Using Creativity in Children’s Ministry

This past October at the Church Life Conference at Trinity, I was able to help teach a breakout session with our Children’s Pastor, Paul Scott about using creativity in Children’s Ministry. I really enjoyed being able to share some of what we do at Trinity with others during the sessions, and I decided it would be a good idea to post some of that here on the blog. I’ll have several posts coming up that go over the material that we used in the session.

The first thing that God ever is recorded as doing was creating. Creativity is important to God! Genesis 1:1 starts out by saying that in the beginning God created. We serve a creative God so it is only natural to use the gift of creativity in our ministry. The message we have to share in children’s ministry is the greatest message in the world. We should use creativity to engage our audience with this very important message.

How are you using creativity in your ministry?

How Do Flowers Grow?

The campers were all listening intently as Miss Rachel was going over the guidelines for a fun time at camp.  Right in the middle of it all one little girl raised her hand, and asked Miss Rachel this off topic question, “How Do Flowers Grow?”  I am still not really sure why she asked this question, perhaps it was from looking at the apple seeds from the apple core in her napkin left over from breakfast.  Maybe it was just another random question from the innocent mind of a child.  However, I believe that this summer, we are going to see how flowers grow!

The camp that I am at is a day camp at Eureka Gardens.  Eureka Gardens is a Jacksonville neighborhood best known for its drugs and violence.  On Sunday, the day before the camp began, there was another murder in this neighborhood.  While many people see this place as a complete disgrace, God is doing a great work there.  This work began long before the start of camp though.

A couple of years ago, a handful of people from Trinity including Miss Rachel got a burden for these children here at Eureka Gardens.  Knowing that these kids needed some Godly guidance they began a mentoring program.  Many of the people at the church spend each weekend mentoring these children and help them to know the love of the Heavenly Father.

Last summer, Eureka Gardens gave Trinity a chance to run a day camp in their community center.  The name of the camp is Camp Come Alive.  The goal is to see these kids grow in the abundant life that only Christ can offer.

I have been given the opportunity to help teach some of the morning Bible lessons at the camp.  In addition to teaching, I am looking forward to spending time with these children and seeing how God is gonna grow them in His love and grace. 

Please join me in praying for this camp and for these kids, that they might see the true love of the Heavenly Father.  To learn more about Camp Come Alive visit their website at CampComeAlive.com.

Chocolate Bunny Eating Contest

If you have not already figured it out, I love doing special things in children’s ministry for Easter.  It is such a great opportunity to get kids engaged into the Gospel story, using special activities that center around Easter.  Don’t get me wrong the resurrection of Christ should be our main focus, but using some other methods to get kids excited about bringing their friends to hear the Gospel is not a bad thing.

One thing I found really exciting while in Delaware was our Overflow Children’s Ministry Chocolate Bunny Eating Contest.  I actually got the idea while I was working on Bro. Ed’s bus in Milford.  He had two of his workers compete to eat a one pound solid chocolate bunny as fast as possible.  Of course, I got to be one of the participants.  It is not as easy as you would think! Anyways I decided to the same thing with my kids in our Overflow ministry.

Now I am not suggesting or endorsing anyone to use this idea in their ministry.  I am not even sure if I would use it again, but I do want to share how it went.  I promoted this even for several weeks before to the children.  Finally the night of the contest came.  I selected two boys and two girls.  I made sure they had their parents permission before hand to participate.

Both the girls and boys were each given a one pound solid chocolate bunny.  Their goal was to eat all of their bunny together as soon as possible.  Easier said than done.  When I said go they eagerly began biting the head off of their bunny.  We quickly found out that eating a one pound bunny even with the help of a friend is a difficult task. 

I remember the excitement as they tried to figure out how to go about this task.  They began to think of ways to break up the bunny into more manageable pieces.  Long story short, I do not think they ever fully ate either of their chocolate treats, but memories were made that I hope last a long time.

Here is the point, what can we do in our ministries this Easter to make a lasting impact? The point of doing that was not for the chocolate high, but to invite children to be excited about Easter and the story of the resurrection of Christ.  I look forward to making future memories in ministry, and connecting more children to a relationship with Christ!

The Easter Pizza Miracle

As I work on putting together plans for next weeks Kids Club Easter Eggstravaganza,  I am reminded of something cool that happened a few years ago in Ohio.  I was attending the Biblical School of World Evangelism at the time and working on Bro. Ed Barclay’s bus route.  My friends, Nick Hilliard and Michael Carter, and myself decided to do a little outreach in a couple of our bus neighborhoods. 

We did not do anything fancy, we simply went to the dollar store, bought some plastic eggs and candy, and had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids in the neighborhood.  The first neighborhood we went to was Oak Brook.  We went around to our usual riders and told them that we were going to have an Easter Egg Hunt and to invite their friends.  Soon enough we had a crew of eager egg hunters. 

The egg hunt went great and all the kids got plenty of candy.  We also got to invite new kids to come and ride our bus the next day.  As we were talking, here they came: OTHER CHURCH PEOPLE.  Lets be honest, it seems as if most of the time churches are always competing to try to get kids come to their church.  I thought oh great these people are going to try to steal our kids to come to their church tomorrow. 

Here is the miracle, they were not there to steal after all! They simply had bought some pizza and wanted to share it with us to be able to feed it to the children.  WOW! They did not even want anything in return!  I really do not know why those people were there that day with extra pizza.  I honestly think it was just a God thing.  God had put it in their hearts to be a blessing.  Not only was it a blessing to the children but it was an encouragement to me, as I again saw God’s hand working in my life and others. 

What kind of miracles is God doing in your life?  As we prepare for this Easter, I am again excited and prayerful to see what kind of miracle He is going to do this time.  Will you pray with me that the greatest miracle of all, salvation through Christ, will happen in people’s lives this Easter? Will you be willing, like these pizza people, to let God use you to be a blessing to someone today?

The Easter Bunny Is Booked

I just hope this isn't the Easter Bunny that shows up!

I am very excited about our Kids Club Easter Eggstravanganza we are planning for next Saturday.  It seems like time is flying by, but before we know it Easter will already be here.  I mentioned last week to be praying for our special Kids Club on April 3rd and 10th.  Today I have been working on some more details for these events.

God is opening up some great doors in one of our neighborhoods here in Jacksonville.  I emailed the lady, Jacki, who manages the neighborhood we will be in on April 3rd.  She is allowing us to come out to her neighborhood and we will be doing a variety of activities for the children including an Easter Egg hunt. 

Please be praying that God will use our Kids Club team to see great things happen through this outreach.  We have already been in this neighborhood a couple of times this semester.  There is a great group of kids here, and several have begun riding the church bus since we started there in January.  We are looking forward to sharing the love of Christ with children and their families this Easter through Kids Club.

Oh yeah, best part – I almost forgot! Jacki asked if it would be cool if they even had the Easter Bunny there.  I know that Easter is way more than about bunnies and candy, but it is exciting to see how God is using others to help out with our mission! Keep praying God will do a great work!

Spring Training

In less than four weeks baseball will be back in full swing. I can not wait for the Reds to start playing baseball again. My hope and dream is that this is the year they win it all. It has been twenty years since they last won the World Series. I was very, very young, and I do not even remember that year! Hopefully this is the year they recapture the world title!

But long before they can begin thinking about October baseball, long before the field is ready in Cincinnati, the players will begin training in Arizona.  Many players have already been training for months, some even hardly took time off from last season.  Why do they put so much work into training.  Most of the players have been playing baseball for all of their lives, why do they need more practice?  Because they know they can always get better.  You will not get to October if you do not start by training hard in March and even before that.

The Bible says that we are to study to shew ourselves approved unto God (II Timothy 2:15).  I am trying to learn that if I want to be the best that I can be in my life and in my ministry that I must learn to train in and study the Word of God.  This semester I have been taking Hebrew History with Dr. Cash.  It has been a challenging class having to do 12 projects on books of the Old Testament, however I have  learned so much about God, and about how He deals with His people.  My prayer is that as I study the Bible, both in this class as well as my others, I can become all that God wants me to be. 

I do not know how the Reds will do this year, but hopefully it will end in October with a World Series.  I do know that I want to get to the end of my life and ministry and hear Jesus say, “Well Done.”  This will only happen if I put the hard work into training and studying right now.

What Have You Learned? Be Prepared

The first thing I want to focus on that I have been learning this semester is the importance of being prepared.  Preparation helps to step up the entire game.  Preparation is being ready for my lesson, game, etc. ahead of time.  Being prepared ahead of time helps out in several different areas.

Preparation helps me to be focused.  When I have properly prepared before my lesson, I can focus better on teaching my lesson.  Being prepared allows me to focus more on improving other areas such as the delivery of the lesson.  Being prepared really lets me focus on the task at hand. 

A second benefit of being prepared is freedom.  By this I mean, the more prepared I am, the more free I am able to be myself while teaching.  Good preparation allows me to have high energy because I am not worried about what I am supposed to be doing next. 

Am I always prepared? No! However this is an area that I am striving to improve in so that I can be a better communicator of God’s Word to the children I am blessed to teach.  In the next post I will share about teaching energetically!