WNMD Kids Ministry Blog

Blog for the Wisconsin/ Northern Michigan Ministries Network Children's Ministries

How I Minister - Jonathan Foster

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Jonathan Foster is the children's pastor at Journey Church in Kenosha.  This past year Jonathan and his wife were able to go up in a hot air balloon as a gift from BGMC for churches giving.   It was pretty amazing because their balloon ride had been canceled MULTIPLE times due to weather.  We weren't sure when it would happen.  I'm glad to say it finally took place and we were excited that they went above and beyond for missions and BGMC.

Ministry Position 

Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at 

Journey Church // Kenosha

Age group you serve 

Birth - 5th

Curriculum you use

For the weekend ministry, we write our own curriculum to align with the preaching in the adult worship services. We call this the "Big Idea," because the same topic, text, and application are present in kids, youth, and adult ministries. This keeps our church united and makes it easy for parents to lead their children spiritually at home. For the midweek ministry, we use Orange 252 Basics and First Look. This is a new approach for our church, after years of modifying and re-writing Ranger and NGM curriculum. Orange gives us a high degree of media quality and interactive lessons for our small groups to use in a discipleship format. But since we just started that this fall, the verdict is still out on how well this will move forward our "Authentic Community" purpose.

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Organized

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

God called me to ministry as I was entering high school, and he replaced my desire to be a multi-billionaire with a desire to shepherd. Through college, I discovered that my passion was to put the best skilled, most educated, and best equipped Christians into children's ministry, where we could make the most impact. Post-graduation and newly-married, I completely failed at landing a job as a pastor. After scrambling for housing and income, I landed a job with an insurance company and began to work in customer service. God used this time to teach me about leading people and how to pastor without having the title of a pastor. After 6 years with GEICO and shepherding a small children's ministry of about 8 kids in Iowa, God provided an opportunity for me to pursue a graduate education. My wife and I moved to IL, where I began 3 years of seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. My final internship at Trinity connected me to Kenosha First Assembly, which had been my family's church for a period of my childhood back in the 80s and 90s. That internship led to a part-time job writing curriculum, which led to a full-time job as a pastor after graduation. Since 2011, it's been an honor to serve at Journey Church and to see God at move in our region.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Journey Kids in Kenosha has 2 age divisions - Elementary (K-5) and Early Childhood (0-5 years). We have 3 services - Saturday night and 2 on Sunday. The primary purpose for weekend ministry is "Passionate Worship," so that's what we focus on with the kids. Through music, Scripture reading, life application in small groups, prayer, serving on ministry teams, and giving through Kingdom Builders, our kids worship on the weekends! We use the "Big Idea" on the weekends, so kids learn the same concepts as the adults, just at a kid-appropriate level.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Wednesday nights we offer small groups to promote the church purpose of "Authentic Community." Kids ages 3 and up are in small groups, often by age/grade/sex, with a Christian adult mentoring them. The curriculum is secondary because the primary goal on Wednesdays is relational. Spiritual growth happens in the context of relationships, and so many kids don't have Christian friendships or mentors! So building those relationships is the main goal!

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Google calendar

What's your best ministry advice?

Lead yourself first. You minister out of your character, so if you are NOT leading yourself in the Word, in prayer, in accountability, in worship, etc. - then you will not have the capacity to lead children. You must set boundaries in place so that you can be spiritually disciplined and grow. The effectiveness of your ministry is limited by YOU. (Scary thought!)

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Journey Church is planting a church in Lithuania, which will be our fourth campus. The campus will be English speaking, but most will also speak Lithuanian or Russian. Few children's resources are available in those languages. There are also significant legal barriers to child evangelism there. So that's going to be an unusual circumstance we face.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

I am so blessed to have a church that believes in TEAM! I have two full-time directors and one part-time admin, and I thank God for them. Few churches invest such resources to get such high-quality folks as my team. Kayla "Elephants-and-Coffee" Johnson oversees our elementary ministry, and Emmanuel "Patriot Nation" Caraballo oversees our early childhood ministry. Annette Bass keeps the calendar and facilities running smoothly. God has an ironic sense of humor because with my team, he gave me 3 "yellows" (on their DISC profile) of various degrees, just because he knew I'd need some chaos, spontaneity, and fun in my life.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

I really use my digital calendar to schedule my weekly tasks. By blocking out time for what matters most (including daddy-daughter dates), I can prioritize and make the most out of my time.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

I am an introvert by nature, so being home on my day off, cleaning my house, playing with my kids, or reading a book is very refreshing to me.

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

"The Connected Child" (Karyn Purvis) on dealing with children who have been traumatized. Also "Hero Maker" (Dave Ferguson) on leadership development of others.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Do the "big rocks" first. There will always be time to take care of the "little rocks."

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

I'm trying to figure out how to change a national culture that devalues investing adult time into children. Our culture continues to grow in self-absorption and the pursuit of pleasure above all things, even at the expense of the development of the basic societal unit - the family. My pleasure trumps spending time with kids every time. We give kids tablets so they won't bother us. We send kids to soccer and baseball without ever playing with them ourselves. And we never think to spend time with the neighborhood kids - why would we? "They're not our problem," right? And then we wonder why we have no volunteers. We must get adults to see children differently! And it has to start with the church.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Jenn Hewitt. She's a smart gal and has lots of ministry experience.

What would you like to ask them?

How does your approach to children's ministry change as you begin the personal journey of parenting middle and (soon) high schoolers? Or does it not change that much?

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How I Minister - Josh Schirpke

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Josh Schirpke is the children's pastor at City Church in Sheboygan.  He has been a color team leader at camp and has led with high energy and spiritual passion.  We love the energy that Josh brings to our kids' camps and thought you should meet the man behind the fun.  

 

Ministry Position 

Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at

City Church in Sheboygan, WI

Age group you serve 

Birth-5th Grade

Curriculum you use

Life Church Early Childhood, Konnect, Go Kids, 252 Basic

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Helping kids to learn about and love Jesus in fun and exciting ways.

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

I didn't grow up in the church. It wasn't until I met my now wife, Becky that started bringing me to church, getting involved in the youth and kids’ ministries and ultimately being called into ministry. I had some great mentors and leaders who helped me to get where I am today, and I am very thankful for them.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

We have 4 classes that we offer for families. We have our Nursery-1, we have our toddlers (2 and 3 years old), Preschool (4 and 5 years old), and our Elementary which is K-5th grade. Our toddlers and preschool students utilize the Life-church lessons with hands-on activities, large group lessons, small group time, and video messages. For our K-5th graders, we start off in small groups reviewing last week’s lesson, praying for needs in the kids' lives, setting them up for the days new lesson. Then we come back together for worship, game, offering, and our large group lesson. After that, we break back into small groups to do an activity related to the lesson for that day and review everything we just learned. If we have time at the end the students have the opportunity to use the game room or activity room before the parents come for pick up.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

On Wednesdays we have more discipleship focused elementary classes. We also have a toddler and preschool class as well.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Bible, ProPresenter or really my MacBook overall

What's your best ministry advice?

Feedback is a gift, positive or negative, learn from it and how to make yourself better in ministry.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Allowing myself to attend an adult service on a Sunday. I just love leading the kids' service!

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

We have an Early Childhood team that focuses on our Birth- Preschool, along with our check-in for both Sundays and Wednesday nights. I plan and oversee K-5th grade with our Children's Ministry interns. We also have a few leaders who lead specific classes for us on Wednesday nights like a 4th-5th grade boys’ group that helps them to really navigate through the Bible and apply what they learned to their lives. I would be lost without each and every one of our leaders. They are the heartbeat to this ministry and are all absolutely amazing!

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Google Calendar, Planning Center, weekly meeting with our lead pastor

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Spend time with my family, golf, watch football

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Surround yourself with leaders you can pour into and do life with and they will be there when you need them the most.

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

How to really minister well to kindergartners and 5th graders at the same time.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Brian Dollar

What would you like to ask them?

Can you sign my book?

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How I Minister - Tim Hartwell

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Name 

Tim Hartwell

Ministry Position 

Family Ministry Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at 

CrossPoint Portage

Age group you serve 

Birth to 7th grade

Curriculum you use

Elevate, High Voltage & write my own.

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Ministering to all age groups through programs.

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

The main driver to who I am is my family upbringing and good choices along the way. I answered the call to ministry late in life.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Corporate worship in the main sanctuary, then group children in a kid-friendly space. Greet kids & introduce the main point. Let the kids know about future activities. Introduce the Bible verse that supports the main idea. Tell Bible Story and support it with object lesson and video. Close and minister in prayer. Review game. Then dismiss to open activity.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

I pray every other day with staff on the needs of the church. Wednesday I minister to the boys through Royal Rangers.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Computer and corresponding software, sound system, display system ie, flat screen, cell phone & a kid-friendly environment.

What's your best ministry advice?

Work as a team. Find a way to lead people into fulfilling their call. Be ready to minister to more not less.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

I have a diverse group of men, women & pre-teens. I assess their gifts, challenge them to be more, then open up opportunities for them to use their gifts.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Pre planning & communicating the plan is the key. Update your leaders weekly and communicate future plans.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

I take one day a week that my day to be with my family, wife, or alone time to recharge.

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Cultivating Christian Character by Chuck Lormis.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Be yourself. Do not try to emulate some else. Do not try to emulate another church. Your church is unique to your community.

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

How to grow the church through family ministry.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Kyle Jorris - Brave Church plant Milwaukee. Kids Church volunteer. Dick Gruber Children's Church pioneer. 

What would you like to ask them?

What do you see is the future of family ministry.

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How I Minister - Jenn Hewitt

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Name 

Jenn Hewitt

Ministry Position 

Kids pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at

Port Edwards, CLF

Age group you serve

Birth- 5th

Curriculum you use

Multiple, elevate, high voltage, my own

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Fun and creative

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

Worked in kidmin as a volunteer. Kids pastor saw a gifting and trained me up. I felt called to ministry at a young age at Spencer lake

Tell us about a typical weekend service

About 120 kids, two services, large group with small groups, worship, game, offering skits bible story and wrap up with application

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Wednesday night Mpact and Rangers, twice a month preteen life groups

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Computer and projector!

What's your best ministry advice?

Be flexible and take correction and critique as a gift

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Working with non-churched parents

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

A large team that is the core of how we operate. Great volunteer culture with an emphasis on appreciation!

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Balancing family with ministry is always difficult but setting rhythms and boundaries is so important

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Get away and take time alone, check out other kidmin leaders, conferences

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

The Holy Hustle by Crystal Stine

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Don’t take everything kids do personally

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Creating new teams for new positions as we grow

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How I Minister - Josh Humpa

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Name:

Josh Humpa

Ministry Position 
Children’s Pastor

Church and city, you are currently serving at 

Oak Creek Assembly of God, Oak Creek

Age group you serve 

Birth - 5th Grade

Curriculum you use

Rainbows, Royal Rangers, Girls Ministries, Life Church Preschool

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Fun

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

I grew up at Oak Creek AG my whole life and jumped into kids ministry as a 13-year-old. I’ve been learning how to do it from hands-on experience ever since then and am constantly hungry to grow and learn.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

We have 3 separate areas (Nursery (birth-2), Preschool (3-5), Elementary (K5-5 Grade). Nursery kids stay in the same room, schedule of activities and lessons for volunteers. Preschool rotates between Chapel, classroom time, craft room, and PlayLand (McDonalds Tubes). Elementary is split in half (K5-2 Grade and 3-5 Grade). One group is in Large Group time, the other in Small Groups based on grades and then they swap. Sunday nights we have Nursery and Preschool open.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Wednesday’s 7 PM. Sunbeams, Rainbows, Girls Ministries, and Royal Rangers. We also have Kids Choir practices about half the year before Wednesday services that bring in a lot of people.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

ProPresenter, Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Premier, After Effects), Pages

What's your best ministry advice?

There are always ways to improve, so change should be welcome and constant.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Sunday nights and the dynamics of Elementary kids being in the adult service to experience seeking God with their parents vs being too young to pay attention.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

Part-time Nursery Director, Preschool Director, and Admin (including Check-In). All 3 are essential in overseeing their areas and without them, I would go crazy.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Artificial deadlines keep me on track. I set deadlines for myself that are earlier than need be but helps me to work ahead when things come up.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Watch tv/movies and eat

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Pray like it’s all up to God and work like it’s all up to you

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Getting kids to own their faith

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

The big shots who have thousands of kids in their ministry currently doing the ministry

What would you like to ask them?

What do we need to consider in order to grow, how do we help kids own their faith, how to structure for growth?

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How I Minister - Philip Hahn

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A new blog feature we are going to be adding is called "How I Minister."  This will be a question and answer time with kidmin leaders in our network and those throughout the country.  It is a time to meet people we may not know real well and be exposed to leaders who minister in churches like our own.  The first person we are going to showcase is Philip Hahn.  Philip is the children's ministry leader in Waukesha and has been in ministry for many years.  

How I Minister

Name
Philip Hahn

Ministry Position 
Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at 

Bridge Church in Waukesha, WI

Age group you serve 

Birth through 5th grade

Curriculum you use

Nursery: writing our own for now. Preschool: Lil K. Elementary: Writing our own, Elevate, KidMo, KIDS Church Disciplemakers, High Voltage, Royal Rangers, Mpact

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Using variety to teach a daily pursuit of Jesus

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

Second generation children's pastor who grew up in children's ministry. Saved at 4, called at 7, never looked back. Want to see kids seeking God on their own outside church. Plus, this is the only ministry where I can do drama, music, magic, puppets, preaching, and video all at the same time.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Nursery: Story time and lots of love. Preschool: large group/small group with a few worship songs and crafts. Very interactive. Elementary: Large group variety show with videos, puppets, costume characters, object lessons, altar calls, games, Bible bucks, toy store, and gaming room. Adults: very modern, casual, and comfortable for people in EVERY stage of their pursuit of Christ from curious drug addicts to people going into full time ministry. Everyone truly FEELS welcome to be themselves here, but most of them are truly making forward progress toward Jesus.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Nursery, Rainbows preschool, Royal Rangers K-12th grade, Mpact K-5th grade, Youth group large group/small group, Adult Bible study, Adult recovery classes

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

ProPresenter, Planning Center (check ins, people, services), Apple :-)

What's your best ministry advice?

Don't do it alone! Spend time with other children's pastors running the same race you are.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

I have more volunteers in kids church than jobs to assign them. The challenge is 20 out of 30 of them are teens who need training to do anything of significance. Scheduling that many people in a way they feel valued and needed is challenging. We are desperate for volunteers in other areas though so don't get the impression I've got the recruiting thing mastered.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

I run programs through coordinators who I work very closely with. My nursery, preschool, Rangers, and Mpact coordinators are my executive team and I pour into equipping them for their ministry. I coordinate Kids Church and try to give everyone opportunity to try and learn everything. There's no job I do that I haven't taught others to do as well. That way, I can leave them in charge without me if ever I need to be out of Kids Church.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

The planner from Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Read my Bible and pray every day, periodically get away to be alone to focus only on Jesus without distraction. Also go shooting, watch Doctor Who, and Make things in my workshop for FCF (Frontier Camping Fellowship – Royal Rangers )* note this was added for clarity of what FCF stands for in a previous post I had the used the word Christian instead of Camping.  This was not Philip's addition but mine - Mark Kilcoyne

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Starting "I Blew It!" by Brian Dollar. Highly recommend "7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Read your Bible and pray every day.

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Can't seem to find people willing to sit at a check in desk all service to greet visitors. Can't figure out why.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Bruce Dailey

What would you like to ask them?

Will you be my friend?

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What I'm Reading - The Grasshopper Myth

grasshoper

Karl Vaters is a small church pastor.  He wanted to be a "Big" church pastor but one day he came to the realization that he was and is a small church pastor.  Most churches in the United States are under 250 people.  These are the people for whom Karl wrote this book. How many time have you gone to a conference and realized that the speaker is from a church that the entire size of his congregation is larger than the county in which our church is located?  Vater's book is refreshing and challenges us to be the church God is planting in our community regardless of size.  One quote among many that struck me was this: "This drive for greater numbers and larger churches has probably resulted in more pastoral burnout than healthy, growing churches.  Not to mention the tens of thousands of confused and damaged church attenders whose opinions and needs were belittled and shoved aside for newer and bigger things.  Many of them left their churches permanently and never went back to any church at all."

Sometimes in ministry, we can feel like a grasshopper in the midst of the giants of ministry.  Karl cites a quote attributed to Elanor Roosevelt who said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  Small church pastors don't have to believe the grasshopper myth.  They are not grasshoppers to God.  They are God's messengers to the communities to which God has sent them.  

Karl tackles the big questions for smaller churches.  "What is biblical growth?"  It's an important question.  "What does Jesus measure?"  We've all heard that healthy things grow.  Karl deals with that in a great way.   The bottom line according to Vaters is this, "All healthy, living things reach their optimal size at maturity, then they grow in different ways from that point on." There is no miracle grow formula for churches. 

One of the things that I really got out of this book is that Vaters is not making an excuse for poor growth principles, instead, he is providing a blueprint for healthful growth.  

As a children's ministry guy, I recognize that often times we swap stories about the size, depth, and scope of our ministries.  (Not really a kidmin only issue).  We do it with camps, retreats, events, etc.  It's just part of who we are as people.  We judge success by size.  I don't think that we can discount that size often times can lead to impact.  But the impact doesn't have to be limited to size.  Whether you have a group of 5 or 50 it doesn't' matter.  What you do with that group does matter.

Karl's blog can be read at https://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/.   I would encourage anyone who is serving in a small church to check it out.  In his last post, he talked about a myth that we often perpetuate.  That myth is that our budget will reflect our values.  Certainly a case can be made for that, however, Karl explains that just because it doesn't make the budget doesn't mean that the value isn't being lived.  Often times in small churches the work is done regardless of things being budgeted.  

The subtitle of the book

is "Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us."  We don't have to be divided on by our size or by our thinking.  There are not a lot of books written for the small church pastor.  This is a good one.  Another book that is older that deals with children's ministries is Rick Chromey's "Energizing children's ministry in the small church."  It was last published in 2008 but has some great principles for small church kidmin principles.  The truth is no matter what size our church is we can effectively reach people for Christ.  

Both books can be found on Amazon.

threehalfhearts

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Drive 'em safely - Two Tools Tuesday

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Spencer Lake Kids Camp is next week, and I'm thinking and praying about our campers getting to camp safely.  
 
Safety is important.  Campers get to camp anyway they can.  They come in cars, buses, vans, trucks, even on motorcycles.  It's such a joy to see them get to camp.  The saddest sight is seeing the bus leave on Friday.  I watch them go down the road and can't wait to see them get back next year.   
 
As I see the buses, cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles drive away I always say a little prayer.  "God get 'em home safely to their families.  Let them be a blessing in their hometowns."  
 
There are two resources that I want to make you aware of that may be helpful as you get kids safely to camp.   They are videos that I found to be helpful as well.  Church Mutual Insurance produced these.  You might recognize a few sites throughout Wisconsin as you watch the videos.

The Road To Safer Transportation

This video should be something that you require your drivers to watch

 

Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection

 

These are useful tools to review and make sure that your drivers are keeping your kids safe.

We all want to see kids have a great time at camp. It starts by getting them here safely.

 

 

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Two Tool Tuesday _ 7_17_18

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Two Tool Tuesday.- Two Websites for Kids Ministry

KIDZTURN LABS

kidzturn labes

Just for those of you who have loved using the programs from Kidzturn labs, I just found out that the programs are no longer being developed but the old programs are being given away for free.  You need to use a windows machine, but if you have one that you can dedicate to these games there are some great games for review.  They are fun and keep working.  Download them now while the site is still available.  

Here are the files that they are making available.

Kidzturn Labs Games
Support for these games is no longer available.

Feel free to download them and use the following Registration Codes to unlock them.

BRAIN BLOX

Reg Code: 1B2D65AF6B

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oleightur31pjgu/BrainBlox_install.exe?dl=0

LOCK OUT

Reg Code: 06C35B7B49

https://www.dropbox.com/s/019q3uzke3kkols/LockOut_install.exe?dl=0

PHRAZE CRAZE

Reg Code: F4DD765C12

https://www.dropbox.com/s/drj7lm063j1aopo/PhrazeCraze_install.exe?dl=0

SCORE BOX 2

Reg Code: BF5EC00B7A

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jalc1yy5hbjfvi7/ScoreBox2_install.exe?dl=0

SCORE BOX

Reg Code: 51122CC3BB

https://www.dropbox.com/s/766pyeus8s639zj/ScoreBox_install.exe?dl=0

STOPWATCH

Reg Code: 19D9484A28

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z6kqd462bgd9lph/Stopwatch_install.exe?dl=0

TIMEBOX

Reg Code: E3F11C8581

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ia2yy4mvmqgqm1e/TimeBox_install.exe?dl=0

TIC TAC TOE 2

Reg Code: 7B75A75550

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wwcqdasnya7klno/TTT2_install.exe?dl=0

ULTIMATE BRAIN DRAIN

Reg Code: C5661187CA

https://www.dropbox.com/s/racol2f6me1w3ow/UltimateBrainDrain_install.exe?dl=0

WORD DROP

Reg Code: 461237B9DB

https://www.dropbox.com/s/scirfbphlqxx9fz/WordDrop_install.exe?dl=0

 

three heart

Kidology

 

kidoloty

 

Kidology is another granddaddy of Kidmin.  Karl Bastian has been a forerunner in kids ministry for years.  It is a membership site but the materials are fantastic.  For years I have been a member and have used resources off and on for the past 20 years.  When I was in Chicago Karl was part of a cohort I was a part of with David C. Cook.  Karl was always the innovator and life of the party.   He showed up with a new gadget or idea nearly every meeting.  

If you are looking for ideas, Karl is an idea machine.  

Karl's book the 4 pillars of Kids ministry is a synopsis of Karl's lifetime invested in children's ministry.  If you haven't read it now is the time.  Check out all the resources at:

Kidology.org

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In Defense of Play

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Does play need to be defended?  Maybe.  Let me explain. Kids have less and less free play time.  It has been declining for decades.  In an article in the American Journal of Play[1] (Yes, there is such a journal) Dr, Peter Gray states that, “over the past half century or so, in the United States and in some other developed nations, opportunities for children to play, especially to play outdoors with other children, have continually declined. Over this same period, measures of psychopathology in children and adolescents—including indices of anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism—have continually increased. “

Gray asserts that free play, (an activity that is freely chosen and directed by the participants and undertake for its own sake) is valuable in the psychological development of children.

In the 70’s and 80’s, you could walk through almost any park in America and find kids involved in free play. Today it is hard to find groups of children outdoors much less at parks. And if you do see them there are coaches and refs involved. According to Gray that in the time period between 1981 and 1997 researchers from the University of Michigan found that six to eight-year-olds had a 25% decrease in time spent playing.

Just ask yourself if you are over 30 years old, do you see more kids playing outside compared to when you were a kid? I know it is markedly different today.   I’m sure that the lure of television and computers have taken away a lot of that free time, but it is still true that most kids would rather have free play outside if given the opportunity.

Parents also fear allowing their kids to play outside. There is the fear of abduction and getting hurt. Parents just don’t trust that outdoor play is safe anymore.

Unfortunately, over this same time period, childhood and adolescent mental health have declined. Researchers have noted an increase in anxiety and depression, a reduced sense of personal control and increased narcissism.

Because the mental health of children has deteriorated that doesn’t necessarily mean it was caused by a lack of free play. However, there is a growing body of evidence that the two are linked. Free play is by definition an intrinsic activity.  There is a reason to believe that a shift from intrinsic motivations and more towards extrinsic motivation children are more apt to feel pressures that in turn breed harmful emotions. Kids today crave adults who provide extrinsic motivation and praise and when that doesn’t meet their expectations they are less secure emotionally.   This leads to narcissism.

Gray then list specific ways that play promotes mental health.

1. In Play, Children Develop Intrinsic Interests and Competencies.

           Kids play because they want to. It is an intrinsic reward. They aren’t working for the trophy, they aren’t striving for the grade. Instead, they play for their own interests. They develop their own competencies as a result.

2.  In Play, Children Learn How to Make Decisions, Solve Problems, Exert Self-Control, and Follow Rules.

           When adults ALWAYS direct the kids, boys and girls don’t necessarily learn self-control. They don’t learn how to solve their own problems. When they are involved in free play they have to learn the skills necessary to decide how they are going
           to play.

3.  In Play, Children learn to Regulate their Emotions.

This is a big one. As kids play they are moving their body all over. They are leap and swing. They have to learn how to regulate their bodies and at the same time they have to learn how to regulate their emotions.   If it is stressful or fearful, they have to learn how to deal with the situation.   I see too many kids who haven’t learned this and when they do engage it is a mess. They are fighting and having meltdowns and don’t know how to regulate their emotions. Play helps them learn the skills needed.

4.  In Play, Children make Friends, and Learn to Get Along with Others as Equals.

Kids learn to get along when they play. If someone is not playing nice kids quit. When kids quit even the child who wasn’t playing nice ends up without people with whom to play.   Kids also learn how to treat one another

5.  Social Play makes Children Happy, and its Absence Makes Them Unhappy.

    1. This seems to be the crux of the argument for Gray. Play is a key to mental health in children. It is not just any play, it is free play. Kids need free play. If they don’t get it our society will suffer.

 

So What Does This Imply For the Kidmin Leader?

I think there are a number of takeaways that we need to be mindful of.

  1. We need to encourage parents to allow their children to have free play.   Kids need to get out and play.

  2. Kids need to have friends that they can connect with.

  3. As kid’s leaders, we need to resist the temptation to minimize play. Play is vital. Kids need to come to our churches and be allowed to play.

  4. I also think that play doesn’t have to be just to teach a lesson to the kids. Play can be spontaneous, and it should be. I know I often feel like every game, every image, every word I say should be tied into the lesson I’m teaching.

I realize that we have only a short time with the boys and girls and that we need to make the most of every opportunity. But maybe sometimes the opportunity is just to play. I also know how I think sometimes. I find a game I like, and I have to think what lesson can I teach? Or I think how can I force a truth into this lesson? I do it all the time. There is nothing wrong with that. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned. But it is just as important to allow kids to develop how God made them. He made them to play. Kids leaders need permission to allow free play.

The church is a place that values the way kids are wired and we need to provide an outlet for their play.

It’s that simple. Play is part of God’s design. How do I know that?  I think play is a Scriptural response to God and His creation.

Proverbs 8:29-31 states, New King James Version (NKJV)

29 When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;[a] And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men.

I want to be rejoicing always before God.  Rejoicing in His creation and delighting in the relationships fostered in play.

I think God can use the church to be a vessel to allow kids to have a safe place to play and learn about Him.  I think the church can also be a great agent of reminding parents and society of the need to foster emotionally healthy kids by allowing kids to be kids.  

 


[1] Gray P. The Decline Of Play And The Rise Of Psychopathology In Children And Adolescents. 3rd ed.; 2011:443-463. Available at: http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/3-4-article-gray-decline-of-play.pdf. Accessed May 11, 2018.

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Two Tools Tuesday 1_16_18

twotools1_16_18

The cellphone is such a game changer in so many ways.  I remember many years ago my senior pastor said he thought the cellphone would have an even bigger influence even when compared to the personal computer.  Now I know a cell phone is basically a computer, but what he was saying was how it would be used.  The cellphone is everywhere.  In 2014 we officially had more cellphones than people.  We haven't looked back.  There are lots of reasons to be concerned, but this is not the intent of this post.  Instead, I will focus on two apps that can make the cell phone something better for those who serve in kidsmin.

 

superbook

1.  Superbook Radio

Superbook radio is produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network and is designed for kids.  It is available for download on the Apple Appstore the Google Play Store.   It can also be found online as well.  They have great family, kid-friendly music and between all the songs there are scripture verses and great spiritual encouragement.  This is not kiddy radio.  This is contemporary and features great artists.  Looking at the recently played list you will find, Rend Collective, Switchfoot, Britt Nicole, Crowder, Skillet, etc.  You can leave comments and even suggest a song.    The radio app is just a part of a larger website called superbook.tv.   From there you can play games, learn how to know God, participate in contests, watch videos, read the Bible, watch Super Book Episodes.  It's very nice.  

In focusing on the phone app, Superbook Radio is also part of a larger network of radio pages run by CBN.  I have a few favorites, for example, I really like the CBN News channel and the Cross Country channel where Country meets the Cross.  But in focusing on Kids, Superbook Radio is awesome.  This is fun upbeat music that encourages kids to follow Christ.      I'm listening more and more to Superbook Radio as I work at my desk in the office.  It is just plain encouraging music.  

 

I give the app 4 hearts.  

4hearts

SBapp 454x307

2.  Superbook Kids Bible App

I thought I would keep on the Superbook train.   I really like their Superbook Kids Bible App as well.   It is available in a number of languages and can be used on your Apple, Android, or Amazon devices.  

There is a lot to like about the app.  There is a full-text Bible available.  That is huge.  So many times kids Bible apps only give Bible stories and not a full-text Bible.  This one is different.  I appreciate that.  It's nice to be able to read a full-text Bible.  It also says to kids that the Bible is more than a storybook.  It has instruction and teaching that isn't necessarily a story.   

In the app there are Bible questions and answers, there are games, videos, and you can watch Superbook episodes.  Superbook is a great way to listen and watch the great stories of the Bible. The animation is beautiful.  This is not the Speed Racer animation from back in the 80's.  No this is modern animation and great storytelling.  What is really cool is that they can be downloaded to your device so you can watch them off-line.   Not all episodes are on the app, but enough to know you might want to get their other episodes.   There are also daily quests. These make kids want to come back for more.  I really like what they have done with this app.  If you don't have a favorite kids Bible app, this one is worth checking out.  

Here is a link for more information: http://us-en.superbook.cbn.com/app

 

I give this app 4 hearts.  

4hearts

 

There are so many great apps for your smartphone.  I'm sure in the future I will be giving more time to these.  For now, these from CBN are a great start.

 

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Two Tools Tuesday 1_10_18

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In starting the new year I had a couple of thoughts about starting the year right.  Of course, prayer is one way to start the year right.  In church, we have started with a week of prayer.  It is a great emphasis.  I know many of these saints who are part of this concerted prayer effort don't just pray during this one week.  They are ready to pray every week.

Although this is not a tool, we should be utilizing and mobilizing the efforts of these prayer warriors.  

So here are the tools or ideas for today.

 

kidminprayerteam

1.  Kidmin Prayer Team

 

There are men and women in our churches who maybe can't help in kidmin on Sundays, but they are willing to help throughout the year by praying for your kids and ministry.   Maybe they are older and don't have the energy needed for preschoolers, but they can pray.  We all need prayer covering and support.  When people pray for your ministry they hear from God.  They get a heart of compassion for the kids.  They become advocates for what God is doing in the kids ministry.   

Every time there is an event, mobilize the prayer team with information about the upcoming event.  They will pray.  When I bought one of my vehicles a few years ago I opened the gas tank cover and inside the cover was a round sticker.  It just said every time you are filling your car with fuel, take a moment and pray for the organization that sponsored the sticker.  What a great idea.  You could give all of your prayer team one of these stickers and encourage them to place them inside their gas tank cover.  

This leads me to the second tool for Two Tools Tuesday

 

club52

 

2.  Club 52

 

Club 52 is an idea I have implemented at a couple of churches.   This is a club for people who want to be advocates for the kids ministry.   These are men and women who again may not be regular parts of the kids ministry and yet they may be.  They agree that for 52 weeks they will pray for the kids ministry and they will partner with the kids ministry by supporting the ministry.   How do they do that?  Of course through prayer, but then they can also participate by agreeing to give $1 dollar a week for the year.   In the end, they will give $52.  Most people just make out a check once.  With those funds I let them know that we will use them for outreach to kids in your community and help kids get to events like Kids Blast and Kids Camp.  When people know they are helping with those events, they are often very happy to help out.  Then about once a quarter I would send them out a newsletter letting them know about our needs in the kids ministry so they can pray.    The commitment is for one year.   After the year you can start again.   I think it helps to do it starting in January.   Especially during the week of prayer.  

And this being Wisconsin and we are surrounded by Clay Mattews jerseys, it would help to promote your Club 52 by wearing that around when you ask people to join the club.  

One thing you will want make certain of however is that your senior pastor is on board.  I don't see this being an issue, but others might want to use this idea for their ministry and it could become an issue.  So tack and partnership may be a good idea.   

 

I can't think of anything so important as bathing your ministry in prayer.   Get people involved.   Let them share the blessing.  I know their hearts will be changed and I know it will make a difference in your ministry.  People will be seeking God on your ministries behalf.  When their heart is in it they will be proactive to see you effectively reach the kids of your community.   

 

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Two Tools Tuesday 12_26_17

twotools12_26_17

It's getting close to the new year and it is that time when New Year's resolutions become a part of everyone's thoughts.  In the next couple of Two Tools Tuesday's I will be focusing on tools for the new year.  One of the resolutions I make every year is to read the Bible through the year.  I also like to explore new devotional guides for the year.   For this Two Tools Tuesday, I am going to focus on two Bible apps.  Both are by the same organization but serve two different clientele.  

 

youversion

The Bible App

The first tool is the YouVersion Bible App.  It can be downloaded for your phone, for your tablet or your computer.  I use the app every week and love it.  You can take God's Word with you where ever you take your devices. It is a free app and it is free from ads.   It has been installed on nearly 300 million devices.  That is a lot of devices.   I install it on nearly every device I have.   As a leader for kids, you can't teach from what you don't know and what you don't experience yourself.   God's Word needs to be the source of which we understand God and communicate His love to others.    

Here are a few things I really like about the app:

1.  Bible Versions - Pick your favorite version of the bible and download it to your device.  Regardless of whether you have internet or not,

you can read God's word on your favorite device in the version you prefer.

2.  Devotionals/ reading plans - There are hundreds of devotionals and or reading plans to choose from.  You can read the bible in a year, you can choose a devotional for a season in your life.  You can have multiple reading plans that fit where you are.   

3.  Verse of the day -  I can't tell you how often the verse of the day was just what I needed for the day.  It has been powerful and helpful.

4.  Share Verses.  You can highlight verses, take notes on verses and copy verses to take notes while you are listening to a sermon.  Keeping up with your pastor is easy.  I like to use Evernote to take notes and go to the Bible app to copy the verse references made by the pastor.   I have created a workflow that is fast and later in the week I can review the pastor's notes from the sermon.  It makes taking notes in service easy.  

5.  Events - One feature that I find to be under-utilized is the church events tab.  Pastors can put their sermon notes in the events section with key points, Bible references, an outline.   It is a nice feature, but I don't see many people using it.

One thing that is nice but I'm not so sure whether I like it or not is the bible book function to look up verses.  It is all alphabetical on my phone.  It is not separated by Old and New Testament.   It sure makes it easy, but I don't know if it helps when you open a paper bible.  

I give the Youversion Bible App 4.5 stars.

fourhalfhearts

 

bibleappforkids

The Bible App For Kids

 

The final app for this Two Tools Tuesday is the Bible App for kids.  

 

Again it is available for phones and tablets.  It is created by the same group that produced the Bible App, Life Church.  One Hope has also contributed to making this app available all over the world.   It is a kids bible that is animated and is told in Bible stories.  As you finish a story there is an award for your accomplishments.   You download each story and it can be read to you and you can complete an activity with your children.  You can choose which stories you want to read with your children.  

I also like the fact that they have questions that check for understanding.  That is a nice tool and helpful in working with your kids.  

It is a bible story app.  It contains stories.  As such it is for younger children and not for older kids.   The graphics are great and the stories aren't too long.  However, it is not a verse by verse bible.  It is a collection of Bible Stories with activities.   For younger children it is great.  

You can download the app in the apple store, or the Android Store, or on Amazon.  

I would give the app 3.5 hearts

threehalfhearts

 

 

 

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TWO TOOLS TUESDAY 12_19_17

twotools12_19_17

This week in TWO TOOLS TUESDAY I want to focus on two productivity tools that I am currently utilizing and find helpful in specific situations.

 

PRODUCTIVITY

doodle

The first tool I want to mention is Doodle.com.  Doodle makes scheduling meetings a snap.  Instead of going back and forth with emails with everyone telling you what days they can't meet, doodle lets you poll your participants and find out what day works best for everyone.  You can see in real time what the best day/time is for your meeting.  It really works well and is quick to set up

Screen Shot 2017 12 19 at 12.40.25 PM

 

I've used it to find out peoples preferences for outings during our Kidmin retreat.  You can be creative.  You can make a quick poll for most anything you want.  There are other tools out there and I am also partial to Survey Monkey.  But this is great.  It is quick and it looks great.  In Kidmin it is a great way to set up meetings with your leaders.  Your leaders don't need an account and it will integrate with most calendars that are out there.  I use it and I like it.  There is an app for android and IOS.  It is slick and quick.

If anything I wish it had more bells and whistles.  But for the graphical feedback it is good.  

Check it out at http://www.doodle.com

I give doodle.com 3 hearts out of five.

three heart


survey monkey 520x200

The next tool that I use when I'm not using doodle to poll people is Survey Monkey.  They have sooo many tools to make a great survey.  Founded in 1999 they have been around a while and they claim to be the largest free survey tool on the internet.  I don't know that for sure.  But I do know they offer a pretty good free plan.

For free you can send out professional surveys, get great looking results and data and share the results easy enough.  For free you can send out an unlimited number of surveys to 100 people or less.  That is pretty good and for many kidmin purposes that is all you need.   

With the free plan, you can set up surveys with 10 questions or less.  That again is a great number.  Who likes to sit and fill out really long surveys?   With the paid plans, of course, there are more bells and whistles and in total transparency, I've never found the need to have a paid account.   

There are mobile apps for Android and IOS and this is a great way to track your results or even set up an on the fly survey.   

And unlike doodle, there are over 13 question types and over 40 short survey templates come with the free account.  You can insert video and image questions, you can create rating questions, you can create quizzes, matrix questions, you can randomize questions.  It is a robust tool.  

So in the spirit of Two Tool Tuesday, I've created a two-question survey on Survey Monkey.  (actually, it's three questions) You can take the survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T6875QZ

Survey Monkey is great.  I give it 4.5 hearts.

fourhalfhearts

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FINISH STRONG 12_15_17

finishstrong12_15_17b

 

What keeps you up at night?  Not much for me.  I go to sleep right away.  But if something has me thinking late into the night, it is the 4/14 window.  It is the opportunity we have to reach kids for Christ.  I'm also aware that the window is getting smaller and younger.  To finish well, we must reach this age group and we must reach their parents.  Today I discovered something that shocked me and kinda shook me a little.  I'll explain just a little later.  But first, here is a quote I have been pondering this week.

 

1.  QUOTE

Twenty years ago, the phrase was, ‘If you don’t reach a young person by 18, you probably won’t reach them. Now, atheists and agnostics have the same access to your kids as you do; it’s just one click away. The Internet has leveled the playing field, and now if you don’t reach a child by their 12th birthday, you won’t reach them.”  - Josh McDowell

 

The 4/14 window is real.   We need to reach kids now.   I'm so appreciative of the 4/14 movement men and women who continue to keep this before us as  minister to kids.  Just this past week I had the awesome opportunity to preach at one of our churches in  our network.   One topic that I never get tired of talking about is reaching kids.   As we get near the end of this year we realize that our opportunity to make a difference in 2017 is coming to an end.  We had all the Christmas programs and are getting ready for our Christmas services.  

From the 10/40 window to the 4/14 window.   

In 1989 Dr. Luis Bush described the 10/40 window and it was an inportant concept in world missions.   What he basically said was between 10 degrees north and 40 degees on the equator lies the greatest unreached peoples of the world.  90 percent of that population is non-Christian.  What a great missions opportunity.

In 2008 Dr. Bush spoke of a new window - the 4/14 window.  Between the ages of 4 and 14 nearly 85% of the decisions for Christ are made.  It is also maybe the largest unreached group in the world.  Over 2.4 Billion people are between this age.  Unfortunately, it has been reported than only 3% of our world missions is spent in reaching kids.  

This has to be an area of concern.  So I'm thinking on this

 

2.  Video 

Here is a great video on the 4/14 movement

 

A SHOCKING REALITY

This opportunity to reach boys and girls is shrinking and just today I realized that we all need to do our part and be a part of this movement.  Just today I went to go on the http://www.4to14window.com/ and realized that the website is closed.  It has expired.

I started thinking about our part in reaching this generation.  I pray that when families who have kids in this age group, when they show up that we are available to share the Good News with them.  

I have sent a Facebook message to their Facebook page.  I hope this is just a temporary situation.   I realize that websites come and go, but it hit me today.  I want to be there for this age group.  I don't want our ministry to this age group to expire.  We need men and women to champion the cause of Christ by reaching this group. Maybe you will be that one!

 

4.  The Source

preschool3

The source is a great opportunity to bring your whole children's ministry team for connecting with other kidmin leaders, being equipped for ministry and being inspired. 

It is because of the Source I know that we are equipping leaders to reach this 4/14 window. 

We have classes for elementary leaders, small group leaders, preschool.  

January 12 & 13
 
Fox Valley Christian Fellowship
1200 West Kimberly Ave, Kimberly, WI
 
Learn more at:
 

5.  Tru Fire Demo

 
Finally, we have a fantastic presentation of the Tru Fire curriculum at The Source.  If you are using the curriculum and want to learn more, or if you are thinking about using the curriculum this is a great opportunity to hear Alycia Horn from the National Children's Ministry Leadership team give a great demo.   If you are just interested in learning some new techniques to add to your kids ministry group, you won't want to miss this.  
 
trufire2
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FINISH STRONG 12_1_17

finishstrong12_1_17

We've entered into the final month of 2017.  Here are a few thoughts as we get ready to finish the year. 

 

QUOTE

1.  Dan Gable

Yes, it's wrestling season and I'm excited to watch high school and collegiate wrestling.  The guy who I always equate with finishing strong in wrestling is Dan Gable.  Gable only lost one match in college. As a matter of fact, he went 64-0 in high school and 117-0 in college.  He had already won two NCAA titles and he was prepared to finish the season undefeated and a three-time NCAA champion.  But the unspeakable happened.  Maybe the largest upset in wrestling history.  Gable lost his last match.  So how is that finishing strong?  Let me fill in a few details.  There was this guy Larry Owings who knew that if he wanted to be known as the best he had to beat Gable.  He dropped two weight classes to wrestle Gable.  He came with one thing in mind, beat Dan Gable.  So on that fateful day on March 28, 1970, going into the final period Gable was leading 10-9.  Gable didn't want to win by one point he wanted to pin Owings.  Gable went for it but then Larry Owings did a move on Dan Gable he had never done in a college match before.  He completed a leg sweep on Gable and exposed his back for points.   Owings went on to win 13-11.  The watching world was astonished.  They came to crown Gable but the tables were turned by the giant killer Owings.  Gable was stunned and received his second place award with his head lowered and a tear in his eye.   He felt he had let everyone down.   But the crowd kept cheering.  One of Gable's teammates told him they won't stop until he raises his head.  He raised his head and the crowd stopped.  That moment as hard as it was defined Gable.  It is the stuff of legend.   

Gable later said,“I say that I went undefeated for seven years, lost a match, and then I got good,” 

Gable went on to defeat Owings later for the US Olympic team.  Then he went on to win the Gold medal at the Olympics in 1972.  He went the whole tournament not being scored upon.  In world competition that is so impressive.  He went on to be a legend as a coach and a competitor.  He didn't let that last match defeat him, he finished strong.  As 2017 is in the last period, it is important to finish strong. 

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable

MINISTRY APPRECIATION

picture perfect32.  Thanks for a Picture Perfect Year!

The servant leaders in our ministry need to know that they are appreciated.  Actually, it needs to be done often.  But at the end of the year, it is a great time to show appreciation to those who work so hard throughout the year.  This is a great time to head out to the store and buy popcorn tins and other items as appreciation gifts.  They don't have to be expensive but they can say a lot to our leaders.   If you look at Pinterest there are so many appreciation ideas.   Here is one link that has about 150 ideas to show appreciation to our kidmin leaders.   

https://www.pinterest.com/shawnjones873/childrens-ministry-appreciation/

No matter what time of the year it is appreciation is important.   Although I like the big appreciation banquet, it is not the same as weekly giving an encouraging appreciation.  Various little reminders like the ones shared on the Pinterest page are a constant reminder that you thought of them during the week.  If I'm going to finish strong in ministry I have to appreciate the team that serves with me.   In kids ministry, it is often people who are not even in the same room as me.  They may be down the hall working in the nursery or the pre-school.  They don't see me.  They need me to be intentional in sharing my appreciation.

Another element of appreciation is finding out birthdays and anniversaries.   One thing I have always appreciated about our Superintendent Larry Liebe is I know I will receive a phone call on my birthday.   It's something that is not really big and certainly not expensive, but it is relational.  And relational ministry is a ministry that lasts.  

 

 

 

BGMCCHRISTMAS

FINANCIAL PLANNING

3.  It's the end of the year as we know it.

One of the tasks can get away from me if I don't take the time to plan ahead is the BGMC year-end.  We have been having a good year in BGMC and this last month can get away from us if we don't plan ahead.   Some churches hold their BGMC offering until the end of the year.  So it is important to talk to your treasurer about getting a check out for our missionaries.  Mary Boyd has put together an article about some last minute items that you may want to consider for the end of the year.  

You can read the article here:

BGMC END OF YEAR INSTRUCTIONS

 

As a network, we have helped our missionaries all over the world.  It has not gone without notice.  I hear from missionaries often how they received the necessary funds to fulfill a project in their ministry.  This has come through the help of boys and girls throughout our network and throughout the country.  As we get to the end of 2017 let's make it a great finish in BGMC! 

 

SourceWebBanner2

TRAINING

4.  THE SOURCE

The source is a one-day training for your entire kid's ministry team.  This year for the kids ministry training we have preschool training and classroom training for teachers whether they lead a small group or a small ministry.  It is a time to come and connect with other leaders in our network and on your own team.  It is a time to be equipped and a time to be inspired.

We are excited to announce that one of our kidmin breakouts will feature a demonstration of the TruFire Curriculum.   This will be taught by Alycia Horn who is the Children’s Ministries Director of Discipleship for the Assemblies of God Children's Ministries Department.

Alycia will also be teaching a session on ministry to children. She is formerly an elementary and middle/high school educator who had the opportunity of working in both a Christian and public school setting. She was distinguished as Southern Indiana’s outstanding educator when receiving the Teacher of the Year Award and Kentucky’s WHAS ExCel Award for her innovation and enthusiastic teaching methodology. She’s worked in youth and children’s ministry for 16 years and counts it a privilege to be apart of helping kids fall in love with Jesus. One of her greatest passions is mentoring young girls and holding Bible studies in her home. Alycia and her husband Ryan, of 15 years, reside in Springfield, Missouri.

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You can find out more about THE SOURCE at the studentmin website:

http://studentmin.com/the-source-conference/

 

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THE IMPORTANT STUFF

5.  Family

The final month of the year is often filled with all kinds of buzz and excitement.  There are kids programs, church programs, school programs.  The month can be a program.  One of the things not to neglect in this final month is our family.  Our family can often take a backseat if we let it.  During the end of the year, it is time to finish strong.  Every year at the beginning of the year I plan out my calendar.  This month I put on the calendar a couple of weeks of vacation. If I don't plan it, it will get away from me. 

Finish strong and keep your family dear this December.

 

 

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Two Tools Tuesday - 11_28_17

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It's another Two Tools Tuesday and I have been thinking about this next tool all through the Thanksgiving Holiday.  

1.  KIDMIN VIDEO OPTIONS

rightnow

The first item I want to mention is RIGHTNOW MEDIA.  This is a great option for offering to your leaders and parents great kidmin videos.   This is a virtual video library for the entire church to utilize in discipleship.  There are great book studies available.  Nearly every popular Christian teaching book has a companion video in the library.  It is a gift that you can give to your families and leaders.  It is a great way to have a leaders bookstudy.  Give everyone a book and then have them watch the videos at home or at the church.  Leaders can watch the lessons online, on a smart tv on their phone, on a Roku device.  It is widely accessible.  

Then there is the Kidmin portion.  Nearly every Christian kid's series is available.  The boys in my Royal Rangers class get to watch about once a quarter an animated Bibleman video.  It is only about 12 minutes long and they love it. 

The material is customizable for your church and I think it is a great option.

For a monthly fee everyone in your church gets free access to the video library.  Watch this video for a quick explanation.

Check out all the options at:

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/home

 

2.  LEGAL THOUGHTS ON VIDEO

I travel to a number of kids churches throughout our network and see so much creativity.  Sometimes some of the great creative material I see is the use of pop culture video clips.  These are clips for TV and movies that kids are already talking about.  Many of these clips are downloaded from Youtube and shown in the church.  One thing I would urge caution about is using video clips and/or whole videos without a presentation license for the church.  Maybe you have a movie night at the church.  You should have a video license.  With a Church Video License, you can legally show videos in your church.  The resource that we utilize is CVLI.  

They have two packages.  One is the Producer Package that covers over 1,000 studios and producers.  They also have a cheaper package that covers only Christian studios and producers.  With your license, they have something called ScreenVue.   They give you over 7,000 video clips that are packed with ideas and cover themes that save you time looking for that perfect illustration.  They package it all.  You start with your theme and use their search engine and you can download a clip right from their site.  The great thing is the clip is licensed and you don't have to worry about wondering about your legality.  It is really nice.  

Check it out at:http://us.cvli.com/

 

 

 

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FINISH STRONG - 11-23-17

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It's Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for.  I know that I do.  Being thankful is such an important element of ministry and kids ministry.   Today I have 5 things that I am thinking about Thanksgiving that relate to ministry.

Quote

1. “It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” –Tim Keller

I really like this quote.   As a leader and a children's leader, I think it is important that we show thanks not only to God but to those with whom we work.  Thanksgiving is more than a feeling it is an action.  It is with word and deed we thank those with whom we work.

Video

 

I was pretty surprised and amazed the other day.  I showed a picture of Bob and Larry from Veggietales to my Discovery Ranger boys on our club night and they had no idea who they were.   So this is probably new to a lot of people.  It is the Thankfulness Song from "Madame Blueberry."  It is an entire lesson on Thanksgiving.  This one minute song is appropriate for today.  I would suggest anyone who has not seen "Madame Blueberry" check it out.  It is one of my favorite Veggietales episodes.  

 

 SCRIPTURE

3.  Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him."

 

JUST THE FACTS

4.  Thanksgiving can be a fabulous time to bring our families together to give thanks.  It can also be lost in the eating lots of food and watching endless hours of football.   It is important to remember the origins of Thanksgiving.  David Barton of Wall Builders has a short article that reminds us of our first Thanksgiving.   https://wallbuilders.com/celebrating-thanksgiving-america/

 

PARTING THOUGHT

I am so thankful this year and I just want to say how thankful I have been to serve under the leadership of many men and women of God.  I am particularly thankful this Thanksgiving for the ministry of our District Superintendent Larry Liebe.  After 40 years serving in our district office, he has announced his retirement to start in June.  He has been a great leader and knows how to show thanks to those with whom he works.  Thank you, Larry, for your leadership and example.

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TWO TOOLS TUESDAY - 11-21-17

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Periodically on Tuesday, I will be posting two tools that I use.  These may be personal productivity tools.  They may be tools I use in Kidmin.  They may be tools I use in other ministries.  It may just be a plain old tool I find cool and useful.   

Personal Productivity Tool


Evernote

EVERNOTE

Just about every week I use Evernote.  I have tried so many different note-taking apps and Evernote is my go-to.   It is cross-platform and can be used on my desktop, my phone, tablet.  Just about anywhere!  So what can you do with Evernote?

  • Evernote is designed as a digital safe deposit box.   It contains notebooks, and topics and you fill those notebooks with notes.  
  • You can write notes
  • Search all your notes for a key phrase.  Boy, that is always helpful.  You can also have tags that you can use to sort like-minded notes.  
  • You can create checkbox todo lists,
  • you can use a chrome extension and save helpful articles from the web
  • The ability to attach files to notes as well as picture

 

It is so good and it is free.  There is a paid version but the free one is probably more than most need.   

 

So what would be a few good uses in Kids Ministry?

1.  Quotes - find a quote and write it down.  Find it later in your digital brain.  If you are at a conference take you notes at that conference give them a tag.  Tags are awesome.  You can group all your quotes into certain tags.  

2. Volunteer Gifts Ideas -- See an item while you are out shopping or online.  Download it to Evernote.  Save it for later.

3.  Articles - Find a super great article on nursery care.  Put it in Evernote.  Give it a "nursery" tag and you can find it later.  Maybe you want to share it with your nursery coordinator.  You can do all that in Evernote.  Maybe you can't read the article right now but need to later.  Save it to Evernote.  I did this just recently.  I'm glad I did.  I had children's pastor call me and ask about the very subject I just stuck in Evernote.  I was able to share the article and recall where it was because Evernote had it waiting for me.  

4.  Remember where you parked -- Are you out at the MegaMall and can't remember where you parked?   Take a picture of it in Evernote and there it is.

5.  Business Card Reader -- Take a picture of the business cards you get at a conference.  The OCR reader in Evernote will read the text of the cards meaning you can search for that person later.  You can give them a tag and then they are cross-referenced to the conference.

6. Kidmin Shopping List -- Do you have shopping to do for next Sunday?  Put it into Evernote give each item a checklist and off you go.   I know I often write things on a scrap of paper and lose the paper. 

7.  Meeting Notes.-- In staff meeting and taking notes?  Evernote is a great note-taking app.  So you get tired of writing?  I do as well.  Take a picture of whatever is on the screen and put it into your notes.  Evernote is great for this.  It's cross-platform so when I go to my desktop all of my notes are there as well.   That is awesome. 

8.  Tax Exempt Form --You are out at the MegaMall and need to make a purchase for your kids ministry.  But you left your tax exempt number and form at the office.  Take a picture of it in Evernote.  I've used it many times this way and it has saved me a few times.  Maybe it is the combination of the closet you hardly ever open.   It remembers.

9. Voice Memos-  Out for a walk and need to make a note.  Make it a voice memo.  

10.  Prayer Journal - Kids give you prayer needs?  Write them in Evernote.  Keep a running log.  Mark when they are answered.  

 

Those are just 10 ways to use Evernote.  Send me a note telling me how you use Evernote.   I think it is awesome and I use it every day.  You can take a look at Evernote at the link provided. https://evernote.com/

 

Tool Box Tool Number 2

Story Telling

story

I am so enthralled by good storytellers.   If there is one tool that I want to continue to work on it is storytelling.   I think it is one of the good keys to being a great kidmin communicator.   Sometimes I will be visiting a church and they will want me to come into the kids church and "do something"  I may not have brought anything with me.  There is where a good story comes in handy.   Just this past Sunday I was in a church for some consulting and they asked me to "do" something in the kids church.  So I was able to do a story in about 5 minutes.  With the story, I did a little paper tear as well.  It went well and they were pleased with the story and it led to an opportunity to pray for the boys and girls.   

As I write the Two Tools Tuesday articles one thing I will be searching for is good storytelling resources.  Today I want to highlight 2.

 

1.  Evernote. -- Evernote is a great place to store your stories.  You can give each story multiple tags and when you need to have a good story it is right there to refresh your memory.  

2.   Tim Sheppard.  Tim is a storyteller from England and he has a website that deals with storytelling.  The helpful link on this site is the storytelling FAQ.  There are a ton of storytelling resources there.  Check out his FAQ at:http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/faq.html  The other page that he has that is very helpful is this resource page for storytelling: http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/

 

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5 Things To Finish Strong - 11-17-17

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Ending the week and finishing strong.  These are 5 things I am thinking about going into the weekend.  These are five tools, thoughts, ideas, books, websites or observations on life that I want to have in my life as I finish the race strong.

QUOTE: 

1.  Quote, I'm pondering this week.  - If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God. -D.L. Moody   Coming From D.L. Moody this is an incredible quote.   Moody was an incredible organizer, an incredible evangelist and here he says what he would do if he had to do it all over again.  As I finish the week I'm also thinking about what it takes to finish the race.  It's why I still volunteer in Royal Rangers.  I can't relive my life so I want to finish it right.  

SCRIPTURE: 

2.  "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win."  1 Corinthians 9:24

3.  In my Royal Rangers class this next couple of weeks I'm teaching lessons on leadership.  A couple of things that stand out are using a child's name when addressing them.  This is so important.   Kids and adults love to hear their name.  As a leader, we need to use the first name of the boys and girls we lead.  Jesus tells us that a good shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:11).  He calls us by name.  
 
VIDEO
 
4.  The boys and girls of our communities are calling on us to be the church.  To be the church we need to connect with Christ and find His plan for our community to reach our communities kids.   I really love the videos that are produced by the Max7 organization.  If you are not familiar with Max7 they are a storehouse for children's ministry materials that are shared with the world of children's ministry leaders.  Here is an excellent video.  I often share this in sharing spreading the word for the need of kids ministry.
 
  
 
 
WHY THIS BLOG?
 
5.  This is my last point of this week.  It is my goal to keep writing each week at the end of the week 5 things that are spurring me one to keep running the race.   What is that keeps my wanting to reach kids for Christ?   I will share quotes, scripture, videos, thoughts, other blog posts.  Maybe it will spur you on as well.  I am doing this on my own for my own growth but I want to share it as well.  
 
I hope to make it a weekly feature, it may not be that.  But if I can I will.   If you would like to subscribe to the posts you can use the subscription button above.  
 
 
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