Lesson truth: When we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we accept God's gift of grace to us.
See the sample ..
This downloadable Christmas program from David C Cook presents a month-long unit containing 8 workshops: Good Shepherd Inn, Seaside Studio, Salt & Light Shop, Stargazer Theatre, Mountaintop Productions, Temple Court, Faith in Motion and Bible Game Zone. Obviously, you can vary and adapt the material as needed. The great thing about downloadable material is its immediate access, allowing you to begin planning and organising your material or sending out to your leaders and volunteers. Check out the sample below of the Bible game Zone. It will also required more preparation that the dvd based Christmas programs. In this Christmas story, kids will learn that Jesus had a human mother, Mary, who was favored by God and an earthy father, Joseph, who had the unique privilege of raising God's only Son. God also granted grace to Joseph by sending an angel who offered help and guidance.
Lesson truth: When we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we accept God's gift of grace to us.
See the sample ..
Christmas is only 58 days away and I'm sure your preparations are well in hand for your end-of-year events and Christmas presentations. But maybe you haven't had much time or opportunity to check out the Christmas programs available for your usual Sunday morning programs. With that in mind, I've just noted these 2 Christmas programs that you might like to consider. Not only are they well produced, but 'Christmas- It's a Wrap' can also be purchased as a downloadable- which saves you worrying about whether your program will arrive in time to organise and implement. Four lessons are included in Christmas- It's a Wrap.
Professor Playtime's Christmas Shop of Wonders from Elevate Pastors is a similar style and comes with DVDs, lesson materials on CD rom, music CDs and teacher/leader training. It's very easy to implement even if you find yourself with few leaders over the holiday period. We always use the Watch It/ Train It version which means less preparation for leaders who can concentrate on preparing and presenting thekids' activites that are included between DVD segments.
Eight lessons are included in this Christmas program. Both these programs are also available for preschoolers.
Check out the following clips and links for these 2 Christmas suggestions....
Christmas- It's a Wrap lesson sheet
How to create kidmin environment that wows!
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There are so many times that I've been asked, "How can I create a wonderful, inspiring children's ministry area- one that will excite kids and families as soon as they walk in.... something with a 'wow' factor?"
Although we tend to think that we need to spend huge amounts of money to create visually exciting entrances and arenas for our ministry, there is a lot that you can do without this expense.
Mark Waltz (Granger community Church) has produced a small book- 'How to Wow Your Church Guests'. Inside the pages of this book you'll find 101 ideas or suggestions to consider and suggested action steps to create a welcoming environment for visitors to your church- ideas that are also relevant for your children's ministry. And they don't cost an arm and a leg!
I've included just one from this book in this post. Most of these ideas are straight-forward and simple to implement, and you certainly don't need to follow each suggestion. But it's worthwhile to consider for families and children who walk into your children's ministry area for the first time. Maybe, it will start discussions with your team about other ideas that will work for your kidmin area.
I've included here the suggestion of bright, uplifting music. This is something that we have been doing for some time in our children's ministry and we've really noticed the difference it makes for kids who walk into the area and hear our theme songs playing. They settle down more easily and often sing along with the music before we start our program.
What a great way to begin and a terrific introduction for new families to hear as they drop off their kids for the first time! It's not something that's difficult to do.. and I actually think it sets the mood for the team as well as the kids. You might like to finish your program the same way. I play music while kids are working on crafts or other activities, too, during our program time.
Read Mark's article below.
Purchase his book here...
The positive effects of music
'Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association, reported on the positive effects of music in a 2008 study with 32 college students in Sweden. Happiness/elation and nostalgia/longing were more likely to be experienced when listening to music than when students were not listening to music.
Most of us do not need a psych study to affirm the uplifting effects of music on our general state of mind. While most of us don't consciously consider whether our mood is enhanced by listening to tunes, most of us would agree that music playing in our car, home, office or earbuds at least reflects our emotional feelings, most likely improving our mood.
If our general experience, and psychological studies verify the benefits of music, why not have some tunes playing when people walk into your building or drive onto your campus? Music sets a tone. It communicates something is happening. In a mall, a restaurant, and at your church, music- even background music- sets up the environment and helps people experience a boost emotionally. All that's true, given you play music that's uplifting. Play some angry Nine Inch Nails or a funeral hymn, and you'll project a very different mood- one that may agitate or depress your guests. Music is powerful.
Create a playlist that lifts, and welcome your guests with music.'
You could also check out the music resources listed on my Pinterest music board for music ideas and selections.
Key takeaways from this article
With the release of the 3D version of Disney's 'The Lion King', the people from Ministry Resources have produced accompanying resources for pastors and ministry leaders. Their focus: 'This study guide is created as a resource for pastors, for small groups, for anyone eager to connect the compelling story of The Lion King to God’s eternal Word.' A new generation of filmgoers has an opportunity to join those who treasure, “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata.” Amidst the amazing songs and rousing visuals resides an enduring story. Simba is a lion cub born to be king. Raised to lead by his valiant father, King Mufasa, Simba’s life is sabotaged by his uncle Scar. Will Simba rise to his calling or shrink from his responsibility? Delightful companions like Timon and Pumbaa join Simba’s epic journey. He must overcome feelings of guilt and shame to challenge his evil uncle and claim his rightful place in the Circle of Life.
Personally, The Lion King has never been a favourite of mine but these movie clips and discussion questions create great teaching opportunities. The movie clip downloads and discussion questions highlight four themes: Anointed for Greatness, A Royal Inheritance, Being Brace and Face the Past.
This would be a great resource to provide for your church families to work through at home, after watching the movie together. Download the material from the Ministry Resources website here...
Are you planning an upcoming parenting session or course? Most families have calendars that overflow with activities and commitments so it's difficult to generate interest and capture their attention for yet another event. But there is also a real need for assistance and encouragement in the area of parenting.
The Skit Guys have a great little clip that just might highlight parenting in a fun way and help you create some buzz for your event. Just for interest, Dr James Dobson (Family Talk) has made 'Parenting with Confidence' booklets available that you can sign up for and download here.
Check out the clip below:
Teenagers often ask to assist with young children in the nursery/creche area of children's ministry. And it is a great way to gain some experience in working with children. It is important, though, to ensure that these young people have some understanding of their role and some idea of what to expect. It's helpful, too, to encourage their involvement in any children's ministry prayer and devotion times or leader's meetings that you schedule. Take the opportunity to emphasize your focus and vision for children's ministry, highlighting the importance of this ministry as more than just child-minding regardless of the age of the kids. These young volunteers will need to help out with other experienced and capable volunteers who can guide, train and mentor them in this important area. But you may also find it useful to hold a training session to outline, in greater detail, the characteristics of this age-group and how they can best interact with them. We've provided a worksheet for your use with such a session. Work through the questions together as you discuss it with them or ask them to complete it following.
Security in our children's programs, means protected children, screened volunteers, secure environments and safety procedures, all of which contribute to peace of mind for parents and carers and safeguard your ministry and leaders, too. Often, leaders are loath to introduce anything beyond a sign-in sheet for parents and children since many of these procedures are expensive and daunting to implement. But there are some simple procedures that can be put in place to increase the security of children that are relatively inexpensive and easy for volunteers and parents to use. Check out www.churchnursery.com You'll find here security labels and wristbands. They can be printed with your church details and entail a numbered sticker (or wristband) and stub for parents. Parents simply sign-in their children, attach a label or wristband to their child and retain the matching stub. Following the program, volunteers will release children to parents/carers only on presentation of the appropriate stub. (We found it easier to adhere the stickers to each child's back. The kids don't notice it or pull it off and volunteers can easily read them.) Church Nursery also produce Medical/ Allergy alert stickers- bright stickers to be used when a child has an allergic reaction to any foods or substances. These are really helpful and easily communicate such important information to volunteers without having to individually inform them. There are other products on their site that you may wish to investigate- paging systems, bag tags and.. classroom signal light. How great would that be? The signal light is used to let children's workers know when the worship service is finished and parents are on the way. (No, we don't have one is place but I really do like the concept.)
Now, if you're running out of time to prepare and organise a Christmas presentation, then maybe an Instant Christmas Pageant is the way to go. These pageants are produced by Group and there are a number of titles available: The Not-so-silent Night, The Fumbly Bumbly Angels, The Mouse's Tale, Operation Baby King and the one that we wound up using- Live from Bethlehem. Of course, it's not really an instant pageant but it sure makes your life a little easier. No memorizing is needed! The script is pre-recorded and actors follow scripted movements, or improvise their own actions. You just need to organise a number of rehearsals and prepare the props.
Live from Bethlehem overview: Three first-century TV reporters are chasing a big story on the census when they stumble upon the story of a lifetime -- the birth of the Messiah! See their exclusive interviews with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and from eyewitnesses present at the manger!
Contains all that's needed to prepare:
It seems to be the time of year for special deals, and Lost Sheep currently have a 25% discount on their downloadable stories if you buy four. Just use the Discount Code: VINETIME at the checkout. If you haven't used these stories before, this is a great opportunity to do so. You can download a free story to try. Free activity sheets are also available on their website so check out the teacher resources at Sheepdog School. Lost Sheep also have 2 apps available (Cecil the Sheep & Dave the Donkey) that we reviewed a while back but read about it here if you missed it.
Here at New Chapter we strive to highlight new materials, programs and resources with the potential to help you make a difference in your children's ministry. We encourage you to regularly check our website and blog to keep updated but we also list other sources that you may find helpful. Children's ministry magazines provide helpful articles and information and pinpoint trends and influences at work in the lives of children and families and in children's ministry. It's also encouraging to read and learn from other children's leaders. So you may find it interesting and worthwhile to check out Kmagazine and their sample September/October digital issue. Try the videos, click the links and view the photos. And, if you decide you want a subscription of your own K! today, it's just $19.95 a year. Why not take advantage of the bulk discounts and order a subscription for your leaders, too?