It comes up a lot. Parents want to raise their children to love God and have an unshakable faith, but…
Aren’t sure what to do or where to start
Life gets in the way and there is no time, of course, that makes us feel guilty
Kids aren’t interested in thinking God’s boring, video games are fun
Parents are afraid of the questions kids may ask
It’s MUCH simpler than you may think. For starters, begin including God in everyday, normal conversations. This is probably the most important and simplest thing to do. It may feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it. Doing this keeps God at the forefront so kids begin thinking of Him first too.
Next, try some of these activities. Busy parents may not have time for long Bible devotionals every week, but everyone has ten minutes a few days a week to “play” with their kids. It just so happens this play will also teach kids about God and they’ll love it. They’ll learn quickly that God is far from boring.
And scary questions? Let kids know they are asking good questions and even parents don’t know everything so you’ll see what you can find out. Then, ask away! Send me an email. Ask in the private Facebook group. We’ll get you some answers.
Here are a few activities you can try today. Want to receive activities like this every week? How about three of them? Join for only $7.25 per month. It even comes with a 7-day free trial making it a no-brainer to sign up!
Looking for a good book that brings the focus of Halloween back to God; after all, shouldn’t God always be our focus? Check out “The Pumpkin Gospel.”
I love children’s books. My kids are grown, yet I still find myself buying these fun little books. Thankfully, I work with kids in children’s ministry so I have a good excuse! As I was searching for new book, I stumbled across “The Pumpkin Gospel” by Mary Manz Simon. I ordered it off Amazon. (No one contacted me for a review.) It did not give me a look inside, so I was not sure what I was getting. I’m glad I got this one. It’s a keeper!
For starters, it’s a hard back book with hard pages inside too so good for young kids. The pictures are bright and colorful. I had this book laying on my desk the first night I got it When I turned the lights out to call it a night I was thrilled to see a glowing Jack-O-Lantern face smiling back at me. Yep, it glows in the dark!
There are 12 pages, six with pictures and six with words. This book is a poem with a stanza on each of the six worded pages plus a short and applicable bible verse. Now the part that really matters… what’s it about? It is a story of God’s forgiveness.
It’s a great object lesson! This book shares with us how the inside of a pumpkin is a bit like us, gooey and gross compared to our sins. BUT, we scoop out the gushy mess just like God cleans out our sin, God forgives. When the insides are clean, the Jack-O-Lantern wears “a smile” and shines it’s light from within just like we are “beaming” from God’s love shining from us. It ends with, “To glow like my big pumpkin and have nice clean heart, ask God to please forgive you. You’ll have a brand-new start.”
By the way, I am super excited to share with you that I’ve been working long and hard on two separate daily planners, planners missing from the marketplace (at least the way I want to use them). One is designed specifically for bible class teachers and the other for parents who want a little help getting organized to make GOD the focus of the family. I’m putting in the finishing touches now so if you’ve got some special requests, things you would love to see in your daily planner, send me a quick email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Like I said, they are almost ready for print, but if I missed something important, I want to make sure to get it in! I appreciate everyone’s thoughts.
Halloween is often a questionable holiday for Christians. Do
we participate or do we abstain? I am not here to debate this subject, but to
share how we use it.
My prayer is that we reach every child with the word of God
and raise them with a strong foundation in Christ so that they not only keep
their faith through adulthood; but continue to grow. I want kids to hear and
read scripture seeing God’s word as exciting, spooky, encouraging and
everything else they find in the secular world (that is good and God approved).
Holidays are a great opportunity to
reinvigorate our kids and reach out to others.
I created this book “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” in 2018 and was surprised to hear a few people ask why I wanted to scare kids. It wasn’t from the masses, but regardless, I thought this was an interesting take. The goal was never really to scare kids, but to show them that God’s word has it all, even scary stories that are perfect for Halloween. Kids turn to all kinds of secular stories, movies and costumes. They want to be a little spooked, just not so afraid that they can’t sleep alone at night. Maybe my kids were the weird ones, but they’d see previews for scary movies and beg to watch. Of course, we’d use our judgement on which were okay and which were not. They’d have sleep overs and pull out the flashlights in the dark telling each other “scary” stories. This is all during elementary AND middles school years. So I say, bring on the spooky with a little scary!
It turns out there are plenty of “scary” stories in God’s
word. We don’t need to check out books with ghost stories we are supposed to believe
are real. These bible stories are scary and true. And they have a good
ending- with God, we don’t need to worry about any of these scary things. Legion
may be scary, but not for long. The Holy Spirit lives in me so demons can’t
touch me! God said not to get involved in sorcery or witchcraft and we see what
happens to King Saul when he calls up the ghost of Samuel so stay far away from
voodoo, Ouija boards and the likes. There are so many scary stories with
Let’s help our children see that God has it all. Move over Disney, God’s got this!
Last year I shared my e-book with coloring pages. This year I’ve added to it! Now there is a lesson with an activity to go with each “scary” bible story. They are all simple and perfect for a bible class, a small group lesson, family night or story and activities at a Trunk-or-Treat type event. And it’s all FREE- No Strings Attached. I’d love to hear how you use these to help build excitement for God in children. Email me your experiences at email@example.com
Change things up now and then. Some of my kids in bible classes saw the picture of my baby pet tortoise on my phone. It’s my screen saver. Of course, they begged me to bring him. After several months of pleading, and one crazy Sunday morning trying to get the kids to pay attention, I finally used the tortoise. I promised them that if I could see and hear them singing praises to God with all their hearts, I’d bring it the next week.
Guess what happened… They all chimed in and sang the best I have ever heard them sing before! All it took was a little bribery, I mean incentive. That week, I think they all had a bowl full of sugar for breakfast, but the promise of a visit from my baby tortoise got their attention. Then the next Sunday, I kept my word and brought Rowdy the baby tortoise. Everyone got to sit in a circle and watch him move around. They got to take turns holding him for just a minute. They were thrilled and did well that Sunday too. We tied the tortoise into our lesson and it worked like a charm!
This got me to thinking. Every now and then, we need to change thing up, surprise the kids. Offer a perk for participation, memorizing a big set of scriptures, bringing friends to church… whatever the goal, this is a great way to encourage kids to participate. And think about it, it was so simple. All I did was bring my pet tortoise.
What are some ways you can get the kids excited and participating like never before? For a quick and easy one, just bring a bunch of balloons. If they get to end class with a balloon bash, they won’t be able to contain themselves looking forward tot he next week. Blow up a bunch of balloons, put them in the middle of the room, then tell kids they have to use only their feet to get the balloons into a specific area. They have until the music is up. You play bible music you want them to learn or have stuck in their heads all day. They’ll love it! (Side note: You may want to invest in an electric pump. I bought an electric balloon pump and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! They are loud though.)
“Middle school? No thank you.” Famous last words of mine.
I mainly work with kindergarten through fifth grades; but recently took on a small group of middle school girls on Sunday afternoons. It is definitely different! To be honest, I had NO desire to work with the age group. They drive me insane… too much drama; but there was a need. Parents of kiddo’s who had moved from my children’s program into middle school were sharing their concerns. Their children were struggling with the pressures of middle school. Sure, they know their bible stories, but they didn’t know how to apply them to their lives. They weren’t ready for the serious application lessons in elementary, so what was I do? Well, I began teaching a middle school small group and it has been an amazing experience so far! Their interest and enthusiasm are contagious.
I am not suggesting everyone run out and add middle school to your plates. It’s something that needs addressed in some way to prepare your children for the real world, but there are multiple ways to handle it. I actually wanted to share what I’ve been learning. As I teach these kids, I am reminded of some of the basics that are so important.
Our first week we talked about being made in the image of God. We talked on a deeper level about each of us being made unique, flaws and all. It’s amazing looking back at life to see how God uses our strengths and our perceived weaknesses for his glory. For me, I see my ability to teach a strength. God blessed me with the ability and the desire to teach; so here I am, teaching kids about God… for his glory. Then I combine that with a weakness. I am short. I mean short! Five foot on the dot. Growing up, I embraced my shortness, but I really wanted to be taller. No matter how hard a prayed, it was the thorn in my side that God was not going to change. As I look back at my life in children’s ministry, I see that God had a plan all along. The kids are immediately comfortable when they come into a room with me because I’m a lot like them. I am short and small; so I do not intimidate them at all (although sometimes I sure wish I did). God combined my strength in teaching with my weakness of shortness and uses me to build his church through children.
This may be a strange example, I know; but it made me think about other areas in my life and those around me who have weaknesses that we let stand in our way. Instead, we should give those weaknesses to God and let him do his work. Look what he did with Moses who had trouble speaking, David who was a little boy when he faced a giant, a bunch of fisherman and tax collectors. God uses our weakness for his glory if we’ll just let him. I would like to challenge you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Pray about them. Has God been working through you or do you need to let him in?
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Johnny, a very bright 5 year old, told his daddy he’d like to have a baby brother and, along with his request, offered to do whatever he could to help. His dad, a very bright 35 year old, paused for a moment and then replied, ” I’ll tell you what, Johnny, if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you one!”
Johnny responded eagerly to his dad’s challenge and went to his bedroom early that night to start praying for a baby brother.
He prayed every night for a whole month, but after that time, he began to get skeptical. He checked around the neighborhood and found out that what he thought was going to happen, had never occurred in the history of the neighborhood. You just don’t pray for two months and then, whammo- a new baby brother. So, Johnny quit praying. After another month, Johnny’s mother went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny’s parents called him into the bedroom. He cautiously walked into the room, not expecting to find anything, and there was a little bundle lying right next to his mother. His dad pulled back the blanket and there was — not one baby brother, but two!! His mother had twins!
Johnny’s dad looked down at him and said, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?”
This was too funny not to share. My mind has been on prayer a lot lately. Last week I released “My Prayer Journal” for children and youth, a guided prayer journal to download, print and start praying. I want so much for kids to understand that God is always here and wants a relationship with each one of us. He doesn’t want us sitting on the sidelines just waving now and again. It’s easy for all of us to put God on the back burner and forget he’s there. When you can’t see Him and get an immediate answer to our questions or troubles, we sometimes turn to other people instead of our Heavenly Father. No one has the power or wisdom that God has. He will always choose to do what is best for us. Now… we just have to get this message across to the kids in way it sinks in. We will need a lot of repetition for sure.
There are so many examples of prayer in the bible. Our we teaching our children how to pray, how often and what for? Our we teaching them who we are praying to and what our attitudes should be? In scriptures, talking to God is not some flippant conversation. And when anyone was in the presence of God, they were full of fear and reverence. Our children need taught to truly respect God while understanding that he truly cares for us.
If you’re interested, I created a Play Dough Mat to teach The Lord’s Prayer. Download a copy here. It keeps things simple, in a way they understand while they have fun so they want to do it again and again. I love it when kids enjoy learning about God!