Creating a Parent & KidMin Connection

Creating a parent kidmin connection

6 Ways you benefit when parents serve in their children’s kidmin

So you’re struggling to find enough volunteers for your kids ministry (it’s OK—you’re not alone!). You’ve created job descriptions and added titles to the flowchart. Now you’ve begun asking anyone standing around in the church lobby who doesn’t look busy if they’d like to volunteer. But you’re still coming up short. Let me ask you this: Have you ever considered a strong recruitment push toward the parents of kids in your ministry? 

No, I’m not talking about making another Sunday morning announcement, writing a newsletter article or adding a post to social media. I’m talking about actually sitting down face to face with parents and talking with them about the mutual benefit of serving in the very place where their kids learn.

There are great advantages for both the church and the family when parents serve in kids ministry. Unfortunately, they are hidden benefits, so doing our part to communicate them is vital to getting the word out. But when you do, you’ll find that your church will be healthier when parents serve alongside their kids.

Here are six great reasons that having parents serve in your kidmin is an advantage for you—and them:

1. Direct Access to Your Child’s Pastor

Most children’s pastors are busy. Each week they act as teacher, event planner, financier, stage designer and counselor, so it might be difficult for the average parent to simply sit down and hear the heart of their child’s pastor. When serving on the children’s pastor’s team, parents become part of his flock and the pastor will begin more intentionally to shepherd them directly. For example, instead of a dad awkwardly trying to find a way to let the children’s pastor know about his son’s surgery, he could—as a parent serving on the children’s pastors team—simply mention the prayer request in a preservice huddle.

2. Increased Family Time

With the growing pressure for kids to excel in school, the popularity of traveling sports teams and ever-changing family dynamics, it’s an understatement to say that families today are busy. In most churches, when a family arrives at church they immediately split up to attend church in their separate environments. But when a parent is serving in the kids ministry, the parent gets more time with his or her child. Parents who serve in their kids’ ministry are building memories that most other families will never get to experience.

What’s more, no longer will a kidmin event or outing pull the family apart. Because the parent servers as a volunteer who attends the outing, kidmin gatherings become a family event. That means the kids ministry in hour church actually can be a catalyst to bring families together.

3. Overflow of Sunday’s Lesson Into Weekday Life

When parents pick up their children after church, they usually ask them if they had fun and if they learned something. Unfortunately, the lesson often ends there. It’s not that parents don’t care about their children’s experience. But the conversation goes no further because of the parents’ lack of familiarity with the kidmin and the fact that most of them don’t personally experience the lesson.

This all changes when parents begin preparing for the lesson at the beginning of the week, when they laugh out loud during the skit, when they see firsthand the illustration the teacher presents, when they teach the lesson for themselves. During the week, parents will begin asking their kids if they are applying the Bible lesson they learned at church. This simple engagement leads to a learning opportunity by pointing them back to something they both experienced on Sunday morning.

4. Improved Ministry Effectiveness ]

Instead of creating a parent panel for feedback, simply recruit parents who can give you insight about your ministry’s effectiveness. Ask parents how the lessons are connecting with their kids and which illustrations are making the gospel presentation come to life. Ask the parents who are serving in your ministry to give you feedback on the first-time visitor process—and then empower them to improve the experience. The more diverse a group of parents you have, the more varied their backgrounds and experiences, and the more collective wisdom you’ll have to draw from.

5. Children Connected to Spiritual Mentors

When parents are part of a team of kidmin workers, they get to know the other small-group leaders. This allows them to strategically pursue ones who can help them speak truth into their children. Through consistently serving, parents will see that their kids are developing strong Christ-centered relationships that benefit the family.

It’s weird, but often parents can tell their child a hundred times to do something, without it sticking, but when another adult suggests they do something, it sticks the first time. Through relationships made with other leaders on their team, parents can comfortably find a mentor they trust to speak truth into their child.

6. Through-the-Roof Buy-In

Most people never become a raving fan or even an advocate for an organization until it makes a difference in their lives. Sure, the children’s ministry in your church is impacting the kids, but many parents don’t realize the difference it truly makes until they see it firsthand. And when they see it, their buy-in goes through the roof.

They begin recruiting other parents to serve just because they are talking about it in their small groups. Serving parents are in-the-know, and they naturally begin to ask other parents if their kids will be attending events. Some parents might even begin contributing financially to the mission of the church because of the impact your kidmin has had on their family.

Overall, your families and your church will be healthier when parents serve in their kids’ ministry. It might be your responsibility to communicate the benefits. But when you do, God will open the door to these conversations and create a parent-kidmin connection. So take some time today to craft a compelling vision that will reveal the hidden benefits of parents serving in your kidmin.

35+ Game Ideas from the Kidmin Nation Christmas Party

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At this year’s Kidmin Nation Christmas Party Ryan asked us to share what our favorite Christmas game is to play with kids. Everyone chatted in their favorite games and I organized a list of a few of my favorites. Here are a few game ideas that you can use for your next Christmas Party!

Corey’s Picks!

Haley Forrest : Gingerbread House on your Face! We give four to five different groups a collection of graham crackers, m&m’s, icing, etc. They are to create the best house possible!

Kerry Cressey : Wrapping paper game – teams have a time limit to wrap one person up in paper and decorate, and then a winner is chosen.

Becky Loughridge : Wrap leaders in Christmas paper and other decorations to simulate a Christmas tree.

Ashley Medina : Deck the Tree-Leader:  Kids have 60 seconds green streamers and bows to decorate their small group leader as Christmas tree.  It is super fun!

Susan Rutledge : One Hoof-Two Hoof – online game.  Kids hold up one, two or no hands (hoofs) and if it matches where the video lands – they stay standing.  Others sit. Whoever is left standing is the winner.

Laurie Alvarez : Snowball Fight with Pom Poms or crumpled up paper. Divide the kids into two and give them two minutes to throw them at each other over a dividing line. At the end of two minutes, the team with the least amount on their side wins!

Nativity Games

Jennifer Westering : Hide and Seek the Nativity. Hide all nativity characters. Tell Christmas story when each character is found. Characters are ornaments that kids can put on their trees to take home

Anette Shanks : From Anette Shanks to Everyone – Nativity Game…You share the Nativity story with the kids with the characters.  Then you have the kids close their eyes and you take a couple of the characters away.  They have to tell which people are missing and what part they have in the story.

Donna Osborne : Put the babe in the manger (like pin tail on donkey)

Melody McGuire : Nativity Bingo.

Gift Games

Amber Pike : The Syran Wrap Game. Kids roll dice and unwrap that many layers to get the candy

Rachel Nuckels : left, right game!!! read a story with left and right throughout. when each word is said, kids pass gifts to right or left!

Connie Lawyer : Guess the present! Wrap presents and the kids have to feel the present and try to guess what is in it! Then remind them the greatest gift of all – Jesus!

Nicole Strine : pass the present, roll a dice and pass left/right etc

Cazi Murvine : Musical Presents! We wrap gifts for the classroom. Each gift gets wrapped 4-8 times in different wrapping paper for each layer. We play music and when the music stops whoever is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer.

Jerry Wages : We play All I Want For Christmas Whoever comes up with the best gift wins a prize.

Lorraine Hart : Unwrap the gift with kitchen mittens. If you roll doubles you get to start opening the gift. The kids continue to pass dice and when the next person rolls dice they can steal gift and begin to open. Continue till gift is opened by someone. I wrap the gift several times.

Dan Jenkins : A power point game called name that gift. We have items wrapped on the screen and they guess what it is based on the shape.

Minute To Win It

Sherri Gaskill : Candy Cane Drop. Tie a string onto two chairs placed about 3 feet apart. Give a kid a bunch of candy canes. Have them drop a candy cane from their chin. The object is to see how many candy canes they can get on to the string in 1 minute.

Amy Harder : Candy Cane Hook — Pour out candy canes on the table. Players take a candy cane in their mouths, hook side out. The players have to use the hook from the candy cane to pick up other candy canes and fill a bucket. The player with the most canes in their bucket at the end of time wins.

Mary Beavers : Wrap the Gift. Teams of 4 work together to wrap a box using only one hand each.

Sharon Alexander : kids like throwing candy canes in a Santa Stocking. they have 1 minute.

Sara Hlava : Snowman Face Race – vaseline, cotton balls & scooters – Go!

Mary Smith : Gift Wrap Scramble- kids work in teams wrapping gift with one hand behind their back

Christy Zentz : Candy cane relay.  Kids put a candy cane in their mouths, pick up red & green hardware nuts without using their hands and carry them up on the candy canes to a table.

Music Games

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble

Andy Penney : Christmas Carol Karaoke – We let the kids pick out a Christmas song and do karaoke

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble   Print large lyrics to Christmas songs on heavy paper,  cut them up in phrases, create teams and time the teams who build them in correct order on the floor, they have to sing it

Games with a Christmas Twist

Jennifer Nier : Reverse Christmas Charades-2 people up front-clue on screen behind them-everyone in the crowd act out the clue

Emily Hill : Steal the Bacon with jingle bells. Kids line up in 2 teams and a leader sits blindfolded in a chair with jingle bells under his chair.  Kids try to steal the jingle bells without getting hit with a pool noodle the leader is swinging.

Rick Moody : J-E-S-U-S instead of B-I-N-G-O and each square has something to do with the Christmas story.

Matt Cannon : Candy Cane/Ornament Cup Pong…. Use candy canes and Christmas ornaments. We use the ping pong table and red solo cups. We use candy canes and Christmas Ornaments to ring the cup and every time you ring it the opposite team has to chug milk

Vicki Ejibe : Hungry Hungry Hippos. Scooters, baskets, and marshmallows. Kid rides scooter and other kids holds legs and pushes scooter holding basket into the center of the circle to catch marshmallow.

Dan Jenkins : Santa, reindeer, sleigh – two kids partner up against two other kids and call out each of these things. They have to act out the one I give them and if their team guesses they win.

Jame Vallejo : Christmas Jeopardy.  Split into 2 teams and answer questions from 4 categories. At the end is a final question. Kids have to bet points and most points at the end win.

Judy Hiebert : Review Game: Christmas Acrostic, the answers are filling in letters.

Rhonda Bischoff : Signs – everyone makes up a sign, someone in center tries to see who is passing their sign to another person.

What game is missing from this list? Write your suggestion in the comments to be added!

Volunteer Gift Guide from I Love KidMin

 

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Are you looking for a small thoughtful gift for your volunteers? Do you need a bulk supply with a limited budget? I asked the “I Love KidMin” Facebook Group for help and here is an ever-growing Volunteer Gift Guide. Comment your ideas and they may get added to this post!

Christmas Theme

Annie Double The last two years I did a Movie Night with the Redbox Code and popcorn and that was a huge hit (that’s why I did it 2 years in a row).

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Courtney Moseley Kirk Last year I gave each teacher gifts wrap, wrapping tape and a poem I found on Pinterest. I got the best response from them compared to years past. It was inexpensive and practice. https://itsalwayscrafttime.blogspot.com/2010/12/neighbor-gift-idea.html

Image courtesy of Brad Waggoner 

Melody McGuire Christmas socks tied with a ribbon and stuffed with candy.

Dema Kohen Advent Calendar/Daily devotions and activities. Give it every year to the families in our church as part of the Mahger Project activity. (https://www.amazon.com/Journe…/dp/1589978242/ref=sr_1_2…)

Megan McGarvey our staff has a fun photo shoot and makes a Christmas card! We also send a gift card with it. (but people love the pictures)

Jessica Pryer I’m doing fleece throw blankets. I found some for $2.50 a person, and I found Christmas themed ones for a little over $5 at Walmart. There are multiple patterns and colors. Fun present that I wouldn’t mind getting myself.

Melinda Robison We do an ornament every year so less than $1 per person on oriental trading

Dema Kohen Love this set. Bought 10 of these two weeks ago. (https://www.amazon.com/Teeny…/dp/0762460903/ref=sr_1_1…) Comes with a little book too. $8 USD

Kayla Holbrook Ornaments! I like the wooden ones from Christian Book.

Terri Johnson Last year apple cinnamon ornaments! Apple butter, Christmas ornaments, magnets. This yr I am giving a card with a small ornament.

Missy Silassy This is my first year and I’m doing cards with a personal note and ornament for the adult teachers and cards with a note and mustard seed coin for my teen helpers.

Crafts

Mark Jones Our children’s ministry team made this for each of our teachers. I barely had enough barn wood! https://mrmarksclassroom.com/blog/2017/04/18/star-teacher-gift/

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Sandra Hiegel Hauenstein Bible tabs from Etsy!!! Biggest hit. Close second gourmet goodies from local shop! https://www.etsy.com/search?q=bible%20tabs

Nikki Steiner I just saw this on Pinterest and thought of this post. It was called Pick A Promise. Placing verses in a jar and rolling them up, then when having a bad day, you can pick one to read. You could do a variation of this with words of encouragement and appreciation from the kids and others in CE at your church.

Glenys Nellist The most meaningful gift was when we took photos of our teachers with the kids and then put them in a simple frame. We wrote something like ‘thanks for making a difference.’ Above everything else, or any gift, I think teachers need to know that they’re making a difference

Shelley Ward I made these Praise Jars for our Pastors and Children’s Leaders too. I decorated mason jars and filled them with inspirational bible verses. I thought this would make a good Christmas gift!

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Church Merch

Casey Satterfield Last year we gave a special Seahawks style T-shirt navy blue with green lettering with our kids logo on it with Jesus had 12 men too on the back. It was a hit and requested by our new team members!!

Lynn Peters This year it will be a new T-shirt with our new kids logo and a home baked loaf of pumpkin bread

Activities

Carla Garms Wiederhold This year instead of doing gifts I have asked my leaders if they wanted to serve together at Feed My Starving Children. They love the idea … We have scheduled for January and I will donate the dollars I would have spent to FMSC

Jennifer Rath Scott I’m taking them out to a movie this Sunday. 🙂 Time together is wonderful.

Donations

Katie Storm A donation in their name to world vision

Dean Christianson I started a couple years ago, “purchasing” farm animals for overseas organizations that give them to families to provide a living for them. I write out a card to each of the volunteers and they really seem to enjoy this rather than “getting” something. They seem to buy in to helping someone rather than getting something. https://www.heifer.org/gift-catalog/animals-nutrition/index.html

Shelly Lantz Akins I donate to a local charity in honor of my volunteers. I print out a card and give it to them that a donation was made in honor of the St. Andrew’s volunteers. Then I bake cookies and give them each 4 with the card attached.

Music

Yancy Wideman Richmond I have a lot of churches give my “Roots for the Journey” CD for this.

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Carla Champ-Hefner Jumpstart3 Cds Jeff McCullough

Mary Rice Hopkins I will send you CD’s or DVD’s for $5.00 a person plus shipping. Most popular one has sold 1/4 of a million copies. Great deal. Message me.

Books

Becky Wescoat A Journey to Bethlehem: Inspiring Thoughts for Christmas and Hope for the New Year http://a.co/gj1Flel

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Theresa Plemmons Reiter The book Simply Pray by Archie Buie. It is the only gift my volunteers thanked me over and over.

Shawn Howell ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas https://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9aycAb7XA6M3X

Kimbell Dicken Botto This is awesome. It’s like the rip off calendars but it’s not dated (so you don’t feel bad if you miss a day) Beautifully illustrated and has short story with Bible reference to read more and a couple questions to get families talking. Amazon sometimes has the price as low as $12-15. http://a.co/hClZBlR

Food and Drink

Marta Cortez Two biscotti with a coffee gift card packaged nicely in a reusable Starbucks cup.

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Lauren Webb Rtic 30oz tumblers are only $7 right now on their website! Then you can cut a logo or something out of vinyl!!

Lauren Webb I bought the Christmas mini loaf pans from Lifeway. They are on sale right now for $3 each. I’ll bake some kind of bread and wrap them in a cellophane package.

Dana Sartin Find a candy shop or someone who makes. Gourmet Apples. Mine love them!!!

Tom Bump We made a sweet spicy Chex mix. Put in gift bags with a nice card attached. The team loved them. We made 110 bags. Was a lot of work but so worth it. We had 0 budget so I purchased it out of my own pocket.

Andrea Joy Rossignol Homemade fudge or cookies or something like that. It’s likely to be something everyone will enjoy, won’t create clutter in anyone’s house, and you’re giving of yourself rather than something from a store. The downside – you’ll have to MAKE all those treats!

Mandi McKibben I made freezer meals for my volunteers one year…talk about a gift that was appreciated!

Nicole Underwood I made salsa last year for them.

Christine Gerard Garner Wendy’s frosty tag!!! https://davethomasfoundation.org/contribute-through-wendys/

Libby Rinne We made these cute cocoas for our volunteers, cheap and cute!:)

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From The Store

Sue Edgerton We like to have teens fill out brief questions about their favorites at the beginning when they serve. Questions like: your favorite soda, your favorite candy, your favorite sport, your favorite color. These come in very handy when wanting to give a little thank you or a Christmas gift.

Jennifer Martin Burks Chick-fil-A calendars, blankets from Kohl’s (add initials for fun), travel mug with logo, anything with church logo really. Maybe a T-shirt with it on there.

Monica Piszczek Bath and Body Works soaps. I got 6 bottles for $19.00. Wrap it in cellophane or tissue and put a bow on them. Who can’t use soap!!!

Kate Sweitzer Wanted to share a truly last minute idea. I have a few young adult volunteers and I’m gifting them these EOS lip balms for Christmas tomorrow.

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Other Resources and Sites

Corinne Noble Here are some ideas I have used! https://www.kidmincorinne.com/blog/8-easy-ways-you-can-appreciate-your-volunteers?rq=appreciate%20volunteers

Lori Todd Baker Check out CTA, Inc. They have some very affordable gifts for all occasions. http://www.ctainc.com/

Melody McGuire I go to Harbor Freight and purchase an inexpensive tool tie with ribbon and candy.

Brad Waggoner I am going to do succulents in a fun little container. I haven’t decided on the container yet though…lots of options depending on budget. I get the succulents here…they are great! https://thesucculentsource.com/

Beth Kuhar Welman www.ctainc.com has great nativity-themed products for kids & adults (And seasonal stuff, with devotionals). Also, Oriental Trading has faith-based crafts & goodies.

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What would you add to this list? Comment to be added!

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The Tangibles and Intangibles of an Excellent Preteen Environment​

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The moment you walk in the door you begin to judge the atmosphere of any business. If you walk into a coffee shop you are trying to find where you place your order and what coffee options are available. You begin judging whether or not you will ever return based on the tangible things you see, taste, and experience as well as the intangible things you feel, smell, and hear. The same is true with the preteens that walk in our preteen environments. We might not have full control over the smells in the room, but we must do our part to create an engaging, affirming, and irresistible preteen environment.

Think About Your First Impression

As a preteen navigates your church, are you helping them find where to go with clear signage? And as they walk into your preteen environment, does the atmosphere communicate that you were expecting them? Walk through your environment and think about the seen and unseen obstacles a ten-year-old will be experiencing. Or better yet, talk with one and ask them about what they saw and felt. First impressions go beyond the first moment that someone walks through your doors. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a great experience up until the point the food was served? Think through how you cue a preteen throughout the service and help them understand what is about to happen. Do your part to help them feel comfortable as a visitor from the moment they pull onto campus until they are talking with their parents on the way home.

Create a Safe Place

Look around your preteen area to see if there is anything broken, outdated, or out of place and do your part to clean it up and keep it safe. When you walk into a department store and see the merchandise scattered on the shelves or a drink spilled in the aisle, you might turn around and walk out. Deep down you know it was a customer that made the mess, but you still wonder why the workers have failed to create an excellent environment for shopping. Your preteens might not ever need policies and procedures for things like an active intruder, but these must still be outlined and explained to leaders. The students might not see everything that has happened behind the scenes to keep them safe, but they will surely find out if it’s missing.

Design an Atmosphere That Lends Itself to Returning

Early every morning people faithfully return to their fitness center because they know that it’s both helpful and healthy. Are you communicating to preteens and their families the benefits of regularly attending church? And when they show up, are you helping them take their next step or are you trying to pile on too much and making them feel overwhelmed? In a fitness center there are people of varying degrees of health, but yet they all come to the same place to take their next step. In our preteen environments, we must realize we have different levels of health and lead small in such a way that we help each preteen continue to grow. We can do this through sharing a gospel truth through a game or fun illustration, by asking compelling questions, or by coming alongside preteens to help them discover the truth on their own.

The tangible and intangible environment you are creating for preteens will determine the success of your preteen ministry. Work at creating an excellent environment that preteens will come back to week after week.

(Originally posted the Orange 252 Kids blog at http://orangeblogs.org/252basics/the-tangibles-and-intangibles-of-an-excellent-preteen-enviornment/)

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Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion

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Don’t you just love seeing a family come together around Jesus? I love seeing a family take the time to sit together, open up their bible and have a spiritual conversation. And this is God’s intent. God established the family as the primary spiritual leader for children, 1400 years before the church was ever established.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Parents are to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children. Impressing the love of the Lord into their hearts every day of the week. But then when it comes to one of the biggest milestones of faith, the salvation discussion, what most pastors do…is grab hold of the reigns and take over. But why? It’s not our role. And we will never know the heart of a child better than their parents.

What could happen spiritually for a family, if instead of a pastor taking over and leading their child to Christ, we empowered the parents in this faith milestone? This could truly change the culture of a family and be a moment that brings them together focused on God.

Many people grow up and doubt the decision they made for Christ as a child. What if that’s our fault? And what if we could do something about that today to change the lives of those in our church, forever?

So how do we do that? How do you help a family through the salvation discussion?

First: Identify conversation triggers
What happens in the life of a child that triggers a spiritual conversation or the desire to give their life to Christ? Ofen times we see kids begin to ask questions through communion. When they see someone take the Lord’s supper it sparks questions. Another trigger can be the baptism of friends. They wonder why their friend is making such a big deal of getting dunked. They begin to ask why and this can lead to many more questions. Another trigger is definitely the death of a loved one. They begin to grapple with the brevity of life and wonder what exactly happens when we die. After you have identified triggers, it’s time to do something about it.

Next: Help parents leverage these triggers for a family discussion.
Resource your parents with scriptures to read with their children and consider even making them an easy to follow guide. Provide questions for parents to ask their kids to further the conversation. Find resources like “The Baptism Book” and make these resources easily accessible.

Third: Help parents share their own salvation story.
Encourage parents to make their faith journey visual. Challenge parents to take their kids to the church or place where they accept Jesus as their personal savior. Motivate parents to bring in other people who were influential in their faith journey. And if going some on a trip or bringing people into the conversation is not an option then at least encourage the parents to bring a prop that helps share their story.

Fourth: Make the salvation discussion easy for families.
In your ministry, there are many different backgrounds and different depth of conversations. Consider creating different on-ramps for families to have an in-depth conversation. At our church, we have Family Baptism Classes. These classes create a family-centered structure where we help parents win by creating a user-friendly discussion guide. We provide everything a family will need from scripture, questions, and answers, to supplies, food, and props to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure you end the class by providing the next steps and give the family an easy on-ramp to the next thing.

Fifth: Encourage them to widen the circle.
Help families take full advantage of the people they have around them who are willing to help disciple their children. Bring in the outside voices to speak the truth. Point to different voices such as a small group leader, coaches, grandparents, and even other staff members.

Sixth: Make it memorable.
This is the biggest decision a person will ever make but we often fail to make it memorable. Consider recording a video testimony of the student and give gifts or keepsakes they can hold onto. Provide a new bible or devotional book. Print off a baptism certificate marking the date. Record the baptism and make a baptism video available for the family. Encourage families to save cards, write notes, record the moment. Find ways to capture the moment and share these moments with the family.

Finally: Follow up
Does your church offer a Next Steps class? Is this something that a family could go to together to learn more? Mark your calendar to celebrate spiritual birthdays year after year. And maybe even follow up with more Scripture verses for them to look at to continue growing and learning.

Salvation is why we do what we do. This is making disciples, who will go and make more disciples. So let do our part in ”Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion”. Let’s make this the priority it truly is.

For additional resources check out the following:

Baptism Guide

Baptism Scripture List

Baptism Certificate

10 Questions for a Child Who Wants to be Baptized

5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie

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Can you remember the last faith-based animated film that you enjoyed in the theater? Yeah, me neither. That’s because the last major release animate faith-based film was the Prince of Egypt in 1998! But that’s about to change because, on November 17th, The Star will be released nationwide!

The Star is an inspiring and uplifting story of the birth of Jesus, told from the animal’s point of view. My wife and I had the opportunity to prescreen this movie and were pleasantly surprised by how funny the whole film was. You will enjoy The Star just as much as your kids so buy your tickets now.

Here are 5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie:

1. The Star can bring the story of Jesus to people who will never enter the doors of a church.

2. When we purchase a ticket, we are voting for what we want Hollywood to produce more of and we need more animated Bible stories for our kids.

3. The Star has the potential to positively impact your church, your community, and our society.

4. The Star will help you organically return to the reason for the season.

5. When a little girl cheers, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” after The Star Movie, you know it’s an inspiring story the whole family will enjoy.

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

Get your tickets here: http://www.thestarmovie-tickets.com

Book Review & 2 Book Giveaway: Don’t Quit by Jessica Bealer & Gina McClain

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Hey ministry leaders! Have you checked out this brand new book—Don’t Quit: The Best Things in Ministry Come Over Time. This is the latest leadership book from Orange and I want you to check it out.

Share this post on social media and I’ll send two lucky winners a copy of the new book! 

Here are some of my favorite quotes to give you a taste of the great content:

“At times, you will question your calling, but don’t sacrifice your mission for the security of the easily maintained. Take a risk and watch God move.”

“Every action you take, every event you host, and every procedure you have in place is your strategy in action. If your strategy is not moving you closer to your goal, then the strategy is not working.”

“God has big plans for His church and He’s willing to use anyone to accomplish them. The only requirement is obedience.”

“Limitations don’t have to be negative. Many times, they can be catalysts for creativity.”

“Unrealistic expectations paired with a fear of failure make for a disastrous combination, a dumpster fire waiting to happen.”

“Creating a common language that both conveys your values and unites your team is deceivingly hard. To be memorable, it has to be clear, easy to say, founded in vision, purposeful, and have a touch of cleverness.”

“God never intends to leave you where you are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s time to start looking for another job. What I mean is that you should be consistently growing in wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and capacity. A great leader is never content with the status quo.”

“You’ve got to own your development, set your pace, get accountability, and invite inspiration.”

“Awareness of growth opportunities means you will be prepared to respond when God is moving in the heart of your volunteer. Knowing when a leader is ready for more is great. Knowing where you can give them more is strategic.”

“We don’t lead in a bubble. When we decide to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t need to grow, everyone around us suffers. But when we choose to remain on the wall—to face what needs to be faced, open ourselves up, and become ridiculously teachable—those we lead are inspired to do the same. Grit is contagious.”

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Camp KidJam: A Valuable Gift for Your Church

 

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Does your summer camp contribute the strategy of your church? Are you looking for a camp solution that your students will love, and your small group leaders will love even more? Last year, I explored Camp KidJam and found it to be the complete package I was looking for in a summer camp experience.

Camp KidJam Is Built on a Strategy
Camp KidJam is part of the strategy developed by Orange and designed around the principles of 252 Kids. Students will grow in wisdom, faith, and friendship and the lessons learned will flow seamlessly into your weekend environment. Camp KidJam is built around the small group model so after every Jam Session, you will have the opportunity to make the lessons personal through a designated small group time.

Camp KidJam Develops Leaders
Both students and small group leaders experience leadership training. While students are participating in challenges and tracts, SGL’s get a chance to recharge and discuss tough ministry questions. Students sign up for tracks matching their interests and are challenged to grow musically, athletically, or creatively. These intentional leadership opportunities are a unique element of camp that both SGL’s and students love.

Camp KidJam Delivers A Quality Program
If you asked your students today to name their favorite experience from camp last summer, could they remember something? Camp KidJam creates unique memories that will bring a smile to your student’s faces. From the Awesome Sauce Leader to the full worship experience, your preteens will create memories that will last a lifetime. The skits and teaching time will leave students at the edge of their seat wanting more.

Camp KidJam delivers a top-notch program that is a proven gift for your church. The students will grow closer to one another as they grow in a personal authentic faith and the small group leaders will thank you for being a part of the week. To learn more about Camp KidJam check out http://campkidjam.com and also watch this highlight video from our experience last year.

Leading When You Are Running on Empty

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“If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.” John Ortberg

You matter to God, not just the work you do, or the ministry that you fulfill, but YOU matter to God. He is your provider and can meet your every need, He is your guide and can give you wisdom when you’re feeling lost, and He is your savior, who is your perfect superhero. You matter to this God, and He loves you.

And life happens. Ministry can lead you to a place where your motivation and drive feel like a dry desert, screaming for water. And the work doesn’t stop. Just because you are broken or feeling hollow doesn’t mean that everything can be put on hold. Right now, you might be running on empty but you still have to lead.

It might not be you but sometimes the soul of a leader needs help. So how do you refuel your soul in the midst of the chaos? Here are three quotes from the greatest leader of all time and a few challenges to help you lead when you are running on empty.

1. Soul Fatigue

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” – Jesus in John 15:4

If you are finding that your spirit is drained or tired maybe you need to focus on the Word and abide. Abide is a verb meaning to stay, remain, continue, or wait. To abide in Christ embodies a relationship with Jesus. It’s not asking the question, “Did I read my Bible today?” but rather, “Did I spend time staying connected with my Friend, today?” It’s not just praying before a meal, but honestly talking with your Father about your struggles and heart.

First Tip for Soul Fatigue: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10. At this to your calendar as a reoccurring reminder. Pause, reflect and refocus because this time is topping off the tank in my soul.

Maybe for you, it’s the first thing you do in the morning.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

Second Tip for Soul Fatigue: Read the Word. Go on Bible Gateway and start The One Year Bible.

In order to lead others, you must first make sure that you are abiding in Christ, connected to Him, and allowing Him to refuel your soul. So before we move into the next point, Abide in this verse. These are the words of Jesus:

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

To abide in Christ is medicine to your soul fatigue.

2. Soul Insignificance 

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20

With all authority and with the promise of being by our side, Jesus charged us with the mission of reaching the lost, and that is by no means insignificant. If your spirit lacks worth or you are struggling to feel valued, remember that Jesus has placed a high calling on your life. When our soul is struggling to find meaning we must remember that we serve a God who knows the number of hairs on our head and who meets all of our needs according to His riches.

You exist to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Part of loving your neighbor is to open the door and introduce your neighbor to the God who loves them, and this is one of the most significant things we can do.

First Tip for Soul Insignificance: Step into your calling. Here’s what I think, maybe the reason you soul is feeling insignificant, is that you are failing to step into the mission that God has called you to. When do you feel most alive? What is the burden that God has placed on your heart? The way Andy Stanley puts it is, “What breaks your heart?”

Second Tip for Soul Insignificance: Share your faith. And no, I’m not talking about teaching the Bible lesson to the kids at church, I’m talking about talking with someone who is far from God and sharing with them the hope we profess. Yes, you are busy, but what is more important than making a disciple? Who is the last person you discipled? Can you name them, and how long has it been?

Stewarding your time and energy towards discipleship will energize your soul.

3. Soul Filth

Kill the Spider: Getting Rid of What’s Really Holding You Back by Carlos Whittaker

He spent decades trying to figure out how to be a “better person.” Time and time again, he strived for holiness only to get caught in the web of destructive habits, behaviors and thought patterns.

In Kill the Spider, Carlos shows us that it’s not enough to try and “stop sinning.” He teaches that knocking out deep-rooted habits and issues comes by treating the issue, not just the symptoms.

The greatest teacher of all time, Jesus, helps us out when it comes to discovering out soul filth. In Luke 6:45 Jesus says,

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

If you have not dealt with the sin in your life, then this will be reflected in your words and actions. Unrepentant sin causes a leader to have a short fuse, say things they will later regret, and lose the trust of those they are leading.

It’s been said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” 

You can go through the motions and focus on surface level issues, but if you want to truly begin leading then you need to repent and get your soul right with God.

First Tip for Soul Filth: Confession – Talk with a counselor, coach, or mentor about the cobwebs in your life and determine the spider that you need to kill. Stop putting it off. Right now you could send a text and say, “Hey Richard, we need to talk. Can we meet Tuesday at lunch?” I know you’re busy but unless you make a plan your good intentions will always just be a future plan. Start that plan now and take your first step.

Second Tip for Soul Filth: Think the Word. My mentor, Jim Wideman has challenged me to take every thought captive to obey Christ. I have scripture memorized to put my spiders in their place. So here’s your tip, think the Word. Before leaving this room, use google and find a verse that speaks directly to the filth in your soul. Write it down and begin committing it to memory.

4. Soul Distractions 

Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

I actually want to push back a little on this being busy statement. I think we have more time available than we give ourselves credit for. We overestimate how busy we are because we are so distracted.

Do you have an extra 5 minutes? What most people do…is fill ANY downtime, with their phone in their hand distracting them.

CBS News reported in 2012, 75 percent of Americans admitted to using their mobile phones while in the bathroom.

The time U.S. users are spending in mobile apps is continuing to grow; according to new data released in March by analytics firm Flurry, we’re up to 5 hours per day on our mobile devices.

So, is your soul distracted? I realize this is a weird week for your schedule but how many hours do you think you’ve been on your phone this week?

To find this information, iPhone users with the at least ios9 software can go to the ‘Settings‘ menu then select ‘Battery‘ (green icon), wait for it to load. They can then see a breakdown of their activity in the past 24 hours or 7 days, for example, with the apps they have spent the most time on at the top of a list, and the least popular at the bottom. Click the clock to see how many minutes or hours you have spent.

Android users, download the app “AntiSocial”

First Tip for Soul Distraction: Redeem the Distraction. Instead of trying to find the very last post on the bottom of that Facebook feed, read something that fills your soul tank. Instead of trying to amass more friends on social media, write a short prayer to your best friend. Later today when you pull your phone out to fill a void, recognize that and realize that only Jesus should be filling that space.

Second Tip for Soul Distraction: Set a time budget. What would it look like if next year when we pulled up the time we spent on our phones our number one app was the YouVersion Bible? Take a step in the right direction now by maybe saying that you won’t allow yourself to spend more than X amount of hours on such and such an app. Clear out this distraction, your soul doesn’t need it and there are more important things for you to spend your time on.

In order to lead for the long haul, you must continually get back on track and refuel your soul. Remember to abide in Christ, remember the significant mission He has called you to, deal with unrepentant sin, and remove distractions.

Probably one of the greatest tips that I can give you is a question that Jim challenged me with that has continued to roll around in my head. He asked:

“Has there ever been a time in your life where you were more in love with Jesus than you are right now?” And if the answer is yes, it’s your responsibility to fix it.

 

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88 Leadership Quotes and Questions from #D62017

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Greg Baird – @GregJBaird

“The Church is divinely designed to develop leaders through the discipleship process.”

Ephesians 4:12 “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry…” What does an equipped saint look like?

Are the few doing the ministry for the many? Or are the few equipping the many for the ministry?

Do new believers get called and sent into the mission upon conversion?

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Ron Hunter – @ronhunter

“Disciples is not an event, it’s a way of life.”

“Isn’t it interesting what God can do with an hour if it is given unto him.”

Do my conversations connect influentially with my kids?

If our kids dressed in the armor of God the same way we do as parents, will they be protected?

“Our roles as ministry leaders is to help parents connect with their children.”

“Face to face is confrontational but shoulder to shoulder allows an atmosphere for tough topics.”

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Christina Embree – @EmbreeChristina

“Discipleship at home was not about doing more but inviting Christ into what we were already doing.”

“Brushing your teeth can become discipleship. Parking far away can be discipleship. Hearing sirens can be discipleship.”

“The most ordinary thing becomes the sacred thing when Christ is in it.”

“Christ can take the most ordinary, mundane thing and make it sacred through His Holy Spirit.”

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The Skit Guys – @skitguys

“The truth about the little ones we get, it’s God idea, and our responsibility.”

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Dr. Gary Chapman – @DrGaryChapman

“As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

“The time to prepare for marriage is not after you get engaged, the time is now.”

Does this rule keep the kid from danger? Does it teach positive character trait? Does it protect property? Does it teach the child responsibility? Does it teach good manners?

“The question is not do you love your children. The question is do your children feel loved?”

What if my children turned out to be like me? What if they handle anger the way I handle anger? Love spouse how I love? Drive a car the way I drive? Work with the same ethic? Talk to others? Handle conflicts? Respond to drugs or alcohol? Same quality relationship with God? Handle money? Treat in-laws? Treat their children?

“Children are far more influenced by our model than our words.”

“You won’t have any problem with your children forgiving you if you’re willing to apologize.”

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 4

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Dr. La Verne Tolbert – @drltolbert

Who is your most memorable teacher?

As we look to teach like Jesus, how do we exemplify the Christian character?

Do we have a relationship with those we are leading? Do we pay attention to their needs?

How well do we use the baptism and communion and the church calendar as teachable moments?

“Jesus was sensitive to time. Jesus had a scope and sequence to His teaching.”

Why is it that we only teach auditory?

“In John 3-4 Jesus ministers to Nicodemus and the woman at the well. The uttermost to the guttermost.”

“We must not be too busy that we cannot pray.”

“A church without children is a dying church.”

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Dr. Richard Ross – @richardaross

1/2 of kids leave the church, but what about the 1/2 that stay. Why?

“If we pay attention to those who stayed, it might cause us to change the perspective of why we do what we do.”

“Spiritually lethargic parents create spiritually lethargic kids. Spiritually alive parents produce spiritually alive kids.”

“Teenagers who leave High School with little love for the bride will eventually wander away from the Groom.”

“The goal of family ministry is families who love God, love people, and make dimples of all nations.”

We tried replacing parents with the professionals for 60 years. So how’s that going?

“Those kids who stay [in church] come out of homes with moms and dads who are spiritually alive.”

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Dr. Vern Bengtson –

“Data showed parents having substantial influence on their millennial children’s faith formation.”

“There are more years of shared lives between grandparents and grandchildren than any time before. Grandparents are influential.”

Should there be a singles group for 65 year olds? Widow support group? Session on facing death?

“Don’t forget the seniors. Most churches do.”

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Candace Payne – @candacepayne

“Joy is a byproduct of a deeper work, hope.”

“May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace that you may abound in all hope.

Jesus is our hope. It’s found in a person.”

“Stop doing ministry without God!

Stop working for God, without God.”

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

“There is a beauty in only depending on what the spirit can do.”

“We’ve got places to be, and the first one is in His presence.”

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Michael Bayne – @michael_bayne

“Why do pastors spend so much time day-dreaming about the future church and not focusing on their present church?”

“If your dreams for your future church are hijacking the passion for your current church, there might be a problem.”

“What God has entrusted you with is critically important.”

“You get no credit for the time you spend coveting another church.”

Have you ever seen God’s people not complain or the complain free church?

“Lead like you’ll be there forever because you are responsible forever.“

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Dr. Eddie Moody – @EdwardEMoodyJr

“We need to prepare our kids for bad things, for the storms of life.”

Psalm 46 “When the mountains are moved into the heart of the sea.” “If God says He will be there in this time than we should expect this time to come.”

“In the U.S. 5% of kids will have one parent die before the age of 16.”

“Acting like pain and suffering doesn’t happen doesn’t serve our children well. Equip them. They can handle it.”

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Dr. Timothy Paul Jones – @DrTimothyPJones

“If all you get is the kids, you won’t have the parents and then eventually you won’t have the kids either.”

“Provide every child a family in faith.”

“Make a phone call to say; thank you, can we pray for you, how can we pray for your child, and thank you!”

“You aren’t doing it for results, you are doing it because it’s right. Your goal is faithfulness. The results belong to God.”

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Joshua Straub – @joshuastraub

“I made a conscious decision that the pattern of divorce in my family would stop with me.”

“I didn’t need to be the pastor of a megachurch to reach thousands of people. I just needed to be a parent.”

“Prayer doesn’t just change the generations that go after us. Prayer changes the generations that go before us.”

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Michael Covington – @m_covington

Are you too comfortable in your church?

Are you lacking the results you desire from your message because the way you deliver it is too comfortable?

“Any ministry or organization that lacks a clear focus of message…may need to bring themselves back to that time when they were brand new.” Do you remember that time?

“The right tone at the right time is a grace delivery method.”

How can your words be gracious if they don’t have the right tone?

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Kristie Christie – @kristievos

Why do we believe that happiness comes when we get more?

“College students today are about 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

How do we teach kids empathy? “Talk to your kids about life being hard.”

“People matter more than things. Our entitlement is not setting us free.”

Why does it matter what you choose? “Allow kids to feel the consequences of their actions as we walk beside them. They can make a big difference and they can make a big hurt.”

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Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell – @josh_mcdowell @Sean_McDowell

“When I started doing this…the dead sea was only sick.”

“God can use all of us regardless of our backgrounds.”

“If you really seek after truth, I believe you’ll find Jesus, ’cause he is truth”

“Don’t reject something because it’s the faith of your father. Reject something because it’s not true.”

“Pornography is the number one barrier to apologetics today.”

“The number one thing that causes a child to stay pure from sexual immorality was deep religious beliefs.”

“Rules without relationship leads to rejection.”

“Truth without relationships results in rejection.”

“Lord, never again, do I want to put my family before my ministry. My family is my first ministry.”

Why re-write this new book? “Truth never changes, but its critics do.”

 

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