Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REACH OUT: Quench their Thirst!

John 4:13-24
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

It's summer!  A great way to reach out to your neighbors is to buy a bunch of water bottles, put invitations (card or sticker) on them, and walk around on a Saturday passing them out to the neighbors working in their yards.  You might ask them if there's anything they might like you to pray for as well.  Be sure to write down their prayer requests, tell them the congregation will be praying on Sunday and that they're welcome to come visit. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


Very large congregations can end up having hundreds of kids from their congregation and the community coming to VBS.  A traditional VBS works well for them though it may end up a virtual Bible carnival.  Unfortunately, that doesn't work for everybody, especially when budgets are low and communities are different. 

Where it may have been to have a special week for the younger set in the congregation for years, perhaps it is time for your congregation to think outside the box.  When you're sitting with your planning committee, ask this... what are the goals of our VBS?  Is it just for the K-6 kids?  Is it to reach out to the community?  Is it a refresher for everyone? 

If one goal is to reach out to the community, one of the pre- activities should be having a community walk to hand out brochures, etc.  Perhaps take some bottled water with customized labels to hand out as invitations.  If one of your goals is to broaden VBS to be a refreshing and enjoyable time for more than just the kids, then it's time to change it up.  VBS can be a refreshing time in the Word for everybody.  VBS for EVERYONE might be done from 6-8 pm Monday through Thursday or may become a weekend event.  An evening schedule might look something like:  

     5:30 pm - Picnic Supper (together)
     6:00 pm - Introduction Prayer and Songs (together)
     6:15 pm - Theme Activity (separate)
     6:45 pm - Adult Bible Study - Kids Bible Talk and Crafts (separate)
     7:30 pm - Closing worship/Devotion and Songs (together)

It is possible for adults and kids to study the same theme and it is possible for adults to relax and have some fun.  For example, when talking about God the Father, adults can begin with a "Who is God? Who am I?" activity that will relax them while kids play the fruit basket upset game with a twist, "Stand up if God likes this..." and "Sit down if you like..."  For every question where every child is standing up it's fruit basket upset and everybody runs around giggling and changes places.

For a more detailed plan of how a VBS like this might work, please contact me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CONFIRMATION: Journey of Faith Poster

Invite the congregation to get to know the confirmands by having them complete a poster describing their journey of faith.  I created this one for a friend but you can also design your own.  It's possible to have an 18"x24" poster printed professionally for about $3 online at Short Run Posters.  If you want to download the poster to upload to the site look for it here:  Journey of Faith Poster

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

RALLY SUNDAY: Carnival of Ministries!

On the kickoff Sunday in the fall when many churches begin their education year, make it a day to have a bit of a carnival of ministries.  Take the Sunday School hour to invite EVERYONE to participate in the life of the congregation.  We're all in this together and we need you!

  • have a short (and funny) skit to introduce the board members and the adult leadership so people know who leads what ministry.
  • take a survey of how they would like to participate or what they always wanted to try.
  • introduce seasonal Family Fun Nights (examples might be autumn pumpkin carving, winter cookie swap and snow games, spring bird feeders and campfire cookout, summer backyard water games)
  • introduce Bible study options

  • have a puppet show or skit to introduce kids to people they should know at church.
  • give the 3rd graders their very own Bible.
  • introduce the Sunday School theme of the year and have related activities.  For example a possible theme is Bible Investigators, Inc. and activities might be having mug shots taken (photo of kids on a decorated paper plate frame), a short investigation (Bible scavenger hunt), giant puzzle clues that are put together on the wall to unveil a theme verse.

If you have a theme for which you need ideas, let me know.  My brain works really well like that.

Remember that enthusiasm is contagious!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

RALLY SUNDAY: Random Acts of Kindness

The Kindness Tree

Kindness is infectious!!  For Rally Sunday (the beginning of the year education kickoff) introduce a theme verse and a Kindness Tree for the congregation to actively show the love of Christ to people in their lives.  After doing a random act of kindness they give the recipient a card and the recipient can notify the church that they've been gifted with an act of kindness.  Remember that when sharing the many acts of kindness with the congregation that the goal is NOT to give credit to the person being kind, but to God for the ability to share His love.  Watch the outward giving attitude of the congregation change!!

Theme Verse:  1 John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.


In a society that is very "me" focused help the congregation begin focusing outside itself and sharing the love of Christ in the community without receiving credit for it.


Put a tree branch into a large can or bucket and make cards that have ideas people can do as random acts of kindness on the tree as ornaments.  I suggest making the ornaments two colors, one for adults and one for kids.  On the side of the tree have postcards that say something similar to the examples shown.

Front of Recipient Card
Back of Recipient Card
The recipients can contact the church via phone, email, regular mail or dropping the card off, to let them know that somebody from their congregation randomly showed them the love of Christ.  Periodically the number of random acts of kindness that have been performed in the name of Jesus can be announced to the congregation in the bulletin, newsletter, or on a Sunday morning. 
- - - - - - - - - -
Examples of random acts of kindness:

Deliver thank you cards to a local fire station.
Take a few vases of flowers or some homemade art to unknown people in the hospital.
Take homemade art to and visit residents of a nursing home or assisted living complex.
Volunteer to round up clothes to deliver to a local thrift shop.
Create and randomly leave inspirational book marks around the Library.
Leave a simple gift for a server wherever you eat lunch.
Leave a simple gift for the lunch lady at school.
Run errands for shut-ins.
Share 10 sticker smiles with random strangers along with your own beautiful smile.
Volunteer at a hospital or adult care center.
Share music with the members of a nursing home or assisted living complex.
Offer free tutoring or babysitting.
Help a neighbor with yard work.
Offer to pray for someone.
Volunteer to do a job at your church.
Wash the family car without being asked.
Bring enough lunch to share with a friend at work.
Bring an extra snack to school to share with a friend.
Sit with a stranger for lunch at school.
Thank your mail carrier.  (Don’t give homemade food…)
Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life.
Offer to study with a classmate who’s struggling in a subject.
Visit an animal shelter.
Appreciate your bus driver.
Appreciate your school janitor.
Appreciate your teacher.
Send an “I Love You” card to a grandparent.
Bring lunch to your church work professional.
Give your extra change to the LWML.
Stand up for somebody who deserves it at school.
Clean your room (without being asked).
Anonymously share inspirational quotes/Bible verses with coworkers.
Pick up trash in a public place.
Give the lady who cleans the church a free week off!
Do something nice for your boss.
Come up with your own ideas.  There are THOUSANDS!!

INTRO: Why, Why, Why am I Doing This?

I am a DCE (Director of Christian Education) and have the spirit of a helper.  I like to help.  I like to try things and come up with new things to try.  It's fun in ministry because there's always a new way to show the love of Jesus.  And as a DCE I believe in equipping the lay leaders who work tirelessly for others in the congregation.  Are you stuck?  Need an idea?  Just need some emotional support?

My pastor once told me that the sheer number of ideas that come through my head is astounding.  I appreciated that because it's true.  I have a tendency to have a creative turn of mind, not to mention that I am a teacher and we're always assessing what's working and what isn't and trying new things.  You might say my mind is a wild jungle of "What if we..." brainstorming.

Instead of just thinking all these ideas and driving my pastor crazy I thought I'd share them.  If you try something or a version of something and it works or if you have an idea of your own, please share it so others can benefit.  After all, it's all about Jesus!