Do You Have a Sick Child Policy?

Are you prepared for emergencies?I have spent the last 9 days being very sick. My husband and I went on a 10 day trip to visit various family members. It meant traveling on a lot of airplanes and hanging out in a lot of airports. The result was a nasty cold. Both of us got sick and we both commented that we had not been this sick in a long time.

So, I haven’t gotten a lot of work done in the last few days, but one thing has been prominent in my mind. It’s important all churches have sick child policies. People get sick. That’s just the way it is. If at all possible, we want to reduce the possibility of that sickness being passed on to other children in our care and to our volunteer staff.

So, create a sick child policy and then communicate it to your congregation.

This is the sick child policy that I created for the church I was serving at:

It is our desire to create a healthy, safe environment for all children who attend children’s programs at Transcona Alliance Church. Therefore, we have created some guidelines to protect our children and ensure a healthy environment.

Community health: In an effort to maintain a healthy environment for the children, please do not bring your child to TAC Kids programs if he/she is exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever over 100 F
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge in and around the eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Questionable rash
  •  Any communicable disease

If a child exhibits any of these symptoms while at TAC Kids programs, they will be isolated from the other children and parents will be contacted to come and pick up their child. The child is welcome back whenever these symptoms desist.

This example clearly states the policy, the reason for it, when a child is welcome back to the classroom, and the authority of the teacher to act upon it.

Once you have created a policy it is important to communicate it to the congregation. You want to make sure that all parents and volunteers know what the policy is, but you also want the entire congregation to be aware of it as well.

Post the policy in all classrooms and bathrooms. Ensure that all parents are given a copy of the policy and that all volunteers have a copy as well.

Creating and using a sick child policy is an important part of children’s ministry in the local church. Take some time this week to create one if you do not have one.

What Do You Do with Old Curriculum?

When was the last time you delved deep into the shelves of your resource room? (Insert scary music here)

I did a clean out of ours a few months ago and I found some gems! I found a curriculum book from 1948!

Some churches have a lot of old curriculum cluttering up the shelves and some churches don’t. Some churches have a rotation for the curriculum they use and don’t have leftovers. Other churches change up their curriculum more frequently and end with lots of boxes and binders kicking about.

What do you do with the old curriculum in your resource room?

Step One – Evaluate it

Don’t throw away something just because it’s old. On the other hand, I’m a big proponent of frequent clear outs. Don’t keep something just because you think you might use it. Take the time to evaluate what you find. Is this curriculum that you can add to your rotation schedule? Can you use it during a mid-week club? Is this curriculum accurate, Biblical, practical, and relevant? Are there parts of the curriculum that you can use? Sit down with what you find and look through it carefully. When you have, go to step 2.

Step Two – Do Something With it

Don’t put anything back into the resource room without making a decision about it first. Here are 4 options:

1. Throw it out
It’s okay! Take a deep breath and find a garbage can! I sometimes have a hard time with throwing away curriculum, but sometimes it is the only option. The book of lessons I found from 1948 could have gone to a children’s ministry museum, but since I don’t know of one, the garbage was the next best option.

If curriculum is just too outdated or inaccurate, the best option is to throw it out. I had to throw out some curriculum that wasn’t really old, but the lessons were just wrong. Bible stories were at times inaccurate and I knew that I would never teach it to my kids and I wouldn’t want it taught to other kids either.

2. Add it to the rotation

You may just find a gem! Some great curriculum that has gotten shoved to the back or fallen behind the shelves. If you like it and it passes evaluation, then work it into the curriculum rotation. Maybe it will work for Sunday School; maybe it’s perfect for mid-week clubs; maybe it is just what you were looking for for children’s church.  Either way, pat yourself on the back and dive back it!

3. Take it apart and make use of the bits

Sometimes you may not want to reuse the curriculum as a whole. Maybe the resource pictures are great and you can add them to your picture file or there are some great classroom activity ideas. Take what you will use and get rid of the rest.

4. Do a curriculum swap with a neighboring church

Finally, consider doing a curriculum swap with another church in your neighborhood or denomination. Maybe you find some great curriculum that you just can’t make use of. Contact a neighboring church and find out if they are willing to do a swap. This is a great way to build relationships with the children’s ministry volunteers from other churches and to freshen up your curriculum and resource room.

 

So, what are you doing this weekend? Grab some children’s ministry volunteers and dive into your resource room! You never know what you’re going to find!

Children’s Ministry Spectrum

It can be difficult in children’s ministry to know what programs to run, what programs to continue, and what programs to stop using. There are so many options and so many fun things to do with kids.

Using a children’s ministry spectrum will help with the tough choices you need to make.

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)

Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples.  As children’s ministry volunteers this is our commission. The children’s ministry spectrum uses this verse as a foundation.

The first step in the process is to go. There are children in our communities who need to hear of the love of God and the gift of salvation that is offered to them.

Outreach events

This is the first stop on the children’s ministry spectrum. Outreach involves meeting the kids in our communities, building relationships, and meeting their needs.

Outreach ideas include Breakfast Club at the local school, Mom & preschooler drop-in, Homework Club, Lego Club, Sports Camps, Drop-in programs after school, Mid-week clubs, after school care, drama camps, Christmas programs/parties, and Spring Break events.

It is so important to build relationships with kids and show our love by meeting their needs, but the command to make disciples requires us to share the gospel.  That is the next stop on the spectrum.

Evangelism

At some point we need to share the gospel with the kids we have been building relationships with. Especially when working with kids, the gospel needs to be shared more than once and in different ways. The truth of the gospel stays the same, the opportunities for sharing it, however, are many.

Evangelism opportunities include VBS, day camps, gospel-focused sports camps, backyard clubs, Christmas and Easter services, and one-on-one conversations.

Discipleship

New believers need to be given opportunities to grow in their faith and to fellowship with other believers.

Discipleship opportunities include individual or group mentoring, Sunday School, Children’s Church, Prayer Meetings, Mid-week clubs, Corporate Worship, and fellowship.

Service

Disciples need the opportunity to discover the gifts God has given them, develop them and then use them to serve in the church.

We need to give the kids in our care the opportunity to learn about Spiritual gifts, discover their gifts, and use their gifts in the church and community.

Missions

Disciples need the opportunity to go and make disciples themselves by being involved with missions. We need to give our kids opportunities to learn about missions, support missions, pray for missionaries & missions around the world, and be involved locally & globally.

These could include Missions events at the church, missions projects, opportunities to pray to missions, and community mission projects.

The children’s ministry spectrum provides a way for you to look at the children’s ministry of your church and see how you are doing in each area.

The spectrum is not made up of individual pieces, rather they blend together to create a cohesive children’s ministry.

I have created a worksheet for you to evaluate your current programs. It looks like this.

Print off this resource (PDF file) and plot your children’s ministry programs into the spectrum. Are there areas that are overwhelmed with programs? Are there areas that are lacking in programs?

I have also developed this wall poster for you to print and post on your wall to refer to.

I hope this is a useful tool for you and your team as you continue the work of children’s ministry in your church and community.

 

 

Book Review – Everyday Talk by John A. Younts

Words matter. The things we say in unguarded moments, the words we say in love, in frustration, at the breakfast table, and before bed reveal our attitudes, our worldview, our theology, our beliefs. This is everyday talk.

Everyday Talk is a parenting book about talking freely and naturally about God with your children. It was written to encourage parents to recognize the influence their everyday talk has on their children and to accept the responsibility they have to use that influence to tell their children about God and His ways.

“Along the path of everyday life, take the opportunity that God gives you to instruct your children.” (pg. 118)

The author uses Deuteronomy 6:4-7 as the key Scripture passage for his book.

“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 upon 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.”

The author states in the first chapter,

“The principle of Deuteronomy 6 is that your everyday comments are the ones that teach your children most profoundly about your view of God. Your interaction with God in everyday, ordinary, non-church life is the most powerful tool of influence that you have with your children. It communicates what you really believe.” (pgs 16-17)

This book is full of Biblical, practical advice for parents who want to talk to their kids about God. Each chapter has some questions at the end that encourage parents to think about the content of that chapter as it relates specifically to their kids, and practical ideas to implement the main idea of that chapter.

There are chapters on sharing the gospel with your kids; listening to your kids; giving directions; preparing your children to leave home; and talking with your children about the deceptiveness of the world, sex, and music.

An on-going issue for parents is discipline and obedience. In chapter 6, called “Big Sins, Little Sins” the author discusses the importance of consistent discipline. He talks about the tendency we have of categorizing sin. There are things we consider big sins and things we consider little sins. It is tempting to let little sins slide, but when we do, our children are being taught that obedience is not a requirement. Discipline for “big sin” and overlooking “little sins” teaches children to obey only when it seems necessary to them; it’s okay to disobey if they don’t get caught. (pg. 72)

The issue of obedience doesn’t end with parents. Ultimately we are to love and obey God.

“You cannot discipline properly until you see yourself as God’s agent to your kids…Your focus in discipline is to hold your children accountable to God.” (pg. 67)

“God wants to be loved & obeyed at all times, not just when the consequences seem great to us. You must discipline your children every time they are disobedient.” (pg. 69)

Consistent discipline is important because it gets to the heart of the issue. It helps our children understand they we obey because it is honoring to God, not simply to avoid the consequences of disobedience. Parents need to look at what is influencing their actions when they discipline and children need to look at what is influencing their actions when they choose to obey or disobey. It is the consequences or is it the best way to love God.

“Hold out for (your children) the goal of a heart that loves Christ more than the pleasures and good consequences of this life. Ask God to help your everyday talk to reflect love of God more than love of good consequences.” (pg. 77)

 

“The message of this book is that the most profound teaching your child receives is the everyday talk from your mouth.” (pg. 95) This book is an encouraging, practical, conversational appeal to parents.

“Parents, your children should hear God’s truth from your lips…They must hear God’s truth in your everyday talk. You must look out the window to your world and talk to your children about the truth of God in relation to what you see.” (pg. 120)

Children’s ministry volunteers: If parents in your ministry are looking for a practical book on Biblical parenting and talking naturally with their children about God, I recommend Everyday Talk.

4 Simple Tips to Prepare for the Unexpected

Are you prepared for emergencies?
A few weeks ago I woke up on Sunday morning and I was sick! Even though I was leading Large Group Time and teaching the preschool class, I knew I couldn’t go.

People get sick; emergencies happen. It is important to have a plan for dealing with those unexpected things.

1. Recruit a go-to person

As a leader, it is important for you to have someone able to step into your shoes. Recruit someone who is already involved in children’s ministry; someone who is able to handle emergencies. The go-to person should be given the volunteer schedule and the sub list. They should also be given a brief description of what their options are in an emergency (ex. canceling a class, contacting a sub, etc.) It is important that the go-to person be given the authority to handle the situation as they see fit.

2. Recruit Subs

Recruit a few people willing to be subs. Subs are volunteers willing to step in when needed. They may be given notice or they may be asked to step in with very little notice. It is important that you give your subs teacher schedules, class routines, behavior management polices, an overview of the curriculum. The more info they have, the smoother the transition will be when they are called to serve – especially at the last minute.

3. Communication

Do you have the phone numbers of your volunteers handy? Do they have yours? Do you have more than one way of getting in touch with your volunteers? In an emergency, people need to know who to contact and how to contact them. Make this information available in obvious places in your classrooms.

4. Make sure your team is aware of emergency procedures

Before emergencies happen! Let your volunteers know that you have a go-to person and who that person is. Make sure your volunteers have the sub list. Make sure your volunteers have your contact information and the phone numbers of team members. Let them know what will happen if you get sick at the last minute. Your team will be confident and it will be easier to recruit new volunteers if they know that you have procedures in place for those unplanned situations.

 

Flu hits, family emergencies happen. Be prepared by having people ready to step in and make sure you let your team know what the procedures are for those emergency situations.

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