Bigger is Better, Right?

Are you a small children’s ministry? Do you sometimes look at larger children’s ministries and think, “If only we had their budget, their volunteers, their space?”

Bigger has become equated with better. Bigger children’s ministries have more money, more space, and more volunteers. That must mean that they offer more value to the kids who attend their programs. They must offer better children’s ministry.

We all have these thoughts. But is bigger automatically better?

Where does the true value come from in children’s ministry?

Making DisciplesRelationships

The true value in children’s ministry is not in the budget or the space, it starts with the relationships you and your team build with the kids in your care. Do you take the time to get to know the kids in your programs? Do you start outreach programs with the express purpose of getting to know the kids in your community? Building relationships is a key part of children’s ministry.

Gospel

Children’s ministry is important because it is an opportunity to share the gospel in an age-appropriate, targeted manner with kids that you have been building a relationship with. Budgets, space, and a huge volunteer base won’t mean anything if they are not being used to help you share the gospel with the kids who attend your programs. The gospel is key; it’s central to everything we do in children’s ministry. Are you regularly sharing the gospel with the kids in your ministry?

Are you making disciples?

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.” Matthew 28:18-20

This is what it’s all about: Children’s Ministry is about making disciples. Jesus commands us to make disciples. The true value in children’s ministry is the opportunity it allows us to make disciples of kids. We build relationships, we share the gospel. Why? In order to make disciples. And when children do put their trust in Jesus, we build them up as disciples teaching them how to pray, how to study their Bibles, how to use the gifts God has given them to serve and build up the church.

Are you making disciples in your children’s ministry?

Budget

Whatever your budget is, use it to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Volunteers

However many volunteers you have, make it your goal as a team to build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

Space

Whether you have a huge amount of space or one small classroom, creatively use the space you have to help you build relationships, share the gospel, and make disciples.

So, is bigger always better? Not necessarily. The focus shouldn’t be on how big your children’s ministry is. The focus should be on making disciples. It doesn’t really matter what size your budget is, what size your space is, or what size your volunteer team is. What matters is whether you are using those things to help you make disciples.

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Bright Ideas For Children’s Ministry

I was recently asked to contribute to a new book that was being released for Children’s Ministry leaders and volunteers. This book is full of tried and tested ideas for Children’s Ministry – Object Lessons, Crafts, Games, Leadership, Missions, Teaching Activities, Technology, and Worship.

50 ideas in one volume – that’s a resource that anyone would want!bright-ideas-cover-md

This book is available on kidology.org.

And even better – here’s a code to get $5 off if you buy the book before the end of the year – SAVE5JH

Check it out and consider adding it to your resource library!

 

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The Well Equipped Volunteer Children’s Ministry Handbook – Table of Contents

When I go to a book store I like the flip through the table of contents so that I know the book will cover the topics that I want before I buy it. So here’s the table of contents for my book.

Page #
Introduction 1
Part 1: Vision, Purpose, And Mission 3
Introduction 5
Chapter 1 Vision 7
Chapter 2 Purpose 15
Chapter 3 Mission 19
Chapter 4 What To Do Once You Have A Vision, Purpose, And Mission 23
Part 2: Programming And Curriculum 27
Introduction 29
Chapter 5 Children’s Ministry Spectrum 31
Chapter 6 Disciple-Making Strategy Overview 35
Chapter 7 Disciple-Making Strategy Step #1 – What A Growing Disciple Looks Like 39
Chapter 8 Disciple-Making Strategy Step #2 – Scope: What Should Be Taught 45
Chapter 9 Disciple-Making Strategy Step #3 – Sequence: To Whom And In What Order The Scope Should Be Taught 61
Chapter 10 Disciple-Making Strategy Step #4 – The Program: When It Should Be Taught 103
Chapter 11 Disciple-Making Strategy Step #5 – Measuring Growth 105
Chapter 12 Curriculum 107
Chapter 13 Choosing And Evaluating Curriculum 111
Bonus Chapter: Choosing Curriculum For Toddlers 119
Chapter 14 Getting The Most Out Of The Curriculum You Have 121
Chapter 15 Programs – VBS 125
Chapter 16 Programs – Sunday School, Children’s Church, And Nursery 129
Chapter 17 Important Elements Of Sunday School Or Children’s Church – Worship 137
Chapter 18 Important Elements Of Sunday School Or Children’s Church – Bible Memory 149
Chapter 19 Important Elements Of Sunday School Or Children’s Church – Missions 159
Chapter 20 Writing SMART Goals 163
Chapter 21 Program Evaluation 165
Part 3: Volunteers 171
Introduction 173
Chapter 22 Recruiting Volunteers 175
Chapter 23 Training Volunteers 205
Chapter 24 Encouraging Volunteers 217
Chapter 25 Supporting Volunteers 221
Chapter 26 Retaining Volunteers 225
Part 4: Administration 227
Introduction 229
Chapter 27 How To Do Children’s Ministry Administration Without Going Crazy 231
Chapter 28 Safety Guidelines 239
Chapter 29 Forms And Records 253
Chapter 30 Working With Others In The Church 259
Part 5: Teacher Training 265
Introduction 267
Chapter 31 Understanding Age Groups 269
Chapter 32 Teach One Thing 275
Chapter 33 Lesson Preparation 281
Chapter 34 The Lesson – Getting Attention 287
Chapter 35 The Lesson – Bible Study 289
Chapter 36 The Lesson – Application 293
Chapter 37 How To Ask Good Questions 307
Chapter 38 Teaching Bible Skills 309
Chapter 39 Sharing The Gospel With Kids 313
Chapter 40 Storytelling Techniques 333
Chapter 41 Object Lessons – What They Are And Why You Should Use Them 341
Chapter 42 How To Use Games To Help Drive Home Your Key Theme, Learn Bible Verses, Or Develop Bible Skills 347
Chapter 43 How To Teach A Multi-Age Class 351
Chapter 44 Classroom Management 355
Chapter 45 Discipline 365
Chapter 46 Safety Guidelines Refresher Training 373
Chapter 47 50 Pop-Up Training Ideas 379
Conclusion 407
Appendices 409
Recommended Books For The Sunday School Classroom 411
10 Essential Classroom Supplies 415
How To Put Together The Best Prop Box Ever 419
Bible Story Box 421
Praying For You, Your Team, And Your Kids 423

To buy the book on amazon, click the book cover below.

TheWellEquippedVolunteerChildrensMinistryHandbook

 

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It’s Published! The Well Equipped Volunteer Children’s Ministry Handbook

20140711_175033

After a year and a half of intensive writing and editing, I’m excited to announce that my book is finally published! The Well Equipped Volunteer Children’s Ministry Handbook has everything you need to lead Children’s Ministry in your church. It’s a 400 plus page manual for Children’s Ministry leaders and volunteers to help them start and grow a thriving Children’s Ministry.

The book brings together everything I’ve learned in my 17+ years in Children’s Ministry. The book is divided into five parts:

  1. Vision, Purpose, and Mission: This helps you build the big picture of your ministry.
  2. Programming and Curriculum: Develop a disciple-making strategy; learn to analyze curriculum; and build programs that meet the needs of your church and community.
  3. Volunteers: Learn to recruit, train, and retain volunteers.
  4. Administration: Develop effective safety guidelines, create a budget, and work with others in the church.
  5. Teacher Training: This section has over a dozen detailed training topics (like lesson prep, sharing the gospel with kids, and discipline) to enable leaders to train their volunteers.

Check out this post for the table of contents.

To buy the book on amazon, click the book cover below.

TheWellEquippedVolunteerChildrensMinistryHandbook

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Organize Your Resource Room

Are you scared to walk into your resource room? Are your volunteers too scared to try and open the supply cabinets worried that they will be buried by an avalanche of pompoms, construction paper, old curriculum, cotton swabs, paint brushes, and googly eyes?

Most churches have some version of a resource room. They may not have a full room to give over to storing resources; they may just have a cupboard. Regardless of what it’s called, churches store their resources and supplies. Whether you have a resource room or a supply cabinet, you need to have a strategy for organizing and using the resources.

Resource rooms generally hold curriculum, curriculum resources, visuals, flannel graphs, and sometimes supplies (sometimes the resource room and supplies cabinet are two different areas).

Your method of organization will reflect the type of room or area that you have to store your resources and supplies.

Organize Your Stuff

Regardless, sort the material you have to organize into categories. The purpose here is to make things easy to find. So be logical about it. Put all the curricula together. Put the classroom supplies together and put the craft supplies together. Once you have your resource room items sorted, label the shelves or bins. Then provide sign-out sheets. If anyone borrows something (other than craft supplies), they should sign it out. That way you and the rest of the volunteers know where things are.

Once your resource room/supplies cabinet is organized, you need to communicate to your volunteers what is available for their use and how they can make use of it.

Inventory List

Provide each volunteer with an inventory list of everything that is in the resource room/supply cabinet. You could put an inventory list in the volunteer packet (if you have one; and I highly recommend that you do!).

Create a Map of the Resource Room

Then create a “map” of the resource room/supply cabinet. At one church I worked in our supply cabinets were made up of shelves along a back wall enclosed by 4 doors. To create a “map” of the contents I covered the inside of each door with paper. At the top of each piece of paper I added the door number (#1-4) and a label of the type of items found behind that door: #1 Base Material; #2 Craft Elements; #3 Craft Tools; #4 Office Supplies.

Supply Cabinets - Close up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Base Material included construction paper, felt, fabric pieces, paper plates, cardboard, tin foil, coffee filters, etc.

Craft elements included pipe cleaners, pompoms, bead, ribbon, sea shells, rocks, stickers, pasta shapes, etc.

Supply Cabinets - Craft Elements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafts tools included scissors, toothpicks, cotton swabs, straws, paint, paint brushes, crayons, markers, pencil crayons, etc.

Supply Cabinets - Craft tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office Supplies included hole punches, binders, rulers, tacks, pins, etc.

Then for each shelf there was an arrow pointing to the shelf beside a corresponding list on the paper of what could be found on that shelf.

Supply Cabinet door info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On each door I also included a paper that said, “Read this first”. This paper contained two sections: guidelines for using the supplies cabinets and tips for using the supplies.

Supply Cabinets - Read First Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guidelines were simple:

  • These closets are for everyone.
  • Please return items to their original location.
  • Almost out of something? Let me know so I can replace it.

The tips for using the supply cabinets included listing what each door contained, and then providing a few labour-saving devices. There were three items in the cabinets that I highlighted with additional signs. The location of a craft binder was highlighted with a blue smiley face. The location of ready-to-go crafts was highlighted with an orange star. And the location of baskets for carrying supplies was highlighted with a pink smiley face.

Supply Cabinets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, finally, I created an inventory list that corresponded with the layout of the supply cabinets.

Now, you don’t have to organize your supply cabinet/resource room exactly like I did, but I do highly recommend that you organize the material in a way that makes sense (base materials, craft elements, craft tools), clearly label that material, and then communicate with your volunteers the inventory, guidelines, and some tips for using the supplies.

Create a culture of getting people to put things back where they found it. This will keep the area tidy and make everyone’s job easier. Also, set aside a few minutes each week to tidy, restock, and track things down that are missing.

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