Our church has a strong focus on families, both within our church family and families in the community. Regular family outreach events are planned throughout the year- free events that have family values and are fun for everyone. Many in our community have had no previous contact or connection with a church and this is one way that we can build ties and connection to these families.
Our next event will be held next month and will be a Christmas in July style of event. We're calling it 'Australian White Christmas.' The front and back of our invitation flyers can be seen on the image. I've included a file of these images that you can download, edit and use yourself if you wish.
As inspiration and a starting point for our planning, we purchased and downloaded the Christmas event 'Christmas Magic'
from Group ($2.99). Although this event has been created for women's groups, it still gave us great ideas and help with decorating ideas, games and activities.
We will provide a free family Christmas dinner as part of this special event. We begin and finish early so that families can just take the kids home following and pop them into bed. Generally, for our outreach events, we encourage everyone to attend, but because this is a small church and our seating for a formal dinner will be limited, we will only be issuing a limited number of free tickets.
There will be games for the kids, activities, crafts, the dinner and a special Christmas presentation with music and puppets to finish. I've included a powerpoint to promote this special family event, if you wished to use it.
|File Size: ||1095 kb |
|File Type: ||pptx |
You may be interested in:
| || || |
Vision- animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action. Our church Vision Dinner was held last Friday evening.. a time when we could consider: 'Who are we? Where is God leading us as a church and in our ministry?'
It gave us the opportunity to highlight our focus on Family Ministry, explain more about our programs and encourage the church family to visit our Tweedkids Facebook page.
We used a number of resources in preparation for our special Vision Dinner event and you may find them helpful yourself.
First, I found a great powerpoint presentation template at Graphicriver
that was so easy to add text and images for a dynamic presentation. They do charge a few dollars for these templates but, for a special event, it's really worth it in terms of quality and time. You can find more here...
I also used Animoto
to create a short clip for our TweedKids and you can check it out below. I've mentioned Animoto before and you might like to read more about this online program here...
I created some great littleBox Brownie cameras
to add to the tables since a 'Vision Dinner gives a picture of what lies ahead.' I added the wording to the design before printing the boxes and assembling them. The design cost $4 to download but again, worth it.. it was a great little focus point for the dinner and I filled the cameras with M&Ms.
For some basic information about how to get started with Pixlr, check out the clip of How to Use Pixlr tutorial.
There's no escaping it- we're a visual generation. Forget quotes like, 'Don't judge a book by its cover'. Today, headlines, blogs, anything with text requires an image or it's unlikely to be read.
So images, and working with them, is likely to be a big part of your life and work with kids ministry. You probably source, format and use images for your kidmin Facebook page, your Pinterest boards, your newsletters, your announcement slides and more.
Previously, I've used Powerpoint or Publisher for most of this type of work but no longer. I've discovered pixlr.com. What a great little site! This is the graphic I worked on for our church Vision Dinner. If you haven't tried it, then I'd encourage you to check it out here..
On the first page of pixlr.com, choose the Express option. It give you plenty of tools to work with but it's not too difficult to use.
We are obsessed with time. It's been said that time is what we want most but use worst.
Time, or a lack of it, is the topic of everyone's conversation and every family complains of a frenetic family calendar and schedule.
In children's ministry, there is a huge pressure to produce and use time wisely. After all, there is always the next lesson to prepare, event to organise, family to contact and meeting to attend.
But there are a number of helpful programs and apps that can simplify your life and organise your time. Check out the following list. What programs do you find helpful?
For more ideas, check out this article
to structure in a productive day.
ASTRID.. a great little program and app that I use to list my tasks. I can also use it to change my emails into tasks and appointments. (Any.do is also good.)
CATCH.. a free app to capture ideas and turn them into action.
eWALLET.. stores important personal information passwords, cards etc. (256-bit AES encryption)
TRIPIT.. organises all your trip details- flight info, hotel reservations, excursions, rentals, meetings etc.)
NAMERICK.. if you forget the names of parents and others, this is for you. SHOEBOXED.. take a photo of your receipt and Shoeboxed copies the date, total, payment type, store and category. Keep track of your expenses.
Some time ago, Elevate at Church launched a program for families- Elevate at Home. The idea was to make their Sunday morning kids ministry program materials available for families to download and use at home to develop and grow leaders: making good kids into great leaders.
I don't know if you accessed their materials and promoted them with your church families but the quality of animated Bible stories and lesson materials is excellent.
Now, they have revamped the program and are offering the resources to families on a subscription basis- $3.99 per month. It's great value and well presented. The other positive feature of this new approach is that you don't have to download the clips. The new improved website allows kids and families to watch any lesson movie at any time using any device. It's worth taking some time to check it out- here!
Mike Johnson, children's pastor and executive producer says: "This new and improved, streaming website takes the stories (lessons) from the Bible and brings to light the leadership principles that are contained within them. From the lesson of Gideon we can learn about confidence. From the lesson of Nehemiah we can learn about perseverance. From the lessons of Paul we can learn about commitment, and the list goes on. This program gets kids into God’s Word during the week so that it can be learned and applied to their lives now, and in the future.
Our world needs, and will need, men and women who will step up and lead our world in a God honoring way. That’s why you and I have given our lives to work with kids - to teach them God’s Word today so they can impact their world now, and the larger world tomorrow".
Bullying is a sensitive topic for many kids struggling at school, in the playground, with classmates and sometimes even at home. It's not something that we can or should avoid discussing with kids and there are an increasing number of programs that you could consider using in your kidmin programs. Below, I've listed just a couple.
But you also might like to consider the 'Truth or Trash' iPhone app, from iKAN Ministries, to use in conjunction with your programs or discussions. The game app was produced to help kids discern the difference between the potentially harmful opinions of others and real truth. It also includes a Scripture reference after each question/answer.
' Imagine a day in your life when you are not longer affected by what others think or say about you. Throughout your life many people will have their opinions of you. It's hard at times not to feel rejected or worthless. This game is designed to help children and adults quickly recognise the difference between someone's opinion, general facts and what is really true.' Check it out here...
1. The Protectors
... Comprehensive Freedom-From-Bullying Programs and Resources
2. Stop Harassing Me Postcard program
... an effective program to reduce instances of cyberbullying for older students.
3. Comforting Kids in Crisis.
.. practical ways to help kids through their greatest challenges.
4.Fez and the Big Bad Bully
.... a Bible memory buddy book from Group about standing up to bullies
5. StarShip Alpha
.... a five-week program from LifeChurch dealing with the topic of bullying.
6. The Great Race
.. a program from Elevate about Nehemiah. Week 3 deals particularly with bullying.
7.Truth or Trash.
.. app as above
We'd been there since early morning setting up for our Easter family event, 'Rock-n-Roll Easter
', unsure of how many families and children would shortly walk through the door. The program was simple: children's ministry was responsible for a 15-minute segment of the worship service, the children's program and the following Easter egg hunt outside. This year, we'd decided to use Group's Rock-n-Roll Easter Event
, and all the leaders were enthusiastic.
Our worship service segment involved the kids as much as possible.
1. We started with the kids singing one of the praise and worship dvd songs provided in the kit. (If you haven't used Group's praise dvds before, it's well worth checking out
. The kids really enjoy the music and love doing the actions and singing along with the kids on the clip. And.. it removes the pressure of wondering if the kids will sing or be overcome with stage-fright. The kids are also more confident and I just had to remind them that they just had to sing along with the songs we'd been practising during our regular programs.)
2.We followed with a clip with photos of the kids during their mid-week program, made using SmileBox
, followed by the puppet skit supplied with the kit.
3.Some of our older kids presented the puppet show and it was also easy to prepare, since the voice-over audio is provided in the kit, too.
4. We included a clip from the Skit Guys to highlight the resurrection (see here
5. The final segment was another song with the kids singing- He Arose. We encouraged the whole church family to join in singing this well-know chorus.
Then we went out for our program. And again, it was really easy. We sang a couple more songs with the kids, showed them the Easter clip, A Very Special Easter
The Rock-n-Roll Easter Event provides clear instructions and resources for 8 activity stations; Gospel Wristband, Rock Craft Station, Resurrection Cupcakes, Rolling Rock Game, Silly Sphere Pool Station, Easter Skin Decals, Rock-n-Roll Singer station, & Candy Basket Station. We allowed the kids to go to whichever station they wanted, but limited the number allowed at any one time at a station. It worked really well... and the volunteers enjoyed it... (a big plus!)
We played music to bring them all back to the main area before going out to the Easter Egg Hunt. The program suggests hiding plastic eggs which can then be redeemed at the designated area for a bag of Easter goodies including a comic Where the Rock Rolled Away
that shares the gospel in a fun way. It worked very well with many parents commenting that they had never been to a better Easter program and Egg Hunt that not only was heaps of fun, but taught the kids something, too.
So.. would I recommend it? Definitely... Our numbers swelled to three times our usual crowd of families and everyone had something encouraging to say about the morning. I even had new families coming up afterwards wanting to sign their kids in for our mid-week program, too.
What programs did you use this Easter and how did it all go?
David C Cook
produce quality curriculum for all age-groups, books, ministry resources and more. They also produce a great supplementary download called 'Real-life Downloaded'
and include material for Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School and Adults.
These free resources are posted every Thursday and include related YouTube clips, music videos and news clip segments as discussion starters and lead-ins for the rest of the lesson.
I've found them to be particularly useful for our midweek group of upper primary/high school kids, most of whom are from non-church families. The kids relate well to the clips and are happy to discuss the related questions and interact with the following activities. Then we conclude with a related themed scavenger hunt, games program, mini-Olympics, active skills tasks or other activity and a meal. The following downloadable file for a mustard seek bookmark pattern can be used with the recent lesson on faith.. see here
Bookmarks can be coloured, cut out and laminated. Punch a hole for a ribbon tie and glue on a mustard seed accent. The Real-life Downloaded lesson provides directions but they are simple (but fiddly). Cut a slit in the back of a goggle-eye and use tweezers to remove the black pupil circle. Slip in a couple of mustard seeds. Don't try it with small google-eyes. I used medium sized ones and had them ready for the kids to glue to their bookmarks.
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.
Australian schools resume following the Christmas/New Year holidays in the last week of January. If you're planning a special event to highlight 'Back to School' with your children's ministry, you may find some of these ideas helpful.Promotion
Use this free powerpoint slide to promote your special 'Back2School' event. Just add your own logo, date and times. The file can be found below.Welcome Back Pack
Buy inexpensive backpacks or totes and fill them up with goodies. Burn CDs with new kids’ church music or video of a recent, fun service. Add some hard candy, pencils, erasers and inexpensive Bible coloring books. Prepare enough for every child. Notify the kids by mail that in order to get their ‘welcome back packs’ they will need to attend on a specified date. (from ministry-to-children.com )Back to School GamesPencil Sweep Relay
Form teams of four or more. Designate a goal area at one end of the room. Have teams line up at the other end of the room. Then give each team a pencil and a broom. The first person on each team sweeps the pencil to the goal and back. The next person in line does the same thing until everyone on the team has had a turn.Pencil Sweep Relay
Form teams of four or more. Designate a goal area at one end of the room. Have teams line up at the other end of the room. Then give each team a pencil and a broom. The first person on each team sweeps the pencil to the goal and back. The next person in line does the same thing until everyone on the team has had a turn.(from Children's Ministry )Extra Fun by the Numbers:
have some age-specific games for the kids. For instance, for those going into third grade, have kids run a three-legged relay. For fourth graders, have them try to balance four eggs on spoons in their mouths.. and maybe run the length of the room.Letter Hunt
for the younger grades, put flashcards on sticks )giant paint stirrers would work well) in the yard and assign each kids 4-5 letters to find. First one done wins. (See here)
| |Back to School bulletin board idea
.. see Back to School colouring pages
Use these printable pages as discussion starters with your kids. (more..
Here are a few ideas to help start a conversation about trusting God as a new school year begins.
- What about going back to school is the most exciting?
- Does anything about going back to school make you worry?
- What would happen if God didn’t give us schools and teachers?
- What can we say to God as a pray when going back to school?
If you're looking for a special teaching program for your special back to School event, check out the free program from LifeChurch. more...Back to School party ideas