Seeing Kingdom Potential in Each Child

Seeing Kingdom potential in each child

As a little girl, I loved to go to church.  I mean loved.  It was the favorite part of my week.  I remember walking through the doors of my church excited to be with friends and adults that I loved.  The atmosphere in that pink (yes, pink!) classroom was warm and welcoming.  The adult leaders taught me songs and scripture verses that I still remember to this day (and sing aloud occasionally).  I was introduced to bible stories that deeply impacted my life.  These precious experiences impacted my life so deeply that I wanted other kids to love going to church just as much as I did.  Little did I know at that moment that God was preparing me for the call He had on my life.

When I began serving in Children’s Ministry as an adult, that desire was my drive…I wanted other kids to love going to church just as much as I did – even more than I did!  I wanted to create experiences that would help kids know how much the God who created them loved them and cherished them.  I wanted children to make friendships that could become lifelong.  I wanted children to treasure God’s Word and be excited to learn it, know it and do what it says.  I wanted children to develop a love of Jesus, one that would sustain them a lifetime.

You see, for me, leading Children’s Ministry is remembering that each child has Kingdom potential.  That means seeing each child who walks through the doors of my church as children who might one day grow up and be a dynamic Christ-follower.  That means seeing them not as the church of tomorrow but as the church of today.  God is working in their lives now, preparing them for the call He has on their lives.

Who but God knows the future He has for them?  Maybe the next great theologian, pastor, ministry leader or church planter is sitting in one of your classrooms right now.  Maybe God is preparing a boy or girl in your ministry to be the next author, politician, artist, business leader, or teacher to turn the world upside down for His honor and glory.

That’s why what we do each week is so much bigger than what we can see with our human eyes.  Each week, we are privileged to welcome children through the doors of our church…children who come to us with all sort of family backgrounds, personalities, gifts, talents and potential.What we are part of is Kingdom investment right now.  What an honor to be part of influencing the life of a child who might change the world and shine bright for Jesus!

If you’re a kidmin leader or volunteer, there’s something I’d like to challenge you to do.  The next time you hold your mid-week or weekend programming, I want you to look around at all of the children in attendance.  Look them in the eye.  Look beyond the challenging behavior, family circumstances or personality issues.  Look at them through a new, fresh lens…as one who could make Jesus known to a world who desperately needs Him.

If you’re a parent, there’s something I’d like to challenge you to do.  Do everything you can to plug your child into a church that helps them know and follow Jesus, one that challenges them to grapple with what they believe and challenges them to put their faith in action.  Attend church regularly so that your child can be connected to leaders and peers who can encourage them along their spiritual journey.  Help them see the church as another voice to speak into their lives.

Keep the conversation going!  How might this change in perspective affect how you minister and parent this week?

Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids {Review & Giveaway}

Finding the right devotional can be difficult.  Oftentimes, friends make recommendations but usually for me, the devotional I choose meets me right where I am during a particular season in my life.  Can you relate?

For many years, I used the Jesus Calling as my daily devotional.  I loved it for many reasons but one was the tone in which it was written.  Sometimes, the words seemed to be the very thing that my soul needed to hear.  It drew me in and created in me a desire to just sit in the presence of the Lord.

As a parent and ministry leader, I am always on the lookout for the same type of resource for kids.  I believe that part of my role is to put good resources into the hands of parents to help them disciple their children at home.  I was so excited to see that Sarah Young, author of the Jesus Calling, had written a new devotional for kids.

 

Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids {Review & Giveaway}

 

 

 

About Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids
Jesus is the Friend who is always with you.  Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids will pour this powerful truth into your children’s hearts as they learn that He knows everything about them and loves them more than they can imagine.  Each devotion is based on Scripture and is written as though Jesus is speaking directly to you, assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that an amazing future awaits all who put their hope in Him.  Adapted from the ECPA 2013 Christian Book of the Year-winner Jesus Today, this devotional has the same themes as the adult version, as well as written-out scriptures.  It is a great choice for families to read and discuss during devotional time together.
Hardcover: 368 pages
Age Range: 6-10 years 
About Sarah Young: 
Sarah Young’s devotional writings are personal reflections from her daily quiet time of Bible reading, praying and writing in prayer journals.  With sales of more than 14 million books worldwide, Jesus Calling has appeared on all major bestseller lists.  Sarah’s writings include Jesus CallingJesus TodayJesus LivesDear JesusJesus Calling for Little OnesJesus Calling Bible StorybookJesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence — each encouraging readers in their journey toward intimacy with Christ.  Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years.  They currently live in the United States.
My Thoughts
The book contains 150 devotions that elementary-aged children can read alone or with a grown up.  The devotions are just a few short paragraphs long but they pack a powerful punch.  The language is kid-friendly and simple, making it easy for young children to process.  Because they’re written as if Jesus were speaking, the devotions can capture the heart of both children who have already asked Jesus to be their Savior and children who might not be 100% sure what they believe.
Each devotion is followed up by 2 or 3 bible verses that relate to that day’s theme.  The book also has various quotes sprinkled throughout that break up the content a bit.
I also absolutely loved the Scripture Index in the back of the book.  Each verse mentioned in the book is listed in order and lists the page numbers where that verse is discussed.  Also, I loved the texture of the pages.  They were glossy and smooth, which will make it more durable for little hands.
If you have an elementary-aged child in your life or home, this is a resource you’ll want to take a look at.
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SOCIAL • CORNER
Enter to win a copy of Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids
I am giving away one copy of Jesus Today: Devotions for Kids to one of my readers.
Simply email me at kidminspiration@gmail.com and tell me who you’d love to share this resource with.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on Monday, February 8th.
The winner will be announced on our Facebook Page on Tuesday, February 9th.

A Resource Box for Families to Teach God’s Word at Home {Review}

I have noticed a recent trend in ministry resource boxes lately.  There are a few out there but today I wanted to share my thoughts on SproutBox.

 

SproutBox

 

SproutBox Description (according to their print material):

Launched in September 2015, SproutBox is a monthly box subscription designed to create unforgettable family-based Bible experiences with AR technology, interactive curriculum, and easy-to-follow parent guides to facilitate faith-shaping conversation with your kids (ages 4-10).

Its mission is to help parents and kids engage God’s Word in new creative ways.

My Sample Box

I reviewed the “Creation” theme box, which came with:

  • step-by-step instructions
  • a baseball card-size character card
  • a 20-piece creation puzzle (marked with a number “1”)
  • an 11-page storybook (marked with a number “2”)
  • a 7-piece Parents Guide (marked with a number “3”)
  • a make-your-own flowerpot craft (marked with a number “4”)

Using the resources in the box required four easy steps:

Step One (Captivate)

Before using the box, I needed to download the free SproutBox App.  Then I put the creation puzzle together.  Next, I opened the SproutBox app, pressing the camera icon and pointing my phone (you could also use your tablet) at the puzzle.  What happened next was very cool – the Bible story came to life!  Omari, our storyteller, popped up on the screen and told the creation story.  The story itself was not too short and not too long, making it work for younger AND older children.  Not only did Omari tell the story, but he asked me to be part of it by swiping the screen to see more beautiful images.  The images were high-quality – they were colorful and clear.  Well done!

Step Two (Explore)

The storybook, called “The Master Plan”, brilliantly told the creation story on a child’s level through the use of simple (but not babyish) language and eye-catching illustrations.  The book featured Omari and introduced me to his two friends, Gideon and Danya.  Their conversation exchange was simply delightful.

Step Three (Guide)

This step was by far my favorite step.  Why?  Because it equips parents to continue the conversation beyond the Bible story so that children can apply what they’ve read to their everyday lives.  I love that SproutBox provides a resource to make that happen!

The parent guide offers fun activities, Bible readings, discussion questions, and a prayer for parents to use.  Not only that but the guide provided a “Did You Know Facts” section.  I thought this was brilliant because many parents today didn’t grow up in a Christian household and may not be familiar with the Bible stories they are teaching their children.  Outstanding, SproutBox!

Step Four (Experience)

I LOVE hands-on projects for children, especially ones that encourage children to use their imaginations and be creative!  The experience provided for the creation box included 3 small cardboard flowerpots, 3 soil pods, seeds, paints, paintbrushes, instructions, and blank note cards.  What a great way for the children to create a tangible reminder of the awesomeness and beauty of God’s creation!

My Thoughts

Overall, I think this idea is a great way to equip busy parents to share God’s Word at home with their children.  Having everything in one box removes barriers that could keep parents from feeling ill-equipped on what to do and what resources to use.

At $24.99/month, the box could be financially out-of-reach for some families, so I’d recommend that SproutBox include more at-home activities in the Parent Guide.  Doing this would stretch the discussions out longer over the course of the month, thus making it more appealing for some parents to pay that amount of money.  It would also be great to see some sort of family service project included in the Parent Guide.

Find out more about SproutBox by visiting them on:

Website: http://sproutboxkids.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sproutboxkids

Twitter: @SproutBoxKids

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sproutboxkids/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/sproutboxkids

Keep the conversation going!  Have you used SproutBox Kids or another resource box to help your families or families in your ministry have spiritual conversation at home?  

Disclaimer:  I was provided a free sample to review and offered my honest opinion without compensation.

Resolve Conflicts With L.O.V.E

CM Magazine Jan-Feb16

In the January/February 2016 issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine, I wrote about training children to resolving conflict in a God-honoring way.  I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes insight into why I wrote about this important task.

This month, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the Civil Rights movement from the mid-1950’s until he was assassinated in 1968.  Through all of this efforts toward peace, Dr. King’s platform was based on nonviolence.

Children today are exposed to more violent images than ever before.  Sadly, these images are everywhere our children are: television, movies, phone and tablet screens, and video games.  What breaks my heart even more is that many children experience violence first-hand in their own homes and communities day after day.

I believe that helping children resolve conflict in a healthy way will help them work through down the road.  Whenever my own children have had sibling squabbles or see my husband and I disagree about something, I remind them that healthy conflict resolution will serve them well in relationships with family members, friends, bosses, and their future spouse and children.

Our churches (and homes) are fertile training soil for us to build on.  In the current issue, I share 4 ways that we can do that.  If you are a subscriber, you’ll find my column on page 30.  (There is even a very cute printable bookmark that you can download online.)  If you’re not a subscriber, consider becoming one.  You can find out you can save 70% off here.

Let’s help our children resolve conflicts with love!