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 didn’t know whether to be excited or sad to have a packed room full of people in the burned out in ministry breakout session at #kidmin17. this was a very interactive workshop intentionally designed to give weary ministry servants a time to reconnect with God and be challenged, encouraged, convicted and comforted with God’s Word.

we focused on five main areas of truth:

  1. you can’t give out what you don’t have
  2. being still and knowing God
  3. putting the pieces in perspective
  4. fixing our eyes on Jesus
  5. just give me Jesus

you can’t give out what you don’t have

the problem is too many times ministry leaders are leading from an empty well. while we may work for the Living Water we don’t make a consistent effort to drink in His truth so that we lead from the fullness only He provides.

  • fill up on the Word – during this portion of the session, we took time for ministry leaders to walk around the room and read over many scriptures that were printed on mailing labels. if that scripture spoke to them they were to put the sticker on them or on their provided candle. i have provided links before for the scriptures sheets below. simply click to download each scripture in word format.
  • sabbath – we talked at length about our need for sabbath. if we are going to remain vibrant in ministry we have to make an intentional effort to get away and spend quality time with our Savior. so often in ministry, we tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves. this is why we must make a commitment to sabbath.
  • accountability – i am so blessed to have a mentor/friend who loves me enough to call me out and remind me to make my time with Jesus a priority. do you have someone in your life to do this?
  • staff driven – i do not take for granted the fact that our discipleship staff is encouraged to take some sabbath time each month. this is not an all day vacation day, but an hour or two outside the office dedicated solely to seeking Jesus.

be still and know

the world and ministry schedules offer little time to be still. if we aren’t intentional about being still and focusing on God, it simply won’t happen on its own.

  • names of God– sometimes we simply need to be reminded who God is. using the names of God sheet below, we spent time meditating on who He is as a reminder that He is all we need.
  • silent and still – if you know me at all you know being still and silent are probably two things you never see me do. this translates into my ministry life as well. so that is why when we are beginning to plan certain events or programs in dawson kids, we will start the meeting in five minutes of silence just focusing on who God is. when is the last time you have done this? it takes discipline but is a great reminder of Who is in charge and Who you serve.

putting the pieces into perspective

if you are like me, no one warned you how hard ministry was before you began. you have had to learn that lesson over and over with each wound and thorn that flies in like a fiery dart from the enemy.

  • pegs of pain– in my breakout session we took lite-brite pegs and named the hurts silently one by one before the Lord.
  • perspective – instead of leaving the hurts just laying before us we took them and placed them in the lite-brite boards as a reminder that no matter how big or how small our wounds,  Jesus still reigned over our pain and could use it for His glory.

the fix

in matthew 14:22-33 we see the familiar story of peter walking on water. we were reminded that by looking straight to Jesus, Peter was able to do the impossible. it was when he took his eyes off of Jesus that he began to sink.

  • fix – as ministry leaders, we are often fixers thinking it is our job to make right all the messes, but that is never what we were called to do.  we are not called to fix everything, we are called to fix our eyes on Jesus.
  • getting personal – how is your persistence to fix things cause your gaze to look away from Jesus and stare only at the problems?

give me Jesus

  • sources of strength – instead of relying on your talents, team, volunteers, and ideas, simply allow Jesus to be your source of strength.
  • Jesus– He alone is the only perfect source and He is all we need.

names of God sheet

below are the individual sheets to print off scripture labels.

isaiah 41:10     psalm 34:15     jeremiah 29:11     james 1:2-4
romans 8:28    joshua 1:9        proverbs 3:5-6     isaiah 40:31
psalm 43:5      colossians 3:2  isaiah 26:3           zechariah 4:6
hebrews 4:16  psalm 50:15     ephesians 3:20    philippians 1:6
colossians 3:23     1 peter 5:6-7     psalm 34:18

[box type=”warning”] dWELL copyright © danielle bell and dWELL, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to danielle bell and dWELL with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.[/box]

what a joy it was to spend some quality time discovering, sharing, and discussing what it means to have a Gospel-centered kids ministry. i am attaching some notes and other items that those that attended (or even didn’t attend) might find helpful.

why Gospel-centered?

  • not something we add to what we are already doing
  • it is the reason we do anything
  • the Gospel is the why

Gospel-centered filter

  • what is your mission statement?
  • start with the end in mind. (what kind of child would you like to see leave your ministry?)
  • the filter gives you the freedom to say yes/no to activities and programs.

rules of change

  • don’t change something just for the sake of change.
  • don’t keep something just because it has always been done.
  • where do you need Gospel-centered change in your ministry?

communicating Gospel-centered

  • preach the Gospel to yourself daily
  • inform staff of the Gospel-centered why of all that you are doing.
  • make sure your investors/volunteers are constantly reminded the Gospel is the goal.
  • are you consistently sharing with parents how everything you are doing in centered around the Gospel?
  • social media / emails – make sure to include the Gospel connection in all your posts and emails.
  • make it a priority to always share the way of your event/program.


you can find the blog posts outlining my two week Gospel class here.

Gospel-centered questions for tabletop box download – Gospel questions
here is the download for the table challenge game we played at the end. – table challenge
here is the link to the bridge video we used – the bridge
here is the link to the scripture video that played during the table challenge. – Gospel scriptures

my blog and link about free Gospel-centered training – lifeway Gospel-centered training

[learn_more caption=”let me hear from you” state=”open”] i would love to hear how God is transforming your ministry. be sure to comment below and let me know![/learn_more]

[box type=”warning”] dWELL copyright © danielle bell and dWELL, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to danielle bell and dWELL with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.[/box]

5 money-saving tips for kidmin attendees

you’ve set up your children’s ministry budget to be a reflection of God’s calling and direction for the ministry. you’re also cautious of the budget and want to make every dollar count. here are 5 ways to ensure you’re spending your money wisely, and even saving money in the process.

lock-in the early-bird registration price. not only will you save $100 per person, but you only need $50 per person to lock in this rate. your full payment isn’t due until July 14, 2017. so how do you lock-in the early-bird rate with just $50? go online and simply register. it’ll take you through the process. or you can call Dawn at 800.635.0404 x4382. don’t have a credit card? that’s okay, you can even mail in a check. 

track airline prices with fare watcher alerts. this is perhaps the easiest way to track airfares. many travel web sites offer emailed airfare alerts, letting you know when fares go down, and they all have something to offer. do a browser search for “airfare alerts” and you’ll see what’s available. they all work a bit differently; so sign up for more than one.

save $50 per night. it’s as easy as booking your hotel room at the Hyatt Regency with reservation code: KidMin17. Learn more….

share a ride and/or hotel room. one of the best things about attending conferences is connecting with like-minded people and who doesn’t want more ministry friends? often times, friendships that are forged are life-changing. ride and/or room sharing has the potential to foster not just cost savings, but also deeper, unanticipated connections that can change the course of your career. simply post in our private Ride/Room Share Facebook page that you either can offer a ride/room or you’re looking for a ride/room. sharing expenses is a win-win!

pack your own meals. it’s always a good idea to pack your own healthy snacks. this way, you get exactly what, spend less money, and stay on target with a healthy diet. bring an insulated cooler-type lunch box to store perishable food items like hard boiled eggs, string cheese, and yogurt. pack some bread, peanut butter, and jelly to make sandwiches. carrots, hummus, apples and granola bars are always a perfect snack on the go. bring your own water bottle, and fill it up throughout the day. the tap water in chicago is safe to drink!

i hope these help and i hope to see in you in chicago for #kidmin17.

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