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Over the past few years more and more churches are encouraging small groups that meet somewhere other than the church facility. From the beginning there’s been a question that certainly needs an answer, “What do we do with the kids?”
I wish I had an easy answer. There just doesn’t seem to be one. However, there are some principles that I would encourage anytime and anywhere you have the opportunity to lead kids. I think these principles apply for Home Groups, too.
Understand Your Organization. Start by answering “who, what, when, where, and why?”
Safety and Security are Vital for Success. Make sure that your church and your small group have developed policies and procedures and that you and your teaching team adhere to those policies. Included in your policies will be the screening of all volunteers with references and a background check. Also remember the “two in a room” policy: no adult will ever be left alone with minor children. Protect the kids, the church, the host family, yourself, and the Kingdom. Just because you’re not at the church doesn’t mean that safety and security is any less important. It actually may be MORE important.
Understand and Value Kids. Regardless of where a kids small group meets, understanding the basic needs of kids, the general characteristics of kids, and valuing who kids are is very important. Don’t fall into the “babysitting’ trap but value their need to be discipled in age-appropriate ways. Do your research and be prepared.
Follow Good Teaching Practices. When you truly value kids, you’ll want to do whatever it takes to make sure they have a good learning experience.
Use an Ongoing Curriculum Line. An ongoing curriculum line offers several benefits.
Don’t forget to “FROG!” As much as you want to be successful, much more so the Lord wants you to be successful. PRAY and Fully Rely On God.
Bill Emeott serves as Lead Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Kids. A graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served as a Kid’s Minister and currently teaches 2nd Grade Bible study.
We believe it’s essential to begin teaching Bible skills from a very young age. As kids learn the different divisions and structure of the Bible, they will understand God’s Word more clearly, providing a foundation for heart transformation.
We’ve developed a free Bible Skills Activity Guide for families and groups. Fill out the form below to download the guide and make copies for every family in your ministry. Parents will love the help as they seek to disciple their kids this summer.
By signing up for this Bible Skills Activity Guide, you will also receive free access to preview sessions of Explore the Bible. Every session of Explore the Bible: Kids brings the Bible to life through rich study and engaging objects, equips kids with foundational Bible knowledge and skills, and encourages them to live what they learn everywhere they go. Try sessions out with your kids, and watch the Word come alive.
Sometimes I think one of the hardest parts of ministry is trying to connect the church to home. In recent years, The Gospel Project for Kids and Explore the Bible for Kids have made great strides with connecting to home through the use of their take-home cards. Each week, kids are given a card which they can take home and use to carry own Bible conversations at home. Starting in Fall 2016, Bible Studies For Life: Kids will join those ranks and also offer a new version of Take-Home cards. These cards will be sent home at the beginning of each quarter with the kids so that parents and kids can have Bible conversations at home.
The new Bible Studies For Life: Kids Postcards are also another awesome way to connect to kids. Each monthly unit will have a specially designed postcard which reflect a verse, Bible thought, or concept that will be taught in that unit. Even if your church doesn’t use Bible Studies For Life, these are beautiful cards that the kids in your church would surely enjoy receiving.
Here are 10 Ways you can use Take-Home Cards and Postcards in your ministry!
Jeff Land is Publishing Team Leader for Bible Studies For Life: Kids. He holds degrees from Mississippi College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jeff has served as children’s pastor and currently teaches second graders each week at his church. Jeff, his wife Abbey, and their four sons live in Coopertown, TN.
As a teacher, you influence a baby’s life as you teach him each week. The Holy Spirit works through you to lay spiritual foundations of faith. Prayer is another way to impact families with babies. As teachers, we can pray for the babies in our class. Use the suggestions listed below to begin your prayer time during the week. As you continue to pray, think of additional ways to pray for the babies in your class.
Pray for the babies before, during, and after the teaching session. Commit to pray each day for the children in your class. As you pray, keep a journal of ways you see the Lord working in and through you. During the year, look back through the journal. Reflect and recognize ways the Lord has answered your prayers. Seek the Lord and remember He is with you as you teach and minister to the babies and their families at your church.
Delanee Williams serves as a Kids Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders in kids ministry.
I want to encourage you to combat the “I dunnos” by identifying a single, simple, solid takeaway for the day that you can rehearse with your kids at the end of your lesson before they leave the classroom. Regardless of what curriculum you use, creating your own summary statement that encapsulates the key concept of the day is a fun and creative way to increase retention and make your studies more sticky (metaphorically speaking).
Forming a phrase isn’t hard; you can do it yourself or with your leadership team beforehand, or include older kids in the process. Just identify one clear teaching that you want your kids to remember, and teach it to them as a memorable phrase that will make your lesson live on as they go on with their day. Use short simple phrases that incorporate rhymes or alliteration. If your bible lesson is about living out your faith so that your actions match your words you might summarize using a phrase like, “Don’t just say it, display it.”
We use a lot of words in our class time. Make it easy for your kids to remember more of your lessons by summarizing them with catchy, fun phrases.
Chuck Peters is Director of Operations for LifeWay Kids. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck has served vocationally & voluntarily in Student and Children’s Ministry for many years.
Matthew 28:19-20 we all know as the Great Commission. God’s command in this is for us to go and make disciples. Have you ever thought about the kids who sit in your Bible study group? Should they have the same command? The answer is absolutely. You can partner together with the kids you lead to reach out to those in your class and here are a few reasons why you might want to involve kids in outreach.
10. Personal Interaction – Did you know that peer-to-peer relationships are much stronger than your relationship with many kids. Kids who reach out to kids will be accepted more easily sometimes than adults who reach out. That doesn’t mean you don’t reach out, but engage those peer-to-peer relationships.
9. Compassion – Sometimes kids need to be made aware that the world has more people in it then just them. Well, that’s kind of funny, but seriously, when we can engage kids to have compassion for their friends they gain a new appreciation for God’s creation and how they can interact with other people.
8. Self-esteem – Self-esteem is an important factor for development in kids. When we can encourage kids to be involved in something as valuable as outreach it will build their self-esteem.
7. Team Building – When kids are involved in engaging other kids they are creating a team environment that might ultimately make your group much closer than you could have imagined.
6. Confidence – Kids will gain confidence in not only talking to their peers, but having knowledge of situations that might require them to pray for their friends further building that bond between peers.
5. Understanding – Kids better understand what each other are going through because, for the most part, they have similar life experiences and are dealing with similar life issues. When kids reach out to kids they have a better chance of connecting on a level you and I may not.
4. Everybody Can – Even kids that may not consider themselves outgoing can still be involved in outreach. Outreach doesn’t mean visiting in someone’s home, though that is an important aspect, but can also involve calls and letters. Everybody can be involved in that.
3. Communication Skills – The skill to communicate effectively with one another is something kids can learn by being involved with outreach. Once again, those who may not consider themselves strong communicators can still be involved in outreach.
2. Collaboration – When you work together on outreach, you are helping to foster collaborative skills that will help kids with more valuable life skills.
1. God’s Command – As already discussed, God’s command is not just for grown-ups. Kids need to be involved in outreach too!
Tim Pollard teaches 3rd-6th graders at Tulip Grove Baptist Church. He’s passionate about helping kids dig deep into Scripture, which he pursues through his daily work as leader of the Explore the Bible: Kids team. Tim lives with his wife and daughters in Mount Juliet, TN.
In this week’s episode of the LifeWay Kids podcast, our lead kids ministry specialist, Bill Emeott, sits down to discuss the importance of setting up a classroom. This is an element of kids ministry that has evolved over the years. Setting up a classroom in today’s culture can mean very different things because a classroom setting looks different at every church. For this conversation, we are simply defining a classroom as a physical place where kids will gather. The classroom environment starts with what kind of person is leading that small group, but then it moves to all the physical attributes of the space you are in. Bill and Jeffrey discuss the different types of environments and how that environment impacts the type of setup you need.
Teaching Pictures are a powerful tool to use in any classroom, or even at your home. There are many styles of artwork to choose from when considering a teaching picture. The style of art you choose to display is up to you, and could be chosen based on your style of teaching, the environment you are using it in, or even just personal preference. Here are a few things to remember when using teaching pictures in your classroom.
At the end of the day, the teaching picture is a powerful tool. Teaching pictures can open a child’s imagination and transport them to a place in history. Use the pictures to help those learners connect with a Bible truth, and let that truth dwell in their hearts.
Let us hear some of your stories about your favorite teaching pictures and how you used them to open God’s Word in a new way.
Tim Pollard is passionate about helping kids dig deep into Scripture, which he pursues through his daily work as leader of the Explore the Bible: Kids team. Tim lives with his wife and daughters in Mount Juliet, TN.
We recently had the honor of sitting down with Pat Conner, Minister to Children at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugarland, Texas. Pat encouraged our Bible Studies For Life: Kids team as she painted pictures of the changes her kids are encountering through their weekly Bible studies. We LOVE hearing testimonies from kids and leaders using our curriculum. Nothing provides more motivation than witnessing the fruit God delivers through our efforts. Check out the video below for a look at why Pat loves using Bible Studies For Life with her kids and preschoolers.
Do you have a similar story? Leave a comment in the section below!