10 Back to School Supplies You’ll Never Forget

Courtesy our friends at Children’s Ministry Deals

1. If you can’t get backstage passes, at least you could eat lunch with them everyday.

Photo: etsy.com

2. Nothing says “child of the 80’s” like a Troll.

Via Judith Park-Ebeling on Pinterest

3. Why carry 8 pens, when you can carry 1 the size of a small club.

Photo: Ranker.com

4. Anyone else ever try to turn a whole pencil into sawdust in one sitting? That was a workout!

Photo: ebay.com

5. Back when every kid had to get a tetanus shot just to eat lunch.

Photo: muppet.wikia.com

6. They don’t taste like they smell.

Photo: geeksandcleats.com

7. Anyone remember what the cowboy boot sticker smelled like?

Photo: scratchandsniff.net

8. Lisa Frank now makes survival packs, specifically tarps that can be seen from outer space.

Photo: insistonawesome.com

9. The coolness of your pencil toppers determined your social status for the rest of the year, don’t mess this up!

Photo: signaturepencils.com

10. This was 5 star dining in the cafeteria.

Five Things That Occur When I Complain About My Children

childrenOur children are born sinners — every last one of them.

David wrote: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5 ESV) and Jeremiah tells us:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)

Sin has a way of wrecking things. Sin makes even the beautiful and the blessed broken and undesirable. As a parent, my natural response (read that “my sin-nature response”) to the sin (and sometimes just the inconvenience) of my children is to complain. It’s not pretty, it’s not helpful, and it’s not something I’m proud of. But it’s true.

Five Things That Occur When I Complain About My Children

Are Your Kids Stained or Painted with the Gospel?

cracked paint on wood

Jared Martin shared an amazing insight a while back. I’ve reordered the question:

Are your kids stained or painted with the Gospel?

I think for many who teach children, we just teach kids the Bible and about Jesus and it sticks to them. It might stick for a long time or it might stick for a short while, but in the end, it doesn’t actually change them. It just appears as if they have been changed.

This is what Jared alludes to as paint. You can paint over something, but it doesn’t actually change what is underneath. It just covers that something over with something pretty (an often it’s only pretty at the time).

Jared goes on to advocate for stain rather than paint:

A better goal to strive for is stain. When you stain wood, that stain soaks deep into the wood itself. In fact, while the original integrity of the wood often shows through in this method, it is forever changed by the stain. It soaks into the wood and you can’t just scrap it away. This is more of what we should strive for. Rather than just covering things up with facts about Jesus, we need to allow the Gospel to soak our kids and saturate their very being. The beauty of a good stain is that, while the original texture of the wood is still visible, it is made more beautiful by the stain. This is the Gospel in our lives. It beautifies without hiding. It saturates and changes us without covering who we were meant to be. This is accomplished when those facts we learn are allowed to form a relationship with Jesus. It happens when instead of memorizing a verse for a project or to earn points, we allow that verse to shape how we live our lives.

I loved Jared’s metaphor of what we should strive for. It’s pretty easy both as a parent and as a children’s ministry leader to merely transmit information about Jesus, instead of transfer and model a relationship with Jesus. I got to tell you that it is much more difficult and more messy to stain the Gospel rather than paint the Gospel. In fact, it is sad to say that it is easier to paint than to stain. However, over time the cracks will show and it will be revealed for what it is.

I don’t know about you, but I want my life and the lives of students to be stained with the Gospel!

HT Small Town Kidmin

Five Ways Ministries Is Like Farming

via Jeremy Mavis (via wesleyankids.org)

farming

“The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops” (2 Timothy 2:6 NIV).

This past week, my church hosted a “leadership summit” where we invited all the leaders of our church (those serving in all the different ministries of the church) to a collective gathering where we would celebrate, encourage, and exhort one another. The pastors chose the passage of Scripture where Paul shares some parting wisdom to his protege Timothy (2 Timothy 2:1-7). I was given 2:6 when Paul references a “hardworking farmer.” Here is the essence of my encouragement and exhortation to our ministry leaders at Hayward Wesleyan:

First of all, I am not a farmer. I have never farmed other than help my wife with our garden. So my observations come from a “rubber-necking” perspective!

But I’m a minister of the Gospel, along with all of us in this room… we’re ministers of the good news of Jesus… and ministry can be a lot like farming.

Here are 5 ways ministry is like farming:

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Why You Should Use Legos In Your Children’s Ministry

medium_megin_legosLEGOS.  They have a long history in the realm of play.  Here’s some interesting facts about the colorful little bricks.

  • LEGOs were first created in Denmark in the 1940′s.
  • The word LEGO comes from the Danish phrase “leg godt” which means “play well”. It is also loosely interpreted in Latin as “I put together”.
  • If all the LEGO blocks ever produced were evenly distributed to all the people in the world, each person would have 62 bricks.
  • About 18 bricks out of every million produced fail to meet the standard required.
  • LEGO factories recycle all but about 1% of their plastic waste per year.
  • About 36 billion LEGOs are produced every year, or 1140 elements per second.

– See more at: http://www.relevantchildrensministry.com/2014/02/why-you-should-use-legos-in-your.html#sthash.4LLo5lVC.dpuf

Why is There a Lack of Nursery Volunteers in the Church?

nurseryministryWhy is There a Lack of Nursery Volunteers in the Church

Earlier this week I asked my friends on Facebook to give me suggestions for blog ideas. My two older sisters suggested that I write a blog about how great they are. I have to say that could be a funny blog. The nursery director from our church suggested the topic about lack of nursery volunteers. Which I think would be a great blog subject.

            The lack of nursery workers in the church in my observation is a problem that many churches deal with. We were at church when James was little that had a Sunday night service but never had anyone in the nursery to watch the children. There were no young families coming to church on Sunday night.  I was expected to be at church Sunday night with James, who was young enough to be in the nursery. So I went to church and sat in the nursery in the basement with my son. I had no way to hear what was going on in the service. I finally stopped going to church on Sunday night because I was not getting anything out of being there.

            Most churches expect the parents of the children to staff the nursery. The thought historically goes,  once your children grew old enough to leave the nursery, your nursery duties were done. I know nursery directors here this excuse quite a bit.  The conversation goes this way:

  • I have done my time in the nursery.
  • I did when my children were young now it is time for the parents of the children to do it.

So why do we have such a difficult time finding people to staff our nurseries in church:

  1. People do not understand that rocking a baby in the nursery is one of the most important things you could do for God’s kingdom. It is a place for the child to learn about God’s love. When they are in the nursery, they can be taught about God’s love. It is the first place in the church where Christian discipleship begins.
  2. Working in the nursery is not a visible ministry.  Many people prefer the visible ministries “jobs” to the invisible.
  3. Most people do not understand when they are in the nursery taking care of children, they are not only ministering to the children but they are also ministering to the parents. When the parents can sit in the service, they are being discipled and it will make them better parents.
  4. Most people do not understand the need for a well-staffed nursery. Without children in a nursery, the churches’ future is dim.  One of the signs of a dying church is there are no children in the church.

I want to encourage you to sign-up for nursery ministry.  Just think how much easier that would make the nursery director’s job.  The bonus is that you get to make an impact for the Kingdom.

5 Steps to Build Relationships in Kids Ministry

1187648406698Relationships matter. Simple enough; no one will likely argue this point. Ministry is filled with all sorts of ups and downs, but, at the end of the day, relationships continue holding everything together. Beyond hip children’s ministry themes, cutting edge technology implementation, and crazy games with kids, creating bonds, and giving others the opportunity to bond with one another, opens the door to deeper, lasting life-long relationships. Christ, himself, seeks not just acceptance, participation, or compliance; but relationship.

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AUTISM IN THE CHURCH: WELCOMING SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

By Jason Wert

Autism in the church is an invisible problem that is alienating families all over the country.

The 7-year-old boy danced around at the front of the room as the worship team played a song.  His parents made multiple attempts to corral him but to the child he was just fitting in.  After all, the adults were singing loud, waving their arms and swaying.  This was how he waved his hands and swayed to the Spirit in the room.

The adults didn’t see the worship that was happening.  They looked at the child with obvious irritation.  They looked at the parents with raised eyebrows silently asking why they don’t get their child under control.  (As if the parents haven’t been trying to keep him acting in the manner that people want children to act in a church service when child care isn’t being provided.)

With every giggle, every whisper to his parents that was a little louder than a whisper, every fidget in his seat the irritation of those around him seemed to exponentially grow.  People would move away from the child and his family.  The family was made to feel more and more unwelcome.

The child wasn’t just being disobedient.  The parents weren’t just slacking in their duties.

The child had autism.

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Talking to Children About Disaster

TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT DISASTER (PT.1)

I grew up in an area of the country that has been called “Tornado Alley.” My great grandmother was once blown through the air by a tornado and thankfully survived. A tornado recently devastated the small town where my father pastors and took the lives of some of his church members. As a child, I can remember crouching in fear as a tornado roared in the air above our house.

TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT DISASTER (PT.2)

Yesterday we shared insight about ministering to children who are fearful or anxious because of a disaster that happened somewhere else.

Today let’s talk about ministering to children and families who have been directly effected by a disaster. These are tips you can share with parents and kidmin leaders in your ministry.

Teaching Psalm 23

icon-of-the-good-shepherdLast night I was talking to one of the parents at church about the lesson we had during our Wednesday night children’s group which was “You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.” Psalm 23:5.

This winter and spring, the children in our church have been studying Psalm 23. This is something that I had planned to do.  I really try to plan out ahead of time and yet the Lord’s timing was amazing.  I did not know that two of the children in my group would lose members of their family (Both of them had grand parents who died.) In addition, I had no idea that during this time my dad would die. I have discovered that working your way though Psalm 23 is a great way to work through grief.  It has helped me work through the grief of losing my father.

The Wednesday after my father’s death we talked about how “He leads me beside peaceful streams.” Psalm 23: 2a. That night I had planned to have the children water color pictures of a stream and nice meadow.  When the children came they told me that they were sorry about my father’s death. As they painted, they talked about the family members they had lost. I enjoyed listening to the stories they told me. There were moments that night I wanted to cry but I held back the tears. As the weeks have passed there have be more times to remember this Shepherd who comforts us – we learn more about our great shepherd and how cares for us. It has also been a great time to not only help the two children work through their lost but it also helped me. Last time we talked about “You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.: Psalm 23:5 We talked about the history of putting oil on someones head from the times of the kings in the Old Testament to the present time where we use oil when we pray over someone for healing. The topic last night was God heals us with his love. One of the scriptures we read was Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

The girl who was there got really excited about the part of God cares about those who are mourning of a love one. He will bring us peace. I told the children that when our love one has died we may think there was no healing. If they were a Christians, they are in heaven with God. They have received perfect healing and  they are not longer in pain. The little girl started cry. I hugged her and told her it was ok to cry. So you see that we have been working through Psalm 23 together. It has given the children in my group a safe place to share their feelings and talk about their grief. It has also been a place where I can find peace too.