Jeremy Carroll joins the podcast to discuss how to be a Church from anywhere and be innovative with it.
This week we’ve got an easy and fun craft for preschoolers. Download the directions below.
By Isaac Kierstead
2020 has been hard and I am sure many of you have performed more “other duties as assigned” than you ever thought possible. Many of you have become video editors, cinematographers, sound experts, and even actors! This season has pushed you to learn new things and grow the repertoire you have for ministry. As churches are beginning to reopen and children start pouring through the doors of your kids ministry, I want to challenge you to continue using the skills you have learned to grow the kingdom of God in a way that could never been done before.
Some of the most encouraging stories I have heard through this global pandemic have been the people who saw a church service on their Facebook feed and their lives were changed! Groups of people who would have never stepped into a church building are now members of a church because they were able to hear about the love of Jesus at home. Families were sent links to kids ministry videos and now those families are attending church for the first time. We are able to use social media to reach places we could never have reached in the past and God is doing amazing things to bring people closer to Him.
One of the best messages I have received this month was a picture of a missionary family in Peru watching videos my church put together for kids. By creating a video lesson based on The Gospel Project lesson for the week, these kids were able to have fun interacting and playing games. Kids and families have been connected to our church family all over the world because of video sermons, bible studies, and especially kid-driven content. I would love to hop on a plane and go back to Peru to teach these kids every week, but God has opened doors and we have the means to reach families all over the world with a click of a button!
Lastly, we can reach the people in our communities who may never have the chance to be at church on a Sunday morning. Growing up, there were a few weeks I was in a hospital bed and not able to be at church. I remember my youth pastor sending me a box of some of the craziest things with a card I still have to this day. What an amazing opportunity we have now to reach kids, families, and the elderly wherever they are. Whether they are homebound or in a hospital room, we have the amazing chance to reach them with the Gospel and show them they are loved by God. No matter what is happening in their life, God has a purpose for them and we as a church family can encourage them.
What amazing opportunities are ahead of us as we begin to use the skills we have learned and merge them with our weekly curriculum. Christian community is so important and we never want to mitigate the importance of meeting as a Church body. But, imagine the power that the Gospel could have as it spreads outside of the walls of the church and into the world by simply clicking ‘upload.’
Danielle Bell joins the podcast to discuss ways to rebuild your volunteer team after Covid.
By Rhonda VanCleave
If you have taught kids at church longer than 30 minutes, you’ve probably had that “what do I do next” feeling.
Can you relate to any of these?
- Adult worship goes longer than you anticipated and experience has taught you to keep the kids engaged or risk chaos. What do you do?
- Your well-planned lesson has gone great, EXCEPT it took those little geniuses only half as long to do the activity as you thought. What do you do?
- For a variety of “who saw this coming” reasons, you are asked to “do something with the kids” for a bit while (fill-in this blank with lots of “adult” reasons). What do you do?
If you’ve worked with kids at church (or plan to) these times just happen. That’s why I’ve found it is helpful (and sanity saving) to always have a few ideas “in my back pocket.” Sometimes I have a couple of resources I can grab … and sometimes I have nothing but enthusiasm. I’d love to share some of what works for me with you.
I have a variety of categories of back-pocket ideas, but in a pinch, my go-to is Bible skills for some pretty basic reasons. Just like the drills that sports teams repeat daily to train their muscles, kids who get lots of practice knowing how their Bibles are organized are much better equipped to use their Bibles when it counts. Kids who become comfortable with their Bibles won’t become the adult who panics when the Bible teacher of their small group asks them to find Habakkuk (or be tricked into looking for the book of Hezekiah like some pastors I know try to pull).
I keep a couple of resources in my room for “emergencies.” I have a set of craft sticks with the names of the books of the Bible on them. I also have a set of disposable cups, each with the name of a Bible book. How I use them is determined by the abilities of the group at the time. Here are some examples:
- Draw a craft stick from the cup. Pronounce the name. (For non-readers, pronounce the name and ask the child to repeat.)
- Draw a craft stick and name the book that comes before and after.
- Form two teams. A player from each team draws a craft stick. Ask which Bible book comes first. The team with that stick keeps both. Each stick is worth a million points!
- Sort the cups by Old and New Testament (Use a Bible contents list or poster for assistance.)
- Stack the cups by divisions
- Try to stack all 66 cups (books) in order!
But what if you have NO resources at all? Here are a few quick ideas.
- Designate one wall (direction) as Old Testament and the opposite as New Testament. Call out Bible book names and kids can point to the correct wall.
- Form a circle. Beginning with one child, do “the wave” around the circle by throwing both hands in the air and saying the books of the Bible in order. As each child does the wave, that child says the next Bible book. If kids are new to this, the group can say the Bible book names together.
- Call out different Bible stories. Kids can sit if the story is from the Old Testament or stand if it is from the New Testament. This is a good time to remind kids that the Old Testament contains stories that happened before Jesus came. The New Testament begins about the time of Jesus’ birth and beyond.
- Kids can take turns naming Bible stories. Keep count of how many are Old Testament and how many are New Testament stories.
Keep a few ideas on your phone in a list app or on a sheet of paper taped to the wall. Add ideas you discover. Don’t panic when faced with a “What do I do?” moment. Grab a back pocket idea and redeem … make the most of … each precious moment you have with kids. (Ephesians 5:16)
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!