Children’s Ministry Resources You May Not Have Heard Of

Recently I asked on my Facebook author page for favorite resources of Christian ministry teachers of children. I’m excited to share these great resources I found that I never knew about. Check these out to see if they might work in your ministry.

Devotional Books

Parents in our churches need help finding books that give them easy and meaningful devotions for their families. Since my children are grown, devotional books aren’t automatically on my radar. Here are three recommendations from my readers:

Shannyn Mitchell recommends Worshipful Families by Howard Bean.

Hannah King has been using Tales from Cherry Lane in her family devotions this year. Last year they used My Big Book of 5-Minute Devotionals. Her kids have enjoyed them. They are in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade.

Church Children’s Club Resources

This is what Rebekah Schrepfer uses for her kids’ club at Pioneer Peak Baptist Church in Palmer, Alaska.

Here’s an overview of the club that I have sent around as a Starter Kit. I still have no helpers and no budget.  In the overview I explain how I’ve put together our Wednesday Bible Club and I talk about the free resources that I’ve found.    I’ve used the free lessons from this website.  It is a good walk-through-the-Bible format, and it can be easily supplemented with visual aids and such.  I skip their suggested memory verse because the kids are already learning verses with their Summit Club Books.  And I don’t always use the crafts they suggest, but sometimes they’re nice to use.  I’ve also used this website and printed off their Bible Trading Cards.

Over the years, I’ve learned to use Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher, and I’ve learned how to use WordPress.  While these resources are not always free and can be a long road to travel, it has been a blessing to draw on these skills and apply them to a children’s ministry to make it look professional….when in reality, it’s just little ol’ me.

Original Bible stories and songs and a method for organization of materials

Marilyn Alexander has put all these materials on her website. They come from her long-term ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Lamar, Colorado.

My friend, Marilyn Alexander has recently launched a website with teaching resources. She specializes in lessons for Bible stories that are used less often. She offers free, original songs about Bible characters. Many of these are about Bible characters that you never find songs about. She also explains a way to organize all your teaching materials in a way that helps you to find all the bits and pieces instantly. You can find all this on her website, Teaching the Bible to Kids.  

Junior Church material

Ruth Grosse recommends these after using them to teach junior church at First Baptist Church, Dillon, Montana. (The oldest Baptist church in Montana.)

AiG has these Sunday School materials. Ruth uses these to teach her Junior Church. She says, “I love Answers in Genesis for Junior Church!  I use the Pre-K – First material, though I have kids who are older – it still works great – and they learn lots of good Bible principles that give them a good foundation for life.  There is a wonderful flipchart and lots of illustrations during the lesson time that keep the kids’ attention, plus game ideas, songs, hands-on activity ideas, and a handwork sheet to take home.  There are 10 lessons per unit (you order a unit at a time), and I’m on the third one.  There is one memory passage per unit – and the kids learn that passage really well – because it is illustrated in the flip chart with words and pictures, plus we review it every Sunday during that unit.  They say it up front in church at the end of the unit, along with singing a song or two.  There are also 4 Bible Truth Questions for each unit that they learn the answers to – and that is fun for them because they all answer together in unison.”

Deb Brammer: Here are some fave resources that I’ve used teaching at Tay Street Baptist Church in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Free Bible Story Pictures

My favorite source for free pictures to use to teach Bible stories is Free Bible Images found here:  . I have printed these images on card and used them. Sometimes I get a Bible story in curriculum which just doesn’t have enough pictures of the story to suit me. I can print these out the day before I use them and not have to wait or pay postage. I’ve also used them for PowerPoint stories for our Discovery Club. Though they are free, if you’re using them a lot it’s nice to send in a contribution. These have really helped me because I like to make up my own Bible themes and use stories in different ways, but I always need Bible story pictures to show what I want to say.

Training for Puppet Ministry

My favorite DVD for training puppeteers is this one  from Creative Ministry Solutions.

My own free resources

If you haven’t checked out my website recently, you’ve missed some new resources I’ve added. Under “Church Programs” You not only find Christmas Programs and Mum-Daughter Nite themes. I’ve also added these original resources.

  • The Road Sign Song. Music and printable visuals for fun new kids’ song.
  • Old Testament Books Song. Used to memorize the Old Testament books. Printed music with demonstration video.
  • Old Testament timeline motions to help kids memorize an overview of the Old Testament.
  • 7-color Jesus poem and object lesson. Printable poem made to fit in a bag with jelly beans in each color. How to make an object lesson to go with it.

Puppet resources:

Under my Puppet Scripts and Tips you’ll find 20 original puppet scripts and 5 helpful articles about puppets.

 

The Secret of Failure

Nobody likes to fail. Failure makes you feel rotten. If you want to reduce your risk of failure, try following these three rules. They will almost guarantee that you will never fail again.

 

  1. Never try anything new. When you try new things you lack the experience to pull them off perfectly. You’ll probably make mistakes and embarrass yourself. And your chances for failure are quite high. Stick with things you already know how to do well.
  2. Never try anything hard. Attempt only those tasks which you know to be well within your range of capabilities. That way you know that, with a minimum of effort, you can do the job well.
  3. Never try anything risky. Don’t do anything until you’re quite sure it will work. Otherwise you just set yourself up for failure. And never try anything of which people might disapprove. If you do, you may work hard and only receive criticism in return. Criticism is never fun. It makes you feel you’ve failed even if you haven’t. So stay away from risky jobs. Just be content with who you are now. Quit trying to change. Then your chances of failure will be next to nil. Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.

 

Of course, as you avoid failure, you will probably also eliminate the chances of any kind of significant success. Easy success carries its own high price tag.  Before you give up on failure you may want to see if you have underestimated its merits.

Picture the great artist painting in her studio. With seemingly little effort she splashes a new masterpiece onto plain canvas. Empty walls surround her, for her works sell as fast as she can paint them. They bear no resemblance to her first work when, at age one, she scrawled a few colors onto a page. Only a mother could love that drawing. In second grade her best horse picture drew great praise from her teacher. But however well her picture compared to the works of other second graders, the art world would have refused the slightest glance at it. As she grew she improved, but for each picture she displayed, she hid a notebook of drawings she wouldn’t let anyone see. As she reached adulthood her work showed evidence of real genius. Yet even then the critics belittled her work, criticizing her technique, magnifying each supposed flaw. Now we see the artist’s great success. Yet her effortless strokes of paint hide each failure that she evaluated and learned from. Without the failures, the success would have been impossible.

Unseen failures are the raw material of almost all success.

A great photographer snaps lots of pictures and only displays the good ones.

A great writer has lots of ideas and knows how to sort the good ones from the bad.

A great musician’s performance is possible only after the many failures during practice.

A great gymnast owes a debt of gratitude to the healing process.

You see, failure also goes by other names such as “learning” and “growth.”  The first attempt at anything new, hard, or risky, is bound to be far from perfect. Yet as we evaluate our failures, learn from them, and do better the next time, we improve our abilities.

Some people, however, stop with their first awkward attempt, assuming that they are not “called” or “gifted” for such a task. In such a case failure can go by no other name.

Is God asking you to do some new thing today? Are your afraid to try because you are afraid to fail? Then you have proven true the adage that says, “Fear of failure is the father of failure.”

On the other hand, if you grab onto that difficult task as a precious opportunity for growth, you may not do well on your first attempt. So ask God to help you learn from your failures and try again. Then you’ll probably find that you won’t do too well your second time either. Yet as you continue to try, evaluate, and change, you’ll soon find yourself learning and growing. You’ll experience the joy of learning to trust God and serve Him better. People may criticize you, but you can know the joy of the Heavenly Father’s smile on you.

You say you’ve tried that before and you can’t feel His smile? Then perhaps you’ve forgotten that God isn’t only pleased with perfection.

Remember the time your toddler gave you the birthday card he made himself?  The drawing was so far from perfect, you couldn’t even tell what kind of animal it was. But you accepted it with pride because he had given you his best work, done with a loving heart. By the time he was ten, however, you expected to see improvement.

In the same way our Heavenly Father accepts our imperfect gifts when we give them out of hearts of love. He does expect our best, however, and He does expect us to improve, to learn, to grow.

If you’re not failing at anything, you’re probably not trying to do anything very significant. If, on the other hand, you’re turning failure into learning and growth, you’ve learned a secret. Sometimes failure isn’t so bad after all.

 

Fun Bible Activities for Kids in Lockdown/Quarantine

Whether you’re in New Zealand and call it “Lockdown” or in America and call it “Shelter-in-Place,” April 2020 can be a long month if you’ve got bored kids at home. This quarantine can be a huge inconvenience or an unprecedented opportunity, depending on how you look at it. For me, it means at least four weeks when I can spend more time writing.

If you’re a parent with kids at home it can be a great time to connect in a better way. You can also help your kids to connect to God in a greater way. For the rest of April I’m adding daily Bible activities for Kids on my Facebook author page. Why not start now and do the whole thing? This first week involves reading the Easter story in the Bible for themselves and doing fun Easter activities. You can find these daily activities here.

 

Where is God during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Unprecedented. Life is crazy right now in ways we’ve never seen before. For some, COVID-19 means extra work hours as they perform essential services. Others face economic hardship or stressful hours in isolation. Some are enjoying extra hours with family and a break from normal routine. Personally, the lock-down in New Zealand means I have far less ministry responsibilities and four weeks of time to give to writing my current work-in-progress. It is a gift and I want to use it well.

With all the disruptions we need to focus on God. No matter how dark or stressful the days may be, God is good. He is in control. And he is using the present crisis in good ways we can barely imagine.

If you are locked-down, this is a great time to strengthen your faith in the purposes of God. The Kindle edition of I Survived is now just 99 cents. It shows how five Bible characters survived their disasters and how we can learn from them to survive our own.