When I was a kid, I loved fire. Okay, let’s face it…I still love fire. I mean, there is just something mesmerizing about flames! If you are looking for an object lesson for kids, here’s one that you can use to teach kids about God’s greatness using, you guessed it, FIRE.
Lower the lights in the room a little, strike a few matches, and light a candle or two. If it seems age appropriate, give kids a candle, and allow them to light their own. Challenge kids to watch closely for the first drop of melted wax. See how long it takes for the fire to begin melting the wax. It melts almost immediately. Wax doesn’t stand a chance against fire.
Ask kids to think about a mountain – a big, tall, rocky mountain. Ask, “What do you think it would take to melt a mountain?”
Share Psalm 97. Give emphasis to verse 5: “The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord” (HCSB). In this Psalm, God is trying to help us understand how big, awesome, and powerful he is. Just like wax doesn’t stand a chance against fire, the strong mountains don’t stand a chance against God! He is SO powerful.
Don’t miss this: The same God that is powerful enough to melt mountains like wax cares enough to rescue us! Re-read Psalm 97:10. God is a mighty God, and he is a God that rescues and delivers. Use this as an opportunity to connect to the gospel.
Challenge kids to memorize Psalm 97:5 and to recite it every time they see a burning candle.
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.
Colossians 3:23 (HCSB)
The cool thing about Kids Ministry is that it’s not hard to see how the tasks we’re doing can be done for the Lord. Sure, there are some things that seem tedious, but, overall, we should be able to clearly see how these tasks tie in to our mission of making disciples.
So, why aren’t we enthusiastic about everything we do? The problem for us is not the work we’re doing, but the way we view this work. We view it as “ours.” It’s “our” event or “our” program. When we take complete ownership over our work, we often get stressed, burnt out, or feel like we just can’t ever truly succeed. There are times when it feels like nothing is going the way we have planned, but it is important for us to step back and realize that we are not the sole owners of our ministry. God has entrusted us with the ministries He has given us, but they are ultimately all His.
Colossians 3:23 takes on a whole new meaning when we start to view our work as not just our own but as work the Lord has given us. We no longer have to feel like we’re striving in our own power to successfully complete a task. We no longer have to feel like we’ll fail if we don’t reach all the goals we set.
When we come to the realization that we do not have to worry about results, but, instead, have to work enthusiastically and to the best of our abilities, and then turn it over to the Lord to take care of the results, we should immediately feel comforted. We may not have any control over crazy things that happen, but we serve the One who does. Our joy should be restored because of this simple fact, and our work should become enthusiastic as we continue on in our mission of making disciples.
We all remember the age-old Leave It to Beaver scene where Beaver comes home with a black-eye thanks to town bully, Lumpy Rutherford. We take many of our lessons on dealing with bullies from Ward Cleaver’s parenting method– an inspirational speech and a raw stake on the eye will surely smooth everything over by the next episode.
Real life bullying can be much more of a challenge to handle, and as we recently discussed, bullying can come in many forms. You may find yourself asking the tough question- “What do I do if my child is being bullied?” Here are a few practical tips for handling this this situation:
What tips do you have for helping your kids or kids in your ministry who are being bullied? What else does Scripture say about this topic? Share with us!
In a pinch to think of games for your Fall Fest? Here are a few simple fall fest games to throw in the mix, or maybe even to try on a Sunday or Wednesday night.
Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin
Ask the green thumbs in your church or community to donate a particularly large pumpkin. Weigh it, and then collect guesses. Give a prize to the closest guesser.
Don’t Touch the Pumpkin
Have players stand in a circle and hold hands around the pumpkin. Players push and pull the circle and attempt to force other players to touch the pumpkin. Players are out when they touch the pumpkin with any part of their bodies OR if they break hands with their neighbors. The game continues until there is only one winner.
Gather a tarp, a few footballs, and some duct tape. Cut holes, squares, diamonds (or pumpkin shapes!) in the tarp. Make sure the holes are different sizes to vary the difficulty level. Reinforce the edges of the shapes with duct tape on both sides to prevent fraying. Hang the tarp, create a throw line, and brush up on your aim. Award points based on difficulty.
Find a tarp, some masking tape, and 10 frisbees (5 of one color, 5 of another). Create a tick-tack-toe grid on the tarp with the tape, place it on the ground, and create a throw line. Play tick-tack-toe by tossing the frisbees onto the tarp from behind the throw line. This game requires both aim and strategy.
This is a classic. Place spots on the floor in a circle with a few prize spots, play some music, and award prizes to the “winners” when the music stops. If you want, replace traditional baked goods with gift cards or other fun prizes.
Leave a comment to tell us some of your favorite Fall Festival games!
Growing up is tough.
Some challenges kids face are simply a part of the process we all go through as we define who we are. Others are not. Bullying is an example of the latter and is a real concern. With the recent media surge concerning bullying, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Be sure to weigh the situation from many angles and ask tough questions. There can be a fine line between playfulness and hurtful comments or actions that wound a child.
If it seems like your child is being verbally bullied by their peers, try taking a look at the situation from a few perspectives. Consider your child’s personality- are they overdramatizing the situation? Are they unwilling to admit that something is wrong? Seek the opinion of someone who sees your child in another environment, like a teacher or coach. Talking to them can help you detect potential bullying and can cue them to watch for it too.
Physical bullying can be easier to spot. Look for changes in their behavior or lifestyle. Does your child seem to be hiding something? Are they always clothing that could cover abuse? Do they avoid prolonged eye contact with you?
Other great questions to ask yourself include: Do they seem to have shut down? Do they not enjoy hanging out with friends? Have they lost passion for school or sports? All of these could be potential signs that something may be wrong.
Once you’ve asked yourself a few questions, do not be afraid to ask your child questions too. Know the names of their friends and classmates and ask for specifics, even when they seem resistant. Remember that part of what you are seeing may be normal change as they grow, but it’s worth finding out more. Avoid seeming accusatory or making assumptions, as often times bullied kids feel that they have caused the abuse themselves.
What are some other ways that you can identify bullying in your own kids or kids in your ministry? Comment and let us know! Be on the look out soon for tips on what to do if your child is being bullied or bullying.
After participating in a Think Tank, I sat down with Jerry Wooley, our VBS Ministry Specialist, to hear how he organized the Think Tank and why they are beneficial for children’s ministries.
Why should I have a think tank in my church?
You get lots of voices involved — there may be people who have great ideas who have never been asked to share before. Also, each voice will have greater by-in to the ministry after the think tank, because they helped dream the ideas. For VBS think tanks, we collect people from different backgrounds and walks of life so that we get fresh perspectives.
What should the atmosphere be like?
Make it fun! Keep the time moving by breaking it up with creative activities. Avoid sterile rooms and over-stimulating rooms. Go word/idea shopping at the mall and write down ideas that come to you as you browse. Visit a children’s book store. View the children’s areas of other churches.
What’s the goal?
The goal is to develop 2-4 really strong ideas for events/ministry improvements/new strategies. Make sure to flesh out the action steps to make it happen and make it great!
How do you prepare, as the leader?
Pray and ask God to put the write people on the team. Ask your team to come without an agenda and well rested. Tell them when you will end, and honor their time. Prepare yourself and the team to not critique ideas until you are ready to whittle down the idea bank to a few to continue developing. Invest in tear sheets and hang them around the room and brainstorm. Have a bucket to collect ideas for a specific strategy/event and require each person to submit an idea to the bucket every so often. Put fun things on the tables to keep people’s hands busy as they think.
*If it feels like it didn’t work the first time, don’t give up. Have multiple think tanks in a year. Get new people and new ideas in the room each time! Let us know how it goes!
What is your first thought when you hear the word “bullying”?
Maybe your mind draws to the movie scenes of the kid who gets sticks thrown at him on the playground. Maybe you picture the biggest kid in the grade turning the new kid upside down until his lunch money drops from his pocket. Maybe you even draw from an experience you yourself had as a child.
For the purposes of this series, we will define bullying as any repetitive words or actions that wound a child. We see bullying happen in a lot of different places and forms, but two things are constant: it is both intentional and harmful.
Bullying comes in many forms and is rapidly becoming a greater issue for children of all ages. While physical bullying is a very prominent issue, kids who are bullied today generally face more verbal and electronic bullying than anything. Verbal bullying is easier to cover up than physical bullying and tends to have less repercussions for the bully, but can be equally as painful for the child who is being bullied.
Maybe you’ve heard the term “cyber bullying” tossed around a few times. As kids become more and more technologically savvy, they are finding new ways to bully one another. It’s important to monitor your child’s online presence to keep an eye on both what they are saying about others and what others are saying about them.
In the coming posts in this series, we will dive into how we identify that a child is being bullied and how we Biblically handle these situations, whether your child is the bully or the victim. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon, and feel free to comment your bullying questions or suggestions in the time being.
Children’s ministry summer calendar now? While it feels like summer just ended, it’s time to think about next summer’s calendar in children’s ministry, or at least these 10 summer activities you should consider right now! Why? Children’s ministry calendars can quickly fill up and conflict with family calendars, school calendars, church calendars, and event calendars. Stay in front of the issues by considering these 10 activities and calendar issues right now:
1. School. When does school get out? How many school calendars are you planning around next summer? Do the planning now so you can ensure maximum participation from kids and families.
2. Baseball. Softball. All-stars. Sports can be a big factor in kids’ and families’ summer plans.
3. Vacations. Are you taking a summer vacation? Are others on your core ministry team? Plan around vacations now, so you don’t end up missing them all together!
4. Holidays. Father’s Day, Independence Day, birthdays, the list goes on…
5. VBS. Pick and week for VBS if your church does this event, and get on families’ radar now!
6. Other church events. Make sure you don’t plan on top of other important events in the life of the church.
7. Youth camp. Some churches prefer to plan this at the same time as kids camp, while others keep the weeks separate. Decide and plan now.
8. Family mission trip or Family Camp. This can take a toll on a families pocketbook and vacation days. Plan around it. Check out our CentriKid Family Week as you plan!
9. Back to school. When school begins again, summer activities come to a halt. Plan for school not only at the beginning of the summer, but also at the end.
10. Kids camp. Decide when you want to go and where. Need help? Check out our video about picking a summer camp. Of course we hope you’ll pick CentriKid!
What else would you add to your children’s ministry summer calendar planning?
In any setting—whether it is in sports, corporations, or even the camp world—a unified team is hard to find. The chances that a group of 20 or so different individuals are automatically going to be unified are very slim. So, what does that mean for us, as leaders? If the chances are so slim for natural team unity, then how do we even begin to try to create it among our team?
There are several factors that play into creating a unified team, but one thing has stuck out to me as I’ve observed great leaders throughout the years. The ability to influence each individual on the team to strive toward one common purpose is vital to forming a unified team.
Think about it. All of the greatest sports teams that we love to watch are the teams that are willing to do whatever it takes to win the championship. Yes, talented players are important, but the best teams arise when the players buy into the coach’s system, stop worrying about the recognition they can get individually and, instead, start focusing on how they can help the team advance.
Last summer, as I was leading a team of staffers, I realized that we should all be working toward a common goal as well. Our purpose at camp isn’t to have the best production, the coolest track times, or the messiest OMC. Our purpose is to share the Gospel with campers and lead them to the realization of their desperate need for a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we all strive to show God’s love to the campers and to each other, all the tiny details that often slow us down and tear us apart, fade away and the only thing that remains is our ultimate purpose of glorifying God. Sure, there are still differences and even arguments among the team members, but when everyone is focused on one goal, people are willing to look beyond their own desires and “…put on love – the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:14)
Sesame Street. Kermit the Frog.
CentriKid Camps. Cooper the Kangaroo.
Wait! What? That’s right!
The CentriKid Camps team is excited to announce a new face on the team! Our search has been a long time in the making and we are so excited this day is finally here! While the likes of Mickey, Kermit, and Mario apparently had ‘prior commitments’, it was Cooper who rose to the top of our list! Originally from Australia, you’ll be hard pressed to not find Cooper driving around in his RV or eating his favorite meal, flapjacks. Cooper wants to meet you in person, so be on the lookout for him this summer at a CentriKid camp near you!