Feelings. We live in a time where feelings dictate behavior. And it has become acceptable in our culture. Many of our youth does not seem to feel like God meant what He said. Dress modestly? I don’t feel like it and God would want me to be happy. Sexual preferences and gender identity? I feel this way and God would want me to be happy. Worship the way God says? But I feel like God would like it this way better because I can get into the service better this other way. Love your neighbor? But he has stolen from me twice and lied about it. Surely God doesn’t mean for me to love a sinner like that? Regardless of what scripture may say, many of our youth have developed an attitude that our feelings outweigh obedience.
Yes, our awesome God wants His children to find happiness, but not happiness of the world. Not a self-centered happiness, but one with a servant’s heart. Here are just a few verses of hundreds that tell us what our God expects, and selfishness is absent.
- “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)
- “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
- In 1 Samuel 15:22, Samuel tells Saul that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. Our God wants obedience, yet our youth are more focused on how they believe God wants them to feel. They’ve made this life all about them, not God. So how do we turn this backwards way of thinking around?
We have a problem, now how do we fix it? It will not happen overnight, but we can teach the next generation, our children. It’s important that we teach them how much God loves them and wants a good life for them, but this good life comes with obedience. We should reinforce often God’s desire for obedience and share the many bible stories that teach this. They are everywhere! Saul grew impatient waiting for Samuel so he offered the sacrifice before going into battle and this act of disobedience cost Saul his kingdom. Yes, we could easily see how Saul justified his decision just like we often do with our own choices today, but God expects obedience. Then there is Daniel. He chose to obey, praying to God in spite of an earthly law and God closed the mouths of the lions keeping Daniel safe. We can show this point in just about every biblical account beginning with Adam and Eve. Take the time to do this and explain to our children that it is clearly not about what we feel, but what God asks of us.
Need ideas? Take a look at my curriculum (FREE) and use as is or just for ideas. (More to come.) The goal is to reach our children with the God’s Truth, teaching our kids to KNOW God, LOVE God, and SHARE God with others.
I had no idea so many people felt alone and discouraged in children’s ministry until I started scrolling through one of the KidMin Facebook feeds. Wow! Our children are the future of God’s church and those leading them are feeling discouraged at this incredible work. Training them up in the Lord is a calling, a gift and it is sad to hear so many are feeling down about it.
What is causing this? My guess, not enough support or encouragement from others, but remember, we work for God and His glory, not man’s. Easier said than done though, right? What can we do about it? First, and probably most important, pray. After that, remember this ministry is a gift and you are imparting God’s word into the lives of children. Here are a few suggestions they may help you when you need that extra push.
- Create a “WIN” wall. Take notes of each “win” you notice. Colorful index cards are good for this. With kids, it’s often in the little things. For instance, this past Sunday after Bible class, one of my kindergarteners ran up to me to and asked if we’d be meeting again in a certain room that day. She was excited about our Bible Science night on Wednesday and had been just that week. She was ready to go again. This is a win! When a child is excited about a bible event. Another recent win was having one of my fifth graders asking if we could have a bible movie night this summer before school starts up again. She wanted to spend time watching a biblical movie with her church friends before moving onto sixth grade. Another win! Write these things down on index cards and hang them where you see them daily. This is encouraging when you see your work paying off. And imagine how encouraging it is to look back a year from now at all the “wins” you have had.
- Parent Help. Parents want to raise their kids to have a relationship with Christ, but often just don’t know how. When they realize you are their partner, not just another person occupying their child’s time for an hour a week, they appreciate you. Let them know what you do with their kids each week. Send out an email update each Monday that tells them what you taught their kids that week along with the scripture reference and a suggestion for a simple way they can reinforce this at home. They may not always do it, but they appreciate it.
- Bible Trivia. Ask the kids some questions about previous lessons. When they remember what you taught them, when it really sunk into their memories, that is encouraging! It keeps me going for sure. I usually cannot wait to tell my husband what they remembered. I get so excited when they remember little details from things we learned months ago. And if they aren’t remembering, this is a great opportunity to adjust what you are doing. I am continually tweaking my methods to get a better response. I want these kids to know God, to love God and to share Him with others!
- Join a Children’s Ministry Group. Whether a local group or online, join a group of like minded individuals who share your frustrations and your triumphs. Learn from each other. God gave us friends because He knew how much we would need them.
I know. These suggestions are not going to make everything better, but they help. Sometimes, all we need is to know we are not alone and be reminded of what is at stake. I’ll leave you with these thoughts from God:
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. -Psalms 16:8
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalms 55:22
Promoting Jesus? When there’s so much on the web these days, how do we stand out and get seen by the right people? I will happily share my recent experience.
This summer is my fourth year of hosting a Bible Science program. This is my favorite thing to do all year, every year. It creates an excitement in kids that has them enjoying their time learning about God. In the past few years I announced the program to our church families and printed fliers that we passed out at our weekly food pantry. This brought in a good number of kids. I was thrilled.
This year my husband recommended I try some Facebook advertising. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I designed a simple advertisement. Facebook let me select my target audience. I chose parents of elementary aged children in my town. It was a simple as that. I used MailChimp to auto send responses with more information about our program. Amazing! Parents responded and kids who had never been to our congregation signed up for information and better yet, they came! And they came back!
Every week I send out an email with a video showing the experiment their kids will be doing and how we will tie that into God’s word. I’ll do just about anything to get kids excited about God! First I’ve got to get them in the door, then I can share His message. What methods of promoting have worked for you? As always, I am looking for the best ways to reach kids and their parents.
Here’s what went out this week: (This one is a little pricey, but they flock to slime!)
Want to make your own? Here’s what I used:
1/4 cup Glue
1/4 cup Liquid Starch (See what it is, but it’s less expensive to pick up at grocery store)
2 TB Iron Oxide
Strong Magnet (I used N52 bars, but they come in all shapes and sizes)
- Mix starch and iron oxide in bowl
- Add glue and stir with spoon. It will form a glob.
- When it is all sticking together, use hands to kneed for 2 – 3 minutes
- Set on clean plate
- Wash hands with hand wipe and let dry before touching slime
- Now, when you pick up the slime, your hands should stay clean.
- Use magnet to attract the slime
Discuss the experiment. What did they do? What happened? (Magnet was attracted to the Iron oxide in the slime)
Let’s talk about attraction. What are we attracted to? Is it good stuff, bad stuff, both? (Discuss)
As God’s people, we should try to stay away from bad stuff. What are some bad things we really like to do, but should stay away from? (Lying, Fighting with siblings, saying mean things, watching things we shouldn’t, playing games that people say lots of bad words on… I’m sure the kids will have plenty of examples)
Hold up two magnets. One magnet represents the bad stuff we just talked about. The other represents God’s people being obedient, staying away from bad things. (Hold magnets on ends that push away from each other.)
As God’s people, we should be attracted to God and all the good things that come from God. What are some good things from God we should be attracted to, things we should want in our lives? (Good friends, our family).
If we are attracted to good stuff, people will see this good stuff come from us! Let’s take a look at the “good stuff” we should be attracted to and want to have in our lives. Read Galatians 5:22-26: (There are lots of short video’s on YouTube you may want to show your kids.)
22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others
What are the fruits of the spirit?
Do the fruits of the spirit grow on trees? No.
Where do they grow? In God’s people.
The Fruit of God’s spirit lets other people know that we are God’s people because just like an apple grows on an apple tree, the fruits of the spirit grow in a Christian. When we are drawn to evil, good things won’t show. When we are drawn to, or attracted to, good things, those good things will show in us.
This is my fourth summer teaching Bible Science to K-5th graders every Wednesday night in the summer. The first year I did this our classes doubled in size! That was incredible. The kids LOVED it. They got to play with their friends on the play ground, eat pizza, do science experiments followed by an applicable bible lesson. I have to admit, every week I went home worn out, but absolutely loved what I was seeing from the kids. They were excited to learn God’s word. Well, they were excited about the “fun” stuff and God’s word was intertwined; it was the whole purpose and they were enjoying it.
So what is Bible Science? It is taking a simple science experiment to draw kids in and capture their attention so they are receptive to God’s word. I have heard of teachers performing the experiment at the head of class while everyone watches, but I prefer to let everyone participate. If they are hands on, they are more engaged and in turn, more likely to remember what’s being taught. Some experiments everyone does it themselves and then there are others that are better suited for small groups of 2-3 kids, especially if my kindergartens will struggle with parts of the experiment.
Every Wednesday night I start a half hour before bible classes are scheduled for our congregation. The first two years we served pizza on the playground for 30 minutes, but the Texas heat made snow cones much more desirable. So, I bought a snow cone machine and the kids can’t believe they get all the snow cones they want for FREE! This draws in others from our community too. Some kids arrive before me and then they trickle in. The next 30 minutes are dedicated to the science experiment. Make sure to test the experiments before you get there. It’s not much fun for the kids when the experiment fails (unless something exploded that wasn’t supposed to, of course). The last 30 minutes are dedicated to a bible lesson, singing, and sometimes reinforcement games. That’s it! Simple and highly effective. So, here’s the overview of the evening again:
30 minutes: Playground and Snow Cones (or whatever you choose to offer)
30 minutes: Hands on science experiment
30 minutes: Applicable bible lesson, singing and sometimes reinforcement games
This past Wednesday we played with fire. Yes, we are aloud to light things on fire in Bible Science and the kids get fired up about it! I have the youth come help out with this part. I partner each group of two to three K-5th graders with a high school student. This helps a ton! Here’s a look at last week’s experiment and how we applied it to God’s word:
Next week we will play with dry ice, another we will explode a mix, we experiment with magnets and more. The idea is to keep it interesting so they keep coming back for more! For those interested, I’ll have a book of experiments with lessons out late this summer. I’ve had this request quite a bit so I’m finally getting it together!! These are great for a weekly summer program, a week of day camps, a Saturday event during the school year and more! It’s all about getting kids to come participate so you can share God with them.
Supplies for this experiment:
Unscented Tealight Candles 30 Pack-White-By CandleNScent(TM)
AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack
Glad Aluminum Foil, 40 Square Foot Roll, 12 Inches Wide
I like to use Play Floam to teach my K-5th graders bible lessons. Best of all, they LOVE it! I am often asked, “What is Floam and where do I get it?” I thought I’d take today to share the answers to these questions.
I get mine from Amazon for about $8 a set of 8. The kids like to mix it together. I don’t mind because I divide it back up and they all end up with the same multi color ball of Floam! Here’s a link for Educational Insights PlayFoam Combo 8 Pack.
Watch a video overview. It’s not fancy, but will give you an idea of what it is. You’ll see. It’s not messy at all!
How often do you find yourself going through the day not thinking about God? If we fall into this pattern at times, how do we get our kids thinking about God when they aren’t in bible class? Actually, this is probably one of the best times to start this habit. Starting when they are young, ingraining this into their regular thought pattern would be amazing! Now how do we do it?
I tend to think there a many, many ways to accomplish this. For me, we gave our K-5th graders “Bible Buddies” and a daily journal. Then we challenged them to share God with their Buddy every day of summer. Their squishy buddy has its very own pet carrier that lets kids easily take their buddy with them wherever they go. They can serve together, sing bible songs to their buddy, read their buddy a bible story, pray each evening with it…. The lists goes on and on.
Our kids were thrilled to decorate their pet carriers and even more thrilled when I told them there is a reward at the end of summer if they can show me in their journals what they did with their buddy each day. If you are interested, the squishy pets and treat boxes for carriers were inexpensive. Kids just add colors and stickers to the carrier. And you can print off the journal or make your own!
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