I want to share with you a number of things that I think can make what you with kids better. I in no way claim that Jamie Doyle is an expert or better than the fine folks like yourself who read this blog. These are just the things that have helped me out over the years and maybe they can help you to:

1. Give your children’s ministry a name and create a logo that communicates your presence to the rest of the church. For a great resource for custom children’s ministry logos at an affordable price and some free logos if you are at a church that has a tight budget – go to digitasnot.com

2. Have a vision for what you are doing. Understand the vision for the church, make it your vision and then strategically plan how to communicate that vision to your family, leaders, parents and kids. If you hare having a hard time finding out what your Pastor’s vision is, go to church and find out what he’s preaching about – get his sermon CD’s or pod casts and you will get a better gauge of where your church is going.

3. Advertise what you are doing. Put your information out for people to access. Print brochures, flyers and information for parents and kids. It should be information that is presented in a quality manner that helps people understand your principles and what you are doing, where you are going and how to jump on board. Keep your ministry in front of the church by using t-shirts, banners, signage, badges and ministry programs and events that make a difference. Go to stickersandmore.com for some cool promo materials.

I’ll have more keys in the next posting – comment if you think of other tips…

Here’s a great resource for those of you who like promo stuff… or skateboards.

Our video editing guy, Tom Poch and another church leader, Scott Shull started a skateboard business a while back called: VOLUME SKATEBOARDS. They design some pretty interesting decks and have cool t-shirts and hoodies too! If you have kids in your church that are into skating – and you want to support a great Christian company, these guys will treat you right.

Cool Resource: They guys at volume turned my attention to a company that they get all their banners, posters, temporary tattoos and stickers from: stickersandmore.com

They do a lot of work for bands and edgy companies… Like skateboard companies. The prices are reasonable and it’s as easy as uploading your artwork during the ordering process. In two weeks or less, you have some cool promotional tools. Think about it: how many kids would wear a temporary tattoo with your logo on it this summer? What kid wouldn’t want to win a big sticker with a picture of one of your characters on it?

I recently taught at the Minnesota All Church Ministries Conference a class on the structure of a children’s church. (perhaps I will post it as a podcast). While studying, I realized that the children’s church service was a hybrid of several models. The Children’s Church is has mix of education, inspiration and entertainment elements. Here are the three models:

The Education Class Model –

  • Tell them what are going to teach them – this is the icebreaker/opener that introduces kids to the lesson.
  • Teach it to them – teach them using all the fun methods that you use.
  • Tell them what you just taught them – review games and follow-up moments at the end of service (take-home papers or bulletins could also fit this heading).

The vaudeville Show Model –

  • Excitement – something that gets the show/service off to a fun and exciting start
  • Introduction – welcoming the audience and helping them to feel comfortable with being there
  • Identification – showing in an exciting way why you are all together or, preview your lesson
  • involvement – get the audience engaged… Invite people to participate – both corporately as well as individuals… Every kid wants to help
  • Solid Content – This was the feature act – teach the “meat” of the lesson
  • Confirmation – give the audience a chance to respond and let them leave feeling positive about what they just experieced – like an altar call, and a review. The kids should leave with a sense that they can put what you just taught them into practice.

The Intensity Model of a Children’s Class

  • Kids are excited, rowdy and silly at the beginning of a class – match that with some controlled chaos… Fun games, exciting songs, silly or funny characters
  • About half way to two-thirds thru the class time is when the kids are at their most attentive – teach the most important things during this window… The main sermon, prayer time, worship times.
  • As the class comes to a close, the kids will start to get rowdy again, so end with excitement elements… Review games, songs that relate to the topic, funny characters who need help from the kids in reviewing the lesson.

I hope this helps you in some way!

So, we have 4th, 5th and 6th graders who help us in every kid’s church service. They are called: the Timothy Club. These kids run the sound, lights, computer, they shake hands at the door, act as ushers and collect the offering, pray for others at the altar, help with games, pass-out prizes and stuff at the door as kids leave and really… anything else that needs to get done during the services.

Last night we had our Timothy Club BBQ/Party. It was great! The kids showed up (over 30) we ate burgers and brats. The kids played some football and botche ball in our yard. Then we headed to the park near our home for a cut-throat game of kickball. We headed back and while the kids enjoyed some roasted marshmallows, s’mores, rootbeer floats and other goodies, I blasted a movie onto the side of our house with a video projector and we sat on blankets and watched a movie on the lawn. We had a blast from 6:30PM – around 11:00PM.

If you have kids that help you out – appreciate them and give them the time of their lives once in a while. If you don’t have a team of kids that help you out… start one.

The obvious place is the Christian bookstores where there are published and professionally produced stuff. Here is a list of places where I find great stuff for children’s ministry

Magic Shops – this place is going to have not only magic tricks for kids’ performers (which can be adapted to gospel routines) many shops also have gospel-specific tricks and books as well. You will also find DVD’s and video on the same topics and sometimes this is the place where you might be able to network with others who have the same interest. For those of you who are interested: Check out the resources from Duane Laflin.

Costume Shops – Not just for full-blown costumes… you can get hats, wigs, clothing, glasses, masks, mustaches, beards and more to use for costumed characters or to dress the kids up for story telling. You can also find some really cool costume accessories that can be great props for object lessons. Some items I’ve found at costume shops: handcuffs, giant bones, fake swords and knives, giant baby things, inflatable decorations, etc. You will also many times find lower-end special effects equipment like: bubble machines, fog machines, flashing lights, mirror ball, spot lights and more.

Halloween Shops – if you have one in your community, you’ve probably avoided it. But the stuff you can get there will have the kids and parents scratching their heads. Look at the list and think of the unlimited possibilities for teaching with this stuff Comment on it if you dare: rubber hearts, brains, plastic and rubber body parts, small to life-size plastic and rubber skeletons, giant bugs, foam tombstones, fake rusty chains, masks, wigs not to mention the many other costume pieces and accessories.

Dollar Stores – toys for prizes and object lesson supplies. This is a great place to pick up action figures and toys for a toybox tales episode of your own.

Wal-Mart – just about anything, at just about any hour of the day or night.

Home Improvement Stores – sheets of whiteboard… you can cut that stuff to any shape and size to fit your theme or the room you’re in.

Drug Stores – I have found toys for prizes there, jumbo play money for giving lessons. You can also pick some of the necessary supplies for chemical object lessons.

Educational Toy Stores – charts for class attendance, science kits, award certificates and award ribbons, clay, cool art supplies for decorating and creating visuals and props, jumbo whiteboard markers…

Hobby Shops/Craft Stores – well, craft supplies… what else is there? Comment on it.

IKEA – don’t’ get me started! Do you need to theme an entire Sunday School room? Get in there and pick out the theme, and decorate with it. Beyond that: cool and colorful boxes, drawstring bags for offering or keeping object lessons, buckets, lights, furniture, storage bins and more. What have you found?

Half Price Books – many communities have these used bookstores. I have found Kids Bibles (new). One time I found 6 brand new gift-style, International Children’s Bibles for a few bucks each. I was able to give them away within a few weeks to kids that needed a Bible. I have picked up Bible’s for myself, books on ministry, books on magic tricks even children’s ministry and Sunday school lesson books.

So these are some of my favorite places to shop. Please comment and let us know where you have shopped and what you have found that helped your ministry.

Always practice what you preach.

How can you get up in front of any group of people and teach God’s Word when you’re not living it yourself? If you are living God’s Word, you will become a living breathing testimony. You will know that what you are teaching is the truth. This is what will keep you excited about living for God and it’s what will keep you excited about teaching children!

I said that I would give you the update as to the arival of some of my ideas on the Kidology.org site. Well the day has come (…it actually showed up over a week and a half ago – however I was in the middle of trying to leave for a mission’s trip). If you have a Kidology account and if you care to, you can check out a few of my favorite object lessons at the site. Just search “Jamie Doyle” and my submssions will show up, along with the dates that they were posted to the site.

If you don’t have a membership to the site, I would highly reccomend it.

I’ve done something that I haven’t done in a long time… Yep – I submitted a bunch of stuff to the Kidology site the other night. Those items are pending approval – but when they are approved, I will let you all know. You could go there now and do a search on Jamie Doyle and see what comes up. There are a few articles and ideas from days by gone there. If you haven’t bought a subscription yet, I won’t scold you – just pitty you and cry for you.

Yep, It’s finally happening. And it’s really because my Pastor made a comment to me about my site. If you have been to it lately, you know that it’s in desporate need of updating and a redesign. So that’s taking place as of this posting. Hopefully before I leave for Armenia, the site will have a new look, a new structure and more current information – Including some of my newer products available for you to view. Thanks to all of you for visiting the site in recent years.

Anything you would like to see on the site? leave me a comment or two and I will consider it.

From time to time I get the privilege to go out and speak at some events and services outside of my church walls. My Pastor is so gracious for allowing me to do this. Here’s a quick run down of some recent outings that I have had in the last few weeks… for those of you who care. For those of you who don’t – Go and read my Pastor’s Blog, or listen to his latest podcast.

Chapel Service for Christian Life School in Farmington, MN

Chapel Services for Kidz Quake – North Dakota District Assemblies of God Kids’ Convention in Bismark, ND

Workshops for the Minnesota District of the Assemblies of God All Church Training Conference in Minneapolis, MN

In coming weeks I will get to go on a mission’s trip to train children’s workers in Armenia and also train children’s workers at the National Children’s Ministry Conference for the Assemblies of God in Springfield MO.

But, I confess: I still love the weekly and daily ministry that goes on at my home church River Valley Church in Apple Valley, MN. We have great kids, great parents, great leaders and I have an incredible Pastor.