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Archive for the ‘children’s ministry’ Category

Growing up I didn’t really know a whole lot about Lent.  Even though my dad was a pastor, it just wasn’t something that we observed in our family’s Easter traditions.  It wasn’t until after college that I began to learn more about the tradition and participate in different aspects of observing Lent and it has become a very meaningful experience for me.

Lent is a time of preparation  for Easter.  A time of ‘getting ready’ to remember and celebrate Jesus death and resurrection.  In the early days of the Church it was a time for new believers to learn about their faith and prepare to be baptized.  Traditionally, Lent is the forty days before Easter (not counting Sundays) and begins on Ash Wednesday.  Many people use this time as a season of repentance and inward reflection.

There are 4 spiritual acts of Lent that have historically been practiced among believers during the Lenten season.

  • giving to the poor
  • prayer
  • fasting (or abstaining)
  • repentance

Recognizing Lent as a family can offer a valuable time for your family to create traditions together.  These traditions will help your children understand the celebration of Easter and will create meaningful memories for your family.  Participating in Lent can also open up a spiritual dialogue within your family to discuss why we celebrate Easter and why it is important. 

Here are some different activities to consider doing with your family:

Donate  As a family, gather items from around your house that could be donated to a local organization.  Clothing, gently used toys, and non-perishable food items could help families in need.  Discuss with your children why you are doing this and where the items are going.

Collect Save your spare change or designate a certain amount of money each week to go toward a charity or ministry that helps the poor.  Consider having your child give a portion of their own money or allowance toward this.

Volunteer  Find a local organization (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, neighbor in need) that you can volunteer some time at as a family.

Pray  Create a prayer list or prayer box where you can write down different items to pray for as a family.  Set aside a time each day to pray together and recognize how God has answered your prayers.

Memorize  Read the Lord’s Prayer together and set a goal to memorize it as a family.  (Matthew 6:9-13)

Fasting  Give up something together as a family.  It could be for the entire season of Lent or just focus on one week or even one activity.  Replace that thing with a God-focused experience if possible.  Some suggestions would be giving up a favorite family TV show or take the money you would have spent to go out to dinner together and buy food for a food pantry.

New Life  Find an activity to do with your children that can represent the ‘new life’ we have in Christ.  This could be a
special craft/activity, planting some spring flowers, or making resurrection eggs.

Family Devotions  Spend some time during the Lent season reading the Bible together and talking about repentance.  The ministry of Jesus, Jonah, and the Easter Story (Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24) are some passages you can focus on.

Download a copy of  the Family Activities for Lent to use with your family.

You can also find some additional resources on Family Activities for Lent here or here.

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What's In The Bible

After reading Larry Shallenberger’s review here, I did a litttle research and I can’t wait to get my hands on Phil Vischer’s new project What’s in the Bible?. (Tyndale… will you send me a copy, too?)  This DVD series looks like it is going to meet a need to give kids the big picture of what the Bible is about.  So many times we just pull stories and lessons out to share with our kids.  It can be hard for them to see the many different ways the bigger Story connects together.

Watch the trailer…

My respect has grown for Phil Vischer after hearing more about his journey and listening to him here.  And the fact that this projects includes Rhett and Link has already sold it for me.

Although I haven’t viewed the DVD yet, from a ministry perspective I am probably going to agree with Larry when he says that these videos may need some adaptation for them to work effectivly in a class setting.  In my ministry we would only consider using something in a 10 min max. chunk each week to allow for interaction and discussion within our 30 minute window of class time.   However, it looks like a great resource to reccomend to families to view together and to create discussions at home.  I’ll let you know when I get to see it!

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 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.   Matt 6:31-33 NLT

 

I have been doing this Children’s Ministry thing for almost 7 years now (yikes!) and every season as I begin to recruit volunteers I always have those moments of doubt…Who is going to teach this class?… Will we have enough volunteers?…What will I do if there is no one to be with these kids?  At some point along this road I realized that God has met my needs (our needs as a church) each time.  It didn’t always look like the plan I had begun with but it was always the perfect plan.

 

So as I began planning and recruiting for this Fall season, this year with THREE services, my prayers revolved around God providing for our real needs as a ministry.  Several times random people would ask me –“ What are we going to do if you don’t find a teacher?”  I would always try to respond positively with – “It always works out, God always give us what we need.”  Truthfully, I was still asking myself those same questions in the midst of knowing that God is bigger that all I can do, and that He will meet our needs.

Yesterday, I filled the last lead teacher position.  Amazing.  I filled the remaining slot with people who are just awesome, yet I would not have imagined that they would be interested in volunteering. (so much for my plan, right?)  This is a complete answer to prayer and another example of God’s sovereignty in my life and in this ministry. 

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a new year

Despite officially being out of school for nearly ten years (yikes!) I still think of every new year starting around Labor Day and not a week after Christmas.  Most likely this is because my whole professional life has rotated around this cycle from when I was teaching to now in church ministry.  My Children’s Church program is ramping up, home group is beginning again, and sadly it seems to be getting a little bit colder. 

My new year is almost here and I am furiously recruiting volunteers, sending emails, and making schedules…in the midst of trying to write curriculum, plan a study and MAYBE organize my house.  Meanwhile, I just want to go back to the beach and read my book.

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