I’m so honored to be part of the KidMin Leaders’ Training Event at Prewitt Assembly of God in Prewitt, New Mexico!
The following are the sessions we are covering and the resources you can use in your church!
- A Case of the Tweaks
- Storytelling Methods
- Creative Teaching Ideas
- Building a Team
We are hosting our 3rd Family Advent Night at our church this Thursday.
It’s an event that draws families together as it kicks-off the Christmas season. We decided to try it our first Christmas at this church since attending one at our home-base church as missionaries. It was great fun to eat Christmas goodies, drink hot chocolate, sing some Christmas Carols and make an Advent calendar as a family.
Here are a few tips to consider starting your own Advent Night next year:
- Set the date before December starts. We don’t follow a traditional Advent set of dates — we basically set the calendar for December 1 — December 25
- Provide Christmas Themed Tr
- eats (cookies, hot cocoa, hot cider, punch, etc)
- Be sure to explain what Advent means. This is your opportunity to present to the entire family
- Provide the materials for families to make a pre-determined Advent calendar (Check Pinterest for ideas).
- Involve your Lead Pastor and give him/her a part to play in the presentation.
- Allow it to evolve. Not only has our event grown over the last year… it’s evolved! Our first year was very basic and now we have a Santa come ahead of time for photos and to move among the families while making their Calendars. We have many other people involved who take on the various projects (decorating, food, registrations, etc) You can watch the promo video here to get a feel for what we do.
Don’t Correct From the Stage
This is critical for me as I don’t want to break the intensity of whatever I’m doing. I always allow other leaders who are not teaching to make a correction with a disruptive child. There are, however, some techniques I’ve used from the stage that help if I sense a disturbance in the force. These are just great teaching techniques in general and you may see them repeated as we get into the actual presentation part of making children’s church better:
“Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy. Sometimes, I will suddenly stop talking and freeze my body movement – like I’m taking a long pause. Every child will turn their attention to me and become very quiet themselves. Silence is just as important as the noise of me talking.
“Do you want to know a secret?” – The Beatles. Everyone wants to hear a secret. Suddenly speaking in a whisper can gain the attention of everyone in the room. Why? Because they all want to hear what you are saying. Especially if you stop what you’re saying, look both ways as if you’re being cautious about who hears you, then begin whispering.
Use Their Name
“… You just call my name…” – James Taylor. Kids love to hear their name (when they’re not in trouble). I will use the child’s name in the story or lesson I’m teaching. For example: let’s say I’m telling a story and the child’s name is, Connor. “…It was time for school and Sally didn’t know what to tell her teacher. As Sally was on her way to school wondering what to do, she bumped into her friend, Connor. And she so badly wanted to ask Connor what he thought. But, she was too embarrassed…” Now Connor, who might be talking to his friend, has stopped to find out what’s going to happen with a boy having the same name…
Let’s say I’m teaching an object lesson. I display a hammer and nails and some wood. “Have any one ever seen any of these things. Has anyone ever used one of these tools? Hey Connor, have you ever used a hammer before? How about you Owen? You have?” Again, I’m trying to engage Connor by using his name. Sometime, I’ll just say something like, “Connor knows what I’m talking about – right Connor… you and I know about this kind of stuff, don’t we?” I’ll say it in a fun positive way as if Conner has some special insight or inside track with me.
“Just like me, they long to be, close to you…” — The Carpenters. Creating a presence near the child or children is effective. If ever you want an individual or a small group of children that are being disruptive to give you their attention, stand near them. Sometimes I walk around the rows of kids while teaching just so I can get close to the children who are starting be disruptive.
“Ch, ch, ch, changes…” David Bowe. Change in some noticeable way. Yes, the sudden stop, the whisper can work… but so does any abrupt volume change or pace of speaking. A combo of both is great! Try different voices (make sure it’s appropriate for your moment of teaching).
Get Them Standing
“The mind can absorb no more than the seat can endure” — Donal Blaney. You need to discern if your group has been sitting too long. If it’s obvious that the reason the children are squirming, talking and being disruptive, is that they have been seated too long… I find a reason for them to stand and do something. Sometimes, I just have them stand and repeat something back to me. Maybe in a silly voice or as fast as they can. Then it’s boys vs. girls. Then it’s kids vs. leaders.
As I stated earlier; these techniques are great teaching techniques in general. That’s it for rules. Next time we will focus on other areas of Children’s Church.
It is a season of challenges when you look at the economy and the funding of ministries in the local church. It takes much creativity these days to stay on top of providing a quality ministry to children – and yet, not having the funds available to make it happen the way you might be envisioning it. OK, I’ll just be straightforward with you: It’s downright frustrating… I know, I’ve been there!
Let me tell you a little story:
Once upon a time, in a land far from here, at a church I will not name…
…I was in the interview process and asked about the budget for children’s ministries. The Pastor asked me what I thought it would take to pull off quality children’s ministries a that particular church? I became bold and said that it would take 12,000 a year to do it. (remember, this was 16 years ago). The Pastor pondered that for a moment and said that he could get the board to approve that amount. I ended up getting hired at the church and was told that the amount I requested had been approved – I was super excited and ready to make some purchases. I approached the finance person to find out how to access those funds to buy some much needed KidMin supplies. She looked me in the eye and exclaimed, “Oh, you have to raise that money!” I’ll let that sink in for a moment…
…The way that church funded ministries was:
- Have each Department Leader submit a budget proposal.
- The Pastor would present that budget to the board.
- The board would then approve it.
- The board would then commission the Department Heads to go forth and raise the amount that was approved.
So, for about 4 years, I had to provide quality ministry to children at a church of 1,200 by raising every dime.
I have decided to let you in on a few ideas that got me through those years – plus a few ideas I have used since and wished I had know about back then!
100 Envelope Fundraiser
This was originally an idea that was presented to the Children’s Pastors of the Assemblies of God to raise money for Missions or BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge). So, let me state right away that this idea is not mine. But I’ve used it with great success.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 100 envelopes
- A marker
- A church service full of adults
- The approval of your pastor
- The leadership sold that this is your idea so no other department steals it.
I’ve done this fund raiser for missions as well as raising our own budget.
Here’s the basic idea:
You lay 100 envelopes across your platform. Each individually numbered 1-100. During the adult service, you ask families or individuals to consider choosing an envelope and putting the dollar amount that is on the front of the envelope… So, if the envelope has the number 24 on it, a family would give $24
Now you may be asking: “Why go that route rather than just a special offering?”
Answer: “Because, if every envelope is taken and returned you get $5,050 in one service.”
It kind of predetermines the outcome. And I don’t know about you, but anytime I’ve ever had a special offering taken in the adult service, we never even came close to that amount.
Your best results will come when you can identify where the $$$ is going.
A few years back, I did it in our three weekend services. Each service, we put out new envelopes. Almost all the envelopes were taken each service. We raised over $12,000 in one weekend. The $12,000 we raised, went to supplement our budget and help us remodel or “freshen-up” some of the classrooms
The key is to announce it a few weeks ahead of time with some clear explanation:
We basically explained that this was an easy way for them to help build up the Children’s Ministry budget with a one time gift. We explained that there would be 100 envelopes each numbered and that their family should come ready to choose a dollar amount. We also explained that if the amount they were thinking of giving had already been taken, to add other envelopes together to equal their amount.
Here are a few more ideas that have helped me in years past:
Find 10 children that would contact 10 other people that would each give 10 dollars.
This would get you $1,000 for your ministry.
A family commits to giving for 12 months – $5.00 a month (that comes out to $60 per family that participates)
Multiply that number by the number of families willing to participate.
Events and adding a few extra $ to each fee
When you have a retreat, a family activity that costs something or an event that will require you to charge a fee… simply increasing each registration/ticket or cover-charge by a dollar or 2 each will give you that extra wiggle-room.
Dash for Cash
Parade your kids into the main auditorium during the adult service. Have the adults hold up any paper currency and have the kids run thru the auditorium collecting the cash. Play fun music in the background – kids and adults love this!
Here are a few low-cost events, prizes and supplies that might help the budget:
Paper Airplane Night
A night with a ream of white copy paper and craft supplies from your supply closet at church. Have families come, ready to fold and decorate paper airplanes. Do a few contests with bragging-rights as the prize: Longest flying plane, coolest decorations, most colorful, etc. If your church has a balcony, have the families line up to toss their planes off of the balcony to see who’s will fly the furthest.
Post Office Undeliverable Packages
Contact your local post office. There are several times a year when they get rid of the packages that cannot be delivered (no address, wrong address or incomplete address, no such address, the address is unreadable and there isn’t a viable return address) Ask them to contact you when they are getting ready to ditch the items and more often than naught, you can go pick it all up. Have an opening party at your church, Friends of mine have found high-end electronics, promotional items and all kinds of things that can be gifted or offered as prizes.
Paint Left Behind
Need to paint a classroom or a backdrop for a series? Contact your local home-improvement place (Lowes, Home Depot, Etc) or your local paint-supply place (Sherwin Williams, Dupont, etc) and ask if they have any custom paint that hasn’t been picked up or paint that’s been mistakenly mixed that they want to get rid of. Often times it’s free for the taking or there may be a small fee – but trust me, it’s a major discount. You won’t always find the colors you need – but who knows!
Look thru the Free section – you will find all kinds of craft supplies, drama props and who knows what else for your ministry.
List your needs in the Wanted Section and see what kind of response you get. Someone out there is just waiting to donate some unwanted piece of equipment or supplies to a church.
A few months ago a scheduled a twitter teaching using Hootsuite (great for scheduling tweets or posts to FB). It never really occurred to me to add this to my blog as a list of tips for making your large group teaching more effective. So, here we go – #hash-tags and everything!
- Teaching Large Group Tip 1: Have a passion for teaching kids! #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 2: Be prepped by knowing the Word & being prayed-up. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 3: Be prepped by knowing your lesson, rehearsing, and the right people are in-the-know. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 4: Make eye contact with as many kids as possible. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 5: B animated with your voice. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 6: B animated with your actions #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 7: Get kids as helpers 2 tell stories, hold objects, play games. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 8: Use multimedia – but don’t let it USE you. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 9: Use props & objects. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 10: Have unique characters & special guests. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 11: Background music helps with intros, outtros, teaching times, creates moods & segues. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 12: Sound effects are great – pre-recorded as a playlist in iTunes. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 13: More sound effects – kids with noisemakers during the story think old-time radio. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 14: Controlled lighting can create moods & segues. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 15: Become a master storyteller. U will attain perfection only by trial and error. #kidmin
- Teaching Large Group Tip 16: Each segment of the service: Explain what UR going 2 teach; teach it; explain what U just taught. #kidmin
I sure do hope this gives you something to think about as you prep for your Mid-Week or Weekend large group experiences! And if you’d like to follow me on Twitter, my twitter handle is: @jamie_doyle
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.
- Use paypal.com and send $20.00 (USD) to the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the “E-mail the Recipient ” section, put ebook deal in the Subject Line
- Put your e-mail address in the Message field
- 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 book – BUT REMEMBER – this deal is NOT AVAILABLE at my online bookstore.
For those of you who did not know, I write for another blog. As you know I am the Children’s Pastor at a church in Colorado Springs, CO called Radiant Church.
Each week, I try to keep parents informed and updated as to the topics and series that we are on as a ministry. My goal is to enhance what the parents are already teaching their children at home by providing the resources and tools that we use in our ministry to children.
You can see the blog here – please check it out, and while you’re at it, please browse the rest of the site.
See you next time!
EXPERIENCES …kids remember them!
The phrase, “Gospel Magic” conjures up some interesting images in many KidMin leaders’ minds. For some, it’s a passion, for others it was a passing fad, still others shy away because of a bad experience.
The art of magic really has nothing to do with witchcraft, sorcery, spells, ghosts, spirits, potions or wizards.
It really has to do with creating experiences. Experiences that are fun, amazing, memorable and at times, unexplained. Children are visual creatures and have a tendency to be impressed, intrigued and interested in the unexplained. I can’t think of a better method to use when teaching children about Jesus, His love and His promises!
Great Magicians Created Experiences
Name the magicians who were known by the general public in their day. Why were they known? Sure, they all had incredible skill and amazing equipment. But one thing set them apart from the competition of the day. They knew how to create experiences.
Great Magicians Of The Day
Personalities like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Tim Burton, Charles Schulz, Erno Rubik, Michael Jordan, J. R. R. Tolkien and even the fictional Willie Wonka are all just as much magicians, in their own right and expertise as Harry Houdini, David Copperfield and David Blaine are in their own right. And it is because they became masters of creating experiences…
…Experiences that have changed the way we look at everyday life.
Own This Concept
This, in essence is our job as KidMin Leaders; to create experiences that will burn into our audiences’ memories forever. The next time they hear a certain song, smell a certain scent, see another magician; they will automatically be transported back in time to the moment they had an EXPERIENCE with YOU.