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Practicing the Presence of God

Lately I have been reading a book entitled The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. The book is written by Nicholas Herman who took the name of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection upon becoming a Carmelite monk. The book is small and easy to read, but the encouragement contained in it’s pages is huge. Brother Lawrence very simply lays out his methods of practicing the presence of God.
The best I can do to explain his methods is to liken them to the practice of “praying without ceasing” as we are told to do in the Bible by the Apostle Paul. Brother Lawrence takes great care to go about his daily tasks while keeping his mind focused on God as much as possible. He strives to do even the smallest task with great love for God. He writes that he is in the “presence of God” as much during his daily routine as he is during his designated times of prayer.
Over the last week I have tried very hard to put Brother Lawrence’s advice in to practice. I have enjoyed a deeper, closer time with God during the day’s routine. My thoughts have been more on God instead of my to-do list. I am feeling as though I am in an on-going state of prayer and fellowship with my Father God that is richer than before.
If you are discouraged or struggling under daily stresses, or if you just want to deepen your relationship with your Heavenly Father, give Brother Lawrence’s methods a try. I believe you will notice a difference in your level of stress and have more peace of mind.
What are some other things volunteers or leaders can do to have a deeper, fuller spiritual life? Please leave a comment and share what works in your life.

Leaving a Legacy

Tammy Jones —  May 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

My brother-in-law passed away last week unexpectedly just a few months short of his 60th birthday. He left behind a family that includes several grandchildren that will miss him dearly. That event combined with several things I have heard and read in recent days led me to write this article about leaving a legacy.

Legacy is defined as “anything left behind as from an ancestor.” A legacy is what we leave our children and grandchildren when we have left this earth. The best legacy is not monetary, but something even more tangible—something spiritual. The best legacy would be those memories, those spiritual values, those morals and character traits that we purposefully instill into their lives.

As volunteers in children’s ministry, we have the opportunity to build a legacy into the lives of each child we teach. Each time a child attends our class is another opportunity to build a foundation that will become our legacy to that child. We should not only teach them biblical knowledge and principles, but reinforce the fact that God loves them and so do we. If that is the only thing that they ever get out of our time with them it may well just be enough for them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ later in life.

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How to Tell a Great Story

Tammy Jones —  September 27, 2011 — 1 Comment

Storytelling is one of my favorite ways to share a Bible story with my class. With a little practice, anyone with practice can tell a great story.  In order to tell a good story, there are three fundamental steps you need to take in order to be a good storyteller.

Know the story!

  • Read the story aloud three times.
  • Tell as much of the story as you can from memory. You don’t have to get the re-telling perfect, and you probably won’t the first time.
  • Read the story aloud again.
  • As you read, try to picture the story in your mind.
  • Divide the story into three or four scenes according to the action in the story. This step will help you remember the story better.
  • Re-tell the story again. You did better this time didn’t you?
  • If you are still having trouble try repeating this process again.

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Mission Minded Kids

Tammy Jones —  June 23, 2011 — 1 Comment

Our world is getting smaller. Staying connected with family and friends far away has become so easy with cell phones, Skype, internet and social networks. We can easily see that many of us enjoy the same things and even face the same trials as people across the globe. On the other hand, our world is bigger than we may think. The world is full of people who think and live differently from us. There are many needs in the world beyond our borders. So our kids and grandkids and those we teach can have a balanced view of their world, we need to teach them to be mission minded. Here are a few suggestions on how to begin.

1. Tie every lesson to some kind of mission focus.
Don’t save missions just for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Search for ways to tie each lesson to some kind of mission focus. Look for needs that could be met or a missionary story that could be shared. Perhaps you could even make contact with a missionary that your class could Skype with on a Sunday morning.

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Our average attendance is around 150 on Sunday mornings. Our children’s ministry is contained in the same building as our main worship services. We use a manual check-in system. What follows are the steps that we are using successfully.

1. Purchase a visual paging system–we purchased a single wireless visual display with three transmitters. A transmitter was placed in each ministry area. The visual display is located in the main worship area and is easily visible. Volunteers were trained in how to use the paging system. Check out www.microframe.com for more information.

2. Identification cards–At first we just gave each family a permanent number. This number is the number that would appear on the visual display should we need to get in touch with a parent. These were made simply and inexpensively on a computer using printable business cards.

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To VBS or not to VBS

Tammy Jones —  February 3, 2011 — 5 Comments

Vacation Bible School is alive and well in many areas all around our country. For many small churches VBS may be the biggest outreach of the year. However, some ministry leaders consider Vacation Bible School to be obsolete and ineffective. VBS is being replaced by more family-oriented events.

The decision to banish Vacation Bible School from your church calendar should not be taken lightly. Here are a few tips to help you and your team in a your decision.

1. Prayer–This should go without saying. Seek God’s will for your church.

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A Resource Closet for Free

Tammy Jones —  December 27, 2010 — 1 Comment

Any Children’s Ministry, large or small, needs a Resource Closet. This is the place that volunteers go to find craft materials, curriculum, puppets, items for object lessons, etc. Basically this is where anything and everything is stored that could possibly be needed by anyone and everyone working with kids. Here are a few tips to help you set up a Resource Closet at no cost. (Yes, I said free.)

  1. Find a closet that is not being used or is not being used to it’s full potential. Continue Reading…

How to Be A Better Storyteller

Tammy Jones —  December 20, 2010 — 5 Comments

When I was a kid it was considered rude to call someone a liar. We didn’t want to be rude – so we called them “story tellers” instead.

These days, I spend a good part of my time being a story teller. I love stories, and I love telling them to kids. I love to watch their faces as the story unfolds.  I love to gauge their reactions to the crazy props, the costumes and the faces that I make.  Storytelling is a great way to teach Biblical stories and Biblical principles.The Bible, after all, is a story.  It is God’s story, and storytelling is an effective way of helping kids to understand their part in that story.  As children’s ministers and teachers, it is important that we be able to tell a good story and tell it well.  As a storyteller, you can be as outlandish or as quiet and simple as you feel comfortable. That said, a prop or two now and then really helps to engage kids in the story.

If you don’t use storytelling in your children’s ministry and want to start, there are several good books out there to help you out. I especially liked Creative Storytelling Guide For Children’s Ministry: When All Your Brain Wants To Do Is Fly by Steven James.  Something else to consider if you want to get better at storytelling is taking a Simply the Story workshop. This is part of the “God’s Story Project.” After completing their workshop, you will be able to take any story directly from the Bible and lead an inductive Bible study on the spot.  The workshop  is easliy adaptable for use in children’s ministry.

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I just finished reading Sam Luce’s article “Hanging Out with Sally Lloyd-Jones”  in this month’s issue of K! magazine. Sally is quoted as saying,

“Jesus, of course, has the highest view of children. And, children are our teachers in many ways, maybe as much as, if not more than, we are theirs.”

This is so true. My three-year-old granddaughter has taught me so much!

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Holiday Celebrations

Tammy Jones —  November 4, 2010 — 4 Comments

‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations. Over the past weeks I have read quite a few blog posts about holiday celebrations. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. There are as many ideas out there as there are blogs. So I am faced with another big decision–how will our ministry celebrate the upcoming holidays?

I really want to take another direction in how we celebrate these holidays. I just don’t like the idea of marching out the children, singing a few songs while the parents take photos of their kids wearing cute costumes, then marching them out to the kitchen for milk and cookies. Not that I haven’t done this in the past. It’s just time to rethink our traditional celebrations. What should be our real focus?  If our focus is on ourselves, we will continue to offer photo opps for the parents to enjoy without impacting anyone. We can tell the children that Christmas is all about giving to others, but how will they really know we are serious if we don’t offer them concrete ways to learn for themselves how it feels to give to others? If our focus is on others, then we will reach out to those in need and show them the love of God.

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