Sep 19, 2020

7 Reasons Why Some Kids Aren't Singing

I want to encourage you to do something.  When your ministry is meeting in person again, look at the kids during the time of worship. 

If you are like many children's ministries, you will sadly have to report that some of the kids aren't singing.  

Why do you think many kids just stand there motionless with lips sealed tight?

In this post, I'm going to share with you 7 reasons why kids aren't singing and how you can fix it.

Some kids aren't singing because the songs are written for adults.  Kids don't connect as well with songs that were originally written for adults.  Even if you take the song and change it some to be "kid-friendly" it still normally doesn't resonate well with the kids.  

If you want to see kids singing, then use songs that were written specifically for kids.

Here's an example from our new kid's worship album.  Notice how it is geared toward kids.  (if you are reading this by email and can't see the song - you can watch it at this link)

Some kids aren't singing because the songs are too long.  Most adult worship songs run 4-5 minutes or even longer.  Let's be honest, many times when you are standing in the audience, you are hoping the song will end, so you can sit down and rest.  Especially when it's 3-4 songs in a row.  Seems like the worship team keeps repeating the last few phrases over and over and over and over.

Kids are the same way.  Here's another example of a song from our new album.  Notice the length of the song.  Here's the direct link to watch the song, if you can't see the video in this email.

There are no boys helping lead worship.  This is not just true for 4th grade boys.  Next time you are in an adult service, look around.  You will see that most men are not singing.  Some of that is due to the fact that worship songs talk about loving God, talking to God, being close to God, etc.  Men are not emotionally wired that way as much as women.  And so many of them check out during worship time and just stand there. 

Boys are the same way.  If something seems "girly" they are turned off and won't join in.  And if they only see girls up front helping lead, they will check out as well.  Make sure you have an equal number of males leading as you do females.

Want to see boys start singing?  Put some high school boys up front and you'll see more boys join in.

Need some new songs.  It's important to mix in new songs on a regular basis. This keeps worship fresh and exciting.  We have 12 new worship songs for kids written by an amazing artist named Travis August. Each song comes with a worship video you can use with the kids.  You can see more about the album and purchase it at this link.

There are too many motions to the songs.  This can cause the kids to start focusing on keeping up with the motions instead of focusing on worshiping.  Keep the motions simple and easy to follow. 

Lack of leadership.  You need a strong leader to lead worship with kids.  Someone who can command the stage and challenge kids to lift their voices loud as they worship our great God.  Shy, quiet worship leaders will lead to quiet, monotonous singing.  

You are putting the older kids in the back with the younger kids in front of them.  This causes the older kids to check out.  Why?  Because they see "little kids" in front of them.  Big kids don't want to participate in "little" kids programs or music.  Always target the oldest kids in the room.  This will catch everyone and you'll see more kids engaging in worship.  Little kids want to be "big kids" and seeing the big kids in front of them worshiping, causes them to want to join in with the "cool, older kids" in worship.

So there you have it.  7 reasons why some kids aren't singing.  Do you need to make some changes in your kids' worship ministry?  

Love to hear your thoughts on this.  Share your thoughts, insight and input in the comment section below.

Sep 17, 2020

10 Things You Should Communicate to New Guest Families

You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression with new guest families. 

What you do and what you say to them on that first visit will determine if they decide to return or not. 

We forget what it's like to walk into the doors of a church for the very first time.  New families walk in the door with lots of internal questions.

Will my child be safe?

Will they be friendly?

Where do I go?

Will anyone my age be there? 

Here are 10 things you should communicate to new guest families.  These 10 things are critical if you want to see new families return.  These can be communicated during the check-in, walking them to the classroom and signing in at the classroom door.  You don't usually have a lot of time when checking in a new family and getting them to their classroom.  But be intentional about briefly sharing these things with new families.

1. Security tags.  Explain the process and let them know it will stop anyone else from picking up their child.

2. All volunteers and staff have been through an interview, background check and training.

3. No one will be alone with your child.

4. We will contact you if your child needs you.  Explain how - pager, text message, etc.

5. What will happen in the kids' service.

6. What the kids are currently learning.

7. Steps you take when a child has an allergy. 

8. Cleaning procedures after each service (Covid19 prevention)

9. If your child gets upset and starts crying, how long should we wait to contact you?

10. We have an exciting ministry for kids - your child is going to have a blast! 

Your turn.  What else should you share with a new family?  Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section below.

Sep 16, 2020

The Billionaire Who Gave It All Away

Chuck Feeny was a billionaire.  He made his money by founding companies like the Duty Free Shopper stores that operate in airports.

Chuck made billions of dollars in his lifetime. But more than the money he made, he is remembered as a person who had a generous heart and loved to invest his money in people and causes.  

Chuck colored outside the lines. Rather than giving his money toward big, hands-on charities, he decided to have control of where the money went.  This enabled him to see the results of his giving.   

Over a period of 40 years, Feeney donated move than $8 billion dollars to charities, universities and foundations.  And he gave it away anonymously.  While some donors have publicists who make sure everyone knows who gave the money and the amount, Feeney made sure his gifts were secret. 

His giving eventually led him to start the Giving Pledge in 2010.  Giving Pledge was an aggressive campaign to influence the wealthiest people in the world to give away at least half their fortunes before they died.  He said this...

“I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes.  Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you're dead."    

When Feeny died, he had no money left to his name.  He had given everything he had to help other people.

What a great example of living for others.  Feeny realized that he couldn't take the money with him and so he made a wise investment...an investment in helping other people.

One of the key truths in our Connect12 curriculum is "I Will Live to Give."  It is so important to teach children the blessings of being a giver.  If we can help them understand the blessings that come with being a giver, we can help them bring their tithes and special offerings to God and establish themselves as a giver for life.

Here are a couple of examples from the curriculum.  The first series one is entitled "Kid Bank President."  The bank president shows people how to be a giver and the best ways to invest their money.  Here's a short video clip. (if you are reading this in an email - you can click here to see the video - https://vimeo.com/370730762)

 

Another series we have for teaching kids about giving is "Money Talks."  Kids learn who money belongs to.  What they should do with the money they earn.  How they can invest their money for maximum impact."  Below is a video sample from the series.  (if you are reading this in an email, you can go to this link to watch it - https://vimeo.com/249136999)

Both of these 4 week series are available for purchase at this link.

Who knows...there may be a boy or girl in your ministry who grows up and is abundantly blessed in the area of finances.  If you can teach them to be givers as kids, you can help them develop a lifestyle of "living to give" for a lifetime.

Sep 15, 2020

10 Big Reasons Why In-Person Children's Ministry is More Effective than Online Children's Ministry

Let me start off by saying I believe using technology to reach kids and parents is something the church should be doing.  

This has especially been true during the current pandemic.  Kids (with parental approval) have been able to tune in and stay in touch with their friends, teachers and pastors. 

It has been amazing watching churches around the world step up to the challenge and provide great online services and events.

I'm all for getting the Word of God out by any means necessary.  The Bible is God's Word whether it is on a TV screen or on a page in a printed Bible.

Technology has opened the doors for us to witness and share the love of God with people all over the world.  People we would have never been able to reach with out the cutting-edge technology God has placed in our hands.  

That being said...I still believe there is nothing as effective as in-person ministry.  Here are 10 big reasons why. 

1. God makes it clear that He wants us to gather.  

Hebrews 10:25 says this...

"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."

There is something about being with other believers.  It strengthens you spiritually and encourages your heart.  It helps you realize that you are not alone.  There are other kids and families around you that love Jesus too. 

 2. Jesus has promised to be in our midst when we gather to worship Him.  

Matthew 18:20 says this...

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them."

During this pandemic, many churches have been limited on how many people could come to the church for worship services. For some it has been as low as 10 people who are allowed to gather.  The good news is that Jesus said even if just 2 or 3 gather, He is with them.

3. Kids can be prayed over and hear their name called out to God.  There is something special about a person calling out a child's name in prayer. It really makes an impact.  There is power in prayer...especially if it's in-person and a child is being prayed for.

4.  Kids can make friends with other children who are passionate about following Jesus.  One of the most important decisions a child makes is who they choose to be their friend.  Friends are a big influence in a child's life.  That's why you want to make sure their friends are kids who love Jesus.  Church is a great place to find those kind of friends.  Are the kids at church perfect?  No.  Do all of them love Jesus?  No. We've all heard the jokes and stories about the pastor's and deacons' kids.  But there are many who do love Jesus and can be a great influence in your child's life.

5. Kids can be part of a small group. Small groups.  So, so, so, so important.  The larger a church gets, the smaller it must become through getting kids to participate in a small group. 

6. Kids are missed when they aren't there and follow up can be done.  When kids are part of a small group, (and by small I mean 6-8 people) they are missed when they are not there.  Follow-up phone calls can be made.  Miss you cards can be sent.   

7. Kids can have a caring adult small group leader who can help guide them towards God's pathway and plans.  First and foremost this is the job of the parents.  But I have found that God also sends other people into kids' lives to reinforce what the parents are saying.  And many times that person is a small group leader.

8. Kids can worship with other kids.  Yes, you can worship at home.  Yes, you can worship by video with songs on a screen.  But there is nothing better than worshiping with other people who are in the same room and are worshiping with everything they have. 

9. It gives them the opportunity to use the gifts and talents God has given them for God's Kingdom.  Kids can serve in many capacities at church.  This is important because we know that kids who serve are more likely to serve God for a lifetime.  There is something about serving that ignites a fire in your soul  and gets you focused on what God is focused on.

10.  Kids can learn what the Word of God says.  Yes, kids should learn the teachings of the Bible everywhere they go.  At home in their room.  In the car on the way to school.  During family devotions.at breakfast.  Church is also a key place where kids can learn from God's Word.  Teachers can bring lessons that challenge kids to follow God.  Small group leaders can help them understand key passages in the Bible. 

I have talked with many churches that are going to continue offering kids' online services after the pandemic has subsided.  I think that is a good idea.  But I also think we must be remember the power of face to face, in-person ministry and how God uses it.  My prayer is that the kids who have been pulled out due to circumstances, will return and fully engage with the ministry leaders.  

Your turn.  What do you think?  

Do you think online services should continue for kids after the pandemic has subsided?  If so, will it deter families from coming to church (physical location)?

What are some positives for worshiping online from home?

What are some disadvantages for worshiping online from home?

How can we use online services to share the Gospel with unchurched families?

Which do you prefer?  Online or in-person?  Explain why that is your answer.