The Neglected Necessities

I have noticed recently that across the children’s ministry circles I am involved in that a huge area of concentration for most ministries is CREATIVITY. As children’s pastors I think we try as hard as we can to find ways to make the message of the gospel penetrate kids minds. I think the dream of EVERY children’s leader is that their message each week would STICK and that kids would remember it!

A few months ago I began a journey that has slightly distanced me from this though. Don’t get me wrong, I highly value creativity in children’s ministry. We have to work hard to be relatable and relevant to the kids in our ministries. However, I’m fed up of trying to penetrate a kids mind when they primarily need the message of the Gospel to hit their heart.

I strongly believe that kids need to find wholeness through Jesus. They need to experience God in a way that will stick with them forever, but I don’t think that comes through just information but through relationship.

I grew up in a small church Sunday school…every week I learned more about God…I knew of God…but I never KNEW him…until he penetrated my heart with his love. You see we can try hard and work with incredible creativity to help capture kids attention…but if it ends up in their heads and not in their hearts then it’s all pointless.

I believe there are two things, that we often overlook and neglect, that can help move the message of the Gospel beyond the head and to the heart…

  1. Pastoral Ministry

When kids enter our ministry often they come guarding their heart. Especially kids who had been bruised a little by life. God can work through any barrier but I believe that there is something powerful about pastoral care that enables kids to open their hearts for us to speak life into. Too often this falls into the background…but don’t forget we are called to be ‘CHILDREN’S PASTORS!’

  1. The Work of the Holy Spirit

I finally realized a few months ago that I can’t change a child with my words. I can’t teach them to be a better Christian and then just watch them magically do it. It never worked like that for me and it won’t for them. Instead the Holy Spirit is the true teacher and the one who enables us to do that which we couldn’t do on our own. Sometimes I think we ‘save’ the Holy Spirit for camp or special times of the year but I think its imperative that we make space for him to minister to our kids each week in our services.

How do you incorporate these important elements to your children’s ministry?

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Lessons from a Karate Kid

karate kid

One of my FAVOURITE hobbies is to watch some of the classic movies of the 80’s and 90’s. Born in 1990 I missed out on being an 80’s kid BUT having 3 older sisters definitely meant I was forever enchanted by movies from that era.

Last night I had a lazy night at home and as I scrolled through netflix one movie stood above the rest…The Karate Kid…the original of course!

There is so much depth to that movie…and Mr. Miyagi is just so freaking cool…although sadly I only just realized the actor who played him died in 2005!

I want to look at 3 key lessons that we can learn from that film:-

 

  1. Never take ‘disciplines’ for granted

Clearly Mr. Miyagi was a man of focus. At times in the movie he is seen praying, meditating, balancing and even trying to catch flies with chop sticks. Mr Miyagi knew it wasn’t about being the greatest fighter but the best person he could be.

Too often I think Kidmin can take ‘disciplines’ for granted. Prayer, reading our bibles and fasting are KEY to the Christian life. We must remember its NOT about being the greatest children’s ministry but about being the greatest Christian we can be. This is most important.

 

  1. Real lessons are learnt out of the classroom

I love how Mr. Miyagi uses the sanding of the floor, the waxing of the car and the painting of the fence and house as training for fighting.

Anyone can pass a degree in a classroom but the most important and deep rooted lessons and skills can never really be taught in a ‘classroom’ setting. Character is forged through discipline and unfortunately the struggles of every day life. You can’t shortcut God’s growth plan for your life by going to seminary….just saying!

 

  1. Don’t ever assume your Leaders intentions

In the movie Daniel was instructed to do some pretty crumby jobs…from his perspective it probably felt like he was being marginalized and used as a slave to get Mr. Miyagi’s odd jobs done. There is a turning point in the movie (probably my favorite part!) where he challenges Mr. Miyagi about the things he is making him do. At that point Mr. Miyagi reveals his full intentions/motivations behind getting him to do those things…and all of a sudden the tables are turned and Daniel is shocked that he has the makings of being a great Karate fighter.

Sometimes as Kidmin we can feel marginalized by our senior pastors. We feel like we are given the difficult jobs or are treated unfairly by our pastors. Sometimes we may just feel their expectations/critiques are too intense. However, its important we don’t make assumptions about their intentions, because often they are working for you rather than against you! Speaking to your pastor about your struggles will always bring more clarity.

 

So….what lessons have you learned from Mr. Miyagi and the Karate Kid!?

The Art of Simplicity

This Saturday our Church rocked an incredible outreach block party in the roughest area of our neighborhood. It was our third year doing this and by far our best year, especially as far as our kid’s activities!

The outreach was a huge success reaching at least a 1000 people in the neighborhood. We handed out 300 backpacks with school supplies and we had hotdogs, chips and drinks for everyone. However, my favorite part was seeing the CROWDS of people hoarding around the kids activities. Everything we did was a HUGE success and it was all incredibly SIMPLE.

So here is a list of what we did:-

  • Face Painting (ONLY small & simple cheek designs though!)
  • Colored hairspray
  • Removable Tattoos
  • Balloon twisting
  • Old kids Craft – DUCT tape art – Decorating composition notebooks
  • Younger kids craft: chalk & black paper, bubbles & play dough
  • Obstacle races
  • Free play (hula hoops, ropes, balls)
  • Kids fun run

As you can see there was NOTHING groundbreaking! Everything I needed fit into a car and really once you have a base of supplies the cost of maintenance is pretty minimal.

With just a 10 volunteers we were able to bring TONS of smiles to kids faces! I’m learning more and more that Children’s ministry isn’t rocket science and that simplicity carried out with a high standard is often the key to success.

I believe without the free meals or the free backpacks I could still go out with gazeboes, tables and all these activities to any local busy park and draw a crowd!

After all what parent would deny their child free face painting or a free balloon animal?

 

So what simple things do you do to reach out to your neighborhood?

 

Check out our awesome recap video from our days events!