My dad’s a pastor. He’s been a pastor for more than 35 years. There are a number of things that characterize my Dad. If you ask people, the first thing they will probably mention is his laugh. My dad laughs a lot and it’s infectious!
My dad also shares the gospel every chance he gets. He shares the gospel at weddings and funerals. He shares the gospel in hospital rooms and coffee shops. He shared the gospel recently more than once at our 100th years in Canada family reunion. He was asked to put together a hymn book of our pioneering ancestor’s favorite hymns and in the introduction he shared the gospel.
If I have learned anything from my Dad it’s this: Share the gospel. Love people, listen to people, serve people, but don’t waste opportunities to share the gospel because they might not come around again.
There are many reasons to hold a VBS program at your church, but I believe that the first and foremost reason should be because it’s an opportunity to share the gospel with the kids in your community.
There are children that come to VBS that have never stepped into a church before. There are kids who have attended church their whole life. There are also kids who come from other churches!
All of these children need to hear about the God who created them and loves them; who sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross, taking the punishment for their sin so that they can be forgiven and become children of God.
VBS is an opportunity to share the wonderful gospel with the children in your community – a chance that you may not get again. Don’t waste it.
Summer is fast approaching! What do you do with your preschoolers over the summer? Your Sunday School teachers deserve a break – they have served faithfully all year – yet 2 to 5 year olds turn into wiggle worms in the main service.
Here’s an idea for an easy, no-prep preschool Sunday School Summer class:
I have used parent volunteers and picture books as the basis of my summer Sunday School class. Parents are willing to volunteer when they know that they will only be asked to help for 1 or 2 weeks and that they will be supervising the children and reading them a story from a picture book. I found a great series of pictures books by Carine Mackenzie based on the attributes of God – God is Faithful, God Never Changes, God is Kind, God is Everywhere, etc. I also use some books written by Debby Anderson – I Love My Bible!, Let’s Explore God’s World, God Knows my Name, I Can Talk with God, Every Child Everywhere, Jesus is Coming Back. (These books are available through your local Christian Bookstore or at www.christianbook.com) I made a schedule for my parent volunteers so they knew which book to read and I found coloring pages to go with the theme of each week. I also found a Bible verse to go with each theme and made it into a poster. Here’s an example of one of the lessons plans. I told my parent volunteers that the most important thing was reading the kids the scheduled book. They could choose to do what they were comfortable with other than that. Parents appreciated knowing that they didn’t have to sing with the kids if they weren’t comfortable doing it. Also, they could choose to do one, all, or none of the activity ideas provided.
I created a checklist for parent volunteers that told them exactly how the morning would go. I provided snacks and juice and toys. It’s easy and non-stressful for parent volunteers but still makes use of the time we have to teach children big truths about our big God.
This idea works whether you dismiss children during the service or they go directly to their class at the beginning of the morning.
So, take a break over the summer! But make use of the time you have to teach our children about our great, big, awesome God!
Here are my last 10 top picks from Sovereign Grace Kids. To see the first 10 click here.
1. Good & Gracious (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is an upbeat song that focuses on the fact that God is good and gracious. God is good all the time and God is gracious to us. Children may need an explanation of what gracious means. As with many SovereignGraceKids songs, the gospel is highlighted in this song. Because God is good and gracious, He sent Jesus to die for our sins. “Good and gracious; You’re our Creator. Good and gracious to all You’ve made. Good and gracious; You never change. There’s goodness in everything You do.”
2. Make Me Wise (Walking with the Wise cd)
This is a fun song to sing with kids about the need for wisdom when making choices every day. This is something kids understand. They make choices everyday – good and bad. Teaching them that God will help them to make good choices; that God will give them wisdom if they ask for it is important. “Make me wise. Make me wise. Let me see through this world’s lies. There are so many paths to follow and I don’t want to compromise. Make me wise. Make me wise so I’m pleasing in Your sight. Lord, I want to bring You glory, so I’m asking You to make me wise.”
3. I Don’t Have to Hide (Walking with the Wise cd)
This is a good transitional song – to help you move from high energy songs to slower more worshipful songs. ‘I Don’t Have to Hide’ is a song that highlights the mercy of God. We are all sinners. We have all tried to hide the wrong we have done or hide from the consequences of our sin. The wonderful news proclaimed in this song is that because Jesus died, we don’t have to hide anymore. “If I confess my sins, I’ll find mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord and admits his sin. Blessed is the one who trusts the Lord, who alone forgives. Jesus died so I don’t have to hide anymore.” There is little that needs explanation in this song. Make sure you talk with your kids about what blessed means and about what mercy means. This song is based on Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
4. You Are Always With Me (Awesome God cd)
This song is sung as a prayer and is based on Psalm 139. “You are always with me, Jesus. Where could I go? Where could I hide? You are always with me, Jesus. Where could I go? You never leave my side.” This is a song of hope for kids to remember that as followers of Jesus, they are never alone. Jesus is always with us. This is an upbeat song, but not high energy. It’s a good transition song.
5. A Generous Heart (Walking with the Wise cd)
‘A Generous Heart’ is a transitional song that focuses on our God being the giver of all good things. God is a generous God and loves those who are generous. “God loves a generous heart. Cause that’s a heart like His own heart.” This song reminds us of just a few of the things God has generously given us – reminding us that God gave us Jesus who went to the cross to take the penalty for our sin.
6. Make Me Faithful (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is a high energy song that I have sung often with kids. It is a lot of fun to sing and full of important truth. The focus of this song is Jesus. Jesus is faithful – He does what He says He will do; He keeps His promises; He follows through. When the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, we become faithful like Jesus. “I want to be like You are. I want to be faithful. Help me to be like You are. Oh make me faithful.”
7. Who Can Say? (Walking with the Wise cd)
Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?” I love that this song makes the connection to Jesus. Jesus is the only one who is without sin – Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross so that we can have new life. It is a song of praise for who Jesus is and what He has done. This is a slow song – “Jesus, Jesus, only You did everything right. Jesus, Jesus, died and rose so we could have new life.”
8. Where it All Begins (Walking with the Wise cd)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) The fear of the Lord is an important concept for kids to understand. Kids need to know that God is worthy of our deep respect. I like this song because it doesn’t back away from a potentially difficult subject – instead it sticks to scripture and explains what it means to fear the Lord. It is my prayer that our kids will stand in awe of our great God!
9. Forever God (Awesome God cd)
This is a fun song – there is some repetition, but it serves to highlight the focus of this song – “Forever You remain unchanged. And though all else will fade, You will be the same. You go on and on and on and on and on. On and on and on and on. Forever You are God.” This is an upbeat song that focuses our attention on the eternal, unchanging nature of God. Our God is a forever God!
10. Sovereign One (Awesome God cd)
“When I am alone and afraid I will trust in You for You watch over my ways.” This song immediately grabs attention because feeling alone and afraid is something that every child can relate to. Giving our kids the truth of a big God who is in complete control and who is always with them is so important. I love this song! Using music to teach big truths about God is a great idea. As kids learn this song, they will also be learning what it means that God is sovereign. This is a slow song and because it is sung as a prayer, kids have the opportunity to truly worship as they focus on God. “Sovereign One, You work all things to Your plan. Sovereign One, You hold all things in Your hand.”
I had to stop myself at 20 – SovereignGraceKids have produced excellent cd’s that can be listened to at home and music that can be sung together at a worship service. Finding good music for kids that they can relate to, that is God-centered and gospel-focused is not always easy. I highly recommend SovereignGraceKids – you will find music that kids like, and songs that truly engage our hearts in worship of our great God!
It can be hard to find good music for kids – especially when you are looking for music to use on Sunday morning. A lot of songs are just silly or are too vague and symbolic for kids.
But there is good music out there – songs that kids can understand; songs that teach kids something about God; songs that remind us of just how big & magnificent & awesome our God is; songs that lead kids to worship.
If you are looking for good music to use with your kids on Sunday morning, then I highly recommend SovereignGraceKids. www.sovereigngracemusic.org
In 2004 SovereignGraceKids released “Awesome God,” their first kid’s album. They have since released 2 other albums, “To Be Like Jesus,” and “Walking with the Wise.” SovereignGraceKids have created music for kids that is fun, engaging, God-centered, and gospel-focused.
Here are my top 20 picks from Sovereign Grace Kids:
1. Jesus Came to Earth (Awesome God cd)
This is a joyful, high energy song. ‘Jesus Came to Earth’ is a song that celebrates Jesus as our Savior! It tells the story of Jesus, the Son of God who left the glories of heaven to come to earth, live a perfect life, die on the cross, rise from the dead, and return to heaven. It tells the gospel in simple language and then gives praise to Jesus. This song requires little explanation for kids. It was obviously written with kids in mind – the language is appropriate, the vocal range is right for kids, and with the first verse teaching the words and then sung again with the kids repeating, it is easy for the kids to learn. I love that this song focuses kid’s attention on Jesus!
2. Your Love (Awesome God cd)
This is a fast, high-energy song that focuses our attention on the love of God. I have sung this often with kids and they love it! “Your Love” is about the never-ending love of God. God loves us with an awesome, forever, everlasting love. God showed His great love by sending Jesus to die for our sins. One thing I love about this song is the focus on how God loves us even when we sin. Kids need to understand that God is faithful – He loves us and will forgive us if we admit our sin. This is a big issue for kids – they are well aware of the fact that they do wrong. This song reminds them that God loves them and will forgive them and will help them grow to be more and more like Jesus.
3. Almighty Creator (Awesome God cd)
This is a high-energy song that praises God for being our Creator. It tells of the mighty power of God. It reminds us that we have been created to love & worship God. It also talks of the gospel truth that because of Jesus we can be made new as children of God. This song requires little explanation for kids. In the chorus we sing, “All glory to Your name!” Talk with your kids about what it means to give God all the glory.
4. Who is Like You? (Awesome God cd)
This is a slower song that focuses on who God is. When we think about what God is like the appropriate response is worship. This song does require some explanation. There are words used to describe God that kids may not be familiar with. Also, rhetorical questions are used in this song. It is important that kids understand what that means. The first time you sing this song with kids you may want to read a couple Bible verses that describe the majesty and wonder of God. “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11) The wonder in this song is that this great big wonderful God loves us!
5. Mighty, Mighty Savior! (Awesome God cd)
‘Mighty, Mighty Savior’ is a joyful song of praise to Jesus, our Mighty Savior! It is a great song for kids. This song describes our state as sinners and our hope for salvation through Jesus who can take away our sin. This is a good song to use when transitioning between high energy songs and slower worship songs.
6. For You Are Holy (Awesome God cd)
This is a slow worship song that focuses on the holiness of our awesome God. It describes what God is like in words that kids can understand. When reminded of who God is and what He is like the natural response is worship. This songs reminds us that no one is like our God; no one can compare to Him – Only He has no beginning, is truth unending, is always wise. Only God has never sinned, cannot be tempted and can never die. This great God is holy and totally worthy of our worship!
7. To Be Like Jesus (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is a fun, high energy song about following Jesus. Followers of Jesus grow to be more like Him. Evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives is more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control. This song proclaims the desire to live life as a follower of Jesus. This is one of my favorite songs to sing with kids. I love this song and kids love it too! “I want to be like Jesus! To walk and talk like Jesus. I want to live like one who follows Him!”
8. Because You First Loved Me (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is a good song to sing as you transition to slower songs or as a commitment song – one that you sing to declare your intention to live a certain way or to behave a particular way in the upcoming days. This is a song about loving others the way God loves us. This is a great song for kids because it addresses a very real issue – showing love to others. This is not always easy. But because God loved us first and showed us how to love, we can love others. Showing love is what disciples of Jesus do and this song is an encouragement to kids to be like Jesus by loving others.
9. Joy (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is a high energy song that teaches the difference between joy and happiness. God gives us joy no matter what the circumstances. “You fill me with joy, Jesus. You are always with me. You alone can give me joy.” Our joy comes from knowing and trusting Jesus!
10. Peace (To Be Like Jesus cd)
This is slow song that I love to sing with kids. Kids understand being afraid and will find great comfort in knowing that God will give them peace. They do not need to be afraid because God is always with them. We can trust God to give us peace and to be with us always. This song talks about storms – many children are afraid of the dark or thunderstorms. The song reminds us that Jesus calmed the storm and raging sea with a word. The first time you sing this song, you may want to read that story to the kids and ask them to listen for it in the song. At the end of this song, 4 different children quote Bible verses about peace. I love this verse: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
The last 10 top picks from SovereignGraceKids will be in the next post. Come back soon!
This game is a classic! I remember playing it as a kid and I’m sure you do to. I played it for hours and I played many different versions of Hide & Seek.
This game can be played inside or outside. It requires no equipment.
Everybody knows how to play Hide & Seek. I want to give you some fun variations that I have played with kids – proven winners!
Object Hide & Seek
I play this version a lot with younger children and in classroom situations as a way of highlighting the theme.
In this version of hide & seek, the chosen player hides a specific object – I’ve used a cross, a doll, a bean bag, and a toy car. Choose any object you want. While the chosen player is hiding the object, the rest of the class hides their eyes and counts out loud. When they get to the designated number, they begin hunting for the hidden object. The player that finds it gets to hide it during the next round.
Hide & Seek in the Dark
In this game, we played the regular rules for hide & seek with the added fun of turning the lights off and giving the seeker a flashlight.
Kids absolutely love playing this game in the dark! It was requested almost on a weekly basis when I led a mid-week club program. We used sometimes all of the church building and sometimes I limited it to one floor. We played with the lights off and the seeker had a flashlight. Of course all leaders had flashlights as well for safety. I also made a rule that the stairs were lit – and I stationed a leader at the stairs to ensure there was light to safely use the stairs.
This is a great version of hide & seek. In this game, one person hides and everyone goes to look for that person. However, when you find them, you don’t call it, you hide with them. Everybody hides in the same spot together, hence the name sardines. Everyone gets packed in together! The last person to find the hiding spot hides first in the next round.
I have also played sardines in the dark – but this is not for the feint of heart!
Reasons Why I Love this Game:
All children play at the same time. No one is left out.
It is easy to learn and simple to play.
It is extremely versatile – it can be played almost anywhere, requires minimal or no equipment, and can be played with almost any number of children.
I love the creative places kids will choose to hide and the creative ways kids will try to find the hiders.