Monthly Archives: January 2010

A Prayer Service Display Idea

We recently had a week of prayer here at Suncoast and were encouraged to create an experience for each of the folks who would be praying. This is the display I came up with and I wanted to share it with you.

The idea was to create an interactive object lesson. I wanted the folks praying to 1) get a feel for what we do and 2) open their minds as to what children’s ministry is about.

The concept of using a garden came almost instantly. I knew I wanted to have the people plant a seed in the ground as an example of the seeds of God’s Word that are planted each week in the children’s department.

I tend to think of the programs we provide in four groups: Mentoring, Foundational, Life Application and Godly Care, so I created four rows of plants, each with their own “seed pack” which illustrated this.

I quickly decided that having flower pots was going to work better than just having a bunch of dirt on a table. It might not be clear that it’s supposed to be a garden and I didn’t know how I was going to keep the dirt contained without a large (ugly) pan of some sort.

A quick trip to Home Depot and I had 16 flower pots, 12 perennials, 3 packages of seed, one small pot (to hold the seed), one section of border fence, 4 paint stirrers, cheap gloves, a watering can and some potting soil.

To create the “seed packets” I turned to Google images for inspiration. I took the best elements from several designs and created what you see above in Photoshop. I printed them out on a color printer and cut, folded and pasted them to look just like the real thing (including a little flap at the top). I cut a slot in the top and bottom of each and fed through a paint stick and stuck each into one of the flower pots.

Each of the flowers were transplanted into one of the pots to give it that “just planted” look. The four remaining pots were filled with potting soil and put at the front of each row for planting the seeds. The fence section was simply screwed into the back of a 4-foot plastic table. The green plastic sheeting was a round tablecloth we found in a closet. The seeds were placed in a cute little pot.

Lastly we added the watering can, the gloves (with fresh dirt applied), prayer need cards and a tent-fold card with instructions on how to use the station.

Everyone loved the display. It was a hit with my leaders and the folks who came out to pray. Someone even tried to water the seed they planted (no water in the can). They were really into it I guess.

The instruction card said: Each week we plant the seeds of God’s word into the lives of your children. Take a seed and imagine it is a spiritual truth to be taught to a child. Prayerfully plant the seed in the soil and pray that His Word will grow and be fruitful in the lives of our children.

Pastor even let me come up to explain the inspiration behind the the meaning of each element in the display. It was truly a blessing.

Currently the display is waiting in the children’s church room for Sunday. I’m going to have the kids file past and plant a seed of their own and pray that God’s Word will grow in their own hearts.

I hope this has been an inspiration to you. Feel free to rip it off completely! Just let me know how it turns out! If you have any questions you can email me.

Inspiration From Gever Tulley… who?

Gever Tulley runs a camp called Tinkering School. I would have sold all of my Star Wars figures to go to a camp like that as a child. This video, and the idea expressed in it, has really gotten me thinking. It’s not about exposing kids to danger for danger’s sake… it’s about not limiting their exposure to basic realities to the point that they are clueless and cannot keep themselves safe. It also has me thinking about involving hobbies, tinkering… pretty much anything beyond the standard puppet teams, dance, drama, and music… into ministry to children. Also check out this video by the same fella: 5 Dangerous For Kids.

He has a book out I want as well.

[Thanks Godbout for the link!]

One Third of US 11-Year-Olds Have A Cellphone

More kids are getting mobile phones: Last year, more than 35% of U.S. children ages 10-11 had cellphones, almost double the amount in 2005, according to Mediamark data, via eMarketer. And more than 5% of 6-7-year-olds had cellphones last year.

That leaves the 8-9-year-olds in the 20% bracket. When will we have to add “Turn off your phones” to the Children’s Church rules? Have you already?

[via Gizmodo]

Helping Your Wife Through A Bad Day

Have you ever been in a situation where your wife is having a bad day and everything you try to do to help doesn’t help at all? I think every husband who cares about the wellbeing of his wife has.

I’ve found that when my wife is having a bad day it’s typically because of one of the following reasons:

  1. She’s not feeling well.
  2. She’s stressed.
  3. She feels bad about herself.
  4. She’s bored or feeling trapped.

My default response it to try to “fix” her bad mood by offering advice and trying to talk her out of it. This has never worked, but until recently it’s all I knew how to do. Even when I offered a fix that included time away or a nap, I would find that even if she accepted my offers, it didn’t always help the issue.

Lately I’ve found that the best thing I can do for my wife is to get her to talk about what is bothering her. Sometimes it takes a bit of pestering on my part to get her to open up. Especially if she feels silly or stupid about the issue. When she does begin to talk, I sit and listen. I do not offer advice. I have plenty… but I keep it in my mind like a check list for later. I limit my responses to phrases that show my interest and sympathy. Ninety-nine percent of the time just her talking about what is bothering her helps her day turn around.

The advice that I’ve stored up then becomes my mental to-do list. So rather than offering up promises of things that I will do to make life better for her, I instead begin doing them and/or offering to.

Try it out and see if your wife’s day doesn’t turn around.

Parents: Not The Enemy

I can count on more than two hands how many times I’ve had disgruntled volunteers express to me their desire to involve more parents in their ministry or program. Though I do agree that it seems few parents take the same interest in their children’s spiritual lives as they do their extracurricular lives, I do take issue with this complaint. I rarely see a true desire for parental involvement but rather volunteers who are either desperate for help or who are struggling and angry and want ‘pay-backs’.

Maybe I’m a bit to stuck on principal but I think motive makes a huge difference here. I’m not interested in recruiting parents only to place them with volunteers who have agendas or misguided expectations. I’m not going to set up my new recruits to be a scapegoat for some imagined wrong.

To a point I understand the view some ministers get of the parents they serve. We struggle with their kids while they get to go to service. We watch them socialize in the hall while we wait to go home because they haven’t picked up their child. It’s easy to start thinking that things would be different if they were on our side of the fence. Parents would get a taste of their own medicine so to speak. Plus, we need more help anyway… it’s a perfect fit, right?

Parents can’t be both our enemy and our salvation.


They are neither. We have a enemy. We have a Savior. We wage war against one (not flesh and blood) and we pray to the other (to send laborers). It’s not fair or in any way right to recruit parents under the curse of the former and the burden of the latter. When we as ministers, leaders and volunteers realize who our true enemy is and where our help comes from, then we are ready to welcome parental involvement with open arms.

But is it enough to simply involve them? (More on that in later posts.)

In the mean time… what is your experience? Have you ever been cornered by an eager volunteer with the “perfect solution” to your worker shortage? Have you yourself ever struggled with “hating-on” parents? Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments.