Ten years ago there was a movement among Children’s ministers to educate children and parents about the horrors of a cartoon-card game-toy combo called Pokémon. Many a children’s service was sprinkled references to these “pocket monsters” and how the game would act as a gateway to other games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. The way some of my peers went on and on about it you’d think Pokémon was more of a threat to their children’s salvation than Satan himself. [click to continue…]
Help! I’m A Children’s Pastor
In part one of of this series we discussed how Children’s Pastors and their ministries can be easily disrespected and how it is our responsibility to earn the respect of our church. Part two suggested several ways we can gain respect for our children’s ministries. This third and final part will focus on a some things you can do to gain respect as a minister yourself. [click to continue…]
In my first post in this series I talked about the secret issue of many children’s ministers: disrespect. I suggest you head over and read that post before continuing.
It’s important for us to remember that we are a support ministry, we’re not part of the big show, and on our best day will still be playing second fiddle. That position is not a punishment, it’s our God-given position. We can bloom there or become bitter, brittle and dry.
Which of us haven’t been asked when we’re planning to become real pastors? [click to continue…]
There is a secret issue just under the surface in the ministry lives of many children’s ministers. The issue is the feeling of a lack of respect from others about what we do. We work with children and are separated from the main service. It’s easy for us to feel removed, forgotten, taken for granted and disrespected. [click to continue…]
I hate resolutions as a concept. Mostly because I associate the word with something I will almost instantly not accomplish as soon as possible. I prefer setting goals. Where resolutions demand perfection from the moment you make them, goals only demand a first step in the right direction. Goals don’t mind if you struggle to reach them. Resolutions mock you the moment you stray.
Speaking of goals, these are the three that God is pressing on me this year. Maybe you’ll find that He’s calling you to something similar. [click to continue…]
We’ve been using Parent Pager for about two years now and things are going great. The only exception is the way this system is presented each week. From day one I’ve had the computer, label printer, laser printer and finger scanner sitting on 4 foot plastic tables covered with a cloth. This means my top-of-the-line check-in system looks like it’s on display at a yard sale. It’s time to change that.
I’ve seen other churches with nice check in stations with helpful attendants behind the counter ready to help. My church really isn’t set up for a full on Welcome Center style area. I’m dealing with hallways here. I needed some sharp looking kiosks for my check-in computers.
Have you priced these things? I can save you the trouble… they’re way out of our price range ($600-$1000+). And that’s only if you’re looking for a stock solution. If you need anything custom built the prices just go up from there. So I’m building my own check-in kiosks.
With some MDF, 2×2’s, drywall screws and some laminate I’m going to make my own check-in kiosks. They’re not the fanciest things out there… but they meet my needs. And once I’m done I’m going to post my blueprints (plans) here so your church handyman can build you some.
Pictures and more after the jump. [click to continue…]
“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.
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.
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.
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!
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?