A Helpful Resource To Help Teach Young Children About Creation

God-Created

 

Throughout their academic life, children will have to face the onslaught of scientific theories, teachers, professors, and peers who will pressure them into leaving behind the “primitive and uneducated” belief that Earth was created by Almighty God.  A recent Gallup poll reveals that over 60% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution – many of them believing that it is the PRIMARY explanation for where life on Earth comes from.  

Earlier this year, Ken Ham, a well-known Christian apologist debated the outspoken evolutionist, Bill Nye (the Science Guy).  It was a classic  (and public) Creation-versus-Evolution debate.  Nye is more than just a former TV personality.  He was also featured in a YouTube video last year titled “Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.”  Click this link to watch the video.

Nye says, “in another couple centuries,” the creationist worldview “just won’t exist,” saying “there’s no evidence for it.”

The battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation begins long before kids enter a high school or college biology class.

Remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes?  It was a small child who saw and pointed out that the king had no clothes on at all.   Kids are not dumb.  Even if parents choose not to discuss it, children will soon recognize that the theory of evolution does contradict the Bible.  So, what can Christian parents do to counteract the push and pull of society to walk away from the Bible and embrace something else as the ultimate authority on the origin of life?

I don’t think it is a simple answer.  It all starts with teaching your children clearly what the Bible says about Creation.  Every once in a while, a tool comes along that helps to aid in that pursuit.  I came across such a tool recently, and wanted to share it with you.

God Created is a short picture book that is aimed at ages 3-8 years old.  It is well done with incredibly vivid illustrations.  It is written by Sarah Evelyn Hodson and illustrated by Jason Platt.  Sarah works as an early intervention speech-language pathologist in addition to writing children’s books.  She is a mom of two children.

You can purchase a copy of this book by clicking here!   Also, Sarah was kind enough to send me a copy to GIVE AWAY for free!  If you would like to be entered into the drawing, please email me at brian@highvoltage-kids.com.  I will announce the winner next week!

How To Handle Parents Who Don’t Attend Your Church

parents-angry

Some time ago, one of the children who attends our church (but his parents do not) told me, “I didn’t come last week because my dad doesn’t think it’s important.”

I recognized what he was doing.  I asked him, “Did your dad actually say that he doesn’t think church is important?”

The boy said, “Well, no, but since he didn’t bring me, he must have something against me coming.”

I quickly responded, “Wait a minute.  We can’t draw that conclusion.  Give your dad a break.  I’m sure he was just busy and couldn’t make his schedule work out.  After all, you’re here today.”  I’m very careful to avoid relational triangles where two people gang up on another.  In this case, I was not (and AM not) willing to join the child in accusing his dad of wrong motives.  It may seem like a small commitment, but I assure you, it’s huge.

I have made a commitment to ALWAYS honor the parents of every child who comes through our doors.  I tell the kids that our ministry is here to support their parents, and I tell the parents we’re here to serve them in every possible way.  I don’t want there to be any suspicion that we’re trying to take the parents’ role away from them.  The parents who have been part of our church for a long time sometimes take this for granted, but those who are coming for the first time—and especially those who haven’t been part of a church—need to be reassured that we’re committed to serve them.  In a dozen different ways, I tell the kids and the parents, “We’re on the same team and are committed to the same purpose: to support your role as parents and encourage your child’s spiritual growth.”

Just the other day, I got an email from a fellow Kids Minister.  She asked, “How should we specifically minister to those children who come to our church, but whose parents are unbelievers or who do not welcome the teachings promoted through Christian Education?”

If a child’s parents don’t attend our church, come only occasionally, or aren’t believers, we want to accomplish these objectives:

1)  Honor the parents – I always speak worth and honor regarding the parents to the kids.  I will NEVER let them talk their parents down simply because they do not share the faith of the child.  Every time I encounter the parents, I honor them and remind them that we are on the same team.

2)  Remind the child of their duty to be a soul-winner in their home – Our message to the child is clear, intentional, and direct.  I tell the kids, “God has put you in your family for a purpose.  If you want your parents, brothers, and sisters to come to Christ, you have to show them the love of God in your actions as well as your words.  You can’t expect to win them to Jesus if you act like a selfish punk.”  They seem to understand this concept.  Even first graders get the picture that they can be lights in their families.  They can let their light shine so their parents and siblings see Jesus in them.  We never want the kids to use church as leverage to blame and control their parents.  Instead, we want to turn that upside down so they become loving, obedient, joyful lights that show their family members the grace of Christ.

3)  Communicate with the parents – send them emails, letters, Facebook messages, etc.  No, I don’t mean STALK them.  I mean let them know what is going on in your church and ministry.  When their child does something incredible, let them know.  When their child does something that demonstrates the character of Christ, let them know.  When there is a special training for parents at your church, let them know.  As you communicate to them, pray that God will use every communication to help them get closer to crossing that line of faith.

How about you?  How do YOU deal with parents of kids in your ministry but they don’t attend your church?  What approaches have you found to be extremely effective?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the Kidmin Community.

 

Do You Struggle Getting Volunteers For Your Ministry?

volunteer-breakthrough
Do you struggle getting volunteers for your ministry?  If you do, you are NOT alone!  Survey after survey tells us that recruiting and keeping volunteers is one of the biggest struggles for EVERY Kids Ministry Leader.  Well, I have an incredible opportunity for you that will help change that statistic.

My friend, Ryan Frank, was a Children’s Pastor for 15 years and is currently the CEO/Publisher at KidzMatter.  He has created a FREE 4-part video series on how to recruit and keep amazing volunteers.  The video series is called “Volunteer Breakthrough.”  In this video series, Ryan unpacks 10 Laws he has discovered that help create dynamic volunteer teams!  You’re going to love it.

You can get this video series for FREE just by clicking the image at the top of this post.  You don’t want to hesitate!  Why am I so passionate about this?  It’s because I have known Ryan for over ten years.  He and I have done trainings together, traveled together, ministered together, and he is one of my best friends in ministry.  I have seen the fruit of what God is doing through Ryan’s life – and it is changing the world!

You are VERY lucky to be able to get some of this RICH content for free.  I am thankful that Ryan has offered this to my blog readers.  Take advantage of it, because I don’t know how long it will last!

Ryan Frank, CEO/Publisher at Kidzmatter

 

How To Have A High-Tech Bible Gameshow

Gameshow Mania

 

Several weeks ago, we had a fun event called the “Bible Trivia Showdown!”  On a Sunday Night, we invited the families of our church to partner up and challenge one another on their knowledge of the Bible.  It was a hilarious event!  Everyone had a great time trying to see if they could answer the questions faster than the other family they had challenged.  We gave out a bunch of Sonic gift cards!  It was a blast!

Ever since I posted the above pic on Facebook, I have had several people contact me asking how THEY could get an incredible Gameshow set like this.  I don’t blame them for asking.  This gameshow set has been AMAZING!  In fact, we didn’t just use it that night.  We use it EVERY WEEK during our “Brain Drain” game of review questions at the end of our Kids Church lesson.

This Gameshow set is made by a company called Gameshow Mania and is amazing!  They have MANY different models at various levels of pricing.  This particular model is called the GSS-3000. It comes with 2 – 2 player podiums for either 2 player fun or 4 player excitement!  It is VERY easy to operate, allows you to keep LED scoring up to 95 points, scores by 5 points, fun sound effects and much, much, more.

Here’s what’s cool!  If you contact Gameshow Mania and talk to the President, Jeff O’Lear, he will make a SUPER deal for you.  BUT, you have to tell him that you heard about them on BRIANDOLLAR.COM.  email:  jeff@gameshowmania.com   Telephone:  1-570-676-9400

Just wanted to share this with you all because I KNOW you will love having one of these in your Kids Ministry!  They are TONS of FUN!!!!!

5 Things Every Ministry Leader Should Be Doing With Their Family

Family

This week I got an email from a fellow Kids Pastor.  It said, How hard do you push your children? On those days when someone from the church has been extremely rude, or when a party took place on a Saturday night and Sunday morning my kids show up and have to clean before worship service can even begin, or when they are just plain TIRED. Everyone gets frustrated from time to time because we are dealing with humans.  How do I, as a mother, know when I’m pushing them too hard.  The LAST thing I want is for them to look back one day and resent the time and energy that the Children’s Ministry takes.”

I totally understand the difficulty of this delicate balance.  My wife and both of my kids (12 and 14) are VERY involved in our Kids Ministry.  They LOVE it!  But, I don’t ever want to take that for granted.  I want to be proactively working to preserve that spirit and excitement for God, the church, and the ministry.  Here are 5 things I do to help make that happen.  Perhaps you can apply these to your family situation…

1)  Always talk positively about the church, the leadership, and the ministry.

I don’t mean wear rose-colored glasses and act like there are never any challenges.  I think if you act like nothing is ever wrong or difficult, then your kids are not fooled and they start to see you as “fake.”  Acknowledge the difficulties (cleaning up after a party when you didn’t plan on it, having to get up early to set up, etc.), but remind them that God has called your family to do an incredible task – lead kids to Christ.  Remind them what a privilege it is – and always make sure your tone and verbage communicate that YOU count it as a privilege.

2)  Guard them from “church drama.”

I know too many pastors and church leaders that come home speaking negatively and “dissing” the pastor and other leadership when there is a disagreement at church.  They do this to their spouse and in front of their kids.  Listen – your kids pick up on that.  When they see you hurting because of what church leaders or other pastors have done and said, it clouds their emotions and it is difficult for them to let go.  Don’t bring your “offense” home to your family.  They may end up carrying that bitterness LONG after you have already “made up” with the person you were feuding with.  Most of the time you don’t go back and tell your kids about the restoration of that relationship.  They are left feeling the effects of the bitterness that you ended up seeding in them (however unwittingly).

3)  Treat your kids just like everyone else.

 Although obviously they have to get up earlier than most and also tag along with me at times – other than that, I treat my kids just like any other worker on my team.  I expect the same out of them (not more, not less) than anyone else on the team.  I NEVER say to them, “You are my kid, so I expect you to do more than the rest of the team.”  Instead, I say, “Remember, you are a leader on this team – others are watching your example.  Let’s set the best example possible and lead people in the right direction.”  When you apply additional pressure to them simply because they are your kid, they will soon begin to resent the reason for that pressure.

4)  Pray as a family – for your pastor, your church, and the ministry.

It is very difficult to pray for someone or something regularly and be angry or discontented with them.  My family and I pray for my pastor and his family regularly.  We pray God’s blessings on him, the leadership, and the church as a whole.  This endears my pastor and the church to my kids.  Rather than driving them further from the church, it does the opposite.  There’s an old saying, “If you talk about someone to others, you will grow to hate them.  But, if you talk about someone to God, you grow to love them.”

5)  Serve with joy.

Let them see you smile as you pick up after the party from the night before.  Let them hear you rejoice about the opportunities to serve the Kids Ministry.  Talk about it as a FAMILY ministry.  Don’t let them feel like they are just “helping Mom” or “helping Dad.”  Instead, talk about the difference WE are making.  Include them in the joy that comes from serving God and His church.

It’s a blessing to have your family serving with you in the work of the ministry.  But, never leave the health of your family to chance.  Be PROACTIVE and PURPOSEFUL in planting the seeds of a healthy spirit of gratitude and love for God and the ministry.  It won’t happen by accident!

So, how about you?  What are some of the things YOU do to help your family stay healthy in their spirit and their attitude toward the ministry?  Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post!

What If Your Family Were Shot With 3,192 Paintballs In 5.3 Seconds?

paintball family

This would be a ludicrous question – if it hadn’t actually happened to this family!  It was all done to prove a point – a POWERFUL point!  Watch below and you will understand what I mean…

Movies these days are often filled with gratuitous language, violence, nudity, and suggestive material.  It can be almost impossible for the family to sit down and watch a movie together without being subjected to all of this content.  Well, the people over at VidAngel have innovated the Family Movie Night.  They have introduced a streaming service that allows YOU to be in control of what you watch, see, and hear.  You can “turn on” and “turn off” language, violence, and more.  Just head on over to VidAngel.com to see what I am talking about.

**THIS IS NOT A PAID ADVERTISEMENT!  I JUST REALLY BELIEVE IN WHAT VIDANGEL.COM IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH!**

If you would like to check out the “Behind The Scenes” video, check this out:

 

 

10 Common Mistakes Church Staff Members Make

staff-mistakes

If you work (or have worked) on a multiple member staff at a local church, you know that it is not always easy to maintain unity and cohesion among the team.  Much of the reason for that are some of these common mistakes made by church staff members.  Browse the list and give yourself a check-up…

1)  Competing with other staff members.

In staff meeting, they look for opportunities to shoot each other down.  They make the mistake of thinking that to make yourself look good, you have to make them look bad.  That’s not a team.

2)  Using “cut-down” humor – in a public setting

Even when it’s truly a joke between staff members, cut-down humor has no place in a public setting.  Those you lead are watching you.  If you don’t honor each other, they won’t honor you either.  Model the behavior you want them to follow.

3)  Using E-mail for conflict resolution

Bad idea.  E-mail doesn’t communicate emotion well (that’s why they invented those stupid emoticons).  When you may have been trying to say something one way, it can come across totally differently.  The best way to apologize or confront an issue is “Face to Face”; then, you can clear up a misunderstanding quickly without losing friendship

4)  Assuming motives of others

Staff members should always give each other the benefit of the doubt.  When someone wrongs you, assume it was an accident unless proven otherwise.  If you are going to assume a motive, assume the BEST motive.  When the youth pastor takes the van when you had it reserved for your event, don’t immediately assume he “didn’t care about my event or think it was important.”  Assume he just forgot to check the calendar.

5)  Being Defensive

Often we are not very receptive to correction or input from other staff members.

6)  Seeing a weakness and not telling them

If done in the spirit of love and teamwork, it’s not “mean” to help other team members succeed by helping them see their weaknesses.  It is actually CRUEL to allow them to continue to sink in leadership because of a glaring weakness you see but refuse to point out.

7)  Not using the strengths of other staff members

When you are weak in an area, ask for help from a fellow staff member who is strong in that area.  The worst thing you could do is try to fix it yourself simply because you are too proud to admit you need help.

8)  Taking another staff member’s side against the senior pastor or other staff members

9)  Over-promising and under-delivering instead of under-promising and over-delivering

It’s great to be willing to help your fellow team members, but promising to do something and not coming through is worse than not being available in the first place

10)  Not taking the cues that it’s the right time to leave

It’s a tough truth, but chances are you won’t serve the church you are currently serving for the rest of your ministry life.  Often one of the biggest mistakes staff members make is staying beyond the time that they should.  How do you know when it is time?  That’s another post altogether (find it right here).

How’d you do?  Have you made some of these mistakes lately?  It’s time to fix it.  Are there other common mistakes that I missed?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

NEW SPEAKING DATE ADDED: “Georgia Children’s Pastors & Leaders Retreat”

I am excited to be speaking at the Georgia Children’s Pastors & Leaders Retreat; February 12-14, 2015; The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simon’s Island, GA

For More Info:  CLICK HERE

Talking To Kids About SEX

talk-kids-sex
There is a long held belief in many circles that there are certain subjects that should not be mentioned at church or from the pulpit.  They are “reserved for the home.”  There are two problems with that whole frame of reference.

Shouldn’t SEX Talk Be Reserved For The Home?

1)     SEX was created by God.

The idea that sex should not be discussed in church flies in the face of the fact that SEX is a beautiful gift, created by God, for the purpose of giving a husband and wife an intimate physical way of connecting and expressing their love for one another.  It is also designed by God as the way for the human race to reproduce.

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” – Genesis 8:17

In fact, to say that SEX should not be mentioned in church means that you probably haven’t read the BIBLE lately.  SEX and instructions about SEX are all throughout the Bible.  Depending on what translation of the Bible you use, the topic of SEX is addressed between 100 – 137 times.

In fact, the Bible gets pretty graphic at times.  And it’s not relegated simply to a couple of poetic passages in the Song of Solomon.

For too long, the church has been silent on this issue.  For years, children (and adults alike) heard little to nothing on the subject of healthy sexuality from the church.  Part of the reason it is not spoken about from the pulpit is that it makes us uncomfortable.  It makes us uncomfortable because it is rarely brought up in the pulpit.  It is a vicious cycle, so we consider it off-limits.

Sadly, this ends up working against us.   The only time kids or teens ever hear the word SEX brought up in the pulpit, it is only in a negative context.  “DON’T have sex, kids.  It’s bad!  It’s dangerous!  Stay away from SEX!”

There’s a problem with this.  SEX isn’t bad.  It is good.  It is VERY good.  God designed it.  He created it.  We have turned it into a taboo subject for the church, and it is not and should not be.

The other reason that the whole “The topic of SEX should be reserved for the home” is a problem is…

2)     Few parents ever give their kids a healthy, Biblical sex education

If I were to take a quick poll of each of my readers and ask, “How many of you received healthy, value-centered sex education from your parents growing up?”  (not just a superficial one-time and confusing conversation about birds and bees, but a true explanation and education regarding healthy, Bible-centered sexuality) - the number would be next to zero.

It’s sad: Our parents didn’t talk to us about healthy sexuality, and, unfortunately, we’re not doing much better with our own children.  A vast majority of young people say they receive more information about sexuality from their friends, media, and school than from their own home.  This is not good news, especially when all studies show that the more positive, value-centered sex education kids receive in their home, the less promiscuous they will be.

Even though this generation of parents typically wants to do a better job of communicating with their kids, too many well-meaning moms and dads are remaining silent for too long.  We are so paranoid about our kids becoming sexually active, we foolishly think that by not approaching the subject of sex for as long as possible, we will somehow keep them from learning about it and falling into sin.  The typical mindset of a Christian parent is “If I talk to them about it, it will make them more curious.”

Because it so off-limits for their behavior, we’ve made it off-limits for our conversation with our kids.

Many parents are afraid that talking about “it” will rob their children of their sexual innocence, or they are afraid that their children’s sexual desires might be awakened early.  Some parents avoid bringing up the subject because they might be asked about their own experiences, and they aren’t all that proud of how they handled their own sexuality.

I am not suggesting that Kids Pastors have a series in Children’s Church on “God’s View On SEX!”  Not at all!  But, what I am suggesting is that WE must do OUR JOB to train and equip the parents in our church to have these meaningful conversations at home with their kids!

The best place for children to learn about sexuality and relationships is  – AT HOME – from their parents!

A parent is almost always the person who has the best interest of their child in mind when it comes to sexuality.  And you and I have the opportunity to provide our children healthy, Bible-centered sex education that is based on what God values.  He has given us our sexuality.  In the framework of Scripture, sex is not dirty.  In the context of marriage it is beautiful.  The world’s culture has cheapened sex, but God’s view of sexuality is wonderful and magnificent.

In this video, I teach the parents at our church on the topic of “How To Talk To Your Kids About SEX.”  I encourage you to watch it, take notes, and even take the information in order to teach a class just like this at YOUR church.  It’s time the church start talking about God’s plan for the lives of our kids when it comes to building a healthy, Bible-based sexuality.

If you would like to simply use this video at your church with the parents in your ministry, feel free.  Here are the fill in the blank notes:  How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex (OUTLINE) 

Three Words That Will Energize Your Ministry

ENERGY

There are three words that will energize your ministry.  No, it’s not “Drink More Coffee!”  Although, on a Monday morning after a LONG Sunday, I can see where that would certainly help!  The three words that will energize your ministry:  ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY!

OK, so it’s the same word repeated twice!  But, having a high level of energy can transform a normally boring and routine Kids Ministry into a thriving one.  Just about everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else.  Kids want to be excited, pumped, and energized.  It all starts with you, the leader.

Some of you really struggle with this.  You work 5 days a week, run like crazy for your families on Saturday, and then on Sunday it is tough to have the energy you need to create a great experience for the kids to receive God’s Word.  So, I thought I would give you a few principles that will help you raise the energy level in your ministry…

How To Increase Energy:

1.  Realize what’s at stake

SOULS are at stake!  As Kidmin Leaders, we want these kids to see us excited about God’s word, worship, and serving others.  The level of passion you have will determine the level of passion THEY have.  When you realize that souls are at stake, suddenly the excuse of “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” doesn’t really cut it!

2.   Take responsibility for your own energy

Too many people wait to be pumped up by situations or persons.  They wait for the environment and all the external factors to be “just right” before they will respond with passion and energy.  As Kidmin Leaders, you can’t be like that.  You can’t wait for someone or something else to energize you.  You have to take responsibility and be proactive in having energy, not REACTIVE.

“The quality of your life is your gift to yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

If you wait for someone else to strike up your energy before you do anything, then life will pass you by – and so will many valuable ministry moments.

3.      Act your way into feeling

“Right decisions will eventually bring about right emotions.” – Stephen Covey

Don’t wait until you feel right to do right.  Do right and you will feel right.  There is an old saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it!”  I don’t know if I like the word “fake,” but I think in this case it works.  Fake joy is better than genuine depression any day – when it comes to leading in front of a group of kids.  That doesn’t mean don’t ever “be real” with people.  But, the time to “be real” and display your sadness is NOT while you are in front of a group of kids teaching about the Power of God!

It all boils down to this – whose energy are you using?  Colossians 1:29 says, “To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in me.”  When you are accomplishing GOD’S PURPOSE with GOD’S POWER, then you possess eternally renewable energy.  So stop struggling with your own energy, and tap into HIS!