Sep 1, 2015

Why We Must Teach Kids That Jesus is the Only Way to Eternal Life

In our post-Christian culture, it is becoming increasingly unpopular to say that Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life.

When you make this claim, you are labeled narrow-minded and intolerant.  It causes you to stand out in a culture that has been molded and shaped by a postmodern mindset that says there is no absolute truth.

Our children are growing up in a rebirth of Judges 21 where "everyone did what was right in their own eyes."  Everyone is the author of their own truth.  What is right for you is right for you and what is right for me is right for me.

The problem with this...there was a man named Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God.  He claimed to be the way, the truth and the life...the only way to eternal life.  If you believe His words, then He calls you to swim against the culture described above.

The tide of the culture is very, very strong.  It's increasingly hard to swim against.  How can we prevent children from being swept away by it?

We must anchor children to God's Word.  We must be very intentional about teaching children what the Bible says about eternal life.  Scripture is very clear that Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life.  The integrity of Scripture cannot be edited by trends.

We must anchor children to "why" Jesus is the only way to eternal life.  Apologetics for kids?  For sure.  We must show kids the evidence that proves Jesus rose from the dead while every other person who has claimed to be the way to eternal life lies dead in their grave.

We must anchor children to Jesus.   Jesus claimed to be the one and only way to eternal life.  And He proved it time and time again by fulfilling key prophecies, performing miracles and ultimately rising from the dead.  When kids have a growing relationship with the living Savior, the wedges the culture tries to drive between that relationship will be futile.

We must anchor children to love.  If we are going to see children not just survive, but thrive spiritually in the culture, we must teach them to speak the truth in love.  Ephesians 4:15 says this is how a mature believer shares the truth.   Not in anger...not with spite...not with a picket sign...not by being overbearing...not by arguing...but in love.  This will open doors for children to effectively share the truth with their generation.

The heart and soul of the next generation is at stake.  This is for keeps.  Let's be diligent to point kids to the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

Aug 31, 2015

Talk Now and Later: How to Lead Kids Through Life's Tough Topics (Book Giveaway)

There's a great new resource for parents and kidmin leaders.  It's a book entitled, "Talk Now and Later" and I believe it can be a game changer for you and the parents in your ministry.

The book was written by Brian Dollar.  Brian is a leading voice in children's ministry and has an incredible heart to help parents become the spiritual leaders God intended for them to be.

In the book, Brian shares insights that will help parents navigate conversations with their children about tough topics such as self-image, death, sex, divorce, bullying, tragedy, making wise choices, money and more.

As a children's ministry leader, parents will often come to you for advice about having these conversations with their children.  This book will give you the answers you need to equip them and will also be a great resource you can place in their hands.

We are giving away a free copy of the book to one of our readers.  You can enter the drawing by emailing me at daleh@cftoday.org.  We will announce the winner here next Monday, Sept. 7th.

You can also purchase the book here.  On a personal note, I have known Brian as a friend for years and his life, family and kids are a testimony to the words he has penned in the pages of this wonderful book.

Aug 28, 2015

Nursery Volunteers...Don't Underestimate the Big Impact You Make

Many people who volunteer in the nursery feel like they are simply providing "childcare." 

In preschool and elementary ministry, it's easy to see the impact you're making.  You see kids learning verses, grasping what you're sharing, making a decision to follow Jesus, praying, worshipping and other indicators of spiritual impact.

But you can't see the impact as well when you're serving babies in the nursery.  They can't talk, pray, tell you what they learned or quote Bible verses you've taught them.  So can you know you're making an impact on the child?

Yes.  Be assured.  You are making a huge impact in the life of the baby you hold on weekends.  Recent studies show that when babies receive support, they end up much better-off as adults.  The brain doesn't forget these early interactions.  The way people interact with a baby affects the child for life. 

Babies who don't receive positive interaction have worse functioning, attention, processing, language, memory and social skills when they are older.  The first few years of a child's life are critical periods because the brain is rapidly changing.  Studies show that early input has a material effect on brain outcomes. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics just announced that children should be read to from birth.  This is because reading to a baby has been proven to translate into better test scores when the child is older.

Bottom line...if you volunteer in the nursery, God has placed you there for one of the most critical times in a child's life.  What you do makes a huge impact.  You are not volunteering in "childcare."  You are laying the foundation for children's spiritual journey.

Some of the ways you can spiritually impact babies in the nursery are...

Read God's Word to them.  Take time each week to read a Scripture passage to them.  When you do this, you are embedding God's Word into their hearts.

Speak positive words to them.  There is so much power in your words.  Speak words of life and hope to the child.

Play Christian music for them.
  
Smile at them.  Studies show that smiling at a baby makes a lifelong impact on the child.  Your smile makes the difference.

Your nursery volunteers may be underestimating the importance of what they're doing.  Encourage them with these words.  Their ministry is critical.

Aug 27, 2015

Why the Best Kid's Services Are Crazy & Calm

The best kid's services are both crazy and calm.  In other words, an effective kid's service will have both high-energy and low-energy elements.  This helps you avoid "monotone" which is the culprit behind a boring kid's service.

Here are some of the service elements you want to be CRAZY: 
Opening
Games
High-energy worship songs

Here are some of the service elements you want to be CALM:
Offering
Meditative worship songs
Prayer
Hands on activities
Lesson
Discussions
Parent pick-up

These elements can vary between the two:
Icebreakers
Skits
Video
Bible verse memory

Place these elements strategically and you will hold kid's attention.  You can see more about planning a strategic service flow by clicking here.

Aug 26, 2015

Small Ways You Can Make a Big Impact with Preschoolers (Free Volunteer Training Tool)

This past weekend we had a training for our preschool volunteers.  We shared small ways they can make a big impact in kids' lives.

Below is the handout and teaching notes from the session.  Feel free to use it.  You can download the docs by clicking on them.

HANDOUT


TEACHING NOTES

Aug 25, 2015

10 Traits of Extraordinary Children's MInistry Volunteers (Free Training Tool)

Recently we did a training for our volunteers called "10 Traits of Extraordinary Children's Ministry Volunteers."  In this training, we encouraged them to continue growing  as leaders.  We shared 10 traits that will help them become extraordinary volunteers.

Below is the handout and media presentation.  There is also a video of the session if you'd like to see how we taught it.  Feel free to use any of this that will help your team.  (You can download by clicking on them.)