International Children’s Bible {Review & Giveaway}

Bibles are one of those staple items for ministry to children.  (If it’s not, it should be!)  Choosing an age-appropriate Bible for children is sometimes a bit of a challenge because there are so many great options out there.  Here’s one I’d like to share with you that children will love.

International Children's Bible

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The International Children’s Bible, the first Bible translation created specifically for children, has been updated and newly typeset in a large readable layout.  The Bible text is set in large type, with bold in-text subject heads that help kids easily find the passages they are looking for.  Also included are boldface words that correspond with a dictionary and concordance entry to explain word definitions.

A great new feature in this updated setting is a key verse index with more than 300 verses that are highlighted throughout the Bible for kids to read and learn.  The beautifully illustrated Bible story insert pages are in a style that children love and will delight their imaginations as they read and “see” popular Bible stories.

International Children's Bible

WHAT I LIKE

The Bible is easy-to-read and easy for younger readers to read on their own.  The size of the Bible is perfect for smaller hands to hold and navigate.  The colors used in the illustrations are brilliant and the drawings are not too young to turn off older elementary-aged children.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE

I would have loved to have seen a brief synopsis for each book, such as the author and an overview.  Giving children this background information could help them see the big picture of God’s story.  I also would love to have seen the highlighted verses in a bold color instead of the dull gray; this would help the verses stand out a bit more.  Lastly, I would have loved if the illustrations were in close proximity to the story it related to as well as a scripture reference provided under the illustration’s title.  I could see how this might cause some confusion for children.

All in all, I think the Bible is a great resource for children to develop a love for God’s Word.

To find out more, take a look at this YouTube video or visit their website.

Enter to win a copy of the International Children’s Bible.
I am giving away one copy of the International Children’s Bible to one of my readers.
Simply email me at kidminspiration@gmail.com and tell me your favorite Bible story!
The deadline to enter is 11:59 pm on Friday, May 20th.
The winner will be announced on our Facebook Page on Monday, May 23rd.

Teaching Familiar Bible Stories

Behind the Scenes: Children’s Ministry Magazine, March/April 2016

CM Magazine - Mar-Apr 2016

Teaching the Bible in fun, exciting and engaging ways is a challenge that every children’s ministry leader faces.  Some weeks come together really well; other weeks not so much.

If you’re like me, you scour the internet (thank you, Pinterest!) for ideas and inspiration to help you knock the story out of the park each week.  Then you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of those who’ll hear.

One of the dilemmas of a large group leader or teacher is to effectively teach the Bible to children who are familiar with the Bible AND kids who’ve never heard the stories before.  How can you capture the attention of fresh ears while engaging kids who are familiar?

This was the inspiration behind my “Old Messages, New Truths”, my elementary column topic in the March/April 2016 issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine.  In the column, I share 5 tips on how to do this.  (You can find the tips on page 30.)

If you’re looking for even more ideas, check out my kidmin-themed Pinterest boards.  You’ll find hundreds and hundreds of ideas to spur your creativity.

What methods have you found to maneuver this challenge?  Share your ideas below!

A Conversation About Teaching Kids the Gospel

teaching kids the Gospel

There are so many things that kidmin leaders want said about the ministries they lead.  We want ministries that are safe, age-appropriate, growing, engaging, fun, innovative, all-inclusive, reaching families, healthy, dynamic, just to name a few.

Each week, we spend hours in the details – writing/editing curriculum, gathering supplies, emailing lessons, making sure volunteers are in place, and meeting with our teams to ensure we’re all on the same page.  This can become second nature to us, almost something we could do with our eyes closed.

But what about the most important stuff?  You know, like what we’re teaching the kids?  Are we teaching them a list of ‘right things to do’ or are we teaching them how God wants them to live and the why behind it?  Are we watering down the Gospel because we think kids aren’t ready for it?

Are kids encouraged to dig deep into Scripture on their own or do they just take our word for it because they aren’t opening up their bibles?  Are we encouraging kids to memorize scripture and spend time with God each day?  Are we teaching them that God’s Word is one big story vs just a collection of stories?

By teaching kids and showing them how the whole Bible is one entire story, we’re getting them to understand and love Jesus, coming to that place where they’re making decisions to be a Christ follower.

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be part of a round-table discussion with Ed Stetzer, Jeffrey Reed and five other kidmin leaders around the country to talk about this very important topic.  Our conversation was converted into a transcript to be made available for Christianity Today readers.  I’ve listed the links below for your convenience:

Part 1: The Importance of the Big Story

Part 2: The Importance of Leading Kids to Love Jesus

Part 3: The Importance of Teaching Kids the Hard Stuff of Scripture

Part 4: The Importance of Gospel-Centered Teaching in Children’s Ministry

My goal is to not give children in our ministry a faith that they would have to come back to, but a relationship that would keep them connected to him their whole life.

Keep the conversation going by leaving me a comment.  What are your thoughts about this important issue?  

Preparing for Move Up Sunday

move-up-sunday 2015

My team and I have been busy preparing for our Move Up (Promotion) Sunday this weekend.  There’s always a lot to do to make sure that everything – and everyone – is ready to go!  Can you relate?

Here is a snapshot of how we’ve prepared:

Volunteers

Everything from recruiting to our kick-off event to making sure paperwork is up-to-date, everything related to staffing our classrooms and equipping those leaders ramps up in the month of August.  We want to make sure that those who are partnering with us in classrooms and small groups are well-equipped and supported to do the work that God has called them to (through large group venues like our kick-off event or one-on-one over coffee or a meal).  This step is crucial to our overall ministry’s success.

Curriculum & Supplies

During the summer months, we declutter our storage closets and inventory supplies so that they can be restocked.  This summer, we’ve ordered worship equipment, items for small groups (colorful rugs, games, walkie talkies for each classroom and members of our security team, and books for leaders), craft supplies, electronic check-in printer labels, storage bins and other essentials.

We also plan our lesson schedules for the year, edit curriculum, print lessons and activity pages and other curriculum-related tasks.

Physical Spaces

A year of ministry can take a beating on our physical spaces, so each summer we spruce up classrooms and hallways by updating signage, purchasing equipment and painting.  This year, we’re so excited that our Nursery hallway and welcome areas will be painted in fun, inviting colors in time for Move Up Sunday!  We also take a look at room/space configurations to make sure that traffic flows well and that space is maximized as much as possible.

Parent Communication

Move Up Sunday is a big Sunday for us (there are lots of moving parts and lots of people to move), so we want to make sure that parents know what to expect.  This means communicating through every avenue possible, such as our website, our church’s Facebook page, our ministry’s Facebook page, email, electronic newsletter, and environmental signage.  On Move Up Sunday, we’ll have additional volunteers on hand who will greet and direct families to the right rooms.  These volunteers will be wearing an Ask Me! name tag (and a smile) and have a clipboard with the room numbers and assignments to make this transition go as smoothly as possible.

Prayer

As a staff team as well as individually, we commit Move Up Sunday to prayer.  Things we cover in prayer include, but are not limited to:

  • Protection for volunteers (against sickness for them or their children, transportation, etc.)
  • New families
  • Children entering a new classroom environment
  • Anxiety (for parents, children, new volunteers)
  • Excitement for the beginning of a new ministry year
  • Stamina, rest, and contagious energy for our staff team

There are just a few last-minute details to tend to and then we’ll be ready!  It’s going to be a great year!

Keep the conversation going!  Leave a comment below to share how you prepare for Move Up Sunday.  You can also upload pictures of your ministry spaces on our Facebook page.