Friday, January 31, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - "Hand in Hand" Theme!

One of my favorite "oldie" groups is DeGarmo and Key. I love their music, their sound and I love the message to their songs. So, when it came to selecting music for a theme and video, well, the song "Hand in Hand" is absolutely perfect! I used this song in a church with a long history. I was able to get photos of their original building and even of classes and volunteers from decades earlier. By combining those old photos with video of the church with it's current classes and volunteers it made an amazing video! The added bonus was the strong message in the song, so again while I realize this is an older song, it is well worth considering as the song you choose to build your theme around for your recruiting month!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - "Lifesong" Theme

I've been sharing recruiting theme ideas with you which you could use to focus your church for an entire month on the opportunities which are available to serve in the Children's Ministry.  As I've said, I really like using a theme for a month as it gives you a consistent message and one which is more likely to get the attention of the people in your church. Today consider this song from Casting Crowns - "Lifesong"!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - "Tell Me Again" Theme!

I've been focusing on developing a theme for a month of recruiting for Fall ministries. Now is the time to determine your theme, develop your plan to intentionally engage the people in your church throughout the month of May and present to them the opportunity of serving in your Children's Ministry! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - "For Such a Time As This" Theme!

Yesterday I shared a recruiting theme plan built around the Wayne Watson song, "Finest Hour" and today I'm sharing a theme built around another Wayne Watson song, "For Such a Time as This". I realize these are "older" songs, but they have strong messages and work extremely well for building a recruiting theme. Take a look at this theme and consider if it might be a good "fit" for your ministry!

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - Recruit With Enthusiasm!

I personally find recruiting volunteers fun and exciting and while I realize most people think I must be totally nuts to enjoy recruiting, I look at it as a treasure hunt rather than a chore to dread.  After all, treasure hunts are fun!  You see, I believe the church belongs to God and He places people in the church to do all the things which need to be done for genuinely effective ministry to take place.  Now, some people may not realize they are the ones God has placed to be involved in ministry, but I believe the people are there – we just have to find them! Recruiting allows you to look for and find the treasure/unknown volunteers God has given you; and volunteers truly are a treasure, a gift from God!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - "Finest Hour" Theme!

I'm a huge fan of planning a recruiting month with a theme built around the lyrics of a song. One major benefit for doing this is it gives you a specific and focused theme you may weave throughout your recruiting month, because when people hear the song, they will be reminded of your message and it adds a touch of "fun" to recruiting! 

One feature of your recruiting month will be a music video of your ministry, so you will need video footage of your volunteers, classes and any events you hosted throughout the year. If you ask around, you are sure to find at least one or two people in your church who like to film, take pictures and edit videos on their computers. Ask them to be your film crew and have them film from time to time throughout the year to get footage of the children, youth, adults in your ministry.  Use this footage to make your annual recruiting video.  You may also use shots of people and events to make your video even more interesting!  Find someone in your church to sing the song as the video plays, so you are able to communicate a strong message through the video and song.

The first step is to plan your recruitment drive.  Know who you are trying to reach, how many people you need and select a theme to help you capture the attention of the people in your church.  I will be sharing seven complete recruiting plans with you.  Select one of these, combine them or come up with your own, but make sure you have a plan for your recruitment drive.

Each recruiting plan includes some components which are the same, for example, each plan should begin a few weeks before the actual start your recruiting month with “teasers”.  These “teasers” come from the lyrics of the song to be sung with your video and are placed on posters around the church, in the bulletin, on powerpoint or wherever you think to put them.  The point of the “teasers” is to get people wondering what they are about and to aid you in getting their attention when you actually begin the recruiting month.

Each plan also includes a week from the recruiting month where the Senior Pastor speaks to the value of serving in the Children’s Ministry.  This is important because if the Senior Pastor says there is value in serving in the Children’s Ministry; people are more likely to believe it.  The Senior Pastor needs to be your biggest fan – when he is behind the Children’s Ministry, the church will be as well.  My first recruiting theme centers around the theme from Wayne Watson's song, Finest Hour.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Recruiting = Going on a Treasure Hunt!

Call me crazy, but I love recruiting volunteers for Children’s Ministry!  It’s exciting and so much fun . . . like being on a treasure hunt!  What’s not to love about being on a treasure hunt, particularly when you’re sure to find the treasure?!! I’m absolutely convinced God cares more than anyone if we have the volunteers we need for the most effective ministry possible.  This is why I believe He has placed in every church the people who are needed for each ministry to be truly effective.  Some of these people have volunteered, so we know who they are! This is enough to put a smile on any recruiters face! Others just do not know yet they are people God has placed in their church to serve in the Children’s Ministry. Recruiting allows you to look for and find the treasure/unknown volunteers God has given you; and volunteers truly are a treasure, a gift from the hand of God! 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Let's Plan a Volunteer Recruitment Month! - The Basics of What a Recruiting Month "Looks" Like!

For a number of years I served as the Children's Director at a church in Northern California. We needed 120 volunteers for our Sunday morning  Children's Ministry and we typically held our volunteer recruitment drive during the month of August - which meant I spent a lot of time on the phone making those calls! When the new ministry year began in September, inevitably, I still needed volunteers; so I decided to make a change and held our volunteer recruitment drive during the month of May.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Don't Leave the Grandparents Alone - Come Alongside Them Instead

You are certainly aware of the children in your Children's Ministry. You likely know the parents of the children in your Children's Ministry, but do you know how many children in your Children's Ministry are brought to your church by their grandparents? Do you know these grandparents or are they basically, "invisible"?

An ever growing number of children are brought to church by their grandparents - if these grandparents did not bring their grandchildren to church, these children would not go to church. This likely means if these grandparents did not hand down the faith and tell them about Jesus, nobody would. If these grandparents did not pray for their grandchildren, nobody would. If these grandparents did not teach their grandchildren God is real and they are able to trust His Word with confidence, nobody would. If these grandparents did not help their grandchildren learn to be people who talked with God, nobody would. If these grandparents do not know how to do these things - who will reach these children?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Be Aware of the Impact You Make

As a leader in your church's Children's Ministry, you matter. What you do matters. The decisions you make matter. You and these things matter, because you, the things you do and the decisions you make impact the lives of the children and families in your church. For this reason before you do something or make a decision, please consider the following thing you may not think to consider . . .

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Spend Your Time in the Wisest & Most Effective Way

As someone who serves - whether part-time, full-time or as a volunteer - in Children's Ministry, we only have a set amount of time which we are able to invest in the Children's Ministry each week. Clearly we want to make the most of the time we are able to spend; we also want to get the most out of this time. Obviously there is a certain amount of time which must be spent on recruiting, retaining, training, encouraging volunteers. There is a certain amount of time which must be spent on writing/choosing curriculum and resources. There is a certain amount of time which must be spent in classes/ministries/activities with children. There is a certain amount of time which must be spent connecting with parents/grandparents/families. There is a certain amount of time which must be spent on planning. Most importantly there is a certain amount of time which must be spent in prayer and study of God's Word.

Monday, January 20, 2020

In Our Post-Christian Culture, Provide Reasons, Relationships & Rhythms

Certainly the grandparents and parents of the children in your ministry want them to make the choice to believe in God, trust His Word and follow Jesus. This is why they hand down the faith - or why we need to equip them to learn how to hand down the faith. We know as they look at their lives and the scope of things where they are able to spend their time, handing down the faith is what truly matters - and equipping the parents and grandparents to hand down the faith is absolutely one of the best uses of our time as people who serve in Children's Ministries.

Today I am sharing an article with research by Barna on building lasting faith in Gen Z (you will find the full post at this link.) Look at some of what Jonathan Morrow has to say . . . 

Friday, January 17, 2020

VBS 2020 - Mystery Island from Answers in Genesis

Mystery Island is the VBS from Answers in Genesis this year, so today we will take a close look at to see if it is a good "fit" for your ministry.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

VBS 2020 - Big Fish Bay from Regular Baptist Press

Today, as we continue my 2020 VBS reviews, we are looking at Big Fish Bay 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 consider if Big Fish Bay is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Help Them Make the Faith Their Own

Unless parents and grandparents hide the children they love away in some remote location where there is no internet and the only people they see, talk with and know are them, it is certain at one point or another they will meet someone who tells them things which go against what their parents and grandparents have taught them from God's Word. It is inevitable. 

We all may be careful to do all we are able to do to teach the children we love the truth of God's Word and how they are able to talk with, love, know and walk with Him, but at some point in time, someone will say or do something which will cause them to question the things we taught them. It is inevitable.

For example, think of Adam and Eve. They actually talked and walked with God in the garden every evening. Just imagine! They were surrounded by God's glory and lived in a world untouched by sin, yet even there, even then, Satan got to them and caused them to question what they knew to be true with the lies; "Does God really love me? Is He keeping something amazing from me?" Which led them to the questions we all face at some point; "Should I obey what God asked, or do what I want?"

VBS 2020 - Concrete & Cranes from LifeWay

Today I'm happy to share another of my VBS resources for 2020; this time it is, Concrete & Cranes from LifeWay. Take a look and consider if Concrete & Cranes is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

VBS 2020 - Wilderness Escape from Group Publishing

Today we are going to look at Group's Bible-times resource for this year; Wilderness Escape Where God Guides & Provides—an exciting journey with God’s people, the Israelites, which brings God’s Word to life for kids and adultsI love the Bible-times VBS resources Group puts out each year as they are designed as a resource you will easily be able to use with the whole family! 

Monday, January 13, 2020

VBS 2020 - Rocky Railway by Group Publishing

Today I am happy to share with you Group Publishing's 2020 VBS - Rocky Railway! I always enjoy VBS settings with a fun, unique, not-seen-before environment; Rocky Railway  looks like it is great fun which will engage the children, but most importantly, it has solid Bible teaching and  learning!

Friday, January 10, 2020

How Will You Use VBS in 2020?

Next week I will be sharing five VBS resources with you, so today I want to ask you, how do you plan to use your VBS? 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

VBS 2020

Next week I will begin posting my 2020 VBS reviews. As the kits arrive at my house, I am happy to see quality content and engaging settings - I am looking forward to taking a closer, in-depth look over the coming days.

So, stay tuned and next week I will share my reviews.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Help Families Build Strong Close Family Ties & Listen

We are certainly living in "chaotic times" and it is fairly safe to say there are many lonely people in our world - clearly these things impact the lives of the grandchildren/ children in our church. While it is always essential for us to equip parents and grandparents so they are able to provide more companionship and greater feelings of security and purpose for the children they love, as we listen to the news and hear the grandchildren/ children talk about their concerns, we in Children's Ministry need to step up and do more to encourage the parents and grandparents to build those strong, close ties of family. We are able to do this in the following ways . . .

Trust God & Equip the Parents & Grandparents in Your Church to Do the Same with the Children They Love

As things happen in our world which may leave us, the parents, grandparents and volunteers in our church along with the ones we love feeling worried and/or afraid, it is important, even essential, for us to spend time in prayer and encourage and equip the parents, grandparents and volunteers, so they are able to teach their grandchildren and children to do the same. Trying to respond to the things which are happening outside of trusting God, leaves us - and those in our church and the ones we all love - at risk of becoming angry, worried, afraid. But, as people who talk with and trust God, we are able to experience His peace.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

"Then Jesus Beat Them Up!" Are You Sure Your Kids Accurately Remember God's Word?

I'd like to share a video clip of an interview with a three year old at this link . . . take a moment to watch it and then consider the following questions . . .

Monday, January 6, 2020

Thoughts About Keeping Track of It All . . . Notice the Visitors Who Are There!

When it comes to visitors, you may only have one chance to make them feel as if your church is a place where they are welcome and wanted. The saying, "You have one shot at a first impression" is very true. Consider the following ways to make a great first impression when you have visitors to your Children's Ministry -

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Make 2020 the Year Where You Obey God

When you look at the children in your ministry, while you could certainly break this into more "categories", there are basically two types of children. One is the child who learns by listening, reading, writing - the other learns by moving, talking, doing. While we may think of the children in the first group as those who are "well-behaved" and the others as those who are not, this is looking at the children from a mistaken perspective. Yes, the first group are easier to work with and the second tend to take more of your time and attention, but God created all of these children and since He made some to learn by moving, talking and doing, it is wrong on our part to think of them as "difficult", "naughty", or "problem children". God does not make "difficult", "naughty", or "problem children". All of the children He creates are gifts from His hand and we need to see them all this way - whether they are easy to work with, or not.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Why VBS in 2020?

For many years, since 1894, churches across the country and around the world have made Vacation Bible School a regular part of their Children's Ministry. But, as we enter 2020, is VBS still a tried and true part of the ministry year for most churches? Is it too "old fashioned"? Should we continue to put the time, work and resources into VBS? 

I believe VBS is still an effective way for us to engage children, encourage strong friendships and equip and encourage parents and grandparents to hand down the faith. It is worth the time, work and resources, so I will be reviewing some of the 2020 VBS resources available to you in just a week or two and will be offering ideas of ways to make your VBS a truly effective part of your Children's Ministry. 

But, as with anything you do in your Children's Ministry, I do believe it is important for you to know the "why" when it comes to VBS. As you prepare for this year’s VBS stop and ask a very important question. "Why are we planning VBS for Summer 2020?" If your answer is, “Because we always have VBS”, then you should seriously consider breaking the mold and not invest dollars, time and energy in VBS 20. Not the question/answer you anticipated? Well, if this was your answer, instead of canceling VBS you could also consider giving prayerful thought and consideration to the “Why” of VBS. What is your reason, purpose and goal for having VBS? When you identify a specific purpose for VBS, then you’re ready to determine the best design and curriculum “fit”, but your first question must be, “Why are we planning a VBS?” Typically your answer will involve one of two goals/purposes or a combination of both.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Equip Parents & Grandparents to Hand Down the Faith with Generations Quest

We leaders in Children's Ministry need to focus upon equipping parents and grandparents to fulfill God's job for them - His best plan for the handing down of the faith to children. When we do this, we multiply many times over the ability to help children remember, understand and live God's Word as doing so is moved into the everyday lives of children and away from just being something they do for a hour or two every week or two at church. Why wouldn't Children's Ministry leaders want to equip and encourage parents and grandparents to hand down the faith? It makes sense and is one of the best uses of their time.

So, if you are going to equip parents and grandparents to hand down the faith, it matters for you to know about resources which are available for them to use as this will enable you to recommend these resources. Yesterday I wrote about an excellent resource - Praying Deeper Through the Psalms for Children - I am happily watching as my own grandsons use this and are walking closer to God as a result!

Today I am very happy to let you know about another resource for parents and grandparents to use with the children they love - Generations Quest. You will find information about it at this link, but basically it is a a resource which provides the tools they need to help their entire family, young and old, near and far, learn to read, understand and live God’s Word, togetherThis is more than just a devotional as it provides the opportunity and resources necessary for grandparents and parents to connect intentionally with the children they love to hand down a heritage of faith.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Equip Parents & Grandparents to Hand Down the Faith

It is actually a very "freeing" thing for us to understand God's first and best plan for the handing of faith to children is for parents and grandparents to be the primary people who hand faith to the children He has given to them. It does not rest upon our shoulders. This does not mean as people who serve in Children's Ministry we do not have a role to fill. Not at all. We absolutely are able to make a significant difference by equipping and encouraging parents and grandparents, so they understand their God-given "job" (and incredible joy) of handing down the faith. We also make a difference by reinforcing at church what the parents and grandparents are doing at home and by being sure we engage children at church, provide reliable adults who are another voice in their lives and help them build strong friendships with other children who believe. Oh yes, as people who serve in Children's Ministry we absolutely have a very important job to do.

But, we are not here to replace the parents and grandparents. We are here to help equip and encourage them to hand down the faith. Now, yes, sadly, there are some parents and grandparents who do not hand down the faith and in those cases, we have a surrogate role to fulfill as we hand down the faith to their children/grandchildren while praying for their parents and grandparents to take on this essential role.

We also, as I wrote about yesterday, need to let parents and grandparents know about resources which are available to help them hand down the faith. Today I am happy to let you know about the first of three more resources, so you are able to let the parents and grandparents in your church know about them as well.