Archives For curriculum

Leading a small group is one way that you can serve in children’s ministry. Small groups may look different in your church, but three basics will apply to small groups regardless of where you are.  I call them the “Three P’s of Leading a Small Group.”  They are:

1. Prayer

Prayer is so important. You need to be in prayer for your kids, your pastor, and your team. You need to be in prayer over the entire service – inviting the Holy Spirit in. You want to pray for any first time visitors and families who will be coming through your doors for the first time.   In short, you should be in consistent prayer for the kids who are already in the ministry and those who will be coming.

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One Size Fits All

Commander Bill Gunter —  October 21, 2010

We’ve all seen the ads for various items that state “one size fits all”. I’ve seen that in ministry related items as well. At a recent children’s ministry event, I walked from vendor to vendor and they generally had the same “sales pitch”. They shared about the benefits of their product and why they were better than the competition. As I explained that we are a small church, meeting in a movie theatre, with only about 40 minutes during the sermon to use the material, the next line I generally hear is, “that’s who we designed it for!” It is flexible so you can take and use what you need for your situation, i.e. “one size fits all”. Consequently, the larger churches with a lot of time get the benefit of the entire curriculum, where the more petite churches with fewer children, volunteers and less time, have a lot of unused material/content, yet the price is the same for both because “one size fits all”.

Now, I don’t state that to be critical of the various products, but to emphasize the point that one size NEVER fits all. Being bi-vocational, or volunteer, we may sometimes look for a curriculum in a box, something we, and those serving under us, can pull out on a Sunday morning (or weekday) and follow the script. We shouldn’t think like that. Each of our ministries and the children in our care are unique. We need to take a look at various products and see what works for us in our situation. Take the good, and use it, take the parts that don’t relate to your situation and remove, or revamp them.

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At first glance this may seem like a strange question. I mean we minister through our ministry, right? Well track with me for a minute while I become a bit vulnerable. I just finished watching some old episodes of the TV show Undercover Boss. The gist of the show is to take the CEO of a major corporation and put him or her in a series of line level positions to allow him to get a better appreciation for the people that keep the company running. In each of the cases that I watched, the CEO went into the experience thinking that it would be about one thing and ended it with a completely different focus. At the end of the experience each of these CEOs realized that what really mattered and what made their companies great was people. Nearly every one of them said that is was people that mattered. This almost seems like a no brainer in ministry, but I think it needs to be said. As I concluded the last episode I realized that my focus was not really where it needed to be. I was not focused on people.

I love people yet somehow I let doing my ministry keep me from ministering to people. As a part time, volunteer, or bi-vocational children’s worker this can be an easy trap to fall into. I mean there is just so much work to do and often the expectations are not greatly decreased simply because we are not full-time. For me In my attempt to build a great children’s ministry I got so focused on tasks that I lost sight of people. As I think about Jesus’ ministry I realize that there is no mention of the running of his ministry. There were details that had to be addressed, He and the disciples had to eat, they had to sleep and they had to give some thought to where they were going to go next. Despite all of the details that would clearly have had to be taken care of, there is very little mention of any of them. In fact the only time that we read anything about these day to day things is when Jesus used them to teach a lesson, or to minister to people. Jesus’ focus was never on the things he had to do. Rather his focus was on PEOPLE.

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Recently, Whitney George shared a great post about how Church on the Move writes a new series for their children’s ministry. You can check it out here.  That post started me thinking of how often a volunteer kidmin with a small budget finds limited choices for curriculum, prompting them to write their own. That was my situation when I first starting writing our curriculum. One option that I have used several times is to tie a series to a recently released movie. Since I didn’t have the budget, and I certainly don’t have the talent myself, to create amazing graphics, I could use the movie’s merchandise. The advantages are that there are often many items available that can be used for decor, games, object lessons, and prizes. It’s even easy to find inexpensive items that you can send home with each child as a reminder of the day’s lesson.

For example, we wanted to do a series emphasizing that God is always with us. We illustrated it using scenes from Toy Story 3 and our kids came away knowing that God is with us, to infinity and beyond! Just a quick run to Walmart and we had plenty of props readily available for our lessons and games. And the movie was full of situations that mirror our lives with God. Andy was going to a new college, and our kids often go to a new school or new class. In those times, God is with us. When the toys are facing the blaze at the landfill it brings to mind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing the fiery furnace. Again, God was with them. Andy decision on keeping his toys for himself or giving them away, lends itself easily to teach generosity like the widow of Zarephath, and God will always be with those who care for others.

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Let’s Talk Tweens!

Wendy Douglas —  August 3, 2010

Preteens or “tweens” are at the in-between developmental stage where they are in the process of sorting out all the information and values they are exposed to. They are reaching out, questioning, and testing. Children at this age are in a time of transition while facing more “adult” issues at an earlier age and beginning to make decisions that will have long-lasting implications. They are constantly evaluating whether or not they are fitting in and receiving approval. They aren’t little anymore, yet they aren’t teenagers either.

In children’s ministry reaching tweens means having a curriculum that reaches out differently than the one used for elementary aged kids. One option is to adapt the curriculum you are using for the younger children for older tweens.  Another option is to tweak the curriculum you are using for the older students to make it mow suitable for these in between years. There are also curriculum out there written specifically for preteens like Grapple, and The Lads Band now have a curriculum as well.

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