Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Involved Grandparents Make a Huge Difference - Engage Them!

A couple years ago on Moody Radio, Tim Kimmel was interviewed about how to, "Put the 'Grand' back into Grandparenting" and if there was a reason for churches to focus upon starting a Grandparenting Ministry.
They talked about how grandparents actually change culture and impact/influence generations for Jesus and asked if multiple generation households were better off than those which do not have multiple generations living under the same roof.

They talked about how an Oxford University study showed children are generally happier if grandparents are heavily involved in the upbringing of grandchildren and discovered -

Monday, January 29, 2018

Engage Grandparents - Make it Your Plan of Action for the Summer . . . and Beyond!

Three years ago this Summer I was invited to join a group of people to see what we
could do help churches engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren. This group became the Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters!

Larry Fowler, the founder of Legacy Coalition, wrote about how if the average child in your ministry only attends church, at best, every other week, then they are only receiving about 20 hours a year of your programming. Yes, I said 20 hour a year! Even the children who are there every week, still only receive about 80 hours a year. I'm sure you will agree it is insufficient in either case.

You are not able to be with the children in your ministry all the time - this is why God gave the primary responsibility for reaching and discipling children to their parents and grandparents. So, today I want to write about something important. Something we in ministry must focus on. Something we need to make a central part of our plan to reach and disciple children; engaging, equipping and encouraging grandparents to pass on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren.

At the meeting I was blessed to be part of, Steve Bell (Willow Creek Church) said something which got my attention: "How we feel about our grandchildren is how they will feel about themselves."

Friday, January 26, 2018

My 2018 VBS Wrap-Up

For all the many years I've been writing VBS reviews, I always wrapped up my reviews with a side-by-side comparison chart and by choosing my Top Pick of VBS for the year. This year I am not doing those things.

I have reviewed nine VBS resources for 2018. In each review I included the scope, focus and theme along with the things I really liked as well as those components I'd like to have found in the resources.

When I first began reviewing VBS all those many years ago, there was significant differences between the different VBS resources. This is no longer the case. While there are still a few VBS resources which could stand (in my opinion) to include components they do not have, the majority are resources I would happily use.

Having said this, I thought this year I'd write about how I would use the 2018 VBS resources. So, if I were going to use . . . 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

VBS 2018 - faith Lab - Science VBS from Kidmin Science

Today I'm very happy to share with you faith Lab from Science VBS. This VBS resource does not just have a science station or a science activity, but the entire VBS connects science with God's Word. 

faith Lab engages children with lots of science projects, so you are able to be sure children are going to pay attention and learn from the things they participate in each morning. Take a look and consider if faith Lab is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

VBS 2018 - Time Lab by Answers in Genesis

Today we are looking at Time Lab from Answers in Genesis - take a close look at to see if it is a good "fit" for your ministry.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Please Join My Launch Team!

Grandparents are the second most influential people in the lives of children - second only to parents. And with more and more custodial grandparents, they are becoming the most influential people in the lives of children. What are you doing to engage grandparents in your Children's Ministry? How are you "getting them on-board" with what you are doing in the lives of their grandchildren? In what ways are you engaging and equipping them to hand down a heritage of faith?

I'm going to be re-launching my book; "It is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren" and I'm looking for some people to join my Launch Team. If you - or someone you know - are willing to read my book and help spread the word, please join my Launch Team! Please email me - if you would like to be part of my Launch Team for It is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren!

VBS 2018 - Game On! by Lifeway

Today I'm happy to share another of my VBS resources for 2018; this time it is, Game On from LifeWay! Take a look and consider  if Game On! is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

What Matters the Most When Selecting Your VBS Resources?

I have reviewed VBS resources each year since 1994 - yes, for 24 years. Over this time I have read through a lot of VBS resources (usually at least 10 each year, and some years - when there were more publishers releasing VBS resources - as many as 16).

For a VBS resource to make it into my review it HAS to be Scripturally sound. Period. I will not include a resource which is not Scripturally sound in my review.

Now, I have heard people from time to time complain about how they thought a VBS resource I reviewed was not Scripturally sound; so, what is required for a VBS resource to be Scripturally sound? I look for the following . . .

Friday, January 19, 2018

VBS 2018 - 24/7 - Jesus Makes a Way Every Day by Abingdon Press

Today I'm happy to share with you 24/7 - Jesus Makes a Way Every Day! from Abingdon Press. As I said last year, while the primary audience for this resource may seem obvious, I want to challenge and encourage you to take a serious look at 24/7 - Jesus Makes a Way Every Day, whether your church is made up primarily of one race or a mix of different races. 

I personally believe this would be an excellent resource for any church, as we all need to honestly face prejudices and mis-information in ourselves and deal with them as God wants us to, so we are able to help the children in our ministries grow up to truly believe with all their hearts the song they learned as little ones - "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

In this day and age where racism, anger, mistrust and misinformation divide us - in our communities and sadly, in our churches - more than ever, 24/7 - Jesus Makes a Way Every Day is a resource which can help bridge the gaps which divide, by helping us understand others and believe the truth - "Loving God is never separate from loving our brothers and sisters. It is always the same." (Clementa Pinckney) Absolutely take a serious look at 24/7 - Jesus Makes a Way Every Dayand whether you use it for VBS or not, find a place in your ministry where you will use it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

About the Children's Department Chosen as a Top Children's Ministry Blog!

About the Children's Department (and I - Lynda Freeman) - want to say, "Thank you" to Feedspot for noticing and valuing the work put into this blog; I'm honored to be included in your list. They chose About the Children's Department as one of their Top 40 Children's Ministry Blogs - we are actually #5!

They said; "CONGRATULATIONS to every blogger who made this Top Children’s Ministry Blogs list! This is the most comprehensive list of best Children’s Ministry blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this! I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. You were selected from the best Children’s Ministry blogs from among thousands of top Children’s Ministry blogs in our index using search and social metrics. These blogs were ranked based on following criteria . . . 
  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review"
  • How Will You Use Your VBS in 2018?

    So far this year I've shared five VBS reviews with you; I'm sharing another tomorrow and three more next week. Today I want to ask you, how do you plan to use your VBS? 

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Babylon by Group Publishing

    Today we are going to look at Group's Bible-times resource for this year; Babylon - Daniel's Courage in Captivity. I love the Bible-times VBS resources Group puts out each year as it is designed as a resource you will easily be able to use with the whole family! 

    With this resource you get to take children and families from your church and community back to Bible times where they may "experience" life in ancient Babylon, as they discover what happened with Daniel, and how he learned he was able to courageously keep the faith even in a place where the people did not believe in God!

    Monday, January 15, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Shipwrecked by Group Publishing

    Today I'm happy to share with you Group's 2018 VBS;  Shipwrecked I love the Fun Factory setting; it looks like it is great fun, but most importantly, has solid Bible teaching and learning!

    Sunday, January 14, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Three Excellent Resources

    This past week I reviewed three VBS resources and today I want to encourage you to consider a way you might combine the three for a Summer - or year - of amazing ministry! If you do not choose any of these three for your actual VBS (and any would be excellent), consider getting just a few of the resources from each kit and then use them for 15 Sundays, or use each lesson for two weeks and have 30 weeks of resources you could use in your mid-week ministry next year. All you need are -

    Thursday, January 11, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Rolling River Rampage from Cokesbury

    Today I'm happy to share with you  Rolling River Rampage from Cokesbury. This is a VBS curriculum filled with resources which will help you share with children how they are able to know no matter what, God is always with them. Rolling River Rampage is well worth taking a thorough look at to see if it might be a good "fit" for your ministry -

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Splash Canyon from Concordia Publishing House

    Today we're looking at Splash Canyon from Concordia Publishing House. Concordia calls on children to discover how, "Jesus is at work through us!"

    Monday, January 8, 2018

    VBS 2016 - Camp Moose on the Loose from Regular Baptist Press

    Today, as we begin the first week of my 2018 VBS reviews, we are looking at the first VBS which arrived at my house for review (this year I'm reviewing them in the order the arrived at my house) - Camp Moose on the Loose from Regular Baptist Press! 

    RBP did a great job with the content and substance of this VBS resource - if  you are not familiar with their materials and have never taken a close look at them in the past, this year is a great year to make a change and consider if Camp Moose on the Loose is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

    Friday, January 5, 2018

    VBS 2018 - What Will Your Sundays Look Like This Summer?

    On a day like today in Michigan where it was -10 when I
    woke up (and is supposed to "warm" to a "balmy" 10 above, but only feel like 5 with the wind chill), Summer seems quite a ways away. But, it will be here before we know it, so it is time to think about what our Summer Children's Ministry will look like.

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Why Do You VBS?

    Why do you VBS? Why do you put in the time, work and money to put on a VBS outreach at your church? Is it because it is something your church has always done? Is it because it is an effective outreach to your community? Is it to provide a fun opportunity for church children to learn more about God and grow in their walk with Him?

    Why do you VBS?

    Wednesday, January 3, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Another Kit Has Arrived!

    Babylon VBS 2018Look what arrived at my house the other day . . . another VBS kit for 2018; another one from Group. Looks like fun! 

    Have you ever tried a Bible-times setting for your VBS? Group does an amazing job with their Bible-times VBS and if you have never tried it before, this is a great one with which to "take the plunge"! After all, learning about Daniel is great fun, so "journeying" to Babaylon to "experience" it is even more fun!

    My full review will be posted in a couple weeks - stay tuned!

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    VBS 2018 - Another Kit Has Arrived!

    Look what arrived at my house the other day . . . another
    VBS kit for 2018; this one from Group. Looks like fun! 

    I will be starting my 2018 reviews on Monday, January 8, 2018. I will review two or three VBS resources each week for the following three weeks, sharing with you what I see as their strengths and some ideas of how to get the most out of them.