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"HOW DO I GET KIDS TO REALLY ENTER INTO WORSHIPPING THE LORD?"
Does it seem like the children really aren't interested in true worship? That they just stare with blank eyes and mouth the words, or do nothing at all, or just want to goof around?
Here is a LINK that will help you in this vital area.
When I was a little girl, I was invited to my best friend Stevie's fifth birthday party with six or seven other children. Stevie had polio, and could only get around by pulling his body across the floor with his arms. As we were all playing, I watched Stevie maneuvering around while all his friends walked, jumped and ran with no trouble whatsoever. I noticed how we were all on a different level than Stevie, too, so I got down on the floor and began pulling myself along, just like my friend. Pretty soon, all the kids were pulling themselves around on the floor! We discovered a new game! Everyone was laughing and having a great time, especially Stevie.
Just then, Stevie's mom called us to the table for birthday cake, and we all made our way down the hall to the dining room, pulling ourselves along the floor. We climbed into our chairs; Stevie's mom lifted him into his.
She was a smart mom. She wasn't offended at what we had done. She could have thought we were making fun of her son, or pointing out his handicap. Instead, as she served me my cake, she leaned over and said, "Thank you, Jacqui, for getting down on the floor with Steve."
God puts opportunities into our lives to stretch our imaginations, getting us out of our comfort zones to do things a little differently. Can we be a friend to others on their level? Are we sensitive to the Holy Spirit, flexible, willing? He will show us new and unique ways to reach children and families with non-threatening, compassionate actions and methods that really make a difference.
"Lord Jesus, use me to reach the misfits; to touch the lives of those who are the least among us. After all, You have declared them to be indispensable. Amen." I Cor. 12:22 NIV
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From: Teresa Tate
God has given me different lessons, but my favorite was this: We brought some modeling clay and gave them each a paper plate to work on and some of each color of clay. We asked them to make a person, be creative with it. We gave them plenty of time to make them "just right." Then, each child got to stand up and introduce their person. What is his/her name? Does he have any hobbies? What does he want to be when he grows up? Then, when everyone had a turn, we talked about how God is the potter and we are the clay, and read them some scriptures. Then we had them to turn around so they couldn't see the person they had made. We then just mushed the daylights out of their little people. When they turned back around, they were very disappointed. Some were even angry. We used their different reactions to point out how God feels when we hurt "His" creations, whether we're doing something to hurt someone else or even hurt ourselves. Then, we held out the trash can and asked if they would like for us to throw them away, since they are messed up. No one wanted to... just like God doesn't throw us away when we are damaged. If we will let Him, He will remold us and we will more than likely be even better than before. The kids enjoyed playing with the clay, and I think they learned a good lesson in the process.
Teresa Tate, Sunday School Teacher
Trinity Assembly of God, Red Bay, AL.
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From:Chanel Smailes - from South Africa
Putting Jesus First.
At our church, the first Sunday of each month is "Family Service" where the children's ministry does a short lesson or presentation for the congregation. The most successfull lesson I've presented was on one of these occasions. What you need is a large Chutney or Mayo bottle and lid, packet of popcorn kernels in a jug of sorts (pitcher) (for easy pouring), a soft ball about the size of a tennis ball, and about 3 small balls (about the size of a table tennis ball). I used the lesson to illustrate the importance of putting Jesus first in our lives.
Take the empty bottle while asking the children (or even the congregation) what they like to do in their spare time. For each response you get, pour a bit of the kernels into the bottle (you will have to measure out beforehand the quantity of kernels required for the lesson to work successfully). Eventually, once all the kernels are in the bottle , place the three ping-pong balls into the bottle illustrating the importance of friends and family in our lives (I drew faces onto the balls). Then place the larger ball (illustrating Jesus) into the jar (I drew a large cross on the ball) and try and close the lid. If you have measured the right amount of popcorn, it is impossible to close the jar.
Empty the balls and kernels out of the jar and start again, this time putting Jesus first, then the friends and family, and fill the jar up with the kernels. The jar should then be able to close perfectly. The lesson illustrates that with Jesus first in our lives, we can fit everything else in!
P.S. The lesson was so successful that it has landed me in the pulpit on many occasions since!!!
Chanel Smailes, Children's Ministry Leader
St. Martin's Presbyterian, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
E-mail Chanel Smailes
From: Maurice Sweetsur - from New Zealand
I usually use this Object lesson after telling the story of David and Goliath.
Summarize the story by saying "David was able to overcome the Giant because he realized that God was on his side. If you are trusting in Jesus, then God is also on your side and will help you defeat any Giants in your life." A Giant is any problem you have which seems too big for you.
Give a list of possible "Giants." e.g., Other People - Bullies, etc. Bad habits - Lying, stealing, swearing, fighting, etc. Fears - The dark, nightmares, dying, flying, spiders, snakes, dogs, etc.
Produce two prepared, same sized "curved shapes" (crescent moon shapes, rather like 2 fat bananas). These can be made of cardboard or paper and cut to any suitable size. It is more effective to use different colours. You will note that the cards are actually the same size, but if one is held above the other, it will appear to be smaller. On the first card, write the word "Giant" On the second card, write the word *Me" on one side and "Me + God" on the other side.
Hold card 2, showing "Me" above card 1, showing "Giant". State, "If you compare yourself with your Giant, the Giant will always appear to be bigger, and you will think that you won't be able to defeat it." Pull the cards apart, and turn card 2 over to show "Me + God". State, "Remember that if you are trusting in Jesus, it is not just you against the Giant, but you plus God against it." Bring the cards back together again, but this time hold card 2 below card 1. State that "No matter how big your Giant is, when you compare it to God, you will always find that God is far bigger, and that He is able to help you defeat it - just like David defeated Goliath.
I usually conclude by repeating the "changing cards" process to emphasize the point.
Maurice Sweetsur, Children's Entertainer
Harvest Christian Church, Auckland, NZ.
E-mail Maurice Sweetsur
Another one from: Maurice Sweetsur! (Thank you, Maurice!)
Why does a good God allow suffering? / Building Character.
Take a large piece of white paper, and with an art paint brush, write across it in LEMON JUICE the word "Jesus" - i.e. in "invisible ink."
State that many people ask questions like "Why does a good God allow suffering?" Give a few examples of suffering. Say that there is no simple answer to this, but that you are going to show the class one reason why God may allow problems and hardships to come into our lives. God is interested in what we do, but He is more interested in what we are, i.e. our character. God can use our problems to develop our character.
Use your own words for your particular class, but you could go along the lines suggested below:
"God has a wonderful plan to change you into someone far better. If none of us ever had any troubles, not many of us would give God a second thought, and we would never change. God sometimes allows suffering in our lives and uses it - as He helps us to overcome our problems - to change us. The Bible says "Suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character" Romans 5:3, 4. (C.E.V.)
HOLD UP THE "BLANK" PAPER AT THIS POINT. "I am going to have an imaginary conversation with this paper." "Nice to see you paper, but I am now going to put you over a flame"
LIGHT A CANDLE. EXPLAIN THAT THE FLAME STANDS FOR TROUBLES OR PROBLEMS.
Paper - "I don't like the sound of that. I might get too hot. I might even get burnt."
You - "I do like you paper, but I have a wonderful plan to change you into something better, and I have to place you over the flame to make this happen."
BEGIN TO MOVE THE PAPER OVER THE FLAME, FOLLOWING THE WORD "JESUS" WHICH YOU SHOULD JUST BE ABLE TO SEE. BROWN WRITING WILL START TO APPEAR. Continue your dialogue while still moving the paper.
You - "How are you feeling now paper?"
Paper - "Stop it. I am getting far too hot."
You - "I haven't finished my plan for you yet. I must complete the job. I know this is tough for you, but I won't let you burn."
COMPLETE THE HEATING OF THE PAPER. AS YOU HOLD THE PAPER TO SHOW THE CLASS THE WORD "JESUS", CONCLUDE YOUR TEACHING.
"This is what God's plan is for you. To build your character, and make you to be like Jesus. Often He uses our problems and difficulties to bring this about."
Maurice Sweetsur, Children's Entertainer
Harvest Christian Church, Auckland, NZ.
E-mail Maurice Sweetsur
From: Randy Tramp
An object lesson that has worked really well for the 5th & 6th graders is "Court". A lesson is presented by the children. Someone is put on the stand and there is a Prosecutor, a Defense Lawyer, Judge and Jury. The kids present both side of the lesson. The sentence is almost always "crazy". Like getting hit with foam balls by the Jury. The kids come up with outrageous consequences. We don't get too technical when it comes to the verdit - basically the Jury decides.
Randy Tramp, Children's Pastor
First Assembly of God, Yankton, SD.
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From: Ron Kelley
This was a real attention getter for the kids. I asked the kids if they would like to see a magic show. All kids like magic, and they started screaming, "Yeah, yeah...." I brought out a large trunk and said, "How would you like to see a trunk escape?" Again they went wild. Before class, I had asked a boy to help me in this skit and I called him forward. I said, "I'm going to lock Billy in this trunk, and he will attempt to escape from it. Are you nervous, Billy?" "A little, but I think I can do it," he said. I opened the trunk and started waving my hands around, saying "as you can see there are no trapdoors.... etc." I then looked at Billy and said, "OK, let's get you in there." He got in and lay down inside it. I then closed the lid and locked it with a padlock. I really had the kids' attention now. Billy started moving around inside the trunk like he was trying to escape. After a few moments I said, "Aren't you going to come out?" He said, "I'm trying." I let a few more seconds pass and then I said, "Come on, Billy, we're all waiting out here." Billy said, "I can't get out on my own. I need help." I then looked at the class and said, "You know, kids, that's exactly what the devil does to us. He makes sin look so easy to get out of, but before we know it, we're trapped. Just like Billy is locked inside this trunk, all of us have been locked into a life of sin. There's no way we can escape on our own. But I have some good news for Billy and for all of you. (Read John 3:16). God sent His Son Jesus to earth to die for us, and that gave us the power to be free from sin. All we have to do is ask Jesus into our heart. When he comes in, he releases us from the sin that we're locked in." I then looked back at the trunk and said, "Would you like to be set free, Billy?" "Yes," came his muffled reply. I pulled out a key from my pocket attached to a large keyring that said JESUS and said, "Jesus is the key that can set us free." I then unlocked the padlock, opened the lid and let Billy out. I said, "Let's give Billy a hand for asking Jesus to set him free."
I wish I had access to the equipment to tape this skit when we did it. After using this lesson, would someone please email me photos or even better, a video clip, so that I can have it for demonstration purposes? Thanks!
E-mail Ron Kelley
And two more from: Maurice Sweetsur - from New Zealand
Two Object Lessons:
1. Growing as a Christian ( to become more like Jesus). - This takes a long time to prepare, but is well worth the effort.
While a fruit (a lemon or an orange is ideal) is still very small and attached to its tree, place a narrow-necked bottle over it and tie to branch. Leave in place until the fruit has fully grown inside the bottle. Remove bottle containing the fruit from the branch and show to your class.
Ask "How did I get this fruit inside the bottle?" A few children may work it out, but most won't. Explain how you did it, stating that the tiny fruit had all the potential to grow into a large fruit, but that it needed food to grow. This food (sap) was all provided by the tree. Use this as an analogy for the newly born-again (or baby) Christian who has all that is needed to become the person God wants them to be, but needs to grow. Our food is God's Word (plus prayer and fellowship, etc.).
Ask "What would have happened to the baby fruit if I had cut the twig attaching it to the branch while it was still small?" Answer. "It would not have grown. In fact it would have withered away and died." Again use the analogy of the baby Christian who does not feed on God's Word.
Explain that faith is believing in something that you cannot see. State that although you cannot see God (or Jesus) because He is a Spirit, you can still know that He is real. Explain that something else you cannot see, but is real is the air. State that you are now going to prove that the air in the room is real.
Pour water into a clear glass until it is almost full. Place a piece of cardboard , cut to slightly larger than the top of the glass, shiny side down, over the top. (An old breakfast cereal box is an ideal source of suitable cardboard). Hold cardboard in place, and invert glass. Take away your hand from the cardboard. Explain that gravity is still at work trying to make the water fall on the floor, but that the air - which we cannot see - is stronger than gravity and is keeping the cardboard in place.
Invite a few of the children to put their faith in the air - which they cannot see- and walk under the glass. As they are doing so, reinforce the truth that they are trusting in something that they cannot see.
If you wish, you could conclude this illustration as follows:
State that you are now looking for someone with GREAT faith. Choose a volunteer. State that you are now going to hold the glass of water over their head as before and tip it upside down, but this time you are not going to use any cardboard! Say you wouldn't want them to get too wet if things went wrong, so you will pour some of the water out of the glass. Pour out water until about 2 or 3 cm. remains. State that you still don't like the idea of wetting their hair - if things did go wrong - so you will hold a cup between the glass and their hair. Pour the water out of the glass and into a cup that is not transparent. Act surprised that the water came out of the glass. State that you have worked out the problem. You weren't really using faith, because real faith in Jesus is trusting in Him alone. Therefore, real faith in the air is trusting in the air alone. Therefore you are now going to invert the cup (now containing the water) over the volunteer's head, but with nothing inbetween. Do this. The water will not come out of the cup, because you have previously placed a SPONGE in the bottom!
Maurice Sweetsur, Children's Entertainer
Harvest Christian Church, Auckland, NZ.
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From: Kevin McCullough
We are in a 2 1/2 month series covering the life of Moses. We told the children that we were going to Egypt next week. Then, we decorated the room and dumped 350 pounds of sand in the middle of the tile floor of the room. We will build a rain gutter Nile River through the middle of the sand, and the children will build towns around the river. Then, we will float baby Moses down the river. In later lessons, we will part our river, and have the people of Israel cross the river. The water will come down on the Egyptian army following them. This is very interactive and a lot of fun!
You may be wondering about the mess. When we are done with the series, my wife (sorry, honey!) and some youth and myself wil scoop up the sand and take it to the church playground sandbox. The rest will be broomed, then shop-vac, then mopped.
The ages for our Kidz Church are 4 yrs through 6th grade. We attempt to use the 5th and 6th graders as helpers, which helps with the age difference. We have accepted the fact that the sand, for this short time, will be a distraction to other aspects of Kidz Church, but it is workable.
Kevin McCullough, Children's Pastor
Palmer Park Baptist Church, Frankfort, IL.
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Another one from: Kevin McCullough! (Thanks, Kevin!)
One of the things that we are doing that parents seem to love, and the children have a good time with, is Mom and Dad's night out. This is on a Friday, from 6:30pm to 9:15pm. K - 6th graders can be dropped off at church. We have games, make your own pizza, a movie, some songs and a short object lesson. The focus is truly on building relationships. This is a time for Mom and Dad to build their relationship, and the children with each other.
This is great to do the first or second Saturday of December, and then change the time to 12noon - 3pm. This gives Mom and Dad shopping time.
Kevin McCullough, Children's Pastor
Palmer Park Baptist Church, Frankfort, IL.
E-mail Kevin McCullough
From: Rebecca Karr
A game that can be used with almost any size group - The "Survivor" scavenger hunt. It is a "musical chairs" type of game.
Here's a (partial) sample list of items used:
1 leather or "pleather" shoe
1 square of toilet paper
3 safety pins
1 piece of notebook paper
2 socks that are different
Here's how to play:
1. Divide the kids into teams with each having ONE runner.
2. Set 1 chair up front for each team.
3. The runners must begin at a starting point, run to their team to get the item called (by the host) and then run to a chair up front. The rest of the team would be seated!
4. Then as each new item is called one less chair remains until the winning team emerges. The list of items can be things that you already have... then you can give each team a bag full of items. Even it out by making sure that each team has the items on your list, or make it hard by randomly dividing items and then the kids come up with the rest.
You can make a Survivor type banner to hang up or put the logo on the supplies and so on.
E-mail Rebecca Karr
From: Rick Wesselhoff
One of our best object lessons we did was where we played carnival type games with the kids -- ring toss, can knock down, etc. -- and then told them that for each "miss" they recieved a "consequence". They got slips of paper with the consequences on them, such as: "Your consequence is you will have an egg dropped on your head" or "snowball thrown at your face" or "flour dumped on your hair". Then we gathered all the kids into one group and had one of our staff announce, "I will take these kids consequences!" He gathered up all of their slips of paper. We then showed a video and pretended like it was being filmed live via a video feed right outside the church. The video showed our staff member getting pummelled with snowballs, eggs and flour. This led to a great discussion about how Jesus took the consequences for each of us when he died on the cross.
Our best outreach idea was a "one-day VBS" that we called Kidfest when all the kids were out of school for President's Day. Just like VBS we had music, games, drama, a video station and crafts. We had even more unchurched kids come to that event than our VBS. Our theme was "The Jesus Expedition". We had two sessions: we went to Mt. St. Helen's in the morning and Egypt in the afternoon. We took an old VBS curriculum and modified it. I would be more than willing to share our curriculum with anyone who emails me.
Vanguard Church, Colorado Springs, CO.
E-mail Rick Wesselhoff
From: Kristi Beatty
One thing that pushed our small but faithful youth (ages 11-20) forward was the introduction of praise and prayer nights. These nights ran every Monday from 7-8:00 PM. We had a more contemporary, camp-like setting for praise. We turned out all lights in our fellowship hall and sang only to the light of the overhead profector (allowing for more freedom in emotion). We had one guitar player and one singer with words on the overhead; the songs included those with motions, shouting, hand-raising, etc. After those songs we had a small skit. Some of the skits were quite funny while others really pounded a serious thought. We would conclude the service with slow, prayerful songs. The whole group moved into a circle and took hands. Then prayer requests were taken, and each one was prayed for individually before going on to the next request. This night can be truly phenomenal for your group; it greatly increases the unity and allows the children to feel comfortable with worship. Try it with interested adults also. We opened the nights up to the whole church and had several parents and adults come to worship in a contemporary way. It could be a fantastic outreach to the friends your kids never invited to Sunday morning, and the unifying effects are grand!
Kristi Beatty, Co-Youth Director
Grove Church of Christ, Gambier, OH
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Another one from: Kristi Beatty! (Thanks, Kristi!)
Recently, during a prayer retreat, which was an evening centered on strengthening one's personal relationship with Christ, we had craft time. During this craft time we allowed each of the children to create their very own prayer pillow case. We made available a wide variety of fabric markers and instructed the children to write things that they would like to pray for each night. We let the children get as specific or general as they would like. This craft works for all ages, after a lesson on the importance of prayer.
Kristi Beatty, Co-Youth Director
Grove Church of Christ, Gambier, OH
E-mail Kristi Beatty
From: Dick Gruber
I'm Dick Gruber, (Sam Saint, Super Sleuth), former children's pastor at Bloomington A/G in beautiful Bloomington, MN.
The most creative new thing I have done was the Birthday Party For Jesus. We organized it as an all church family event held on the Wednesday evening before Christmas. Over 600 parents and children attended. Our preschool choirs sang Christmas songs, the Fine arts Pastor led in worship, our puppet team presented specials, and I drew an eight foot copy of the "Precious Moments" nativity while a lady from our choir sang that "long time ago in Bethlehem", song. An altar call was given and many responded. We had a true meaning of Christmas coloring contest, handed out cupcakes to every child, (these were provided by the parents), and the Senior Pastor closed the evening in prayer. It was fun and already we are planning on one for this year.
God bless you in your ministry to His children.
Dick Gruber, Children's Ministries Specialist
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA.
E-mail Dick Gruber
From: Jeff Smith (by way of Robb Dunham),
To break up the winter drudgery, Jeff holds a WINTER RETREAT with his 3rd, 4th & 5th Graders that is totally awesome. He takes the kids to a camp (many will give a discount in the winter), and from Friday night through Sunday morning, they enjoy recreation, games, prizes and power packed services. Then, he has his guest speaker minister with the whole church on Sunday evening. COOL IDEA!
Jeff Smith, Children's Pastor
Grace Community Church, Tualatin, OR.
E-mail Jeff Smith
From: US!! Robb & Jacqui Dunham
We have enjoyed making GIANT BUBBLES for kids in our crusades and camps for many years. Here is the recipe, plus some hints:
You will need a total of at least 5 gallons of solution. The ratio is 9 to 1; 9 parts water to 1 part Joy or Dawn, plus about 2 bottles of glycerin for the 5 gallons. We've always mixed it in a clean 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid (like a paint bucket). For best results, mix at least one day ahead of use - it actually gets better as it "ages" a bit.
Hints: We use a toddler wading pool (flat bottom, stiff sides) that is about 3-4 ft diameter. Then, we place a milk crate or small stool or chair in the middle for the child to stand on. We create the bubble "wand" out of a hula hoop covered with thick yarn. Soak the "wand" in the pool full of solution, and with clean hands soaked in solution, lift the "wand" out of the pool, creating a giant bubble cylinder. Practice this many times until you get it pretty good. To allow children to be in the bubble, have an assistant lift the shoeless child onto the stool or chair in the middle.
Cautions: Do not let the children get into the solution. Do not let them get onto or off of the chair by themselves. Solution can be contaminated very easily, and will no longer make bubbles. Also, it is extremely slippery, and a child could fall getting onto or off of the chair.
We use this object lesson to teach that the Lord is our Protection; He is a shield about us (Ps. 3:3).
Robb & Jacqui Dunham, Family and Children's Ministries
SuperKidz 4 Christ.
E-mail Robb & Jacqui Dunham
From: Randy Coleman
I'm not sure this is my most creative, but it has certainly been one of my most effective ideas. This year we created a well balanced ministry entirely for 6th graders. Our objective was to provide a spiritually balanced program that would prepare them for the youth ministry.
We started by giving our 6th graders their own identity. The name "Club 2004". This will change to "Club 2005" next year. We printed t-shirts, we made a banner, and we got a room. The central hub for the club happens on Wednesday nights. It's a balance of worship, a short sermonette and then small groups for discussion. Here they are learning how to apply God's truths in practical life situations, ie. friends, school, family. The purpose is to get them ready for the youth group without the sudden change from the classroom. The kids absolutely love Wed. nite.
Next we renamed their Sunday School class to "W-Files" - "Uncovering the Secrets of God's Word". We got the hippest SS teacher we had and put him in charge. He teaches straight book studies out of the Bible. Here we focus on learning how to study God's word.
Instead of sending the kids straight from kids church to morning worship we have a class called "Rock Solid" - "A Foundation for Faith". This class meets during the morning service and is an intensive (homework, memorization, term papers, and graduation) class study into our church's doctrine. In May they have a formal graduation from this class. It's kind of like a passage into adulthood.
The Wed. nite program serves as the center for everything. It's where the announcements are made, friends come, and activities are planned.
Our goal was to create a ministry just for 6th graders that met their needs for: Worship, bible study, a doctrinal foundation, life application, and fellowship.
Bottom line is the kids love it. The parents think it's the greatest thing ever. And with the involvement of our youth pastor at the social events, the kids are completely ready to go to youth on Wed. nite. Mom and dad even feel better because they have had a taste of a type of youth ministry.
P.S. On a missions note, this summer our youth pastor is leading a missions trip in our city. Our 6th graders will finish Club 2004 by being apart of this missions event. The kids get a taste of missions, they will work next to our top youth, and they do it without feeling like the little kids in youth group. When they're in youth next year, missions won't be new to them and they will be completely ready for the missions trips.
Randy Coleman, Family Ministries Pastor
First Assembly of God Des Moines, IA
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From: Bob McKinley
Probably one of the best ideas that God gave me was Saturday morning Children's Prayer Breakfasts. Every other month on the first Saturday we called the children together for our Breakfast. We usually sat two adults, one at each end of the table, with children on both sides. At 8:30 we served breakfast, and at 9:00 the children would clean up. They would regather around 9:15 at which time we would have some praise & worship and a short devotional. From 9:30 to 10:00 we spent in guided prayer. You would be surprised that even the little ones did not have a problem as long as we kept the subjects moving.
Bob McKinley, former Children's Pastor
Christ Community Church, Camp Hill, PA.
E-mail Bob McKinley
From: Ben Ratchford
Hi! I'm Ben Ratchford, children's minister at the Calvary Lighthouse Church of God, in Granite City, IL. Two of the best ideas that God gave me were a teaching series on the Bible and a teaching series on being a disciple of Christ. For the series on the Bible, we took the scripture 1 Peter 2:2 as our theme: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." Our theme became "Get M.I.L.K." Each letter of the word stood for something that the Bible does for us. The Bible Magnifies the Lord, Impacts our lives, Lights our path, and gives us Knowledge. It was a powerful series that gave us a glimpse into the importance of the Bible. Each week we played various games that involved milk. One game was the "Milk Shake." Children had to run to the front, eat a spoonful of ice cream, eat a spoonful of chocolate syrup, and drink a glass of milk, making sure to keep each ingredient in their mouth. They then had to shake their heads around and swallow. It was fun and messy.
The teaching series on being a disciple of Christ is an awesome series. Our theme verse comes from Luke 14:28, ""Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" We looked at the C.O.S.T. of being a disciple of Christ. Each letter of the word stands for something which we must do as a follower of Jesus. We must be Christ-like, Obedient, Surrender fully, and Trust wholly. I taught several weeks just on being Christ-like. We studied on living a holy life, repentance, and being humble. We even had a footwashing of some of the children.
E-mail Ben Ratchford
From: Rhonda Cole
Hi! My name is Rhonda Cole and I work with the children at my church (Calvary Baptist Church in Ider, AL). In October we have a party called "Orange you glad you Noah the Lord?" We have such a great time. We decorate everything we can in orange. We play games such as ring toss, football throw, fish pond, bean bag toss, etc. We try to serve as many orange refreshments as possible. We give prizes away to children for winning the games (just small things, candy, cheap rings etc.). This party is great fun and can be used as an alternative to Halloween. Other ideas: Everyone can come dressed as Noah or another Bible character, or how about as one of the animals on the ark? May God richly bless you as you work with the children at your church!!!
From: Shannon Check
I taught my girl's weekly club program this really cool "activate your faith" lesson that the Lord gave me in a dream. Maybe it will help those with older children. I wrote down thirty scripture references pertaining to salvation and God's love. I made two teams of five(you could have more)and assigned each girl on the team to look up and write down three scriptures. The scriptures are to be written down on individual pieces of brightly colored paper. Each team has a box upon which the team members have written the names of lost loved ones on the outside of the box. Then, I had them apply God's Word (the scripture papers) to the outsides of each box, reading each scripture aloud and gluing or taping them on. Next came the analogy: When we apply Gods Word to any situation or problem and believe that God's Word is true and that He can do it, then it activates the power of of His Word to change/work on the situation. If we will apply God's Word and prayer to a situation to the point where we can no longer see the problem (and all we see is God's Word working on our lost loved ones lives) then the activation of our faith releases the power of God to work on the situation.
Box (situation) + Tape (our faith) + God's Word (scripture papers) = the release of God's power in the situation.
The boxes in our room serve as an encouragement to look at God's Word and how much He loves the lost instead of looking at the situation and becoming overwhelmed by it. It also serves as a visual reminder to pray for our lost loved ones. I give all glory to God for this visual faith lesson and I hope it will help someone somewhere in their class.
E-mail Shannon Check
From: Kissy Love Harris
My name is Kissy and I am a Youth leader/Children's Church Teacher. I learned this game at a training session for the YMCA, However, I changed it slightly to work into Children's Church. All kids should know the game Rock, Paper, Scissors-Shoot. Well, you take the basis of that and make different levels. Everyone starts at the same level and at the same time (standing or doing the actions specified). For example, I have four levels:
From: Emline Roberts
I teach pre-teens on Sunday evenings. We put the names of each church member in a can and each Sunday evening each child draws a name. Sometime before the next Sunday morning service, that child is to encourage the person whose name he/she drew. They draw pictures, write poems, copy Bible scriptures of encouragement, simply tell them that they are appreciated. We usually just use construction paper or other colored paper to write on rather than buying cards or stamps. Sometimes we put bookmarks in the encouragement, or a pencil, or even a small candy. The children love it and everyone looks forward to being encouraged. Also the kids sign the cards Secret Encourager or just SE.
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From: Dolly Jean Brechin
We have ages 7-11 in Kid's Church. There is also a Junior Kids Church for ages 3-6. We have the girls sit on one side and the boys on the other. There are 3 balloons for the girls and three for the boys. When a child is misbehaving or acting up, the leader will simply pop one of the balloons on their side of the room. At the end of Children's Church, we draw a child's name to play a game for a prize. If all the balloons on the boys side have been popped, then we will draw a girl's name. If all the balloons on the girl's side have been popped, we will draw a boy's name. But if both teams have at least one balloon left we will draw one boy and one girl's name. This seems to help control behavior problems. One game we use right now is made with a piece of poster board with 14 holes cut out of it. There are Styrofoam cups attached to these holes by tape. We put prizes like miniature candy bars, gum, etc. in the Styrofoam cups. We then cover each hole with toilet paper to hide the prizes. The child punches out a hole and wins the prize that he or she finds there. We are planning on making a game similar to "Plinko" on The Price Is Right. But instead of cash (of course), we will have candy or toys for prizes.
Dolly Jean Brechin, Warrior, AL.
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From: Becky George
One goal for our Children's Church kids is learning to serve others. It was decided by the kids that their Fall offering would go to "Toys for Tots". When the appointed Sunday arrived, we had a soup lunch for the kids, and then all of us went shopping with the offering money. I have never seen kids so excited to give to others! We then came back to the church and shared with each other everything that was purchased -- truly a blessing! The kids have now decided that their Spring offering should go to fill up May baskets, which they will make, fill and deliver to residents at a local nursing home. They can't wait 'til May!
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From: Wade Heimer
Greetings and Salutations,
The most creative and most productive thing that we have done was to create Children Ministry Teams for our Children's Church. I call them SWAT teams (Sunday Worship Action Teams). Kids third grade and up are involved in teams for a period of 3 months. These teams can be whatever you need. I was short on Kid's Church volunteers so I made up teams for elders, ushering, sound, worship, puppet, and prayer. Each team is headed by a captain, and they are held accountable with scripture memorization, Bible reading and a Christian walk. They sign contracts and the parents become actively involved discipling their children. It's been great. For the kids, its a great social incentive to be part of the team and set the example.
From: Frances Jones
Hi! We at the New Hope UMC have a children's ministry called the Kings Kids Company, and we did a Dinner Theater in our small church with around 50 kids. All the props were made by the fathers and mothers which included a real porch with roof, etc. of an old country house, a city scene representing New York and a porch scene like the old country house for our puppets. The musical was called "It All Happened In the Country", and was a thrilling experience for our church family. The puppets did all the dialogue and the kids did all the singing, dancing, etc. The idea of Dinner and Musical was a real hit with our congregation.
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From: Ljiljana Ciric (Yugoslavia)
We made a program about how we got the Bible. I used some poems and made drama plays out of them. Also, I made a drama skit from a story about finding the manuscripts in Kumran. Then we added a lot of music, songs, poems and talks. We made a Bible display in the church hall - the oldest Bible we could find, the smallest, biggest, prettiest, and so on. Nothing was much complicated but all together it was very nice and successful.
God bless you all.
Ljiljana from Yugoslavia
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From: Bob and Dee Worley
Hi! I am Dee Worley, children's church teacher in Columbia, MO. for Jesus at Liberty Baptist Church. The most creative and successful thing I did last year was organized a "Food Bank Scavenger Hunt" for the Sunshine Club that we have at our church. Sunshine Club meets one Saturday a month and we spend about an hour on a service project, and then an hour or so playing games and in fellowship, and eating a snack. In October we had the scavenger hunt. We broke up into teams and each team had an A - Z list of foods. The food collected went to the local Food Bank, which was kind enough to give us a tour after we took them the food. In an hour the kids collected 230 pounds of food! They've also written letters to the missionaries that the church helps support, passed out flyers to let people know about Bible School, sold tickets to benefit a local charity's fish fry, sang at a local nursing home, cleaned the church, and picked up trash in the surrounding neighborhood. They are a great group of kids, and are happy to have a chance to serve the Lord. My biggest problem is getting people to see these kids as a wonderful resource, and use them!! They won't focus much longer than an hour, but they can accomplish a LOT in an hour! This month we are cleaning the church again, and sending cards of encouragement to a church member. It's been a great blessing to spend the time with them.
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From: Lynn M. Krogstad
Hello from "not-so-sunny-today" California!
This idea is more of a "thank you" event. It was for the puppet team and our 5th & 6th graders who were part of a Bible Study thoughout the year and who were active in many areas of servanthood. These kids each week gave hours of their time to be of service in the children's ministry dept., for outreaches and camps. We had a all-nighter at Discovery Zone (an indoor play facility). We came in after hours and had the place to ourselves. DZ had their staff, but we brought other chaperones, a Puppet Director & Sun Sch teachers and a Dad who is an "officer of the law" (we felt safe). We set up the DZ Parent Room with Christian videos that ran all night, and used the four Party Rooms as follows:
1-girls sleeping room (as it turns out it was just the place where the sleeping bags laid)
2-boys sleeping room (again, where sleeping BAGS slept alone)
3-video game room - we brought in three TV's and three different game systems...even the DZ staff visited this room often.
4-scrapbook room- we set this room up with supplies to make pages for the children's ministry scrapbook.
At 11:00 p.m. we had a Creative Memories consultant come in and do a brief workshop about how to do a page. Kids came and went thoughout the night and made pages. They signed the page they worked on ... these pages are awesome. We were allowed to set our own schedule...played games with and without lights, had devotions, water wars, midnight pizza, all sorts of fun! This was a great time of playing together with kids who always gave 110% throughout the year in ministry.
E-mail Lynn Krogstad
From: Valerie Ellis
We have a kid's ministry named Carol Anne and Company. We use a variety of means to present the Gospel of Christ. We strongly believe that music has a powerful role in influencing kids, so we incorporate a lot of different types and sounds from hip hop dance to RIOT by Carmen to a spin off from Ghostbusters called Sin Busters. Jim Wideman Ministries (918-252-9681) offers this exceptional tape.
Here's what we did: We copied the symbol on the tape cover, of a ghostly looking devil with the red circle crossed out, onto big sheets of contact paper. We applied these flexible posters to back packs. We attached gray insulation tubing to the back pack and a can of spray confetti was duct taped to the other end. We then lip sang this song with our whole staff dancing very silly on the stage. At a lull in the middle we sprayed the audience with the confetti. This has been a great success. It is exceptionally useful for outreaches since the general public recognizes this music.
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From: Marsha Plucinik
Our best defense is to let our next generation and the ones to follow know that they are loved by God and are good people of worth. I have been a Church School Teacher for ten years and have always been told that to show a child acceptance can sometimes be the best gift I can give. That's what Jesus gives to all people. Although the basics never change, (i.e. God is our Father and Jesus is our Savior) sometimes reaching our young people can be challenging, especially in today's society. I find that being honest with my kids and staying in the Word with them is one of the most basic and fundamental things I can do. I'm new to this website so I don't have alot to offer, but I'm so glad you're here! I will look forward to visiting and sharing new insights along the way.
In Christ, Marsha
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From: Kim Hyde
My name is Kim and I'm the Children's Church Director at Woodforest Worship Center in Channelview, Texas. In 1998, I was asked to head up the "new" children's church program. We started by giving our group a really cool name - Heir Force. This is because Romans 8:16 & 17 states that we are the children of God and if children then we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. Our logo is a set of pilot's wings displaying a cross in the middle and our name. The kids love being a part of Heir Force. It makes them feel like they belong to a special club. We designed a puppet stage made out of plywood which is painted to resemble a cartoon town. We have a school bus, schoolhouse, church, home and even a tree house.
One of the most challenging areas of working with the kids has been discipline. For this reason we implemented the "clothes-pin" contest. Each week we split up into separate classes - Juniors (4-6) and Seniors (7-10). We start out by giving each child 3 clothes pins. Each time we have a discipline problem with a child, we take one of their clothes pins away. If we have to take all 3 before the end of service, then we will talk to the parent(s) of the child. Since we started this program, we have never had to take all 3 away. They try very hard to keep as many as possible. After we hand out the clothes pins, we take role and we mark down those who brought offering, their Bible or a first time visitor. We have a parrot puppet dressed up like a pirate who pops up from the puppet stage. This lets the kids know that we are about to open up the treasure chest and give out rewards. We take the role sheets from the classes and we call out the names of each child who brought their Bible, offering or a first time visitor. If they still have all three of their clothes pins, they get to pull a bag from the treasure chest. This has really worked well for us.
For our kids who are about to make the transition from Children's Church to the Youth Group, we let them help out with the puppets and we give them a little more responsibility. A lot of our youth are involved in our puppet ministry and this gives the younger kids an opportunity to get to know some of the older ones so when they do finally graduate to the Youth Group, they know who the other youth are. All-in-all, we have been successful in each of these programs. We seek God's guidance, direction and wisdom in each area, and He never lets us down.
E-mail Kim Hyde
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