My favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Carol. by Charles Dickens. But not just any telling of it. It has to be the The Muppet’s version. (1992)
It is truly the best version ever made. If you have not seen it, you must. Even if you aren’t in kid’s ministry and yes, even if you typically don’t like puppets. It is as touching as it is funny. And Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat, as narrators make the movie. They are simply hysterical. Micheal Caine does a great job as the Scrooge as well. Of course, Kermit and the Gang all do great filling in the rest of the cast.
So, in 2004, I created my own parody of the movie in ToyBox Tales fashion. If you are not familiar with ToyBox Tales – for several years I performed stories with action figures on a set in front of a live audience of kids at my church as a way to introduce lessons or re-introduce familiar stories in a new and fun way. (From 2001-2005) Long before the phrase “going viral” existed, the videos I made “went viral” and as people found them on my church website and I was forced to start a website called toyboxtales.com to share them. YouTube.com did not exist at the time! So they were converted to flash and hosted on my own site. They are there still!
But as a Christmas gift this year, I decided to take my favorite Christmas movie and upload them to my YouTube channel and share them here on my blog for your enjoyment.
Back by popular demand after the huge success of Resurrection Clue Hunt, it’s time to explore the true meaning of Christmas!
Our family played this game last night and had a blast asking, “Do you have Joseph with the Gold?” or “Do you have Mary in the Manger?” or “What about King Herod in the King’s Court?”
Mix and match different People, Locations and Objects and try to discover the missing clues to the Story of Christmas! When you are done – choose one of the complete devotionals to read to top off the play with some insightful Bible Learning!
Your kids will learn some things about Christmas they probably didn’t know. With twenty different devotionals and different missing clues, the learning will be different each time you play!
Ideal for church small groups as well as quality family time for the holidays.
So turn off the TV! (The Grinch and and Rudolph can wait.) It’s time for another round of Christmas Clue Hunt! Your kids can learn more about the AMAZING TRUE STORY OF CHRISTMAS this season!
Discover amazing facts from the Bible about:
People (8 total)
• Baby Jesus
• Wise Men
• King Herod
Locations (6 total)
• King’s Court
• The East
• Shepherd’s Field
For each there is a Bible Passage, a short description, custom illustration and a devotional that is available either immediately on your Smart Phone or Tablet via instant QR code, or PDF that comes included that you can print.
It’s Christmas Learning that is FUN for the whole family! (or church small groups or classes!)
As I hope you know – Sport Stacking – is one of the funnest* sports and activities that you can do with kids. It is a sport that kids of all ages and athletic abilities can do. When I was a full time children’s pastor, I discovered this amazing sport and incorporated into our children’s ministry and it became not only a magnet for kids, but a super relational tool for simply playing with and interacting with the kids in my church. Parents also found it to be a fun way to engage with their kids in a fun activity that they could do with children of any age – and of course, kids enjoyed beating their parents at a fun sport.
Me and My Game Guys hangin’ with kids
Now, Sport Stacking has become an official part of the Awana Game Time. I launched it last week with a series of games using the Jumbo Cups. My goal there was a fast, easy introduction that would get the kids excited about the sport and the concept of stacking around the Awana Circle.
But tonight, it was time to introduce them to the actual sport, and provide some training the stacking techniques.
The Key is to keep the training short, fun and get to playing as soon as possible!
But I do not recommend skipping the training. As the saying goes, “its hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” Right? It is harder to re-teach the correct way to stack, than it is to get kids off to a good start right at the beginning!
I filmed the evening and put together a video with on screen TIPS through out the video to help others see how I do it, some of the things I dealt with live – as well as see the practice game we used to help the clubbers get familiar with the cups before actually competing. (The Practice Game is called “Up, Down, Stack Around” and is found on page 10 of the Awana Sport Stacking Game Book.)
Here is the video, you will see both Sparks and TnT Training, and the differences between them. I hope it is a help to others teaching Sport Stacking, whether you have an Awana Club or not!
We did do several other games, but I’ll highlight those in a future video. You can download my Awana Game Time ‘Game Plans’ weekly in my Awana Game Time Facebook Group, via PDFs if you are a Game Time leader. Just look under Files.
*funnest may not be a word, but kids know what it means!
It is always encouraging to hear how Kidology Coaching changes lives as well as ministries. If you have ever considered getting a personal coach, read this letter from our most recent graduate, and pray about growing with one of our coaches. We have just added a woman to our coaching team, so for ladies who have been waiting for that, now is your chance!
Upon graduating from the Kidology Coaching Program, I want let you know that the Kidology Coaching Program has been a “life-saver” for me! Literally! The work that you and the coaches have put into the curriculum, the training you’ve had and all the components of this coaching program is exemplary. I want to tell you how this program has changed my life in hopes that someone else could relate and become a part of the program at a just the right time in their life.
When I signed up for the coaching program I was at a “low” in my ministry. I had gone through the “honeymoon” stage of my ministry (where everyone was thrilled to have me there and helped me along with everything, because I was new and naïve) and was facing some big obstacles—not as much in my ministry circumstances, as inside myself. I had seriously contemplated quitting this job and going back to public education.
I’m thanking God that He brought into my life a certain email from you: the Kidology newsletter that included the Black Friday ad. This spoke to me and I knew I had to look into it. I decided to take a leap and let someone in, someone who I hoped could help me sort through these thoughts and responsibilities. I saw the video of you and Barney on the site and that sealed the deal for me. I am one who needs to have a “sneak peek” into the program, before I will commit to it. I felt like you gave just enough of an overview to let me feel comfortable taking the next step.
I give God the credit, the praise, the glory for reaching down and seeing His servant struggling, just giving her a life preserver in the form of a more experienced servant, one who knew how to weather the storm. This servant of His (Barney) has dedicated his life to seeing students make progress in stepping up, moving forward in their ministries. I can still remember those early conversations we had, when every word was like fresh water for a soul who had been surrounded only by salt water for the longest time. I was able to drink them in, letting them saturate how I thought and communicated, refreshing my ministry outlook. I remember actually hearing Barney’s words in my mind as I had conversations with volunteers or other leaders, and what a reassurance they were to me. To know that someone was there for me, that someone was invested in me and had my back, was a huge morale booster in itself. The curriculum has been a wonderful component in this experience. This was the Children’s Ministry education I always needed, but never got.
Since beginning the Kidology Coaching ProgramI have seen such a difference in my confidence level in leading adults and I have expanded my knowledge about networking and building relationships with others in Kids Ministry. My productivity has increased as I’ve learned how to manage my time better and I’ve gained two assistants—all things that Barney coached me through very thoroughly. I am excited about the extensive introduction to storytelling, puppetry, magic and object lessons I received with Barney—all things I can use to take my level of ministering to kids to the next step. I have more clarity about my ministry process and what my priorities are, as a leader in Children’s Ministry. My life is all around a much better picture of someone who is relying on God fully and leading with the confidence that God has called me to reach children and resource families.
In closing, I know that the things I read, heard, experienced and talked about during this coaching program have grown me as a person, a servant of God, a Children’s Ministry leader, a wife, mother, and friend. I am so thankful for the hard work and time that has been invested in this program; a program that is reaping benefits, beyond what you know!
My sincere thanks, Kerrianne Gahr Children’s Director of Atlantic Ave UB Church
There is no other kidmin coaching program available that provides as much one on one TIME with our students than Kidology Coaching, or that has the depth of quality content coming from coaches who are not only experienced children’s ministry leaders, but trained consultants and coaches.
As you may know from following my blog (past posts linked at end) I’ve been working as a consultant for Awana and Speed Stacks on an exciting project to incorporate Sport Stacking into the Awana Circle Games! The Awana Sport Stacking Kit is now available for churches with Awana Clubs, and this fall the Lord opened the door for me to serve as the Game Leader at my son’s Awana Club so that I could implement this new program first hand.
I decided to wait a month and get to know the club, the leaders and kids a bit before introducing something new – but last night I introduced the concept of Sport Stacking in Awana by introducing the Jumbo Stacks and a few of the games that use the giant cups. If you are a member of my Awana Game Time Facebook Group, you get a link every week to my PDF Game Plan, but if you aren’t, here is a link to my Game Plan for last night. Even if you don’t have an Awana Club, you may enjoy this group as there is a LOT of Game idea swapping going on!
Some instruction on Sport Stacking is important to help kids learn the basics of cup handling so that they can be faster in the long run – and we’ll do that next week – but rather than start with instruction (since kids want to PLAY!) I started with some games that could be done with little instruction since we were using the Jumbos. (I remember announcing Jumbos in 2009!)
If you have the Awana Sport Stacking Kit, we played: Tower Relay (Sparks), Jumbo Pyramid Relay (Sparks and TnT) and Mumbo Jumbo Blast (TnT)! (Cubbies played too, just not official games, see Game Plan linked above.)
Here is an edited video of how the evening went. To keep it short, I edited out a lot of the instruction, but I think it is pretty easy to figure out the rules/game play from watching the kids play.
Here is a video from the Trial Church’s DVD Last Year where I explain the history of why I have been pursuing this partnership between Awana and Speed Stacks and am so excited it is now a reality for churches. (Around 50 churches tested the program last year so we could refine the games and rules before launching nation-wide.)
This week I had a Sunday School training with Karl Bastian, the Kidologist. The topic was discipline, and I was eager to learn. That’s one of the hardest things for me as a Sunday School teacher.
I walked out with a lot of great tips. Grace based tips. Which I love, because I’m a big fan of grace. All new ideas I’d never thought of, heard of, or tried before. I’m eager to try this out.
But the thing that struck me the most wasn’t so much a tip as it was a perspective. Which was pretty much the perspective that framed all the tips.
You know those “good” kids? You know, the ones who bring you Christmas gifts and say please and thank you and never disrupt class? You probably aren’t going to make a difference in their life. Why? Because their lives are already on a good trajectory. They usually come from good homes, homes where parents are doing a wonderful job teaching them about faith and how to live like Jesus. If you weren’t in their lives, they’d probably still turn out to be wonderful Christians.
You know those “bad” kids? The ones who interrupt your class with fart noises and start chanting “no more rules!” (The latter actually happened to me last week.) The ones who make you want to use duct tape as a disciplinary measure or pull your hair out because you can’t? This is your greatest opportunity to make a difference in a kids’ life. Not by punishing them or yelling at them – not by striving to change their behavior. But by partnering with them and being their friend and helping them understand what it means to be a Christian. By helping shape their heart and showing them that Jesus loves them—when they probably feel like no adult loves them.
Karl accomplished his goal (at least for me): to make us want those kinds of kids more than we want the “good” kids. Because if I want to make a difference in a kid’s life, it’s not going to be in the angelic kid’s life. It’s going to be in the life of an unloveable 5th grade boy that I loved anyway.
By Ali Thompson
I asked Ali if I could re-post her blog post because she got it. If you want to hear the presentation I gave at LifeBridge Church last Sunday, you can listen to a similar presentation I did at a conference by downloading this MP3: Making Your Discipline Problems Disappear! (79 MB)
Through these FREE streaming online videos every Premium Member of Kidology can learn what I’ve learned in my twenty plus years of being a leader and children’s pastor.
Then, to add to the learning experience, each training session has an optional add-on download kit that provides a RICH 30+ page PDF that goes even deeper into the material, has bonus material, a downloadable version of the video so you can go mobile with it or full screen and even gives you a PowerPoint so you can then, in turn, train YOUR leaders!
When you are done and compile all FIVE PDFs the sum result is the Kidology Handbook Leader’s Edition, your companion to the highly popular Kidology Handbook Teacher’s Edition.
But remember – while the download kits have a modest fee, the VIDEOS ARE FREE TO VIEW as a part of the Member Benefits!
There are FIVE Leadership Labs:
#1 First Things First – The foundational Leadership Lab that looks at why the most important aspects of ministry have nothing to do with ministry. Put first things first and you will not just survive in children’s ministry, you will thrive.
#2 Visionary Leadership – What does it mean to have vision? How can a clear vision for ministry increase your effectiveness? How do you get your volunteer team working together toward a God-focused vision?
#3 Kid-Focused Ministry Foundations – Let’s take a serious look at the foundation of your children’s ministry. At a time when creating a “fun ministry” has almost become the ultimate pursuit, its time to analyze where your focus should be.
#4 Partnering with Parents – If the very thought of ‘family ministry’ and ‘partnering with parents’ stirs up feelings of failure and discouragement, maybe it’s time to change the way you think about ministering to kids and parents!
#5 Define, Refine and Shine – Are you exhausted? Stress robbing you of the joy of service? Let’s learn how to evaluate your children’s ministry, while also looking at keeping your life organized.
So stop wondering where you can get quality insightful leadership training. If you are one of the thousands of Kidology.org members… you already HAVE access to leadership training!
All you need to do is take the time to watch AND LEARN! My life’s Mission and heart’s Passion is to Equip and Encourage Those Who Minister to children.
Please take advantage of these Leadership Labs. I can’t tell you what a difference they will make in your ministry. And if you are one of our scholarship ministries and need this training, let us know. We will make this material available to you at no cost. We trust your integrity when you ask.
On the road of life
There are two ways to go:
You can choose Abundant Life, or say,
“Whatever, dude – We’ll see how it goes…”
Now I don’t know about you
I just know about me
And I know what to do
If I wanna be free!
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
Down the road we go – it’s really rather odd
We can play it safe and slow – or fly through life with God!
I don’t know about you
And everyone’s goin’ that way
I just wanna be free
So I’m gonna walk by faith!
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus
I’m followin’ Jesus – Jesus!
My son explains to me one day that he accepted Christ all by himself in bed. When I asked how and why, he said,
“Well, it’s like your friend sings, ‘There are two ways you can go, and you have to choose.’ And I’m choosing to follow Jesus.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that!
If you aren’t using Rob’s music in your children’s ministry, you are depriving your kids of some of the best written, best sounding and most meaningful Christian music available for children. There is a lot of fun fluff out there that passes as children’s worship music – and a lot of adult worship music jazzed up for kids, but Rob’s music communicates solid biblical themes kids need to hear within tunes they enjoy hearing and singing. There are only a few Christian Children’s Artists of his caliber, and he’s my favorite solo artist.
AND THIS MONTH, (September 2013) you can get a TON OF HIS MUSIC FOR FREE if you are a Kidology Member! And his latest CD for only $10!
Many in children’s ministry are struggling to survive each week – they are beginners just figuring things out. They are needing help and are seeking it all over the web. They end up on Kidology.org by the thousands daily.
Are YOU that special breed THAT LOVE TO HELP kidmins like that?
Long before Facebook, Twitter, or any other kidmin blog or website – Kidology.org has existed for the SOLE purpose of Equipping and Encouraging Those in Children’s Ministry – AND YOU CAN JOIN OUR TEAM. As we approach our 20 year birthday, we are looking to grow our ministry team.
Kidology.org is the single largest online database of collective HELP for those in children’s ministry – and it has gotten that way because of people who share my passion for Equipping and Encouraging Those in Children’s Ministry.
Do you love answering questions?
Do you love to write?
Do you love to publish materials?
Do you love to share what you create?
Kidology.org offers the perfect place for you to MINISTER to other kidmins ALL OVER THE WORLD! And we need your help. We have a volunteer team of Kidmin Professionals (tho ‘professional’ doesn’t mean they are paid staff – it is a statement of their quality and excellence) who serve on staff at Kidology writing, serving, advising, answering questions in our forum, and ministering to the thousands who visit our website daily from all corners of the globe. (Side note: how can a globe have corners?) Our Kidmin Pro Team have a private forum where we also minister to each other. It’s a fun team to be on.
If you blog, write, create, encourage, share, teach, coach, advise, or are otherwise a nut about children’s ministry – you ought to be on the Kidology Kidmin Pro Team. We write movie reviews for Kidology, World of Kids for K Magazine, and in general use our gifts to keep kidmins out there Equipped and Encouraged.
If you are interested in joining the Kidmin Pro Team – please let me know! Just put “I’m interested in the Kidmin Pro Team” in the comments box when you contact me, or tweet or e-mail me. Just let me know!
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