It has been almost a month since I attended CPC20 and I have had time to reflect on my experience. I had a great time! I would like to thank the INCM team for putting on such a great event and for inviting me as a breakout speaker.
I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with people I hadn’t met face-to-face like Melanie Hester, Karl Bastion, Melissa MacDonald, Ken Huth Baker, Dick Crider, and Mark Steiner. I also met some wonderful new friends!
Some highlights of the conference include the general sessions. It was so wonderful to be in a room with 2000 people who shared the same passion as I do. The speakers were funny, relatable, real, and challenging. Another highlight were the food trucks! It was a hard decision to choose which truck I would visit for lunch – there were so many great options! Another highlight was the resource center – it was jammed packed with booths full of resources and I met some wonderful people!
I was privileged to present three breakout sessions and each one was full of people who were eager to learn and excited about taking what they have learned back to their churches and children’s ministries.
Lessons I Learned
Bring a big suitcase! There were many freebies and also many resources purchased at the resource center!
Come prepared to learn and grow – even when you are a speaker! The general session speakers and the breakout speakers all had passion and purpose and provided me with a lot to think about!
Florida in January is a wonderful break from Regina, Canada in January! I went from -40 temperatures to +30 (+86F). But Florida is also soooo humid compared to Regina!
The Children’s Ministry community is full of fun, passionate, interesting people who love Jesus and kids! I am so glad to be a part of this community.
It’s happened to all of us. You stifle a yawn, check the time, and sigh. This meeting is taking forever! We have all been in meetings that have been too long and too specialized. Planning meetings are important and happen for a variety of reasons in Children’s Ministry. We need planning meetings for VBS, Fall Kick-off, Christmas Pageants, Sunday School, Community events, etc. Here are 7 tips to help you have the most productive planning meetings ever!
Cast your vision at each meeting
Planning meetings often involve the nitty gritty of Children’s Ministry. They are about dates and times and places and volunteers. It is all too easy to get bogged down in detail And what ends up happening is the team being unable to see the forest for the trees.
Kids who personally know, genuinely love, and passionately obey God.
Remind your team of the bigger picture at every planning meeting. Lift them up out of the bog of detail with your vision for the children in your ministry. It is so encouraging and invigorating to hear how the event they are planning will help to fulfill your vision for the kids they serve.
Kids who love God with all their heart and desire to grow in him more.
A vision statement is a single sentence description of what you want your kids to be like when they leave your children’s ministry. A vision is important because it gives all your children’s ministry volunteers something to work towards. When a volunteer feels mired down in details, your vision statement will help them to see beyond the present frustrations. Knowing that there is a bigger picture will motivate your volunteers.
So, take a few minutes at the beginning of each planning meeting to cast your vision.
Only Call Necessary Meetings
You may, in the past, have had monthly/weekly meetings to prepare for big events like VBS. People expect them and you call them simply because that is how it has always been done. Let me encourage you to rethink how you call planning meetings. Instead of having a weekly meeting just because you always have, only call necessary meetings. Your team will appreciate the fact that you are respecting their time.
Have a clear purpose for each meeting
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Know what you want to accomplish in the meeting and as a result of the meeting. Make sure everyone at the meeting knows ahead of time or right from the beginning what the purpose of the meeting is. This allows to you stay on track and keep all participants on track as well.
Respect People’s Time
We have all been at meetings that seem to drag on and on. Have a deadline for your meeting and stick to it. Let your team know how long the meeting will be when you schedule it and then do everything you can to keep it to that time period. When your team knows that one hour meetings are actually one hour meetings, they will be more likely to show up prepared and ready to participate.
Only invite those who need to be there
These tips are all interconnected. Once you know the purpose of your meeting, you will know who you need to invite to that meeting. You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so let the team know ahead of time that everyone is valuable and important to the team; you also respect everyone ‘s time so there will be meetings that not everyone is invited to. Only invite those people who need to be there.
Every person there should leave the meeting with an action list
The best way to ensure a productive meeting is to give every person a to-do list. This, again, is connected to knowing the purpose of the meeting.and only inviting those who need to be there. Every person at the meeting should leave with an action list as a result of the meeting. They should have at least one item they need to accomplish before the next meeting.
Make it fun
Finally, make your meetings fun! Plan a brief ice-breaker game if it’s the first time a team is meeting together. Play fun get-to-know-each-other games. Serve coffee or cold beverages. Encourage a fun, relaxed atmosphere. People will be more productive.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
That is the glorious gospel! That is the message that we need to be sharing with children. The message never changes. The methods we use to tell that message are numerous. I think that it’s important to use a variety of tools as we share the gospel with children.
Halloween is a great opportunity for evangelism. It is one of the rare moments when neighborhood kids are coming to our door!
“Is There Anything Better Than Candy” is a 3D pumpkin that contains candy that you put together and give to kids on Halloween.
Here’s How to Put It Together
The box tract comes on a perforated sheet. of cardstock. Punch out the pumpkin. It will look like this:
Pull each pumpkin stem towards the center and hold together with your fingers. Grab one of the other “petals” and pull it to the center. “Petals” 2,3,5 & 6 have a small cut at the outer edge. Slide the two green stems through the slit. Then continue with the rest of the “petals”. (Don’t forget to put one or two Halloween candies in the center before you start assembling!)
Thoughts and Feedback
I thought this was a really fun way of sharing the gospel with children at Halloween. The box tract is colorful and unique. More importantly, the gospel message inside is written in child-friendly language without losing any of the truth of the gospel.
I like that this tract is different from booklet tracts. It’s 3D. It will grab kids attention. It’s a cool shape and very eye-catching. I also like that it contains candy. I think it’s important to include candy with evangelistic tools at Halloween and this is a really fun way to do it.
I am not a crafty person! This box tract proved easy to put together. (The fact that the numbers inside did not match the instructions for building the pumpkin threw me for a minute, but then I realized that the numbers inside were related only to the order to read the gospel message and that as long as you put together the pumpkin stems first, the rest of the “petals” could be done in any order.) This would be a fun activity to do with your children (or your Sunday School class or club kids, or whatever). The kids can be involved and have fun adding the candy and assembling the pumpkins. You can discuss what the message is and how you hope the children who receive them will respond. You can also pray together for each child who will receive this box tract.
Most tracts are designed for adults to read along with children. They can discuss what they are reading and make sure the child understands as they go along. This tract has been designed for kids to read themselves. I found a surprising amount of text on each “petal” Especially “petals” 3-6. The first “petal” has four lines of text and I think that is the limit that kids will realistically read. I think two lines of text with a cartoon would be a great solution.
This tract seems to be focused on getting the child to pray a prayer of commitment. However, it just ends there. While we want kids to come to faith, there needs to be a step beyond; some follow-up that gets a child involved in a church community. One idea, possibly, is to put a sticker in the center portion with the church website or address.
I love the creativity of this evangelistic tool. It’s a great opportunity for people to have an impact in their community for Christ.
as Ministry: – Forget Babysitting! You’re Kingdom Building!
Too many people think nursery ministry is just babysitting. But it’s not! You have the opportunity to lay a strong foundation of Biblical truth. Learn how to include short prayers and key foundational Bible truths in your routine; discover how to have a Biblical conversation with babies; and inspire your nursery staff to rethink nursery.”
Students: Tips for Application Time to Make Scripture Stick
Will the lesson you taught on Sunday be remembered on the playground on Monday? Application time connects the Bible to your students’ lives. Discover effective techniques to keep application time on track, learn to include all the kids (whatever their personality), and find out how to make the Bible real for today’s kids.
Building An Amazing Bible Memory Program In Your Children’s Ministry
Is Bible memory still a relevant spiritual discipline in today’s fast-paced world? It is! And in this breakout you’ll discover the 5 simple steps that you can implement immediately to create an engaging, effective Bible memory program that will help kids grow as disciples.
:I’m excited to be at CPC20 and I’m rolling up my sleeves to create amazing breakouts that will enable the attendees to serve Jesus and kids.
I love teaching preschoolers! They are fun and complicated and joyful and eager to learn. Here are 6 tips that will help you teach these wonderful little people:
1. Routine is King.
This is true for all children, but especially preschoolers. Preschoolers face change daily. Their bodies are constantly changing as they grow. They experience new food, new places, new people. They learn new skills and information constantly., While kids love learning new things, it can also be stressful. A routine gives preschoolers a sense of security. and confidence. Certainty and predictability help toddlers and preschoolers feel comfortable. A predictable routine makes preschoolers feel safe. When preschoolers feel safe, secure, confident, and comfortable, then they are ready hear about the God who made the world and who made them, the God who loves them and wants a relationship with them.
2. Use the Two Minute Rule.
I don’t mean the famous”two minute rule” that is supposed to help fight procrastination (although I think many of us struggle with procrastination!). Whenever it is time to change activities, give kids a warning two minutes before it happens. Abrupt changes in activity do not work well with preschoolers. First, toddlers and preschoolers play hard! They really get into whatever it is that they are doing and don’t like to suddenly be pulled away from it (actually, adults don’t much like that either!) Second, preschoolers take longer to do pretty much anything! Give them time to finish what they are doing and adjust to the idea of a new activity. For example, if it is the beginning of your Sunday School class and the children have been playing with toys, get their attention and say, “In two minutes, it’s storytime!” Then, “It’s storytime in one minute. Let’s clean up our toys!”
3. Keep Your Attention-Getting Technique Simple.
When you want kids to stop what they are doing and listen, keep it simple. “Hands on top. Everybody stop.” Put your hands on your head when you say this. Kids hear the call to action and respond by stopping whatever they are doing and putting their hands on their heads. It’s important that you have the attention of the classroom before you say anything. Make sure they are listening first with a simple call to action. Once you have chosen one, stick to it. Kids need to learn the proper way to respond and then they need the predictability of responding the same way to the same call every time. To avoid confusion, only use this technique for getting attention. Don’t dilute it’s effectiveness by using it for other purposes. Other ideas for calls to action are :
Clap in pattern and have the kids repeat the pattern back.
“One, two, three, look at me.” “One, two, look at you.”
Use a rainstick or train whistle or bell.
4. Use Story Time Transitions.
Preschoolers need time to transition between activities In Sunday School, it’s important that preschoolers are ready for story time. We want them hear the Bible story, but more importantly, we want them learn something new about :God through the Bible story.. In order to help them get ready to hear the Bible story, use a story time transition. Make this part of the routine so that when kids hear it, they will know exactly what is happening next. A short song or rhyme is ideal. I don’t remember where I found this one, but I really like it (and I can easily remember the tune to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!)
Hands go up and Hands go down I can turn myself around I can stand up On one shoe I can listen So can you I can sit. I’ll show you how Story time is starting now.
5. Have Clear Expectations for What the Children are to do in the Classroom
Preschoolers (unless they go to daycare) will not know how to behave in the classroom. It’s another new thing that they have to learn. They won’t know if they should leave their shoes on or take them off. They won’t know when they can play with toys and when it’s time to participate in group activities. Tell them simply and clearly and often what is expected of them in Sunday School. And remember to keep your expectations reasonable. Preschool children can sit for story time, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to sit for 15 minutes of storytime without changing the activity.
Here are some examples of reasonable expectations:
I expect everyone to sit on the story blanket during storytime.
After playtime, I expect everyone to help clean up.
Before we eat snack, everyone washes their hands.
6. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.
I can’t repeat it enough – preschoolers love repetition! They want to hear the same story over and over. They hide in the same spot during hide and seek over and over. They look in the same spot during hide and seek over and over. They sing the same song over and over. Preschoolers love repetition!
I teach a preschool Sunday School class and we always sing the same song after the story – always. They love it! A few weeks ago, I finished the story and one two year old stood up and said, “Now touch finger nose.” That’s the song we sing. Preschoolers don’t mind learning new songs, but they want to keep singing the old ones too.
As adults we tend to groan if we have to sing that song again or read that story again. But repetition is the practice preschoolers need to master a new skill and gain confidence..Through repetition, preschoolers start to learn to predict what will come next and develop sequencing skills (like before and after) and understand cause and effect.
Do you remember Blue’s Clues? It was a show for preschoolers that clearly understood that preschoolers need repetition. They aired the same episode 5 days a week. They got it. Kids watched it over and over and understood more each time, becoming more interactive and confident each time they saw it.
Sing songs over and over. Share the same Bible story over and over. Provide the same activities over and over. Preschoolers love repetition!