Vol. 1 No. 4     WINTER 1997/98

About the Children's Department

resources for effective children's ministry

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    Hello! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being a part of "About the Children's Department" this past year and to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year of effective ministry!

    In this issue of "About the Children's Department", we have added two new areas - "Teacher Builders" - reviews on resources that will help "build" teachers and help them grow in their own walk with the Lord - and "Kid Stuff" - resources designed to help kids grow and learn more about their walk with the Lord. Be sure to take a look at these sites and let us know what you think!

    Children's Ministry has changed a lot over the past 10 years - one of the most jarring examples of that change is that now we must have policies in place to protect our children from abuse and our church and volunteers from liability. In this issue I am reviewing two excellent resources to help you evaluate where your church is at and help you put together an effective policy to protect everyone at your church.

    We will also take a look at resources to help your families spend time together in God's Word as well as review some great music resources! In January we will have a special VBS preview issue!

    As always, if you have any questions or ideas that worked in your children's ministry, e-mail them to me - I love to hear from you!

Lynda :-)

    Feel free to contact me at: lynda.freeman@usa.net

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Bibles for the World

Phone - 1-888-68-BIBLES

    In our last issue I included information on this organization, but wanted to do so again because of the tremendous response I have seen in my own children's ministry with this Bible mailing ministry. Our children's mission project for the school year is to purchase and mail Bibles around the world through Bibles for the World. For every $4.25 brought in through Sunday School offerings, each class is then able to pay for one Bible and the postage to mail it. The kids actually get to wrap and address the package so they know exactly who the Bible is going to!

    Favorite Features -

  • highly hands-on mission project
  • kids know who will receive the Bible
  • Bibles are sent to a variety of countries including Romania, India and Russia - exposes children to global missions

    Bibles for the World's Bible mailing project is one of the best kids missions project I have come across! I highly recommend it!

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Family's Funniest Home Video & Pie Bake Off Nite

    As the winter months drag on, it can be fun to plan a special event to bring families together for a special evening. We all have enjoyed the video show on TV, but when the funny videos have people you know in them, you have the makings for a terrifically funny time building memories as a church and families together!

    The following schedule should help you plan this event.

  • 3 Months before the evening
    • choose your date and get it on the calendar
    • recruit 3 or 4 people to help plan and promote
    • begin to promote so families will take the time to find their video clips in the following categories - plan for a small award or prize for each category.
      • funniest
      • most unusual
      • most embarrassing
    • choose your "distinguished" panel of pie judges for the pie contest

  • 2 Months before the evening
    • continue to promote event
    • have people turn their videos in to a designated person who will be sure each video is cued to the clip and can organize them into a program
    • have a poster contest to encourage kids to help promote the evening

  • 1 Month before the evening
    • continue to promote
    • announce the "cut-off" date to submit videos so the program can be ready to go

  • Week before the evening
    • make sure chairs, room ad TV & video player are reserved

  • Day of the event
    • make sure everything is set up
    • play videos
    • laugh!
    • award prizes for funniest, most unusual & most embarrassing
    • laugh more!
    • have distinguished pie judges judge pies
    • eat!
    • award pie prizes
    • eat some more!
    • laugh even more!!
    • have a great time!

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Helping Kids Through Tough Times

Author - Doris Sanford
Publisher - Standard Publishing
Price - $15.99
Available at your local Christian Bookstore or by calling Standard Publishing at 800.453.1353

    This book provides reproducible "help" sheets to aid parents and/or teachers in guiding children through difficult times. Issues covered include, Foster Care, Adoption, Cults, Prejudice, Drug Abuse, Depression and divorce to name a few. For each topic there is a sheet for the adult who is helping the child and another for the child. The Adult's sheet helps them understand the child in relationship to the issue covered, provides ideas on ways they can help the child, conversation starters and ways to point the child to God.

    The child's sheet talks about why the topic is hard, how other kids feel in the same situation, provides a space for them to write how they feel, ways they can help themselves and make good choices as well as how they can trust God to be there for them.

    I recommend this book as a good resource for every children's ministry. Nicely done Doris and Standard Publishing.

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    Music can be a great and fun way to teach children! There are many excellent music resources available - the following are just a few of the many, but before we look at them, I would like to say again that VBS music is often one of your best children's music resources. Each year the publishers put out fantastic music to go with their VBS - we will be looking at VBS in a special issue in January - so when you decide on VBS this year, buy everyone's music as there is no other time in the year when you have such a wealth of music resources available to you as you do at VBS time!

Publisher - Gospel Light

  • Nursery - "I love to Sing, Babies & Toddlers"
    • reproducible cassettes - $9.99
    • reproducible CD - $14.99

  • Ages 2 - 5 - "Fun Songs to Sing"
    • reproducible cassette - $8.99
    • reproducible CD - $14.99
    • music book - $8.99

  • Grades 1 - 2 - "Kids on the Rock"
    • reproducible cassette - $9.99
    • reproducible CD - $14.99
    • music book - $14.99
    • video - $14.99

  • Grades 5-6 - "Bible in your Brain"
    • reproducible cassette - $9.99
    • reproducible CD - $14.99

Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-4-GOSPEL

    Gospel Light's music has a great variety of types of songs with catchy tunes and words that reinforce the lessons in Gospel Light Sunday School Curriculum. Kids love these songs! "Bible in your Brain" is comprised of songs made totally of Bible verses set to music specifically geared for 5th & 6th grade pre-teens.

Favorite Features -

  • reproducible
  • split track
  • CD & cassettes available
  • some song books available
    • so far GL has not put out a book for the music from "Bible in your Brain" and I wish they would.

    I recommend this music as a must have resource for every children's ministry! Well done Gospel Light!

Publisher - Group Publishing

* Group's Singable Songs for Children's Ministry

    * Accompaniment and Leader's Guide - $24.99
    * Lyrics Big Book #1 & #2 - $29.99 each
    * Split Channel Cassettes - $14.99
    * Split Channel CD - $17.99

    Each tape or CD includes 16 songs - some classic songs, some contemporary songs and some new songs. These songs are great for Sundays, Wednesdays or anytime you want kids to sing for fun or to help them learn a spiritual truth.

  Favorite Features -

    * split track
    * CD & Cassettes available
    * songbooks available

    I recommend these resources as a great addition to any children's ministry! Well done Group Publishing!

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Lifesong Entertainment

    I became aquatinted with Jerry Jacoby's ministry when he came to my church to present our end of the school year program. He utilizes stories, songs and comedy to teach kids "the good stuff" - honesty, respect, courtesy, responsibility & forgiveness. Jerry is available for concerts and school assemblies by calling 1-517-529-9110. His videos and tapes are available by calling the same number.

    * Video - "Real Character is no accident"
    * Cassette - "Heroes"
    * Cassette - "Jerry Jacoby sings Good Stuff for Kids"

    I highly recommend Jerry and his music as both kids and adults will love the songs, enjoy the comedy and learn "good stuff" at the same time! Well done Jerry!

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Children's Ministry Liability

    This next area of reviews is a difficult one for us all. We all want to believe that the children and volunteers in our churches are safe - and in most of our churches, they are. However, that is not the case in every church. I am no lawyer and I am not giving legal advise in this review, I just want to let you know of two excellent resources that are available to help you protect the kids and the volunteers in your ministry.

The Good Shepherd Program

Authors - William Stout and James Becker
Publisher - NEXUS Solutions
Price - $199.00
Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling Group Publishing at 1-800-447-1070

    This is an extremely comprehensive and thorough resource. The package contains:

  • The Good Shepherd Handbook
  • Reproducible Model Policies and Procedures in computer disk and book form
  • The Child Protection Audit

for those of you who, like me, are not lawyers this resource goes through, step by step, the issues related to creating a safe environment for kids. It will help you educate yourself to the issues and components for child safety in your ministry. It's stated purpose is, "to help churches and other ministries develop programs to reduce the risk of abuse or injury to infants, children and youth who participate in their programs. The Good Shepherd Program is about stewardship of one of God's great gifts - children and teens". The objectives are:

  • to educate church leaders about prevention of abuse or accidental injury
  • to enable church leaders to develop procedures and practices to reduce these risks
  • to protect adults from mistaken or groundless allegations
  • to reduce liability for churches
  • to build parental confidence in church programs
  • to prepare church workers to respond should an incident or accident occur.

*Although this material is very complete the authors recommend that you still consult with legal counsel familiar with laws that apply in your own community - this is good advise.

  • Favorite Features -
    • Handbook is very thorough and truly educates you to the issues.
    • Model Policy Manual provides policies for each area of your ministry that you can adapt for your own ministry and needs - extremely well done. Includes sample application forms, safety forms, guidelines for nursery policies, SS teachers, etc.
    • Child Protection audit helps you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to help you focus your efforts at developing a safe and effective ministry.

    This is an extremely well designed resource that should help you develop a safe ministry. I highly recommend it as a must-have addition to your children's ministry! Well done NEXUS & Group.

How to Protect Your Children's Ministry from Liability

Author - J. David Epstein J.D.
Publisher - Gospel Light Publishing
Price - $49.99
Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-4-GOSPEL

    This is also a comphrensive resource designed to help you learn how to:

  • protect you children
  • protect your volunteers
  • protect your church
  • create a safe nursery
  • keep parents happy
  • help try to prevent lawsuits
  • choose the right insurance
  • screen, select and train volunteers

    This resource is comprised of a video seminar led by attorney J. David Epstein and a reproducible syllabus. The video should be reviewed by your church board and staff as well as all volunteers. It covers:

  • liability issues in hiring and recruiting
  • liability issues in children's programs
    • negligence in supervising children
    • tips for preventing negligence
      • 2-adult rule
      • parent consent forms

    • liability for staff and volunteers
    • insurance coverage
    • how to handle situations of child abuse
    • tips to prevent child abuse
      • policies
      • education - training

    • how to reach out to families
      • ministry first

  • forms, checklists and other helps

    This resource also recommends that you consult legal counsel - that is very good advise.

  • Favorite Features -
    • reproducible syllabus
    • video seminar is very helpful

    This is an extremely well designed resource that unfortunately is needed in our churches today. I highly recommend it as a must have addition to your children's ministry. Well done David and Gospel Light!

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Apple for the Teacher Appreciation dinner

Judy Nurkkala

    I came across this idea in The "SUPER" (published by: Christian Education Department, Evangelical Covenat Church) and absolutely loved it! I have long believed in the value and importance of putting on a teacher appreciation dinner at the end of the school year to thank your volunteer staff. There are many ways to do a teacher appreciation dinner - the most common are -
    * the church pays for it
    * a special offering is collected and used to pay for the dinner.

    The Apple for the Teacher Dinner is different in that it involved your entire church in presenting the dinner for the teachers. All non-teachers bring the meal - "pot-faith" with a theme for the main dish i.e. chicken, or Italian or Mexican, etc. , desserts, bread, veggies and the best part is that the kids get to present their teachers with "apple" gifts! The gift could be an apple, apple pie, apple mug, apple pin, apple tie tac, wooden apple, cross-stitched apple, - - - whatever they want! The following schedule should help you plan the event!

  • 3 Months before the dinner
    • select a date and get it on the church calendar
    • recruit non-teacher parents to help promote and coordinate event
    • begin to promote so church families can plan to attend and kids can decide what "apple" gift they want to make or buy for their teacher

  • 2 Months before the dinner
    • continue to promote
    • have kids make poster for dinner and display around the church
    • be sure families know the theme for the main dish and have families whose last name begins "A - I" also bring rolls or breadsticks, "J - Q" bring salad or veggies and "R - Z" bring desserts.
    • have coordinators help promote and secure RSVP's to aid in planning

  • 1 Month before the dinner
    • have Sunday School class kids share brief testimony's about what they learned and what special memories they have of their teachers and invite families to the dinner
    • have coordinators continue to promote and check on RSVP's
    • meet with coordinators and decide on decorations and a schedule for the evening

  • Day before dinner
    • have coordinators help decorate

  • Schedule for Day of dinner
    • start with the dinner - serve teachers & their families first
    • have more children share testimonies
    • have children present their teachers with the "apple" gifts
    • have a great time!

    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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    Several issues ago we received a question about resources for small churches. I have learned of an excellent resource from Group and thought it worth another look.

Sunday School Specials
Author - Lois Keffer
Publisher - Group Publishing
Price - $15.99
Available from your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-447-1070

    This book provides 13 lessons for kids ages 4 - 12 in combined classes and allows you to teach the same Bible lessons with all the children together.

  • Favorite Features -
    • reproducible
    • 13 complete lessons
    • hands on learning
    • interactive Bible stories
    • life applications

    There are three books in this series and I highly recommend them as a great resource for your children's ministry. Well done Lois and Group!

    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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Fun Excuses to Talk About God

Author - Joani Schultz
Publisher - Group Publishing
Price - $12.99
Available at your local Christian Bookstores or by calling Group at 1-800-447-1070

    This book provides 48 devotions that everyone in the family will look forward to! Each devotion begins with "Our Family Stories" - a time to talk, laugh and think together about special times in your lives - - - you might talk about a time when you made a mistake, or make your family's own top 10 list or talk about a time when you felt loved. After you set the pace and begin thinking about the topic for the week you'll move on to the "Today's Memory Maker" where you do an activity together as a family, such as talk about how a telephone can help you understand prayer better or learning how love rubs off on each other by making crayon rubbings or by playing a game with shoes to "walk a mile" in each other's shoes.

    After the memory maker comes "Today's Bible Insight" where you read a Bible passage and then talk together about what the verses mean and practical ways family members can love them out in their day to day lives. Then it is time for "Our Family Prayers" where you do another activity together to help apply the lesson and to help you pray together. This brings the day's study to an end, but this is not the end of the study as there are additional ideas to help your family continue to learn together "During the Week".

  • Favorite Features
    • There are 48 topic covered, such as loving each other, joy, thankfulness, television, fear & chores just to mention a few of the real life family issues and what God's Word says about them.
    • These devotions are presented in an "active learning" format that keeps everyone involved and most importantly, helps families APPLY Bible truths.
    • Helps make learning about God and the Bible a natural part of your day to day lives.
    • Keeps the Bible as the focal point of each study.
    • The use of everyday objects naturally helps reinforce the application.
    • Prayer is a vital part of each lesson.

    This is one of the best family devotionals I have come across! Families will not be bored or discouraged with this devotional and will really learn together! I highly recommend this book as a must have resource for all families and encourage you to recommend it to the families in your ministry! Extremely well done Joani and Group Publishing!

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Teachers are a gift from God

    See BRIGHT IDEA! for a combined artical.

    In this section we 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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Parent Connection

Author - Karin Klein
Publisher - Standard Publishing
Price - $9.99
Available at your local Christian Bookstore or by calling Standard Publishing at 800.543.1353

    This book provides 36 reproducible 2-sided newsletters that cover topics such as Christmas, friendship, laughter, prayer and stress - just to name a few. If you have or are thinking of beginning a family newsletter, these newsletter are a great resource to help you with your mailing to the parents of your Early Childhood Ministry.

    I recommend this book as a good resource for your children's ministry. Nicely done Karin and Standard Publishing.

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    It can be very easy to get so caught up in the day to day business of our children's ministries that we do not always make time to study and pray. However, it is extremely important that prayer and Bible Study is a priority for us or we will not be genuinely effective. In this section I will review resources that will help you grow in your own walk with the Lord and resources you can recommend to your teachers and helpers to encourage them in their own walk with the Lord.

Face to Face - Praying the Scriptures

Face to Face - Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship #1
Face to Face - Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth #2
Author Kenneth Boa
Publisher - Zondervan Publishing House
Copyright date - 1997
Price - $9.99 hardcover, $6.99 soft cover, $16.99 port bonded leather
Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-727-3480

    These books by Dr. Boa are two of the most unique and genuinely life "Challenging" as well as life "Changing" resources I have had the pleasure of utilizing. these books guide you through scripture passages to help you pray the scriptures.

  • Volume #1 provides three sections
    • Morning Affirmations - designed to help readers renew their minds at the beginning of the day
    • Prayer Guide - this provides three months of daily prayers of Adoration, Confession, Renewal, Petition, Intercession, Affirmation & Thanksgiving
    • Personal Prayer Pages

  • Volume #2 has two sections focused on renewal and growth
    • Daily Guide - focuses on the attributes of God, works of God, readers relationship to God, how to cultivate character and how to relate to others in a three month prayer format
    • Topical Guide

Favorite Features -

  • Daily reading guides
  • personalized scripture passages
  • combines praying scriptures with opportunities to pray your "own" prayers

    My husband and I are using these books together and are greatly enjoying it! I highly recommend both books and excellent, must have resources for every believer! These books were written to help people learn to "confidently pray the scriptures" and to take developing a prayer life from being a burden to being a vital, joyful part of our lives! I enthusiastically encourage you to use these books and to in turn encourage all of your volunteers to do the same! Extremely well done Kenneth and Zondervan Publishing!

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Kid's Stuff

There are many excellent resources for kids that challenge them to grow and help teach the important truths of our faith. In this section I will review some of these resources that are well worth recommending to parents for their child's benefit.

More Power to Ya - The Petra Devotional
Author - Bob Hartman
Publisher - Standard Publishing
Price - $12.99
Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-543-1353

    This is an excellent devotional for pre-teen boys and girls as it tells about the scriptures behind 52 of Petra's most popular songs and will challenge kids to develop their own walk with the Lord. As our older elementary age kids become interested in music, if we can help them find groups who truly love God and whose lives and music show that love, this can be an excellent influence on our kids. If you take a look at the music Petra sings and the message in that music you will see that their lives genuinely reflect that message.

    This devotional is an excellent resource for your older elementary pre-teen kids. I highly recommend it as a must-have resource for your kids. Extremely well done Bob and Standard!

40 Days With God: A Devotional Journey
Author - Rebecca St. James
Publisher - Standard Publishing
Price - $15.99
Available at your local Christian Book Store or by calling 1-800-543-1353

    This excellent devotional is also a great resource for pre-teen kids. You will find 40 studies that teach some of the scripture Rebecca's songs are based on as well as provide space for the kids to write what they are learning. It also includes a bonus CD-Rom with five of Rebecca's songs on it. Again, this is an excellent resource to help our pre-teen kids grow by having their own time of Bible study as well as help direct them to music that reinforces the truths taught in Scripture, sung by people whose lives reflect the values we hold dear.

    I highly recommend this devotional as a must-have resource for our kids. Extremely well done Rebecca and Standard!

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About The Children's Department - Volumn 1, Edition 4
Copyright © Lynda Freeman
Last Updated Dec. 21, 1997
Web Page by Lynda Freeman
Send an e-mail to Lynda at lynda@roundaboutthechurch.com
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