Wednesday, February 28, 2024

VBS 2024 - Outback Rock from Group Publishing

I'm delighted for the opportunity to once again share Group's weekend VBS with you . . .  Outback Rock. The idea with this resource is to provide two affordable 2 1/2 hour sessions, plus a one hour celebration which churches could use over one weekend . . . or over three weekends . . . or they might be able to spread it out for one Saturday a month for a Summer of fun! And, if you do not mind repeating games and focusing more on the same Bible Adventure, you could stretch it for a week of VBS.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Put Your Summer Children's Ministry into Full Gear with Group VBS

Even though it is nearing the end of February, we know Summer will be here before we know it, so it is time to think about what our Summer Children's Ministry will look like. I have been writing about Group's VBS resources for a few days, but today I want to ask you, how do you plan to use your VBS? 

Monday, February 26, 2024

VBS 2024 - Hometown Nazareth by Group Publishing

Today I'm happy to look at "Hometown Nazareth" from Group Publishing - which equips you to take the children in your church and community on a visit to Jesus' hometown, Nazareth, where they will be able to experience village life as Jesus might have lived it when He was a boy!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Yes! VBS Does Make Solid Dollars & Cents for Your Ministry!

There was a time, not too long ago, when nearly all churches budgeted for VBS. Most considered it (and rightly so) a part of their evangelism budget as VBS was one of their biggest evangelism outreaches of the year. In many churches it was their biggest outreach of the year. Then in the years leading up to COVID more and more churches stopped using VBS - far, far too many stopped any ministry opportunities to children in the Summertime. Then COVID hit and pretty much all churches stopped offering VBS - and everything in person for two years. Last year some churches were starting to plan for VBS again, and this year even more churches are taking a serious look at VBS. I am very happy to see this as VBS is a fantastic way to reach into your community - it is one of the best and most effective ways you are able to make use of the money you budget for evangelism. Why is this? Consider the following . . .

Thursday, February 22, 2024

VBS 2024 - SCUBA from Group Publishing

If you only choose one VBS resource to use in your ministry this Summer, I highly recommend Group Publishing's SCUBA - diving into friendship with God. Now, if you have read my reviews over the past nearly thirty years, you know I recommend getting one VBS resource with all the "bells & whistles" your church is able to afford and use it for a week of VBS and then on Sundays throughout your Summer (don't worry, I'll post in a few days about how to do this.) But, if you only use for VBS, then SCUBA is absolutely the VBS to use, in my opinion. Why do I write this? For the following reasons . . . 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

It is Time to Pick Your VBS for 2024

It is the time of year where I share my VBS reviews. I used to write my reviews for this blog and for Christianity Today's Your Church Magazine - I'd typically review about 16 kits each year. Now, especially after COVID, there are not 16 publishers still producing VBS, but there are some. I no longer review them all - I choose the VBS kits which I believe are the best based on my years of reviewing curriculum and then share my reviews with you. This year I am reviewing VBS from Group Publishing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Why Another Curriculum? Why Deeper In for Children?

 

Yes, I agree there are a number of excellent curriculum resources currently available for churches to use in their Children's Ministries, so why am I releasing   Deeper In for Children? There are several reasons, but the biggest one is because  Deeper In for Children  does several unique things -

Friday, February 16, 2024

Get Deeper In for Children Digital Curriculum Today!

  

Yes! Deeper In for Children curriculum is available! You are able to get this digital curriculum to use in your church for only $50 a quarter - both preschool AND elementary age levels are included as are additional curriculum resources you are able to use for a second service, longer Sunday School, and even Mid-week ministries!  When you use Deeper In for Children in your church you will find you have the tools you need to help children go deeper into God's Word, so they truly understand the important things God wants them to know - how they need His Grace, how they are able to choose to accept His Grace, and how Grace changes their lives!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Be Encouraged; God Sees!

Children's Ministry can be one of the most joy-filled places in the church where anyone  can serve! Having the opportunity to see God through the eyes of children; the wonder and awe children have which give us a bigger "view" of Him! The blessing of having a part in leading children to Jesus and watching them grow in their faith! Yes, there is a lot of joy in serving in Children's Ministry!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Why is Deeper In for Children a Great Fit for Your Children's Ministry?

There is no shortage of curriculum resources available for churches to choose from for their Children's Ministries - many of which are well written, so what makes Deeper In for Children the curriculum for your church? It is designed to do some unique things . . .

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Some Thoughts About Deuteronomy 6 & Psalm 78

Children's ministry matters because children matter. God gave very specific directions to parents, grandparents, and to His people in general about how important it was for them to love Him and then pass this love for Him to their children. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Help Children go Deeper Into God's Word with Deeper In for Children

Deeper In for Children is written to engage children in the learning process from start to finish by getting children to open Bibles, research the Bible event for the day, and prepare props which they use during the Large Group time. We do these things so the children go deeper into God's Word and will remember what they did in class and will be able to understand and live God’s Word in their everyday lives! 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Equip Families to Hand Down a Confident Faith

June 2015 in a town not far from where I live, a tornado hit; four churches in this small  community were seriously damaged. One church was 160 years old. The members of this church were understandably quite dismayed and disheartened to see the significant damage to their church. However; their sadness turned to rejoicing a couple months later when the builders who began the work to rebuild brought them shocking news. As these builders surveyed the damage and began the work, they discovered nothing was holding up the floor of this old church building. The years had taken their toll and unbeknownst to the church members, their church floor was unsupported and about to collapse. The tornado actually saved them.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Teach The Essential Part - It Matters

One of the roles and responsibilities of people who serve in Children's Ministry is for them to help equip, encourage, and come alongside parents and grandparents as they hand down confident faith to the children God has entrusted to them. Children spend from one to eight hours every four weeks at church - and more and more of them spend just an hour or two every four weeks - but they live with their parents; and if their grandparents are engaged they are spending significant time with them as well. Obviously we will be most effective as people who serve in Children's Ministry when we equip, encourage, and come alongside parents and grandparents to help them hand down confident faith.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Who Benefits & What Does This Mean?

Which of the families in your ministry will benefit from having grandparents who are engaged, equipped, and encouraged to focus on being intentional in the way they pass on a heritage of confident faith? While the answer may seem obvious, this is a serious question with a serious answer, because the truth is each and every family in your ministry will benefit from this, including . . . 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

This IS Job One . . .

I watched a video by George Barna today and want to share a few of the main points he makes . . . consider the following -

  • Children are THE most important mission field you as an adult will ever encounter!
  • Children are THE mission field God sent parents and grandparents to win over for Him!
  • Nobody else will have the impact on children a parent and grandparent are able to have!

Monday, February 5, 2024

Engaged Grandparents = Grandparents Who Value the Children's Ministry

As I talk about Grandparenting Ministry, you may wonder how such a ministry really connects with a Children's Ministry . . . well; "consider this; if you have grandparents who are engaged and focused on passing on a heritage of confident faith to their grandchildren, these grandparents will become much more interested in the Children's Ministry. They will want to know what is happening in the Children's Ministry. They will care about what happens in the Children's Ministry. They will become much more focused and committed when it comes to praying for the Children's Ministry!"

Friday, February 2, 2024

Make a Difference in the Other 165 Hours

While serving in Children's Ministry is something which matters and gives us an opportunity to impact lives and make a difference, we are limited by time. A week has 168 hours - 168. Of these 168 hours, even in the best situation, we have  children in our ministries for three of those 168 hours - just three. Yes, we are able to make a difference in those three hours, but we are greatly limited as we are not able to be with those children for the other 165 hours of the week - or anywhere close to those 165 hours. But their parents are. And their grandparents have the potential to influence them for many of those 168 hours as well.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

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 things you may not think to consider . . .

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Results from Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research Show People Do Not Believe the Bible - Use Anchored to Help Children & Families have a Confident Faith

I often refer to the study from Barna which shows Gen Z is turning away from their faith to atheism at double the rate of any previous generation - you will find it at this link and a couple months ago I shared the new Gallup Poll which shows fewer people in the USA now see the Bible as the literal Word of God as only 20% of people believe the Bible is the literal Word of God - you will find it at this link.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Engage Children, Pay Attention & Help Children Connect

Forty plus years ago when I led Children's Ministries, most of the children were brought to church by their parents. There were few children who came because their grandparents brought them. However; times have changed. It is more likely than not you have children in your ministry who are there because their grandparents bring them. Where I used to be able to focus upon keeping parents updated on what we were doing with their children in the Children's Ministry and planning resources to equip parents, so they were able to continue the teaching at home, today it is very possible you have to expand your vision to include grandparents.

Monday, January 29, 2024

I'm Giving One Trio Game Away on February 2, 2024

 Last week on my other blog (grandmascookiejar.net) I wrote about a new card game - Trio. Today I wrote again and am sharing it with you - 

Last week I wrote about some happy news - Happy Camper is a new game company and their new game Trio is now available! I shared some of the things about Trio which initially impressed me - you are able to find these things at this link. I also shared the very happy news of how Happy Camper is making a Trio game available for me to give away! Yes, a giveaway!

Ask the Question - What About the Grandparents?

When we think about the questions we need to ask on a regular basis about our Children's Ministry, there are definitely several important questions to keep in mind. One you may not think about, but need to, is; what about the grandparents? This question, and it's answer, matters for the following reasons . . . 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Re-evaluate & Make Your Ministry More Effective

 

Sunday mornings have changed in many churches, quite a bit, from what they were when I was a child. In some ways this is a positive thing, but in others, not so much. When we make changes which result in making things more difficult for parents and grandparents, then we need to re-evaluate what we are doing.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Other "Basket" - Let's Move Those "Eggs"!

Yesterday I wrote about how we tend to put all our "eggs" in one "basket" when it comes to Children's Ministry - we focus on ministry to children which means Sunday School - sometimes children's church, mid-week ministry, and typically some type of Summer ministry - a VBS-type opportunity. I'm not saying we should not do any or all of these things, but I do believe we need to "move some of our eggs" into a different "basket"; the "basket" of ministry which engages, equips, and encourages parents and grandparents to pass on a heritage of confident faith to their children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Don't Miss the Mark!

I love Children's Ministry; I served happily in it for 44 years! I believe  Children's Ministry is important and it matters; every church should be focused on what they want to accomplish in and with their Children's Ministry and have a real plan to do so.

But, I am becoming more and more convinced we are missing the mark in our Children's Ministries. We put all our "eggs in one basket" - and invest all our budget for children in Children's Ministry. And, while this may seem like it makes sense, when we do this, we are missing the mark.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Deeper In for Children is a Great Fit for Your Church Because . . .

Why is Deeper In for Children an excellent choice for your Children's Ministry? There are several reasons why, but one is certainly because of its focus on helping children truly understand the message of God's Word. Most curriculum resources tend to take children on a survey through the Bible with a focus upon Bible people, what they said, and what they did. Deeper In for Children takes a different approach. While children will have the opportunity to "meet" Bible people, the focus is on a topic for an entire year and guides children in learning what the entire Bible has to say about the topic for the year.

Monday, January 22, 2024

"No Cookie-Cutter Children's Ministries" - Get Your Copy Today

In a day where the church is losing the next generation at double the rate of any previous generation, we must take a clear look at what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we are able to make necessary changes to ensure our church's Children's Ministries are as effective as possible. In "No Cookie-Cutter Children's Ministries" Lynda Freeman, who has over fifty years of experience in Children's Ministry, shares how while one Children's Ministry is not able to be exactly like another, we are all able to be sure we have the right "ingredients" so our own, unique Children's Ministry knows its purpose and vision, is a safe place for children, is able to find volunteers and train them, "teach the whys", as well as how to team up with the parents and grandparents.

Friday, January 19, 2024

How does Using Deeper In for Children Make a Difference?

How will using Deeper In for Children  curriculum help the children in your ministry learn, remember, understand, and live God's Word? It does this in four specific ways . . . 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Do You Help or Make Things More Difficult?

When you read through the Bible it is clear to see God's plan for handing confident faith to the next generation is for grandparents and parents to work together to hand this faith to the children He has entrusted to them. When they work together as a team to do this, they are able to make a big impact on the children. And, when the church comes alongside the grandparents and parents to support and encourage them and reinforce what they are doing with the children, it makes this team even stronger.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Why Another Curriculum? Why Deeper In for Children?

 Yes, I agree there are a number of excellent curriculum resources currently available for churches to use in their Children's Ministries, so why am I releasing  Deeper In for Children? There are several reasons, but the biggest one is because  Deeper In for Children  does several unique things -

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Deeper In for Children includes Anchored - How Do they Make a Difference?

Sunday school originally began in 1780 because people wanted to teach poor children to read as they typically worked in factories all week. Nearly all children went to Sunday school - even if their parents did not go to church - and along with learning to read, they were taught the Bible - as it was the main book they learned to read. These children also learned to write as they copied verses from the Bible. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Jesus was NOT Boring - Why are We?

Why is it so many of our Children's Ministries are committed to boring the socks off the children in their ministries? Well, they may not be "committed" to boring children, but they are not committed to engaging them. When we insist on teaching children by having them sit and listen as we "yak" at them, then we are boring them and we end up leaving them with these utterly false beliefs  - Jesus and the Bible are boring. This leads to children choosing to leave church as soon as they are possibly able to do so. Oh yes. We pay an extremely high price when we insist on teaching by talking and not by engaging.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Why Deeper In for Children has a Unified Scope and Sequence

Yesterday I shared the scope and sequence for the Grace year of Deeper In for Children - you will find it at this link.  Today I want to write about why  Deeper In for Children  has a unified scope and sequence.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Deeper In for Children Scope & Sequence for the First Year - Grace!

  

I've been writing about Deeper In for Children for a few days, so today I am going to share the scope and sequence for the first year - Grace - to help you see what it is all about. With  Deeper In for Children your church will spend a year focusing on the very important truths of what God's Word - from cover to cover - has to say about Grace. Each quarter has an intentional focus - the first quarter the focus is on our need for Grace. Second Quarter we learn about our challenge to choose Grace. Third quarter we look at how Grace changes us. The fourth quarter we focus on what Jesus wants us to know about Grace by first of all reviewing what we learned about Grace the first month (parents/grandparents are invited to join their children) and then how Jesus shows HIs great love and Grace!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Deeper In for Children and the Purpose of Sunday School

  

What is the purpose of Sunday School? Clearly it is about far more than providing "child care". While it is about introducing children to the people in the Bible, it is about more than this as we want the children in our ministries to gain more than "head knowledge" from their time in our care. Sunday School is an opportunity for us to help children learn what the Bible says AND understand how knowing these things makes a real difference in their lives. This is why Deeper In for Children is focused upon helping children think through and answer the question, "How does knowing this make a difference in your life?"

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Why Does Children's Ministry Matter?

As we begin our new year of ministry to children and families, take a moment to remember why what you are doing does matter. Children's ministry does matter, but why does it matter? Obviously it matters because children matter to Jesus . . . in Matthew 19:13-15 it says, "One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." (the Msg) If children mattered to Jesus, and they did, then they should matter to us!

Monday, January 8, 2024

Deeper In for Children will Equip You to Help Children Become People Who Pray - Make it Your Choice for 2024

 

In our Children's Ministries children hear us pray during the times we offer Sunday School and Mid-Week Ministry opportunities. We tell children they need to be people who pray, but, do we really help equip them so they are able to be people who pray? With  Deeper In for Children you will be able to do exactly this - equip them so they are able to be people who pray!

Friday, January 5, 2024

Are You Certain 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 -

Thursday, January 4, 2024

No Cookie-Cutter Children's Ministries will Make a Difference in Your Ministry

I am very happy to let you know about the release of my book - "No Cookie-Cutter Children's Ministries" - it is available in our bookstore at this  link and on Amazon at this link!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Two VERY BIG THINGS

For the past few weeks I've been writing about 14 things to be aware of which if they are part of your Children's Ministry, you are "blowing it". Today I want to write about one more. This one is a "biggie". This one is over-looked, discounted, and just not even cared about in far, far too many churches. What is this big thing? Well, it is actually two VERY BIG THINGS - a boring Children's Ministry and Grandparents who feel alone.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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 . . .