This Sunday is NFL Sunday at our church, and I'm pumped! We're playing lots of fun games and teaching kids about living the ADVENTURE of being on God's WINNING TEAM! We're bringing in 4 Former NFL players to talk with the kids, and all the kids will get free pics and autographs and a chance to win cool prizes!
What is your church doing to celebrate the Super Bowl?
Click HERE to download a fun NFL Trivia PowerPoint Quiz for this Sunday in kids church!
*For my Eastgate friends... NO PEEKING until Sunday! =)
Earlier this month, we did a church-wide fast. I wanted to get kids involved and find a good way to teach them about fasting. So I did some research. I spent hours looking online, and not finding much AT ALL for teaching kids about fasting. The only thing I found was a fasting calendar.... then God put this idea on my heart as a fun and engaging way to teach kids about fasting.
This was a fantastic way for kids to learn in a hands-on way that they can understand. I came up with a lesson, based on the object lesson of an empty cup- which represents us as we empty ourselves from the distractions that keep us from focusing on God, and the way God fills us up. He fills us with His love, His strength and grace, and His Spirit.
The lesson was fun for the kids, but my favorite part was getting to give the kids their own Fasting Cups to take home. We don't just want kids to focus on what they are GIVING UP, but on what God can do to FILL them up. We didn't encourage kids to fast from meals, because their growing bodies need nutrients. Kids would get two cups: one that says "GIVE UP" and one that says "FILL UP." Each cup had slips of paper in them. They would do a drawing a few times a week; one drawing would tell them what they would give up for one day (TV, cell phone, sweets/junk food, etc.) and one cup would be something they could do to allow God to fill them up (Read a certain Scripture, memorize a verse, write a prayer, etc.).
It was really cool to see the kids involved in the church-wide fast, and see their dedication. I had parents tell me that even when THEY started to "cheat" on their fast, their kids would remind them about fasting and the importance of it! The kids inspired me with their hearts for God. I love hearing stories of kids living out their faith at home. The fasting cups were just one simple tool to help kids connect with God at home and live out their faith.
If you want a copy of the lesson "Fasting for Kids" or more info about the cups, click HERE to get this resource from my store.
My husband and I finished the 21 Day Daniel fast last weekend, and it was a great experience for us, although I'm glad to get back to eating regular food!
Two weeks ago, our lesson in kids' church was based around the main idea that God shapes us and stretches us. I gave all the kids a silly band, to help them remember this main point. How many parents do you think asked their kids as soon as they picked up them "What did you learn today?" I think most parents ask that question, and the kids had something fun to remind them of the main point.
Last week, I shared about helping parents become empowered as the spiritual leaders in kids' lives. Many parents are doing an awesome job at this, but some are at a loss for what to do, and end up just leaving it to the church to disciple their kids. That's why I look for lots of ways to work WITH parents to help teach and lead kids spiritually. I look for ways to put tools in their hands, and make it easy to take the lead in their child's spiritual walk. I shared last week about our Family Advent Devotional Boxes we gave out at Christmas, and this week, I want to share about something I give families every week.
Children's Ministry Magazine recently published an article called "The State of Family Ministry" which asked parents and children's pastors to grade themselves and rate their church's efforts to help parents minister to their kids. Their findings were interesting, and it was noted that many parents appreciate Take Home papers and helpful tools churches send home to assist them in leading their kids. I have tried lots of different ways to communicate with parents and help connect what is being taught at church with kids at home. I've tried hand-outs and emails/newsletters, parent meetings, etc. Here are two simple ways I have found to be effective at connecting the Bible lessons at home....
1. Let the parents know what the Bible story is. It can be a poster with the weekly Bible story and main point, an email, a text (I'm about to start texting it to parents), a Facebook Post- whatever works for your parents! But it's important to let them know WHAT the kids are learning, so they can talk about it and make connections at home. Some churches do this via their app, or even making CD ROMS for parents and kids to listen to in the car. I don't give out paper hand-outs, because I have found that they mostly end up in the trash can or the floor boards, but I DO give out paper handouts for nursery and preschool classes, because those kids don't have the verbal skills to communicate the Bible story to their parents.
2. Take Home Object. Every week. This is a simple way to help kids internalize and remember the Bible story, as well as help parents make connections and start conversations with their kids. Each kids church lesson should be able to be summed up with one main point, or one sentence, to drive home the truth.
Every week, I give the kids a simple object to take home, as a reminder of that main point or truth. Sometimes I have to get VERY creative to come up with something, but it's always something small, easy, and fun for kids. It's something tactile, to remind them of the Bible truth, something they can put their hands on. Something they can keep at home to remind them of that lesson.
I've given out rubber bands, rocks, cups, tiny pirate telescopes, marbles, and so much more. It's something different every week. The kids never know what surprise they are going to get to remind them of the day's Bible story, and parents know they can ask the kids about their object, and how it relates to what they learned in kids' church. I think a tiny message in a bottle is more fun than a take-home paper handout, and it can say just as much about the Bible story.
A mini mirror can remind kids to be a reflection of Jesus; a penny can remind them that 'In God we Trust,' a balloon can remind them to be FILLED with the Spirit, a rock can remind them that God is our rock and our strength. It takes a little effort and creativity, but that's what makes ministry fun and engaging for kids!
I always want to look for ways to help kids connect Bible truths with real life, and make the Bible come alive to kids in ways that are fun and relevant for them. This is a small object that can make a big impact in making faith connections with kids at home.
Next week, I will share about our Fasting Cups we sent home with all kids for our 21 Day Church-wide fast.
The 2018 Boxes are now available.
If you're looking for a great resource this Christmas to help families grow in their faith together, this has been a fun and easy way to do that.
One of my goals as a children's pastor is to empower parents to be spiritual leaders. God designed families as His number one plan for discipleship for kids. There are many parents who are doing a great job with this, but many parents also don't feel equipped to lead their kids spiritually. The church should be ONE avenue for kids to grow as disciples, but not the ONLY place. Leading kids spiritually doesn't have to be complicated- parents can weave faith conversations into every day life at any time!
I am always looking for ways to help bring tools and ideas to parents for teaching and leading their kids. One thing I did this Christmas season was send home Advent Devotional To Go boxes with every family at our church. I had never seen or heard of anything like that before, so I wasn't sure how they would go, but they were a hit! They were gone very quickly, and people even wanted some for friends and neighbors!
The goal of the boxes is to get families talking together in fun and easy ways, that engage kids at any age. Even my 3 year old nephew loved the one I sent him in the mail!
Each box contained 10 Devotional Cards and 10 small, simple objects:
Each object corresponds with a devotional that the family does together. The devotional cards are labeled and in order, and the kids can take out the object while the family reads the instructions to see how it goes along with that day's devotional and Scripture. The idea was to get kids involved with hands-on devotionals using simple objects, and get families talking about Scriptures and praying together. It's not complicated, but it can be a powerful way for families to connect and grow together!
If you are interested in this resource, you can get it for only $10 by clicking HERE.
This is just one way I hope to empower, equip and partner with parents in the journey of raising kids who are strong and devoted disciples.
Children are a Gift
kidmin leader, mother, and servant of the Lord.
These are the views of Lynne Howard, and are not necessarily the views and opinions of any church.