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recently i posted a picture of our dawson kids promotion packages on instagram and i had several people ask me what was inside them. so, i thought i would share the contents of our promotion mailout on here. i would love to know what you guys send out to inform and get kids excited about the new year.

 

 

first up is a promotion letter explaining our theme for the year and details parents need to know about promotion sunday morning. there is nothing earth shattering or life-changing in this letter, but you can view it here. especially, because we have many new 1st grade families moving up, we want them to be familiar with our dk staff and how to reach us, so we include a sheet with staff pictures and contact information.

 

 

another important element in this promotion package is the behavioral guidelines. these are guidelines we require all children to follow so that we can provide the safest and most effective ministry environment. you can view it here. we use to include our medical release form, but we have moved that to our website. also included is a connect card so families know where to find us on social media and the web. then, each child gets a sticker that has their assigned class (in the class color) on it so they can wear it on promotion sunday and match it to the balloons in their new room.

 

 

and lastly, we have a giveaway that goes with our theme of the year. during the 2017-2018 we are going to focus on equipping kids with God’s Word so they can be confident in Christ. (i’ll blog more about our equipped theme later.) this year, each child will receive a five color highlighter that we are encouraging them to bring it to church each week. as we dig into God’s Word together, we are going to have them highlight and write truths in their Bibles, highlight the Gospel God’s Plan for me, and more. if we are going to successfully equip them to be disciples in this world, we have to be intentional about training them in the truth of God’s Word.

okay, i shared, now i want to hear what you mail out for the new year.

sometimes we simply can’t communicate the gut level honesty of service like a volunteer. that is why when i received a copy of this email at the end of our kidlife (vbs) last summer, i knew i wanted to use it as a recruitment tool for this summer.  i don’t think i have ever heard a more beautiful description of serving with children. i took her precious words and added pictures and the video below is the final product. may God use it to stir many to serve, but also to reveal Himself to those that step out in faith.

sheetthis year at vine family worship we are working through our dawson kids blueprint model. each family worship night takes a deeper, hands-on, and family focused look at one of the points in our blueprint theme for the year. “the fall” was the topic of our second vine family worship, so we created a blackout family worship that would take a look at the seriousness of sin, but also how the light of Jesus Christ breaks though the darkness. (all families were encouraged to dress in all black.)

we always begin each family worship with an early arrival activity. we want to engage families as soon as they are seated at their tables. here is early arrival activity sheet that was placed on each table that night:
blackoutearly arrival

 

 

when it was time to begin, we led the families through the following Bible-centered, interactive experience.

• as a family read romans 5:12, “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned”

• family activity – the person with the next closest 12186377_1177985725549264_471491982949503532_obirthday stood while the kids wrapped them in crepe paper and the adults wrapped them in cling wrap. this was so much fun to watch. some tables had kids getting wrapped and others had parents getting wrapped.

• family discussion question – “how is this cling wrap and crepe paper like sin?”

• we then read aloud john 8:34, “very truly i tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” then we had families discuss this question: “what does it mean to be a slave?”

• to further stress the point of how sin binds us, we played a game. each table was given an object to pass quickly around the table. the object was to be passed as quickly as possible around the table with everyone touching it. yes, even the person that was wrapped in “sin” had to try to participate. we then had families discuss this question “how does being a slave to sin affect those around you?”

• next the families read 1 john 1:8 “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” we asked “what if the person wrapped up at their table just pretended that it never happened and they were not wrapped in cling wrap and crepe paper?” “how is this like when we claim to have no sin?” we are only fooling ourselves.

• families then read 1 john 1:9 “ if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” finally the person who had been bound in sin for most of the night was unwrapped by those at their table. 🙂

• we ended this experience time by singing “nothing but the blood.” we challenged the families to really think about each word they sang and to savor the fact that only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sin.

• next asked ask each family member to take off their labels of sin they were wearing (from the early arrival activity) and trade them for one of 10012763_1177987358882434_3748371340862754809_othe candles on their table. (each table had a candle for each person.) as they held their candles the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented and we shared with children that Jesus breaks through the darkness and brings life. we no longer need to be slaves to sin and be trapped in darkness, we have a Savior and His name is Jesus. at the end of this time we had each person turn on their candle (we did battery candles) and we closed the night in several songs by candlelight. we sang “Christ is risen”, “i saw the light”, and at the end, with only voices and candles in the darkness, sang “this little light of mine.”

i say it often and will say it again… family worship is one of my favorite parts in ministry.

the first thing i did when transitioning to a new church was to set up a goal and filter for dawson kids. i needed clarity and direction. after confidentinChristspending 3 weeks with a varied group of parents, we prayerfully came up with confident in Christ.  this has served as an amazing tool to help keep us focused on the goal of our ministry. if an activity doesn’t help kids and families become and stay confident in Christ, we don’t do it. it’s that simple. this has been a lifesaver in trying to make the most of precious time with busy families. (it is also a continual work in progress.)

sheetthis year we also took our goal a step further. working with an amazing #kidmin team, we expanded our focus into a year long theme. our theme this year is blueprint – God’s great message. so where our focus of confident in Christ filtered our ministry and kept us accountable, this year’s theme will greatly shape each program, event, or ministry we do. 

the foundation of this theme is the Gospel and each step is based on scripture. (hopefully some ones that children aren’t so familiar with.) this theme has been such a gift, because we already know what the message of our four family worships will be this year: creation, the fall, redemption, and restoration. we begin with the first one this sunday as we explore God as the uncreated Creator.   Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.59.52 PM

 

because this theme spells out what we desire for the kids and families to grasp by the end of the year, planning fall retreat was easier as well. we believe individuals, families and their community need to connect to God and each other and that is what we will explore at our family fall retreat.Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.52.39 AM

i am excited to see that the diligence, extra planning, and prayer at the beginning of the year has already freed us up greatly to dig into more eternal things and not time consuming busy work. this theme will also provide a cohesive, Christ-centered year for us to walk through with families.

we are excited, but i would also love to hear how some of you plan out your year in #kidmin. comment on this post and share.

 

 

IMG_0004create moments where families experience truth together at church so they will continue the Christ-centered discussion at home. that is my goal of family worship. so what do you do when as a southerner you feel the weather has betrayed you for temperatures in the teens? you create your family worship around a frozen theme.

our goal in this family worship was to help families experience how sin paralyzes our lives and no matter how hard we try, we can’t rid ourselves of sin. we strived to help them understand that Jesus is the only one that can make us white as snow.

here is what our vine family worship night looked like:

DSCN9883early arrival activity: as families arrived they were given instructions to write down sins they struggle with on the blank pages provided. each sin was listed on a separate sheet and then crumbled up into a paper snowball. their pile of snowballs would be used later in the family snowball fight.

  • do you wanna build a snowman?: for our opening activity we provided each family a baggie that included large and small marshmallows, toothpicks, mini chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, and a paper plate. their challenge was to build the most creative snowman scene during the time allowed. (we played “do you wanna build a snowman” and told them their time was up when the song ended.) the only catch was each family member had to hold their right hand behind their back using only one hand to build their snowman scene. here is a taste of the action. 
    after completing the activity we had them discuss the following questions as families. 1.) what was difficult about this activity? 2.) how is this activity like how sin affects our lives?

  • worship song: we then worshipped together to the song “i am free.” (here is the video we used.) before beginning the song we talked about how only Jesus makes us free from sin. (we may have also danced a little during this song. 🙂 )

  • snowball fight: we divided the room in half and told families to take their “sin snowballs” to their half of the room. their goal during the next song was to get rid of their sin. we told them at the end of the snowball fight song (such a cute song by “bunch of believers) they had to make sure they had gotten rid of all their sin snowballs. here is a peek at the family snowball fight. 
    after the snowball fight we talked about no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t get rid of the sin on their side. i had themIMG_0321 grab a handful of snowballs and return to their table. as a family they looked at the sin on the snowballs and discussed the different sins listed. we looked at the passage in james 5:16 and talked about how as a family it is important to create a safe place to confess our sins to one another. then we concluded this time practicing what james 5:16 ends with – pray for one another. is their a more precious sight than families praying together?

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 5.53.53 PM

  • message: next our discipleship pastor shared a great lesson from luke 5:17-26.

  • video: we then showed a great skit guys video which really drove home the point we had been sharing all night. preview or purchase it here.

  • closing worship song: our final worship song was an updated version of “Jesus paid it all.” we asked each family member to hold a snowball sin in their hand during this song. as they worshipped, we challenged them to allow this song and the sin in their hand to give them a better understanding of just what Jesus did for them.

  • testimony: we ended the night with our associate minister of children sharing how God unfroze His heart and he became a Christian.

vine family worships last one hour. we move quickly between each activity and we try to engage all the learning styles present. after worship is over we have family fellowship meal together. (we also set up a family photo booth with snowballs for family pictures.)

family worship has become one of my favorite times in kids ministry. oh that these conversations would continue in each family represented. i would love to hear about some of your family worship times. comment and share your favorite family worship experience.

 

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