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!
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.
I’m always on the look out for ministry tools in the most unusal of places… as I explain in the Kids Church Cookbook, you can’t wait until you NEED a ministry tool to looking for it, you must already have it when you think, “I wish I had a… oh! I do!” Because you are a collector of odd ball #kidmin things!
Well, on vacation I went to an antique outlet mall and saw this action figure from the semi-recent Disney release Prince of Persia (which was a pretty cool movie, by the way, if you didn’t see it.)
Now, if you’ve been a fan of ToyBoxTales.com you know I’m a collector of action figures and have a wall of them labeled by their usefulness in teaching videos. (The site now features Object Talks on the home page, the videos featured in DiscipleTown, the kids church curriculum I write, so search the archives for nearly 100 videos with action figures!)
I picked up this dude because I think he looks like he could be a Bible Character!
MY QUESTION TO YOU: Which Bible Character do YOU think Prince Dastan could play in a ToyBox Tale? And why? Who does he look like, biblically speaking?
Each one has presented it’s own unique challenged and each one has had things go wrong in the process as though someone or something is resisting this process! At times I wonder if I just have really bad luck – or if it is indeed spiritual warfare as I push forward to create these units that help kids become better Disciples of Jesus.
On this latest one – it got CRAZY as I tried to finish the videos that will help children to understand the overview of the New Testament. While sometimes I’ll be hit with technical issues, like sound only coming out of one channel or a lighting issue, or hard drive crash or the mic wasn’t recording, etc. this time, it was almost funny – except that it was frustrating. I’m just sharing to give you a glimpse into the hidden “battles” behind the scenes as Christian resources are created to help Children battle the Enemy.
As you’ll see in the video below, I filmed in my car in the garage – and after hours of set up (there is a lot of technical set up with lights, camera, tripod, mic, monitor, rigging a cue sheet, etc.) I was started shoot when a cricket started chirping! I began searching my garage for the culprit and when I found and squished a cricket, two more began chirping as though to mourn their friends death! After hours of searching, I had to surrender and go to bed in defeat, no filming that night, despite the pending deadline.
The next day, deadline approaching, I set to film during the day – when the neighbor pulls out a table saw and starts cutting away. Then when he is done, kids start playing outside, then it rains. When I can finally film, and get started, the filming lights (specialty bulbs) go out! I drive to where I can buy them and return. Back to work. I finally am done when I realize that I can’t get the videos off the DV tapes because the cable from the camera to the computer is 4 to 6 pin fire wire cable and my new Mac has a 9 pin fire wire cabe, since I issued my old Mac to an employee when I upgraded. Off to not one, not two, not three but four store… they don’t see a 4 to 9 pin fire wire cable, while all telling me “it’s common.” Not even the Apple Store carries it. I finally ended up at Micro Center in Denver, who had ONE.
Crickets. Burned out Bulbs. Missing Cables. And I didn’t even get into title slides that didn’t line up so I had to recreate from scratch as that is too hard to explain to you. Just more time and frustration during the editing process.
In the end, I love the videos! Kids will watch them and enjoy them and gain a better understanding of the overarching structure of the New Testament, how it all fits together, who wrote the books, their themes and how they are organized into sections.
Is it all worth it? Of course! Some may think “Unit 13″ is just unlucky, but I tend to think that there is a force working against me at times because I am working to help kids know their Bibles so they can be equipped to be Different in this world and live victorious Christ-like lives in this nutty Cricket-infested world, ooops, I mean, sin-infested world.
So the next time you feel unlucky and like nothing is going your way. Just know, you are not alone. You may look at a resource on a website and assume everything went hunky-dory in putting it together. It never does. But I pray it will impact kids lives once it is out there, and once it is live, I sit back finally and sigh a huge relief that I’m done, and it can now begin it’s work of equipping kids to Navigate the New Testament.
But I can’t chill for long. Pretty soon I start to work on How to Navigate the Old Testament, and the crickets are still in my garage.
Here is a sneak peek of the videos from How to Navigate the New Testament:
THIS OFFER HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. Well over 1000 Churches responded to this free offer and are now teaching How to Use the Bible. It is our best selling unit that equips kids to USE their Bibles for life. It’s only $44.95 for 4-5 weeks and is PACKED with creative tools and resources. It is well worth a closer look. (Only $39.95 for members of Kidology.org) Order Today!
Yes! I’m excited to let you know that DiscipleLand.com is giving away 100% free full copies of my How to Use the Biblechildren’s church curriculum this month to subscribers of their free newsletter.
THIS IS NOT A SAMPLE!
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This is your opportunity to find out why churches all over the world are using DiscipleTown – even if they don’t use DiscipleLand’s Sunday School materials. It is a strong stand alone children’s church curriculum that is highly creative, scripturally rich, incredibly flexible, engages the family and makes you look sharp!
AND THIS MONTH ITS FREE!
Why would a publisher give one of their BEST SELLING units away?
Because they are a mission driven publisher with only one line of curriculum that flows out of a philosophy of making disciples.
They share my passion for getting children into the Word of God. I’ve written before about the crisis of kids not using the Bible.
One of the distinctives of DiscipleLand is the absence of printed scripture and the abundance of Bible references – so kids actually need their Bibles.
I remember when my church switched to DiscipleLand and we had to buy new furniture, because the kids needed room on their desks for Bibles!
The #1 compliment I get for DiscipleTown is how much Scripture there is in each and every lesson.
That is why HOW TO USE THE BIBLE is the unit that is being given away for FREE. Both DiscipleLand and I believe passionately that there is a great need today for our children to be equipped to use the Bible!
Too much of what is out there today in churches has become entertainment-rich but Bible-poor and children don’t know how to USE their own Bibles, IF they even bring them to church. This needs to change if they are going to STAND FIRM for God in this changing culture.
For children, the Bible can be a very intimidating book simply due to its size. These lessons will erase kids’ impressions of the Bible as a giant, overwhelming volume. Instead, they will discover that the Scriptures are a collection of smaller books written personally for them. You will introduce children to exciting tools that will help them dig 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! Your students will be motivated to practice applying Biblical principles to their daily lives and learn how to have a daily Quiet Time. The Bible is not just a book to be studied–it is God’s Book that can change their world!
SO HOW DO YOU GET THIS UNIT FOR FREE?!?
Simply visit the DiscipleLand.com website. Click on the “Free Curriculum” banner on the right hand side of the web page and follow the prompts. This is a limited time offer, so don’t delay!
I’ve been working on writing DiscipleTown Table Talkers all day, for the fifth unit due to come out soon, and one of my favorite parts of this curriculum is the Table Talker family devotional component.
So I thought I’d put a sample on my blog to give my blog readers a “taste” of a family devotional that will be part of the next DiscipleTown unit. Each devotional has an easy “Let’s Play” component that gets families playing together with no complicated preparation – just something they can do with stuff usually right at the table, tho this one uniquely has them using the whole house due to the lesson point. Then there is a “Let’s Talk” discussion question to get every member of the family talking – but it is a targeted question that is setting them up for the topic. Next they are in the Word with “Let’s Read” followed by a short devotional “Let’s Think” that helps guide a parent on a spiritual discussion. But it doesn’t stop there. I always end with a “Let’s Do” practical application. Most are just a verbal application, but one of the three will be an assignment that can impact the family in a practical way, but I’m careful to balance them so that they don’t get overwhelmed. I want them coming back for more.
Well, with no further a-do, here is a sample – pre-edited by DiscipleLand, soon to be a part of DiscipleTown: How To Follow God’s Plan
Choose someone to start as the “seeker.” Give every person five pennies. Everyone else will go hide somewhere else in the house. When the seeker finds someone, they have to give the seeker a penny. The person they find becomes the new seeker and goes to find someone else. The old seeker now hides. Every time a person is found they have to give the seeker a penny and they become the new seeker and the old seeker gets to hide again once the new seeker is out of sight. If a player runs out of pennies, they become a seeker in order to get more pennies! The object of the game is get as many pennies as possible. A parent determines when time is up.
What is the best reward or prize you have ever received?
Read Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Which did you like better? Hiding or seeking? Are you a better hider or seeker? Do you think God is a hider or seeker? (Take some time to discuss this!) It may depend on whether you are seeking Him or not. But this verse tells us that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. What do you think it means to earnestly seek God? What does that look like? How do you think He rewards people who seek Him? Would you say that you have earnestly sought Him? If not, what would it take for you to do so? What would need to change? What is holding you back? What do you think would need to change in your life? What can you image God might do in your life as a result if you did? It is kind of exciting to image what it might look like if you truly did earnest seek God. Go for it, I dare you!
Think of one thing you could do to earnestly seek God this next week as family or as an individual. Share it with each other and then check up on each other!
I was reading a discussion over on the Kidology.org forums about how to teach to a wide age range and there were some comments suggesting different age ranges to aim for. Some were suggesting “aiming for the middle” or “targeting the older kids” so as not to bore them, whereas others thought it better to teach to the younger ones so as not to lose them.
I’d like to suggest a different approach after having taught over 1,000 children’s church services to first through sixth graders for over fifteen years. It’s a rather simple suggestion: AIM FOR EVERYONE!
The key in a large group with a large age range is to shift your focus constantly. The secret is to be highly visual and to be physically moving and animated to keep the younger ones tracking with you (don’t stand still and never sit, meaning you the teacher) and use humor constantly to keep a connection with your audience.
Think about it: Senior pastors preach to a wide audience range of age and intelligence and education and world view and learning styles and they can do it! They don’t break their audience into groups! How do they do it? It isn’t through the content or aiming for a specific part of the congregation! They don’t decide, “well, I’ll just aim for the intellectuals.” or “I’ll just target the simpletons.” No!
It is through THEM and their delivery. YOU can do the same! When you work on your delivery and becoming a vibrant communicator you can communicate effectively to young and old kids at the same time! When you speak loudly and enthusiastically and creatively you can capture the attention of a group of kids no matter what the age. I’m telling you, you CAN capture the eyes, minds and hearts of kindergarten through sixth grade all in one room! No, it isn’t the ideal educational model, but when it is all you can do, it CAN be done very well. Sometimes it is the only model available to you during the service time. So don’t fret, work on your delivery and style, and be upbeat and confident and animated and funny and sincere and visual and pacing and creative and use big gestures and props and humor and stories and jokes and LOVE what you do, and the kids will be on the edge of their seats, and learning, at any age!
All that to say – I don’t target one age – I target EVERY AGE in the room constantly! I’ll even say, “for you little guys, that means…” if I need to. And I won’t hesitate yo define a word in the original Hebrew for the big kids! But the key is YOU and your delivery – be animated, creative, visual, funny when you can, serious when it matters, walk out among the kids for emphasis and keep it moving.
And do check out DiscipleTown, you will find it packed with creative and fun ideas and a visual PowerPoint to back you up. You can do it!
It seems like just yesterday I was blogging about how I hoped 2009 would be better. And here it is 2010! Aren’t we supposed to riding around on hover boards and beaming from place to place by now? I read that post, and instead of writing a post about my New Year’s Resolutions, I think I can just say “ditto” to that post!
But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that an entire year has passed by when I reflect on all that I accomplished in 2009 – it’s actually quite an astonishing list – no wonder I am so exhausted!
And I wonder why I’m feeling exhausted?! No wonder I wasn’t ready for 2010 to arrive! I usually spend the last week of the year doing evaluation of the year just past and planning for the year to come, but I had some projects culminating and family visiting and am writing at CPC in Nashville (which I really don’t like being right after the new year) so I missed out on my week of margin for reflection and I can really feel it. Just reviewing my blog and making that list above has been very encouraging and eye-opening. For now – I need to survive this week at CPC – finish a few deadlines that still loom over me, and then do the planning and reflecting I wanted to do last week.
I’m excited that 2009 is behind me, and have NO desire to see 2010 “top” last year. In fact, you know what I am MOST excited about in 2010? Starting a guys hiking group here in Colorado for children’s pastors! Yup, I’m calling it “The Fellowship of the King.” (I know it’s corny, but I do like to hike to LOTR music.) I’ve been collecting a list of guys in Colorado, friends and soon-to-be friends via facebook ad twitter, and I’m going to be inviting them to join me hiking around this beautiful state to spend time away from ministry and with God. One thing I learned from Yosemite Summit was that once a year just isn’t often enough to disconnect from normal life and connect with God out in nature with others who share your passions in life. Most of them already know about this and are just waiting for info on the first hike – if you live in Colorado and are a guy – let me know, and I will add you to the list! (No, you do not have to be a children’s pastor or even in ministry to be included. But you may have to endure some worship music, prayer and spiritual conversation if you are not a Christian.)
By pre-ordering the very first DiscipleTown unit, How To Worship, you can be the very first to get this BRAND NEW children’s church curriculum from the creator of Kidology.org and DiscipleLand Bible Curriculum as soon as the final touches are ready… and its close!
This completely downloadable curriculum includes beautiful PowerPoint presentations, video object lessons, puppet scripts, dramas, games, and more all build upon a solidly biblical theme that is focused on teaching kids skills they need to build as Disciples of Jesus.
In addition to the all the incredible ideas provided for the classroom, DiscipleTown equips you for partnering with parents as well. Each week you are provided with an e-mail you can copy and paste to e-mail parents with what their children learned, questions they can ask their kids to get them talking, and a glimpse into what is coming next week. We’ve also introduced a creative tool that will help make it easy for families to gather just three times a week after meals talk about about what you are learning in children’s church in a fun and meaningful way.
ORDER TODAY for only $39.95 and the moment it is ready, you will get an e-mail with your download links. The target date is Aug. 12th, and it is guaranteed by Aug. 17th.
Once it is ready, the price will be $44.95, don’t miss this introductory rate!
Hey! The first person to order, I will announce on my blog, and they will get to see it first, as in RIGHT AWAY in draft PDF form, before it is even finalized… while it still has a few blank boxes on it to fill in with final graphics… oooo… couldn’t say that over on the “big” site! But I can say it here on my blog! ;o)
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