Dr. Shane and Dr. Jennifer Garrison, School of Theology Faculty at Campbellsville University join the podcast to discuss the dangers of age compression and give strategies for proper growth and development.
Each year in the weeks leading up to Easter we hear from churches, parents, and leaders who are looking for intentional ways to keep their children focused on the resurrection amidst all the celebration. We are so encouraged by families’ commitments to celebrate the Easter story together, and have created an Easter Devotional Guide to help you do just that. We hope our resources help you lead family discipleship throughout your entire church.
Click the image below to download the 2018 version of the LifeWay Kids Easter Devotional Guide. Post the link on your kids ministry social media page or print out copies of the guide to hand out next Sunday. May we truly celebrate our Savior’s resurrection this Easter and beyond. Happy Easter!
Puzzles are a helpful teaching tool to keep preschoolers engaged in learning. Many children enjoy puzzles, especially reflective, visual, and logical learners. Use the activity below to teach and review any Bible story with preschoolers.
- 2 Matching Bible Teaching pictures (save teaching pictures from the leader pack each quarter)
- Glue or glue stick
- File folder
- A piece of Velcro®
- Plastic zipper bag
- Open a file folder horizontally.
- Attach one teaching picture to the right side of the file folder with glue or a glue stick.
- Then, cut the matching teaching picture into the number of pieces developmentally appropriate for the children in your class.
- For storage of the puzzle pieces, attach a plastic storage bag with Velcro® inside the folder and left of the picture.
- For durability, consider laminating or covering the teaching picture puzzle.
- Open a Bible to the Bible story and place the puzzle (folder open showing the Bible picture and the cut puzzle pieces beside it) on a table.
- Invite a child to put the puzzle together. Encourage him to place the pieces over the completed picture. (To make the activity more challenging, guide a child to put the puzzle together beside the teaching picture.)
- As the child works, share the Bible story.
- Review the Bible story with him, asking questions and referring to the picture in the puzzle.
- Help him discover ways he can apply the Bible story to his life.
Delanee Williams serves as a Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Kids. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee has served in kids ministry for over twenty years and is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders.
Randy Helms, Children’s Pastor at Mountain West Church, GA, joins the podcast to discuss the myth of ministry and discover together what God’s intent is for those that He calls to this incredible journey! We will discover that balance is a myth and learn how to prioritize.
This morning I awoke early, spent time looking at my electronic tablet while getting ready, connected my smartphone to my vehicle’s audio system, drove to the airport and showed the parking attendant the reservation on my smartphone, checked my baggage using the boarding pass on my smartphone, went through the security checkpoint with my electronic boarding pass, boarded the plane with a quick scan of my smartphone’s airline app, and read emails until time to switch my smartphone to airplane mode.
And I wonder why I’m tired, stressed, and distracted! Granted this is not a typical morning for me; however, almost every day begins with reaching for my tablet or phone and ends with putting them away before crawling into bed exhausted. Our world has become so connected and attached to powerful electronic devices that we are constantly technologically distracted everywhere we go. Even the security checkpoint officer was briefly distracted this morning when she stole a quick glance at her smartphone.
What does this have to do with teaching preschoolers and elementary kids at church? Tony Reinke in his book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You says, “We check our smartphones about 81,500 times each year, or once every 4.3 minutes of our waking lives.” That could mean you’re checking your phone almost 14 times during the one hour you’re teaching kids at church.
So, what can you and I do to be less distracted by technology as we attempt to teach kids the Bible? Here are five steps that can apply not only to the classroom setting, but to work and home as well:
- Accept the reality and limits of technology. Technology is here to stay and will continue to be more invasive. However, it can never make us omnipresent. The sooner we learn that, the more engaged with real people in real time we will become. Smartphones and tablets will never take the place of one-on-one, biblical conversations with kids.
- Evaluate your personal tech usage. Free tools exist that can help you know if you are too connected digitally. Search online for the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), the Facebook Intensity Quiz, and other assessments. Make changes based on your evaluation.
- Establish “No Tech” zones. Place your smartphone out of reach in the classroom. Know where it is for emergencies, but otherwise “forget” where it is. Say to yourself and your co-teachers, “I don’t check my phone in the classroom.” Just making this statement reinforces your resolve.
- Use the “do not disturb” feature on your phone. If you don’t know how, ask a first grader to show you. Basically this feature allows calls and texts only from specific contacts, such as your spouse or children’s pastor.
- Enlist a tech accountability partner. This could be your co-teacher. Give her permission to give you “the look” or some other signal when you start pulling your phone out of your pocket. I teach every week with a Millennial, and she NEVER uses her smartphone in the classroom. I could learn from her example.
A few months ago I was sitting in the blocks area of a Bible study classroom, and a pre-kindergartener was trying to explain something to me. He felt compelled to say, “Hey!” to get my attention. I almost missed a Bible-teaching moment because I was looking at a text. That shameful incident helped me make some changes. What about you? What changes will you make this week?
Well, it’s time to put this blog post to bed and send to the editor. For the price of a fast-food meal I could connect to WiFi while flying 38,000 feet in the air and email what I just wrote, but I’m too frugal for that . . . or distracted.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of LifeWay Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to LifeWay. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grandbabies.
Todd Villemont, Children’s Pastor at FBC Naples, FL, joins the podcast to discuss the importance of connecting with parents in ministry. Parents are connected in all aspects of life, but they are losing their kids to the world because they have lost any connection with their children. Todd and Chuck discuss practical ways that leaders can help parents connect with their children and with their church.
Every year there are children who will attend camp for the very first time. Because we know the importance of summer camp in the life of a child, we want every one of them to attend but some will need some help and encouragement. Here is a checklist you can follow to help make the first trip to camp successful for young campers.
(1) Grab Their Interest
For making this first experience a win, approach it with a campaign to build interest. Announce camp dates, show a few of the videos from our website in whatever format you can (kids church, emails to families in your ministry, or even in “big church” if you can). Hopefully, you can gain attention and begin to build interest in camp. Invite everybody to attend an information meeting about summer camp.
(2) Reassure the Parents
Seek out the parents of those kids who may be attending for the first time. They may have specific concerns to ask about or they may just have a general uneasiness about sending their child to camp for the first time. This conversation is where you can reassure them about the safety of camp and the way you watch over each of the kids under your care. In the conversation, invite them to the information meeting. Some parents may feel more comfortable attending camp with their child the first time, so let them know that can be an option.
(3) Provide Details About the Trip
In your summer camp informational meeting, you should plan to explain the dates, the travel plan, the camp activities, and share your heart for why you take kids to summer camp. Show them the daily schedule, talk about the camp location . . . those things will be early details that parents will want to know. You don’t have to be a summer camp expert to host that first meeting, and they may even ask questions you don’t know the answers to, so collect those, contact us and you can follow up with parents later on.
(4) Follow Up with Reminders
Some parents and kids may benefit from a follow-up conversation and a personal invitation to camp. Everybody should see visual reminders about camp in the kids ministry area and in any regular email or newsletter communication you send out. We have some promotion tools that you can download, print, and customize and videos online at centrikid.com.
(5) Sign Them Up!
Start a sign-up sheet because you’ll want to have a gauge of interest, and maybe even collect deposits before you are required to make non-refundable deposits. Registration is always open for CentriKid as long as space is available, so contact us today to reserve your spots at camp. Call 1-877-CAMP-123 or register at www.centrikid.com.
Of course, the biggest success factor is actually going to camp and having a great time, but your preparation will help get them there. That’s the biggest hurdle. The camp experience will be a ton of fun and camp staffers will join you in loving on the kids in your group. Do those wacky activities and make the most of every moment at camp this summer.
Jeremy Echols leads the CentriKid Camps team and manages the LifeWay Kids events. He, his wife Emily, and their precious daughter love their church, their neighborhood, and spending time together. Jeremy loves to read, watch sports, and grill burgers.
Teaching a room full of elementary kids can be more intimidating than a room full of adults, but it doesn’t have to be. John Murchison joins our podcast to discuss some simple strategies that will help you keep their attention and better communicate the gospel.