The NEXT 2014 Children’s Ministry Conference

NEXT 2014 logoI’m excited to share with you about the NEXT 2014 Children’s Ministry Conference, taking place in Chicago, IL on May 3rd! This conference is being hosted by Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. I have the privilege of helping lead the NEXT 2014 team that is putting together this amazing day of children’s ministry training. We are excited to bring in four quality children’s ministry speakers to speak on the general topic of communicating biblical truth to children. The theme this year is Communicating Truth: Theologically, Developmentally, and Creatively.

This day of children’s ministry training is designed for church leaders, ministry volunteers, and college students who are serving currently or would like to serve in children’s ministry. Here is a list of our incredible line-up of speakers and their topics:

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Dr. Paul Nyquist, President of the Moody Bible Institute

Topic: Partnership Between the Church and the Family in Ministry to Children

 

Elizabeth-Smith

 

Elizabeth Smith, Professor of Youth and Children’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute

Topic: Teaching Children Theologically

 

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Karl Bastian, President of Kidology

Topic: Teaching Children Developmentally

 

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Brannon Marshall, Director of Global Church Engagement at Awana

Topic: Teaching Children Creatively

 

Thanks to the support of the Moody Bible Institute, we are able to provide this event to you at a very low cost: $20 for general admission and $10 for student admission! 

Here is what the day will look like:

  • Registration (8-9am)
  • Opening Session (9-9:30am)
  • Main Session #1 (9:30-10:45am)
  • Break (10:45-11am)
  • Main Session #2 (11am-12:15pm)
  • Lunch (12:15-1:15pm)
  • Main Session #3 (1:15-2:30pm)
  • Closing Session (2:30-3pm)

Interested in coming? You can register for this event at our Eventbrite webpage!

Summary Info:

  • Date: May 3rd from 9am-3pm (registration and check-in begins at 8am)
  • Where: Moody Bible Institute, 820 N LaSalle Blvd, Chicago IL 60610
  • Registration: Register for your ticket at our Eventbrite page.
  • Lunch: Is provided for $5 per person (in addition to admission price)
  • Parking: Free parking at Moody all-day
  • Bring: Your ticket from Eventbrite registration, payment for admission, and lunch (or $5 for conference lunch)
  • Pay: You can pay for your admission (and lunch if requested) at the door
  • Questions: Email us at mbinext@gmail.com

We hope that this excellent day of children’s ministry training will help your ministry team become better equipped to share the Gospel with children. We hope to see you there!

The Benefits of a Volunteer Meeting

Human circleIf you are wondering how you can build a better volunteer team, get more engagement in your ministry, and create an exciting atmosphere where people love to serve, then you should consider doing volunteer meetings in each of your ministries!

The most challenging part about starting meetings for your leaders is getting them on board with the idea. In order for them to get involved (and show up on-time), you will need to demonstrate to them the benefits of such a meeting. Here are a few of the benefits of holding a volunteer meeting every week:

  1. It builds community among the team. Your team may already be friends with each other, but having a regular meeting will help them build relationships within the context of your ministry and strengthen their relationships with each other. I’ve personally never served in a ministry where I didn’t have friendships with others- your volunteers want the same thing!
  2. It gets everyone on the same page. By holding a regular meeting, you can communicate with them regarding the day’s schedule, talk through questions about the small group lessons, and share any important ministry announcements in person.
  3. It energizes them for ministry. When you hold meetings before a ministry program, you can pray together and get excited for the morning. If you meet afterwards, you can share exciting or difficult stories from their time that day. Energize your leaders for ministry by encouraging them to come together and share what is happening in the ministry.
  4. It ensures that you are on-time and ready to minister. When you have meetings before a ministry program, your leaders will be late to your meetings rather than to the ministry programs. No one wants to be purposefully late, but if something comes up, I’d rather have to briefly touch base with them about the meeting than have a ministry role empty for the beginning of a service or program.

What other benefits are there for holding volunteer meetings? Share your ideas in the comments.

Is Noah the Movie Appropriate for Children?

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Should you let your children watch the new movie out in theaters, Noah? My Facebook feed is filled with opinions about whether or not to go see the movie. I’ve noticed two things from those opinions that all seem to agree:

  1. Noah is not a Biblically-accurate narrative, nor was it designed to be one.
  2. Noah does convey messages of love, mercy, and judgement.

Regardless of your thoughts on the movie itself, I would like to address the question of letting children see this movie. First of all, we have to consider the developmental stages of life that the children are at:

  • If your children are elementary-age or younger, they will typically not understand how God displays mercy in the Noah story.
  • Elementary-age children will understand how mankind’s sins were very bad, and they will understand how bad they were because of the significant punishment given to them by God. To them, the seriousness of the sin is determined by the level of punishment given, so this story will obviously demonstrate how people were very messed up and God punished them severely.
  • Children in preschool and younger will simply have a difficult time understanding most of the major messages of this story, especially the part about the Flood happening as a consequence for man’s sins.

Should you let your children see Noah? While this decision is for parents alone, I would suggest a few thoughts to consider before going to see the movie in theaters with children:

  • Most children do not have a solid understanding of the entire Biblical story of Noah, so this movie may have a serious impact on their understanding of the story (a.k.a. they will learn things that aren’t true).
  • The age-level of your child will determine what they understand in the movie. A teenager will grasp the necessary abstract concepts presented, children will not.
  • I’ve seen many adults talking about this movie, and the potential it has to be a conversation starter about the real story of Noah. Great! (Seriously, this is a great reason to actually go see the movie yourself!) My guess is that most of the younger children won’t see those kind of opportunities to talk about the deeper messages with friends, because they won’t quite understand it.
  • The fact that the movie is coming out may be a great chance to bring up the story to your children and explain what the Bible says about Noah. If you decide to go to the movie, make sure they know the real story first, then be prepared to process it with them afterwards.

My intent isn’t to persuade you one way or the other regarding actually seeing the movie. My hope is that you will consider from a child’s perspective what they will learn from this movie. Will it be a helpful and thought-provoking movie? Great. Or will it be over their heads, with made-up storylines hurting their understanding of Scripture, and the major themes (mercy, judgement, and love) not being understood at all? It’s your call, I only hope that this article helps you process your decision. :)

For a more detailed review of the movie itself (positive, negative, sexual, and violent themes, etc), please see this Plugged In review.

The Resurrection Clue Hunt Review

I’ve discovered one of my favorite Easter Games: The Resurrection Clue Hunt! This fun game is made by Kidology, and it is designed for families or children’s small groups so that they can play a live detective game, Easter-style! Check out the description of this fun game:

<i>Resurrection Clue Hunt</i> Game“Resurrection Clue Hunt is an adaptation of a classic deduction game. Ideal for use in small groups facilitated by a leader, this lesson-based game helps to uncover the many aspects of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection story. You and your fellow explorers are searching for clues that tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, 3 clues are missing!

To win this game, you must discover which PEOPLE clue is missing, what LOCATION clue is unknown, and which OBJECT clue is needed to complete the set. During this adventure, as explorers hunt for clues, companion devotional “Fact Sheets” feature Bible verses, discussion questions, and teaching applications. This process illustrates how the clues fit together to shape the resurrection story!”

Sound interesting? You can take a closer look at it in the Kidology Store!

Giveaway:

I am also going to giveaway one copy of the game to one lucky winner! To enter the contest, simply do both of the following:

  1. Like “KidminTools” on Facebook.
  2. Leave a comment sharing how you would use this game.

That’s it! I will pick the winner a week from today. Good luck to you all, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of this game for your children’s ministry.

Pulse: Pumping Life into Your Kids Ministry

I am excited to share with you that I have been published in my first book, called Pulse: Pumping Life into Your Kids Ministry! I’m excited to be included in this collection of great kidmin authors. Each author wrote on a specific area of children’s ministry that they are passionate about, and the book contains over 38 chapters!

I chose to write my chapter about “Training Teenagers to be Children’s Ministry Leaders.” Do you have teenagers in your ministry that aren’t helpful at all? What is the key to engaging teenage volunteers? Want your kids ministry to be a place where you raise up the next generation of Christian leaders? I answer these questions and more in this chapter, sharing my insight from working with several successful ministry teams that consisted of mostly teenagers.

1619312_10151891551860940_1285869114_nTopics addressed in this book include:

  • Training Volunteers
  • Classroom Discipline
  • Recruiting
  • Bi-vocational Ministry
  • Curriculum Development
  • Working with Parents
  • Leadership Growth
  • Spiritual & Professional Development
  • …and more!

If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can order it through Kidzmatter Publishing. I received a pre-release copy, and can share that it is a really great book. Take a look for yourself and see what you think!

How to Use the Wordless Book to Share the Gospel

This past week, I was talking with someone about using the wordless book to share the Gospel with children. When considering using this method to share the Gospel, think about whether the children you are sharing with will understand your explanation of each of the colors (if the children relate the colors to different ethnic groups, then perhaps don’t use this). If you think your children will understand it, then take a look at this method.

Here is a quick summary of the different colors of the wordless book, including Bible verses for each one:

  • Wordless Book scaledBlack: This color stands for sin. Who can tell me what sin is? Sin is when we disobey God. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that everyone has sinned. Sin is what separates us from God, because God has never sinned. We cannot save ourselves from our sin.
  • Red: This color stands for the blood of Jesus. Who can tell me what Jesus did for us? Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. John 3:16 says that Jesus did this to provide for our salvation. Not only did Jesus die for us, but He also rose from the dead to show His power over death!
  • White: This color stands for the cleansing of salvation. Who can tell me how we can receive salvation? By accepting Christ and following Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if we have accepted Christ, we have become a new creation. God forgives our sin and makes us as white as snow! We are justified before Him.
  • Gold: This color stands for heaven. If you follow Christ and are a part of God’s family, you will get to spend eternity with God in heaven! Who can tell me what eternity is? Forever and ever. Jesus said in John 14:1-3 that He has gone to prepare a place in heaven for everyone who follows Him. (At this point, you can ask if they want to receive Christ and follow Him, then explain to them how to do so.)
  • Green: This color stands for growth. If you are a follower of Christ, you need to grow in your new life! Can anyone tell me how plants grow? Water, light, and healthy dirt. Just like a plant needs those things to grow, we also need help to grow as followers of Christ, like it says in 2 Peter 3:18. To grow, we need to spend time talking to God in prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, and reading God’s Word. (Take time to explain what each of these areas looks like)

There you have it! Hopefully this short summary will help you share the Gospel with children. Feel free to add other Bible verses, illustrations, and other things to this method in order to make it effective when you use it. Next week, I will share about my favorite method for sharing the Gospel, which is the Bridge Method.

The Kids Power Bible

Kids love comic books. I’ve reviewed Bible comic books in the past (ex: the Action Bible), and today I would like to review The Power Bible from Green Egg Media.

book-1-from-creation-to-the-story-of-joseph-1362692011Anime is extremely popular in certain places of the world. I have friends who are studying animation so that they can create Christian anime videos to reach out to kids around the world, especially in Asia and parts of North America and Europe. In the United States, many kids are fans of anime cartoons. The Power Bible is one of the first resources I have seen that is an anime cartoon book that shares the Gospel.  Here is a description of it from the website:

“The Bible is God’s inspired words of life and contains truths for us to know Him and love Him. Through the Bible, we are given a picture of our Holy and Sovereign Creator and His heart for us. Here at Green Egg Media, we love the Bible because it is God’s perfect Word. Our desire is to teach the truths of the Bible to children of all ages and point them to God’s glory and grace. We hope that the Power Bible will be a tool for kids to know more about God so they can love Him and serve Him.

Our team has fact checked and researched to make sure the Power Bible is faithful to the truths of the Bible. But it is not intended to be a substitute for the Bible. We have also exercised some artistic freedom, so if questions or interpretation issues arise, we encourage you to use this opportunity to engage your children and read the Bible together.

Knowing God’s Word is crucial in our relationship with God. But there must be a desire to read the Bible for it to be effective. And that’s where the Power Bible can be a great resource for children. The Power Bible contains the truths of God’s Word in a fun-to-read format that kids will want to pick up again and again!”

There are eight different volumes of the Power Bible, each covering stories from different parts of the Bible. If you know children who like anime, this is a resource you should look into. You can learn more about this product in the Green Egg Media store!

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