What are Your Thanksgiving Traditions? (Children’s Ministry Moment #6)

Childrens_Ministry_MomentsThis past weekend in our large group teaching, I was talking to the kids about the Thanksgiving traditions in their family and reminding them what we have to be thankful for above all other things. We were talking about family coming and visiting relatives. We were talking about who does and doesn’t like turkey. Then, I started to ask them what else they had for Thanksgiving. We went through the usual suspects:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Any other kind of meat
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Other Vegetables

Then I asked if anyone had anything else every Thanksgiving they I hadn’t mentioned yet.  There were a couple of answers (which frankly I can’t remember as I write this), then one little boy raised his hand, and I called on him:

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How Many People Were On That Boat? (Children's Ministry Moment #5)

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As I was working through memory verses and the AWANA book with my six-year old daughter last night, one of the questions required them to retell a story that they had heard in AWANA. I asked what they had talked about this week. My daughter racked her brain for a few seconds then explained that they had talked about “that buy” but she couldn’t remember his name.  After more pondering, she said, “You know the guy with the boat.”

Trying to be helpful, I offered “Noah.”

She said, and I quote “Yeah, Noah, the guy who saved all those people with his boat.”

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Where Did You Say He Was From (Children's Ministry Moment #4)

Childrens_Ministry_Moments This past weekend in the Kindergarten and First Grade Room, we learned the story of Epaphroditus from the Philippians 2 and 4.  We talked about how Epaphroditus helped Paul and how Paul helped the church in Philippi by sending Epaphroditus back to them after he got sick.  We learned about how you can make a difference when you take care of other people.

Well, following the large group lesson, I was going over some review questions with the kids during their small group time.

  • Who did we learn about today? Epaphroditus
  • What did Epaphroditus do? Brought a message to Paul
  • Who did Paul and Epaphroditus tell people about? Jesus
  • What happened to Epaphroditus while he was with Paul? He got sick
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You've Got To Love An Honest Kid (Children’s Ministry Moment #3)

Childrens_Ministry_MomentsYou’ve got to love an honest kid!  This morning was my first weekend teaching the kindergarten and first grade room, and I had a blast.  We were studying the story of Solomon and the time when God asked Solomon to tell him anything he wanted God to give him. I explained to the kids how cool that would be to have the creator of the whole universe, the living God who made you and me, tell them to ask for whatever they wanted.  I proceeded to ask them what they would ask for in that situation.  The answers were predictable at first.  Several of the kids wanted more toys.  Some wanted money. A handful even expressed that they would want to know more about Jesus.  Then one little boy spoke up with what I thought may have been the best all around request.  He said:

I would ask God to give me better attention so that I could listen in class on Sundays and pay better attention.

Talk about self-awareness! You go God!

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Little Mouth…Deep Truth (Children's Ministry Moment #2)

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So, this moment was a little bit different. It wasn’t actually in my K-1 class. Instead, this entry deals with a conversation I had with my eight-year-old son about Baptism.

After six-and-a-half years of being a Christ follower and ignoring God’s command that new believers be baptized, I finally took that step of obedience this past weekend.  There was no theological, philosophical or other reason that I put it off.  It just sort of got relegated to the back burner of my spiritual life, and I never made it a priority.  God continued to tug at me about this one, and I finally started to feel like a hypocrite telling my kids how important it was to be obedient to God on one hand and ignoring this call on the other.  This is just one of many examples where God has used my role as a dad to my children to explain my role as child to him.

Anyhow, in my local church, the process for baptism involves a class one weekend followed by the actual baptisms the next weekend.  As part of my plan to keep from backing out this weekend or finding something “more important” that needed to be done, I told my kids about it.  I knew they would keep on me.  They were more excited about seeing their Dad get baptized than I ever imagined – especially my eight-year-old son!  He rearranged his weekend and skipped a cousins graduation party because he didn’t want to risk missing the moment.

The afternoon of the Saturday evening I was going to be baptized, we were driving to go see a movie together, and he brought up the issue of baptism. He wanted to know about the class (for the 30th time).  He wanted to know about the “test” (the four question form our church has you fill out to give your testimony during the baptism.  And, he wanted to know about the symbolism.  We talked about the water and what it signifies.  We talked about why you get dunk as a symbol of Christ’s death on the cross.  And we talked about coming back up out of the water as a symbol of resurrection to new life.  In that moment, Jacob uttered something to me that I found profound and which altered my view of the whole process.  He said,

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Children's Ministry Moment #1 – Outdoor Guy

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Anyone who works in Children’s Ministry knows that there are moments.  There are moments of clarity, moments of frustration, moments of humor and moments that just take you aback.  I’ve decided to start a new series on this blog to remember some of those moment.

This past Sunday, the lesson had to do with a parable told by Jesus.  In order to teach them what a parable was, we were having the kids draw a picture of their favorite story.  Some of the kids were struggling to come up with something to draw, and I was trying to help out.  I asked one little boy (age 4), do you like books?  Do your parents read to you before you go to bed?  His response qualified as a Children’s Ministry Moment and prompted me to start this series.  He told me:

“I’m not really a book person.  I’m more of an outdoors kind of guy!”

You got to love kids.  You  never know what they’re going to say!

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