How Today's Kids Are Making Money

When I was a child, I made money by doing a newspaper route.  I would come home after school and a stack of newspapers would be waiting for me.  

I would roll them, put them in my bicycle basket and head out to deliver over 100 newspapers.

Sunday mornings were a beast. I would get up at 5:00 am and head out to deliver the newspapers...no matter how cold it was.  

I made over $125 dollars a month delivering the newspapers. That was a decent amount of money for a kid back in the 70's and early 80's.

Times have changed.  You will rarely or never hear of kids' doing paper routes.  For one thing, hard copy newspapers are way down in sales.  Most people catch the news on their mobile device or other avenues of technology.

I wouldn't let children do newspaper routes by themselves in today's culture.  Too many risks for abduction, abuse and other dangers.  

Today's kids may not have newspaper routes, but they have plenty of other opportunities to make money. Let's look at a few of the ways today's kids are making money.

1. Chores and other odd jobs around the house.  Parents can put dollar amounts on doing the dishes, mowing the yard, washing the dog, etc. 

2. Selling stuff online. Parents can help their children sell items online such as clothes, books, toys, etc.

3. Having a yard sale.  Let the children be responsible for setting it up, bargaining and selling items.

4. Hosting a YouTube channel.  Have you heard of EvanTubeHD?  He’s a kid who makes over $1.6 million each year with his YouTube channel.  

It was recently announced that the top earner on YouTube is a seven-year-old who made 22 million dollars in one year by unboxing and playing with toys on video!

5. Mowing yards. 

6. Washing cars.

7. Start an Instagram account. Mila Stauffer has over 4 million followers on Instagram. She has stolen the hearts of people with her sassy, yet adorable videos of her thoughts. She’s found an excellent way to make money online.

Want to know how old she is? She hasn’t even made it to the double digits yet. She is 9 years old. And she has been able to get social media sponsorships from the major players like Tylenol.

Earning money can help children learn responsibility, develop a strong work ethic and discover how finances works. 

As children's ministry leaders, we have the opportunity to partner with parents and teach kids what God says about money.

I currently have 2 teaching series for kids that focus on how to manage your finances, how to be generous and how to honor God with the money He provides you with. 

Series 1 is called "Money Talks".  And yes, money really does talk in this series.  Here's a video sample.

 

If you are reading this in an email and can't see the video, you can access it through this link.

You can also see lesson samples, small group discipleship plans and more at this link.

Series 2 is called "Kid Bank President."  Here's a video sample from the series.

If you are reading this in an email and can't see the video, you can access it through this link.  

You can also see lesson samples, small group discipleship plans and more at this link.

The Secret Behind a Great Children's Ministry

I am often asked what is the secret behind a great children's ministry. 

Awesome videos?  No.

Great praise and worship? No.

Cool Bible lessons?  No.

Vision? No.

Incredible facilities? No.

Crazy fun games? No.

The secret behind a great children's ministry is...

A GREAT VOLUNTEER TEAM.     

Show me a great children's ministry and I will show you a team of great volunteers who are making it happen.

The success and effectiveness of your children's ministry depends on the strength of your volunteer team.

Without volunteers there is no children's ministry.

If you want to have a great children's ministry, then get great at building a great volunteer team.

Scripture makes this very clear in Ephesians 4.

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to EQUIP God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ."

Your most important job is to EQUIP God's people to do His work.  

If your children's ministry is struggling, it's probably because you are doing the ministry instead of equipping others to do the work of the ministry.  

This afternoon, I am meeting a volunteer at my home church (I volunteer there when I am not traveling).  We are going to spend a couple of hours preparing for this weekend.  I'm going to equip him to lead a crucial part of the ministry.   

Want to know how you are doing with building your team? 

Here's how you can know.

Step back into the shadows and watch how the ministry does without you.  If it runs well by a volunteer team and nothing misses a beat...you are doing a great job. Keep equipping.  It makes the difference.

If you step back and the volunteer team struggles, then it's time to recommit yourself to equipping your volunteers for the work of the ministry.

New children's ministry leaders ask me this question.

What should I focus on? What should I pour my time and energy into?

I always tell them this - "Focus on building volunteer teams.  More than anything, you've got to be able to build and lead a volunteer team."

Building a great volunteer team can often be a challenge.  But don't give up.  Keep building. 

In my book "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams" I share 5 key areas you need to focus on if you want to build a great volunteer team. 

What sets this book apart?  The formula works.  I have personally seen this work.  At one of the churches where I served as the children's ministry leader for 9 years, we built our team from 300 people to over 2,000 people serving.

You often see people writing and speaking about building a volunteer team.  But most of the time, they have never actually built a great volunteer team themselves.  

The formula I share in this book will help you build a volunteer team, no matter what your current church size is.  It has been called the best book ever written on the subject. 

In closing...how is your volunteer team doing?  

Are you struggling to get enough volunteers?

Do you sometimes go into panic mode on Sunday morning because several people have called out?

When you ask people to serve, what are you asking them to do?  

Are you using people to build the ministry or are you using the ministry to build people?

Get this book today at this link and build the volunteer team you have dreamed about.


 

 


 

 


10 Times When You Can Make An Impact in the Lives of Parents

Parents.  We know they are the biggest influence in their children's lives.  

They have the most time with their child. 

They are called to be the primary spiritual leader of their child.

They have the strongest relationship with their child.

If you want to influence children for Christ, then you must start by influencing their parents.  

Your goal should be to influence the greatest influencers in a child's life...their parents.  

Let's look at 10 key times when you can impact the lives of parents who will in return influence their children.

Key Time #1 - A child enters the world  

In the race to a child's heart, the first one there wins.  George Barna

Be there for young couples during the 9 months they are preparing to be parents. Get them connected to a small group for new parents.  Encourage them.  Pray for them.  Offer preparation for parenting resources that will help equip them for this most important task. 

Key #2 - Parent and Child Dedication.  Notice that it is called PARENT and child dedication.  I would encourage you to include parents in the preparation for their child being dedicated.  Parents should play a major role in this event. 

Include a parent and child dedication class that parents must attend before they can dedicate their child. In this class, emphasize what the dedication means, why children should be dedicated and the crucial role that parents play in raising kids that follow Jesus for a lifetime.  Here are a couple of resources you can use for this. 

Give each parent a copy of the book "Fertile Soil...See Kids' Faith Grow and Flourish for a Lifetime."

Have each parent go through the Parent and Child Dedication Class.  At this link, there are great resources for the class and dedication.   

If you want to influence children, then you should first seek to influence their greatest influencer...their parents.

Key #3 - Bible presentation.  When a child is entering their kindergarten and lower elementary years, you can influence parents to make the Bible a key part of their life and their child's life.  

Host a class / workshop about the Bible.  Parents and children will learn how we got the Bible and how to make it an important part of their life.  They will also be able to see and understand God's Big Story found in the Bible and how they are part of it. 

This class / workshop will make a big impact in the lives of children and their parents. I have a curriculum for this class at this link.  It can be a life-changing class for parents. You can get the Bible presentation at this link.

Key #4 - Salvation class.  When their child begins to ask questions about following Jesus, parents will normally come looking for help.  You can impact parents during this time as they prepare to lead their child to Jesus.  If you really want to impact parents during this time, you will offer a salvation class.  In this class, you can clearly share what it means to follow Jesus.  

Often you will impact parents during this time and see them make a decision to follow Jesus as well. You can get more information about this class at this link.  It is one of the most important times you can impact parents.

Key #5 - Baptism.  Parents will also come to you when their child starts talking about being baptized.  This is another time when you can impact their life and the life of their child.  Once again, you can provide a class for parents and their children about what baptism means, who should be baptized, when you should be baptized, etc.  The class is available at this link.

If you really want to impact parents during this time, offer parents the opportunity to help with their child's baptism.  When you do this, you will also have the opportunity to see parents come to Christ and get baptized with their child. I have seen this happen time and time again.

Key Time #6 - Graduation Celebration. One of the key times when you can impact parents, is when their child is transitioning from elementary to middle school ministry.  This can be a nervous and challenging time for parents.  

You can host a powerful, life-changing, shared experience for parents and their children during this time.  Guaranteed to impact them. Be prepared to see lots of tears as you guide parents through a time of blessing and praying over their children.  Parents will be equipped for the middle school years.  You can get the class and celebration times at this link.

Key Time #7 - Parenting Classes.  For too long we have pushed parenting classes over to adult ministries.  I believe that children's ministry should lead the way in providing parenting classes. 

Key Time #8 - Follow Up Discussions.  Create "take home papers" that parents can use to disciple their children at home.  Instead of giving it to the child during dismissal, hand it to the parents and say, "Here is what we learned about today.  Here's a great tool you can use at home to talk about it with (your child)." If you want to use technology to do this, you can send a text message to parents with the discussion questions listed.

Key #9 - Social Media.  Approximately 95% of young mothers are on social media.  They go there for parenting advice, connections and posting pictures for grandparents and friends to see.  Get connected online with parents.  Create a Facebook page for your ministry and invite parents to join you.  Post updates about the ministry on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.

Key #10 - Times of crisis. Tragedies happen.  Death happens.  Crisis happens.  Simply be there for parents when they are going through the storms of life.  They won't remember everything you said to them. They won't remember all of the prayers you prayed for them.  And it's understandable.  Often when you go through a storm, everything is blurry as you try to just survive. But one thing they will remember is this - you were there.  You showed up and supported them, you prayed for them and you helped hold them up when they felt like they would never smile again. 

Remember this...

When you impact a child, you impact a person for Christ.  But when you impact parents, you will impact the entire family. for Christ.

Stay focused on parents and watch what God does.

What About The Families Who Didn't Return to Church After Covid?

As I interact with churches across the country, I normally ask them this question.

"Have you had any families that walked away from church during covid and have not come back?"

The answer is always "yes."  And I'm sure your answer would be "yes" as well.

Only a small percentage of churches have returned to pre-covid attendance. Pastors are concerned about the long-term impact it may have on their congregations.

Barna research says that one in three practicing Christians dropped out of church during the beginning of Covid-19.  Church membership has dropped below 50% and the percentage of people who attend church reflects this. Church attendance is down by 7%. 

I'm not trying to be negative.  But we must face reality. Very few churches are growing at this point and most are experiencing a decline.  The average church is only 85% of their pre-covid attendance.

Before the pandemic, 25% of Americans reported that they never attended in-person worship services.  Today, 33% do not attend church services in person.

So the big question is "How can we get these families back in church?"

Let's take a look at some positive things you can do and some things you should not do to as you interact with families who have been affected by covid.

Pray for them.  Have a list of families who have not returned and pray for them on a daily basis.

Reach out to them.  Call them.  Send them a personal note.  Text them.  Don't send a form letter. Make it very personal. 

Lean into relationships.  A big reason families attend a church is relationships.  They are connected to a smaller gathering like a small group, Bible study or class. Ask the teachers, Bible study leaders, Sunday school teachers, etc. to contact them and invite them back to their class, small group or fellowship gathering. 

Shepherd them.  Don't abandon them.  Continue to minister to them and help them return.  Remember the parable of the shepherd?  He went after the one lost sheep, rescued him and brought him home.

Engage Millennials.  The Millennials are the parents of today's kids.  Their parenting styles include positive, gentle parenting more than any previous generation. Part of this is because of the internet which gives them access to parenting tip and strategies. 

Less than half of Millennials (45%) say they attend church weekly.  If families return to church, it will largely be because Millennial parents say "yes."

Remind them of the benefits of faithfully attending church

Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Hebrews 10:22

God wants us to be together on a regular basis.  When we attend church it gives us the opportunity to be obedient, grow in our faith, be part of a church family and worship God with other believers. 

Here is the bottom line when it comes to church attendance. Attending church in person gives us an experience that you simply can't get at home in front of a screen.
Get the kids excited about returning.  You want kids dragging their parents to church.  Not parents dragging their kids to church.

I remember one Sunday I was talking to a father and his daughter.  Here's what he told me. 

"I wanted to stay home this morning and watch the service online. But my daughter insisted that she wanted to go to church in person. She wanted to see her teacher and friends. So here we are."

Go all out to make your children's ministry appealing to children.  A child really does lead them.  You get kids excited about coming back and the parents will follow them.  

Use cliffhangers with kids.  I am currently going through a series with the kids.  It's called "Road Trip" and it shares with kids that Jesus really is the only way to eternal life. At the close of the service, we put in a cliffhanger for the kids.  They have to come back and see what happens.  

Last week, I heard a boy telling his parents that he had to come back the next week to see what happens in the story.  (you can see more about this teaching series at this link.)

Invite them to special events.  For many families, the first step back might be to an event, special teaching series, VBS, summer camp, etc.

Your turn. 

  • Did you have families leave during the pandemic that have not returned since then?
  • What have you done to encourage them to return?
  • What are some other ideas for getting families to return?
Share your insights in the comment section below.