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.


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?


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


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


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.

Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing – Duck, Duck, Goose (plus an awesome outdoor variation!)

This game is fun and a great mix of quiet and active!

This game can be played inside or outside. It requires little or no equipment.

Games Your Kids Will Never Tire of Playing

Duck, Duck, Goose is a well-known game that kids love! It is simple and lots of fun! The object of the game is for two players to run around the circle in opposite directions trying to reach the empty space first.

 Here’s how to play:

All players sit in a circle. One player is chosen to start (IT). IT will walk around the outside of the circle touching the head of each seated player as he/she passes. IT has two choices for each head he/she touches. IT can say “duck” in which case the seated player doesn’t move. IT can also say “goose” in which case the seated player gets up and starts running around the circle. IT starts running around the circle in the opposite direction. Whoever gets to the empty space first wins the round. The player who didn’t get there first becomes IT and play resumes.

 Variation – Drip, Drip, Squeeze

This variation is great for summertime play. It is best played outdoors.

Equipment needed:

  • Ice cream bucket
  • Sponge
  • Water source

In this variation, players immerse a sponge in water and let drops of water fall on the heads of the players seated in the circle. When the sponge is squeezed over the head of a player, the two run around in the circle in opposite directions trying to reach the empty space first. In this version, the player says, “Drip, drip, squeeze” rather than, “duck, duck, goose.”

This game is best played when everyone is already wearing bathing suits or has a change of clothing. Always let kids know ahead of time as some children don’t like to get wet.

 Reasons Why I Love this Game:

  1.  All children play at the same time. No one is left out. This is not an elimination game.
  2. It is easy to learn and simple to play.
  3. It is easy to include new players into the game, even in the middle of the game.
  4. It is extremely versatile – it can be played almost anywhere, requires little or no equipment, and can be played with almost any number of children.

Books of the Bible Cards Expansion Pack – Testaments & Divisions

Books of the Bible CardsNow that you are having fun with your books of the Bible cards, it’s time to add on with the first expansion pack!

Testaments and Divisions are matching cards that contain Old Testament, New Testament, Law (or Pentateuch), History, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Gospels & Acts, Paul’s Epistles, General Epistles, and Apocalyptic.

Print these cards off on cardstock and add them to the books of the Bible cards for even more Bible skills fun!

Download the Books of the Bible Cards Expansion Pack – Testaments and Divisions.

Books of the Bible cards are available here.

Here are some game ideas to get you started:

Old Testament/New Testament Shuffle

Required: Old Testament and New Testament cards from the expansion pack; 1 set of Books of the Bible cards.

Recommended for: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Set-up: Tape the Old Testament card and the New Testament card to the wall at least a foot apart. Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and put on the floor at the opposite end of the room.

Goal: To correctly place all books under their correct testament.

  1. Line students up.
  2. On “go” the kids will race to the pile, pick up one card, bring it back, and place it on the floor under the correct testament.

Variation: Play the same game with children in grades 4-6 but use the division cards rather than the testament cards.

Bible Divisions Blindfold

Required: one set of books of the Bible cards; the division cards from the testament & divisions expansion pack; blindfold.

Recommended for: Grades 2-6

Set-up: Spread the division cards randomly around the room (on the floor, on tables, on chairs, taped to the wall). Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and place in a central location.

Goal: To work together as a team and have the blindfolded player correctly place books of the Bible cards with divisions of the Bible.

  1. Choose a player to blindfold and give the player a books of the Bible card from the shuffled deck.
  2. The rest of the players direct the blindfolded player to place the card on the correct division.


  1. This game can be played with one or multiple teams. If played with multiple teams, the leader must decide if each team will play in turns or all at the same time.
  2. If playing with a small class, use one team but hand out multiple cards at a time (will need multiple blindfolds).
  3. The leader rearranges the divisions during game play.

Beanbag Blast

Required: one set of testaments and divisions expansion pack; 2 ice cream buckets; beanbags.

Recommended for: younger children – pre-K – Grade 1

Set-up: Tape the New Testament card to the outside of an ice cream bucket and the Old Testament card to the outside of the other ice cream bucket. Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and place in a pile face-down on the floor a few feet away from the ice cream buckets. Place the bean bags beside the books of the Bible cards.

Goal: To throw the beanbag into the correct bucket.

  1. Line students up.
  2. The first student in line will pick a book of the Bible card.
  3. They will then pick up a bean bag and throw it into the corresponding bucket. For example, if they pick up “Matthew”, they will throw the beanbag into the “New Testament” bucket.
  4. On completion of turn, the player will go to the back of the line.


  1. For older elementary children (grades 2-6) play the same game but use the division cards rather than the testament cards.


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

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!


New! – Books of the Bible Cards

Looking for new ideas for teaching the books of the Bible to your class? These Books of the Bible Cards are a great way for kids to interact with and learn the books of the Bible.

Books of the Bible CardsDownload your free Books of the Bible Card Pack here. Print them on cardstock and be ready to play with your students!

Here are some fun Books of the Bible Cards Game and Activities Ideas:


Required: 2 decks (can also be played with more decks for a really large group)

Best played with a larger group i.e. 10+ children

Goal: To be the first person to run out of cards

  1. Shuffle decks together and then deal out all the cards to everyone. (Not everyone will get the same number of cards. That’s okay. If you deal out extras, the people with the most cards should go first).
  2. On their turn, the player calls out the name of one of the books of the Bible displayed on a card in their hand. Everyone searches their hand for that card and the person who has an exact match gives their card to the person who called for it. Both cards are placed in front of the caller and they earn a point.
  3. The person who gave up their card goes next, calling out the name of a book of the Bible.
  4. Play continues until one person runs out of cards. (Hint: It’s not always the caller!)



Required: 1 deck (can be played with more decks)

Recommended: for older children

Goal: The goal is to run out of cards.

  1. Shuffle the deck and then deal out an equal number of cards to everyone. As soon as you cannot deal out an equal number of cards, put the rest in the middle, face-down.
  2. Play proceeds clockwise: On their turn, players can choose 1 of three actions: (1) exchange a card with one of the face-down cards in the middle table (2) trade one card with any other player at the table as a blind trade (3) call out “all trade” and everyone must place one card face-down on the table and give it to the person on the left.
  3. Each player attempts to collect a run of at least 4 books of the Bible (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. A run that bridges Old Testament to New Testament is also acceptable, i.e. Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark). Note: Depending on the number of players and their skill level and the number of decks you are using, you may want to adjust the goal. Make it easier by getting a run of 3 books or make it harder with a run of 5 books.
  4. When a player achieves a run, they can place it immediately on the table. Players who have a run are able to add to their runs or any other run laid down on the table as soon as they have a card (not as an action on their turn).
  5. The first player to run out of cards wins.



Required: 1 deck and an egg timer

Goal: To get the other team to name the book of the Bible

Set-up: Divide the class into 3 or more teams

  1. The teacher shuffles the deck but keeps the cards altogether and face-down in front of them.
  2. A team is chosen to go first and a team member chooses a card from the teacher’s deck at random.
  3. The team with the card decides on actions with the goal of getting the other teams to correctly guess the book of the Bible. Like charades, the actions must be silent and should not include using letters or numbers or mouthing the name of the book. And, the actions should aim to include all members of the team (for example, they can all perform the same action or they can work together for a quick and silent “skit”). For example, if a team draws the book of Exodus, they might have a character play Moses as he raises his hands, and the rest of the characters as Israelites crossing the sea.
  4. The team acts out the name of the Bible book. When the book is correctly guessed, the team that guessed AND the team that acted gets a point. If no one guesses in the allotted time, no one gets any points.

Note: A teacher might need to help the children identify a correct story in the book (encourage the children to check in their Bible) and provide guidance on some of the minor prophets or epistles.


Find the Bible

Required: 1 deck

Goal: To have the kids cooperate to find the books of the Bible and arrange them in order

Set-up: Hide the Books of the Bible Cards around your classroom

  1. Have the children locate the cards and put them in order. Older children may work from memory; younger children can consult a Bible’s table of contents.


Bible Book Relay

Required: 1 deck of Books of the Bible Cards per team

Goal: To be the first team to correctly order their cards.

Set-up: Divide the children into teams. For each team, shuffle the deck and put 5 cards face-down in front of the team. Place the rest of the cards on the other side of the room directly opposite the team face-down in a messy pile. Repeat with a new deck for each team.

  1. On go, each team will turn over their cards and start putting them in order. At the same time, each team may send one player at a time to the other end of the room to pick up one card and bring it back to the team. Each team will send one player at a time until they have all their cards. Meanwhile, the rest of the team puts the cards in order. The first team to organize all their cards correctly wins.
  2. Encourage teams to strategize. For example, they can split up into Old Testament and New Testament mini-teams in order to organize their cards faster.


Books of the Bible Go Fish!

Required: 2 or more decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To have the most matches at the end of the game

Best Played With: 2-6 children

Set-up: Choose a testament or division to focus on (ex. New Testament, Major & Minor Prophets, Epistles). Remove the corresponding cards from the decks and set the rest of the cards aside. Shuffle the cards and deal 5 cards to each player. Place the rest of the cards face down in the middle of the table.

  1. Before starting the game, all of the players put any pairs they happen to have in their hand down in front of them.
  2. Choose a player to go first.
  3. That player will ask another player if they have a particular card. For example, “Hayley, do you have the book of Romans?” If the player asked has the card, they must hand it over. If they do not, they say, “Go Fish.” (The player must have the card they are asking for in their hand.)
  4. If the player is told to “go fish,” they must pick a card from the deck in middle of the table.
  5. Whenever any player gets a match, they lay the cards down on the table in front of them.
  6. If a player runs out of cards, they pick up 5 from the pile in the middle.
  7. Play continues until all cards are gone from the middle. The player with the most matches wins.


Find the Match

Required: 2 decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To find as many matches as you can in the allotted time.

Best Played With: Younger Children

Set-up: Choose Old or New Testament. Remove those cards from the decks and put the rest of the cards away. Tape the cards from one deck to the walls of your classroom. Shuffle the other deck and spread the cards out on the table or floor.

  1. Children will choose one card from the pile and find its match on the walls.
  2. They can keep any matches they find.
  3. Children can only match one card at a time.



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