Horse Race vs. Locomotive Ministry


If a train were to race a horse, over the long haul the train would certainly win. The average train cruises along at speeds well over 100 mph, whereas a race horse runs about 35-45mph. But in a short sprint, the race horse would leave the train in it’s dust. Have you ever watched a train start? You might fall asleep! Have you ever watched a horse race start? When the gate opens the horses burst out and the race is on! Which describes your ministry programming? VS. When it comes to children’s ministry, we certainly are in the business of long term results, but when it comes to a Sunday morning – we don’t have a lot of time. We MUST gain kids attention and fast so that we can lead them into a life-changing learning experience. Slowly picking up speed from a dead stand still is a formula for boring kids and disengaging their active minds. Your children’s ministry programming, whether it is Kid’s Church or a midweek club – needs to START promptly and be off and running as soon as the “gate” opens. I’ve been saying it for years, “You don’t demand kid’s attention – you …

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Launching a Whole New Kids Church!


This past Sunday was exciting! It was the culmination of a summer of prayer, dreaming, planning, networking, recruiting and team building – but we launched our ALL NEW kids church program for this fall called The Outpost. Launching a new theme is exciting! But it also is strategic. As a ministry, our leadership team established four aims for our children’s ministry: 4 AIMS: Engage Children (Themeing generates excitement and captures the imagination.) Delight Parents (Parents will enjoy seeing the excitement in their kids!) Excite Volunteers (Enthusiasm and quality programming makes recruiting easier.) Bring Visitors Back! (We desire to create an experience that kids want to return!) We are driven by the vision of Church becoming the highlight of a child’s week – because when kids encounter God, their lives are changed, and eternity is impacted! When I was pitching this overhaul to our kids church to the leadership, volunteers and parents, I presented a vision for our ministry: OUR VISION: We want every child who comes through our doors to feel loved, come to know Christ and find a place where they can grow through fun and life-changing experiences. Then, to narrow it down to a simple mission everyone could …

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Principles for Powerful Programming


I recently had a vision casting meeting with our elementary volunteers. Currently, my church runs a good program. The kids are dropped off in various rooms. Then they travel to a large room for some corporate worship before traveling back to their separate rooms for a lesson. There is a lot of loose time and transition time. My goal was to pitch that we have very little time with these kids to make an eternal impact—so we need to make every minute count. So I presented some goals we will aim for this fall: Goals for this Fall: We want every child who comes to Kids Rock to feel noticed, loved and welcome! We want to make Sunday the highlight of their week! We want guests to come back because they had a great time and made a connection. We want kids to leave having learned something NEW and life-changing. These are goals everyone could agree with, easily. But how do you make them a reality? You have to create a program that has some pop and power and that pulls the kids along. It can’t drag and it needs to have clear direction, purpose and it be intentional. There …

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Ask for Guesses, Not Answers


Years ago in an inner city ministry, I had a little boy in my class named Trevon. No matter what the lesson topic or Bible story, any time I asked a question his hand shot up and he was eager to answer. The only problem was, no matter what I asked, he always answered with an enthusiastic, “Moses!” Some teacher must have hit it out of the park telling Trevon the story of Moses. Feeling badly for him always being wrong, one Sunday I thought I’d be smart and “rig” the Q and A time for little Trevon. Though it had nothing to do with my lesson, I asked, “Who did God give the Ten Commandments to?” Of course, Trevon’s hand shot up again! I smiled as I called on him knowing he would finally be right! Instead, he hesitated and then timidly answered, “Jesus?” I was as dejected as Trevon when I had to say, “No, Trevon, it was Moses.” I felt terrible. I thought I had set this little guy up for success, but instead, I had caused him to fail yet again. I shared this story with a mentor that week who told me, “Karl, that’s because …

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My Thanksgiving Lesson


Just wanted to post what I did for Thanksgiving this year and provide a link where you can get the PowerPoints I made for the lesson – it was a lot of fun and really got the kids thinking! As an introduction we played my Thanksgiving Gimmie Gimmie Game, which is always a TON of FUN! I introduce it by telling the kids there is something that spoils our attitude of gratitude, it is something I like to call “the gimmie gimmies.” It is when we start thinking about what we want, and forget all we have! I ask the kids, “how many of you are already thinking, or maybe even asking, about what you want for Christamas?” (hands go up!) “Have you thought yet about what you want to give?” (blank looks!) Below is my quick PowerPoint I used for explaining the rules. I had about 150 kids playing, so you’ll notice I used 5 cards per kid in my rules, even though in the official game, it says 7 cards each. I modified for our large group. We played for five minutes and it was a blast. If you have never played “Gimmie Gimmie” – you have GOT …

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