Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for DiscipleTown
As you may (or may not!) know, every unit of DiscipleTown comes with 12 family devotionals – 3 per week – in a cool “Table Talker” design like you see on your table when you eat out at a restaurant. I have now written 288 of these devotionals with the upcoming 24th DiscipleTown “How to Walk in Victory” to be released soon.
I wanted my BLOG READERS to be the FIRST to get a sneak peak! So enjoy these FREE THREE DEVOTIONALS!
Here is what they look like:
Download THREE COMPLETE DEVOTIONALS for your family. There are nine more with the unit that will be released shortly, and 12 with every unit of DiscipleTown – but I encourage you to use these with your family and enjoy the fun you will have and the engaging conversations that will result.
As many of my readers know, I write the Kid’s Church curriculum for DiscipleLand and it is called DiscipleTown. It’s focus is on “Disciple Skills” – 24 units that cover twenty-four skills every fully developed disciple of Jesus needs to master. I am currently writing the 22nd unit. The series is designed for larger group with small group option and to be teacher led with many creative options (more than you can fit in a single week!) with several multimedia options.
I was very encouraged to get the following note this week from Marion Tims, a volunteer minister who describes herself as a 10 year veteran professional educator and home school mom and “to be honest, hard to impress.” She writes about DiscipleTown…
I just want you to know how much I have enjoyed finding the DiscipleTown curriculum. As the Children’s Director of a 300+ church, we started a Children’s Church in 2011. With my background in education, I knew I wanted a curriculum that would teach clearly and concisely Biblical principles in a creative, multi-media format. Having attended a mega church in the Atlanta area where they had a vibrant, active children’s ministry, I knew I wanted to duplicate that kind of ministry in our smaller church but with our much smaller budget.
I did, also, believe that we could teach Biblical truths at a deeper level. I feel like I have found it all with DiscipleTown.
I do not have the time, energy or gifts to plan on my own what I can purchase with DiscipleTown. I praise God that you have chosen to use your God given gifts to help those of us who are convicted to share the Gospel with kids in a fun, creative way.
The curriculum has also been a blessing to our youth ministry team who helps in our Children’s Church. They frequently tell me how much they learn and I have seen them grow as they come alongside their younger brothers and sisters in Christ as they help lead the different aspects of our worship.
I look forward to teaching your future units. Keep pressing forward and looking up! It is exciting to see God using your gifts in our ministry!
Grace and peace,
I appreciated this note because she hit so many of the strengths of DiscipleTown. My goal as a curriculum author is to balance making your job as easy as possible, but at the same time to provide a curriculum that stands out from the crowd providing a tool that teaches clearly and concisely solid biblical truths. I often like to toss out a friendly challenge for folks to find any other children’s church curriculum that uses as much Scripture or that does as much biblical teaching as DiscipleTown. And yet, it doesn’t get too heady and is never boring! It does enable small churches to feel like they can offer the same multimedia like service that big churches do. As an added bonus, it’s super affordable! The statement, “I feel like I have found it all with DiscipleTown,” has always been my goal – lots of options, while keeping it creative, deep, solid, while staying user-friendly. It’s a tall order and countless hours go into every unit.
If you’ve never tried DiscipleTown, I encourage you to give a unit a try – there are currently 21 topics to choose from:
1. How to Worship God – Now Available!
Worship is not a new concept to children, but it is often misunderstood. Too often, kids do not realize the significance of worshiping the one, true God. Children assume that “worship” is synonymous with “singing.” This unit provides an understanding of what true worship is — and it offers some very practical ways that children can incorporate worship into their lives. The first lesson explains the core meaning of worship “to show worth.” This second lesson imparts practical instruction on how to have daily quiet-times with God. The remaining two lessons will demonstrate how kids can worship through giving and by serving others.
2. How to Use Your Bible – Now Available!
For children, the Bible can be a very intimidating book simply due to its size. This unit will erase kids’ impressions of the Bible as a giant, overwhelming volume that will take years to wade through. Instead, they will view the Scriptures as a collection of smaller books written personally for them. You will introduce children to exciting tools that will help them delve more deeply into the Bible. Watch their confidence grow as kids gain a broader understanding of how the Bible is organized and how to navigate its pages! Students will be motivated to practice applying biblical principles to their daily lives. The Bible is not just a book to be studied —- but God’s Book that can change their world!
3. How to Grow Spiritual Fruit – Now Available!
The Fruit of the Spirit may be a familiar topic to children, but the concept of how to grow spiritual fruit is one that is often misunderstood by adults, not just by kids. Unlike many curriculums on the fruits of the Spirit for children, this unit is not an overview of the nine fruits. Rather, it is a 4-week series that will walk children through the process of how to nurture the soil of their soul so that the Spirit of God might produce genuine spiritual fruit in them. Starting with the seed of salvation and being watered with the Living Water, children will discover that their spiritual life is like a plant and God is like a loving gardener. They will learn that it is only by being pruned through loving discipline and abiding in Jesus that spiritual fruit will blossom in their lives. This unit will guide them, not into working harder to be good, but to draw closer to God so that he can make them more like Jesus.
4. How to Make Good Friends – Now Available
One of the more important skills we can impart to children is the wise ability to choose good friends. Few things will have greater influence on the rest of their life. The friends children choose will have significant influence on their character, their choices and therefore the direction of their life. Helping children to be intentional and thoughtful about their choices in friends is a skill that if gained as a child can have life-long benefits. This unit will help children understand that friendships are not only a gift from God, but something that we are to be intentional about.
5. How to Follow God’s Plan – Now Available
Many people, including Christians, settle for a very self-focused life goal — to arrive at death safely, with as much comfort as possible along the way. This is hardly God’s best! Though the world offers fun and excitement, only the Lord’s plan promises deep, rich fulfillment. We can help kids elevate their perspective to see that life can be thrilling when they follow God’s plan. This unit will help your kids discover God’s will for their lives! They will learn that growing in Biblical knowledge, in Christlike character, and in godly conduct are key to fulfilling God’s wonderful plan.
6. How to Make Good Choices – Now Available
Many parents pray long and hard that their children will make good choices. It is essential that we equip children while they are young with decision-making skills that will enable them to weigh and evaluate alternatives. This unit will help your children understand the power they have to choose between right and wrong. They will learn how to win the spiritual battle that rages inside, as well as what to do after they make a bad choice — as we all do far too many times. You will encourage your kids to listen to the positive influences that help guide them toward sound choices along the way.
7. How to Be Faithful Workers – Now Available
The topic of work may not immediately appeal to children (or adults for that matter), but God invented the whole idea! Beginning with the first chapters of the Bible and throughout Scripture, God presents work not as a chore but as a gift from Him. Work allows us to engage in God’s plan for His wonderful creation. In this unit, you will introduce children to the gift of work, and they will learn how to be faithful workers — as they use their attitudes, their abilities, and their actions. Teach children that when we accept the gift of work, have a good attitude, learn new abilities, and get into action, God can provide for our needs!
8. How to Pray – Now Available
Prayer is a familiar topic to children — but do we truly teach children how to pray? For too many Christians (of any age), prayer is reserved for times of trouble or cursory meal blessings, but prayer is so much more. It connects us with our Creator and deepens our walk with God. Teach prayer as a skill so that children can discover firsthand how it enriches their lives. Teach children to pray, and there become many things you will not have to teach them — the Holy Spirit will do it for you! In order to give children a simple mental framework, break down the many aspects of prayer into four areas, each starting with a letter of the word “PRAY” — Praising, Repenting, Asking, and Yielding. While there is certainly more to prayer than can be captured in four simple words, each lesson will expand on the broader aspects to show kids that they will enjoy a lifetime exploring the power and the joy of connecting with God!
9. How to Build Character – Now Available
Children grow up being told what to do and what not to do, learning behaviors that keep them out of trouble and earn them rewards. In this short-sighted approach, their walk with Christ becomes limited to seeking to please the adults in their lives. Remove those adults, and the kids’ pursuit of Jesus evaporates as well. Teach children to build solid Christian character, however, and you have disciples who can live victoriously, independent of adult supervision yet dependent on God. Isn’t that our ultimate goal? This unit trains children to evaluate and take ownership of their spiritual growth, following the model of Jesus’ growth in the short but powerful verse, Luke 2:52. In this verse we discover a comprehensive formula for Christian character in young people — wisdom, character, integrity, and reputation. Children can intentionally develop in these same areas, if we are willing to guide them!
10. How to Explain My Faith – Now Available
Jesus’ final command before leaving earth was to “Go and Make Disciples!” For kids to be disciplemakers, they need to know how to explain their faith to their friends. During this unit, your students will discover the joy of sharing their faith with others. As they learn a simple Gospel message, “Good News for Kids,” they will explore each element that Jesus told His followers to take to people everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). During each lesson, children will unpack Biblical principles that explain how to communicate their faith to others. They will discover how to prepare to share, how to be wise with words and actions, and how to develop the courage to share their faith with people who desperately need the Gospel.
11. How to Discover Gifts & Talents – Now Available
One of the most exciting things about being a Christian is that God gives His children special gifts in order to help them serve Him. While all of His creatures are born with talents that are a part of what makes them unique, when we become a part of God’s family, the Bible tells us that we receive special abilities — spiritual gifts — that help us serve God and advance His kingdom. In this unit, children will be encouraged to learn about both their talents and spiritual gifts and will be guided through a process of exploring what their spiritual gifts might be.
12. How to Meet with God – Now Available
The purpose of the Christian life is to have a relationship with God. Too often people in the church place an emphasis on “getting saved” — but then what? While our ultimate destination with our Creator is to be cherished and celebrated, Jesus also died to welcome us into a relationship with Him during this life on earth! In this unit, your kids will learn tried-and-true techniques for enjoying a personal “quiet time” with God so they can deepen their friendship with Him. They will also discover how to enjoy the Lord’s presence throughout the day and how to call on Him in times of need. Meeting with God is something we can do in a focused “quiet time,” but God is also available anytime we want to experience His presence and power.
13. How to Navigate the New Testament – Now Available
For many kids, the Bible seems so big and complex that they feel overwhelmed. They don’t know how to start mining the riches in the New Testament. In this unit, you will take children on a tour that will unlock the mysteries of God’s Word and give them confidence to navigate through the New Testament. Your kids will learn how the New Testament fits together. You will show that the 27 New Testament books fall into three groups: History, Living Letters, and Prophecy. In addition, they will “meet” some key authors of the New Testament. Finally, you will guide children to apply Bible truths to their lives.
14. How to Navigate the Old Testament – Now Available
For 4,000 years, the Old Testament has molded Jewish civil, religious, social, and economic life. Never has one book so greatly influenced the way of life of an entire nation! Few children today, however, can relate to OT customs that appear to be outdated and irrelevant. This is your opportunity to open their eyes to the enduring significance of God’s Word. During this unit, your kids will learn how the Old Testament fits together. You will show that all thirty-nine Old Testament books belong to these three groups: History, Poetry, and Prophecy; seventeen History books illumine the past, five Poetry books imprint the present, and seventeen Prophecy books inspire the future. The Old Testament may be an “old” book, but it has a new message for kids today! Bring this ancient manuscript to life for your students.
15. How to Show Respect – Now Available
People often say: “Kids today have no respect.” But what is respect and where does it come from? In this unit, your children will learn basic skills to help them show respect to God, themselves, their families, and others. They will realize that respect begins as an attitude. If we develop a respectful attitude, respectful behavior will soon follow. We can help children become more respectful by helping them accept who God made them to be and by encouraging them to improve their attitudes toward other people.
16. How to Know the Truth – Now Available
This DiscipleTown unit introduces kids to basic questions and answers related to understanding and defending the Christian faith — the study of apologetics. While apologetics is often used as a witnessing tool, its proper place is to strengthen the faith of believers. This unit will help prepare children to answer questions about their faith, while teaching them that having questions is okay. Children need the confidence that when they think logically and search God’s Word, He will provide His answers!
17. How to Be a Global Christian – Now Available
Christians must expand their horizons and embrace God’s heart for people all over the world. By broadening kids’ perspectives to see beyond their local church and community, this unit will enable your children to grasp God’s great plan and to participate in His Great Commission. First, children need to see that God has a plan for every person to know His Son, Jesus. Next, they need to understand the good news that Jesus came to bring salvation to every person — everywhere — so they will be able to share it. Then, they must understand that God uses His Church to spread His Good News around the world. Finally, they need to be challenged to have “beautiful feet” by sharing God’s wonderful message.
18. How to Study My Bible – Now Available
You and your students are about to begin a wonderful journey together — the joy of personal Bible study. The Bible is a powerful book! It has the potential to change kids’ lives! However, too many children view this amazing book as one that adults study and then tell them about. God gave His Word to all believers to read and study, and that includes children. When we equip our children to read and study the Bible, they experience its power for themselves! In these lessons, you will introduce children to four inductive Bible study steps. First, they will learn how to survey a Bible passage (Zoom!); next, how to carefully observe a passage (Look!); then, after learning how to correctly interpret a passage (Think!), they will discover how to apply biblical principles (Live!). Soon your students will be exploring their Bibles in a whole new way!
19. How to Memorize God’s Word – Now Available
God declares that His Word is authoritative and effective, and when “hidden in the heart,” it has the power to keep us from sin. But the idea of memorizing Scripture can intimidate children and adults alike. In this unit, children will appreciate the incredible mind that God has given them, the importance of memorizing God’s Word, and the benefits of doing so. Furthermore, kids will learn to meditate on Scripture in order to allow it to sink into their very characters and wills, resulting in deeper, richer insights. Using fun science, they’ll know that God has wired them to learn and to apply what they learn.
20. How to Love God – Now Available
When Jesus was asked to identify God’s greatest commandment, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). But what does this truly mean? What does it look like? Too often we give children “pie-in-the-sky” platitudes but without supplying practical steps they can apply in everyday life. This unit will help your children know what it means to love God with actions — not just words. Your kids will discover how to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They will also learn that loving God involves loving other people, too.
21. How to Be Jesus’ Disciple – Now Available
We spend a great deal of time in ministry doing a great many wonderful things—reaching, teaching, and training kids for Jesus. However, Jesus gave just one primary command when He returned to heaven: “Go and make disciples.” What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Can young followers of Jesus experience victory in their Christian walk? This unit introduces children to five basic principles for having P-O-W-E-R to follow Christ in their faith: Praying from the heart, Obeying the Holy Spirit, Worshiping with the Church, Explaining their faith to others, and Reading their Bibles daily. Yes, children can experience profound P-O-W-E-R in their walk with God when they begin to apply these life-changing disciplines.
If you use DiscipleTown, I’d love to hear your feedback either in comments below, or in the forum discussion on Kidology provided for DiscipleTown Feedback. Have a question about DiscipleTown, visit the DiscipleTown Q and A Forum Thread.
I look forward to hearing your comments or questions!
Did you know that YOU are a Bible character? It’s true! Consider this. An upcoming lesson in DiscipleTown has the theme “Pray and Obey,” and this is the “Connect with Your Kids” element. I wanted to share it with you early, because I think it is relevant to your lesson every week, no matter what you may be teaching this Sunday. It’s all about sharing when you have done what you are asking your students to do. It’s all about BEING what you are TEACHING. That makes YOU a “Bible Character.”
Used with permission from DiscipleLand.com
It is one thing to tell kids they need to pray and obey. It is entirely another to give them a real world example from someone they know who has done it. Prayerfully reflect on a time in your life when you have needed to “pray and obey,” and then God gave you the power to do the right thing. Share your story. It can have a powerful impact on your students. Don’t underestimate the power of your story on your students. We often tell Bible stories and forget that these Bible “characters” were just ordinary people like us. They didn’t know their stories would end up in the Bible, they just made choices like you and I have. So, in a sense, your story is as much a Bible story as Joseph or Esther or Ruth or Daniel. And your story will mean as much to your students as theirs. Perhaps more, because your kids actually know you!
(Excerpt from an upcoming “Connect with Your Kids in DT21“)
Writing the Kid’s Church Cookbook was one of the biggest undertakings I’ve ever done. It was bigger than the Order of the Ancient novel, since it required design work and layout involvement that was much more intense, and bigger than the Kidology Handbook since not only is it over 100 pages longer, but it involved me filming seven complete training videos in a custom kitchen studio all while it was closed over a Christmas break… it was an insane time. I won’t even bother typing all that involved, crazy story best saved for telling in person. While it took over two years to get the editing done, the filming was all done in just 3-4 days almost non-stop without sleep!
This post was inspired by some encouraging words I just got from a Kidology member named Martin Maynard, which I thought I’d share, in case you’ve been considering picking it up: (I edited to shorten and leave some stuff out.)
Karl, the reason I am writing is your Kids Church Cookbook is the best training I have ever come across in my years of reading and studying. I appreciate what you are doing through Kidology, what an amazing site. I wish more folks would grab a hold of what you are doing. I sincerely think your material is just awesome and it is just what we need.
I just read your chapter on Object Lessons and how you describe how to take an object and just start describing it slowly, giving time for the connection to be made between the abstract and the concrete. Truly amazing. I truly have read tons of books and there are some great leadership books out there, but none really touch on creativeness. Man you tackle creativeness head on and make it not so intimidating. I just think this material is just that good. I feel so blessed to have stumbled on your site and to have come across the material. I feel God lead me to it. Thanks for your work at raising up youth to be disciples.
- Martin Maynard
The Cookbook took several years to write and to produce the training videos that go along with it – and it is so encouraging when people take the time to send a note of encouragement. I have never seen an exhaustive work on Kids Church, and during this season of life when I’m not in weekly church ministry, I felt God telling me to use this time to write “everything I know about children’s church” from having written and led over 1000 kids church services for over fifteen years of ministry. It was hard work, but oh so fun to do it in such a creative manner. (With the Chef theme that really played out nicely as it unfolded.) I tried to cover a wide spectrum of topics from lesson preparation to recruiting to room decorating to advance planning and so much more. It’s kinda the definitive work on Kid’s Church! Like I said, no one else has ever even tackled the topic on this scope or breath before. And with the addition of seven training videos, it really became a hefty project!
But in the end, I think it’s quite a helpful tool that should serve those who teach kids and lead Kids Church for years to come.
Thanks Martin for your encouragement! I’m glad it is helping your kids church team, and I hope it will help many others to cook up lessons that kids are gonna love and provide the tools to assist in preparing more spiritually nourishing lessons wherever the Cookbook is used!
Next entries »
How could my dad give MAGNIFIERS to my sisters?!?!
(Close to what my gift looked like)
It is one thing to talk about something in the abstract. Kids need real stories from real people they know. Have you ever had a bad attitude that cost you something? Too often we give the impression that we have always done everything right and it is only the children we teach who make mistakes. Telling our students real stories of times we have blown it can help encourage them in profound ways.
I remember a time when my dad came home with a gift for all three of his children. To each of my sisters he gave a gift of a different type of magnifying lens. I was in shock! Didn’t my dad know, it was I who collected magnifying glasses?!?!
My older sister got a magnifying sheet the size of a full page of paper! Then my younger sister was given a magnifying ruler. You could place it over what you were reading and as you moved it down the page the words would magically grow as it passed over them.
I was so jealous! How could my father DO this to me? Again, didn’t he understand that it was ME who collected magnifying lens, not my sisters?! They were girls, after all. They needed dolls or something of the sort. I was so caught up in my anger and jealousy and wanting what they had been given that when he handed me an old two inch long cylinder object that I didn’t recognize instead of asking what it was, I just threw it on the ground, breaking it, and yelling, “I don’t want this dumb thing, I want a magnifier!”
My dad simply left the room obviously disappointed in me. Later, after I calmed down enough to ask about the object I had cracked, he explained that what I had thrown down and broken in my anger was actually a very valuable and high powered magnifier he had found at an antique store. In his desire to bring a little treat for my sisters as well, he had stopped at the five and dime store bought them cheap magnifiers so he could have a gift for each of his children.
My impatience and disrespect cost me that precious treasure.
I have kept that broken lens to this day as a reminder that my Father knows me best and delights in giving me what my heart desires if I will just be patience and wait to hear His explanation.
This is from the Connect with Your Kids
component of the next DiscipleTown
unit I am current writing, How to Show Respect,
due out October 20th. I always include a section helping teachers connect their real lives to the lessons they teach, which I believe is critical to being an effective teacher. I enjoyed writing this, and thought you might enjoy this story too.