Looking for a quick activity for kids at home or at church? Try this crossword puzzle.
Bill Emeott joins the podcast to discuss ways for parents to share the gospel at home and tips to know if your child is ready.
by Rhonda VanCleave
From the sound of the first heartbeat, to the gender reveal day, to hospital “go time,” new parents celebrate every step of the anticipation of a new life joining theirs. After the celebration of birth, do they drop the baby off in the crib and go about their lives? ABSOLUTELY NOT! That would be appalling.
Sadly, a similar thing happens in some churches with a birth that is equally important, the New Birth of a Christian. Much effort has been put into VBS (or any other outreach event). People have worked tirelessly to make preparations, to plan for the best experience ever, and when “go time” came, they gave it everything they had. And, joy of all joys, when kids and adults trusted Jesus as their Savior, there was much celebration! But, how many times are their names assigned to a small group class role and people go on about their church lives? We drop baby Christians in their “crib” and expect them to grow.
What plans does your church have in place that will help new Christians take their first unsteady steps toward Christian growth? The VBS Administrative Guide (the ultimate toolbox of resources for VBS planners) contains practical helps to follow up with those who have become Christians during VBS.
First steps involve communication. Talk with parents whose children have made a profession of faith during VBS. A sample letter is provided on the CD-ROM included with the VBS Administrative Guide (“Sample_Followup_Letters.rtf”). The letter explains that someone from your church will be contacting parents. A personal conversation with the parent is very important.
Sometimes the child may be actively involved in another church. In that case, a sample letter is also provided to help communicate the information with that pastor so their church can come alongside the child for discipleship.
Next, the beginning of discipleship is helping kids understand what it means, “Now that I’m a Christian.” Page 38 of the VBS Administrative Guide describes some of the resources available for this important step, starting with the I’m a Christian Now! Leader Kit. A basic follow-up and discipleship plan is also outlined on page 39 of the Administrative Guide. Churches can choose or develop the plan that works best for them.
The bottom line is this, plan for those new baby Christians with the same effort new parents plan for their anticipated arrivals. Expect great things from God and be prepared to welcome those new responsibilities with joy!
Here is a fun activity to do with your kids over this holiday weekend.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!
Heidi Hensley joins the podcast to discuss how Covid has awoken a creative side of the church and we would be foolish to let that die.
by Bekah Stoneking
When teaching big truths to little kids, we sometimes bump into the unexpected—no matter how well-studied and prepared we are. In this post, I’ll share a story about a time a simple question resulted in an unexpected answer, which helped me get a peek into the minds of my Sunday schoolers.
“Raise your hands and tell me about your favorite worship songs!”
As a relatively new Nashville resident, I was surprised (but maybe I shouldn’t have been!) when one of my Sunday schoolers answered this question by saying his favorite worship song was Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” (and I needed a moment to regain control of my group after several kids joined in the chorus— which we Nashvillians all enthusiastically sing in response to our local NHL team scoring a goal.)
I decided to hit pause on calling additional kids to share their favorite songs. I needed to explain that while we might joyfully sing Mr. McGraw’s 1995 hit as a response to something good, it is not, in fact, a worship song.
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids defines worship as “giving honor, reverence, and praise to God.” Worshiping God can make us feel joyful, it can make our hearts glad, and it is good for us. But ultimately, worship is for God and it’s something we give Him in response to who He is and what He does.
I shared that one of my favorite worship songs is “How Great Thou Art” because it reminds me of how big and wonderful God is. And, the lyric “then sings my soul” just makes me feel joyful! This hymn makes my heart happy and helps my heart love God even more because it reminds me that God is big, He is always good, He is trustworthy, and He gives us hope.
I then continued our conversation:
“Worship helps us focus on God. We worship God when we sing to Him, but we also worship God when we read the Bible and when we pray. What are some other things we do in church and at home to worship God?”
The kids engaged in the conversation by identifying other church activities and personal disciplines—like giving an offering, taking the Lord’s Supper, obeying God, journaling, and sharing the gospel—as ways we can worship God with our lives.
And then finally, we went back to the original question. As my kids engaged with this new information and offered their answers, we enjoyed praising the Lord together by singing parts of our favorite worship songs as a group.
Today’s Takeaway: When you receive a totally unanticipated response, do not continue plowing forward. Instead, back up and ask your question in a new way. Guide the conversation by defining your terms and setting up guardrails to keep everyone on the same path.
Remind volunteers of the important role they play in your kids ministry. Attach this tag to a flower seed packet as a physical reminder of the seeds of faith they are planting in the lives of children.
Billy Young joins the podcast to discuss how programming looks different as we start to look at opening our church doors again.
by Karen Jones
When I was a Kids Minister searching for a curriculum to use in my ministry, my first task was to look at a curriculum’s scope and sequence. A curriculum’s scope and sequence is simply its plan. Scope indicates the content the curriculum intends to cover. Sequence indicates the order in which the content will be covered. Looking at a curriculum’s scope and sequence will help you make a quick decision if the curriculum is worth considering for your ministry or not.
First of all, it should be clear that the curriculum is teaching the Bible. You should see specific Books of the Bible and passages covered. If that isn’t readily apparent, move on.
Once you are sure you are looking at a Bible-based curriculum, look at the parts of the Bible it covers. Does it spend ample time in both the New Testament and the Old Testament? Does it include a variety of Biblical genres? Are there Books of the Bible avoided altogether? When Paul is giving his farewell to the Epheisan elders in Acts 20, he says, “Therefore I declare to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, because I did not avoid declaring to you the whole plan of God.” I love how the ESV renders that last phrase, “the whole counsel of God.” Let’s be sure to give the children we serve “the whole counsel of God.”
Once you are satisfied with the scope of the curriculum, take a look at its sequence. How long will it take to move through the curriculum? At what age will a child who started the curriculum, finish the curriculum? How long does the curriculum spend in different Books of the Bible? More practically, what is the time span you want this curriculum to cover? If you want a six-week curriculum, a curriculum with a three-year session plan, won’t be a quick fit, but could it be adapted to work?
When I first came to LifeWay, I was impressed and encouraged by the amount of careful consideration and deliberation that goes into planning each scope and sequence for the curriculums we produce. As an editor for The Gospel Project for Kids, I know firsthand the number of hours and voices that go into our three-year chronological scope and sequence. We are careful to spend a year and a half each in the Old and New Testaments. Our three-year plan ensures that a child will hear the complete story of redemption three times: as a preschooler, younger elementary, and older elementary student.
My friends on the Bible Studies for Life Kids team are just as serious about their three year study plan. They use the Levels of Biblical Learning as their guide to make sure 10 biblical concept areas—God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Bible, Salvation, Creation, Church, People, Family, Community & World—are presented through eight different age ranges, from infancy through high school, and reflect levels of understanding that follow how God designed children to learn.
My friends on the Explore the Bible Kids team believe every kid is worthy of every Book of the Bible, not just the ones that are easiest to read. Their scope and sequence takes them through every Book of the Bible in five years. They lead kids to practice the routines and skills required to better read, know, and apply God’s Word.
What are other things you consider as you choose curriculum for your ministry?
Jeremy Carrol, Klista Storts & Tim Pollard join the podcast to discuss ways to communicate with volunteers as you get started back again.