Best of the Best – Children’s Ministry Internet Resources
The Internet has changed the way people live. Some of those changes have been for the worse, but some of them have been for the better. One of the changes for the better is the immediate availability of resources. There are a number of great resources out there in cyberspace for those who work in Children’s Ministry. My struggle in developing this list was not to find adequate sites, but to limit them to just the top three for each category! The list person who dwells inside of me would have given you a list of every site I ever visited ranked by how useful I found them, but I decided to refrain. So, the following is a list of my personal Top 3 sites for various categories related to Children’s Ministry:
Now, this category was easier than the rest in terms of selecting just three entries. There are three sites that I visit almost every day related to children’s ministry, and each of those sites have great forums filled with great people ready to help out with their wisdom and insight. If you have any, and I mean any, questions related to Children’s Ministry, check out the following forums:
- These are the most robust of the Children’s Ministry forums on the internet. With nearly 5,000 current and archived discussion strings (that’s my estimate, I don’t know what the exact count is, and I loss track somewhere around 2,356), these forums include a wealth of information. As best I can tell, the discussions on this site date back to about September 2003.
- CM Connect is a community of people involved in Children’s Ministry. They offer several forums depending on the nature of your question including Uncategorized (which I do realize isn’t a category but includes some great discussions), Cmconnect.org community, Early Childhood Ministry, Elementary Ministry, Leadership, Ministry Openings, Props and Atmosphere, Technology and Volunteers. Posts in these forums date back to approximately May 2008. I’ve yet to post a questions without getting multiple responses.
- Compared to the other two sites, these forums are relatively new and not quite as well traveled. That said, with the continuing growth of this site as a whole (you’ll see it several times in different categories on this page), I expect that these forums will see increasing use.
If you’re just looking for information on Children’s Ministry, there are a lot of great resources out there. The following three sites are the best all around sites I’ve found.
- As far as I can tell, this is the granddaddy of all internet sites related to Children’s Ministry. Karl Bastian’s site includes a multitude of resources and information for anyone involved in Children’s Ministry from the parent who volunteers once every couple of months to the Children’s Pastor, if you work with kids you should check out this site! In addition to the forums discussed above (and which I cannot rave about enough), this site offers various zones full of useful information. Some of the information is reserved for members, but much of it is free to anyone. Given the low membership price, I would encourage you to join. I guarantee you will get your money’s worth out of this site!
- Like Kidology.org, I have included CMConnect in both the forums section and the best web site collection. Like facebook exclusively for those involved in Children’s Ministry, this site offers those involved in Children’s Ministry a chance to network and learn from one another. Make sure you check out the various groups on the site.
- This web version of the print magazine includes a wealth of information on Children’s Ministry including articles about trends in leadership and outreach as well as practical suggestions for your classroom including games and crafts.
Obviously, the sites and forums listed above are an invaluable resource, but this category focuses on those sites which provide useful resources for use in the classroom. They include one site for finding great worship music, one site full of great lessons and one site that points to a multitude of other free resources on the internet for those involved in Children’s Ministry.
- If you’re looking for music for your Children’s Ministry, this is the place to start. Buy music and/or videos. Individual songs and videos can be purchased and downloaded to your computer for a nominal charge. I love this site!
- Technically, this site is a blog, and I could have put in under that category. It seemed to fit more appropriately here in the Resources category though. Andy Johnson has done all the hard work of scouring the internet looking for free stuff useful to those of us involved in Children’s Ministry. If you’ve ever searched for that illusive something that you know must be out there somewhere, this blog is a great place to start! And, one of my favorite words – FREE – is right there in the title of the site!
- Ministry-to-Children offers free bible lessons as part of their blog. This page brings them all together in one place. I understand they just brought several new lesson plan writers on board, so I suspect the number of lessons on the site to continue to grow substantially!
OK! OK! I couldn’t limit all the categories to just three sites, so I threw and extra one in here for free! Just this year, I started running the games for the AWANA clubs that meet at our church every Wednesday night. I’m always on the lookout for new, fun and exciting games to try out with the kids. These are four best sites I’ve found thus far!
- With hundreds of games, and a nifty search engine that lets you search based on your game criteria, this site offers a wealth of ideas and useful information. And, if you’re in charge of games, make sure you don’t miss the article linked from the front page called, “Seven Deadly Sins of Game Leading.”
- Here’s another site set up as a blog that could have been listed under that category. That said, my absolute favorite part of this site is the game ideas.
- With games organized in various categories, this site is a must for anyone planning games. The site claims to provide access to over 1,700 free Youth Ministry games and resources.
- This site also has a search engine that lets you search by your game criteria and utilizes popularity and ranking criteria so you can have some idea how popular each game is.
I have to say, this was the hardest category I had when it came to picking my favorite three. There are a ton of great blogs by and for those who work in Children’s Ministry. That’s why I decided to cheat (sort of) and include a category for listings of Children’s Ministry blogs below. That said, the following are the three Children’s Ministry blogs I find myself visiting and referring to the most often!
- This blog, started by Tony Kummer, now boasts a handful of talented writers from all across the country. From lesson plans, to articles on trends in Children’s Ministries, to how to deal with specific situation, to theology, and on and on and on – this site always has a useful article to read. And, with a growing base of writers, there are more and more articles every day.
- Jim Wideman is a recognized leader in the field of Children’s Ministry, and his blog does not disappoint. The articles are, generally, fairly short but packed full of useful information and insights gleaned from a lifetime of experience.
- This is the blog of David Wakerly a children’s pastor in Sydney, Australia and the person responsible for me ditching the old name of this blog in favor of “Dad in the Middle.” Thanks, Dave!
Listings of Blogs
When I started looking for Children’s Ministry blogs, I could not find a good listing of the best Children’s Ministry blogs out there. The following are a couple of such listings.
- Tony Kummer, over at Ministry-to-Children.com recently did a listing of the ten best Children’s Ministry Blogs. It’s worth a read if you’re looking for some other great blogs.
- Several months ago, I put together a list of Children’s Ministry blogs which I frequented for inclusion in the Blog Patrol on this site. At the time, the Blog Patrol was a weekly feature and this listing was based on the frequency of inclusion in that list. The list is now a little bit out-of-date, and I plan on updating it soon!
- Speaking of the Blog Patrol, it was rebranded the Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol a couple of months ago. It is now a monthly feature on this site (published the first Tuesday of each month) and chronicles the best articles from Children’s Ministry blog world each month.
If you use Facebook, there are several Children’s Ministry related groups and fan pages available. The following are the three I like.
- Children’s Ministry is a group created relatively recently as an experiment by Kenny Conley. The growth has been phenomenal and I love to read the updates that various Children’s Ministry professionals post to this site.
- Kidology has its own fan page on Facebook. In addition to entries on Facebook, the site interacts with the forums discussed above on Kidology.org
- The fan site of Children’s Ministry Magazine, this page provides insight into the magazine as well as interesting information about Children’s Ministry in general.
- Technically, the Christian Forum is not a Children’s Ministry group, but I created it, and I’ve never plugged it on this blog, so I thought I would. I didn’t want to slight any actual Children’s Ministry groups, so I made this one the fourth entry. The Christian Forum is a place for Christians and No-Christians alike to get together to discuss things related to God and Jesus Christ.
I love to read! I love to read to my kids, and I love to read books about Children’s Ministry. The following sites offer reviews of various Christian books to help you pick that next book you should read!
- This blog comes from a group of Christian Moms who spend part of their time reviewing children’s literature.
- Kidology.org, listed several times in this article, has a zone dedicated to reviews. In addition to books, you’ll find review of movies and other items of interest to Children’s Ministry workers. If there is a book about Children’s Ministry that you’re thinking of checking out, make sure you read the review here first.
- Terry Delaney runs this site which reviews a variety of Christian books from an Evangelical perspective. Not all of the books reviewed are for Children or relate to Children’s Ministry, but they are all worth reading!
Of course, my favorite book to read is the Bible! I love the ability to search and study the Bible online as well.
- YouVersion offers a number of different translations for your reading pleasure and edification. The greatest feature of YouVersion is the ability to leave your own notes related to specific passages of scripture and the ability to read the thoughts other people have left. The site also offers a Bible reading plan and is available as a stand-alone application for the IPhone.
- Bible Gateway still stands as one of the best sites out there for reading and studying the Bible online. The number of versions available, the search capabilities and so much more make Bible Gateway an indispensable tool!
- I bought the ESV Study Bible a year ago or so, and I’ve read through it now a couple of times. It has quickly become my translation of choice, and I appreciate that the version is available online.
Now, here’s one I could not limit to just three. If you’re on Twitter, and you’re involved in Children’s Ministry, here are some people you will definitely want to follow (in no particular order)!
- @JimWideman (Jim Wideman)
- @SamLuce (Sam Luce)
- @JonathanCliff (Jonathan Cliff)
- @R_Frank (Ryan Frank)
- @TonyKummer (Tony Kummer)
- @Kidologist (Karl Bastian)
- @Gina_McClain (Gina McClain)
- @KennyConley (Kenny Conley)
- @DrBrianHaynes (Brian Hanes)
- @MattMcKee (Matt McKee)
- @Anthony_Prince (Anthony Prince)
- @LeenaPrindle (Leena Prindle)
- @SpencerClick (Spencer Click)
- @KidzMatter2Me (Evan Doyle)
- @MattGuevara (Matt Guevara)
- @jcisonline (J.C. Thompson)
- @thurios (Glen Woods)
And, if for some reason you want to follow me, I can be found at:
There you have it! That is my best of the best when it comes to Children’s Ministry. What would you add? Leave me a comment, and let me know.