Feb 26, 2021

How to Handle a Meltdown

We've all dealt with a meltdown before.  As the parents are approaching with the child, the child shows signs of anxiety and they are already saying that they don't want to go into the classroom or environment.

This then leads to a major meltdown as the child begins to cry and cling to his or her parents. 

This can be a difficult thing to manage.  The parents are embarrassed because their child is causing a scene.  They are trying to talk with their child and convince him or her to go into the classroom.  

How should you handle this? Let's look at some practical steps you can take to manage a meltdown.

This past week, I asked this question to Gretta Meeker.  She is a LPC and registered Play Therapist.  I asked her what you should do when a child has a meltdown outside the classroom.  Here is what she suggested.

Get down on the child's level so you can talk with them face-to-face.  Kneel down if needed. 

Validate their feelings.  Talk gently and tell them you understand they are afraid, upset or having a bad day. 

Give them some space.  Don't crowd them.  Give them some time to calm down.

Wait a few minutes before asking if they want to come into the room.

Let them choose to go in or not.  If not, they can go with their parents. 

Very helpful information.  

What are your thoughts on this?  What do you do when a child has a meltdown outside the door? 

We'd love to hear your thoughts and insight.  You can put it in the comment section below.

Feb 25, 2021

When Was the Last Time You Cried?

There are several times in the Bible where it says Jesus cried.  Here are three of them.

"Jesus wept."  John 11:35

In this passage, we see that Jesus cried for His friend that had passed away.  

He wept for Lazarus and for those who loved him.  Jesus felt the pain of those who were suffering and mourning Lazarus' death. 

It's a small picture of the love and compassion Jesus feels for people.  It's a window that lets us see how God feels when we are hurt and grieving.

I would encourage you, if you haven't done so, to make a list of people you pray for.  And may that list become stained with your tears.  

Ask God to fill your heart with compassion for those you minister to.  May you hurt when they hurt.  May you cry when they cry.  May your heart break when their heart breaks. 

But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep.  “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you."  Luke 19:41-44

Jesus wept over people who were lost.  He wept because He is not willing that any should perish.  When was the last time you cried for a friend who doesn't know Jesus.?  When was the last time you cried over the families in your community that are lost?  When was the last time you had to pause and stop teaching for a minute, because you were feeling overwhelmed by the burden you carry for the kids?  May our heart break and our tears flow for the same things Jesus cried over....PEOPLE.

God has placed you in the city or community you are in for a reason.  He wants to use you to reach them.  May your heart long for what He longs for. May your tears flow for what He cried for.

Another passage of scripture we see Jesus crying in is found in Hebrews 5:7

"In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.”  Hebrews 5:7

Jesus was deeply moved in prayer.  He uttered loud cries and shed tears as He talked with His Father.  The word used for cry here is not a cry that one chooses to produce, but rather a cry that cannot be held in.  It's a cry from someone who is feeling an overwhelming tension. 

When was the last time you felt an overwhelming burden for the children and families in your community that do not know Jesus?  

When was the last time when you simply couldn't hold it in and the tears came forth?  

When was the last time you drove the streets of your city and prayed for the families that do not know Jesus and tears fell from your face?

When was the last time you prayed for the children in your small group or class and the tears fell from your eyes?

When was the last time you prayed for the baby you were holding in the nursery and your eyes watered up as you thought and prayed for the future of that child?

When was the last time you wept over a father who doesn't attend church with His family and his wife and kids long for Him to know Jesus?

When was the last time you cried in the hospital as you visited a child who was in ICU?

When was the last time you cried for the kids who responded to an invitation and said they wanted to know Jesus as their Savior?

When was the last time you cried for a friend who has drifted away from the faith?

Ask God to break your heart with what breaks Jesus' heart.

Ask God to bring tears to your eyes as you share the Gospel with families. 

Ask God to keep your heart soft and tender to the many needs and trials families in your community are facing.

It's easy over time to let your heart grow calloused.   The tears stop falling and you find yourself just going through the motions.  If that's where you find yourself, ask God to renew your compassion for the needs of the kids and families of your community.

I am not talking about mustering up some fake tears, but rather tears that come from a heart that can't contain them.

When was the last time you cried?

Feb 23, 2021

Is Jesus Really the Only Way to Heaven?

Our kids are growing up in a culture that places a high value on tolerance and there not being any absolute truth.  

This bleeds right through into any claims that there is only one way to eternal life.  

Who are you to say that Jesus is the only way?

Are you saying that all "religions" are not the same?

Do really believe that people who don't know Jesus will be separated from God when they pass on to the other side?

Questions like this represent the culture they are growing up in.  

For them to say Jesus is the only way to heaven is to be accused of being a bigot.

For them to say that Jesus is the (singular word) way, the truth and the life is to be judgmental of other religious expressions and beliefs.

We must help our kids be ready and able to explain the exclusivity of Jesus' claim that He is the Son of God.  We must help them see that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies.  The chances of that happening by accident is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000 (like a gazillion to 1).

Cute, fluffy, everybody smile lessons will not be enough to prepare them for what lies ahead.  

And this starts at home - with mom and dad.  We must help mom and dad grasp these truths and see the critical transfer that must take place if we want to see our kids grow up and still be loving Jesus.  Many of the young Millennial parents in our ministries don't know themselves how to articulate to their children why Jesus is the sole entrance into eternal life. 

A good place to start is with these verses.  Encourage parents to get these verses embedded deep into their heart and then share it with their children.

"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."               John 14:6

"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."  I Timothy 2:5

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture."  John 10:9

It is critical that we embrace this truth.  Our eternal destiny depends on it. 

I want to challenge you to help kids know this truth and believe it.  The culture won't like it and they will face opposition.  But that's okay.  If we equip them with the foundational truths of Christianity, they will be prepared to share the truth with confidence and boldness. 

p.s. If you would like to teach your kids apologetics, a great place to start is our curriculum series called Pranksters.  It takes kids on a deep dive and shows them why the Word of God is true and that it can be trusted.  You can get more info. here at this link                                

Feb 22, 2021

10 Ministry Questions You Should Ask Yourself Each Week

As you lead in children and family ministry, it's crucial to be self-aware and to keep asking yourself questions that will help you stay on course.  We often talk about having an accountability partner and that is a great thing.  But it's also just as important to keep yourself in check.  And one of the best ways to do this is to ask yourself questions each week and act upon the answers you get. 

Here are 10 questions you can ask yourself each week:

1. How is my relationship with Jesus?  Am I growing spiritually?  Is my heart in tune with His?  How much time have I spent with Him this week?

2. Who did I invest time into this week?  Who am I equipping?  Who am I pouring into?

3. Where do I see God working in our ministry?  What is He doing among us?

4. Who did I invite to serve this week?  

5. What do we need to change or stop doing?

6. How have I partnered with parents this week? 

7. How much have I invested in myself this week?  What book am I reading?  What podcast have I listened to?  What articles have I read?

8. Who have I shared the Gospel with this week?  

9. Did I go outside my comfort zone this week?  Am I becoming lackadaisical or am I reaching and pressing forward?

10. How did I pass on the faith to the next generation this week?  

Once you've answered these questions, create some actions steps you can take to improve and grow.

Your turn.  What are some questions you ask yourself on a regular basis?  Share your question(s) in the comment section below. 

p.s. Grow yourself as a leader by reading the book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry."  Over 300 pages of insight and wisdom to help  you lead well.   It's available at this link.