Don’t take it from us, take it from Cass! For more information about Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference, or to register, click here.
Thank you for sharing the stories of all your wonderful kids ministries on our giveaway post yesterday! The following folks have been chosen to receive some goodies in the mail!
If you were chosen, please email your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight CST on Friday, August 31st to receive your prize! Congratulations!
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Family Ministry is such an important role for the church and one we try really hard to fill. I’m sure that one of your goals is to strengthen families. However, what’s the first thing we do to when they come to church on Sunday morning? Split them up! Parents go one way, teens go another, and kids go even another way. What if we provided some times for families to actually be together?
Family Fun Nights are one way you can do just that. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Have a purpose. Decide if the event is going to be focused on families from your church or if it’s going to be for the community. Is it going to be just for fun? Is it going to be a mission project? Are you going to have a speaker who will share a devotion and maybe the plan of salvation? There’s not a right or wrong answer, just decide on why you want to have the event. That will make a difference in lots of other details.
- Remember that not all families look alike. Your church is probably filled with all kinds of families. A family may include two parents with kids, one parent with kids, grandparents with grandkids, a married couple with no kids, or even a single adult who attends alone. A single friend of mine mentioned that even the name, "Family Fun Nights" makes him feel excluded. You may want to change the name of your event to something more inclusive. Plan your activities with everyone in mind.
- Avoid conflicts with school and other church events. Check local school calendars. If your community is wild about high school football in the fall, you’re probably not going to have great attendance on a Friday night. Also keep in mind your church calendar. If it’s been a busy month with lots of events, you may want to wait for a less busy time. And, you don’t want to schedule on top of the Student Ministry retreat.
- Promote early and often! I’ve heard it said that a person has to hear something at least six times before it "takes." Let families know about your event far enough in advance so they can reserve that date on their calendar. In addition, find several different methods of promoting it — church bulletin, FaceBook, Twitter, e-mails, bulletin boards, flyers in the halls and on bathroom stalls! Whatever it takes! Be creative!
- Confirm, confirm, confirm! Don’t take anything for granted. If you’ve called the pizza place a week ahead to place your order for 50 pizzas next Friday night at 7:00…call them again on Thursday just to make sure they remember. Don’t wait until 6:45 on Friday night to check on them! Confirm your location, your team members, your supplies, and so on and so on! Never assume anything. (I won’t say why…you know!)
- Have a plan B. Unfortunately, some things are just out of your hands. If you’ve planned a big outdoor event, it might rain. Always know in advance what you’re going to do "if…."
- Don’t do it alone! Enlist help early in the process. The more people involved, the more ownership invested. Ask for help picking up food, decorating, greeting families at the door, and leading games. Make sure you have help from planning the event all the way through cleaning up afterward! If you don’t plan for it, you’ll be there until midnight cleaning up by yourself.
- And, remember, in the midst of ministering to everyone else’s family, don’t forget your own!
Here are some suggestions for some fun times together:
- Movie Night (get a license here)
- Scavenger Hunt
- OMC – Family Style
- Board Games
- Sports Night
- Family Cook-off (cookies, chili, etc.)
What are some fun family events that were successful at your church? Share your ideas!
Some of my favorite times with preschoolers involve cooking, both at my home and at church. I enjoy the conversations during the experience even more than the goodies prepared! It’s so fun to watch as they measure ingredients, stir, and concentrate on pouring! A little messy at times, but fun! The expressions of success on their faces are priceless. You can tell just how good they feel about themselves. And to me, that’s so rewarding.
Teachers sometimes get a little nervous about cooking with preschoolers. But, if you’re there to supervise hand washing, and make sure no one’s too close to a heated appliance, that’s about all you need to worry about. Well, on second thought, I guess there are a few things you need to be aware of. Allergies are always a biggie! Make sure that you post a note by your door and let parents know what you’re cooking or tasting during the session. These days, most churches have adopted a "no nuts" policy to protect kids. (Referring, of course to the kind of nuts you eat — not teachers!) Other things you’ll need to be careful with are: popcorn, grapes and, hot dogs (unless cut in quarters), and hard candy. All of these are potential choke hazards with preschoolers.
Our Sunday School class loved to make "Rainbow Toast." Here’s what you do: Gather several flavors of gelatin and place in separate shakers. These will provide lots of colors for your toast. Guide a child to butter a slice of bread (we used either plastic knives or a craft stick as a spreader). Let the child choose the colors of gelatin he prefers and shake it onto a buttered slice of bread. (At this point, the gelatin colors will look pastel on the bread.) The teacher then places the bread into a toaster oven. Watch closely, it won’t take long to cook! When the teacher pulls the bread from the oven, the colors will be vibrant! This is a great cooking activity when you’re teaching about Noah and Ark and God’s promise in the rainbow.
And, remember, you don’t always have cook with heat! Our Sunday School kids used to love making milk shakes. One of their favorites! They loved scooping the ice cream into the blender, pouring milk and then pushing the buttons. Other non-cook ideas are fruit salad, trail mix (without nuts), pudding, and making ice cream!
If you’ve not braved the cooking experience with your kids yet, let me encourage you to do it! Sure, it requires some extra attention on your part. (You might consider asking a parent or another adult to come help during your cooking activities.) And sure, it’s messy, but aren’t a lot of fun activities? Sometimes we adults can get in the way of a learning experience. Just enjoy it with them!
If you have some great recipes that your kids love, send them my way! I’d love to be your taste tester!
Camps, VBS, and a ton of Summer fun is just around the corner. You have been planning for months. You have been pouring your heart and soul into making sure the lives of the kids of your community are impacted by the Gospel and your ministry. You are giving it your all!
By the time summer is over you are going to be ready for a well-deserved break. You are going to be ready to have your own life enriched. You are going to be ready for KMC!
In just 132 days we will be gathering in the Fall beauty of Ridgecrest, North Carolina, for three days of worship, inspiration, and relaxation. You just can’t miss this!
You’re going to experience "Can’t Miss This" moments including:
The majestic beauty of October in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The worship leadership of Travis Cottrell.
The inspiration of Tony Merida, Lisa Harper, Doug Fields, Coach Tommy Bowden, Clayton King, and John Croyle..
The wisdom of Melissa Trevathan, Sissy Goff, and Dave Thomas.
And the experience of ministry leaders such as Jerry Vogel, Bill Emeott, Klista Storts, Mark Jones, and a host of breakout session leaders including:
- 5 Things Every Leader Needs to Get Right – Sam Luce
- Challenges Every Kids Minister Faces and How to Handle Them – Greg Baird
- Using High School Students in Kids Ministry – Amy Fenton Lee
- How Participation Teaches – Roger Fields
- Using Social Media to Connect with Parents and Families – Matt McKee
Check out KMC on our webcsite for featured guests bios and more information. I look forward to seeing you October 8.
To continue our Gospel Project series this week, I thought I’d point you to this great testimonial from Jeremy Pollard, Kids Minister at The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina.
We had the great honor to chat in person with Jeremy recently, and he agreed to write a guest post for our blog. We are so grateful!
Finding the perfect children’s ministry curriculum….that’s the journey I have been on for the last 4 years of my life. As a Kids Pastor, there seems to be curriculum issues every week. Whether you encounter poor supplemental material (i.e. music, video elements, etc.), moralistic themes, a schedule that doesn’t fit your church, or a lack of depth, we all have these struggles at one point or another. No matter what the concern is, we are always looking to improve the way in which we train and disciple our kids.
Click here to read the rest of Jeremy’s post.
Do you ever have those moments in ministry where a quick game or activity could really help you out? Do you need something to get everyone’s attention, but not be too hard to prepare? I’m sure that you are just like me and you are saying, "Yes, I do have those times!"
I’m a game person. I love activities. I think that quick games and fun activities are an awesome way to grab the attention of your audience. Especially when your audience is used to having their attention taken by whatever is on Disney or Nick Jr.
Last week at the Heart of a Child Conference in Broken Arrow, OK, I asked some of my conferees to help me out with some Minute to Win It games. Each of these games came straight from my head and to fruition, so some worked and some didn’t. Here are a few ideas.
Styrofoam Cup Stack Up
The idea: Stand and hold a styrofoam cup at waist height. Drop one cup to land top-side up. Drop another cup on top of that one and drop another cup on top of that one, finishing with three stacked cups together.
Sugar Cube Stack Up
The Idea: Stack 15 sugar cubes on top of each other in one minute or less.
Sugar Cube Toss Up
The Idea: Have a thrower stand 5 feet from a catcher. The catcher holds a small cup to catch three sugar cubes in. This activity would also work with minimarshmallows.
Place cup on your head and catch the sugar cube:
Gummy Worm Tie Up
The Idea: Tie a gummy worm in a knot using your mouth in one minute. Reverse idea. Tie a gummy worm in your hand and then untie it in your mouth! (The truth: this was more fun to watch than anything!)
The Idea: Place a tortilla on your forehead and try to take a bite out of it in one minute or less:
The Bottom Line:
When doing these games, think about running several at one time as a competition. Kids will get bored if they are watching only one doing the activities. Kids also love to see their teachers having fun so participate. There are HUNDREDS of fun minute to win it games in your head, let them out!
So, you’re new to kids ministry! Welcome! Let me start by sharing a couple of points to help you get started on your journey.
First of all, we’ve all been there. I mean, everyone, not just you, has to start somewhere. So, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone!
Secondly, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Sure, you want to bring some fresh, new ideas to your ministry. That’s why they hired you! But, there are some things that are the same or at least similar across the board whever you go. Things like hygiene, security policies, searching for volunteers, etc. It’s okay to ask someone what they’ve done in the past. Seek out those who’ve gone before you. Learn from their victories and even past mistakes before you make your own! (And, believe me, you will — but then you can pass your knowledge on to someone new — but that’s a different story!)
A passion of mine is encouraging fellow kids ministers. I love coming alongside "newbies" and helping them find their way along the ministry path. Sometimes it can be rough. I know. I’ve been there.
That’s why I am excited to be a part of an event we have at Lifeway called the Kids Ministers Beta. Around four times a year we host 20-25 kids ministers who’ve served three years or less in the ministry as our guests in Nashville. Our group is kept small so that we can really get to know those who attend. Over a period of three days, we share ideas that have worked for us in our own ministries, introduce resources, talk about staff relationships, security, and other issues, but best of all, we build new friendships through networking times, which of course include eating at some of the best places in Nashville!
Oh, and did I mention that this is FREE? The only thing you have to do is get here! We cover hotel and food expenses! In fact, we’re making our final plans for the next group coming to see us in just three short weeks!
If you’re new in the ministry, we’d love to meet and encourage you in this new role that God has called you to. It’s "by invitation only," but I can’t invite you unless I know you’re out there! We have a couple more of these conferences planned for April and September. I’d love for you to become part of our "Kids Beta Club." You can let me know you’d like to come by commenting below.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Guess what! It’s almost time for Easter, which means it’s time to bring out our favorite game of all time!
Last Spring, our friend Jared told us about an incredible idea! Change your same ole’ same ole’ Easter Egg Hunt into an exciting activity that will keep even your preteens involved! It’s called…EASTER OMC.
Simply place your OMC tasks into eggs, in place of candy or other prizes. Once a kid finds an egg, he has to complete the task inside. It’s no longer about finding eggs, but completing the fun tasks found inside the eggs! The team, or child, with the most completed tasks wins the game!
Remember the 3 Rules of OMC.
1. You can’t say, "NO!"
2. Don’t enter the NO FLY ZONE.
3. Return equipment to the NO FLY ZONE.
This year we’ve added a few EASTER TASKS that you can use alongside the Official OMC Game. Simply print several copies of these 8 new tasks and add them to the game as part of your Easter OMC.
Visit the CentriKid Camps OMC Page for more details… and, as always, send us your pictures or videos of this fun event!