Download your free Go Time Kit to help relaunch your ministry!
The kit contains:
- Activity ideas
- Promotional materials
Download your free Go Time Kit to help relaunch your ministry!
The kit contains:
Summer is here, and kids ministry leaders everywhere find themselves re-entering into the joys and challenges of conducting busy summer ministries like VBS, attending summer camps, and creating summer programming to re-engage kids and families. It has been encouraging to see so much momentum around vacation bible school this summer. If there was any question as to whether kids would return to at-church events, the answer is a resounding, yes!
The good news is that the positive response we have seen to summer ministry events would seem to indicate that kids and parents are ready to come back to church. Ready or not, kids are coming back, and we need to make sure we are ready to go when they arrive. It may be tempting to take a break and relax with a major vacation getaway and let ourselves let down after camp and VBS are over, it would be wiser to take a brief respite and quickly reset our sights on fall. The reality is that the calendar is not our friend. Time is short, and, if we are honest, many of us are not really ready. If you feel like you have been running late and making a lot of last-minute decisions you are far from alone. We have all been functioning in a reactive mode, shrouded in uncertainty, without the ability to plan as far ahead as we would prefer.
Although we don’t have eons of time to regroup, we do have a window of opportunity to make preparations over the next few weeks so we can get out in front of what we hope will be a significant fall influx. But we cannot afford to delay. Now is the time to make key decisions and take important actions as we anticipate the restart of our kids ministries, some or all of which may have been on mothballs for the last 18 months.
We cannot afford to simply return to what we did a year and a half ago. This is time to reassess, reevaluate, regroup, reenlist, reengage, and possibly reinvent our kids ministry strategies, programs, and personnel. We need to re-design our ministries to make sure that they are well informed by the current state of our culture and make adjustments where necessary. In many regions churches have already returned to ministry as usual where they no longer require leaders or kids to wear masks or to enforce strong guidelines on social distancing, however it is wise for us to continue to implement standards and practices that minimize contact and maximize space for everyone in attendance. If you have not already reviewed and updated your guidelines, now is the time.
The Lifeway kids team has created two important and helpful e-books that you can find at lifeway.com/kmfa. 6 Considerations for Reopening your Kids Ministry gives insight in regards to standards of practice for safety, cleanliness and volunteer preparation and 10 Attributes of an Unshakable Kids Ministry helps you reevaluate your priorities so you can best serve kids and families as we emerge into a new post Covid season.
We anticipate what may be the largest fall kick off for kids ministries anywhere, ever, so we would all be wise to create strategies specific for re-engaging kids and families who have not attended regularly over the last 18 months, and to welcome and invite new families from the community to visit our churches this fall. Summer is a great time to offer fun family events in your fellowship hall or parking lot to attract and connect with kids and their families. This is a great opportunity to proclaim that your kids ministry will be back in a big way this fall. Starting this conversation early will help kids and families prepare now to be back then. To help you host a successful relaunch event, the Lifeway kids team has also provided a handy kit for creating your own fall relaunch celebration. The Go Time Kit is a printable download that will help you outline an experience for families that will reestablish relational connection between your church and the community you serve and restart momentum as we get ready to press go.
As we anticipate a massive return of kids and families to our churches this fall nationwide, we as kids ministry leaders need to not only gear up to re-open our doors and prepare our spaces for kids to be back, but also reevaluate our strategies in light of a world that has changed. Whether we are ready or not, fall is coming, and it is coming fast. Now is the time to get ready, and to reset, so that we can be all-systems-go as we near September and the relaunch of our kids ministries.
Chuck Peters is Director of Operations for Lifeway Kids. Before his role at Lifeway, Chuck had an extensive career in television and video production. He is a 3-time Emmy Award Winning producer, director, writer and host. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck, and his wife, Cris, have served vocationally & voluntarily in Student and Children’s Ministry for many years. They have four amazing children: Tally (21), Tristen (20), Tyson (14) and Tate (11).
Looking for a fun activity for your Birthday Party for Jesus or Christmas session? How about Christmas Tree Bingo? This isn’t your normal sit-at-a-table Bingo game. This is more active and way more fun.
Object: Find every item and mark every square on your Christmas Bingo card.
Option if time is limited: Play traditional five-in-a-row or require two Bingos, one horizontal and one vertical.
Preparation and planning:
The last time I played this game, I set our Christmas tree in a place that the children could not touch it. This was for obvious reasons, like I didn’t want someone to knock the tree over, but also to add an additional challenge. Part of my instructions to the kids included “You may not get within reach of the Christmas tree.” Kids had to find the items from a short distance away without touching the tree. There are 24 empty squares on each Christmas Bingo card so my goal was to have 35-40 ornaments, some represented by stickers and some not, and have at least 30 different words/icons on stickers to add variety.
Kids love birthday parties. At least, every kid I have ever met does.
Jesus’ birth into the world is one of the most important events in all of history. Even the way we number our years is related to Jesus’ birth. For example, AD 2020 is “in the year of the Lord 2020.” Jesus’ birth is also, of course, one of the most important events in salvation history. With Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, all the history of the Old Testament would begin to come into focus. Jesus’ birth can also be seen as the launching pad for everything that followed this pivotal moment in time. If this isn’t enough reason to throw a party, I don’t know what would be!
So why not celebrate during the month of December with a birthday party for Jesus? Here are three tips for throwing a Birthday Party for Jesus.
Tip #1 – Make it a PARTY!
Tip #2 – Make it FUN!
Tip #3 – Make it about JESUS!
Bonus tip—Provide this Take the Fun Home card with some suggested ideas for parents to have a Birthday Party for Jesus in their home and invite other families to join together.
With a little creativity and preparation, kids in your church and community will be engaged in a fresh way with the joy Jesus brings this Christmas season.
Need a quick break from your work day? Spend a few minutes doing this word scramble.
But wait! This isn’t just a fun activity. There’s a clue about the 2020 VBS theme hidden in here somewhere. Download it here!
Think you missed a clue along the way? Look back through past blog posts for an up-close photo, a Sudoku puzzle, and a noise related to next year’s VBS. Then post your best theme guess on our Lifeway VBS Facebook page.
Check back next week for our fifth and final clue before the big reveal on June 5 at 1:00 p.m. CT.
My oldest daughter is a high-achiever who’s SUPER serious about WINNING and is fully dressed and groomed before I even get out of bed every morning. She is also homeschooled.
Ever Grace is so driven and it has been a joy teaching her to read and write and identify the different parts of the axial skeleton (I don’t actually know much about the axial skeleton). But, the coolest part of homeschooling has been the opportunity to teach her about the real-life, everyday power of the gospel.
Let me tell you about what happened the other day.
I was being a very subpar mom. The frustration of tantrums from my younger daughters and scheduling and laundry had me snappy and impatient. But, it was a Tuesday, so I knew that no matter how I felt, I still had to educate my child.
So, with a too-loud exhale, I rattled off the bolded question I was supposed to read for the day in our Gospel Project Home Edition curriculum. The question read, “In the Bible, there are stories of people who God used to do great things for His glory. Can you think of any?”
The examples the book gave were David, Samson, Daniel, Moses and Elijah.
Half listening, I looked away from the book and pulled a few plates out of the dishwasher.
Ever said, “The woman at the well.”
I didn’t say anything at first, because I was genuinely confused by her answer. I, a professional gospel-centered writer and an unprofessional gospel-centered homeschool educator, basically forgot the gospel and didn’t understand her answer.
“The woman at the well?”
She said, “Yeah. Because Jesus forgave her and then she went and told people about what Jesus did for her.”
Crazy. How breathtaking, right? And how mind-boggling, that eight-year-olds can understand the beautiful mystery of the gospel even better than the adult, “mature” Christians who teach them.
Ever Grace didn’t answer the way I would have answered. She didn’t pick the Bible characters who “accomplished great things.” She picked an unfaithful woman who was recorded in the Bible for doing nothing more than meeting Jesus and telling people she was forgiven.
That’s the whole gospel. We can’t accomplish anything on our own. We’ve got nothing to offer and everything to gain. The greatest thing we’ve ever done is needing what Christ has done for us. We are all “the woman at the well.” And we are all loved.
I’m thankful for a curriculum that’s questions don’t just point my young daughters to the true and beautiful gospel and how it is the centerpiece of every Bible story and every life moment. It also teaches me. It reminds me. It corrects me and comforts me out of my homeschool huffs.
While I was unloading the dishwasher, steeped in selfishness, God used my eight-year-old to remind me that nothing I have failed at today and nothing I might win at tomorrow has any bearing on Christ’s love for me.
At our worst and at our best, we are to-the-cross-and-back loved. We can have to-the-skies joy. And we can embrace and extend the out-of-this-world forgiveness that is ours now and ours forever.
Learn more about The Gospel Project: Home Edition here.
Scarlet Hiltibidal is a very professional wife and mother. She is the author of Afraid of All the Things and He Numbered the Pores on My Face. She also writes a regular column for ParentLife Magazine. Scarlet loves sign language with her daughters, nachos by herself, writing for her friends, and learning how to be a pretend-farmer with her husband in Middle Tennessee.
It’s March 21: World Down Syndrome Day! All over the world, people will be decked out in cool T-shirts and brightly-colored socks to raise awareness for the rights, inclusion, and well being of people with Down syndrome.
Today is a great day to remember that differently-abled children will be much better equipped to make the life-changing decision to become Christians when churches open their doors, arms, and hearts to them and their families. Special Buddies can help!
Special Buddies is designed for children in grades 1-6 who have intellectual and developmental special needs. It is part of the Bible Studies for Life curriculum line. One of the primary differences about Special Buddies is that a new Bible story is introduced every other week instead of every week. This enables kids to learn and grow at a gentle (and individualized) pace, allowing time for extended activities or repetition of meaningful activities over the two-week span.
A child with any of the following characteristics can thrive in an environment where the Special Buddies curriculum is taught:
• a child who would benefit from remaining in the same classroom with familiar teachers for several years in a row
• a child with social limitations
• a child who has minimal reading, writing, and verbal communication skills
• a child who needs individual attention and assistance to complete hands-on activities
• a child who is unable to tolerate typical classroom noise
• a child who requires an adapted physical environment
Special Buddies is versatile. Try one of these methods:
• Implement it in a self-contained classroom comprised of children with special needs.
• Use it with an individual child who receives one-on-one care at church while parents attend Bible study.
• Plug it in as a supplemental resource for a child with special needs who attends a typically-graded Bible study group but responds well to modified lessons and individualized attention.
Want to learn more? Visit TeachKids@Lifeway.com or contact William.Summey@lifeway.com for a free sample.
Register now for our Special Buddies Giveaway on March 25! You will have until 8 a.m. on 3/25 to follow this link and register here
To learn about Special Friends VBS, follow this link
Joy Fisher is Content Editor of Bible Studies for Life Special Buddies. Her 20-year-old son, Samuel, has Down syndrome.
Click below to download these fun Scripture reminders for your desk!