Aug 29, 2016

5 Keys to Teaching Kids to Pray

"Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God."   -Billy Graham

If we're going to see kids not just know about God, but actually know God, then we must teach them how to talk with God.

Prayer is one of the keys to kids having a growing relationship with God.  Let's look at 5 keys to teaching kids to pray.  

Key #1 - Teach kids what prayer is.  Show them that prayer is talking with God.  Share key verses about prayer from God's Word like 1 John 5:14, Ephesians 6:18, James 5:13, Mark 11:24, Psalm 17:6, Romans 12:12 and Luke 11:2-4.

Teach them prayer is the way you spend time with God and grow closer to Him.  The more time you spend with Him in prayer, the better you will know Him.

Teach kids that prayer is not only talking to God, but it is also listening to God.  In the stillness, He speaks to us in the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.  He also speaks to us as we read His Word and pause to listen to His voice echoing through it. 

Key #2 - Teach kids that prayer is a way to express gratitude to God.  Help kids cultivate an attitude of gratitude by having them thank God for who He is and for what He has done.  This can be done by having them make a list of things they are thankful for and praying through it.  Praying before meals is another way to use prayer to help kids be thankful.  

Key #3 - Make time for prayer in your services.  Each week in our services we take time for kids to pray and be prayed for.  We lead them through guided and personal prayers and then they share prayer requests and are prayed for by their leader.  We also give them time to sit quietly and listen to God.  Each time we do this, God comes and meets with the kids.  If you truly want to see kids' faith grow deeper, make prayer a vital part of your services. 

Key #4 - Provide kids and parents with tools for praying at home.  We know that if kids are going to grow in their faith, they must learn to spend time with God during the week.  So each week, we provide them with a take home paper and that includes prayer tools.  Encourage parents to pray with their children at home as well.  The primary way kids should learn to pray is by watching their parents. 

Key #5 - Celebrate answered prayer.  When kids see God answer their prayers, it deepens their faith.  Keep track of the kids' prayers and when they are answered take time to celebrate with them.

Here are some pictures of some of the kids in our ministry praying.  There is nothing more important than teaching kids to pray.  Let's make it a top priority in our ministries.

Aug 26, 2016

Tips for Using Facebook Live for Your Children's Ministry

If you haven't noticed yet, Facebook now offers live streaming video for users.  That's, live streaming video.  And the cool thing, once you're done streaming, you can post the video on your page.  There are so many possibilities this opens up for your children's ministry.  Let's look at a few tips for using Facebook Live.

Announcing It
You can build anticipation by creating a live, streaming event and inviting people to it.  People can also tap on the Follow button on live and posted videos and opt-in to get notifications the next time you go live.  

Accessing It
Check to make sure that you have a strong signal before going live.  WiFi tends to work best, but if you can't find a nearby network, you'll want a 4G connection.  If you have weak signal, the 'Go Live' button will be grayed out.
  • Open Facebook with your phone or tablet. 
  • Make sure your sound/mic is turned up.
  • Click Status. 
  • Choose "Live Video."
  • Choose your privacy setting. (public, friends, friends except, etc.)
  • Name your video.
  • Click the "Go Live" button.  Your broadcast can be up to 90 minutes long. 
  • You can see how many people are watching your video live.
  • Interact with viewers and commenters
  • Once your broadcast is done, click to end it and then click the "post" button if you want to save it and post it to your page.
Applying It
There are lots of ways you can use Facebook Live for your ministry.  How about...
  • Video training for your volunteers
  • Streaming your services
  • Parenting classes during the week
  • Communicating upcoming events and announcements during the week
  • Streaming events or special programs
  • Connecting with volunteers during the week
If you'd like to see a few of the ways I've used Facebook live, you can check out my page here

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some other ideas for using Facebook Live?  Share with us in the comment section below.

Aug 25, 2016

How to Get Volunteers to Engage With Your Mission

    Did you know that only 13% of employees worldwide and only 33% of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their jobs?  If the percentage of engagement is that low in people's jobs, imagine how low it is with volunteers.

    Stop and think about it for a minute.  Are your volunteers truly engaged with the mission of your children's ministry?  If you want to see your volunteers really engage with the mission, here's how it can happen.

    Have a clear, simple mission.  A clear and simple mission is critical for your ministry.  It shows volunteers why you exist.  Notice I used the word "simple."  It needs to be simple (and short) so people can actually remember it.  If you're mission statement is two paragraphs long, your volunteers are not going to remember it.  When it comes to mission statements...less is more.

    Here's an example of ours.

    "We are called to impact kids and families with the love and message of Jesus Christ ...everyone... everyday...

    Invite people to a mission instead of a position.  You see, people crave purpose.  In fact, a survey was done and 83% of people say they want to know that their life matters for something.  Start with the mission when asking people to volunteer on your team. 

    Here's an example.  Instead of just inviting someone to teach 3rd grade boys, start with the mission first.  Invite someone to impact boys by giving them a Biblical foundation they can build their lives on.  The mission is the "why" and the position is the "how."  See the difference?

    When you invite people to the mission, you give them something to aspire to and they will become emotionally attached to it.  When volunteers see how their role is a vital part of the mission, they will engage and continue serving for the long haul.

    Put the mission on loop.  Over time, the natural slide with mission is disengagement...unless you are intentional about keeping the mission on the forefront.  Constantly take people back to it.  Put it in writing so they can see it.  Talk about it when you meet.  Have people repeat it often.  Mission that is not revisited today will be forgotten tomorrow.

    Tell the stories of the mission.  I've started something new for our volunteer team.  Every Monday on our volunteer team Facebook page, I post one or more stories of the impact they have made that week.  Real stories of real people they have impacted through the mission.  When people see proof that they are making a difference, they will stay engaged.

    Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some ways you get volunteers to engage with your mission?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

    Aug 24, 2016

    5 Keys to Connecting with Today's Parents

    Do you want to be effective at connecting with the parents in your ministry?  Here's 5 keys that will open the door for you.

    Key #1 - Jump on board with new communication tools.  The Millennials are the young parents you are trying to communicate with.  And they are known for being technology testers.  In other words, they are the early adopters of new technology.

    Keep an eye out for what's trending in social media apps and use it to communicate.  That's where you'll find the young parents in your ministry.

    Key #2 - Communicate with snackable content.  In other words, use communication that is quickly and easily absorbed.  Quick videos, tweets and short posts are the way to go.  In a day of 140 characters, less is more when it comes to communicating with today's parents.

    Key #3 - Use images as much as possible.  Today's young parents are image driven more than text driven.  They are proving that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Show it more than you type it.  For example.  If you had a family event, post pictures from the event rather than typing up what happened.

    Key #4 - Add value to their life.  Parents are looking for help.  Make sure your communication is not just announcing what the next lesson series is or about the empty volunteer roles you are looking to fill.  Give them parenting tips, tools for discipling their kids and marriage help.  Parents are searching for these things and if you provide it, they will connect with you. 

    Key #5 - Let the communication flow both ways.  Provide them with avenues to communicate with you.  This is one of the benefits of social media.  It gives parents ways to easily communicate with you.  But remember, today's parents want instant communication.  They are used to getting an immediate response.  If you're going to engage them with social media, make sure you or someone on your team responds quickly when they reach out to you. 
    Your turn.  What are some other keys to connecting with today's parents?  Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.