orange beach


i have had such a joy being surrounded by some of the most passionate, humble, and Christ-centered kidmin leaders this week at the annual apcmo (alabama preschool and children’s ministry organization) retreat. what a gift to serve in a state that is intentional about networking and growing together as ministry leaders. i promised that i would share some of my links and notes from our four sessions together so here they are.

session one – your story

Psalm 78:1-8″My people, hear my instruction; listen to what I say. I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past— things we have heard and known and that our fathers have passed down to us. We must not hide them from their children, but must tell a future generation the praises of the LordHis might, and the wonderful works He has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers
to teach to their children so that a future generation— children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands. Then they would not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

stories matter. ad agencies get it. the olympic networks get it, filmmakers get it. no one gets it more than God.

each participant was given a file folder and asked to draw a timeline of their life on the inside. then, they were instructed to travel through the following stations. some of these stations were taken from an adult activity from centrikid in 2010, others were written especially for this event. download station instructions here.

the apple commercial
the jessie diggins commercial

session two – equipping volunteers to tell the story


“The Bible is not a story about heroes we should emulate, but about a Savior we are to adore.” J.D. Greer

what do people leave your ministry remembering? you? fun activities? or the Gospel?

have we ever thought of doing an exit poll with kids, asking what is their take home for the day?

what is your ministry’s mission statement? does your mission statement have the Gospel as the goal? you have to set the end in mind so people know where they are going.

do you volunteers know the mission of your ministry? do you share with volunteers how their service supports the mission?

getting them on board

  • title matters – we call our’s investors – we believe they are doing more than filling a volunteer role – they are investing in eternity.
  • recruit with the Gospel in mind. don’t beg.
  • invite people to serve in your ministry.


  • do they know what is expected?
  • don’t allow policy & procedures to take priority over training.
  • have you helped them be confident in sharing the Gospel?
  • permission for lessons to fail – a successful lesson isn’t a lesson where every craft and activity is completed, but where the Holy Spirit is present and the Gospel is shared.


  • Gospel God’s Plan for Me – my favorite booklet. it is in every investors binder, kidlife teacher binder, camp leader bag, etc. Lifeway has these videos for free.
  • the story (link below)

Gospel- centered programs

  • Gospel class
  • sunday morning
  • mid week

Gospel -centered curriculum – if it can be taught at character club at school or be on a Chick-fil-a bag – it isn’t deep enough. the Gospel is the complete story.

Gospel-centered events

  • less is more – i do less in ministry now than i did 21 years ago, but i am way more intentional now.
  • we aren’t in this to entertain.. we have to get to the Gospel.

list the events you were in charge of the last 6 months. circle ones that the Gospel were the goal. don’t wear yourself and volunteers out for the non-eternal

dear mrs. donna video
Gospel-centered ministry training videos (free)
dale hudson’s article “are your cute lessons turning kids into atheists”
what you do matters video
the story Gospel presentation
Gospel God’s plan for me booklets
Lifeway Gospel presentation videos

session three – partnering with partners for the sake of the story

you can find a complete blog post on this topic with my notes here – partnering with parents

session four – the Gospel the goal in all spiritual markers

you can find a complete post on this topic with my notes here – making the Gospel the goal in all spiritual markers

apcmo ideas for spiritual markers are listed below:


  • cradle roll prayer list, pass along article, etc. to parents
  • baby blessings
  • contact, prayer, encourage
  • devotion for expectant parents
  • look who’s new & look who’s due in a newsletter


  • parenting partner
  • parent/child dedication classes
  • hospital visit, meal to home, gifts
  • spoon with name, ms pattycake dvd, book, etc.
  • mandatory meeting before dedication, talk about it on home visit
  • hospital visit, special gift
  • home visit, gift
  • parent/child commitment
  • 1st-time parents – policy/procedures and guidelines for nursery

baby dedication:

  • change the name to family dedication to not limit it to just small babies. we do a ceremony/brunch in a separate venue on sunday morning with families coming together for an intimate time. they write a family covenant, letter to their child& read it privately with their family. then, on stage in big church, they are recognized and do congregational portion.
  • a great resource we give parents is faith box (lakepoint church)
  • minister to those who miscarry/stillborn – ladies in the church knot small blankets and put it in a nice box with literature on clinging to Christ, etc. recognize that this child was real and values.
  • renamed family dedication – do a slide show, give out & explain lakepointe’s my faith box.
  • parent covenant, church covenant, meet with parents in advance
  • parent/child dedication – anointing and meaning
  • meet with parents individually befoe parents/child dedication. share what God calls us to do as spiritual leaders, share my testimony and ask for theirs. (had a mom accept Christ) give resources like my faith box from lakepoint church.
  • sent out invitations to parents/families of newborns and new mothers with children two months before mother’s day – baby dedication during morning service – charge to parents and congregation – new testament Bibles and certificates. also a slideshow with audible prayer form pastor.
  • family meal the night before (extended family invited) with programming by kids min & senior pastor based on parent commissioning that happens in the service. challenge parents to “begin with the end in mind” and choose two words/scripture for their baby. gifts/flowers for mom, baby, certificate with a picture.

seeking Jesus

  • moms Bible studies
  • talk with parents – book “faith of a child”

new believer/baptism

  • i’m a Christian now workbook
  • Bible if the child does not have one
  • i’m a Christian now what? devotional
  • letter to those who make a decision and sit down follow-up with child and parents
  • dvd of baptism
  • baptism certificate
  • i’m a Christian now retreat
  • devotion book and Bible to help them start growing and nurturing their relationship with Christ

new Bible

  • 3-year-olds group Bible on Easter
  • another great time to receive a Bible is 5th grade, just before they enter youth group. ask your youth pastor what version he teachers from and purchase that for them. (for example – esv study Bible) you, their children’s minister, can write a note in it & favorite verse, pastor, sunday school teacher, also perhaps.
  • at baptism
  • 1st grade Bible distribution – parent/child commitment
  • 1st grade – family approach: meet with parents before, parent note in Bible, parents give Bible to children through words spoken to child. child receives Bible and the child says some things to parents.
  • baby dedication (new testament)
  • 1st grade – one week before school starts

tween transition

  • second-semester 6th graders participate in youth group events – summer they move into wednesday night programs – full promotion in august
  • VBX – transitional
  • celebrate me! retreat major transition/preparation time
  • 7up party with 6th graders and families (special elements to this)
  • allow 6th graders to participate with students in summer activities one month prior to promotion. allows nervousness and tension to be a minimum.
  • separate 5th & 6th-grade ministry that has its own worship and large group environment and different small group material. also have separate vbs.
  • 6th-grade pool party
  • teen retreat in conjunction with youth pastor
  • 5th-grade summer transition: service, leadership, late night events, student pastor is their vbs Bible study leader in youth environment.
  • year-long group called crossover for 6th graders. special events, life skills, vbs mission project.
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