Children’s Ministry

Sharing God’s Blessing

by Steve Burger

In this season of Lent I am reminded of God’s blessing. God has blessed me with a wonderful family, a caring community of believers, eternal love, forgiveness and presence, and resources beyond what most of the rest of the world can only dream about. I don’t go hungry, I have a bed to sleep in at night, a roof over my head, more clothes than I need and medical care when I need it. Half the world’s population lives on $2 dollars a day, and six million children die from hunger every year. These are not just numbers but six million of God’s children.

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Praying with Children

1 Comment » Written on September 24th, 2013     
Filed under: Children's Ministry, Personal growth
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A guest post from Troy Cady, Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Grace Covenant Church in Chicago.Bek_praying

There are so many ways to pray. Why not take some time this week to talk about and model prayer with children? Here are 10 ways you could experiment with them.

1. Pray by singing. I often take time to pray when I’m walking the dog (funny, I know!). The other day, however, I found I could not focus on the normal simple prayers I like to make. As I quieted myself, a song came to mind. So, I just hummed as I walked, using the simple melody to fix in my mind and heart these words: “You are my shepherd. I have no needs. You lead me by peaceful streams and you refresh my life.” Songs are great ways to help kids bring their hearts to the Father.

2. Pray simply. Prayer does not have to be long! It can simply be: “Lord, bless ________.”  Your kids might enjoy “filling in the blank” with several names that come to mind. Encourage them to do it somewhat slowly so they pray with intention. Do this together as a family, leaving a second or two of silence between each simple prayer. Take just 1 minute and you’ll be surprised how many people you can lift to God in prayer.

3. Pray short, memorized phrases.  If you’d like to teach your children a short psalm prayer, start with the first phrase, repeating it each day at a certain time you are all together. I bet the children will have it memorized before the adults, even!  One prayer we often make in our family at evening time is: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” What a powerful image to place in your child’s mind and heart–even if they don’t understand it yet!

4. Pray with a visual focus. How would kids respond if you put a picture in front of them and asked them to make a prayer about it?

5. Pray through art. Sometimes you could ask children to draw a picture as a way of praying to God, giving thanks to God. If needed, you could play a song and ask them to draw a picture about the song or how it makes them feel.

7. Go on a prayer walk. It wouldn’t take much time to walk up your street together and say, “We’re going to pray for our neighbors.” Keep the prayers short and simple, then move on. Try starting with praying for just 5 of your neighbors.

8. Breathe. Everyone breathes (duh!) so why not ask kids to “breathe in” something good and “breathe out” something bad?

9. Pray in silence. Sometimes kids just like to be silent for ten seconds. Ask them to make a silent prayer for a short time and then ask them to say “Amen” aloud when they are done so everyone can join them in finishing their prayer.

10. Pray a “pretend prayer”: Children have active imaginations. One suggestion Peter Kreeft has made for adults (in his book Prayer: The Great Conversation) is to pray while imagining Jesus right by your side, perhaps sitting on the couch beside you or in a chair in front of you. “Jesus is there. Yes, really. You can talk to him and tell him whatever you want to say. Nothing is too silly or trivial. Just tell him what comes to mind.”

The main thing is: have fun and experiment. Find how your child best connects with God and encourage that any way you can.

I hope you find these ideas helpful. I’d love to know if any of them seem to connect with your child–or YOU! :)

Grace and peace,
Troy (children@gracechurchchicago.org)



Singing Our God-given Song

Post a Comment » Written on September 17th, 2013     
Filed under: Children's Ministry, Formation, Personal growth
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By Doreen Olson

According to the tradition of an African tribe, a young woman pregnant with child is taught to listen carefully for a particular song.  In her head, the faint sounds of a melody begin to form, flowing naturally into her whole being.  It’s the song of the unborn child.  Throughout the term of her pregnancy the song becomes established within her…its melody, its words, and its rhythm.  Daily she sings it to her baby in her womb.  She takes time to teach the song to her birthing attendants, so they can sing it as the baby is being born. Hearing the melody and rhythm of the child’s very own song, the newborn is welcomed into the world.  The villagers, young and old, men and women, are taught the child’s song as well.  So whenever the child falls down, or cries, or is hurt, someone in the village will pick him up, hold him close, and sing his song to console him. As the child grows and matures, his song continues to be sung to honor the special times in his life. Finally, at the end of his life, lying on his pallet taking his final breaths, his song is sung to him one last time.

What a beautiful image of our journey together  in Christ! We were each created to sing a unique God-given song. And the church’s role, at least in part, is to help us to discover it and sing it boldly throughout our lives.

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Adventures with God Curriculum – New sessions NOW AVAILABLE

The Fall sessions of year 2 of the Adventures with God Curriculum is Now Available. Enjoy!

 



11 Things I Learned From Being A Minister To Children

Post a Comment » Written on August 23rd, 2013     
Filed under: Children's Ministry, Resources
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I have the privilege of working part-time at our church as a children’s ministry coordinator. While serving as a lead pastor in Spain, a particular approach to children’s faith formation influenced my approach to pastoring greatly.  Through a quieter, gentler faith-formation process I discovered principles that we adults would do well to take on-board ourselves. I’m sure I could easily list 100 ways kids ministry has benefited me personally but, off the top of my head, here are 11 truths. Which one of these resonate with you? Please share! I’d love to hear from you. – by Troy Cady
 
11 Things I Learned From Being A Minister To Children
11. Repetition is good.
10. Hurry ain’t helpful.
9. Character is formed in community.
8. We need more wonder so we need to wonder more.
7. Listening takes practice. And silence.
6. These words are mysteriously linked: food, friendship, praise and prayer.
5. There’s no avoiding thresholds. Passage-ways often find us before we find them so move from one space to another in a spirit of reverence. Something special is waiting on the other side.
4. Values are more caught than taught. Stories teach more than propositions—and I have a story about that. You have a story about that, too.
3. Be gentle.
2. We receive the kingdom of God only if we have the faith of a child.
1. Too many adults take themselves too seriously but God became a baby.
Over the years I’ve conducted introductions and training in this kind of children’s ministry. If you or someone you know would like an introduction to this method, let me know. I’d love to be of help in any way I can! Also, be on the lookout for a series we’re developing called PlayFull Faith. The series contains story-scripts and creative objects from 12 key Bible stories that can be used with children or in intergenerational settings. Each story is designed to help participants wonder about themes of joy, play, freedom and hope–among other topics. Write me to ask about any of these. I’d love to talk with you! -Troy


Reminder: Call-in Cafe, Tuesday, March 19th

Post a Comment » Written on March 18th, 2013     
Filed under: Announcement, Children's Ministry
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Tune in Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm (CST) for the next Call-in Cafe

Encouraging and equipping your church’s parents in discipling their own children

Presenter: Samantha Morey

Discover how to lead your church’s parents into leading their children to Christ and fostering an environment of discipleship that carry them into adulthood.  Learn about ways to support parents in the process and offer tools to enrich their journeys.

Register for the discussion here.*To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4493 (Call-in toll free number (US/Canada) Access code:  622 383 941



Call-in Cafe – March 19th

Post a Comment » Written on March 6th, 2013     
Filed under: Children's Ministry, Personal growth
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Tune in Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm (CST) for the next Call-in Cafe

Encouraging and equipping your church’s parents in discipling their own children

Presenter: Samantha Morey

Discover how to lead your church’s parents into leading their children to Christ and fostering an environment of discipleship that carry them into adulthood.  Learn about ways to support parents in the process and offer tools to enrich their journeys.

Register for the discussion here.*To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4493 (Call-in toll free number (US/Canada) Access code:  622 383 941



Call-in Cafe: Recruiting

Tune in Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm (CST)

for the next Call-in Cafe

 

Do you have enough volunteers to effectively run your ministry?  At times it can seem impossible to make sure all the areas are “covered.”  Rest assured, GOD has it covered.  Join us on Tuesday, February 19 to hear about effective recruiting techniques, resources that have helped others, and the secret to having less recruiting to do.  Feeling tipsy?  Bring a tip to share with others about what has worked in your church to get others to see the blessing that is found when ministering to kids and students.

Register for the discussion here.*To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): (650) 479-3208 (Call-in toll number (US/Canada)) Access code: 627 686 120 

 

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Call-in Cafe Reminder – Tues, January 15

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm, CST – (Children’s ministry leaders)

“Unleash The Power Of Vision In Your Children and Family Ministry

Register for the discussion here.*To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): (650) 479-3208 (Call-in toll number (US/Canada)) Access code: 621 878 555

Create Vision In Your Children’s Ministry Team Members – Develop a reputation as a children’s pastor committed to the personal wellbeing and development of leaders as whole persons.  Team members need vision at several levels.  Vision for the children’s lives that will be transformed, vision to increase their own confidence and ability to lead, vision how their service fits into the bigger picture of God’s work in their life.

Patti Larson, former Christian Formation Pastor for 25 years, and currently living into a new calling as a Life Coach, will make a 15 minute presentation and then provide questions to stimulate discussion and sharing of ideas.



Call-in Cafe – We invite you to join us next week

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm, CST – (Children’s ministry leaders)

“Unleash The Power Of Vision In Your Children and Family Ministry

Register for the discussion here.*To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): (650) 479-3208 (Call-in toll number (US/Canada)) Access code: 621 878 555

Create Vision In Your Children’s Ministry Team Members – Develop a reputation as a children’s pastor committed to the personal wellbeing and development of leaders as whole persons.  Team members need vision at several levels.  Vision for the children’s lives that will be transformed, vision to increase their own confidence and ability to lead, vision how their service fits into the bigger picture of God’s work in their life.

Patti Larson, former Christian Formation Pastor for 25 years, and currently living into a new calling as a Life Coach, will make a 15 minute presentation and then provide questions to stimulate discussion and sharing of ideas.

 


 

Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:00 am, CST“Exciting Adults about Learning Again”

Register for the discussion here. *To connect to the audio portion with a landline or cell phone: (US/Canada): (650) 479-3208 (Call-in toll number (US/Canada)) Access code: 625 727 376

It appears that interest in educational ministries is waning, but does that mean adults know everything they need to know about the Christian life?  This Call In Cafe will consider recent data on learning ministries, discuss the need for Adult learning and possible approaches to enhancing this area of ministry. We invite you to join the conversation and bring your ideas and questions to share with others.

Presenter: Bruce Lawson


 

For information and to register, visit: blogs.covchurch.org/formation/call-in-cafe