Use these fun ideas to show your volunteers you appreciate them! Click links below to download PDFs.
Autumn Tea Party
Ginger Cider Break
Anxiety!! Sometimes even the word brings a flutter to our hearts. For anyone who has experienced an anxious child, you know that this is something that has become more pervasive in the past few years. Kids today have a lot more external stressors that bring anxiety. Social media influences and an increase in peer pressure are all piling up on kids. Anxiety can take many forms, and, all of us deal with anxiety in some form almost every day. How we handle our anxiety, and how we guide kids to handle their anxiety, may sometimes be different. As adults, we have coping mechanisms that are better developed, however, these same mechanisms may not be as developed in kids. Here are a few things to think about as you help kids deal with this issue.
I recently chatted with a child whom I know struggles with anxiety and asked what advice she could offer to kids struggling with anxiety. The answer I received was, “Trust that God is in control. When I start thinking about things that cause me stress, I try to pray and ask God to help me know that most of what I stress about never even happens.” Taking this advice, let kids know that God is in control and kids (and adults) can always turn to Him when struggling with anxious feelings.
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.
Klista Storts and Bill Emeott discuss what personalities are valuable when building a kids ministry team and how to work with all of these different personalities.
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.
This episode is hosted by Bill Emeott, produced by Micheal Walley, and sponsored by the ETCH Family Ministry Conference.
Those words can trigger waves of anxiety and eye-rolls in any parent, especially during the summer months when a child’s daily schedule is often wide open while the parent’s is cresting to its fullest.
If summer camp isn’t a feasible option, your patience may have peaked to the point where you’re tempted to jump ship and let the kids get glassy-eyed for hours in front of their screen of choice.
If you’re looking for an alternative, look no further than your own backyard for enjoyable and affordable ways to have summer fun. Here are 6 budget-friendly activities to keep your kids busy having a blast in your own yard.
#1: Set up an obstacle course.
Backyard obstacle courses are loads of fun, can be easy or elaborate depending on the age of the child, and can consist entirely of objects you already own.
For younger children, an obstacle course can include:
For older kids, a more challenging course can consist of:
#2: Channel a classic with a game of lawn Twister®.
To make a grass version of this classic game, purchase cans of marking paint in red, blue, yellow, and green from your local hardware store.
To create the game grid:
#3: Make a slippery splash pad.
Have your kids change into their bathing suits for some slipping and sliding with this giggle-inducing activity. All you’ll need is a large tarp and a hose. Lay the tarp down in an area with plenty of space around all sides of the tarp. Run the hose on the tarp until it’s soaked and slippery. Keep the hose running as your kids splash on the tarp and slide on it barefoot or Superman-style. Give the kids boogie boards if you have them for added slippery fun.
#4: Throw a fiesta with water balloon piñatas.
Your kids can keep their bathing suits on for this wet and wild game of water balloon piñatas. For this activity, you’ll need water balloons, string, a strong piece of rope, and a plastic bat.
#5: Blast the sprinklers.
For more water play, your kids can stay cool in an at-home spray park, courtesy of your lawn sprinklers. If you have an oscillating sprinkler system, scatter water-friendly toys around the sprinkler unit for each child to scoop up before getting soaked by the swinging water stream.
#6: Get creative with colorful water art.
Bring out your child’s inner artist with this game of water-squirter art. Fill water squirters with water mixed with food dye, using a different color for each water squirter. Set down sheets of paper on the grass or tape sheets of paper onto trees and enjoy watching your kids paint colorful masterpieces.
Get your kids to release their Judo-grip on their tablets or phones this summer by turning your backyard into an activity-filled playland, all without breaking the bank!
Dolores Smyth is a faith and parenting writer. Find her on Twitter @LolaWordSmyth.
Father’s Day is almost here and we have a fun DIY Father’s Day coupon book for kids to give their dad! Print out the instructions and a coupon book for each child. You’ll find a full-color version and a black and white version (where kids can get creative and color it themselves).
Have you ever been in a confined space with someone who is clearly sick? The worst example I can think of is a crowded flight. You know how it goes. You board the full-flight plane and squeeze your way into seat B; the middle seat. You are squished between two big dudes in A and C and they are both hogging the armrests (ugh). You haven’t started to taxi and you are already feeling claustrophobic. You reach up and twist open that tiny air vent over your head to try to at least get a little air. That’s when you hear it. HACKKK! AAACK! WHUARRF! Someone on the flight is coughing up a lung. The pervasive echoes of their phlegmy expulsions make it difficult to tell exactly where the germ-spreader is seated, but you suddenly become acutely aware that it really doesn’t matter: the very same vent that moments ago brought you a sense of relief is funneling the stale recirculated air of the enclosed cabin right onto your face. The very same air that Mr. Hacky Hackerson is poisoning with his expectorations. You try pulling up the neck of your undershirt to cover your nose and mouth like a makeshift SARS mask, but you realize that resistance is futile. Within this closed environment, everyone on board is going to catch whatever the contagious person has.
This story is meant to do more than merely make you uncomfortable. There’s a powerful principle here that we need to understand as leaders in ministry. Are you ready? Here it is: Whatever you have is contagious. While you are (hopefully) not literally coughing on the people you lead, in a figurative sense you spread your DNA onto the people you lead every time you interact. The question is: what will they catch as a result of their exposure to you?
It is important for leaders to acknowledge that our attitudes, opinions, moods, values, and work ethic are contagious. We need to choose to vaccinate ourselves against carrying and spreading negative, sickly, poisonous perspectives into our culture. While some people are more naturally inclined towards a sense of positivity than others, we are responsible to maintain a healthy mental, spiritual, and emotional perspective on our ministries and ministry teams.
Don’t be a grouch. Kids ministry can be the most exciting and enjoyable place to serve and minister, but every ministry takes on the tone that is set by its leader. Determine to be positive, and set an expectation of joy in your work and service. People love a joyful leader and are drawn to want to be part of whatever they are doing. On the contrary, people reject negative leadership and avoid following leaders who are not pleasant to be around. Your attitude is a choice. Choose a positive one.
Be careful who you grumble to. It can be easy for leaders (even those who are predominantly positive) to inappropriately voice complaints and disappointments to people on their teams (and beyond). Wise leaders take care to keep criticisms private so they do not taint the opinions of those who do not need to hear them. It is wise to maintain a few close friends and advisors that you can go to with your struggles. It is not a good idea to air your grievances publicly.
Attitude is everything. At the end of the day, the attitude that you choose to exhibit will influence everyone around you. Lamentations 3 teaches us to look for hope through God’s mercy. Lamentations 3:40-41 challenges us to check our hearts and, if necessary, change our attitudes, “Let us examine and probe our ways, and turn back to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven.”
May we be faithful to maintain healthy hearts so that we may infect the people we lead with hearts that revere God’s Word, love His Son, and encourage others to do the same.
Registration is open for all Lifeway Camps for 2020! Many churches plan their calendars in advance, so look ahead and make sure you get your camp spots reserved now for next summer.
CentriKid Camps and Student Life For Kids dates are online and open for registration, and many of them will fill up quickly. The earlier you sign up, the more options are available to choose from.
For CentriKid Camps, visit centrikid.com
For Student Life For Kids, visit studentlifeforkids.com
No matter the camp you choose, reserve your spot today, deposit free! Deposits are not due until 2020. This way, you can register for camp and confirm your calendar dates, but wait for next year’s budget to take care of the deposits.
Contact us with any questions you have along the way. For more planning tips, if you’ve never been to camp, listen to this podcast Planning for Summer: Why Camp Is Important or read 3 Things You Could Be Missing if you Skip Summer Camp.
Jeremy Echols leads the camps area for Lifeway Kids. He, his wife Emily, and their precious daughter love their church, their neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy enjoys reading, watching sports, and all of his daughter’s after-school activities.
#4: Children’s Ministry Matters Because Families Matter.
God’s plan for spiritual leadership and faith development is parents. But they need our help. One of the coolest things about what we get to do as Kids Ministry leaders is our partnership with parents.
I may not be an expert in parenting, but I can be an expert in equipping, empowering, and encouraging families. I can equip parents with information that helps them to continue learning taught at church, at home. I can share apps that reinforce biblical content taught at church. I can send emails, post share squares, create facebook pages, and use other outlets to encourage parents. I can be their loudest fan, cheering them on to success.
Additionally, today’s parents insist on safe environments for their kids. We live in a nervous time heightened by a greater awareness of sexual abuse, shooters, and germs. Parents want to know that church is a safe place. Because families matter we provide clean, safe, attractive, and inviting space for kids.
#5: Children’s Ministry Matters Because the Future Matters.
Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Children aren’t just the church of the future, they are the church right now. We should be developing Great Commission, Great Commandment, Acts 1:8, missional kids who are given opportunities to be the church.
Yes, children are the church of today but they are also the church of the future. They are the future leaders of the Church. If the next pastors, missionaries, Bible study leaders, or seminary professors aren’t in our classrooms, where are they? The values we instill in kids today will equip them to lead the next generation. It’s imperative that we give kids a firm foundation so they can build the future on that foundation.
Because the future matters we:
Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). But, with every blessing comes responsibility. We have a responsibility to teach, equip, love, and lead.
Bill Emeott serves as Lead Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. He is a graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served in Kids Ministry for almost 30 years and currently teaches 3rd Grade Bible study at his home church in Nashville, TN.
Your final clue for Lifeway’s 2020 VBS is hidden in the illustration above (hint: click here to view it fullscreen!). Find the five items and then use your findings to help you sleuth out next year’s VBS theme.
Think you’ve figured everything out? Post your guess on our Lifeway VBS Facebook page.
Make sure you tune in next week for the big reveal on June 5 at 1:00 p.m. CT. RSVP here.