Doing, Knowing or Relationship – What Do You Emphasize?


How it thrills our hearts to see children reading their Bibles – especially when they are excited to read the Bible.

What is our real desire for the children as they gain Biblical knowledge?


Recently two books have been given to me that have taken me back to my earliest memories: lying in bed – recapping my day with my best friend, Jesus. As a child I was so aware of the love of the Triune God. I was also aware that I could grieve God – not because someone told me, but because I just knew in my inner spirit. I can take no credit for this – it was a gift from God.

As a child I couldn’t have told you what Grace was, nor could I tell you what ultimate Truth was (well I could but I wouldn’t know that was what I was telling you). What I did KNOW was that I had an amazing relationship with the Triune God who was with me every moment of every day – He never left me. I KNEW that God loved me more than any other person loved me. I KNEW that though I was teased at school because I couldn’t speak right and because I was fat that Jesus would always love me. He was my best friend with whom I could talk continuously.

Throughout my life I’ve been blessed to have an amazing relationship with the Triune God.

Shouldn’t this be the ultimate goal for leaders in Children’s Ministry? Children developing a dynamic relationship with the Triune God.

What gets confusing and difficult is that:

  1. We must KNOW who God is and what He has done for us before we can truly love God.
  2. The result of loving God is the desire to obey.

Why do these two statements cause confusion as we disciple children to walk with Almighty God?

It is easier to quantify and test knowledge than it is to see concrete growth of a relationship. It is gratifying to see results which lead us to unconsciously put more emphasis on knowledge than on relationship.

This is true of obedience also – it is easier to grade obedience than relationship. (Click here for Legalism Begins in Children’s Ministry  )

Children’s Pastors/Directors do not sit in their offices and think, “How can I raise up legalistic, pride-filled children? We just do it.

(Pride fills them up because of all the knowledge they have without the relationship).

When my youngest child was born (43 years ago) I was so panicked that my three children wouldn’t walk with God into eternity I began crying out to Him to show me how to raise children so they would walk with Him. I continue to cry out to God – how do we raise up children to walk with You into eternity?

I am going to continue to ponder this – in my next post I will share what I believe the Lord is showing me on how to CONCIOUSLY get around the trap of raising up legalistic, pride-filled individuals.

Ponder this for yourself and share what you believe the Lord shows you.

If you want to read one of the most important things I believe the Lord taught me which shaped not only my parenting but also how I led Children’s Ministries click here My Heart’s Cry




Posted in applying biblical truth, Child Discipleship, Children's Ministry Training, Christian living, Fruit of the Spirit, Helping Children to build a relationship with Jesus, Kidmin, Legalism in Children's Ministry, Teaching children to be legalistic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Gospel Scavenger Hunt




GOD LOVES YOU GOSPEL TRACT   This is the link to the tract mentioned below in the curriculum.

Don’t go past page 17 of Gospel Tract in a group – go through remainder when they come to you one one.

For more on presenting the Gospel to children here are a couple of links.

Presenting the Gospel to Children
Salvation Terms Made Concrete

This is a review game to play after you have gone through the gospel with the children.



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Child Discipleship: Chairs, Tables, Benches or Floor?


The Discipler and 2nd graders sat on the floor huddled together deep in conversation; they hadn’t even noticed that I stood at the door listening.  


Mrs. A:       This has been a great discussion, who has a prayer request?

Jacob:        (Hesitantly) I do. (Then he sat there – quiet)

Mrs A:        (Reached across the circle and laid her hand on Jacob, she knew what was                               happening in his life, gently she encouraged) What is it Jacob?

Jacob:        (Barely at a whisper; everyone leaned towards him) Tomorrow I have to                        tell the judge if I want to live with my father, my mother, or my grandmother. I                   don’t know what to do; I love all of them.

Mrs. A and the other children drew in close to Jacob and began to pray for him. Yes there were tears – mine included.

Imagine this scene but the children are sitting on chairs at a table, what if they had been sitting on benches? Would Jacob have even shared his deepest need?

I am a big believer in doing ministry on the floor with children so we can be close to them. Remove all barriers between you and the children.

I was a Human Relations Major in college and one of the things that stuck with me was that psychologists don’t sit behind a desk when they are doing counseling because a desk is a concrete barrier between the psychologist and client.

When we are on the floor with the children we are one of them; we can reach each child – it all begins with a strong philosophy of child discipleship.  What is Child Discipleship?

Let the Children Come to Me And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16 ESV)

 What is your Philosophy behind the way you setup the children’s rooms in your church?

Posted in Child Discipleship, Children's Ministry Training, Discipling Children, Kidmin Training, Mentoring, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Zacchaeus Review Game

To access reproducible Zacchaeus Game Board click here


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If you like this game check out the unique philosophy of Sunday Plus; as well as Sunday Plus Curriculum

Posted in Child Discipleship, Children's Church curriculum, Children's Games, Children's Midweek Curriculum, KidMin Curriculum, Zacchaeus Children's Ministry, Zacchaeus Review Game | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Primary Disciplers, How Are You Influencing Your Children?

Over the past week my heart has been heavy as I’ve thought of young people who aren’t walking with God; others who are just nominally walking with Him. I feel the anguish of their parents.

Mom, Dad and Me

Mom, Dad and Me

What was it in my life that led me to have such a connection to the Triune God at a young age? 

It began with my mom and dad, my Primary Disciplers, walking faithfully with the Triune God. In our home God was the center of everything. I KNEW due to their actions, their talk, the way they spent their time and money, that a relationship with the Triune God was the most important relationship I could ever have.

They were very involved in our local church and made sure I was also. Our local church was like a second home to me.

I have a memory of one day standing and watching my mother as she adjusted the old dress, attempting to make it look better with the jewelry she had. She was getting ready to go to school where she taught kindergarten and first grade children.

I don’t know how I knew; maybe I had overheard my mom and dad talking, but I knew that my mom had saved up enough money to purchase a new dress; then she heard of someone who had a greater need than hers and she gave the money to them.

In my 9 year old wonder I stood behind her and watched her get dressed, marveling at what she had done – a memory that has never left me.

My mom was a huge influence in my life, she taught me what it meant to walk with God. I doubt she knew how much she taught me – I could tell you a lot more stories.

From my childhood I had been taught to walk by faith, it had been modeled for me in so many different ways. I had been taught to have confidence in God – to trust Him.

Dad giving my son, Joseph, a ride on the tractor.

Dad giving my son, Joseph, a ride on the tractor.

I was a young mom and we didn’t have the money to purchase our son shoes for school. Joe and I had been praying about what to do. Then one day I opened the front door and found an envelope laying on the stoop, inside was a couple of hundred dollars in cash and a note, “Love from Jesus.”

A few weeks later my dad and I were on a walk around his farm as I told him what had happened. “Wanda, how can you live like that – so on the edge?”

I was shocked and responded, “Dad, we are just living the way you taught me to live. You taught me to walk in faith, to do whatever the Lord sets in front of you to do. You are the one who taught me to trust God.”

My dad was a huge influence in my life and he didn’t even know it, he wasn’t aware of what I had learned from him.

Primary Disciplers (those responsible to raise a child) are the primary influencers in a child’s life.

How are you influencing your children?

Ask the Triune God to give you the  strength and desire to walk with Him in faith so you will influence your children to walk through life with God – regardless of where He takes them. 


Posted in applying biblical truth, Child Discipleship, Christian Parenting, Discipling Children, Equipping Parents to Disciple Children, KidMin Curriculum, Kidmin Training, Parents Influence Children, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Discipleship: Give Your Children A Biblical Tool They Will Use Forever

Take a few moments and imagine you are going to visit your best friend. Perhaps your friend lives a few blocks away or perhaps across the country or globe.

As you imagine going to visit do you see the streets that will get you to your destination?

Even if your friend lives across the globe, in your mind you can most likely see a map of places you will fly over and stop at before you arrive at your destination.







Now imagine you are given directions to a new doctor’s office; but they give you the middle portion of the directions first and then they give you the beginning and then they give you the end. Oh yes — they didn’t tell you of the strange way they gave you the directions, it is up to you to figure it out.

 From the beginning of creation God had a plan; He knew each detail of every life He would create. There is no chaos with the Tri-une God there is always order. If, as you teach the children, you are jumping from one portion of the Bible to another the children will not catch the cohesiveness of God’s plan.

 When the Tri-une God created Adam and Eve He knew they were going to sin ­— He is all-knowing. He had a plan!

Adam and Eve sinned, God placed a punishment upon them which all of mankind endures (Genesis 3: 16-19); when Cain sinned the curse God gave him separated him from God forever. (Genesis 4:13-14) Eve had had hopes that Cain would lead to the redemption of mankind.(Genesis 3:15). Now what?


Neither man, nor Satan, can alter God’s plan. “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”  (Genesis 4:25-26 ESV)

 God had a plan!

 That plan is revealed,
like a road map,
when we take the children through the Bible in order.

We begin in Genesis and show how God thwarted Satan’s plan in the garden, continuing story by story —revelation by revelation — to see how each man and woman written of in the Bible was a part of God’s plan to bring us to Jesus.

Pharaoh wasn’t an accident.

“For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you
and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power,
so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go.”
Exodus 9: 15-17

The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
(Proverbs 16:4 ESV)

When children have the Biblical Roadmap internalized the Bible no longer is just a bunch of stories – the Bible becomes God’s story which declares the fullness of who He is. Children will have a deeper understanding of how much the Tri-une God loves them — AND how He takes great pleasure in them as they walk with Him through life. (Psalm 147, 149) This leads them to desire a deeper and deeper relationship with Him. 

Be intentional to help the children in your children’s ministry create this internal Biblical Roadmap. If you do there is a much greater chance that they will walk with the Tri-une God into adulthood and on into eternity.

One of the purposes of Sunday Plus Curriculum is to help children develop an internal Biblical Roadmap.

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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?”


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


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.


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 Disciplers 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.

Posted in Child Discipleship, Children's Ministry Training, Christian Parenting, Discipling Children, Primary Disciplers, Walk of Faith | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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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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
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?


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