Nov 16, 2018

Kids' Top 10 Favorite Kids' Apps

Today's kids are all about apps.  If you want to know what interests them and what they like, just look at the apps they use.  

I often say that it's important to stay knowledgeable about what kids are currently engaging in, because it will give you great insight and will provide you with talking points with the kids. 

I recall when I walked into a classroom to see a boy sitting in the back all by himself.  

The teacher in the room shared with me that the boy was having a bad day and wouldn't participate in any of the activities.  I said, "Let me see what I can do."  I went back and sat down beside him.  I tried talking to him but no response.  So then I tried entering his world to connect with him.  I asked what video game system he had at home.  

His eyes lit up and he shared with me that he had a Playstation game system.  We spent the next few minutes talking about our favorite Playstation games.  I then asked him again if he'd like to join in with his small group and he said "yes."  He went back into his small group and participated for the rest of the class.  

What made the difference?  It was because I entered his world.  When a child sees that you value him or her enough to enter their world, it opens their heart to receive your message.  You are a missionary to kids and what a great harvest God wants to bring through you.

That's the reason you want to know what kids' top 10 favorite apps are.  These will give you a talking point with kids you are trying to influence for God.

Current Favorite Apps for Kids  (ages 4 to 18)

YouTube

Snapchat

Netflix

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube Kids

WhatsApp 

Spotify

Minecraft

Roblox 

This weekend, try using some of these apps as a talking point with a child.  You're sure to get their attention and interest when you do.

Nov 15, 2018

Interactive = Engagement

Today's kids are not passive learners.  They're not wired to sit still and be quiet. 

They are active learners.  They learn best by activities, games, discussions and helping share the lesson. 

Here's an example.  If you are sharing a lesson about Moses leading the children of Israel through the Red Sea, instead of having kids sit passively while you tell them what happened, do this. 

Get a large blue tarp.  Have 4 helpers hold the tarp so it forms a walk through.  Have kids line up and walk through the "Red Sea."  Give a couple of other helpers a spray bottle with water and have them spray a water mist on the kids as they pass through the sea. 

Then have the kids sit down and share a few key teaching points with them (no more than 5 minutes).  Next move into a discussion about the crossing of the Red Sea. 

Questions like...
  • How do you think the Israelites felt as they walked through the walls of water?  Afraid?  Nervous?  Excited?  Happy?
  • How do you think you would have felt in that situation?  Why?  
  • Do you believe God can still deliver His children today when they face a hard situation?
  • What are some problems you might face that God can deliver you from?
Why is it important to implement interactive learning experiences?  Because today's kids want to help create and personalize their own learning experiences.   

A big part of the re-wiring of kids' brains is because of technology.  76% of kids have access to a tablet.  94% are actively doing other things on a tablet or phone while watching TV. And the apps and games that capture their attention are usually interactive.

Here are a couple of examples.  

Minecraft, a popular game with kids, has released an interactive narrative series that lets children choose how the game unfolds.

Fortnite, an interactive game, has jumped to the top of favorite console games for children 18 and under.  The game combines combat with building skills.  11-year-olds are playing the game the most.   

From video games to apps to the lesson you'll share this weekend, kids are best engaged through interactive learning. 

The last thing you want kids to say about their experience at your church is that it was boring.  If you make them sit still and be quiet, you're going to get a "boring" review.  But if you plan for ways to get the kids actively involved in the lesson, you will see kids excited about coming to your ministry. 

Do this.  Take out the lesson you or someone else will be sharing this weekend.  How much of it requires kids to sit still and be quiet while they are lectured?  If it's more than 5 minutes at a time, then don't expect kids to stay engaged.

That's why I created a year's worth of lessons that are interactive and capture kids' attention the entire lesson as they are immersed in active learning experiences.

You can see samples of the lessons and media at this link.  Check it out and see what hundreds of other churches have experienced.  When you create interactive learning you will see kids engage. 

Nov 14, 2018

Clinging to the Past? Your Ministry Won't Last.

Across the country, there are churches closing their doors or merging with other churches.  What once was a thriving, exciting church now is lightly populated with a few faithful people whose only praise reports come from previous decades.

Why is this happening?  Why are they on a steady downhill slide?  Why are these churches dying?   

In many, if not in all of these churches, are people who are clinging to the past.  Not willing to change what is obviously not working anymore.  All they know is what used to work is not working now.  But changing things up would take them out of their comfort zone and that is not something they are willing to do.

As time passes, the church gets grayer and grayer.  Rooms that used to be bustling with children now sit in silence.  The nursery, that used to be alive with the sounds of little ones, is never disturbed by those sounds now.
The silence of no crying...affirms that a church is dying. 
One thing is for sure.  If a church is clinging to the past, it will not last.  We are not living in the 1950's.  And when people walk into a church that is still operating like it is 1950, they have a hard time connecting with a day that is long gone.

These churches mean well.  They want to reach people.  They want to see the next generation come to Jesus.  They want their hallways to be filled with young families.  But not enough to make the changes that are necessary to stay relevant and effective.

We should honor the past.  Be thankful for the past.  Learn from the past.  But not get stuck in the past.

Recently, I visited a church that had no kids.  No babies.  No preschoolers.  No elementary kids.  No teenagers.  As I sat in their service I couldn't help but think about how their church is already dead and they don't even know it.  When the few gray haired members pass away, there will be no church left.

I know it's not always easy for older generations to change.  But they must.  They must realize that it's not about them.  It's about passing on their faith to the next generation.  It's about their children.  It's about their grandchildren.  It's about future generations.

Cling to the Gospel.  Cling to God's Word.  But let go of what is no longer effective.  If you don't, the ministry will not last.

Our message must not change...but our methods must change to stay relevant for today's families.
We must stay anchored to the truth, but be geared for the future. 
I drive by another church where I live on Sunday mornings and see the same 10 to 12 cars there each week.  What's sad is it used to be a growing, thriving church.  There used to be many young families attending.  There used to be an excitement and passion for families that you could sense when you walked in the doors.

But not anymore.  They are down to a small handful of people attending.  Few, if any kids are there.

Somewhere along the way, they decided to cling to the past.  Surely if their methods worked in the 70's, it will still work today.  But, sadly they are finding out the hard way that past success does not ensure future success.

That's why every week we must ask these questions.
  • What is working well?  
  • What needs to be changed or dropped?
  • What are some stories about lives being changed this week?  
Are you willing to let go of the past, so your church will have a future?

Are you willing to stop spending time on what is no longer effective?

Are you willing to look forward instead of backwards?

Your church's best days can be now and in the future, if you're willing to spend more time looking out the front window instead of staring in the rear view mirror.

What's back there was good...in its day.  But what God has for your church in the future will be even better if you're willing to change and walk into the future. 

Nov 13, 2018

A Great Thanksgiving Tradition to Share with Families

Holidays are such a great time for parents to make spiritual memories with their children.

Here is a great Thanksgiving tradition parents can start with their children.

Materials needed:
  • plain white tablecloth
  • fabric markers
Instructions:
  • Before you bring out the food, place the white tablecloth over your table.
  • Have each person place their hand on the table.
  • Have each person use a fabric marker to trace the outline of their hand on the tablecloth.
  • Have each person write a few things they are thankful for inside their hand trace and the year it is.  Help younger children as needed.
  • Go around the table and have each person share what they wrote in their hand trace.
Save the tablecloth and bring it out each year and repeat the steps.  For parents, they will be able to see their child's hand grow in size each year.

Close out the activity with prayer.  Ask each person to put their hand back on their drawing and thank God in prayer for their blessings.

Share this with your church families this week and you'll empower them with this great Thanksgiving activity that they can use to make Thanksgiving spiritual memories for years to come.