24 March 2016

How To Have A Good Experience In Children's Ministry At Your Church

I have been involved in Children's Ministry in some form or fashion since I was in the 8th grade. Starting in College, I was hired on as the Children's Director in my church for several years, and then after I had babies, I've continued to volunteer at the different churches we have been a part of, and occasionally write curriculum for different needs that came up. Children's Ministry is easily one of my passions in life and something I feel the Lord has gifted me in. That being said, I have learned that Children's Ministry is a completely different experience as a parent.

Because of my unique experience of working in ministry and as a parent, I have learned a few things that I think can help your family have a good experience with the Children's Ministry at your church.


Prepare well

Being well prepared can make a huge impact on your morning at church. Lay out clothes the night before, pack diaper bags in plenty of time before you need to leave, and leave with your children having full tummies! Hangry, rushed kids do not start off their mornings (or evenings) with happy hearts!

Talk to your kids about what is coming up. Let them know what to expect by walking them through what will be expected of them...including their behavior.

Be Involved

Listen yall, one of the greatest needs in most churches today is volunteers in Children's Ministry. The most common excuses for not being involved are: 1. "I just need a break from my kids" or 2. "I don't feel called to Children's Ministry".

I understand needing a break from your kids, or even just a desire to worship the Lord without having to have to worry about anyone else. I fully believe that our individual relationships with the Lord are of vital importance BEFORE any other relationship and I know that corporate worship can play a big part in that. But every ministry I have ever been a part of works on some kind of rotation or if they didn't I can't think of one children's director that would turn down help from someone offering, even if it was once a month or every six weeks. 12 times a year out of 52 isn't going to hurt relationship with the Lord, in fact, I personally think it will make it stronger.

When it comes to not feeling called to Children's Ministry, I understand the point of that comment. I, having a passion for ministry to children, DO feel called to Children's Ministry above what the average church-goer may feel. But I'd like to challenge your perspective as a parent a little bit and suggest that if you have children in your home, YOU ARE CALLED TO MINISTER TO THEM. In fact, it very well may be your greatest ministry calling. When you are involved with a ministry that your children are a part of, you are given a unique opportunity to be part of their world, to see things through their eyes and to maybe even learn a few new things about your kids in that environment. When you are involved in Children's Ministry, you have a front row seat to what is being taught to your kids and what they are learning and storing in their hearts.

You don't have to be a Bible Scholar or have the heart of a Kindergarten teacher to volunteer in Children's Ministry. A willing heart and availability can go MILES for this kind of ministry. Oftentimes, the kind of help needed is extra hands to pass out snack, to change diapers, to snuggle babies, to take bathroom trips, or to read a story. If you have Sunday conflicts, perhaps other serving commitments at church, see if there are certain needs during the week that you could help with. If I had a volunteer offer to make copies or prep craft or snack for the classes, it would make my week. Their are so many different ways to be involved in Children's Ministry and my encouragement is to find just one way that you can do that.

Extend the ministry into your week

Clearly, this topic is somewhat of a soapbox for me, and this point is the meat of it for me. I think to have the best experience in Children's Ministry, you need to view Sunday ministry as a spring board for the week, or as a resource for you as a parent, rather than a substitute. As a Christian parent, it is YOUR job to raise up your children in the way you should go, not their Sunday School teachers. Yes, Sunday morning worship and ministry is a vital part of you raising your children in the Lord...and I mean VITAL. But it isn't the only part, or I dare to say the main part. As a believer we are called to worship the Lord every day of the week and as a parent we are called to raise our kids in the same way.

This doesn't have to be some grand even well-planned thing. You don't have to write lessons for your kids (although if that's your jam, go for it). Here are some easy ideas that demonstrate what I'm talking about:

 - Pray frequently with your kids about everything. They have a big test coming up that they are worried about? Pray with them about it. They had a bad day? Pray with them about it. They had a good day? Pray with them and thank God together about it! Have a few minutes in the car pool line? Take the opportunity to pray with your kids about something or someone.

- Latch on to one thing from their Sunday lesson and reiterate it throughout the week. If they aren't old enough to tell you about it or remember, ask their teacher when you pick them up. Let's say they learned about Palm Sunday. Ask them to tell you about it a couple times during the week and then ask them questions about it. For example, "The people waved their palm branches and shouted HOSANNA! when Jesus came by on a donkey. Why did they do that? Do you think we should worship Jesus like that?" It's possible your kids may learn about something that you are unfamiliar with. Don't be afraid to tell your kids that you don't know very much about that part of the Bible and then maybe you can read it and learn about it together.

- Have family worship time. This does not have to be fancy. It can be as simple as reading the Bible together or singing a song and praying together. We aren't crazy consistent about this but our goal is to do it often. A lot of the time it looks like a crazy dance party while we sing a sped up version of the Doxology. There is no right or wrong. Just designated time to focus on Jesus together.

Children's Ministry can be such an incredible value to your family and I hope and pray that you can find a way to be involved and have a good experience in your body of believers!


Today the ladies from the BFBN are talking about different aspects of trusting your children in the care of others. Go visit their blogs to read more! 


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21 March 2016

Dear Shepherd (5 Years)



Dear Shepherd,

How in the world have five years passed so quickly?? You have grown before my eyes into this sweet caring, adventurous, passionate ALMOST KINDERGARTNER!!! I love watching how the Lord is already instilling in you traits that will be with you for the rest of your life. I have so much wonder for you. I wonder what your future holds, what you will be like as a man, who you will marry, what your job will be, where you will go to college, if you will ever ever eat a green bean..... so much wonder! But sweet boy, I'm learning to also hold very little worry. I'm learning to rest my Mommy heart and the future in the hands of the One who made you and who holds your future and numbers your days.

You are doing some wondering yourself. About God, and His ways and His Word. What a joy it is to watch the Lord woo you to Himself.  I love your questions as you try to figure it all out. I continually pray that you will find your own resting place with the Lord where you can dwell whether your brain can logically find a place for everything or not. Your daddy and I beg the Lord daily that He would call you to Himself for great and mighty purposes. That you would love Him, serve Him, and follow Him all the days of your life.

At five years old you:

- still own the color orange (so you think)

- weigh 40lbs, wear size 4T/5T and size 11 shoes

- still take naps about 75% of the time, typically an hour and half in length

- Are an ok night sleeper. You have bad dreams occasionally and your feet hurt with growing pains sometimes. You still sleep about 11 hours a night.

- started playing T-ball. You played Fall Ball last Fall on the Diamondbacks and are now playing Spring Ball for the Yankees.

- Your daddy and your owl still hung the moon in your sky. No one compares. I swear you are going to go off to college with both of them.

- You and your sister have really bonded and grown into a friendship. You love to play together! I love watching this.

- still enjoy playing with Fischer--most of the time--and you still do most everything together

- would love Archer to death if I let you. You love to talk to him and make silly faces with him to make him laugh.

- are passionate about the truth and things being fair. It's a hard lesson to learnt that life isn't fair but you are bound and determined for it to be so.

Shepherd, we love you unconditionally and love exactly how God made you! I can't wait to see you grow for the next years!

Love,
Mommy

For your birthday this year, it was an "on" year, which means a bigger party with friends and extended family, more than just our family. I planned the party for a random Tuesday night because your cousins were in town and I wanted them to be able to come to your birthday party! You wanted a "Bug" party and I had so much fun planning everything! (Special shout out to Aunt Sassy and Aunt Ashley who helped make your cake and helped me get the food ready!) We had really sweet friends who came and wonderful family who came and you were showered with some of your favorite toys ever!! It was a very special birthday!

(Check out all the details from the Bug Party here.)




Related Posts On This Blog:

Dear Laura Kate (5 Years)

Past Dear Shepherd letters
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5 Year Old Bug Birthday!

Shepherd is so into bugs right now that it was so easy to choose the "Bug" theme for his 5th Birthday party! This party was so much fun to put together... I really enjoyed it!

I had this vision of making a banner that looked like the inside of an ant hill. I bought a roll of brown wrapping paper and went to work with a Sharpie. It says: "The ants go marching five by five, hoorah! hoorah!" and each of the little ants are carrying a number 5 down to the big party chamber where there is a big pile of number fives! I hung up the banner in the entryway when people walked into the party!





I like to have a birthday banner with pictures of the birthday boy from the year. I found the felt banner on the DOLLAR AISLE at Target. One of my favorite finds because it is reusable!




For Christmas, Shepherd got the bug counting cards as a gift. They are awesome and looked great to decorate the bookshelf and outside!




I set our outdoor farm table with the favors/craft boxes. I found the boxes here: Oriental Trading Bug Box Craft and Favor . They turned out to be a big hit! I really liked that they served as a craft and a favor, and my kids used them till they fell apart!



The food was so fun to put together... gosh I love a good theme!







Shepherd's favorite meal is Carrie's Chicken, easy enough to serve as "Butterfly Pasta"!




Cassie and Ashley helped me get the cake in order. I made little chocolate bugs just using melting chocolate and squeezing them onto wax paper in the shape of ants and bugs. I used a box cake mix (yeah, it was so yummy), and then I iced the cake green. THEN, I literally took two forks and dug out a hole in the corner of the cake to look like a dirt pile. Add some crushed up cookies and gummy worms... voila! a wonderful bug cake! 












(also a shout out to Aunt Deb for winning the hearts of children her whole life.... and helping love on them while Mommy is busy with the other offspring :) 



















It was such a fun party! I'm so glad for the chance to celebrate my big boy! 

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