Top Posts of 2016

Happy 2017, friends!

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start!  Before jumping too far into the new year, I wanted to reflect on the top posts shared here in 2016.  I tried to post from a variety of angles, from what God taught me personally to giving a glimpse into my ministry world.

Top 5 Posts of 2016 from KidMinspiration - A Children's Ministry Blog

Here’s a recap of the top kidmin posts of 2016.  Check out any that you may have missed (and please, share them if they spoke to you.)  I look forward to writing more here in 2017 and sharing (really soon!) about a new project I’ve been working on.  Stay tuned!

1. When Kidmin Breaks Your Heart

2. Preparing for Move Up Sunday

3. When There Are No Words

4. Preschool Curriculum: Why We Chose Orange’s First Look

5. A Conversation About Teaching Kids the Gospel

I appreciate you for reading and being part of this community!

As we look ahead to 2017, what topics would you like me to tackle here on the blog in 2017?  Leave your thoughts below or email me at kidminspiration@gmail.com.  

Children’s Ministry and Race

Here's Why We Must Start Talking About Race in Children's Ministry

Recent events have precipitated the many conversations happening around the issue of race in America right now.  I’m glad that these conversations are also happening in the area of Children’s Ministry.  As uncomfortable and sometimes difficult it is for these conversations to occur, these conversations are so important to have.

A few months ago, I wrote about this very thing (you can find that post here).  Shortly after that post, I came across a post in a Facebook group that caught my eye. A kidmin leader mentioned that she had transformed a puppet that she found from being a ‘thug’ to being more appropriate for church.  To say that I was mortified would be a huge understatement, primarily because I didn’t know that a gold chain could classify a puppet a ‘thug’.  When I responded (after praying about how to use the right words to respond appropriately), some said that I was over-reacting.  Some said that the leader was not being racist and didn’t mean anything by it.  I was even told to ‘lighten up’.

While I don’t know the woman’s intention, the point I wanted to make to the group was that we have to be careful in the language we use and how we view people (even puppets) who look different from us.  My heart was grieved. What we say – and don’t say – says a lot.

My friend, Henry Zonio, reached out to me after my original posts to continue the conversation regarding race and Children’s Ministry.  I wanted to share his article here with you so that you, too, can be part of the conversation.

You can access Henry’s article here: http://childrensministry.com/articles/race-today-red-and-yellow-black-and-white/

Special thanks to my friend Christine Yount Jones and the team at Children’s Ministry Magazine for running this article.

Keep the conversation going! What are your thoughts around this topic?  

21 Questions to Ask Those You Lead

21 Questions to Ask Those You Lead

I have had the privilege of being a wife and mom for over 2o years now. One of the (many) things I’ve learned during that time is how important it is for me to ask great questions when I communicate with my family. Stress and strain can result in my relationships if I don’t communicate well. Can you relate?

Healthy relationships thrive on being able to reciprocate good, healthy communication strategies. My mom refers to this as ‘tossing the ball back’ when having a conversation. I speak, you listen.  You speak, I listen.

Sure, there are lots of ingredients that go into having a conversation with someone (talking, listening, eye contact, body language, tone, etc.) but I think some of it boils down to asking great questions. Great questions can often determine the course of the conversation. Some conversations can come to a screeching halt before they even start if we’re not careful!  I certainly haven’t mastered this but I have made significant strides in this department. For example, I now ask open ended questions that don’t garner a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.  Sometimes I push the “How did you feel about that?” question and sometimes I don’t.  More often than not, I find that pausing to pray before speaking and asking God for wisdom has saved me quite a few times!  I’ve learned, too, that it’s not always what I’m saying but how I’m saying it.

This same principle applies to ministry relationships.  Effective communication is vital in leading others and to the health, growth and success of our ministry.  In addition, good communication develops trust between a leader and those they care for.

If you want to engage someone in conversation, you have to be intentional about setting both of parties up for success.  Here are just a few questions to help get those important conversation started:

Questions for Your Staff

  1. What do we do well?
  2. What can be improved?
  3. Who can we invite to be part of our ministry team?
  4. How does this program or event fit into our ministry vision and goals?
  5. Who should we invite to be part of this discussion?  Who needs to be around the table?
  6. How can I pray for you?
  7. How can we grow together as a team?

Questions for Your Volunteers

  1. What worked well?
  2. What can be improved?
  3. How can we better equip you to lead well?
  4. Is there anyone you know who would be a great addition to our team?
  5. We are thinking of [insert idea].  What are your initial thoughts about that?
  6. Do you feel challenged in your role right now?
  7. How can I pray for you?

Questions for Parents/Families

  1. How would you describe our ministry?
  2. How can our ministry better serve our church’s families?
  3. What can we do to better equip you to disciple your family?
  4. What conversations are your family having?  Where are these conversations taking place?
  5. How can we pray for you?
  6. What is your child struggling with?
  7. How can we better strengthen the relationship between your home and the church?

Of course, there are risks involved when questions are asked.  We see vulnerabilites in people and become vulnerable ourselves.  We also have to be open to receive feedback (both positive and negative) that might trigger a certain response.  But think about this…how much are you and I missing out on because important, strategic questions aren’t being asked?

Keep the conversation going! What questions do you find effective to leading well?  Share them below or join the discussion on our Facebook page!

Night Night Farm {Book Review & Giveaway}

Recently, I was asked to review a bedtime book for preschool-aged children and it brought back many precious memories. When my children were younger, either my husband or I read to them…every night.  It was woven into our nightly bedtime ritual and it was one of my favorite times of the day to snuggle with my little ones (who are not so little anymore!).

Night Night Farm

About the Book:
Moo moo, cows! Baa baa, sheep! When the sun sinks low down on the farm, the animals are all tuckered out from the day’s adventures. Join these adorable farm animals in pajamas as they say night night to the farm, to their mommies and daddies, and to God. Your little ones will sleep until the rooster crows knowing that the God who made them loves them too.

Night night, farm!

About Amy Parker:

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

My Thoughts:
The pictures are fabulous and the striking colors are captivating. Because it’s a board book, it’s sturdy and easy for little hands to hold. The animals and words are familiar and encourages interaction (with animal sounds). The rhymes are fun and simple for young children to understand.
Night Night Farm is a great read to end the day with your preschooler.  It’s sure to capture the attention of the preschooler in your life and become one of their favorites!
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SOCIAL • CORNER
Official website to purchase: http://bit.ly/Blogging-NNF
Facebook: @AmyParkerAuthor

Facebook: @TommyNelsonBooks

Twitter: @AmyParker

Twitter: @TommyNelson

Instagram:  @TommyNelsonBooks

Pinterest: Tommy-Nelson-Books

Enter to win a copy of Night Night Farm!!
I am giving away one copy of Night Night Farm to one of my readers.
Here’s how you can enter (3 ways to win):
1. Email me and tell me your favorite children’s book to read at bedtime.
3. Leave a comment on our Facebook Page.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 8th.
The winner will be announced on our Facebook Page on Friday, September 9th.
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**Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.