I love when I go to a family's home and see their fridge covered in Memory Verse magnets from our children's ministry. Every month, I make memory verses magnets for all the kids, and we practice the verses every week in church, as well as encourage kids to practice them at home every time they see them on the fridge. The kids have one month to memorize two verses.
On the last Sunday of the month, all of the kids who can say both memory verses completely get a prize out of the treasure box. We call this Memory Verse Challenge, and the kids love it! I've even had parents and volunteers tell me this is a great way for THEM to memorize Scripture.
I like to do different things to mix it up as we help kids memorize the verses. Sometimes we play games to help them learn the verses; sometimes we make up motions, and sometimes I use songs. You can get some good Scripture song resources from Group or from Seeds Family Worship, or even from just doing a youtube search with the verse reference.
The important thing we do is explain to the kids as often as possible how important it is to hide God's Word in their hearts. We help them understand the importance of keeping His word with you at all times through memorizing and meditating on Scripture. We remind kids that it's not just for them to be able to say the words, but to know them in their heart and let God change their lives through His Word. We ask kids to tell us what the verses mean in their own words, and how they apply to their lives.
We also give memory verse magnets to our preschoolers (age 3-5), and they do the same thing (theirs are the same verses, just shortened a little). Some people may think that young kids can't memorize Scripture.... but we have had some of our best memorizers in our younger classes! Over the summer, one of our preschool teachers challenged her class of 3-4 year olds to memorize the entire CHAPTER of Psalm 23, and we had quite a few little ones who did it, and got the prize of their own Bible!
We tell the kids that when they know Scripture, God can bring it to their mind when He wants them to hear it, and they can also always be ready to share God's Word with others.
It amazes and inspires me to see kids who love the Word and get excited to learn Scripture, and I love hearing stories of how God's Word impacts their lives and how they are living out the memory verses at home!
Since I've posted a little about our memory verse magnets, I always have other children's pastors ask where I get them.... I make them every month, and it is so simple; anyone can do it! I will include instructions and a free template for you to use.
I create the memory verses on an app called Rhonna Designs ($1.99 on the iPad or iPhone). Then I print them out and get them laminated and cut (I use Office Depot for this, but you could do it yourself), and put a small piece of magnet tape on the back of each one.
Here are some free resources
List of Memory Verses for Kids for a two year rotation - We do a two year cycle; at the end of one year, kids should be able to say 24 verses; at the end of two years, they should know 48 verses!
21 Ideas to Help Kids Memorize Scripture - Here is a list I've put together of 21 fun ideas for helping kids learn Scripture. We like to mix it up and help kids learn in lots of different ways!
Memory Verse Magnet Template - You can download this one and make it your own, or just use it as an idea to customize one for your church. (Tip: When you go to print them, change the settings to '6' one one page, otherwise, you'll end up with one big picture; and I adjust the space between them too, to make them easier to cut)
Shaping Kids' Faith
Children's ministry is the privilege we have to shape kids' faith, to help them learn to trust God, experience Him, and know Him. It's so much more than just entertaining kids, although it should be FUN! It's so much more than just babysitting kids, although it should be SAFE and SECURE. It's more than just teaching about the Bible, although kids SHOULD learn the Word of God through everything we do.
It's all those things, and more. It's catching their hearts, and helping point them to the Lord. It's brining them to the feet of Jesus, and letting Him change their lives and speak to them. It's giving them a chance to experience a God who relates to them and loves them ON THEIR level - not just the way adults relate to Him.
It's giving kids a chance to know their purpose and see their value to God, to feel His love and to worship and connect with Him. Children's ministry is an opportunity to shape kids' faith!
Every time our doors are open, we have an opportunity to shape their view of God, their relationship with Him, their worship, the way they see themselves and the way they see God. God allows us to be the vessels to bring His message, and to bring kids to His throne.
I am continually reminded of the importance of children's ministry, and the true purpose, although it is easy to forget and get caught up in the details of children's ministry. As children's ministry leaders, we can get caught up in planning events, recruiting volunteers, building sets, prepping supplies, choosing curriculum, solving problems, or so many other things that come with the job. But we can't forget the true purpose of our calling - to point the hearts of the kids to the Lord.
When we can force ourselves to see that purpose, even in the midst of the details, that is when true children's ministry happens. Volunteers are drawn to a ministry where they can live out God's purpose and passion for their lives. Kids will connect with God and have real, authentic relationships with Him and you will see fruit in their lives.
I have had the privilege of meeting with an awesome group of preteens over the last few weeks, and talking about leadership. It is amazing to sit down and talk with them, and hear their hearts and see what awesome kids they are, and dream of all the ways God will use them. And He IS using them! One little guy told us about how he prays for the salvation of his non-Christian friends, and tells them about Jesus. One little girl shared that she started a prayer group during her recess. Another little girl shared that she recently went on an overseas mission trip, witnessed to another child, and led the child to Christ! Kids are amazing!
If you are in children's ministry, always remember the high purpose of your calling, and don't let your volunteers forget the value of shaping the faith of children. Every minute we have with kids is an opportunity to impact their eternity.
What an honor it is to be able to lead a child to the Lord and see Him transform their lives! We should be ready to help kids respond to Him and make life-changing commitments whenever the opportunity is given.
Many people are saved as kids, which makes them one of the biggest mission fields in existence! They are building their foundation for the rest of their lives (and eternities), and we want to help them grow strong roots and become strong in their faith. Kids are naturally curious and formidable. Kids may not understand EVERYTHING about salvation... but I believe adults don't understand everything about salvation either. That doesn't stop us from believing. I know I didn't understand everything about salvation when I was saved at age 17. Kids can have a true grasp of what it means to be forgiven and to have a relationship with Jesus. We know from the Bible that Jesus loves children, and He wants us to bring the children to Him. That is what this is all about- being prepared to bring kids to Jesus. That's what children's ministry is all about.
Here are some tips for leading a child to Christ. Included at the bottom are some resources you can download and use in your ministry. We don't do "altar calls" too often, because kids can feel a lot of pressure or not truly understand. It's more likely that kids will make commitments in their small group setting, with a leader who has been mentoring and investing in their lives, and can answer their questions and have a real conversation with them. Altar calls can be a great way to inspire kids to make a commitment for God.
We encourage parents to be the ones to have faith-conversations with their kids and pray with them to accept the Lord.
Three Steps for Children's Ministry Leaders
1. Empower Small Group Leaders to have faith conversations with kids.
2. Fill out a Commitment Card.
3. Celebrate and connect with parents. Provide resources for growth.
Tips for Small Group Leaders and Kidmin Leaders
Important things to remember….
1. Don’t do all the talking. Ask questions; let the child talk. Let the child ask questions, and help him/her look up the answers in the Bible.
2. Don’t use big or confusing words. Instead of the phrase ‘Ask Jesus into your heart,’ which is too abstract for kids to understand, use the phrase ‘Ask Jesus to be your very best friend.’ Avoid big words.
3. Say It. Ask the child to communicate what he/she is doing, to make sure they understand. Ask if he/she has any questions.
4. ABCs. Go through the ABCs with the child, and use a Bible to help the child look up the Scripture verses.
5. Pray. After going through the ABCs, pray with the child. Ask if he/she wants to pray too.
6. Celebrate! Tell the Children’s Pastor, who will follow up with the child’s parents. Fill out a Commitment Card (1 for the child, and one for the church to keep). We will follow up with Next Steps for discipleship for the child.
A- ADMIT you are a sinner & ASK for forgiveness!
B- BELIEVE in Jesus as your Savior & BECOME a child of God
C- CONFESS that Jesus is Lord & CHOOSE to follow Him daily!
Click below to download
Question - do you remember when you gave your life to the Lord? Who prayed with you and inspired you? Mine was my youth pastor and his wife, at age 17. They eternally impacted my life, and I am forever grateful for them and their investment in me and bringing me to the Lord.
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!
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 David C Cook or any church.