family ministry


repost for cpc friends

twice a year i teach a two week Gospel class for children that are seeking answers to what it means to be a Christian. at recent workshops i have taught several people have asked for the outline of this class. i thought it would be easiest to share the information here. this will be a three part series. here is what will be covered in each post:

part 1 – the what, how, and guidelines for the class
part 2 – what is covered the first week of class
part 3 – what is covered the second week of class.

005567177the entire class is based on the amazing resource from the Gospel project kids curriculum, “the Gospel God’s plan for me.” you can learn more and purchase “the Gospel God’s Plan for me” booklets here. each participant receives this booklet week one to take home and read with an adult.

here is the heart behind the class –
i believe that parents want to be an active part in leading their children to Christ. i also find it incredibly rewarding when a child prays to receive Christ with their parent/guardian/grandparent instead of me. so i began to wonder, how can i partner with parents/guardians to help them talk about the Gospel with their children and begin to understand if their child is ready to make this commitment of faith? i want authentic interaction between parent/guardian and child, because we often know that as kidmin leaders, we get sunday school answers. parents/guardians know their kids best, so i wanted to give them a chance to grapple with the Gospel truths. this is the very reason why i require an adult to attend each class with their child.

the model of the class –
during the class we study the five truths outlined in “the Gospel God’s plan for me.” i teach each truth straight from God’s Word. (i even have them turn to the scriptures in the Bible and mark them.) children and adults then experience each truth through engaging, hands-on activities. lastly, the children and their adult discuss each truth. i provide several questions and while i have their captivated attention, i have them turn to one another and discuss these truths just taught and experienced in a safe setting.

when the class is offered – 
i have traditionally offered the class on sunday evenings at five, but due to busy schedules i have moved the class our early service time on sunday mornings. parents seem to like the class in the mornings. they can attend my class and still attend small group and one of our other two worship services.


here are the links to part 2 and 3 in this series.
part 2 – what is covered the first week of class
part 3 – what is covered the second week of class.

there are 168 hours in a week. if we are lucky we get the privilege to ministry to kids and families one or two of them. for families there every time the door is open we might just be lucky enough to get three hours of focused ministry time. but still, three hours leave us lacking when we are reminded that a week offers 168. that is why our ministries need to become more family focused.

  • become intentional about building a bridge from church to home so that the learning can penetrate every aspect of life.

    • what are some ways you are dropping the truth between church and home?
    • begin now by making it a point in all you plan to have a goal to make sure the truth not only impacts families within the walls of the church but as they leave the church as well.
  • how are we making the most of the time we have families together on campus so that when they leave their shared experiences may lead to more discussion and learning?

    • Jesus didn’t send everyone to a different classroom on the hillside. He simply gathered a crowd and taught.
    • family worship is a great time to teach truths on a kids level with activities that all ages will enjoy.
    • invite parents to programs you already have going on. make sure they attend Gospel and new Christian classes so that they can learn to guide their children in spiritual truths in a safe environment.
    • don’t reinvent the wheel and add tons more to your church calendar. simply take a look at your current events and see how you can make them more family friendly.
  • are we partnering to celebrate what families are already celebrating by doing so in a way where the truth of Jesus is the greatest takeaway?

    • when planning to celebrate spiritual markers with families use these questions as a filter:
      • is the Gospel at the core of the spiritual marker celebration?
      • does this celebration create an opportunity to build a bridge from the church to home?
      • how will your celebration differ from the way the world would celebrate? (is Jesus the takeaway?)
      • is the Word of God the backbone for this celebration?
      • how will you help families apply these truths beyond the walls of the church?
    • to see more in a past blog about celebrating spiritual markers click here.
  • with a strategic recipe for family time together we can be more focused on the truths we want to pass on to families.

    • present the truth from God’s Word. make sure families open their Bibles and see the source of the lesson taught.
    • experience the truth together in a hands-on way using different learning styles.
    • discuss the truth. ask several questions to get past their easy answers to what they really believe.
    • create a memory/object to take home to continue the conversation or remind the family what they had experienced together.
  • if we say we are family focused, we need to communicate the cause, the why, and the goal of all we are planning to come alongside families as they journey toward Jesus together.

    • do parents know the goal of your ministry?
    • do parents know the goal of each activity?
    • are you regularly updating parents on the truths you shared and how they can follow-up?
    • are you asking families questions to get to the root of what they believe?
    • are you forgetting non-traditional families like foster/adoptive families, divorced families or grandparents raising grandchildren?

i was so excited to be invited back to a great event my friend nate holder puts on for his association each year – the etowah baptist association kidmin and stumin summit. one of my breakouts for this year is on family worship. below are my notes for this workshop.

before you think this post is all about adding another worship service or event to your already busy kidmin calendar, think again. as we explore this topic i am going to ask three things of you:

  • think out of the box. family worship doesn’t just have to be a time of worship with families.
  • how can you apply these principles to events/program you already have in place in your ministry?
  • quality verses quantity – families are busy. make sure the times you plan areprayed through and well crafted. offer less that is better than a whole lot of more. 

now i believe in simple steps so i can focus on what is most important – Jesus. so this is my checklist, or recipe if you will, for family worship experience.

after i shared the recipe we experienced this model in six different activities.

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read colossians 1:16-17 God created everything. God is in charge. God is Holy and the boss of us. give families a jar of play-dough. allow them to decide what they should make with their play-dough. as the families shape their play-dough, pretend the play-dough is speaking to you and says it is not happy with the shapes they have decided and it wants to be something else. give them another shape to form. say the play-dough wants to change shapes several more times. (you will hear the groans.) families discuss: should the play-dough decide what it should be made into? how is this like us trying to tell our Creator what to do? families take home the play-dough.
read romans 3:23. share that we can’t ignore sin. ask who is hungry for a snack. bring out very burned popcorn and share it with the class. (remember smell is a great sense to make an impact.) tell the families you are going to just pretend the popcorn isn’t burnt and they should just eat it. after they look at you strangely, explain that you will just pick off all the burned parts and surely they will eat it. of course, no one wants the popcorn. you can’t pretend it isn’t burnt. discuss as families: how is this sin like our bag of popcorn? families take a snack bag of popcorn home.
romans 3:23 and romans 6:23 go to a stairwell and get all the children to stand at the bottom of the stairs and the parents stand at the top. ask one of the dads to play the part of Jesus in this experience. turn tot he children and ask what is separating them from Jesus. (the stairs) explain the the stairs are hot, hot lava. the kids can’t touch the stairs, the rail, the walls, or leave the stairwell. ask them how they will get to Jesus. allow kids to think of fun ways. (i.e. try to fly, try to jump, etc.) families discuss: what was our problem on the stairs? how do the stairs represent our spiritual problem? families take home lava rocks.
as a family read romans 5:12. the family member closest birthday gets wrapped in cling wrap. families discuss: how is this cling wrap and crepe paper like sin? families read: John 8:34. families discuss: what does it mean to be a slave? family activity – stand in a circle and include the person that is wrapped in cling wrap. tell them their goal is to pass the ballon quickly around the circle five times and everyone has to take their time passing the balloon. families discuss: how does being a slave to sin affect those around us? as a family read: 1 john 1:8. families discuss: what if the person at the just tried to pretend they weren’t wrapped in saran wrap? how is this like us pretending we do not sin? family read 1 john 1:9. families discuss: what does 1 John 1:9 tell us about our sin? now take off your family member’s sin. families leave with cling wrap.
give all family members a yellow lego. read revelation 21 aloud. as this chapter is read instruct family members to write on their block the one thing that excites them about heaven the most. families then are instructed to build something out of their blocks and share everything they wrote. families leave with their lego structure and are instructed to put it in the middle of their family table.
this is done during our 1st grade Bible lunch. families are given take out boxes with lots of spiritual discussion starters. next we read a deuteronomy prayer. family member share when they got their first Bible. kids leave with a devotional book and a bookmark with staff and 1st grade teacher’s favorite scriptures.

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i am honored and excited to be included as a speaker at the new etch ministry conference in nashville this fall. here are my breakout topics and descriptions.

20 lessons learned in 20 years
some of the most effective ministry lessons are learned from mistakes and in-the-trenches ministry experience. if you are new in ministry, come hear from someone with 20 full-time years of kids ministry experience to help you avoid pitfalls and burn-out in ministry. we will have some hands-on fun, too.

making the Gospel center in every spiritual marker
there are many spiritual markers that dot the timeline during the the 18 years a child is in the family’s immediate care. let’s discover how to be intentional about applying a Gospel-centered approach during special times from birth to high school graduation.

etch2i would love to see you there and meet some new ministry friends. find out more about the conference here. comment and let me know if you are coming.

click here to read the first post in this series.

read part two in this blog series here.
click here to learn more about and purchase “the Gospel God’s plan for me”

God provided
experience it:
supplies: big bag of candy for the winner
impossible task – get a child volunteer and tell them you have a reward (candy) for them if they complete the task you have for them. make sure to pick a task you know the child cannot do, but an adult can do. (i.e. move a big stack of chairs.) give the child the opportunity to complete the task. after they cannot complete it, select an adult to complete the task. when the adult completes the task, still reward the child with the candy.

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
– does the child deserve this reward?
– how is this like what God did for us?

teach it:
explain what grace is – getting something we do not deserve.

John 3:16
Ephesians 2:8-9
how did God’s word help you understand that God provided?


Jesus gives
experience it:
supplies: backpack with a sign on it that says “sin”. collect many heavy items (books) to add to the backpack several at a time. other signs that read “death”, “Jesus”, “life”.
select a child to be a volunteer. put the backpack on their back and have them hold the “death” sign in front of them. put several books in the backpack and have them walk in a circle around the room. ask them how that feels. then add more books to the backpack. have them walk around the circle again. continue this until the child can no longer hold up the backpack and asks for help.
select an adult in the class to be Jesus. they will wear the “Jesus” sign. after the child admits that they need help, have Jesus come over and take the heavy backpack of sin from them. he will give them the “life” sign in exchange for the sin backpack and the “death” sign.

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
how did the backpack activity show us how great a gift Jesus gave us?
read and discuss Romans 5:8 as a family.

teach it:
explain what mercy is to the children – no getting something we do deserve.
our punishment for sin was death, but Jesus gave His life and through His sacrifice we can exchange sin/death for life.

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
did we do anything to deserve such a gift?
review Ephesians 2:8-9 as a family.
what does the gift of Jesus mean to you?

Romans 5:8
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 Peter 3:18
Ephesians 2:8-9
how did God’s Word help you understand that Jesus gives?


werespondWe respond
teach it:
Jesus alone is our way to salvation.

experience it:Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 10.28.43 AM
supplies: a wrapped gift
tell the children to pretend that in this gift is the greatest present they could ever receive. (for boys i usually
say a new video gaming system with a gift card for every game made for that system. for girls i usually say the brand new american doll with a gift certificate for all the clothes they could want for that doll.) walk around the room holding out the gift and say, here, i have this gift for you, what do you have to do to make it your’s? (wait for a child to simply say, “take it”, “receive it”)
share that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save and rescue us from our sins. this is truly the greatest gift we will ever receive, but we must respond to the gift of salvation.

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
why do you think some people don’t respond to this gift?

John 14:6
Romans 10:9-10, 13
how did God’s word help you understand that we have to respond?

discuss it:
in your own words, explain the Gospel to the adult that came with you.


*** i would love to hear any other idea you have for sharing the Gospel with children. i love the creativity of kid ministry leaders. 🙂

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