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  • October 2011

    “The Birthday Story” is the Nativity Christmas Story as told by Mary to her young son, Jesus. Based on Luke 2:19 (“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”) The story comes from the perspective of Mary recalling the events that led to her son Jesus’ birth day.

    The audience thinks they’re hearing a modern day story… until various details reveal that this is a retelling of the Nativity from a different perspective. Children and adults will enjoy hearing about the trials of making a journey to Bethlehem on a donkey with a child on the way… and the hope a mother has for her son, the Messiah. Helps all ages remember that Jesus’ birth was real… and so is our reason for celebrating Jesus, not only on Christmas, but every day of the year.

    For only $10 I will send you a zip file containing a pdf of my original story “The Very Last Room” and a Powerpoint containing the illustrations. The story is scripted to match with the slide show as you tell the story to your family, class, church, or children’s group.


    Check out “The Very Last Room” another great Christmas Nativity story for your Christmas Eve Service.

    Buzz 228 – Buzz Word

    October 14, 2011 · 0 comments

    I wanted to try some freehand lettering of Buzz’s name… it turned into this over a couple of days.

    This Buzz says, “I belong on a Trapper Keeper!”

    When we Children’s Pastors think about school outreach we tend to focus on the ever closing door of public school. I have found that local Christian Schools and even Daycares are looking for ministers and volunteers to help in their weekly chapel services.

    I never considered a Christian school to be much of a harvest field… But I was wrong. There are quite a few families who send their children to Christian schools because they can, not because of any kind of Christian faith or values. You’ll also find a segment of children there who just couldn’t make it in public school due to behavior or emotional disorders. The need is great and the doors are often wide open.

    Most schools require a background screening. The schools I work with require a level 2 background check which includes fingerprinting. I also had to have a volunteer badge made with a photo. This allows me on campus to do two chapels for elementary students per month and one for the pre-schoolers per month. They’d let me do it weekly at the preschool if my schedule allowed,

    To get started head over to Google Maps and search for Christian schools in your area and give them a call. I can almost guarantee they’re looking for chapel speakers. Even if the school is run by a church.

    The benefits? Every child on campus knows me. Parents know me by default which gives me an instant “in” while on campus. I’ve been able to help with “See You At The Pole” events and graduation ceremonies. We also have more than a few families who attend here as a result. The schools are more than happy to return the favor by promoting any of my special events to the kids. I’ve even been asked by the Art Teacher to come share some of my artworks with the kids over a period of several visits this year.

    Those of you with successful public school outreaches… Press on! But for those of us who are looking for more ways to reach into the community… Consider your local Christian school. There may be a harvest there ripe for the picking.

    Do you have experience in working with local schools, Christian or otherwise? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments,

    What Bible version is best to use when kids are involved? We typically use Bibles with children in one of three contexts: general or devotional reading, scripture memorization and in ministry to children.

    Devotional Reading

    For general devotional reading some folks default to the New International Version (NIV) for children. They may not realize that the reading level for the NIV is 7th-8th grade. This means that a majority of our elementary aged children will not be able to read the NIV with ease or with comprehension.

    Memorization

    I think the NIV or KJV is fine for scripture memorization. The New International Version is popular and will be compatible with other uses later in life. The King James Version is popular as well, but the reading level for the KJV is 12th grade!

    Children’s Ministry

    For preaching I typically use the Contemporary English Version (CEV). It is easy to read and understand for a majority of elementary school aged children. The Contemporary English Version targets a 3rd grade reading level. This is also the Bible I suggest when parents ask me for a version that will work well for their children.

    I know a lot of children’s pastors like The Message for the same reason… but The Message is a paraphrase, not a translation. Also The Message, though written well, contains abstract concepts and metaphors that are not as easily grasped by children. Even though The Message is at a 4th grade reading level, the readability of the words themselves does not necessarily translate into simple comprehension for the child reading.

    For devotional reading and preaching to children I suggest the following Bible versions:

    • Contemporary English Version (CEV) 3rd Grade Reading Level
    • Everyday Reading Bible (ERV) 3rd Grade Reading Level
    • New International Readers Version (NIrV) 3rd Grade Reading Level

    As a bonus, these versions also double as great Bibles for folks who are learning English as a second language (ESL Students). You can sample all of these versions at www.biblegateway.com.

    What Bible version do you use when reading or preaching to your kids?

    We have a listener who’s looking for English and Spanish curriculum that is in sync with one another. She currently uses Gospel Publishing House curriculum, but she’s found that the English and Spanish versions don’t teach the same thing for the same Sundays.

    I find myself in charge of the nursery-High School ministries at the Hispanic Ministry at our church. I am starting from scratch. We have been using Gospel Publishing House curriculum for Sunday School because they have Spanish material, but the English and Spanish are not parallel. do you know of anyone who has parallel curriculum?

    Anyone out there have a English/Spanish curriculum solution for her? Leave your answers in the comments.

    Buzz 227 – Smurf Buzz

    October 2, 2011 · 0 comments

    La la la la la la. La la la la laaaaaa.

    This Buzz says, “La la la la la la. La la la la laaaaaa.”

    Got a wild hair and a few moments to bust out a new Buzz Lightyear… as a Zombie. I’ve done a Zombie Buzz before… but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I like this one.

    This Buzz says, “Nom nom nom.”