Oct 17, 2018

Are We Raising Good Kids or Gospel Kids?

I am deeply concerned about where the big C church is leading children.

We are spending more time teaching children how to be good than we are teaching children about the Gospel.

Teaching kids about positive character traits is a good thing, but I don't believe it is the best thing to teach kids at church.

I believe we must keep the Gospel at the center of everything we teach kids.  It's the transforming power of the Gospel that enables kids to live out the fruits of the Spirit.

We have such a small window of time to teach kids.  The average family is only in church 1-2 times a month.  We must make every Sunday count.  What will you focus on for those weeks?  Being good?  Being kind?  Being cooperative?  Being thoughtful?  These are good things for kids to learn about, but with a limited number of weeks, I don't believe they are the best things for kids to learn.

The church must focus on the centrality of our message.  The Gospel.

And so I would encourage you to take a hard look at what you are teaching.  Does it take kids to the cross?  Does it show kids that all our righteousness is like a dirty rag without the cleansing blood of Jesus?

Being good points kids toward themselves, while the cross points kids to Jesus and what He did to redeem us.

When we point kids toward themselves, we will produce good kids.  When we point kids to the cross, we will raise kids who love Jesus and depend upon Him. 

The danger of focusing kids on being good puts them at the center of the story.  God becomes a divine therapist whose chief goal is to make them happy.  They become the center of the story, rather than Jesus being the central focus of everything they are involved in.

We know that 85% of people who come to Jesus, do so before the age of 18.  If we are going to reach the next generation, then we must share the Gospel on a regular basis and make it the centrality of everything we teach.

If we don't, we will produce a generation that is good, but are void of the power of the cross to change lives.

Want a new curriculum that will put the Gospel at the center of the lessons?  Then Connect 12 is just what you are looking for.  Each month, the Gospel is clearly explained.  A clearly explained pathway for kids to accept the message of the cross is woven throughout the lessons.  You can get more info. and see lesson samples at this link. 

Starting Point is a class that kids attend with their parents to learn what it means to follow Jesus.  In one year, the class was used to see 480 kids and many parents come to Christ and follow Him in baptism.

Yes, we need kids to be good.  But more than anything, we need kids who have been born again through the Gospel and are prepared to go and share it with others.

Good kids?  Gospel kids?  Which do you want?  Remember...being good will not change kids' lives.
But accepting the Message of the Gospel will enable kids to live for Christ.

Paul put it like this...

"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."  1 Corinthians 2:2

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  Do you think churches must focus more on the Gospel?  Does your curriculum take kids to the cross?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.  

Oct 16, 2018

Walk & Talk

As a leader,  you should often move away from your desk and get out among the people you are leading.

As a leader, you should also be available on Sunday to meet and greet guests and interact with families.  Don't set back and wait for them to come to you. Walk to them and talk with them.

That's what great leaders do.  They spend time walking and talking with those they are ministering to.

When you get out among the people and talk with them, they will see begin to see you as approachable.  And that's a good thing.  Great leaders create a culture where team members can ask questions and personally analyze decisions that are made.

Walking and talking with your team will help you identify and correct misalignment sooner.  Walking and talking with team members leads to trust. 

Relax as you walk and talk with your team.  If your communication with them consists of rigid responses, your team members will pick up on it and reflect it.  Keep the conversation as relaxed as possible.  Watch your body language.

Dress appropriately.  Don't wear a suit if everyone else is wearing jeans and a polo.

Look and listen more than you talk.  Your posture should be seeking answers more than giving answers to your team members' replies. Give them your undivided attention. When they see that you're interested in what they have to say, they'll be more open and receptive, and you'll build rapport.

Share the vision.  This is a great way to share the vision of the ministry with people individually.  Show people how their role helps the ministry fulfill the big vision He has ordained for your church.

Don't just talk business.  Strike a balance between work and their personal lives.  Talk about their family, hobbies, personal interests, etc.

Don't be a stalker.  You don't want people to feel like they are always being watched.  Don't walk around at the same time each day.  Be spontaneous.  Walk in different areas of your ministry each week.

"Walking slowly though the crowd" can bring great benefits.  Get out of our office and "walk and talk."  Get out of some of the 500 meetings you have scheduled to attend this next week and spend many of them walking and talking instead.

No memo, no letter, no gift, no phone call, can take the place of you walking among your volunteers and personally connecting with them.

Oct 15, 2018

Top 50 Brands Gen Z Kids Like

I often talk about how children's ministry leaders are like a missionary.  A missionary learns the language, cultural preferences, music, foods, etc. of the people he/she is trying to reach.  This helps the missionary create connection points.

We are missionaries to kids.  And if we are going to connect with them, then we need to do the same thing a missionary to another country does.  Learn about what they like.  Learn about what they play.  Learn about what video games they like.  You get the point.  

To help with this, here are the top 50 brands that Gen Z (today's kids) kids like.  I want to encourage you to look thru this list, better yet, look through this list with your team.  Ask yourselves questions like...

Why do kids like this?

What can we learn from this?

What ideas from this can we incorporate into our children's ministry?

What changes should we make to stay relevant for today's kids?

Here are the top 50 brands Gen Z kids like...

1, YouTube
2. Netflix
3. Iphone
4. McDonalds
5. Oreo
6. MM's
7. Doritto's
8. iPod
9. Xbox
10. Google
11. Fortnite
12. Hershey's
13. Nike
14. Crayola
15. Playstation
16, Cheetos
17. Lays
18. Reeses
19. Disney
20. Skittles
21. Nintendo Switch
22. Lego
23. Chips Ahoy
24. Avengers
25. Kit Kats
26. Pop Tarts
27. Instagram
28. Snap Chat
29. Kraft
30. Cartoon Network
31. Black Panther
32. Nick
33. Coke
34. Snickers
35. Halo's
36. Sour Patch
37. Game Stop
38. Minecraft
39. Starburst
40. Amazon
41. Elmer's
42. hulu
43. Pepsi
44. Goldfish Crackers
45.YouTube for kids
46. Roblox
47. Taco Bell
48. Lunchables
49. Under Armor
50. Bing

Oct 13, 2018

Top Ten Kid Stars on YouTube

It is truly amazing what kids can do if they are only given an opportunity.

We talk about kids being the church of tomorrow, and yes, that is true.

But they are also the church of today.

And it's time we start giving kids more opportunities to serve at church and in the community.  For way too long, we've told kids to sit still and be quiet in church. Then we wonder why, when they grow up, they are sitting on a church pew and not making an impact for God's kingdom.  It's because we told them to sit still and be quiet.  Habits formed early in life tend to transition into adulthood.

I am listing these top 10 You Tube stars to show what kids can do when given the opportunity.  They can bring creativity and freshness to the table.  They can bring new perspectives, if we will step back and let them lead strong.  They can create amazing content.

1. Ryan's Toys Review

Ryan is a 6-year-old who reviews toys for viewers multiple times a week.  He is the most subscribed child on YouTube with 9.4 million subscribers and more than 16.5 trillion video views.  

2. EvenTube

Evan, is a 12-year-old toy reviewer.  His earns over $1.3 million dollars a year through his channel. His channel has over 4.6 million subscribers.

3. Kids' Toys

Kids' Toys features two sisters, Quincy Faye and Laurice, who review the latest children's toys.  They live in the Philippines and have over 2.4 million subscribers.  They've had 2.9 trillion video views in 4.5 years.

4. Seven Awesome Kids

Seven Awesome Kids shows the lives and thoughts of girls 0-12 every day of the week.  It showcases the girls wild imaginations through funny skits. They have 1.8 million subscribers.

5. EthanGamer

Ethan is 10 years old and has become a social media star.  He has 1.7 million subscribers.  His content is age-appropriate and he has an enthusiastic attitude which draws a new generation of social media users.

6. BabyTeeth4

Jillian and Addie, ages 12 and 9, are the stars of  babyteeth4.  The two sisters are famous for their kid candy reviews, which feature their funny, honest reactions to candy. They also have two other series which have drawn in tens of millions of views.

7. B2CuteCupcakes

This channel is ran by a 12-year-old social media star named Bee.  Bee has a bubbly personality and demonstrates DIY's, trends, toys reviews and kid life hacks.  

8.  Hulyan Maya

Hulyan and Maya are the stars of the YouTube channel called Hulyan Maya.  They have over 1.4 million subscribers.  They test toys out.  They are bringing in over a million dollars through their channel and have been featured on NBC's Today Show.

9.  Hailey's Magical Playhouse

Hailey’s Magical Playhouse is where 6-year-old girl Hailey comes to play.  She does things like toy unboxings, surprise eggs, costume dress-ups, and other indoor and outdoor play activities.  She has 1.3 million subscribers.  She loves Disney as well and brings characters into her show.

10. Naiah and Elli Toys Show

Naiah is 5 and Elli is 6.  They have a toy parody channel.  They love doing silly skits and funny 
commentaries when they unbox toys.  They have 1.2 million subscribers.

When we begin turning kids' attention to making a kingdom impact,  we will see many of them rise to the challenge.  As we give them the space and time they need to express themselves creatively, we will see them turn thousands of people into followers of Jesus.