- Prepare: go there before the weekend… not physically, but spend some time in God’s presence imagining what it will be like… allow Him to drop things into your heart. What does He want to say to the kids? Is there a scripture that will unlock something? Capture God’s heart for your kids, He’s more then willing to share it with you.
- Plan: goes without saying really. Make sure you and your team know what you’re doing. What stuff do you need? When is everything going to happen and who’s responsible. Nothing kills atmosphare more then an awkward silence in the middle of worship while the worship leader consults the tech person about the next song… hahaha, of course you have no idea what I’m talking about though… If you don’t already use a runsheet then do. Its really easy. One colum for the time. One for what you’re doing and one for who does it.
- Pray: before the kiddos start turning up, make some prayer and praise noise with your team! The kids are going to make noise when they come in, so set the atmosphare in the space and in your team of making a noise to God! Press into Him on behalf of your kids. Get desperate to see Him move in their lives. He can’t wait to turn up at Kids Church on Sunday morning!
Tomorrow I’m flying up to Auckland for our church movements national conference. I have the privallege of bringing together the kids pastors and leaders, sooooooo excitied about it. Two things that excite me – what God is doing in our movement and kids ministry… put them together… explosive!
Our topic this month has been the the Heart of the Father. It’s a good one, we’ve adapted David Goodwin’s Discovery Club curriculum. The content is absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I’ve seen our kids get such a good grasp on a topic like they have this month.
The highlight for me today was meeting a boy and his mum who came with one of our families. Sometimes you can just see on a kids face what is happening in their heart and mind the first time they hear the Good News. It’s so cool, and a privillage that we should never take lightly. At the end, he responded and I followed him up. After church we went to catch up with his mum to show her the follow up stuff and the bible we gave him and told her about how we were talking about what Jesus did for us and that her son had indicated that he wanted to follow Jesus. I was amazed, even though all this stuff was still new to the mum, she was so excited. Honestly, it’s the best thing in the world when a kid realises that God is real, He loves them and died for them and wants to be their friend. Salvation is what it’s all about.
Just in case you want to know… my radishes are growing well, just a week or so and we’ll be eating some! Turns out I may have planted the carrots too early. Strawberry’s are looking healthy, but the rhubarb is getting eaten, probably slugs. Might have to do something about that when I get back. Haven’t planted potatoes yet… probably won’t be ready for Christmas.
Daylight savings started last night. Bad because we lost one hour. Good becuase of more evening sunshine.
OK, time I go before I get anymore random. Like the fact that I got kitten food instead of adult cat food for my grown up cat. And I spent last night watching Midsummer Murders with my friends. Yep. Possibly wasn’t necessary.
Some of our kids bring their Bibles to church, most don’t. I still haven’t decided if that’s a bad thing or if it really doesn’t matter (going by the number that end up in the lost property).
We usually just crank out the set of bibles in life groups where they do a devo kinda thing, but in the past few weeks at city we’ve handed them a bible as they walk into LifeKids. It’s been interesting to see how they respond. Every time that someone mentions a bible verse we’ve got a bunch of kids (mainly boys) who are frantically flipping though it to find it, even if its on the screen. They sit down and clutch on to them. Even new kids are totally intrigued by it.
This month in we’ve done a “Bible Battle” each week, a competition between boys and girls to see who can find the verses the fastest. They are certainly faster then they were at the start of the month! Of course it’s not all about looking stuff up, a passion for God’s word goes way deeper then that, but I love seeing our kids getting excited about it.
Reading through 2 Kings at the mo. So far it’s pretty much it’s about bad kings who keep letting the people worship idols. An idol is something that isn’t God but they treated it like it was, bringing all sorts of sacrifices, even their own children! An idol is something that they created with the things God gave them, in their case, wood and clay. God was very very clear in his instruction to NEVER EVER do that.
Sure, we don’t usually create idols from clay or wood and put them in every intersection in town for people to worhip as they drive past, but boy o boy can we have idols! Things that take up our God space in our hearts, that place where we give Him our first and best, where He is number one, the thing that we spend more of our time thinking about and worshiping. The things that we use to worship God (our words, money, time etc) we can use to worship these idols.
And these idols, they’re usually made from things that God has actully given us… our jobs, our sleep ins (apraently not an issue for those with kiddies), our relationships, our gardens (in my case!), our abilities etc.
Why did God give His people the command to never ever have idols? Is it beause He’s insecure? I’m pretty sure He know’s He’s God! It’s for our good. Life just gets way too messy when we have idols. Things make sense when God is number one.
Do you have any idols? Is there anything that’s slipped from number two to number one in your heart? I’ve learned that I need to keep checking cause I keep slipping.
Connecting people is one of my favorite past times. Since I was a kid I had this obsession with church unity. I’m by no means an expert at this and I’ve got a long way to go, but I have learnt some stuff over the past 7 years…
- There is absolutely no need to be isolated in kids ministry. There are others in your area who are dealing with similar stuff.
- Not everyone in kids ministry has to become your best friend all at once. Getting together just for the sake of getting together is nice every now and then, but without a real purpose it’s pointless and people stop showing up.
- Find one or two that are similar to you and connect with them first. I have the privilege of meeting with Tor, kids pastor at Elim on a regular basis. We click because we’re from churches with a similar culture. That and we’re both just plain crazy. She’s become a very good friend.
- Connect over a cause. Each year a group of churches in Dundein run an event at Halloween called the Light Party. It’s amazing what we can do together!
- Don’t try to make the little toe hang out with the nose. We’re all a part of a body so we all need to do what we’re designed to do in order for the body to function the way it’s designed. Sure there are some things that every church regardless of denomination or what ever should be doing (like cell reproducion) but it’s also OK to be different. It’s OK that not everyone gets on board to help run an event or come to a leaders training seminar. Rather, I think we’re dumb if we don’t connect where our mission overlaps. Back to my friend Tor, we’re both from pentecostal churches. We’ve both got a passion to lead kids into the presence of God, so we work on KidsRock together. If we tried to buddy with others for the sake of unity we’d end up compromising on what God has called us to do, in order to make others feel comfortable. Thats actually not unity.
- Look for oppertunities to glean. Everyone is an expert at something. We suck a crafts for example. And puppets. But there are people in other churches that we can learn from. Everyone in the body has got something to offer, no matter how different we are.
- Pray. Probably the most effective way we can build unity across churches is to pray for each other. It’s particularly good because it keeps our hearts and attitudes in check. Nough said.
This is something that I need to remind myself of regularly, and I frequently remind my team… what we are doing was not our idea, it’s Gods! It’s not like we’re cleaver enough to come up with even one of the cool things that we do to draw kids into relationship with God. Every good idea comes from God, so we can’t take cred for anything we do.
Our kids are God’s idea. Even before they were concieved He imagined them. An amazing outreach program is God’s idea. He thought about it way before we ever did. The creative way that we explain clearly to kids something from the bible in a way that they get it is God’s idea, He’s had it buzzing around in His head for centuries. Even you and I are God’s idea. Most definitly a good idea, I mean how good looking are we!
The cool thing about this is that it means that we don’t have to worry. If it’s His idea then He will supply everything that we need to make that idea happen.
Whenever I come across a challenge in kids ministry or find something that we want to do better or put in place, I always end up searching for others who are already doing it. Which is weird cos God seems to have hard wired me to never do anything like anyone else, so you can guarantee I’ll change it anyway. But I keep looking for a reference point, someone or something to show me how it’s supposed to be done.
In New Zealand there are very few kids ministries that seem to carry the culture of what God has put on my heart. There are a few popping up and God is starting to bring them together, but there’s only a handful that can really show how it’s done… show what worship looks like with kids, show what kids ministry looks like when we are actually carrying the DNA of our church, show what it looks like for kids to be moving in their spiritual gifts God has given them and serving in His House, as well as drawing their friends into a relationship with Him, and what real leadership, not just management looks like in kidmin. Don’t get me wrong, there is some significant stuff happening and amazing people doing it, but only a handful resonate with the heart that God has given me. (the ones that do need to be blogging about it by the way… wink wink, you know who you are)
While someone was praying for me earlier in the year, they gave me a word of knowledge that I need to stop trying to grab onto reference points, because there are none! The things that God is taking us into just haven’t been done before, at least not in my church, my town, in the context of our culture etc. Those words have been on my mind recently. God has been challenging me that when I go to grab a reference point from somewhere else, I’m doing it because I’m actually trying to do it in my own strength. I need to learn to trust Him for all the big ideas, all the small ideas, and even the practical now how to do it. I need to be leading from revelation, not from a reference point.
The chances are that if God has given you a dream, it’s never really been done before. Thats cause He’s a God of unlinited creativity, He’s not in the habbit of doing exaclty the same thing twice.
We’re well and truly back in Dunedin after our epic adventure. Kidshaper this year was phenomenal, I especially enjoyed being able to share it with some of my team and connecting with heaps of amazing other kids ministry people. I love what God is doing in kids ministry, and I recon that Kidshaper is on the tip of the wave of what He’s up to, that’s why I don’t want to miss a beat!
They said it better then I ever will, so here go some more quotes (there’s more in older posts):
You can’t reach kids based on talents or programs, but on mountian top whispers – Andrew Shepherd
Make noise in the quarry, not in the temple (see 1 Kings 6:7) – Andrew Shepherd
Could your team write a book of your quotes? Great leaders talk about the same stuff all the time – David Wakerley
The time you spend putting into others is never wasted – Jim Wideman
Don’t use people to build the church, use church to build people – Jim Wideman
Prepare don’t plan, you can’t plan your life but prepare for anything – Dave Wakerley
One of the best skills that kids can leave your ministry with is how to filter the media they consume – Dave Wakerley
Anointing doesn’t make up for preperation – Yancy not Nancy!
You are called to represent your leader – Jim Wideman
Your not just called to be Kids Pastor but to help your pastor by doing what they can’t do. – Jim Wideman
God presents an opportunity not a position – Jim Wideman