Kids Ministry and The Church

“Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old they will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

A thriving, growing church is one that has a successful kids ministry. They are the future pastors, worship leaders, evangelists, prayer warriors, teachers, prophets/seers, servers, and spiritual heads of your church family.

Churches that forget their youth, forget what it’s like to live/love like Christ and stagnation quickly sets in.

“Jesus said, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”’ (Matthew 19:14)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

Working in children’s ministry all these years has taught me so much about the Heart of God. The wide-eyed wonder and love they have, their immeasurable faith, and their innocent trust is something every adult could and should benefit from. We need to surround ourselves with children!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children in ones youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” Psalm 127:3-5)

Raising and teaching children is everyone’s call. Even if you don’t feel like it is—I promise you that so long as there is something you can impart to the next generation—it’s your job to do just that. We are to mirror God’s Heart and what that means is, “we love what He loves.”

Guess what? Our God is also a Father and He has commissioned us to be fathers and mothers to His little ones. He will give each of us the tools in order to accomplish this task (privilege).

That same truth goes for churches. God will equip you as a body of believers to minister to children if you are willing to follow His lead and submit fully to what having a kids ministry looks like for your church and it’s vision.

At Hope, we place children’s ministry above all else. We don’t lock kids away but involve them in our worship and in our ministry. It’s not uncommon to see kids serving as ushers, greeters, teacher assistants, and even on our worship team.

If we view church as a family instead of as an “adults only” social club. Things will be messier but also all the more enduring and meaningful. I’ve never longed for heaven more than right now—surrounded by my spiritual family who I’ll continue doing life with for all eternity.

And so what makes a great kids ministry? How do we cultivate this “family” atmosphere? As preschool director of our church with experience in both daycare and previous children ministries. Here’s what I have learned:

1. Ageless Vision: As a church, we need to stop age limiting/targeting because the Word of God is always relevant for every age group. Remember, age doesn’t always equal spiritual maturity. So Sunday morning-speak to the masses-use relevant terminology/examples in your sermons and modern worship (there is music every age can appreciate). In other words: the world shouldn’t change for us, we need to meet them where they are.

Bible studies can be more age/circumstance geared for furthering personal growth, but ultimately you want people to independently seek growth as well, (You can’t bottle feed people forever: give them the tools and show them how to pursue God and then let them do it). Otherwise, they will always depend on you—even living their faith through you.

2. Love children: What you love, desire, pray for, and seek—that is what you will get. A church without children is a dying church. Having a modern relevant vision which isn’t “age” geared but “walk” geared will draw young folk. (Young people=children). Stressing “family” as a core value is important to drawing families and cutting off any “age” specific labels.

Family is more than couples and children. It’s aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers…the whole package. And each role is vital.

3. Seek financial stability: You can’t have a children’s ministry without the appropriate funds! So many churches have a poverty mindset and are either afraid to push tithing or are too pushy.

You want money to flow naturally? Tithe yourself, live by example and preach directly from the Word about giving/tithing. Also, handle your money well! Have regular board meetings to discuss finances and to plan yearly budgets. Personally, I would follow the Dave Ramsey plan which is literally foolproof for both individual living and church running.

4. It takes a village: I’ve been a part of churches where the pastor and his family do it all; from worship—to sermons—to running the kids ministry single-handed. It’s not healthy and it isn’t impactful. A church needs volunteers and teams of people who are committed to the vision and fulfilling their own call/anointing.

If you want more people to step up and serve at your church, first make them feel like they can. I’ve seen pastors who wrap up their identities in the church and don’t want to give up that control. Ultimately, the more you selfishly cling to something the more likely it will be taken from you. God will say, “you’re just not ready for this promotion yet.”

So equip your people to serve, seek the Holy Spirit and let go of the reigns a bit. Trust your family! Be a church that empowers others and is a safe place to make mistakes (we all make mistakes! It’s called learning). When a pastor or a few people run it all-it looks like %20 here, %30 there. When you place others in sole charge of things they can then give it their %100 attention.

5. Let’s have some fun!: You got the adults involved and interested—now you have to get the kids excited to learn about Jesus! This is easy to do since, “as I said” the Bible is relevant for every age. It’s your job to bring the stories and it’s messages to life for the short time you have these kids each week.

Drive your kids wing theme home from the walls, ceilings, hallways, and rooms! Make it colorful, imaginative, and fun! Divide age groups appropriately and develop lesson plans that fit the ages. This involves some trial and error if you don’t have experience with children or have any teachers in your church body.

Fortunately, your church should have parents who may have ideas, and you have the internet: between Pinterest, YouTube, Amazon, and google—you’ll have it down in no time.

Your teaching staff should love kids, pass background checks, be pursuing God on a daily basis, and be overall fun people who aren’t afraid to dance, play, and get a bit messy with your kids.

6. Protect your flock: Parents will notice if a kids ministry isn’t very safe. In this day and age—security is vital! Keep a ready list of people in your church who self carry, and who know CPR and other emergency/defense certifications.

Before people serve in kids-they must pass a background check (I don’t care if you’ve known them for years, set examples by not exempting anyone from this). Also, once they join-they need to be distinguishable from the rest of the congregation: give them T-shirts or badges that show they are serving in kids.

Implement child safety in each room from gates, to outlet covers, and being mindful of chick hazards/allergies with snacks, toys, craft supplies, etc. Document injuries (we call them incident reports), keep first aid handy, don’t let children go to the restroom themselves—also be mindful of gender (use separate bathrooms-don’t send girls to the restroom with a male assistant etc.—never have a closed door unless you are in the classroom with your assistant.

Develop a check-in/check-out system that makes it impossible for adults who aren’t the parents to take children. (Our motto: whoever checks you in is who can check you out). We use a digital check in system that prints out a slip for the parents to hand in when they pick up their child, and a name sticker that goes on the children when they are checked in so they can’t leave until it’s taken off.

I could go on (feel free to comment below if you want more specifics): we also use walk-in talkies, teacher support, emergency protocols: like for fire/tornado etc. You can never be too safe!

6. Avoid the burnout: lastly, every church should have a good monthly rotation of volunteers. Try to avoid over scheduling people who need to fill their own tanks in adult service. Obviously things happen, such as family emergencies or vacations in which you’re missing some people and have to fill the void. But, be sure to let people know in advance, and be firm with those who repeatedly don’t show. Dependability is important, even in families!

I know I’ve left out so many things, but hopefully this will give you a foundation to build upon as you seek to start/ or improve your kids ministry.

God bless you my family in Christ!

Please comment below any questions/ideas you have! We are all constantly growing and learning how to do kids ministry ❤️ as director of our preschool class I am always open to new ideas and welcome them!

Thank you 😊

A Thief in the Night

It’s been three years.

I only just met you, but already knew so much about you from my church family. They told me story after story as we painted and cleaned up the home you would be moving into.

God called you all to do ministry with us in Marion, Oh. You sold your home in Virginia, left your job and packed up your little two year old for the long trip towards a new beginning.

The church rejoiced. I’d never seen our pastor and his family so excited (they watched you grow and saw you as their own daughter).

I honestly felt overshadowed by your brilliant light. That you would very quickly replace me in their hearts because of your history, your love, and your faith. But it was a selfish fear and I drove it away by pouring myself into servitude. Helping prepare the way for you to come and settle here.

I wanted to know you. To be your friend.

You were here only a short while. I met and played with your beautiful son. I laughed with your amazing husband. And I hugged you, in passing, as we hurried about one Sunday. I hope to get to know you more—there will be plenty of time for that. I thought as we smiled and went our own ways.

Things were looking up. God was with us and nothing could stop our momentum as a family of believers….until…

I climbed into my car after work, and heard my cell ring. I answered and it was my husband Aaron. With a heavy voice he told me that Rachel Sullivan was gone.

What? Who?

I couldn’t believe it. The world stopped, and I saw Isaac’s precious face and her husband Jared’s smile flash across my conscious.

“There was a car accident…” Aaron didn’t say much more because he had our pastor’s son with him.

I hung up the phone and for the first time in my life I screamed and punched the dash, cursing God. “F**! F**!” I yelled with everything inside of me.

I had to pull myself together, after all…I didn’t lose Rachel…my church family did. Those who knew her since she was a small child, those who laughed with her and spent hours in her company.

Our pastor’s kids wanted us, needed us…

They came over and we hugged for a long time, and we took them for a long walk. And I vowed I would try to fill the bottomless void Rachel left behind.

I never did come close.

The next few days were slow, and shock filled. Isaac didn’t know and didn’t understand.

My mom had him and the pastor’s daughters over to swim and we all smiled and played with him while I balled inside. “THIS IS NOT FAIR!”

God why did you allow this to happen? You called them here!! Are you not our protector? I thought you were good! That I could trust in you!

My resentment and distrust grew. My rage and brokenness remained even as everyone else picked up their lives and tried to move on in faith.

I comforted, I cried, I prayed…and Rachel still remained gone.

We drove all the way to Virginia to attend the funeral. It felt so wrong…Isaac was turning three…and his mommy was going to miss it, and all the birthdays after that.

I remember the happy pictures on the slideshows…I remember Jared. Alone and crying. Living the worst nightmare. And I remember sitting in silence with my church family as they played the song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fall).”

Rachel always wanted to have a baby and Isaac was a dream come true. She loved being his mommy. She loved coffee and people (working at Starbucks-where she was headed before the car accident).

She was gentle and fun loving. She was faithful and a good friend. I know this because of all those her life touched. She had ministry dreams which her husband is now pursuing.

It was this that put a wedge between me and God. I pulled away from Him and began to doubt He was who He said He was.

I wish I could say that I have fully overcome or that I have the answer as to why this happened to those I love with all my heart. But I haven’t and I don’t.

Honestly, I have to learn to accept that I probably will never know the answer. I have to chose (just like with any tragedy, loss, hardship, and attack of the enemy) to still trust and to still believe regardless of what I see or feel.

The reality of God and His Word have to be more important than my own feelings and this world’s realities. Death is coming for all of us someday…young or old it will find us. This is a temporary plane—and so we must fix our eyes on eternal matters.

We’ll all see Rachel again. And what a glorious reunion that will be for everyone her life touched here.

The devil’s sole purpose is to make us forget who God is, who we are, and our authority to change our lives and those around us. I know that if we were to ask Rachel whom she loves and trusts—her answer would not have changed, even now.

If I don’t trust Him…who will I trust? Who has the power to save? Who is our only hope of salvation and restoration?

I’m beginning to realize how much I need God. Whether I live or die (to live is Christ to die is gain), I choose to believe in Him and trust Him to make all things new.

He is still my protector and shield. His plans for me are good. What happened to Rachel was not His will or His plan for her. But He has brought beauty from ashes…and her legacy lives on (still transforming lives and bringing hope).

Our church is as strong and united as ever! In our pressing onward God has poured out His goodness and blessings.

Life goes on.

I say all this because I know that we share this brokenness. Some hurt dealt us by the enemy. He is the one who robbed you like a thief in the night, he took from you what was not his to take.

Please hold on. Don’t give up on God or fall into the trap that says; “He isn’t good!” What do I know of goodness? What do I know of fairness? Fairness would have been for all of us to die for our sin instead of Jesus.

Doesn’t God deserve the chance to explain and answer your questions in Heaven someday? Hasn’t He done enough for you to deserve at least this?

Rachel may have died, but God blessed her with so much all the years before her death. Look at her son, her husband, the thousands who knew and loved her. I refuse to let her life be summed up into this one accident. Her memory deserves so much more.

I’ve made the decision to keep climbing. Keep pressing. Even if I’m bloodied and broken I am going to finish my race! And the devil can push, torment, and beat me all he wants, I’m not letting go of this ladder! I’m going to stand back up every time! Because I can’t go back to not knowing the truth. I can’t deny who I am and who God is! No one can rip this from me!

If I made a list of all the good things God had done for me, it would go on and on endlessly…and my list of all the bad things that seem to fill my mind so easily would be very very small.

Fight the good fight, run your race. Don’t be afraid of death but of a life/eternity without God. That is the final death the “real” death we can all easily avoid.

Love God and love people, and when it’s time to die—you won’t die. And your legacy of love will live on long after, paving the way to Christ’s return.

You, my brothers and sisters, have a bright future. Don’t ever forget it! Rachel was a window into the brightness of Heaven. Surround yourself with others who share that same Jesus light so you never forget what is waiting in Heaven and what you can release now.

Our time is short…make it count.

God bless each and every one of you. ❤️

Take Your Medicine

“Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left.” -Aldous Huxley

Have you ever had your primary care physician tell you to eat right, exercise, sleep good, go to church, and surround yourself with friends/family/nature? Probably not.

Instead, I’m sure they’re responses tend to lean toward: “hey! There’s a pill for that!”

It’s no wonder that holistic medicine (natural remedies) are frowned upon in this modern era. There’s simply no money to be made from a healthy individual with a strong immune system.

Today’s Doctor’s aren’t the only ones to blame however. Think about old Doc’ Baker from Little House on the Prairie, for example. He was a good doctor because he told his patients the truth (a hard pill to swallow). He truly cared about their well-being to the point of offending/angering his patients. He wasn’t money hungry, but compassionate and selfless to the core. A true healer.

What happened to Doctor’s like that?

We destroyed them.

We wanted symptom managers, not actual cures. We wanted men and women who told us only what we wanted to hear and prescribed us quick and simple “remedies” that involved no sacrifice or change in ourselves or our life practices.

We, therefore, fanned the flames of medicinal perversion. What we see is what we get and what we (as a whole) wanted. Gone or hard to find are those who still care, who still pursue truth like the Doc’ Baker’s of old. Or in the very least, gone are those who remember what medicine truly is (was) and are now brainwashed into believing that the prescriptions they’re handing out are actually good for the body, leaving out the mind and soul.

-These “Doctors” are pushing for single parent kids to take many harmful drugs to satisfy lack of parental control/stability. (I’ve witnessed this many, many times working in childcare)

-“Doctors” are aborting children! Believing that it’s to the benefit of women’s health!

-“Doctors” are treating weight induced problems like diabetes, joint pain, heart disease, depression (in some cases), high blood pressure, etc. instead of tackling the source of the problem.

-“Doctors” are prescribing management medications for an array of mental illnesses without tackling the “cause or reason” behind the illness (of course I’m generally speaking for those who suddenly/gradually develop mental issues instead of being born with them).

And now, as Covid again rises and tries to strangle our country with fear. “Doctors” are continuing to push that which is not working all for the sake of $$ and compliance/popularity.

And what’s it doing to our health? This ignorance, selfishness, and fear?

Killing us.

There has been great technological advances in medicine that have saved countless lives, I don’t deny that. What I’m talking about is the growing imbalance. Medical intervention was supposed to be a seldom used option—not a first go to for our every ailment.

First and foremost, we healed/prevented illness through natural remedies, living good/healthy lifestyles, being a part of a community and through pursuing spiritual health/connection with God.

Today, we removed God from the equation (leading to poor mental health as we seek to fill an impossible void), we live unhealthy lifestyles (fast food/chemicals/GMO’s and hard metal contamination’s are literally causing severe developmental issues. Lowering male testosterone and prematurely rising female estrogen). We tend to live more secluded, not going to church, or living in close knit communities as we once did (also harming our mental health and herd immunity).

Many of us avoid nature and it’s rejuvenating powers, along with simply getting away from a tv/computer screen and going for a walk. (Being outdoors and moving helps lower depression and lethargy).

We’ve destroyed all that once made us strong and I find myself wondering what kind of weakened world we left for the next generation.

Masked faces, germx, chemical cleaners, quarantines, and forced experimental vaccines (many derived from the fetal cells of aborted babies)…all of these man made medical responses are costly.

As I battled yet another illness this year, I was promoted to post about this on Facebook, here is what I said:

I’m really starting to believe that illnesses (Covid including) are reacting negatively to our efforts to stop them. The truth is you can’t stop them, only speed up their mutations by giving them man made obstacles to overcome. Whereas before, all they faced was our immune systems—mutating slowly and normally in response to our bodies defenses (in turn making us stronger as a whole).

Now, we’ve upped the ante using germx, Lysol, masks, and yes, even vaccines! If they are going to survive they need to mutate quickly and become essentially near impossible to be offed. They need to infect faster and exhibit worse symptoms in order to keep spreading-despite our bodies and man made obstacles…they need to become unstoppable.

That’s how you create super germs. That’s how you upset the natural balance in which mankind remains a step ahead. In forcing everyone to treat Covid and illnesses (old, young, healthy, unhealthy) the same—we’ve essentially caused more issues for the old/unhealthy citizens.

I’m not against medicine! Or even all vaccines! They have done wonders for many! But there is a fine line that I think we have crossed, and it shows. Even doctors will say not to use antibiotics very often because it weakens the immune system. That vaccines aren’t always a guarantee, that the 1% of germs germx fails to kill are the ones who will become stronger.

Not all germs are bad. Probiotics are a prime example of this. They offer your body protection from viruses/harmful bacteria. Germx and medicines kill these good germs adding to the imbalance in our bodies and around us. What’s there to stop another pandemic? And will our weakened bodies withstand it? In the form of flu, pneumonia, and other illnesses? (The media keeps saying that this winter will be rough) why? Aren’t the masks working? The vaccines?

We are being forced into weakness and compliance by those who have “a cure.” Opposing voices are being silenced. Voices that tell you that you can help yourself by taking vitamin D/zinc (for example). What if the media (and other powers at work) want us to fully rely on them instead? They want our freedoms-but first they need our obedience. To get that they will try to convince us that they are our only hope. They’ll use fear and persuasion to draw us into their clutches.

Do you feel like illnesses are getting worse as a whole? That you’re getting sick more often? Do you know someone who had the vaccine and got Covid a second time?

Eye of the Beholder

On a daily basis we subconsciously ascribe worth and beauty to what we see around us. From the roses in our garden to the new girl on the block.

As I remodel my home and simultaneously search for a literary agent who will take on my first novel, I am left to wonder whether others will value my hard work as much as I do.

As I stated once before, no one will know the blood, sweat, and tears I shed, the time I spent, and nights I burned the midnight oil working. The truth is, the more we work/sacrifice for something—the greater it’s worth (personally).

Take a child, for example, who was freely given a toy. And another who worked hard, completing chores, picking up small jobs in their free time for weeks in order to buy that same toy.

Who do you think will value it more?

I tied beauty with value in this post because often what we value we also find beautiful in some way. There is an inward pull, an appreciation we feel toward it or them.

We are creatures of worship who also crave beauty (I speak of course, of a beauty that transcends what we outwardly see).

When I worked at a window factory, with its drab walls and machinery, I found myself starving for beauty. Those things crafted by the hand of God instead of by man. Sometimes, I would look up from my station and try and snatch a glimpse of the green trees through the high vents. And I would even smile when I caught a whiff of rain, or saw a dandelion seed float past.

Once home, I would immediately head outdoors to my hammock and just soak up the surroundings. Feeling rejuvenated and content.

Of course, to another, perhaps beauty is in the simplicity, instead of in the complex. What I found distasteful, another may find appealing.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Do you see how different we are? Driving through town I often catch people picking through garbage cans and curbside boxes (dumpster diving) the night before trash day. Apparently finding worth in that which another found worthless.

Do you see how wrong we can be? “Oo-ing” and “awing” over celebrities (many of which are quite ugly underneath) while we turn away from those who have a heart of gold beneath their average appearances, wrinkled faces, and plain clothes.

That is why I am glad that God is the one who ascribes our worth. That He is the one who calls us each beautiful, looking purely at the heart beneath our temporary shells.

Jesus died for both the sinner and the saint. He loved us at our worst, at our ugliest moments. He looked at us “mere dust” and called us “priceless!”

If you find yourself staring in the mirror lately, noticing all too quickly the scars, weight gain, stretch marks, wrinkles/blemishes etc. It is time for you say, “I don’t have the power to define my worth—God does, and He calls me beautiful.”

Particularly us women always try to live up to the standards of men. We want to impress them with our looks and personalities—when really all we should care about is pleasing God (which in turn would open the door for the right man to come into your life). Our identity is found in Christ—placing it in anything or anyone else will always lead to disappointment and depression.

I really hope this speaks to someone out there. “You are more precious than rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15)

Your beauty is in the eyes of The Beholder!