lifeway kids


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.

what an honor to sit down with the talented church peters and talk kids being the church of today. i love the podcasts lifeway kids provides!

here is the details of my podcast and the link to find it.

click here for the podcast.

Danielle Bell, Minister to Children at Dawson Family of Faith, joins the podcast to discuss ways to intentionally create a culture where kids actively participate, serve, and engage in the church as soon as they are believers.

     jana magruder is a triple threat. she is an excellent communicator, a brilliant author, and a passionate leader that not only gets kids ministry but has a vision for where it is going. she is a thoughtful networker and some of my favorite times with her are around a table with other kidmin leaders at the etch conference in nashville. she is energetic and extremely humble, but this gal brings some truth that will rattle your kidmin in the best way. when i heard her speak about her latest research findings, and basis for her book “nothing less” i couldn’t run to the conference bookstore fast enough to not only get a copy for my kids ministry team but also some of our senior staff.
    i love that she comes straight to lifeway from a church staff so as she leads nationally her heart is never far from the local church.  i am so thankful for the ways she has challenged and equipped me as a ministry leader and i am delighted to share her answers to these five important questions.

1 – what do you see kidmin and family ministry leaders doing right? 
   My team talks to ministry leaders from all over the country and world. When it comes to kidmin and family ministry leaders, there seems to be no lack of passion and heart for Jesus, His Church – and the “youngest of these.” We all seem to have this in common. Every time I’m in a room full of kids and family ministry leaders, I always like to say we are already best friends because we have these three things in common: we love Jesus, His Church, and Kids and families!
2 – what do you see as the greatest need in kidmin and family ministry right now? 
   Our kids and family ministry leaders need a seat at the leadership table. Yes, most of us go to “staff meeting”, but I think they need to lead up and really help the broader ministry team understand the absolute urgency of children’s ministry. We all know that by age 12, a child’s world view is pretty much formed. Therefore, the years spent in kids ministry are critical and the whole church family needs to rally around the vision of what it takes to make sure kids are being discipled and poured into by godly men and women of the church.
3 – if you could have coffee with every kidmin/fammin leader, what would you want to make sure you shared with them? 
   Don’t forget to sabbath – and I mean “sabbath” as a verb. We usually think of the Sabbath as Sunday, a day – a noun. But as a verb – sabbath means to rest and for those of us in kidmin, that is not on Sunday. So, make sure you are taking another day (or at least half a day) to replenish your soul. If you neglect it, burnout can come so quickly and the Enemy will steal your joy. Rest in the Lord, devour scripture, and do something life-giving to you. Errands and laundry are not life-giving!!
4 – what word of encouragement do you have for today’s kidmin/fammin leaders? 
    Remember your calling. If you have been doing this for any length of time, then you know this work is a worthy and holy calling. Allow me to fan the flame of your calling and encourage you to keep going. Persevere and endure – knowing that He would not have called you unless He planned to equip you. Rest in knowing this.
5 – why are you passionate about children’s and family ministry? 
    I believe God works through the heart of a child to change trajectories in families. Most ministry leaders at church want to funnel down through the parents (and hope it gets to their kids). I like to think of overflowing hearts of children whose joy for Jesus is contagious to the whole family. Honestly, it takes both efforts – funnel down and gusher up! That is the delight of family ministry. When we work as teams who truly get this and ditch ministry silos and swimlanes, our opportunity to truly influence the family gets exponentially easier and better. For His glory!


Jana Magruder serves as the Director of LifeWay Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes, Nothing Less and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.

[box] i taught this workshop as a breakout session at the ETCH ministry conference in nashville, tn. below are my notes for “partnering with parents to point kids to Christ.”[/box]

same team/same goal

  •  same team same goal JESUS –  sometimes it may feel like you are moving in opposite directions but as believers, we should all have the same goal – JESUS!
  • it is not an us and them, it is a we.
  • get key parents involved early with your mission – new in a ministry position or need to make changes? gather a team of parents that make up all areas of your ministry and pray, dream, and plan with them. they will be your best resource for promoting information about changes, new programs, or losing programs/events. 


know your role

  • family is the primary place of faith training.
  • deuteronomy 6:4-8 “ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
  • families look different – more and more single parents and grandparents are raising and bringing kids to church.  your ministry may also be made up of adoptive or foster parents. is your language and approach reflecting this?
  • be prepared if a ball is dropped – not all kids have the support of parents and a family that will lead them to Christ. ask God to open your eyes to see their needs.
  • who can you use as pinch hitters to take place of absent parents? – recruit a team of mature believers to be ready to invest in the lives of kids that don’t have a godly mentor. 

equip the team

  • supply parents with the tools they need to play their part.
  • stay current with issues they are facing – research and be prepared to give parents the resources, scriptures, and action steps they need to parent through crisis and worldly influences.
  • how are you equipping parents to lead their kids to Christ? – recently i was invited to an adult sunday school class for a q & a about how to lead a child to Christ. this 20 minute time period allowed me to speak to many parents to help them be prepared to walk their child through receiving Christ as Savior and Lord. i am already thinking how i can multiply this time and reach even more parents.
  • educate – make sure parents know what their kids are learning so they can continue the conversation at home. supply them with practical tools to discuss and apply these truths outside the church walls.


  • rule of 7  – the old rule of marketing is that people need to see or read a message seven times before they really receive it. how often are you sharing a message you need parents to really hear?
  • #kidmintrenchtalk – just when you think you are getting on their nerves they are just getting the message.
  • communication ideas – schedule constant contact or mailchimp emails to go out weekly with follow-up information, questions and ideas. use the free remind app to text parents follow-up information or details about an upcoming program or event. one of my favorite ways to communicate is via my personal or dawson kids blog. on this blog, we can share vision, theme, and a more detailed description of what children experienced.  


chances are you won’t hit a hole in one, or if you are like me, even hit the ball the first time you head out to the golf course. just like we need practice in sports, parents need practice being the faith leaders of their family. we can partner with them to make this a possibility.

  • make them a part of your classes (Gospel class) or new Christian class. i blog about our Gospel class here, but the more parents can be a part of faith conversations, the more confident they will be when it is time to lead their child to Christ. 
  • family worship times are a great time for families to experience faith activities and discussions together while being led by leadership. i have many of our family worship times posted on this blog. blackout vine family worship
  • these times do not have to be elaborate. you can simply make conversation boxes for early arrival activities or take home crafts to continue the conversation. here is a download of some Gospel-centered questions you can use. Gospel questions   
  • this year we gave kids highlighters and we are encouraging parents and grandparents to highlight their favorite verse in their child’s Bible with a note beside it. 


cheer them on/support each other

  • Christ-centered parenting is tough, parents need our encouragement and support.
  • as a dawson kids staff we have started to divide up investors and families to contact with them weekly. we find out how we can pray or minister to them. we pray as a dk staff and then follow up with a card.  this has helped us move from surface to meaningful conversations in the hallway. it also helps us find families that are slipping through the cracks.
  • sometimes parents simply need the reminder that they have the same Holy Spirit living in them (if they are a Christ follower) that we do as ministry leaders. they can seek and trust the Spirit’s leadership.


respect (calendar) 

  • respect their time.
  • make the most of the time you have. plan as many things as you can when they are already at church.
  • plan with eternity in mind, not just another fun event.
  • quality over quantity – i often say the longer i am in ministry the less that i put on the calendar. i want parents to know and trust that each event and program i plan is purposeful and worth attending.
  • team up with other ministries – this can help cut done on different events and pulling the family is opposite directions.
  • don’t plan meetings that could be emails. don’t we all hate this?
  • bullet points – my dear friends had to teach me this the hard way. they said i was too wordy in communication and they didn’t have time to read it. they constantly told me to use bullet points and i am still trying to practice this. 🙂

finish strong 

hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

  • don’t quit – i often joke that kids have never made me want to quit my job, but parents have. let’s all remain committed to the call of God on our lives and the privilege it is to partner with parents.
  • ministry and partnering with parents is a marathon, not a sprint. one day at a time and one idea or change at a time.
  • families and many generations to come could be changed forever.

[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]

i am so excited and honored to be a part of some great, free, and Gospel-centered training for kids ministry. lifeway kids has produced six videos all focused to help challenge and encourage you to make sure your ministry is Gospel-centered. all these truths come from my favorite new #kidmin book, Gospel centered kids ministry by brian dembowczyk. not only are these videos a great resource, each video comes with a handout download to work through with your team. we plan to show two at promotion training and then email the others out through the first couple of months of the new year. below are images that show the subject of each video and the link, so that you can have access to this relevant, Christ-centered resource.

i would love to hear how you plan to use this resource in your ministry. comment below.

                Gospel-centered training link.




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