Vol. 1 No. 3     FALL 1997

About the Children's Department

resources for effective children's ministry

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    I hope you had an exciting summer full of opportunities for genuinely effective ministry! Now that we are gearing up for a new school year, it is my prayer as we serve in our ministries we will be committed to being effective in all we do, so that children will learn what it means to start a life of faith by placing their faith in Jesus, will learn to live a life of faith by applying God's Word to their day-in-day-out lives, will learn to show their faith by discovering the gifts, talents and abilities God has blessed them with and will develop ways to serve for God's glory! This is the heart of effective ministry.

    More and more people are beginning to see the value in developing effective children's ministry that begins with babies, rather than waiting until the children are "old enough", so in this issue we will review some of the excellent Baby/Toddler resources that are available.

    We will also take a look at some mission resources that are available to help you as you plan your Missionary conferences.

    As always, if you have any questions or ideas to share, feel free to contact us at: lynda.freeman@usa.net - we'd love to hear from you!


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Back to Sunday School Sunday

    Fall is a great time to generate enthusiasm for your children's ministry. Consider planning a Back to Sunday School Sunday to introduce the parents to their children's new teachers.

    I like to hold my Back to Sunday School Sunday on the same Sunday as National Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Sunday - the 3rd Sunday in October. This Sunday works well because the focus is already on teachers and the classes will have had several Sundays to prepare samples of what they are learning to post around their rooms, but whatever Sunday you choose the following schedule should serve to help you plan, promote and present a Back to Sunday School Sunday for your church.

As soon as possible -

  • select a date for the Back to Sunday School Sunday
  • begin running announcements to let people know what is happening
  • plan your day - I like to hold the Open House during the Sunday school hour. Plan the first 15 - 20 minutes for the parents to be able to visit their child's classroom to meet the teachers and see what their children are doing. After the 20 minutes have the parents meet in the fellowship hall for cookies/coffee and to allow you to talk to them about your goals for the children's ministry. This can be a great time to hand out and go over your children's ministry policy handbook as well as talk with parents about the need for them to teach their children at home. Hand out the scope and sequence so the parents will know what their child will learn.
  • let teachers know about the Back to Sunday School Sunday and ask them to be ready to show what the children have been learning.
Two weeks before -
  • Along with flyers in the bulletin, make special announcements.
  • Have classes make posters and hang around the church.
One week before -
  • Make prayer reminder cards for each teacher to give to parents.

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A Sunday for the World

Author - Bill Stearns
Publisher - Gospel Light
Cost - $19.99
Available from your local Christian book store or by calling 1-800-4-GOSPEL

    This reproducible resource provides everything you need to present God's plan for worldwide missions to everyone in your church - age 2 through adult.

    It includes the following resources:
    • An overview on why missions matter and the theme & emphasis for this Sunday for the world as well as what to expect the outcome to be.
    • Information on how to host a Sunday for the World.
    • Leadership session to prepare the leaders in your church - complete with lesson plan.
    • Nursery Worker's lesson focusing on thanking God for the children who will someday serve Him and by praying for children and their families.
    • Age - group lessons
      • 2's & 3's
      • 4's & 5's
      • Grades 1 - 3
      • Grades 4 - 6
      • Jr. High
      • Sr. High
      • Adult
    • Sunday Service outline.
    • Prayer Guide
    • Family Activity Guide
    • Small Group Study Guide
    • Follow - up steps
    • Resources for further Missions involvement
    This book is complete with reproducible music, crafts and worksheets for the various age groups to help them apply and remember what they learn about missions as well as promotional materials - flyers, skits, etc.

    I especially like the "Message breakthrough" flyers that tell some amazing things God is doing around the world. For example, did you know that in a Government survey Japanese citizens were asked to name the greatest religious leader in history. 67% replied, "Jesus Christ". Or that in Nagaland in India, it is estimated that 95% of the state's 3 million people confess Jesus as Lord! I did not know these things.

    I highly recommend this as a must have missions resource! Well done Bill Stearns and Gospel Light!

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The Great KidMission

Publisher - Gospel Light
Cost - $19.99
Available at your local Christian Book store or by calling 1-800-4-GOSPEL

    This reproducible resource will give you everything you need to capture the interest of the kids in your church and expose them to the idea of missions. "The Great KidMission" is a complete 5 - 10 session program that covers important themes like, prayer, evangelism, perseverance, helping others and growing God's church. It includes the following resources:

  • Information to help you set up the rooms you use for your Mission adventure.
  • Reproducible maps, forms and passports for the kids.
  • Information to help you set up a Missions center.
  • Help with scheduling and planing your program.
  • Bible Memory verses and Bible Memory activities.
  • Bible stories
  • Crafts
  • Service Projects
    • Games
    • Drama
    • Skits
    • Snacks
    • Clip art
    • Information on Missionary Agencies
    This is an excellent resource to utilize for a missions conference, in mid-week clubs, children's church, camp, retreats, or Sunday School. I highly recommend it for your children's ministry. Well done Gospel Light!

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Missions Made Fun for Kids

Author - Elizabeth Whitney Crisci
Publisher - Accent Publications
Cost -
Available at your local Christian book store or by calling 1-800-426-6596

    This resource has 60 Mission ideas that emphasize both the global outreach of missions and ways for children to see how they can be missionaries themselves. Each idea tells the purpose, preparation, supplies needed, time needed and what to do for each activity. Some of the activities are reproducible. The activities in this book are for elementary through Jr. High age children and take a few minute to make a part of your children's ministry each week or month or in whatever setting you choose to use them.

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**Missions Project**

    I have recently learned of a ministry - Bibles for the World - that offers a great way to involve the children and families in your church in a unique and truly effective missions project. For 27 years this ministry has been mailing millions of Bibles all over the world with fabulous results of souls being saved by reading the Word!

    Your church can be a part of this ministry by setting up it's own Bibles for the World Mission station. BFW has created an attractive stand-alone lobby display that holds introductory 4 - paks that aquatint individuals and families with their unique Bible distribution methods. Each 4 - pak contains four New Testaments, four typed address labels and four mailing wrappers along with a letter of instructions and an envelope to cover the costs of printing and packaging each four - pak. People in the church take a 4 - pak, package each Bible, take to a post office and then pay to mail the Bible.

    This would be a great project to involve the kids of your church in! For more information call Tim Chambers at Bibles for the World, 1-888-51BIBLE.

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21st Century Sunday School

Author - Wes Haystead
Publisher - Standard Publishing
Cost - $12.99
Available at your local Christian book store or by calling 1-800-543-1301

    This book provides reproducible charts, diagrams, worksheets, job descriptions, methods, strategies and "how - to's" for Sunday School that will help you organize a truly effective ministry.

You will find information on the following areas:

  1. Where is your Sunday school going - helps you develop written ministry goals.
  2. Reaching people - helps you target your audience and organize for growth.
  3. Teaching and Learning Strategies - Early Childhood through Adult
  4. Grouping for effective learning - Early Childhood through Adult
  5. Alternative Models - information on Multiple and Simultaneous Sessions, Alternate Times and Electives.
  6. Administration Guidelines - help with job descriptions, curriculum, child safety, planning calendars, discipline issues and special needs issues.
  7. Recruiting, Enlisting and Equipping Volunteers
  8. Facilities, Furnishings and Technology - help with room arrangements & furniture.
  9. Building Small Groups
    I especially like all the reproducible worksheets to help you sort through where you are at in each area in your children's ministry and help you see where you want to head.

    This excellent resource is a "must have" addition to aid you in structuring an effective ministry. I highly recommend this book as it will truly be an excellent source of help. Well done Wes Haystead and Standard Publishing!

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    If you have an idea that helped your ministry, please e-mail it to me at: Bright Idea! at lynda.freeman@usa.net

or send snail mail to:

About the Children's Department - Bright Idea!
6618 Vinton Ave. N.W.
Comstock Park, MI 49321

I will include as many as I am able to in future editions of About the Children's Department. Thank you for your help!

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    We had a question e-mailed to us about the source for the 4/14 window - the statistic that says most people make decisions for Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. I called Child Evangelism Fellowship and they told me the source is from the "Handbook of Children's Evangelism" by Lyonel A. Hunt, Published by Moody Press.

    Thank you for your question and thank you CEF for your help.

    If you have a question, please feel free to e-mail it to me and we will do what we can to find an answer.

Send your question to: Help Line at lynda.freeman@usa.net

or send snail mail to:

About the Children's Department - Help Line
6618 Vinton Ave. N.W.
Comstock Park, MI 49321

I will include as many as I am able to in future editions of About the Children's Department.    

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Intergenerational Sundays

    Now that the summer is over, do NOT throw away your VBS materials. They can be an excellent source for materials you could utilize one Sunday a month or every other month or each quarter to hold a special Family night or Family Sunday School.

    Look through your director's helps from your VBS - there should be information on how to hold an intergenerational VBS. Use this information to plan a special ministry to involve the entire family.

* Points to remember:

  • Be sure to promote well so everyone knows what is happening.
  • Select and prepare staff
  • An occasional intergenerational Sunday is good - gives families an opportunity to learn together, but do not schedule too close to each other as the differences in ages can make this difficult to keep the momentum going.
    If you have tried intergenerational Sundays, please e-mail me to let me know how it worked for you.


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National Sunday School Teacher's Appreciation Sunday

    The third Sunday of October is National Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Sunday. Take this opportunity to plan a special opportunity to thank your teachers.

* In September do the following:

  • Begin to promote the date
      - use flyers from the "Sunday School Promo Pages"
      - make announcements
  • Decide if you will purchase or make a small appreciation gift or make appreciation certificates.
      - sometimes stores and restaurants will donate gift certificates in exchange for a tax deductible receipt
* In October do the following:
  • Plan your Sunday
      - special music
      - testimonies
      - have the teachers stand and ask your senior Pastor to pray for them
      - hand out certificates or gifts
      - provide cards in each classroom for parents and kids to sign
Teachers are a gift from God. Let's take this opportunity to thank Him for them and to show our appreciation for them!

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Holiday Open House

    Teachers are a gift from God and I believe it is vital that we are thankful first to God for blessing us with them, and secondly to the teachers for giving of themselves and their time to serve in our church. One fun way to show our appreciation is by holding an annual Holiday Open House for all teachers, helpers and their spouse/guest. I have done this for many years for my teachers and they always comment as to how they enjoyed the evening and look forward to it each year! The following information should help you plan, prepare, promote and present an Open House for your teachers!

As far in advance as possible:

  • Schedule the date or dates
      - I always hold mine the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving as I've found that after thanksgiving we all have so many things going, it is difficult to add in another.
      - I also scheduled the Open House for Friday night and Saturday night, 7 - 9PM so everyone could choose which evening to attend - I worked in large churches and couldn't fit everyone in my home on one night - I always invite the teachers to my home for the Open House.
  • Enlist the help of "crafty" non-teachers to help you make a nice ornament to present each teacher with at the open house.
In September:
  • Begin to make - or check on the progress of the ornaments for the teachers.
  • Begin to promote in your teacher's newsletter or in the church bulletin the date(s) of the Open House so all the teachers can plan to attend.
In October:
  • Finish the ornaments
  • Decide the menu - I usually provided cheese, crackers, vegies and dip, rolls, deli meats, coffee, cocoa and punch. I asked the teachers to each bring a half dozen of their favorite Christmas cookies.
  • Continue to promote
  • Decide if you are providing child care and let the teachers know.
In November:
  • Mail invitations
  • Decorate - I like to use luminaries and put up my tree.
  • Select some CD's with Christmas songs to play.
  • Purchase and prepare the food
  • Enjoy!

    In this section we will provide ideas on ways to support and encourage your teachers. If you have ideas that you have utilized with your teachers we would love to hear them! Please e-mail them to me at Teacher Support & Encouragement Ideas at lynda.freeman@usa.net Thank you!

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Cradle Club

Publisher - Regular Baptist Press
Cost - $24.95
Available from your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-727-4440

    This resource is designed to help organize your nursery and help you introduce Biblical truth to homes with newborn children. It consists of the Cradle Club church kit.

  • Guidebook, 3-ring notebook with seven sections covering policies and procedures, products and equipment, growth and development, songs and rhymes, letters and forms, records and Cradle Club outreach.
  • Ten full color pictures to place in your nursery.
  • Sample first and second birthday cards.
  • One Welcome, Baby! calendar.
  • Infant CPR chart.
    The information in this resource will help provide what you need to begin to organize and develop an effective ministry. It has some reproducible resources. Nicely done Regular Baptist Press.

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Little Blessings

Publisher - Gospel Light
Cost - $89.99
Available from your local Christian book store or by calling 1-800-4-GOSPEL

    This is a complete resource kit that aids you in providing more than child care in your church, as each component of this program is designed to give you resources to nurture children and begin their spiritual training. The kit is comprised of the following components:

  • Little Blessings Nursery Posters
    These 17x22 color posters feature photos of babies, Bible verses, song lyrics, and activities for play time.
  • How to grow and Nurture a Quality Nursery, by Wes & Sheryl Haystead
    This video prepares your nursery workers by providing the most complete baby and toddler information available. Excellent nursery worker training video.
  • "I love to Sing!" Songs for Babies and Toddlers.
    Both the tape and the CD are reproducible allowing you to give a copy to each person who serves in your nursery ministry as well as make a copy for each baby - makes a great Christmas gift from the Nursery! The songs go along with the monthly themes - some are upbeat songs for active play while others are quiet lullabies. Excellent music!
  • "I love to Wiggle & Giggle!" Instant activities with babies & Toddlers.
    This portable, easel book includes 144 creative activities you can do with babies and toddlers at a moments notice
  • "I love to Look!" Bible Story Picture Cards
    Twelve selected Bible stories on colorful, sturdy, non- toxic picture cards. Consider sending home with each Toddler on a monthly basis.
  • Nursery Smart Pages - by Sheryl Haystead
    This is my favorite part of the Nursery Ministry kit! It is filled with invaluable, reproducible resources that provide help with areas like recruiting, training Nursery workers, reproducible teacher's pages with classroom activities, Nursery policy and procedures, guidelines for safety and legal issues, clip art and reproducible monthly parent's pages.
    This is an excellent and complete nursery ministry resource kit that will provide you with the information and help you need to develop a truly effective Nursery Ministry I highly recommend it as a "must have" component of an over-all effective children's ministry. Well done Gospel Light!

*Available as a complete kit or as individual components.

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Clip & Tell

Author - Lois Keffer
Snip & Tell
Author - Karyn Henley
Publisher - Group Publishing
Cost - $14.99 each
Available at your local Christian book store or by calling 1-800-447-1070

    These are two unique must have books for every children's ministry! "Clip & Tell" has 25 Bible Stories and "Snip & Tell" has 40 Bible stories that enable you to captivate the children in your ministry with simple paper cutouts that unfold as the story is told. The reproducible books allow you to bring familiar Bible stories to life - so whether you are telling the story to younger children for the first time or are telling a well-known Bible story to older children you are bound to keep their attention as they watch to see what takes shape in your hands as you fold and cut your way through the lesson.

    I have been using these books to review the Bible lessons every other week during our Sunday Morning VBS at my church this summer. After the lesson, we send home copies of the clip & tell or snip & tell for the lesson so the kids can re-tell the story to their parents.

    These two books are excellent resources for your children's ministry and I highly recommend them as "must haves" for every church! Well done Lois, Karyn and Group Publishing!

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Animated Stories from the New Testament

Videos & Activity, Resource Books
Publisher - Nest Entertainment
Available by contacting Ron Fulger at (517) 882-4926 or at nestmichigan@juno.com nestmichigan@juno.com

    There are many animated Bible videos in the market, but I like these the best for three reasons:

  1. They are the most accurate. They do not mix pretend people with real Bible people.
  2. They come with a reproducible book with activities to use to help kids learn the stories and the application - this makes them an effective teaching tool - not just a time filler.
  3. The animation is excellent! Even adults like them!
    Nest has several video purchase packages available with 24 New Testament Bible stories and 12 Old Testament Bible stories. I highly recommend these videos as a very good teaching resource. Well done Nest!

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About The Children's Department - Volumn 1, Edition 3
Copyright © Lynda Freeman
Last Updated Sept. 18, 1997
Web Page by Lynda Freeman
Send an e-mail to Lynda at lynda@roundaboutthechurch.com

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