There are days when it will feel overwhelming to do children’s ministry… there will be days you aren’t sure you want to continue… there will be days when you wonder if God has forgotten about you… But I know for a fact that you can do this children’s ministry thing.  Do you know how I know? Because of the list below:

  • God calls us
  • God equips us
  • God guides us
  • God energizes us
  • God resources us
  • God knows us
  • God loves us
  • God sustains us
  • God watches over us
  • God is with us

Go ahead and add to this list.

Memorize It

Knowing what you’re doing is different than planning what you’re doing. Again, you can start collecting your ideas and putting together all the stuff to make the service a success. But, if you don’t know WHAT you’re doing in the moment… it can create a moment of confusion, embarrassment or the sense from the audience that you aren’t prepared for them.  Even though, some of these items may be similar to the earlier section on Preparation… this list really is really all about “knowing” your service.  Memorization in a kids service has very little to do with knowing each service word-for-word or action-for-action – it has more to do with knowing the details enough to keep things moving along for so the audience will stay focused for maximum ministry results.

  • Know and be able to quote the main scripture – you’ll want to reference back to it during your teaching times.
  • Know and be able to quote the main idea or key point you want the kids to walk away with… you can’t get something into a kids world until it’s in you’re first.
  • Make and use a schedule of the service – As I mentioned in the last post, I prefer Planning Center Online. It gives you ways to schedule each item in your service and assign it a time. You can also use it to schedule team members for each item.
  • Outline your stories, object lessons, gospel magic routines, illustrative sermons and even skits. It’s not necessary to have it all memorized word-for-word. But if you know the main points and can elaborate on them, you’ll be more confident as you teach.
  • When doing an illustrative sermon or when many props and visuals are being used in one service, put them in order of their use on your table, in your box or from left to right on the stage or presentation area.
  • Make your team aware of what props and visuals you are using so those items don’t get touched, moved or end up getting put away before the service starts (I’ve had it happen).
  • Put a bookmark in your Bible where the main Bible story is found. Mark the passage with a highlighter or red pen… You ARE opening your Bible with the kids and having THEM read Bible stories with you – aren’t you?
  • Make sure everyone understands their cues for their parts. Music cues, key words, graphics on the screen or knowing that “…immediately after such-and-such happens…”, is when the next person needs to be walking on stage will help keep transitions smooth.
  • It helps to have a rehearsal with others involved, even if it’s just a walk-thru of each thing happening in your service.

It begs the question: Whatever happened to Preparation A thru G?

Children’s Church Services/KidMin Large Group Times are my passion. So, in an effort to help you do a better job, or inspire you to go to a new place with your Children’s Church Services, I’ve decided to start a posting on what will bring your services to life. In this series, I’ll not only give you practical advice… but, I’ll also tip my hand as the the “stuff” I use to make it all happen:

Prepare

  • Read Your Curriculum or Lesson/Sermon Materials Early in the Week
  • Read the main scripture
  • Read the supporting scriptures
  • Know or come up with a main phrase the kids will know when they walk out
  • Pray for guidance
  • Start a creativity file for each lesson and start filling it with ideas and resources you come across – http://kidology.org and http://CMConnect.org are great places to find resources, ask questions and get input from KidMin leaders all over the globe!
  • Outline your topic and put together a service schedule Planning Center https://www.planningcenteronline.com is perfect as it has a way to add times to each event in your service schedule. They even have a free version so you can try it out with your team.
  • Meet with everyone involved in the service and make sure they are all on the same page – http://Dropbox.com is a good way to share information with your team and http://www.nozbe.com works well as a project management with a team of people.
  • Prep multi-media – I swear by ProPresenter for presentation Software http://www.renewedvision.com/propresenter.php and even Keynote for Mac is pretty robust if I couldn’t afford ProPresenter.
  • Prep print materials
  • Gather props and visuals and put them where they are needed for the service
  • Rehearse with the appropriate people
  • Make adjustments
  • Set up your room
  • Remember – The service starts the moment the kids walk in

I like to network with KidMins… Why?
Well, I’m glad you asked.

Relationships Are Thicker Than Puppets

You may run out of money, forget about the lesson ideas you once had, damage equipment or download a virus… But the relationships will still be there. Because of those relationships, you will be encouraged. You will rub shoulders with veterans and the young, “hungry” kidmins alike. You will invest into their ministries, in turn, expanding your influence as well.

We Each Got Stuff The Other One Wants

Sometimes when I need a resource I don’t own, can’t afford or that’s not available anymore, I have a resource library spread all over my town. It’s called “Other Church’s Supply Closets”. So many times I can make a few calls or send an e-mail about that curriculum that’s no longer published or a prop I don’t want to drop $300 to use for one weekend… and more often than not, someone has what I need, sitting in their supply closet at church. (Just be careful that you are not making illegal copies or breaking the law if the original buyer has the right to use the resource in only his or her own church only).

Everything I’ve Ever Needed To Know, I Learned From Other Kidmins

I don’t have all of the answers, and neither do you. But If I can surround myself with people who know stuff that I don’t, I will gain the knowledge of those who have “been there” and “done that”. Even if that Kidmin is younger than me or has been in ministry a shorter time, their environments and experiences will be vastly different than mine… and there are answers in that somewhere.

That’s right, I’m having a ONE day sale starting TODAY – Thursday, June 14, 2012.

THE SALE HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL MIDNIGHT – FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2012

Here’s the deal.  You’ll get 8 of my ebooks for only $20.00. READ THAT AGAIN!

If you were to buy these separately from my online bookstore, you’d pay over $50.00

Why in the world would I do this? I’m a generous guy I guess… but here’s the deal:  The sale ends at midnight tonight (Mountain Standard Time -USA)

The Titles include:

  • Adding Flash To Your Lessons Vol. 1 & 2
  • Incredible Object Lesons
  • MORE Incredible Object Lessons
  • EVEN MORE Incredible Object Lessons
  • Teaching Kids To Give Vol. 1
  • Teaching Kids To Give Vol. 2
  • KidMin Altar Call Book (My NEWEST BOOK)

So, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Use paypal.com and send $20.00 (USD) to the e-mail address: pastorjamiedoyle@gmail.com
  2. In the “E-mail the Recipient ” section, put ebook deal in the Subject Line
  3. Put your e-mail address in the Message field
  4. When I see your funds have been sent, I’ll send you an e-mail with a link along with a password to download each book. (once you receive the link and password, you’ll have until June 30, 2012  to download the books.  After that, the links will be inactive)

You can go to my online bookstore to read descriptions and even see samples of each bookBUT REMEMBER – this deal is NOT AVAILABLE at my online bookstore.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

For those who were in the know, I spent 10 days in  Kenya (with a few days of travel on each end of the trip). I’ve been on several overseas missions trips… but this one had an impact on my life that I won’t soon forget.

Our ministry team spent several days training children’s ministry leaders from all over Kenya. They came hungry and we did what we could to resource them and encourage them. In turn, they would all go back to their districts and train the children’s ministry leaders at the churches in their districts.

During our time there, we ministered in several schools. One school was over 2000 kids. The other 1500 and the smaller ones with 400. It was heart touching to see so many of those kids give their hearts to God. In one of the primary schools, our ministry team watched as four Muslim girls sat together near the front on the dirty concrete ground. When the salvation invitation was given, three of the Muslim girls sat with their arms crossed. But one of the four looked at her three Muslim friends, looked back toward the front and raised her hand. We watched as she prayed, along with hundreds of other kids, and asked Jesus into her life. She made a bold step… a bold step that has changed her life forever. The Head Master, or as we say, the principal, saw what she did and went and talked to her after the program. He is a strong believer himself. He confirmed that she would be disciplined if her parents were to ever find out.

Unlike public schools in the US, these schools not only allowed us to present a salvation message with an invitation for salvation, but they also helped us promote the outreach event we did in the evenings by inviting the school children to attend.  At those evening outreaches, we saw hundreds of kids attend and hundreds of kids respond to salvation!

I also had the privilege of ministering in one of the local children’s churches on the Sunday before I left the country – it was an amazing time. Many of the children from the school assemblies and the evening outreaches attended and we squeezed over 500 kids into a space made for 300 kids! Again, we saw many come to the Lord.

As I type this, I am also praying for the children and Children’s Ministry Leaders in Kenya – it is a place hungry for effective ministry to children.

OH – I’ll post pictures soon!

Having a team of people around you is great! I love the team members that I get to serve with at my church. They are all about ministry to kids and families… I am truly blessed.

But just having a team is not enough. You have to be willing to do some things, not just to keep your team… but to help them move to the next level.  I’ve assembled a list of some of the things you’d better be doing if you want your ministry to grow:

  • Pray for them.
  • Continually speak the vision of the house.
  • Continually interpret the vision of the house so KidMin Leaders can run with it.
  • Actually meet with them as a team on a regular basis.
  • Actually meet with them individually on a regular basis.
  • Find out that one key resource each of your team members needs, and get it for them.
  • Look for resources they’re not asking for, and surprise them with it.
  • Provide training and ministry enhancement opportunities.
  • Read through a book with them.
  • Set up regularly scheduled evaluation meetings for each member.
  • Promote them publicly (Brag them up around EVERYONE).
  • Remove team members who won’t propel forward.
  • Add to the team people who have proven themselves.
  • Show appreciation to each member.

Did you know that God has faith in you?

That may sound kind of out of line with God’s Word – but it’s not. God, having faith in us, is the reason He keeps on giving us opportunities to serve Him. It’s the reason why He called YOU to Children’s Ministries – He knew that: YOU CAN DO THIS! Whether you think you have the know-how, experience, expertise or you feel completely inadequate – God called you… YOU CAN DO THIS!

Now, don’t get me wrong – we will all face days where we don’t know what to do, or days when trial and error leans more toward the error. We will mess-up, make mistakes, tick-off parents and ruin the craft idea… And yet, in the midst of all those errors - God called YOU!

As a matter of fact, when you are succeeding or failing at the opportunity that God has called you to DO – you are in the middle of the “DO” part – Right where God wants you!  Don’t think that because something didn’t go as planned that you have somehow stepped out of God’s Will.  You are right in the middle of the “DO” part that God called you to do.

And that’s no surprise to God.  God doesn’t sit up in heaven and say, “Whoa – I didn’t see that one coming!” He doesn’t suddenly call Gabriel over to his side and ask, “Hey, Gabe, what do you reckon we do about the ‘craft-disaster’ down there?”

The Good Lord doesn’t say or think these things because He knew YOU CAN DO THIS! So, clean up the messes as best as you can, meet with a few angry parents and plan some new crafts and know that “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6)

Everything a kid tells you is important.

You may not think it’s important, but to that kid, at that moment, it’s the most important thing in their world.

We as adults have, over time, developed a filter called: “THE STUFF IMPORTANT TO ME” filter.  And we react accordingly.  If someone tells you something that is interesting to YOU or in some way creates a commonality – YOU naturally react with genuine interest.  YOU react with attention.  YOU react because YOU actually care.

But when someone tells you something that you have no interest in, you may try to react as though you care – because you don’t really want to offend the person trying to tell you something.  But you’re not really listening, are you?

When that child walks up to you and shows you his loose tooth… this is a big deal – no wait! It’s a BIG DEAL!  When she tells you that it was her birthday yesterday… it’s a BIG DEAL!  When a kids tells you that his family is taking him on vacation to “Happy World”, it’s a BIG DEAL!  When she explains that her dog is lost… it’s a BIG DEAL!  When they point to their new shoes… it’s a BIG DEAL!  You all know what I’m talking about. It happens all weekend long… and that’s a good thing!

But, how many times have you had one of these experiences only to usher that child to his seat and tell him politely that he can tell you later? After all, it’s time to start class, right.

To a child, you may be the most important person in their world at that moment that needs to know this information.  Your reaction will determine their significance at that very moment in THEIR WORLD. And if you’re the one who made them feel significant at that moment, you have earned their attention from that moment on.  Try it – I promise, it works!

Turn on your listening ears the next time you’re with kids and Be blessed

If you’re like me (and I know I am), you put a lot of emphasis on teaching kids the Word of God every week – and in some cases, several times or venues a week. For me, I have 4 Kids’ Church large groups on a weekend (one on Saturday Night, 2 on our main campus and I travel between those 2 services to teach/preach at our second campus most weeks) Add to that a Sunday School hour, Wednesday night large groups (of which I’m involved) and Wednesday night small groups.  We also have a myriad of classes and services for toddlers and preschoolers and even some teaching time for infants that our wonderful staff on directors and volunteers oversee and participate in.

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF TEACHING GOING ON!

That’s why I’ve started a simple “training by e-mail” campaign for our lead teaching staff.  Each week I will send out an e-mail to our teaching staff with an encouragement and a tip that just might help them reach new heights.  I would like to share those e-mails with you in blog-format each week… if you follow me on twitter, you saw that I did a series of around 15 tips for teaching in kidmin a few weeks ago – these coming blog posts are those tweets elaborated. So, here we go:

Let me encourage you this week as you plan for the upcoming Wednesday or Weekend and give you a pointer that I just know will give you the confidence and in some cases the “know-how”… and if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last few years: INFORMATION is POWERFUL when you APPLY IT.

THIS WEEKS TIP:

Start preparing early in the week for the upcoming lesson or class time. In other words, if your ministry time was over the weekend, crack open that lesson book or materials on Monday… if your ministry time was on Wednesday; then make Thursday your day to start studying.  You don’t have to plan your entire lesson on that day, but at least:

  • Read over the lesson
  • Know and memorize the key verse
  • Look up and read any supporting verses
  • And know the main point of the lesson.

Why should you do this? I’m glad you asked!
…When you start early in the week, it gives the Holy Spirit time to be your helper… instead of (gulp) having to work in spite of you.  Think about it: all week long as you pray over the materials you’ve read, the Lord will reveal unique teaching ideas, stories you’ve heard or events in your life that you could work into your lesson.  As the day of ministry gets closer and you are planning what that class time should look like, instead of saying, “Lord, what am I going to teach?” …you’ll be able to say “Lord, how do I fit all of these ideas into the lesson?”

Try it – I promise it will work. And as always, if you ever need a teaching idea, I’m just an e-mail away and I’m happy to brainstorm with you! I’d better let you go – some of you need to start studying!

Be blessed,
Jamie