Just likemuch of our adult worship music today, kids music too often reflects what Jesus warned against: “vain repetition.” (Matthew 6:7) We have songs that are nice, peppy, and certainly full of praise, but lack biblical depth or content. It makes me miss the classic “Sunday School Songs” I grew up on. In fact, when I have an opportunity to lead kids worship, I rarely use “video worship” and instead lead with my guitar, despite the fact that I only know about 6 chords! (My musical gift is being able to convert nearly any song into a D-A-G! LOL)
I’ve learned that if you are enthusiastic, speed up, slow down, have kids on stage, use motions, and then bring it all down and end with some seriousness, you can make up for what you lack in musical skill. Remember, it’s all about relationships. And I think a person is always better than a screen in the end.
But all that aside, I want to make sure you are using GO FISH in your children’s ministry. If you use video worship, Go Fish is probably the BEST out there – in every category. First, let’s talk about production quality. While it’s not the most important aspect, it is what draws kids in, and these videos are FUN and eye-popping and engaging! Second, the music is simply cool. It’s upbeat, fun, contemporary, and catchy. You can’t help loving it, no matter what age you are. Third, and most important to me, the content of their music is excellent. I give this music away constantly as gifts to kids I know. It isn’t “Christian Fluff.” It is spiritually and biblically RICH. They often take those “old” Sunday School songs and even hymns, which were strong in content but perhaps outdated in style, and update them so that your foot is tappin’ and if you are driving, you’ll be tappin’ the steeling wheel. (My personal favorite, however, is their bedtime songs. Yeah, they do the full spectrum of musical styles.)
But then, here is what floors me. They actually share the Gospel at the concerts – and that is rare. They are focused leading kids to Christ. Sadly, I don’t see that as often today as I should. Too many Christian products and resources are sadly missing the Gospel, which is what we are supposed to be about.
Check out this sample video of Sunday School classics Go Fish Style:
Let me just end by encouraging you, as you select worship music for your kids church services, select music that not only is upbeat and fun but also has some depth to it. There are certainly others out there who accomplish this too. But I highly recommend incorporating Go Fish. Your kids will thoroughly enjoy them!
Kidology has arranged to provide downloads of their music for you, and you can help support our ministry by shopping on our site, though you can also go directly to GOFISHGUYS.com to shop all their awesome resources.
BY THE WAY! If you didn’t use their VBS kits during the summer, have you considered using a VBS kit as a unit in Kid’s Church? You get a TON of their music as well as great lessons to go along with it! It’s a great way to have a special series in your children’s church.
We are ministers of kids because we want to make a difference in the lives of children.
Below is a PDF of some slides pulled out from one of my presentations I like to give when I am speaking at conferences or encouraging volunteers. I enjoyed speaking to the volunteers at a church this Sunday, and wanted to make these slides available to them, and to anyone else who might find them helpful and challenging.
They are TEN WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the life of a child. They are, in a sense, “ten secrets” to connecting with kids beyond just teaching great lessons and being a good leader. These are the things that will set you apart.
They are what make you a relational minister. And they are the things that kids will remember years later long after lessons are assimilated into who you are and events are forgotten. I almost hate to give away my secrets, except that they will change lives when applied. So I can’t keep them to myself!
I recently caught up with KidCheck CEO Alex Smith and interviewed him on my podcast, Kidmin Talk. Let me encourage you to invest just a few minutes to give a listen.
WHY is this worth your time?
If you are in children’s ministry leadership, one of the areas of responsibility you inherited, that you may not have counted on when you got your Call to Ministry – was the safety of the kids you oversee.
When I meet children’s pastors/directors and ask them, “So what was it that drew you into kids ministry?” No one has ever said to me,
“You know, I just got this divine Calling from God to make sure kids were securely checked in on Sundays and all entered into the church database and that their addresses and parents cell phone numbers were all kept up to date so that we could sent text alerts. Oh, and I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that allergy awareness was just something that I was gifted at and I needed to find a profession where I could make it a major focus.”
No. No one has ever said that to me. And yet I have had leaders tell me that had no idea they’d have to worry about separated parents with restraining orders picking up their kids. Liability for custody issues concerns them!
We got into this business because we wanted to introduce kids to Jesus, creatively teach the Bible and partner with parents in discipling kids, right? But we find ourselves responsible for some other pretty serious stuff.
How do we manage all this SECURITY STUFF that we admit is important, and we might feel a little guilty that we kinda hate it, but we know gotta do it?
Enter KidCheck! Listen to my podcast and find out how modern technology has taken so much of the work away from you, delegated it to parents, and has become easier and incredibly affordable - and just plain cool too!
EVEN IF YOU AREN’T IN AWANA! If you are in kids ministry, and if you are in Colorado, let me encourage you to JOIN ME at one of the Colorado Awana Ministry Conferences that I’ll be ministering at this fall!
While there are some workshops specifically for Awana Clubs, most of the training (and all the classes I am teaching) are general Kidmin Training that will apply to ANYONE in children’s ministry!
I am speaking and doing workshops of two of the Awana Ministry Conferences coming up in the Colorado/Utah Region:
AUGUST 17-18, 2012 in Colorado Springs
SEPTEMBER 21-22, 2012 in Denver (Wheat Ridge)
Making Your Class Rock (extended session training)
Workshop 1 – Teaching Lessons That Last
What makes a lesson memorable? Learn how kids minds and memories work – and how you can teach lessons that last not only through the week, but into their adult life and genuinely impact eternity! Kids love to learn – but they learn best through experience! Create lessons that impact kids beyond just the brain. Get them excited about their faith and walk with God.
Workshop 2 – Object Lesson Explosion!
This is a fun, interactive, objects-in-hand, hands-on workshop. Give ANY object to the Kidologist, and he will instantly create a biblical object lesson from that object – and then show you how to do it too! Discover why teaching with objects is so effective and why Jesus used object lessons when He taught! You will learn how to start with an object and form a spiritual lesson from it, or how to start with a topic and determine what object or visual will
Workshop 3 – Kidology 101: Effective Relational Ministry to Kids
Kidology is the study of kids and their world. To be an effective minister to today’s children, one must learn to do it from within the context of their culture. A working knowledge of a kid’s world is an inroad to their heart. Learn how to relate to kids and keep up with their ever-changing culture.
Workshop 5 – Bringing Stories to Life
There is a reason Jesus used stories. Life IS a story. History is “HIS Story.” Learn the secrets of how to be an amazing story teller and how to have your kids on the edge of their seats when you tell stories!
Closing Keynote Session: YOU, The Missing Piece in a Child’s Spiritual Journey
You can get complete details at www.Awana4Kids.org – you don’t need to come both days, you can choose just Friday evening (I’m the only trainer) or just Saturday (Lots of workshops to choose from, myself and many others) or come for both!
VISIT THE WEBSITE and click on the options to the left under CONFERENCE for INFO, REGISTRATION and WORKSHOP LIST for downloads with all the details.
UPDATE: The LIMIT FOR TRIAL CHURCHES IS NOW CLOSED. But – read on, it’s still exciting!
It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of both Awana and Speed Stacks. For years I have had a dream…that the two could somehow come together.
Just as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the ULTIMATE CANDY, blending chocolate and peanut butter, in the same way, I’ve dreamed that Awana could collide with Speed Stacks. Maybe you are old enough to remember those commercials where someone was walking eating chocolate and another person was eating peanut butter, and they bumped into each other:
“Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter!”
“You got peanut butter in my chocolate!”
They take a bite and say together, “Hmmmmmm”
Well, years ago, I began to mix ministry and sport stacking and found it to be one of the most effective outreaches that brought new kids to church.
You can check out the archived Speed Stacks site from one of my previous ministries here: VCBkids Speed Stacks.
And then the discovery is made: It makes Awana game time more fun, draws kids to church, encourages clubbers to invite their friends, and ultimately helps the club grow and more boys and girls come to know Christ…“Hmmmmmm”
I’ve been given TOP SECRET CLEARANCE to reveal a project I have been working on for quite some time. Trips to Awana Headquarters, meetings at Speed Stacks International Headquarters near my home….
Karl getting ready to film the introduction for the instructional DVD
Talking Sport Stacking with Roger Washburn from Speed Stacks
A Pilot Program is being launched THIS FALL to introduce Sport Stacking with Speed Stacks into Awana Games, and a LIMITED NUMBER of Awana Clubs are being invited to participate! They get completely FREE SPEED STACKS, an instructional DVD starring yours truly and Roger Washburn from Speed Stacks, and complete instructions on several Awana Games specially designed for the Awana Circle.
UPDATE:The LIMIT FOR TRIAL CHURCHES IS NOW CLOSED. However, if you have IDEAS, SUGGESTIONS, or COMMENTS on the Awana Games / Speed Stacks Combination YOUR INPUT or COMMENTS are still welcome!
Some might be surprised that I would write a curriculum for October that addresses Halloween – especially four weeks worth – a few offended even, others thankful. So in advance of it’s release I want to explain why.
The decision regarding whether or not to write this unit was not an easy one. I understand that the feelings surrounding Halloween and how we are to respond to it as Christians run strong on both sides. On one end, there are those who decide to completely ignore the ‘holiday’ (in quotes for it is hardly a ‘holy day’), and on the other end are those who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to reach kids and families through outreaches and Fall events, with many views in between.
By writing this unit, I am in no way condoning the events and practices surrounding Halloween that Christians disagree with and even sought to be very cautious in the images selected to both reflect the season while avoiding anything that is contrary to our belief system. I therefore focused more on bats, pumpkins, spiders, and items that exist in nature and that the kids enjoy.
But why do it in the first place?
There is a part of us that enjoys being “scared” – it is one way we deal with our fears. It is why we enjoy roller coasters and scary movies. By confronting our fears, or putting ourselves into fearful situations, we can feel a sense of control – at least that way, we are scaring ourselves rather than being a victim of something beyond our control.
As our culture’s obsession with Halloween continues to grow with each passing year, some reports claim that it is now surpassing Christmas in retail sales and in decorating investment by Americans. My desire is not to add to that focus, but instead, to acknowledge that interest and counter it by preparing our children with a biblical perspective on death.
It has always been my belief that the reason almost every culture has a “festival of death” of some sort is because of the unspoken fear of death that those without Christ carry around with them, perhaps even so deeply that they don’t consciously acknowledge it. Movie directors like Tim Burton create dark movies that constantly delve into death and the afterlife, and Hollywood pumps out one “end of the world” scenario movie after another because at everyone’s core lies the ultimate question, “What happens to me after I die?”
Though many parents might, I won’t take my son to movies like the upcoming “Frankenweenie,” but I do want to teach him, and equip others to teach their kids, about the One who trulyCAN raise the dead!
Halloween provides our culture with a way of making light of death. We laugh at death. We mock it. We decorate with skeletons and ghosts, we dress up with blood and gore, and we put on costumes of monsters and other frightful creatures and go door to door asking for candy. But after it is all said and done, that piercing question goes unanswered. And quiet nagging questions remain… “What will happen to me after I die? Will I really just return to dust? Will it all really just have been for nothing? Is there a hell?”
This unit is an opportunity to give kids the Answer. For praise God, there IS an answer. Jesus conquered Death. Death is NOT the end! And there is life after death! We owe it to our children to stand up to Halloween and teach our kids that there is an alternative to mocking the fear of death. Instead, we can teach them that we know a Savior who faced death and destroyed it and can raise us up too!
HERE IS AN OVERVIEW OF THE LESSONS:
Lesson 1: A Dead Girl Rises (The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter) Scripture: Luke 8:40-56 Scream Theme: “Have No Fear, Jesus is Here!”
Lesson 2: A Dead Man Walks Out of a Tomb! (The Raising of Lazarus) Scripture:John 11:1-44 Scream Theme: “When Jesus Nears, You Can Wipe Your Tears!”
Lesson 3: A Dead Man at a Funeral, Wakes Up!
(The Centurion’s Faith and The Raising of the Widow’s Son) Scripture:Luke 7:1-17
Scream Theme: “Death Must Run, When It Meets God’s Son!”
Lesson 4: Dead Man Raises Himself, Claims He Can Raise Others
(The Resurrection of Jesus) Scripture:Luke 24:1-53 Scream Theme: “Death Has No Sting, When Jesus Does His Thing!”
I’m excited to teach on the Resurrection at a time other than Easter, since it is so central to the Christian Faith! It is a powerful lesson, and a great opportunity to present the Gospel to the children. In every lesson, the kids learn not only how Jesus has power over death, but also how He has a plan for our lives, how He is caring and how He sees our needs and moves to meet them.
I have fun with the theme, while avoiding ghosts, zombies, witches and things I think will be the most offensive, though I realize this unit won’t be for everyone. I’ll give a refund to anyone who after buying it doesn’t agree that it is a powerful unit that will teach SOLID BIBLICAL LESSONS THAT SHOW JESUS HAS CONQUERED DEATH AND EVIL! So there is no risk if you’ll take a chance with me. I’ve allowed sever skeptic friends of mine see advance drafts and every single one of them have been exceedingly pleased with the result. I’ve been relieved with their feedback!
But know, it does allow kids to have fun with the scary theme. Camp fire stories, glow in the dark games, an optional (and short) funny “Mr. Bones” skeleton video to summarize each lesson. (Sample below) If you are familiar with DiscipleTown, which I write – you’ll see many of the same familiar elements: A PowerPoint template, an editable letter to Parents to help them understand why you are using a Halloween theme as well, object lessons and other helpful elements.
In the end, I think this unit will not only be fun for kids, but will help re-frame a season we tend to just cringe through and endure. Instead – why not seize it and say, “We’re not afraid of Halloween! For we know the One who has looked Death in the face and conquered it! Let’s stand up and tell our kids so!”
Every lesson follows a S.C.A.R.Y. outline:
Scary Story (Bible Story)
Crazy Fun (Game)
Afraid? Not! (The Lesson)
Relate Time (Small Group or Discussion)
Yes God! (Application)
and ends with R.I.P. = Respond In Prayer.
It’s a very fun unit your kids will enjoy, BUT it is PACKED with solid biblical lessons that are powerful and will hit hard on topics that are not often addressed as directly and creatively as this unit enables.
It is my prayer that this October thousands of kids will look at Halloween and the Power of God in a whole new way!
MR. BONES VIDEO from Lesson One:
If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the curriculum, feel free to post them in this discussion on Kidology.org. (link coming soon) However, I’m not looking for arguments about Halloween. I respect those decide to not do anything with the holiday, that is a valid decision. This curriculum is for those who choose to address it.
The curriculum will also come with a complete Trunk or Treat Fall Outreach Planning Guide written by myself and two other children’s pastors as an added bonus!
My eating at chic-fil-a today had NOTHING to do with my support for marriage being defined as that between a man and a woman, nor because I oppose gay marriage. BUT BECAUSE I AM AN AMERICAN.
If I ate somewhere because of my political positions, I would have to get rid of the MacBook Pro I am typing on, my iMac, my MiniMac, my MacBook Air, my iPhone, my iPad, my Apple TV, (even my Newton! LOL) and the countless Apple products my staff use and close my Christian non-profit business account I have with Apple who treats my Christian organization wonderfully giving me great discounts despite the very liberal (and often non-Christian political beliefs) of it’s owners, founders and probably a vast number of it’s employees.
But they make excellent products. And this is America – the Land of the Free.
Free to disagree with me. And free to create awesome products despite what we passionately believe religiously or politically.
That is America!
Have people FORGOTTEN THE TYRANNY our Founders FLED to found this country?
Chic-fil-a should ALSO be free to make chicken, sell chicken and it’s owner have political views that are different than what some liberal Chicago or Boston or San Franciso mayors and politicians may have and not face political and government threats.
I’m not eating at Chic-fil-a today because I agree with Chic-fil-a, but because I OPPOSE TYRANNY wherever I see it.
And I like a good chicken sandwich as much as I like my Mac.
(OK, I like my Mac a lot more, but that’s besides the point.)
God Bless America. And if you don’t believe in God, I hope He blesses you anyway!
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey