Jul 23, 2021

3 Object Lessons to Explain the Trinity to Kids

The Trinity is one of the key doctrines that kids need to know about. 

But how do you explain the Trinity to a child?  It's a deep, complex doctrine that's hard enough for us to grasp as adults, much less for children to grasp it as well.  

Here are 3 practical ways you can explain the Trinity to children.

Start by reading at least two of these scriptures.

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."  2 Corinthians 13:14

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

"I and the Father are one.”  John 10:30

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:23

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  Matthew 28:19

"For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement."     1 John 5:7-8

So although God is three distinct persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He is also only one unified Godhead. 

Explain that God has manifested or shown Himself in three different ways - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Then use these simple object lessons to help them visually get a picture of what these verses are saying.

The Banana

  • Peel a banana. 
  • Remove the top and bottom points so the banana is flat.
  • Take your thumb and gently push down on the top of the banana.  
  • The banana will begin to divide into 3 different parts. 
  • It is one banana that has 3 different parts. 
  • The Trinity is like this - there are 3 distinct parts of God that together make up God.
The Egg 
  • Break an egg open. 
  • You will see it has 3 different parts. The shell, the yolk and the white.
  • Together these three parts make up one egg. 
  • The Trinity is like this - 3 parts that together make up one God.
Water
  • Show the kids a glass of water.
  • Water can take 3 forms.  As a solid, H20 (water) is ice.  As a liquid it's water.  In a gaseous state, it's steam.  
  • Regardless of which form it takes, it is still H20.
  • The Trinity is like this - one God who manifests (shows) Himself in 3 different ways.
It's crucial that we teach kids these and other doctrines.  They need to be able to articulate and explain why they believe what they believe.
 
Your turn.  Share with us an illustration for the Trinity or other doctrines. 

Jul 22, 2021

10 Ways to Lose Your Volunteers

Volunteers are incredibly important if you want to see your children's ministry thrive.

In fact, without volunteers there is no children's ministry. 

Leading volunteers effectively not only includes bringing them on the team, but keeping them on the team for the long haul.

Let me ask you a question.  How do you keep volunteers?  To find out the answers, you can look at what causes volunteers to leave.  

Let's look at 10 of the big reasons why we lose volunteers.

Don't thank them.  Did you know that 65% of volunteers say they rarely, if ever hear the words "thank you."  Determine that every single week you are going to look your volunteers in the eyes and say "thank you." 

You can also send them notes, cards and small gifts that say "thank you."

Expect them to serve 52 weeks a year.  Be intentional about giving your volunteers a weekend off now and then.  You might even give them the summer off and recruit sub teachers so your volunteers can have some time off.

Don't have proper ratios.  Having 30 preschoolers in a room with 2 volunteers is a recipe for disaster. At this point, the volunteers are just trying to make it out alive.  If this continues, they will burn out and quit.

Don't tell them what the wins are for the position.  Volunteers want to know they are making a difference.  Create 2-3 simple wins for each position.  Put it on the wall in the room and talk with them about it on a regular basis.

Don't communicate with volunteers during the week.  What happens during the week sets the weekend up for success.  

You can't keep your volunteers in the dark all week and then expect them to shine on Sunday.  Connect with them during the week via text messages, emails, website updates, phone calls, etc.

Don't keep your word.  Make a promise to a volunteer, but then don't write it down and forget to get it done.  Continued misses will cause volunteers to not trust you.  Your word must be your bond. 

Micro-manage them.  Get down in the weeds and tell them exactly what you want done.  Tell them how you want it done.  Then look over their shoulder and make sure they are doing it your way.  Don't give them any freedom to make decisions, no matter how small it may be.

Don't ask for their opinion.  Make your decisions alone.  Don't get input from them.  You always know what is best.

Ask them to stay over and serve an extra service.   They can skip worship and serve again for the next hour.  Don't worry about them burning out.

Get them serving in multiple roles.  Ask them to serve on Sunday and Wednesday and big events.  Turn them into a "super volunteer" with no worries of burning them out.

Do any of these seem familiar?  Do you resemble any of these?  Now's the time to make some changes as a leader and start shepherding the spiritual health of your volunteers. 

Remember this statement.

Instead of using people to build the ministry, use the ministry to build people.

It's a lot easier to build and maintain a volunteer team if you don't have people frequently leaving through the back door.  

Follow the points listed above and you will see your volunteers grow and thrive.


Jul 21, 2021

20 Mistakes Children's Pastors Make

Here are 20 mistakes children's pastors make.  I know this because I have made many of these. 

If you are reading this, hopefully it will save you from making these mistakes. 

Experience is a good teacher. You can avoid making the same mistake twice if you are teachable and learn from your mistakes.

Okay...let's take a look at 20 mistakes children's pastors make.

#1 - Doing more than equipping.  Ephesians 4 makes it clear that our role is to equip people for the work of the ministry rather than trying to do it all by ourselves.

#2 - Not paying attention to the details.  We had just gotten in new ministry shirts for our volunteers. One of our team members was assigned to send out an email to all of our volunteers to remind them to come by and pick up their shirt on Sunday.  But the person missed one small detail in the email. Somehow she left the "r" out of shirt in the email.  Yep.  You got it.  An email went out to all of our volunteers to come by and pick up their sh#t on Sunday.  Details matter a lot. Even when it's something as small as one letter.

#3 - Skipping a quiet time because you have too much going on.  You can get so busy that you start missing your time with Jesus.  If you are not careful, you will end up working for Jesus, but not spending time with Jesus. This will lead to a powerless ministry.  It is by spending time with Jesus that we experience God's anointing and power at work in us and through us.

#4 - Taking your eyes off of Jesus.  Just like Peter trying to walk on the water, we can let the problems, issues, decisions, politics and doubt cause us to take our eyes off of Jesus.  It's a fact. You will experience heartache, betrayal and disappointment in ministry.  But don't let those things take your eyes off of Jesus.

#5 - Reacting instead of acting.  I was away one weekend and when I came back to my office on Monday, it was filled with decorations.  One of the ladies in the church had chose to put all her decorations in my office for a day or so.  I could barely move around in the office.  Instead of acting, I reacted.  I took all her decorations out of my office and piled them up in the hallway.  I even put a sign on the decorations that said, "Dale's office is not a storage room."  

The lady came in and found out what I had done and started crying.  I then realized how my reacting had caused drama and sadness.  I should have acted by first calling her and asking if I could help her find a place for the decorations or better yet, let her know she could leave them in my office for as long as needed.

#6 - Trying to lead by your title.  People don't follow a title.  They follow someone they love and respect.  The old saying is true - people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

#7 - Not following through on a promise.  Your word should be your bond. When you make a promise to a staff member, parent, volunteer or child, make sure you follow through and do what you promised. People should know when you tell them you will take care of something that it will be done.

#8 - Bringing problems to your direct report without possible solutions.  Just sharing a problem is whining and complaining.  Sharing about a problem and bringing 2-3 possible fixes, is called leadership.

#9 - Not focusing on your #1 priority - building a great volunteer team.  The success of your ministry will rise and fall on the strength of the volunteer team you build. If you had to sum up your job description in one word, that word should be "volunteers."

#10 - Not reading.  Leaders are readers.  Schedule yourself a minimum of 5 books to read per year and preferably 10 books a year. 

#11 - Not attending the adult service.  It's important to be part of the adult service so you can first and foremost grow spiritually.  It will also help you keep in touch with the big picture of the church.

#12 - Not having mentors.  You should have 3 mentors in your life.  One mentor should be younger than you.  They can help you stay in touch with current culture.  Another mentor should be a person that has been in ministry about the same time as you.  They face many of the same problems that you do.  The final mentor should be someone who has been in ministry longer than you.  They have been down the road farther than you and can help you navigate what is coming.                       

#13 - Working on your day off.  Take your day off.  Don't fall into the trap of working 7 days in a row and not taking a break.  It will catch up with you.  You can burn out doing what you love.

#14 - Not using your vacation time.  This goes along with the previous point.  Make sure you are using your vacation time.  You need the time away. 

#15 - Trying to save the world. A passion for reaching people who are far from God is so important in ministry.  Your heart should break for the families in your community that don't know Jesus.  But remember. you can't save them.  That job has already been filled by Jesus.  Your role is to sow faith seeds and then watch God bring the harvest.

#16 - Not setting a sustainable pace.  Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.  Find a steady pace that you can maintain for the distance.

#17 - Not getting parents involved.  Parents are the number one influence in a child's life.  Create a spiritual partnership with them.  When you get parents teaching their children what you are teaching them at church, the impact is exponential. 

#18 - Trying to copy 100% of what another ministry is doing.  I used to go to conferences or visit churches and come home ready to put what I saw into action.  The problem was in some cases it wasn't a fit for our church and I tried to force it.  Learn from other churches.  But be the church God has called to reach your community.

#19 - Trying to run in someone else's lane.  Paul reminds us that he has finished His course...not someone else's.  God has created a course just for you.  Your only competition is yourself.  You have unique abilities and gifts that God has given you.  Always strive to be a better you.  No one else can be you.

#20 - Not being flexible.  Change.  It's inevitable in ministry.  Hold onto the ministry with open hands.  Be ready to shift and adjust as needed.  

Your turn. 

What are some other mistakes children's pastor's make?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Jul 20, 2021

10 Ways Kids Can Serve

We know that kids who grow up serving at their church have a far greater chance to stay in church and serve Jesus for the rest of their life.

When we give children the opportunity to serve, we are giving them the opportunity to be like Jesus.  

Jesus' entire life can be summed up in two words - serve and give. 

And this is what we must model and live out if we want kids to serve Jesus for a lifetime.

For far too long we have told kids to sit still and be quiet at church.  And then we wonder why they grow up and sit still and are quiet at church.  The reason is because we told them to when they were kids!

It's vital that we provide kids with opportunities to serve at church and in the community.  Here are a few ways you can do this.

1. Greeting Greeting with their parents before the service begins.  Greeting at the kids' room entrance.  The "sermon" starts way before the actual service.  Kids and their parents can help new families feel welcome, comfortable and valued. 

2. Buddy.  It's not easy for many new children to get integrated into a room filled with kids they do not know.  Here's how kids can help with this.  They can be a "buddy" for the new child.  Pair them with the new child.  Their role is to be a friend during the service and help the new child feel comfortable and welcomed.

3. Sound system.  Kids can be trained to run a sound system.  

4. Tech support.  Kids can be trained to operate the slides for the service (Power Point, Pro Pres., Key Note, etc.)

5. Help clean up after the service or class.  Pick up paper.  Straighten the rows of chairs, seats, rugs, put toys away, etc.

6. Serve in preschool with their parents.  They can be a great helper for their parents who are serving in early childhood.  

7. Kids' worship team. Create a kids' worship team so they can help lead other kids in worshiping Jesus. They can also sing in the adult service on special weekends. 

8. Actors for skits.  Enlist kids to help act out Bible stories.  Provide costumes for them to wear. 

9. Write encouragement notes to missionaries and other people who are public servants like pastors, firemen, police officers, etc.

10. Serve in the community.  Organize opportunities for kids to serve the community. This can be things like picking up trash, cleaning widow's yards, painting school areas, passing out free bottled water, etc.

When kids grow up in a serving culture, they will embrace it and own it.  There's nothing that brings more joy and satisfaction.  Their acts of service can be a catalyst for spiritual growth. 

Are you providing kids with opportunities to serve?  

Are you helping kids serve outside the four walls of the church?

Are you intentional about enlisting kids to serve with their parents?   

Do you encourage parents to have their children serve with them when it is appropriate?

Looking back at my life, it was saying "yes" to serving as a teenager that propelled me forward spiritually.  

I believe the same thing can happen for the kids in your ministry as you help them start serving.