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.

Carl Lindelien – Pastor Carl and wife Dee Dee have been great influences on children all over the United States. Especially training and sending out Children’s Pastors. Carl was my Children’s Pastor when I was first saved. As a kid I sat in children’s church – absolutely marveled at the stories, songs, object lessons and puppets. Pastor Carl made Bible stories come to life. I joined his puppet team and he started to use me as his helper during services.

When he left our church, he had me spend time with him at his other church. I even interned under him when he was a Children’s Pastor in Orlando, FL. I am so glad that he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes at a young age.

I have written about Carl in earlier posts – here is a snippet of information about some of Carl’s accomplishments over the years:

Carl was the senior editor and head writer for the original first four quarters of Charisma’s “K.I.D.S Church” Curriculum published back in the early 90’s. He also helped edit the first quarter of Willie George Ministries’ “Kids One The Move” Curriculum.

…And, if you were ever involved in children’s ministries back in the late 80’s, you may remember “The Praisin’ Raisins” – a parody of the California Raisins. This too was a Carl Lindelien thing.

Carl has served churches of a few hundred to churches of several thousands and everything in between. He us currently the Pastor of a new church, Rivers Edge Church, planted in the fall of 2005 that is reaching people in fun and unique ways.

Can you figure out the connection with the photo? Good luck!

Keep it visual.
If you find yourself creating your own lessons (and I encourage you to do so), you are going to need to keep your lesson visual. Your class will pay attention and it will keep you creative. Here is a list of ways I’ve tried to keep it visual over the years:

  • Oversized or large objects… you can find these in various variety and novelty shops, online clown shops and you can attempt to make them yourself out of foam, Styrofoam, large format printing, etc.
  • Puppets – muppet-style, shadow, mop/broom, paper bags (thanks Fandango!)
  • Costumed Characters – big headed full-bodied costumes and people dressed-up as a character who had developed a character personality – start collecting funny clothing, wigs, masks, fake noses and other dress-up stuff.
  • Illusions – yep the evils of magic in church (by the way, take the poll)
  • Cartoons – Randy Christensen has two books on cartoon lesson – they are so easy and make you look good!
  • DVD clips – everything from a full-length movie to a five minute clip.
  • Science Experiments – you really need to get the sermons in chemistry set.
  • Dance Routines – Kids are great at coming up with choreography – just ask a group of 3rd-5th grade girls to figure it out – they’ll drop whatever they’re doing!
  • Clowns – again, Randy Christensen is the guy to get your resources from.
  • Athletes – they can come in and demonstrate what they do – they could be professionals or highschoolers. Either way, kids love ‘em!
  • Community Service People – Policemen, firemen, paramedics – Get them to bring all the cool stuff that kids love to see up close.
  • Extreme Sports Demonstations – Skateboarding, rockwall climbing, bull riding… There are people in your church and community that can do this stuff.
  • Live Animals – Kids love animals whether its a dog, gerbil or monkey. You can find people that can bring in snakes, tarantulas, iguanas, large cats, monkeys, tropical birds and other large birds.

Dick Gruber – I received Jesus as Savior at the age of ten at a Kids’ Crusade conducted by Dick Gruber and his wife Darlene. I watched him and knew that I was supposed to minister to kids one day. He inspired me to learn to juggle and use puppets. Dick has continued to give me great advice and help over the last 22 years.

He has served big churches and little churches and for a number of years was the children’s ministry specialist for the Assemblies of God headquarters.

Dick is now the Professor of Children’s Ministries at Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, PA. He has recently launched a new, online, college level program for children’s ministry training called CMU.