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!


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.



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


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.


Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Job Descriptions for Current Children’s Ministry Programs

pen in hand

17 Steps to Writing Job Descriptions for Current Children’s Ministry Programs

1. Download the job description template available here. You will be using it so keep it nearby! This step-by-step guide was designed to be used in conjunction with the job description template. It will not make much sense without it so don’t skip this step!

2. Download the job description instruction guide available here. It contains hints and tips for completing the template that you may find helpful.

3. List all current children’s ministry programs at your church. (You may find it helpful to use one page for each program.)

4. For each program you have written down, list all volunteer positions for that program. For example, if one of your current programs is Sunday School, list every volunteer role for Sunday School – teacher, helper, registration, sub, etc.

5. You will be writing job descriptions for every volunteer position in children’s ministry – but don’t worry – we are going to do it one step at a time. So look at the list you created in step 3 and choose one program to start with.

6. Grab a blank job description template and get ready to start filling it in!

7. The first blank space is titled Ministry. Write the program you have chosen to start with here. For example, “Sunday School teacher.”

8. In the blank space beside Ministry Leader write the name and contact information of the person who is in charge of this program. This will be the person that a volunteer will contact with questions, concerns, etc.

9. The last area to fill out in this first box of information is ministry area. Here you want to provide detail about the specific department, for example, “Preschool Sunday School.” If you are a small children’s ministry this may not be pertinent. If this part of the template is not something you will use, delete it. The great thing about this job description template is that is it customizable. Tailor it to fit your situation!

10. Once you have filled in the basic information about the volunteer position, it’s time to provide more detailed information. A good job description tells a volunteer how long they are committing to a position. Since this is a current program, you will need to find out from the program leader or current volunteers how long they have committed to this particular position. If a length of commitment hasn’t been clearly stated now is the time to figure it out.

11. Fill in the amount of time each week the volunteer role requires. This part of the job description template is called “Time Commitment.” Be specific about how much time each week this role requires. Include the time at the program, any preparation time, and any before and/or after program expectations. Talk with the volunteers in this role. How long do they spend every week preparing for their volunteer position? How long do they spend at their volunteer position, including setup and cleanup?

12. The next section of the job description is where you will specify the qualifications volunteers need to have in this volunteer position. 2 or 3 requirements should be enough. What do you require of your volunteers? If a background check is required for this position, add it to this section.

13. A good job description will include the training offered to volunteers in this position. Be specific. What training is currently provided for volunteers in this position?

14. Finally, describe the specific responsibilities of volunteers for this position. In order to be as specific as possible, record the responsibilities during the week (these would include preparation time, for example) and responsibilities the day of (including set up and clean up).

15. Once the job description is complete, send a copy to the program leader or a volunteer who has been serving in the program for a while. Ask them to look it over and let you know if it is accurate. Their input is valuable, so listen carefully and make changes as suggested.

16. Repeat all the steps for each volunteer position in your children’s ministry.

17. Give a job description to every volunteer who is currently working in children’s ministry. Let them know that you appreciate what they do and wanted to get down on paper what their role is so that there is no confusion and so that new or potential volunteers can see what would be expected of them.







8 Signs that Your Volunteer Needs a Break

business time outSometimes faithful, committed volunteers in children’s ministry need a break! I have known volunteers who have served in children’s ministry for 20 years. It would never occur to them to ask for a break! I have known volunteers who have served in children’s ministry for less than a year but who have been hit with major family or health issues. They may not know that they can ask for a break.

Volunteers will probably not ask you for a break. But there are some signs that will tell you that your volunteer needs a break. Keep your eyes open. Volunteers may start to exhibit one, more, or all of these signs.

That incredible patience has started to wan

Some volunteers have incredible patience with kids. That’s a gift! If you see that that patience has started to wan, it could be a sign that your volunteer is getting worn down and needs a break.

A volunteer starts showing up later and later

You have a volunteer who has been faithful at showing up early. They are ready to go. Lately you have noticed that they have started showing up later and later. It starts with showing up not as early and it may turn into showing up late. This is a sign that the volunteer needs a break.

A volunteer arrives less and less prepared

Lessons are not as well prepared as they have been; crafts or games are only partly prepared. If a volunteer, who has been well prepared in the past, starts to arrive less and less prepared, it could be a sign that they need a break.

Creativity wavers

Many children’s ministry volunteers have amazing creativity! It shows itself in how they decorate a classroom, create bulletin boards, design crafts and activities, the games they come up with, the way they tell stories, and how they get kids involved in the lesson. When a volunteer who has previously been creative starts to let their creativity waver, it could be a sign that they need a break.

The joy seems to be gone

There is joy in serving God using the gifts He has given us. There are situations, however, when that joy can disappear. One of those situations is when volunteers need a break.

Discipline practices change

This sign could exhibit itself in one of two ways. A particular volunteers discipline practices could become stricter. They may have been a steady disciplinarian or a fairly relaxed volunteer who doesn’t like to discipline kids. If their discipline practice becomes stricter, it could be a sign that they need a break.

A particular volunteers discipline practices could become more lax. In this case, the volunteer is known for their strict discipline in the classroom or they are a steady disciplinarian. If their discipline practice becomes more lax, it could be a sign that they need a break.

Good habits and practices start to fall away

Good habits and practices such as tidying up the classroom before they leave, arriving on time and being well prepared, communicating well with their teaching partner and the rest of the team. These are examples of good habits and practices. If these start to fall away, it could be a sign that they volunteer needs a break.

A volunteer starts grumbling or complaining

A volunteer may start grumbling about the length of the service or complaining about issues with a teaching partner. This kind of discontent could be a sign that they need a break.

 A Few Things to Keep in Mind

All of the above could be signs that your volunteer needs a break, but any of them could also mean that something else is going on.

There could be an issue on your volunteer team; a volunteer may be dealing with major family or health issues; a volunteer may not be suited to the role they are in.

If you notice a volunteer exhibiting one or more of the above signs, arrange to meet with them. As I said above, a volunteer will probably not tell you if something is wrong or if they need a break. So, show that you care, that you have noticed and would like to help.

Never assume you know what’s going on without talking with the volunteer.

Also, don’t make any decisions based on one instance of these signs. These are signs a volunteer needs a break, but you need to look for a pattern. A volunteer showing up late once isn’t necessarily a sign they need a break. But a volunteer who starts to show up later and later on a fairly consistent basis is showing a pattern of behavior that may be a sign they need a break.

A break could mean one Sunday off. It could also mean a month off, 3 months off, or a year off. This is why you need to meet with them. Find out exactly what’s going on with your volunteer; look at how long they have been volunteering; find out when they last had a break. Use this information to design a break for this particular volunteer.

Take good care of your volunteers! Watch for these signs and then meet personally with any volunteers who may need a break and find out how you can best help them.

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