandparents and How They Impact Your Children's Ministry

I sincerely believe all churches should focus on engaging, equipping and encouraging grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. There are reasons I believe this - some of them are . . . 

Friday, July 1, 2016

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 . . .