Tag Archives: prayer

Bible Stuff: So You Need Wisdom?


If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. James 1:5 CEV

I like the book of James. It’s not just that we share the same name… we see the working out of our faith very similarly.

Our verse today finds itself in the very first portion of the very first chapter of James. It is a part of the introduction to a letter. The verse also lays out one of the main themes of the book: Wisdom. In our verse James instructs the church that if they need wisdom, God is the one to ask. Sounds simple, and it is, but we’re due a little digging. Continue reading

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.

When A Key Volunteer Quits…


What do you do when someone you depended on quits Children’s Ministry? Maybe it’s a top level coordinator or just someone who said they would do music for VBS. The job they were going to do doesn’t matter… the fact that you’re not stuck with it, or unable to do the program because of it, is. It can be easy to panic when you get those emails or phone calls. I’ve recently had this happen to me. It changes things, but I’ll adjust and eventually have the same outcome. I guess that’s the point after all.

Here are some tips for dealing with big jobs that get abandoned.

1. Don’t Panic

This is not a choice you can make just after you’re disappointment happens. This is a choice you make today… before anything goes haywire. Are you going to be a person of action… or reaction? I don’t know about you, but I want to be in control of what comes out of my mouth… and though it’s true that no one can tame the tongue… you can control where the tongue is speaking from. If your heart is focused on the One you live to serve, if you realize who is in control, that heart will overflow out of your mouth when the time comes. Make the choice today to not panic.

2. Don’t Burn Bridges

Like Moses said, “Let your people go!”… kinda. You may be angry, hurt, upset, disappointed… but let them go easy! You’re going to have a ton of feelings toward them… none of them will be good ones. None of them will be based on anything other than what you think they’ve done to you. You can’t base decisions on bad thinking. So make your choice now… when they call or email… let them off easy. I always make a point to let them know that the door swings both ways, in a positive sense. They’re welcome back anytime! I can count on two hands the number of volunteers I’ve gotten back because I gave them a guilt free exit.

3. Trust Your Real Source

Both step one and step two rely on step 3 to work. You’ve got to realize where your help comes from. It’s not a volunteer, your spouse or your pastor… not even in yourself. Your help comes from the Lord (creator of Heaven and Earth). Also, it’s HIS ministry, HIS kids, His church, HIS passion and therefore HIS responsibility. Trust that God has a plan to work everything out for your good and HIS glory. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send you laborers… it’s HIS harvest field… if he wants it harvested, he’ll have to send you folks to help! He does and He will.

4. Think Outside Your Circle

Okay, so the spiritual stuff is good… but what about the help you need? God helps those who help themselves right? Maybe. I prefer to say that we do what we can do and God does what we can’t. If you’re like me, you’ve tapped about just about everyone you know. It may be time to think outside your circle. Pray a bit and ask God to open your mind to someone who may have the right skill set to do what you need done. Ask them directly, letting them know what skills attracted you to them. Offer a limit to their service… say, three months. Tell them they can visit before they commit. If they bite, awesome, if not… keep praying until God delivers.

Trials like this are never fun. They’re one of the more frustrating things you’ll deal with in ministry. But like any struggle, you can just go through it… or you can go through it and have God’s purpose work in you as a result. You’re going to go through it anyway… might as well do it God’s way and get some benefits!

Altar Time Tips

If your church is big on doing altar times where people come to the front to pray, worship and be prayed for, then chances are your children’s ministry is too. Even if they’re not a regular occurrence, at Kids Camp usually they are. For some of us knowing what to do, say or pray can be a little unnerving. And even if we’re comfortable in the setting, that doesn’t mean our volunteers or youth helpers are.

As someone who started as a nervous, less than eager,  altar time participant myself… here are some things I’ve picked up that may help you, or help those you are training.

Kids will come forward for anything

If you play the right music, dim the lights and say the right words you could have an altar call for kids to ask the Easter Bunny in their hearts and you’d still get a good turn out. I mean, who wouldn’t want the Easter Bunny!! Silly, yes… but important. Important because I truly believe that an altar call is all but useless to those who don’t understand what they’re doing. Some could say it’s good practice… but I disagree. I think that’s most of the troubles we have with our kids and spirituality. It’s rehearsed, practiced. They’ve learned how to look like it’s doing what we want it to do for them… and some of them keep up the act till they turn (if they last that long) 18… then they’re gone. That being said…

Most of the kids who come down have a real purpose

There are a lot of tears at a good altar call. Some kids may come down because they’re doing what is expected… but there are a good bunch who come down because they want something from God. They have a purpose for being there… but it may not be the purpose you made the call for.

It’s important to find out why they’re there

I always ask a kid why they came down. If they don’t know, I pray with them and usually direct them back to their seat. It’s not time for them yet. When they do know, and let me know, it helps me pray for them. Yes, God knows… and it doesn’t matter if I know or not… but I believe that in that situation we’re God’s hands and we can be his Voice. I remember loving it when an adult who knew me and my situation would pray specifically for me. On the other hand I can say that I wasn’t thrilled about being prayed over (and breathed on) by the ‘guy who prays for everyone’ dude. More importantly than me knowing… it’s important for them to know. It helps them focus their mind so they can focus on what they need from God.

Find out why they’re crying

If you’ve got a little girl who’s bawling her eyes out… it can be tough to know if they’re being blessed, if they’re missing momma, or if they’re reliving some horrible tragedy from their past. So when I see that child, I always make a point to go to them and ask a simple question, “Happy cry or Sad cry?” If they say ‘happy’ then I just praise God with them. If they say ‘sad’ then it’s time to help them talk it through. Altar times are great… but they can tear the Band-Aid off a broken heart quicker than anything… and we’ve got to be discerning enough to not walk past a child who is broken and assume they’re being blessed.

Thank God… It’s not about us

It can be a little daunting to be there for a hurting child… knowing what to say or not say. Am I talking to much… not enough? Do I have to have all the answers? Can I mess up in a way that will make this child worse? I’ll say it again… Thank God it’s not about us. I believe this… if our hearts are dead set on pleasing God and helping kids… just pure Godly intentionality… it’s going to be hard to mess up. I’ve found that kids aren’t looking for the perfect answer anyway… they’re looking for someone to talk to. They just want to get it out. They want to hear that God knows… and loves them… and WILL help them. Most of the issues I pray with kids about revolve around family issues. When the situation is bad enough… I just remind them that though they have no control over their current family life… they have every bit of control in the world over they family they choose for their own kids. You can give purpose to their pain if you help them to learn from other’s mistakes instead of repeating them.

Don’t be afraid to reel in a weird-o

You know who I’m talking about. That one guy or gal who just loves to wale and spit and spew and shake your kids till they ‘get the spirit’ or fall over. They have the best intentions (most of the time) but they often can get over zealous and actually do more harm than good. I can’t tell you how many teens I’ve talked to who have left the church because one of these guys got a hold of them. Putting a stop to such things takes guts… and it’s embarrassing for both parties… but it’s the right and responsible thing to do. Better to hurt the feelings of an adult (and in the process, disciple them) than to turn a child off to the things of God forever. I do not believe that spiritual people lose control of their own actions.

The time your children spend with their God is powerful and needs to be protected and shepherded. I hope this article has been a help. If so, or if you have any tips you’ve picked up that will help our readers… post them in the comments.