Pinterest provides beautiful and inspirational ideas for volunteer 'thank you' gifts. Recently, I noticed an idea to use permanent markers to write inspirational messages on a mug. It was a great concept, especially as it is relatively inexpensive and the kids could be involved in personalising and perhaps even signing the mug. I decided to use the quote, 'Teachers touch eternity, one heart at a time.' The markers were easy to use and I added a couple to extra hearts with the text- easy!
However, I found that the lettering washed off in the dishwasher.
So, I researched a little more and found a helpful article that listed a number of helpful hints to add some permanency to the design:
1. Use an inexpensive mug. Apparently, the better quality mugs also have a better glaze that prevents the lettering adhering well.
2. Ensure you have cleaned the outside of the mug thoroughly. It was suggested that rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth be used to clean the mug.
3. Bake the finished mug for longer and at a higher temperature than most instructions suggest.
I followed these instructions carefully... and the design still washed off. So... my suggestions?
It's certainly a great idea for a gift and if you still would like to create them, keep a couple of things in mind. First, you can buy ceramic pens that are a little expensive but easy to use and will not wash off. Check with your local art and craft store (as I did) for these pens. There are also ceramic paints that could be used, too, which will look attractive but perhaps will not be as easy to use for quotes and text. My second suggestion is to create your designed mug with permanent markers but pot a little plant in the mug rather than use it as a regular coffee cup. I planted some little 'heartsease' in the mug which combined nicely with my quote.
Father's Day, in Australia, isn't celebrated until September. But for those overseas, you may like to consider some of these great Father's Day clips. It's a lot of fun working through the many available but difficult to choose one to use for your special Father's Day event. (At least I have a bit more time to decide which we will use later this year.)
This selection is from worshiphousemedia
has a great selection, too, that you might like to consider. I've included a link for each so you can easily find the clip. Just click on the image.
The first in the selection, 'Fathers, You are Vital'
, could be used at any time to highlight the crucial role of men in our families. It is really an animated infographic style of clip. Everyday Heroes
is short and would probably be best used to introduce a segment within your program or as a link. The Real Story of Father's Day
is, just as it says, a well crafted story of the first father's day and how it came about. Of course, Courageous follows on from the Courageous movie and materials and incorporates images and scenes from the movie along with inspirational quotes from the movie. Yes.. some of these clips will make you laugh or pull on the heart strings but they all have a wonderful message- taken from different perspectives, they provide churches and families with the opportunity to acknowledge and thank Dads for their impact on the lives of those they love.
What movie clips have you found and used for Father's Day? Please share them with us....
FREE download from worshiphousemedia.
'If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.' D.L.Moody Although most adults believe that children are important and that it's crucial to teach and nurture children, only a small percentage of adults are actively engaged in kids' lives. Highlight the importance of children and family ministry with this short slideshow. I've included quotes and information, not just about children, but also about the privilege of teaching and ministering to children and their families. Use the slideshow as an introduction to your volunteer orientation or to commence a leader training session, reminding and encouraging them in their roles. You may also find it helpful to use with your whole church family as an overview of your children and family ministry. You can view the slideshow below as an MP4, for those using iPad or smartphone, or use the link to slideshare.net to view the slideshow online. You can download the slideshow here or from slideshare.net http://www.slideshare.net/AnneJohnson6/ministry-memo
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MinistryMemo slideshow files are available as powerpoint presentation or 97-2003 version.
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We'd all love a dynamic, themed area for our children's ministry with special sign-in booths and stage areas. And there are some wonderful companies that can create these exciting areas for kids. But if your budget doesn't stretch to include these wonderful design features and play areas, there are still creative effects that you can do yourself.
Take a look at some of the ideas below...
They are all made with relatively inexpensive materials: plastic tablecloths, boxes, styrofoam, rope etc.
Hopefully, these designs will encourage you to try something similar yourself for your next themed program, VBS or special event.
Just click on the images for more information about how each effect was achieved.
The dictionary defines creative as: cre·a·tive 1. having the quality or power of creating. 2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative: creative writing. 3. originative; productive (usually fol. by of). 4. Facetious. using or creating exaggerated or skewed data, information, etc.: creative bookkeeping. Creative Bible Study blog is a Christian blog and site dedicated to getting believers excited about God's Word and all it holds. The site provides information for children, preschoolers, youth, object lessons, prayer, Bible lessons, devotions and more..
It's helpful and encouraging to share creative ideas, information and resources (one of the reasons that Pinterest has become so popular, so quickly) and this is just one website and blog that does just that. And, since we're on the subject, Creative Bible Study's Pinterest boards are well worth taking a look.. see here. 'Today is your day to be creative as you let the truth of God's Word impact your life and the lives of those around you.' Creative Bible Study
Motivation is when your vision puts on work clothes.
I really wish I had an amazing formula to generate continuous energy and enthusiasm for the challenging work of children's ministry. Let's face it- the work is constant, demanding and endless.
Special events and programs are rewarding but exhausting, and preparations for regular mid-week and Sunday programs still continue. So..what happens when your motivation wanes and enthusiasm dips?
Make sure that you are maintaining your time with God and His Word and your prayertime. Ensure you are allowing yourself some downtime, some time for yourself. Don't fill every waking moment with activity.
As a leader, you must ensure that you are spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically replenished. You need to fill your own tank before you can effectively give to others! KidsKount
produce some bite-sized (2 minute) video segments to help you do just that... Lead yourself! It's worth checking out..
But it's also helpful to keep in mind that energy and enthusiasm is not required
before you start working. In fact, hard work comes before
the feeling of enthusiasm. Motivation is largely a myth.. it's activity that inspires us. Don't waste time waiting for enthusiasm to return; work harder even it you don't feel like it. You'll find your motivation returns as you accomplish those tasks you've set yourself. Stay faithful to the work God has given to you to do. And, praise Him as soon as your motivation catches up.
I don't sing because I'm happy. I'm happy because I sing.
We overestimate what we can do in the next year... and underestimate what we can do in the next 15 minutes.
But, on a practical note, there are some things you can do that will help you complete your tasks:
1. Exercise. 15 minutes a day exercise will help you have more energy and be more productive.
2. Many find it helpful, sometimes, to work away from the usual working environment. Go to the library.. spend the morning at a coffee shop.
3. Play some background music.
4. Make use of the many task management programs and apps to keep focused. I've listed some of the popular ones below:
: simple to-do lists, works on all platforms, tasks can be shared, create tasks from email
powerful task and note-taker app, add reminders, repeats, alarms, add to folders, filter, tag and tweet your completed tasks
cloud sync, voice recognition, share tasks, email intergration, add to calendar
* Remember the milk
. Simple list creation, available across platforms
Create tasks and sub-tasks, lists, calendar integration, templates, repeating tasks,
The start of a new year brings its own excitement and challenges: the anticipation of seeing anew God working in the lives of children, families and volunteers, with new ideas and exciting programs to launch and new opportunities to glimpse the wonder of little ones learning about our great and loving God. But, there are also the difficulties of working in a ministry area that is time and labour intensive, the ever-present admin tasks, the danger of becoming over-stressed, exhausted, of feeling over-whelmed and left gasping for air.
This year, start with a F.R.E.S.H. approach to your children's ministry. Over the next few posts, I'll highlight five aspects of your ministry and provide you with some practical strategies. Establishing some simple but sustaining tools will equip you to handle the pressures and demands of ministry. Finally, in conclusion to this series of posts, I hope to complete and provide you with some practical worksheets to assist in your planning and organisation. But first.....
Make sure that you begin this year with a clear and concrete understanding of both your role and your vision. Many children's ministry directors or coordinators find themselves in a role that has developed apace with their growing ministry. Now, while this is understandable, there are clearly some concerns here. A children's ministry director may discover that there are unspoken expectations of them that are beyond their capabilities in both time and resources. A job description is a necessity. If you don't have one, ask for one and if you have one, read it carefully and ask for clarification if you're at all uncertain about any aspects of your role. A job description ensures that both you and the church leadership are clear about your role and your responsibilities. It also means that you can sensibly plan and structure your time and commitments in alignment with your role.
Your job description will probably begin with a definition similar to the following: 'The Children's Ministry director/coordinator is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a growing children’s ministry and to ensure a smooth operating, safe and effective program. The director will recruit and train leaders and teachers who will touch children’s lives with God’s love and teach them God’s Word while laying a spiritual foundation for their relationship with Christ and teaching them to serve within the church. The director will also be a spiritual leader to those working in this ministry and provide training and encouragement to parents, equipping them to be the primary spiritual leader of their children.'
It can seem a little daunting, but don't panic.
Following this, you should find a list of practical expectations. Read it all carefully as this will provide you with helpful assistance in your planning and preparation. It provides you with the information you need to determine your specific areas of responsibility for children, families, volunteers and wider church family.
But you also need to focus on your ministry vision. Do you have one? Is it clear to everyone? Is it included in all your ministry materials? Your ministry vision provides a yardstick for current and future ministry programs and outreach? Are these in alignment with our vision and focus? Then, they can be grow and developed. If not, it may be something that other ministry leaders would like to pursue. Do your leaders and volunteers know and share the ministry vision? Do your volunteers and leaders have a strong sense of purpose and direction? Not sure? Take this quiz from Children's Ministry
to find out. Here...
Then, take some time to read further:
* Children's Ministry that Works! The basics and beyond
Overflowing with expert insights from ministry leaders.
* Piece by Piece- Unlocking the puzzle for an effective ministry to today's children. Tammy Tolman
Includes study questions and action steps
* Making your Children's Ministry the Best Hour of Every Week
. Sue Miller with David Staal
Insights that can reshape your whole approach to children's ministry and cast a new vision for everyone involved.
Pinterest is more than just sharing some pretty pictures. It can be a great source of inspiration and ideas. I've included a list of helpful ideas, posted on Pinterest, to encourage meaningful prayer for kids and families. Use some of these ideas yourself with your groups and include in your program resources or encourage families to incorporate these ideas themselves in their family routines.
"Sit down, Joe!" "Joe, Tyler's trying to talk at the moment. Please wait until she's finished." "Chairs are for sitting on, not climbing. Please, sit!"
Do you recognise Joe? Is Joe in your group? These kids cannot sit still or pay attention. They act on impulse, wiggle in their seats, move around a lot, talk too much or interrupt others.
Studies show that about 9% of kids (9 out of every 100) will display these characteristics, and three times as many boys as girls. They are not bad or lazy or stupid. But they do require some help and encouragement to sit still, pay attention or complete a task.
So.. what do you do? Many of the programs that you use will probably include strategies that will assist these kids. Allow kids to move frequently. We rotate the kids through various activity stations every 10 minutes. We use music as a tool for transition. The different activity/learning stations employ multi-sensory strategies when presenting the activity. We also hand out something for these kids to manipulate (stress ball, paper folding, clay) when they are engaged in listening, especially during our opening and closing sessions. You can buy these squishee stress balls from toy shops and Australian Geographic or you can make you own. (You can even create these characters for a craft activity.)
You will need:
*funnel (I cut a soft-drink bottle in half and use the spout end as a funnel.)
*sugar, salt, sand or dried lentils
1. Insert the tip of the funnel into the balloon. Fill with sugar, salt, sand or lentils. (This is actually harder than it sounds and will take some time. If you want to do this activity with kids, you might like to fill the balloons beforehand.)
2. Tie the balloon closed.
3. Glue on googly eyes, yarn for hair
4. Draw extra details with permanent marker- nose, mouth, eyebrows
Hand these fun stress balls out to those kids that need to keep their hands occupied.
Blitz Ministries is worth checking out. You'll find curriculum for presechoolers, primary aged kids and more, as well as information on FX Live, a high-energy event complete with games, challenges, props and music. There is also information about FamNite Live, a resource that enables you to present a high-octane, family experience in your church yourself.
You'll find, at the Cafe, a printable pdf version of Roger Field's 'The Calling' which would be inspirational to print off and hand out to your children's ministry volunteers and leaders for the start of the year. I've attached it to this blog, but visit Blitz Ministries
to check out all the other resources. There is a Humour section on the Cafe page and I've include one article below titled 'They Know You're the KidMin Pastor because....' The last time you made it to the adult service you tried to do the motions to Amazing Grace. You were banned from the produce aisle of the local grocery store for singing the theme song to Veggie Tales. Your summer begins when VBS ends. Your version of Jesus’ first miracle has Him turning water into Kool Aid. You once gave your spouse the quiet seat prize after dinner. You rolled your eyes when the pastor told the congregation how much the choir members sacrifice to serve God. You are starting to have meaningful conversations with your favorite puppet. In the church foyer everyone runs when they see you coming for fear you’re trying to recruit them. You’re afraid to close your eyes when you pray. When people ask you how many children you have you tell them between 60 and 70. You carry crackers in your pockets. You have a helium tank in your office. Your cracker and juice budget is bigger than your salary. You buy everything in bulk. You honesty believe you are only doing this temporarily until the church finds someone else. You were stunned to learn that some scissors are pointed. You once got stuck in the playground tube at McDonald’s. You scotch-guarded your entire minivan. The children’s workers are taking bets on how long you will last. You once cut up your pajamas to build a flannel graph board. You plan an event for 200 and 50 show up. You plan an event for 50 and 200 show up. You prefer a root canal to meeting with the church board. You know how to pray for healing for dogs, cats and goldfish. The Senior Pastor has forgotten your name. You have forgotten the Senior Pastor’s name. The church janitor won’t speak to you. You understand the terms: tinkle, winkie tink, stinker, and TT You’ve never heard a guest speaker at your church. You went to a four star restaurant and requested animal crackers for dessert. You once sat up straight in the middle of the night and yelled at the top of your lungs, “IS THE BIG SERVICE OUT YET?!!!!”