God’s Word


last night we held our annual vine family worship – grandparent edition. it was such a special night and such a treat to have yancy and jim wideman here with us. here is an outline of what our night looked like as we sought to gather families of multiple generations together to treasure God’s Word.


as families arrived we had a photo booth for them to get a family picture made. we later posted these pictures to our facebook page for families to download. for families that didn’t have a grandparent that was able to attend we recruited some of our amazing adults to serve as “granpals” for the night. i love the idea of “grandpals” because this gave our families another connection in the church and we all know, families need the leadership of seasoned believers as we walk this journey.




after families had their picture made we gave them an early arrival card so they could be intentional about the time we had before the evening began. all of our children received highlighters in their promotion packets in august so we are always looking for ways to help them highlight special scriptures. we thought it would be special if grandparents and parents had a chance to highlight their favorite verses in the children’s Bibles. not only would this be an impacting moment at family worship, but hopefully for years to come as each child grows in their faith. we also had families go ahead and look up and highlight the focus passage for the evening. this helped them locate the night’s scripture and also began a family conversation about the truths this passage shared.


yancy and then, it was time for yancy’s first set. y’all i cannot say enough good things about how wonderful yancy is. not only is she an incredibly easy and organized artist to work with, she is approachable and really sees each event as a time of ministry. i loved how she was walking through the room beforehand engaging our kids and asking them what they were up to that afternoon. she had a perfect mix of upbeat worship songs and hymns that included all ages. she is also so interactive and one of the best artist i have heard to explain the meaning of worship songs before she leads them. if you are in need of a special musical guest and wondering if they are worth spending the money on, let me attest to the fact that yancy is worth every penny. we had here for one of our 24 hours 4 Him events, our preschool ministry had her for waffles and wiggles, and i am sure we will have her back.



jim widemannext up was yancy’s dad and no secret to the kidmin world, jim wideman. not only did we love pairing yancy with her dad for this event, we loved that he knows ministry and families and he just happens to be a dad and a grandfather. we thought this was a great fit for our special grandparent night. we didn’t give him an easy task either. his job was to speak for 15-20 minutes on our focus passage, psalm 119:9-16, to ages 4 – 75+. how’s that for an age span? he was personable and interactive and we feel super blessed to have had him here to invest into our kids and families with God’s Word. one of the best things is hearing how kids could quote specific truths he shared this morning as they reviewed withi their parents about what they learned.


after jim spoke, we had yancy up for a second set. let me take this time to say you don’t have to bring in big names to make a night like this successful. we don’t always do this, but we felt it was special for our grandparents night. you can purchase amazing video worship tracks at worship house kids or amber sky. you can also bring in your youth praise band for a special night of worship. usually, i or my associate minister to children speak or sometimes we invite another minister in so the families can hear from them. you have to use what works for your context and your budget.


one of my favorite times of each family worship is the interaction between families. since we were talking about treasuring God’s Word we gave each family a treasure chest (we purchased ours by the dozen at oriental trading.) and a scripture sheet. inside each treasure chest, we had 10-15 large sequins we were calling the “coins.” we tried to find blank coins to write on, but this proved too difficult or too expensive, so we just cleaned hobby lobby out of their quarter sized sequins. families were asked to use a sharpie to write one of the provided scripture references on each “coin.” they were also told they could decorate their family treasure box at home to represent their family. our goal in this family time was to create discussion and an experience that continued on as they went home. their challenge was to pull out a “coin” each day and read the passage as a family looking for treasures or truths in that passage. i talk more about our recipe for family worship here.



treasure scripturealso here is the scripture sheet that helped families find passages to print on their special treasure “coins.” we provided more scriptures than “coins” they were given and we tried to use scriptures that focused on God’s Word or  wer ein some way about treasure.




one other element of the night (which was optional) was that we encouraged families to dress up as a person, place, or thing from God’s Word. we had some very creative family entries. currently, our church staff is voting for their favorite and the winning family will receive a gift card for a family meal to spend some quality time together. again this was optional because we didn’t want to stress families out that wanted to come and didn’t want to think of an outfit.


we ended the night with a family meal of hamburgers, tater tots, and make your own smores at your table. we are so blessed with an amazing kitchen crew that really goes above and beyond to make our meals fun and interactive. 🙂 (fire at the tables, sure it was a little crazy, but what a fun family experience. 🙂 )


y’all i wish i could say we had a packed house and there was standing room only for all the families that wanted to attend, but i want to be transparent with you on ministry struggles. sadly, a packed house for this special night was not the case. we had around 250 there (which is a great number but not near what we could have reached) and while i was happy for each person that came, i grieved a bit for the empty seats. i know it is a sunday night and families are busy and i am wrestling with why many just don’t come back. i never want to be caught up in numbers, but also want to make sure we offer ministry events that enable all families to be confident in Christ and grow in their faith as a family. before our spring event, i will be praying through our process and confessing my sin as i often place my expectations above God’s plans. ultimately our vine family worship night was a success, based on truth, pointed to Jesus, and allowed families to begin and continue conversations about the treasure of God’s Word.

what are you doing to gather families together around the truth of God’s Word? comment and share. i would love to hear all your creative ideas.

Acts 1:21-22 “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” 

     as i was studying the books of acts this fall, the above verses glared at me and i have been pondering them quite a bit.  it wasn’t enough for judas’ replacement to have simply heard of Jesus and His miracles and power. this replacement needed, as one commentary stated, “to have accompanied the disciples throughout the course of Jesus’ ministry (from His baptism to His ascension), thus assuring that he could speak about things he has seen personally.”  so when i was asked to speak to the “moms and more” group at church, this passage jumped to the forefront of my mind.  no, we are not in charge of replacing judas (good thing, because i could royally mess that up), but we are challenged and called to raise children to be authentic disciples of Jesus, so they can testify to the things they have seen in and through Him.

bibleshow do we help children be eyewitnesses to the living Christ thousands of years after He walked the earth?   i believe if we want kids to see the power and life-changing potential of Jesus, we must get them in the word –  not simply stories about Him.  we must plan to be purposed in engaging children with the living word of God.

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” Hebrews 4: 12 amplified

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).” 2 Timothy 3: 16 amplified

scripture memory
     to live by the scriptures we have to help children hide them in their hearts.  as adults, we can surely testify to a time when being able to recall/recite scripture to ourselves from memory brought peace, joy, comfort, direction, or discernment.  i believe these fruits are truly the reward for hiding God’s Word in our hearts. that is why in the classes i teach, i have children memorize scripture, but not for any kind of reward.  i explain to them the “prize” for knowing God’s Word may not come to them the day they say their scripture to me, but it can come at a time when they most need it and will be of a much greater worth than the temporary reward i hand them.  scripture memory alone stops shy of the goal if we don’t help children see how it applies to their life.   so, as we are practicing God’s Word with them, we must be deliberate about helping them see: what is to learn, the example(s) shown, or what we should put into practice after learning the verse.  here are some great tools to help children hide God’s Word in their hearts.

use scripture for answers, correction, and decisions
     one of my favorite Bible teachers is anne graham lotz. one of the things i appreciate most about her is when she is asked a question in a Bible study setting or an interview on national tv, she doesn’t quickly answer with her opinion.  her answer almost inevitably begins with, “the Bible says…”  oh the value of immediately pointing children to God’s Word when they are seeking answers, need to understand why we are to behave a certain way,  or have to make a decision!  six months ago, i made the decision to accept God’s call to a new church and place of service.  i knew one of the hardest conversations i would have was with the 6th graders (Y.U.C.s – youth under construction) with whom i had spent the most time with in ministry.  so the first wednesday night after my announcement, i sat them down and told them to fire away with their questions.  what a comfort and joy it was to be able to share with them specific scriptures that God used as He called me into this new adventure and they could see it was His word, not circumstances, on which i was basing my decision.  they knew that ephesians 3:20-21 was one of the main scriptures and for weeks after i received texts and cards that they had found with that scripture on them.

pointing kids to scripture can also be a great tool when we, as adults, blow it.  i blogged about a time i blew it with my niece here, but what if when children see us make mistakes or sin, we use that as a time to show them how we fall short and are in need of a Savior. (romans 3:23) or, how we are not perfect and cannot save ourselves, only grace does that.  (ephesians 2:8)

also as we speak and pray over children how much more powerful if we use God’s Word other than our own. Bible teacher, pricilla shirer, wrote a great blog about how she speaks God’s word over boys.  http://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/gods-word-spoken-over-our-children

children digging into God’s word
     devotion books are great and there are wonderful ones out there for children, but i also think it is important for us to teach kids how to open, read, study, and apply God’s Word to their lives using just the Bible.  i have also stopped calling them Bible stories in an effort to separate the truths contained from all the other “stories” children read.  i will go into this process much more detailed in a “digging deeper” study i am teaching parents and kids this spring, but we can begin by asking children to look for things as they read a passage of scripture.  is there an example of a way someone is behaving that i should follow or not follow?  is there something happening in these passages that can teach me a lesson?  then, how can i put in to practice what i learned from these scriptures?  we can begin the Christmas with God’s word and truths about a Savior being born that apply to their lives today. (luke 1:46-55, luke 2:8-10, isaiah 9:6-7, matthew 2:9-11)

as we minister to children that are surrounded by the world, lets engage them with the living scriptures of Jesus Christ so that they will be more than church-going disciples and devotion-book disciples.  God’s words can accomplish His purposes.  as we intentionally point them to the infallible truths in the Bible, may they become passionate and committed disciples of the Word and eyewitness of the Savior.

Isaiah 55:11 “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 

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