Child Discipleship: STIMULATING CHILDREN TO APPLY TRUTH

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe kids were full of energy as they came into the Gathering Room and sat down with their Discipler to begin the morning, “Say, who can tell us what we talked about last week?”

SILENCE

 The above is probably a scene that would be replayed across the world on Sunday mornings if such a question was even asked.

       WHY AREN’T WE MORE INTENTIONAL IN THE CHALLENGE AND        FOLLOW THROUGH OF APPLYING THE TRUTHS WE TEACH?

In a perfect world parents, THE Primary Disciplers, of the child would:

  • Be leading their children through continual informal discipleship –starting with the ride home from church, they would carry on a discussion of  that week’s Bible truth and continue the interaction throughout the week – to help with this they would have been given a guide on Sunday morning.
  • Set aside a time each week for Family Time when they have a formal discipleship time based on the lesson their kids learned that week.
  • Help their child develop the habit of daily Bible reading – read a short passage each night that relates to what they studied Sunday.

 REALITY

Parents aren’t being discipled themselves so they don’t have the absolute and undivided self-dedication to God that it takes to put God first in everything they do – thus the intentional discipleship of their children is most often left to the Family of God.

 Sunday Plus Curriculum is written to assist the Family of God in presenting the challenge as well as stimulating the kids to respond.

 Truth or Desire

 In the elementary Sunday Plus curriculum this little game  challenges the kids to critically think through their personal application of that week’s Biblical truth. It is played as part of Midweek Celebration or is played the following Sunday.  Go here to see two applications of Truth or Desire.

Go-and-Do Challenge

Each week the 5th/6th Graders receive a Go-and-Do Challenge. Their mission, if they choose to accept it, is to complete a specific Challenge by the following Sunday.

Click here to read a Go-and-Do Challenge

 What intentional steps does your church take to make sure the children are growing more in love with the Triune God each day and thus desire to apply the truths they are taught?.

Sunday Plus also has the tools mentioned above to help Primary Nurturers continue discipleship at home.

 

 

Posted in applying biblical truth, Child Discipleship, Children's Ministry Training, Christian Parenting, Church and Home, Discipling Children, Equipping Parents to Disciple Children, KidMin Curriculum, Kidmin Training, Preschool Sunday School Curriculum, Primary Disciplers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Are You Modeling A Walk of Faith for Your Children?

CubaA Step of Faith

 There were about nine of us huddled in the kitchen when the mother of the home began sobbing. At first quietly. Then no one could ignore it. Looking at my husband, Joe, I nearly panicked, managing a whispered question, “What have we done?”

It had all begun when Joe hung the phone up from a business call and turned to me, saying, “We are going to Cuba.”

“Cuba?” I responded in a shaky voice.

(Have you ever read a book and thought as you read, “God will never ask me to do that?” That had been my thought when I first read God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew. Little did I know that one day God would call Joe to join the staff of Open Doors.)

“We will be taking Bibles and other Christian materials to believers in Havana,” Joe explained.

 “What about the kids?” I asked.

“We will have to find someone to stay with them,” Joe responded with confidence. Our closest family lived over 1,000 miles away – who would take three high energy kids for 10 days?

Now, a few months later, we were standing in this kitchen in Havana trying to be quiet so that the neighbors, or someone on the street, wouldn’t hear us. I looked at our translator for help, what was happening?

The translator spoke to the wife in Spanish – suddenly he began to cry too. I looked at Joe his face showed he was as troubled as I was.

Then the translator explained – making Joe and me break down and cry.

The mother explained, “Last week I was so depressed, things were so bad I felt we must be wrong that there is a God. I cried to Him saying that if He truly existed would He send someone to tell me. I never expected that He loved me so much He would send someone from the United States to tell me.”

Never in my life had I KNOWN that I was where God wanted me to be in a precise time and in an exact location.

 It had all begun with a step of faith. I will never forget the feeling of trepidation as I looked out the window of the airplane at the ocean below and wondered what was going to happen in the days ahead.

It didn’t take just OUR faith. When we got home we learned that the couple who had stayed with our children had been chastised by Christian “friends,”  “If Joe and Wanda don’t come home it will be your fault. If you hadn’t agreed to stay with their kids they couldn’t have gone.”

Now we know it wasn’t all that dangerous of a thing to do for us – it was more dangerous for the Cubans with whom we visited. However, at the time we didn’t know that so fear and trepidation was involved, requiring a step of faith, even for our children who were 10, 9 and 7 years old at the time.

What is God asking you to do to model a walk of faith for your children? God may not be calling you to go to a restricted country to bring support to the Christians, however I do believe He calls each of us to step out of our comfort zone to serve Him.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead ” (James 2:14-17 ESV)

 Kids need to experience the power of God in their lives. That happens when Mom and Dad walk a life of faith – when they are continually walking out of their comfort zone to serve God.

For this to be truly effective it must be done out of a love relationship with Jesus Christ, trusting him to give you the faith you need to follow him (Ephesians 2:8-10, Mark 9:24). It can’t be driven by a check-off list. Don’t try to look like someone else. Do what God shows YOU to do, not what someone else is doing.

Look with expectation toward the walk of faith God the Father has planned for you.

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Child Discipleship: PRESENTING SCRIPTURE – Each Sunday Different

2012-11-10 001 2012-11-10 018Sunday the story was Jesus walking on water; we had laid a two-by-four on bricks and told a child to walk across the wobbly two-by-four. While the child walked across the other kids were yelling at the child and we had hair dryers blowing on him.

At the opposite end of the two-by-four a child stood holding a picture of Jesus. Amazingly every child who stayed focused on Jesus made it across without falling off. Every child who took his/her eyes off of Jesus fell off the boards.

Then, immediately after this experience the kids gathered their Bibles, and they sat down in their two teams to play a game of Pictionary. One child on each team was secretively told something to draw; as they drew their teammates searched Matthew 14:22-33 for the answer. As soon as they told their Discipler the correct answer a second kid ran with the answer to the Story Specialist who then gave her the second clue.

Chat ‘n Chew follows the scripture presentation – it is a time when they sit with their Discipler and critically discuss how the scripture applies to them today. Remember – they have just experienced the importance of staying focused on Jesus, they intuitively know what this means.

RESULT – that next week a Mom was aware her son was having a rough time at school and was amazed when he came home with, “Mom I’ve gotten through this week because I’ve stayed focused on Jesus like when I walked on water.

Each Sunday the kids experience something different – however, they always dig into the Word.

Here are some of the different ways the children experience Scripture.

  • Kids study a tray with items; then they study the scripture to find items that were on the tray. For extra points they tell how the item fits in the story.
  • As Story Specialist tells the story the children put pictures in proper order. Then using the pictures they tell the story back to their Discipler. Bucks are given if everyone participates and pictures are in order.
  • Two men act out Cain and Abel.
  • Story is dramatically read aloud.
  • Readers Theater
  • Story Specialist mimes the story while the kids try to find each particular verse in the scripture. Then can the kids tell the story back to the Discipler?
  • Each Trek Team given a prophecy to study, they create a skit to explain the prophecy to other teams.
  • Treasure Hunt through room or full facility – they will need to take their Bibles with them.
  • Boxes are laying around the room; as the Story Specialist tells the story of Nehemiah the kids are divided into family groupings and directed by Disciplers to build the wall.
  • As story is told kids are pulled out to play different parts – everyone eventually involved.
  • Game of Concentration to learn about the Disciples.
  • A party celebrating the marriage of an older couple in the church and who should show up but Jesus and his disciples.
  • Eight vignettes depicting the Beatitudes – children go from station to station and have to write the number of the vignette station next to the correct Beatitude it is depicting.
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Skits – kids are given a sheet of paper with questions which they are to answer – Bucks are given for each correct answer.
  • Kids are taken on a hike during which Jesus joins them. Jesus leads the kids in a game when one of the Disciplers complains he is hungry …
  • Younger kids go on a scavenger hunt and bring back items to Older kids to find in the scripture. Older Kids explain connection to younger kids.

The list could go on – you get the idea.

Make every Sunday Creative and Fun.
Make the kids participants in the story not just observers.

One sixth grader told her mom she could hardly wait until Sunday because she didn’t know what was going to happen, “I wonder what crazy thing they will have us do this Sunday?”

If you don’t want to create your own take a look at Sunday Plus Curriculum.

 

 

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Child Discipleship: IT IS TIME TO PREPARE FOR EASTER

voyagerspictureFree PDF downloads of Preschool Palm Sunday Lesson and the Preschool Resurrection Sunday Lesson.
These preschool lessons correspond with the elementary lessons for Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday.

Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is the greatest celebration of the Christian Church.

Without Resurrection Sunday there would be no Christianity. Everything we believe rests on this historical fact…

The Son of God came to earth, He walked amongst humans, He died on the cross taking man’s punishment for sin and God raised him from the grave.

Jesus Christ conquered death. 

This day of celebration can become ho-hum as we “celebrate” year after year. There can be a tendency to trivialize it as we find ourselves just going through the motions of something we did the year before, and the year before that, etc.

The creator of the universe died an AGONIZING death
for 
YOUR sake!

Take a moment to ponder that truth. Your eternity is dependent on this truth.

Resurrection Sunday is significant because it is personal. If it isn’t personal it has no meaning.

If you don’t stand back in awe of what Jesus has done for you how will you ever lead the children to that place of awe?

Do you dare to experience His power this week? Do you dare to give Him complete control of your life?

Curriculum





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Child Discipleship: Come Grow A Child In The Love Of Jesus

images (5)Are the children in your children’s ministry excited about being there on Sunday morning?

It was Sunday morning between services, I walked down the hall and heard a child screaming so I quickened my pace, a mom was saying to her 4 year old, “But we are going to a birthday party- there will be games and ice cream and cake.”

I don’t care,” he cried, “I might miss something here.”

I stood behind the mom going, “Yes, yes!”

ANOTHER MEMORY

A macho sixth grade boy, I was never sure what he thought of church, approached me one Sunday, “Wanda, I have some friends I want you to meet.” I looked beyond him and saw several boys following after him.

“I wanted my friends to experience Prime Time because I told them this was the best most fun place to be on Sunday morning.”

This was a kid who came from a “fringe” family.  They were moving out of town and he wanted his friends to know what they were missing out on before he left.

It happened that this family moved back to our community in a year.  The sixth grader’s brother who was now a fifth grader came to me the first Sunday they were back and said, “It is so good to be back here.  This is a much better church to be at.”

I was shocked. In their new community they had gone to a large church with all the latest children’s ministry glitz – I couldn’t believe what he had just said, “Why is our church better than that church?”

He looked me in the eye and said, “Because you love us.”

Wow!  Do the kids you work with know you love them?

How did the kids know I loved them? How did the kids know that their Disciplers loved them?

Because they had fun? Sure there was a lot of fun on Sunday mornings, but he had way more fun at the other church.

Was it about using glitz and the latest high tech curriculum – nope, we didn’t, but the other church did.

We were intentional in meeting the real needs rather than just felt needs of kids —— kids need to know they are loved, that they are valued

We were intentional in making sure each child had an adult who connected with him according to his unique needs.

Below are some links which build on the vision of training Disciplers to walk with children through life so they know they are loved.

Adults laughing and crying with children – being vulnerable.

Every Child Can Be A Winner

Relational Ministry Begins In The Nursery

Classroom or Club? 

Disciplers and Specialists

Sunday Plus Curriculum is written with the intention of guiding a church in purposeful discipleship of children.   For more information on Sunday Plus Curriculum go here.

Posted in Being Vulnerable with children, Child Discipleship, Children's Ministry Training, Discipling Children, Kidmin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Walking With God Through A Difficult Year

2012-05-22 027

I miss my beautiful roses.

One year ago this month I was diagnosed with cancer – I was terrified. Little did I know how my cancer would be the least traumatic portion of the walk God had in store for me through 2013.

In the midst of those scary months I couldn’t believe that it was possible to still be used by God. A quick, simplified overview of my 2013…

  • Husband in the hospital 4 times – second time doctor told me he was going into dementia, he wasn’t.
    • While husband was in hospital and I was preparing to go into hospital for cancer surgery my doctor said my heart was bad so I couldn’t have surgery – I was hospitalized for tests to discover heart was fine.
    • Cancer surgery was delayed but all went well – was a stage 1A.
  • We lost our home because husband couldn’t work for several months – and at the same time lost all of our retirement.
  • In the midst of all this I was humiliated and shamed by someone I thought loved me (not family). Though the individual has told me they were wrong and asked for forgiveness and I’ve given it the repercussions still exist, so I have to continually forgive.
  • Another relational attack. I was told by someone else, in regard to our losing our home and all of our retirement, “I’m sure God will take care of you, we all make ‘mistakes.’ God took care of David when he made his ‘mistakes.’” I knew she was really saying, “Wanda, you and Joe have sinned so God is taking everything away from you. Though you deserve this punishment God will still take care of you.”

Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with children’s ministry.

I recently sat on my 14 year old granddaughter’s bed sharing with her some of the difficult walk God has taken me through. As I talked she welled up in tears.

Me, “You’ve had a very easy, very good life. I know that all of your life will not be as easy as it has been.”

She, “I know. It scares me to think what I might have to look forward to.”

What can we do to prepare children
for what they might have to live through?

Kids need adults in their lives, other than mom and dad, who know them well enough to talk about not just the joys of their lives but also the difficulties.

  • As Children’s Ministry leaders we must train the adults in the Family of God to share the reality of life with the children. Vulnerable Adults
  • As adults we must seek God in every detail of our own lives – only when we desire to walk with God as Noah, Abraham and Enoch did will we have the story to share of how God has been with us through the trials.
    • Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation… But take heart I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
    • An acceptance by those who walk with God – life is a war. “To him that overcometh…” Revelations 2:7
    • Conscious repentance leads to unconscious holiness. Oswald Chambers.

Do you challenge your Children’s Ministry staff to such a walk?

  • Teach your adults to tell the children how they have experienced God in the midst of their difficulties.
  • Teach your adults to share scripture that pertains to what they have walked through.

We have just moved into a small apartment that meets our every need. In the need to down size I went through the files I’ve kept over 40 some years of ministry and found oh so many treasures.

I opened a file and a letter slipped out. I began to read the 4 page, 8 1/2 by 11 handwritten epistle.  The more I read the harder I cried. 40 years ago God had a dear friend write a letter He knew I would need in 2013. My friend was telling me of her encounter with God, she ended her letter with this, “I Praise God for your boldness and perseverance which finally got these dry bones filled with marrow. Jesus isn’t finished with us yet! Let us continue to take giant steps with Jesus so that our spiritual growth will never stop.”

God had gone before me and prepared this letter for such a time as this. It meant oh so much more than if it had just been written yesterday.

I’ve reconnected with my friend and am thrilled to hear her story of her past 40 year walk with God.

God isn’t finished with me yet – He can still use me. Perhaps even more so because of the difficult walk He has taken me on through out my life.

Posted in Being Vulnerable with children, Child Discipleship, Children and Persecution, Children's Ministry Training, Christian living, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: ARE YOU A HEZEKIAH?

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
2 Kings 20: 16-19

If you are a parent do you live your life so you will have peace and prosperity irregardless of what it might mean for your children?  Do We Over Protect Our Children?

If you are a Children’s Pastor/Director do you run your children’s ministry so the kids want to be there today but you haven’t given serious consideration to what they really need today to walk with God into eternity?

CHUCKY CHEESE CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

 

 Kids love it! Today they love it and  have fun. However,  there is no lasting change, the church isn’t essential to them, it is fun while it lasts. Sadly it is too much like going to Chucky Cheese  and the day will come when they grow out of it. Children are entertained they aren’t discipled.

One day we will stand before the Lord of lords and the King of kings and He will judge us -

  • as a parent
  • as a Children’s Ministry Leader
  • as the Senior Pastor of a church
  • as a member of the Family of God

Matthew 18: 1-14

If Jesus became angry with His disciples because they minimized the children’s need to know Him how does he judge us?

Mark 10: 13-16  

Each person in the Family of God is called to play a role in the discipleship of children. O Israel – a call to all who walk with the Triune God.

Deuteronomy 6

Can you imagine what would happen if The Family of God took seriously Jesus’ challenges and warnings in regard to the discipleship of children? A sleeping giant would be awakened.

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Child Discipleship: Kids Need Vulnerable Adults

Faithful adults teach that God is faithful.

Faithful adults teach coping skills for the hard knocks of life.  By being role models, they help children learn how to deal with the injustices in life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was between services and I walked into the children’s wing when one of the third grade Disciplers stomped out of her room. She was headed in the opposite direction when she saw me, swung around and began talking before she reached me, “I’ve had it! This is the last Sunday I’m going to let myself be tortured by those kids. They don’t want to be here, they don’t like me, I am finished find someone else.

“What is your lesson about this Sunday?” I somehow calmly asked.

“It’s on how God gets us through hard times,” she grunted.

“Well, has God helped you through a difficult time recently?” I questioned.

“You know He has.  My husband filed for divorce and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.  Without Jesus walking with me each step of the way, I don’t know how I would have survived.”

“Well, tell the kids about your struggle,” I suggested

“My third graders?  Tell my third graders about my divorce?” she asked hesitantly.

 “Yes, tell your third graders.  They need to know that God helps people today.
They need to know that you are a real person
with real problems.
They need to know God is sufficient for our problems today.”

 The next week as I entered the children’s wing between services the Discipler appeared out of nowhere and grabbed me, her face streaked with mascara.

“You won’t believe what happened today,” she said excitedly.

“Tell me!”

I told them all about my divorce.  I began to cry and they cried with me.  I told them about how God has really helped me.  Then, one by one, each of them told me about a tragedy in their own lives.  We all cried with each other.  It is the best morning I have ever had.”

Faithful adults can identify needs.

By being open and vulnerable with her third graders, the Discipler gave the children permission to be open and vulnerable with her.  She heard stories of homes that were falling apart, of families needing support and encouragement, and of children needing to know that God can meet all their needs – today.

Most importantly in that one hour the Family of God had become essential to that group of third graders. They bonded with their Discipler who they now knew hurt just like they did. Suddenly they knew this was someone they could trust – someone who truly cared about them. They were eager as she led them in flipping through the pages of the Bible discovering how it applies to them today. Each Sunday there was an intensity as they listened to what she shared  - all because one adult who walked with God trusted Him enough to be vulnerable with a group of third graders.

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KidTrek Sunday Plus: Church Transitions and Kids With Disabilities

Every Children’s Pastor/Director should read the following post. To read the full post click on the heading.

Dr. Grevich is someone we should all follow for great advice/education to help us better serve children with disabilities.

Church transitions and kids with disabilities

LeahWith the beginning of a new school year in Northeast Ohio, we can look forward soon to the beginning of a new year to for kids and families in our church programming, even if we can’t look forward to four months of winning football.

Transitions are highly anticipated by most kids and families. At the church we attend, preschoolers entering kindergarten start to attend elementary school large group worship next Sunday. Kids entering sixth grade begin middle school programming and small groups. Ninth graders have their own Sunday evening worship and start “house groups” the following week.

Kids with “hidden disabilities” and their families may not look forward to these transitions with the same anticipation as their peers at church…

Continue Reading here

 

Posted in Autism and Children's Ministry, Child Discipleship, Children and Disabilities, Children's Ministry Training, Discipling Children | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT JUSTICE

CHILD DISCIPLESHIP:   TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT JUSTICE

three girls2 Though a child can be a winner – he cannot win at everything.  When we create a pseudo-world where every child wins at everything we buy into one of Satan’s lies.

God has not created any two humans exactly the same. The Father has a plan and a purpose for each human that is unique. This means that some of us are able to do things that others aren’t capable of doing. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31)

When we give kids the impression they can win at everything we are setting them up for failure.  It is important that we train them up in truth which will then lead them in the way they should go.

As humans we have an innate desire for good and noble things – but is it good and noble for everyone to be able to win at everything?

 We are created for another world.  We must help our children “set their minds on things above, not on things of the earth.”  Colossians 3:2.

If we teach children that they can have justice today in this world we are feeding them a lie.  Though we seek for justice in this world ultimate justice will only be realized in heaven.

Tommy, the boy with Tourettes Syndrome became a youth pastor when he graduated from college. He had obstacles to overcome that another kid in the same Children’s Ministry, who also became a youth pastor, didn’t have to overcome.

The adults in his life had helped him discover God’s purpose – I’m sure he is an amazing example to kids who also have challenges to overcome.

 From a human perspective life isn’t fair. One day we will have a different perspective – I’m believing it will be a time of, “ah that’s why. . .”

 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28 ESV

 

 

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