Jana Magruder, Director of LifeWay Kids, joins us on the podcast this week to unpack the research in her new book, “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith.” Her book unveils a study that looks at the faith characteristics of current adults and looks at the parenting practices and habits they were exposed to growing up. As kids ministry leaders and as parents, how can we settle for “nothing less” than what truly matters?
Jana Magruder, Director of LifeWay Kids, joins us on the podcast this week to unpack the research in her new book, “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith.” Her book unveils a study that looks at faith characteristics of current adults and looks at the parenting practices and habits they were exposed to growing up. As kids ministry leaders and parents, how can we settle for “nothing less” than what truly matters?
(1) Show them why—help these young volunteers and even young professionals catch the vision for why you believe kids ministry is important. Show them your passion for kids and the gospel and help them find a place where they can contribute to something larger than themselves. Sometimes your millennial volunteers will be kids who are a product of this very church’s ministry, but others will be transplanted from other churches or even new to their faith. Make sure each one knows how they are doing Kingdom work that matters.
(2) Train—don’t assume that because a volunteer is energetic, that he knows how to interact with kids in age-appropriate ways. Also, don’t assume that just because a volunteer is super-quiet that she doesn’t have what it takes to teach a lesson with kids. Train your new leaders and continue to guide and course-correct as necessary with seasoned leaders. This will add tools to the ministry toolbox of these millennial volunteers that they can use for a lifetime of ministry.
(3) Affirm and encourage—You know that kids ministry is sometimes hard and that some lessons just go completely off the rails, despite the preparation and enthusiasm of the leader. Make sure your millennial volunteers know how valuable they are to you, and how much they mean in the lives of the kids. Many times the simplest word of encouragement from a seasoned leader or mentor will make a huge difference with young leader.
The impact of kids ministry leaders is humbling when you consider the number of kids and families you influence, but with the volunteers, you train for service, the impact is truly unlimited. Don’t miss the opportunity to help shape the future of kids ministry in your community by ignoring the millennial volunteers that you have in your church.
In my ministry with CentriKid Camps, I hire hundreds of these millennials as summer camp staffers and they are phenomenal workers who truly pour themselves out through service to kids and church leaders at camp. If you have college students who serve well with you in your ministry and you know they love the Lord, love kids, and want to work hard at camp … then please send potential staffers to connect with us at www.centrikid.com/become-a-staffer
Contact our CentriKid Camps office anytime with questions or other ideas about serving with millennials and leading them in your kid’s ministry setting. You can reach us at email@example.com
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.
It’s that time of year where we’re all searching for and enlisting new teachers for our ongoing Bible study classes. Below are some “basics” that might be helpful to share with new teachers. These tips can help any new teacher present like a seasoned pro!
- Plan and Prepare. The best session is a prepared session. Regardless of the curriculum you use it will need to be prepared. Developing the habit of planning early can remove the Saturday night (or Sunday morning) stress of weekly teaching prep.
- Start early in the week and do a little each day.
- Look over the biblical content early in the week to allow God the opportunity to use your comings and goings to reinforce the Bible truths in your life.
- Review the session plan for resources you might need to gather and secure those things while you’re out during the week.
- Arrive Early. A good rule of thumb is to be in place 15 minutes before the scheduled time to begin. Arriving early allows time to catch your breath, prepare the room, and have a smile on your face when the kids arrive. It’s true that the first person in the room wins. Make sure that person is you.
- Start Teaching When the First Child Enters the Room. Don’t waste a minute! Be prepared and be ready for the first child and begin teaching. Some curriculums provide for early arrival activities. Use them! If yours doesn’t, consider Bible skill games and activities as an option for early arrivers (or while waiting for parental pick up at the end of the session). Don’t have kids wait idly for “the rest of the group.” Prepare activities that can begin with one child and add others as they arrive. If kids sit still too long they’ll come up with something to do on their own and it’s not likely to be something that teaches biblical truths and skills.
- Build Relationships. It’s an old adage but it’s very true, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The best way to make sure that kids and their families know that you care is by building relationships with them individually. Determine a strategy for getting to know the kids and their families. Understand some general characteristics of the age group you’re teaching, trends that influence your kids, and personal likes and dislikes of individual kids. Learn about their families, schools, sports, and hobbies then use that information to build relationships. Don’t forget relationships with parents. This doesn’t just happen on Sunday morning. Take the time to speak to parents and find opportunities to equip them with helps to be the spiritual leaders in their kid’s lives.
- Provide and Safe and Secure Environment. Make yourself familiar with your church’s policies and procedures and be intentional about adhering to them. Always have two adults in the room whenever minor children (anyone under the age of 18) are present. Go out of your way to protect the kids, protect yourself, protect your church, and protect the Kingdom.
Teachers often don’t live up to our expectations because they don’t know what we expect. Share, train, equip, and resource your new (and seasoned) teachers!
Bill Emeott serves as Lead Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Kids. A graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served as a Kid’s Minister and currently teaches 2nd Grade Bible study.
Today’s episode features Dr. Shane and Jennifer Garrison as they discuss the struggle Christian parents face with “The Talk.” Dr. Shane Garrison is now serving as VP for Enrollment & Associate Professor at Campbellsville University, and his wife Dr. Jennifer Garrison, is also an assistant professor of education ministry at Campbellsville University. On this episode, hear what parents wish their church’s kids & student leaders were doing to give them help they desperately need.
This is the second episode in a series of four podcasts designed to help churches choose and use curriculum. Jeff Land, team leader of Bible Studies for Life Kids joins our hosts, Jana Magruder and Chuck Peters. They discuss how teachers can help boys and girls study the Bible and apply biblical concepts to their life in an age appropriate way. In addition, hear new updates and resources for Bible Studies for Life Kids beginning in Fall 2016.
Choosing and using curriculum is one of the biggest and most important decisions a church will make. Landry Holmes who leads the kids publishing teams at LifeWay visits with our hosts, Jana Magruder and Chuck Peters about choosing and using curriculum. Listen as they discuss what curriculum is, why it’s important, and essential factors to look for in curriculum for your children’s ministry. This episode is the first in a series of four podcasts designed to help churches choose and use curriculum that best meets the needs of their church.
- What are some of the crisis situations that families find themselves in?
- How well equipped are Children’s Ministers in addressing these types of situations?
- Why is it important for Children’s Ministers to move closer & lean in to these crisis situations?
- When is it appropriate to lean in to a crisis situation versus when it’s appropriate to take a step back?
- How do we help a child or family work through their grief in a crisis situation?
Linda Ranson Jacobs, of DC4K joins us again on the LifeWay Kids Podcast to discuss how to reach kids outside the walls of your church. This more than likely will mean addressing tough issues that are prevalent in our culture. Linda & Chuck Peters address some of the following questions and issues:
- How are families different today than they were in biblical times?
- How do we address these new issues & pressures from our society that are becoming prevalent in our culture?
- Most kids pastors are not well prepared for tough conversations and because things move so fast, it’s hard to keep up with how to appropriately respond to specific issues.
- Leaders and teachers in the church should provide a safe place for a child to come, but leaders should also be aware of how to face tough issues.
- As a children’s minister, if a child comes into my ministry from a family of a homosexual couple or transgender parents, how do you serve that child well?
- You should not necessarily change what you do in your ministry, but be aware of the approach you take, and what that means for kids that might not be regular attenders at your church.
- What are some specific pitfalls you should avoid in handling tough situations?
This week’s episode of the LifeWay Kids Podcast features Linda Ranson Jacobs, of DC4K, to discuss how we can better minister to children of divorce in our churches.
- Why is ministering to children of divorce somewhat of a culture shock?
- How does our limited view of a child’s life affect how a child receives the ministry we offer to them?
- When a child’s behavior gets out of control, what are some practices we should avoid?
- How do we make sure these children feel like they belong to your ministry?
- What are some proactive steps we can take to minister to children of divorce?