Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

And they’re off…..to school again

I remember being 5 on the night before my first day of kindergarten. I was so anxious and scared for all of the uncertainties of being in school that I couldn’t sleep. I was put to bed at 9:00 (my parents always let me stay up later than the other kids), Called for my dad at 9:15, 9:30, 10:00, and on and on it went until I finally found my way into my parents room at midnight and slept on their bedroom floor next to the foot of their bed.

I woke up the next morning with a tummy ache and was sure that I wouldn’t make any friends. But, by the end of the day, I loved my teacher, had a bunch of friends, and decided that school wasn’t that bad of a place to be. I continued to become anxious at times and even doubted myself, but I never had too much of a problem.

I do wonder – how do our kids feel when they go back to school? I know some of the kids in my ministry are excited, some are nervous, and some seem to even be scared to go back to school – especially the kids who struggle with reading, writing, or making friends. I thought since school is right around the corner (especially for us in Indiana), I would take a look at some articles and think about how we can help our kids with different issues that they face in school.

A Practical Approach to Bullies:

Focus on the Family gives us some pretty good ideas on how to prepare your kids for bullying (let’s face it – it happened to all of us) and how bullying can be handled once it’s happened. Here are some ideas – role-play bullying situations, talk through the details of what bullying is or can be, and discuss strategies for kids in bullying situations (tell an adult, avoid/walk away, deflect/use humor, take a stand without becoming violent). Remind kids – “Be strong and courageous,” Moses encouraged God’s people (Deuteronomy 31:6). “Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Anxiety about school:

“The first thing you can do to help your children make it through “new school year anxiety” is to validate their feelings. Many kids can’t articulate why they feel apprehensive. Instead, they simply start showing physical signs of anxiety such as changes in eating and sleeping patterns, moodiness or irritation.”

Ask your children questions regarding their feelings about the school year starting. You might even ask what your children are most excited and most nervous about. Then, explain that it is normal to feel jitters before school starts. These feelings will most likely not be going away any time soon, but this will help kids acknowledge the feelings and get past them.

Struggles with academics:

You have a few options here. You could: 1- try to help your kids on your own, by making up fun and creative games to help them along – or- 2- you could get your kids professional help with teachers at their school or at another teaching or mentoring institution. And remember parents, just because your child is having difficulties in learning does not mean they are not intelligent or that they will always be behind. If you see your child struggling, get them help! Don’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

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We’re Having a Heat Wave

There’s a movie that my family used to watch all the time growing up – Grumpy Old Men. The opening scene is of a snowy and freezing town while we hear, “We’re having a heat wave. A tropical heat wave…” And in our neck of the woods, we really are having a heat wave in recent weeks.

We’re in central Indiana, and we’ve had heat warnings and no rain for quite some time now. I work with kids, so when there’s a heat advisory, pollution warning, or some other type of advisory due to weather that could threaten the health of the kids in my ministry, we typically stay inside. Now, I don’t know about your church, but here we have midweek programming on Wednesday nights…and I’m trying to figure out what our plan B is going to be for tonight since the heat index is at 107 degrees.

I decided to do some investigating, and found an article with some great ideas not only for your church, but for your homes as well. Here are some ideas for when your town doesn’t have a water ban (like ours does right now from the drought):

1.    Fill a wading pool with water, and create “splashdance” routines with friends.

2.    Instead of putting ice cubes in your lemonade, use frozen grapes and berries for a sweet twist.

3.    Play sponge tag! Whoever is It uses a soft, wet sponge to tag other players. (It cannot throw the sponge).

4.    Make a “Floating Water Lilies” centerpiece (instructions at HighlightsKids.com).

5.    Play ice checkers! Use 12 regular ice cubes and 12 cubes made with a grape frozen inside each one. Use chalk to draw a checkerboard on the sidewalk. To “king” a checker, place a penny on top of it. Play until the checkers melt!

6.    Make ice cube glue! Download instructions for this and other ice activities at Highlights.com/newsroom.

 I think we are going to stay in the air conditioning tonight and just preteen we’re in the water…you know, games like sharks and minnows and captain’s coming.
Here’s some information on safety during heat waves from RedCross.org:

❏ Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.

❏ Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

❏ Eat small meals and eat more often.

❏ Avoid extreme temperature changes.

❏ Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light- colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

❏ Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

❏ Postpone outdoor games and activities.

❏ Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.

❏ Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.

❏ Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

❏ Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

*And, if your or someone else is feeling some effects from the heat (any strange hot or cool sensations, dizziness, etc) get to a cool place, and if symptoms are extreme call 9-1-1.

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August Materials

Here are our Family Ministry resources for the month of August:

All Parents:

Orange Blog

252 Basics (1st grade-6th grade)

Parent Cue

Extra Memory Verses

God Time Week 1

God Time Week 2

God Time Week 3

God Time Week 4

First Look (age 3- Kindergarten)

Parent Cue

Parent Cue Cards

Our services:

9:00 Sunday morning KidZone (small groups for 1st-6th grade, large groups 3s-preschool)

10:30 Sunday morning KidZone (Large group for 1st-6th grade, small groups 3s-preschool)

6:30-8:00 Wednesday night (teaching and games, 3s-4th grade)

6:30-8:00 X56 (Wednesday night extreme eXplosion for grades 5 & 6)

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the importance of Intergenerational worship

We took our kids to the Indiana Central District kids’ camp R.O.C.K. last week. This was an amazing time that our greater body of believers could come together and worship through song, prayer, and diving into the word of God. It was incredible to see the ways that the kids connected with the Holy Spirit throughout the week. We had kids commit their lives to Christ, re-commitments, and calls to ministry and missions. But, one of the coolest and most awe-inspiring things about camp was seeing the kids worshiping alongside teen and adult counselors and leaders.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that kids have their own place to worship and their own messages to hear on Sunday mornings. I believe that most sermons that the Pastor gives on a Sunday morning isn’t appropriate for children to hear – discussions about marital troubles, sex, and the violence in this world aren’t exactly what a five-year old needs to hear quite yet. But, there is something beautiful about the greater body of Christ coming together in reverence to our Savior. Maybe it’s because we are getting a glimpse into heaven. Read the book of Revelation to get a larger picture of the awesome worship environment in Heaven.

I read this article the other day that says, “The whole body of Christ is called to worship together in unity.  While it is taken for granted that adults should participate in worship services, when it comes to children, we don’t make the same assumption….Worship is an important way of feeding our hunger for God, of developing our relationship with him.  Children experience a relationship with God long before they are able to express it.  God’s revelation is not age specific; God reveals himself to all believers, regardless of their age.  Therefore, all age groups need each other in worship – adults need children and children need adults.  In this way, we are forming the faith of all generations as we encourage and uplift each other.  When we exclude children from worship, what are we doing to their faith?  Moreover, what are we doing to the faith of adults?”

This got me thinking….I love that each age group can learn different things about God that they can understand in their state of cognitive growth, but are we missing something? Should we be having a time of inter-generational worship more often in our churches? What do you think? What does your church do?

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In a hurry?

How often do we say, “I just wish there was more time?” As a matter of fact, I just got home from vacation late last night, came to church this morning and am writing this blog before In teach and go to kids camp for this week. I’m not complaining about my busy life. I’m just saying it’s well, busy.

Today in America we spend so much time going from one place to another and trying to accomplish so many tasks that we forget to take time and slow down to re-charge and get close with God. This isn’t only true for people in corporate America, blue-collar workers, and kids that go to school. Surprisingly, this includes Pastors and church workers as well.

I was reading an article the other day on religion today.com and saw this:

Michael Zigarelli, an associate professor at Charleston Southern’s School of Business, polled more than 20,000 Christians of all ages from 139 countries about the busyness of their lives and how it affects their relationship with God.

His report, which concludes almost six years of collecting data, echoes the obvious: yes, we’re busy people; and yes, our hectic lives prevent us from spending more time with God. Turns out almost six out of every 10 Christians around the world agree to the latter. A few elements to Zigarelli’s study are particularly fascinating.

  • American Christians aren’t necessarily the busiest. Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Indonesia all had a higher percentage of believers who stated they often or always rushed “from task to task.”
  • African Christians are most likely to claim their busyness gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. (Two out of three South African and Nigerian believers stated this.)
  • The United States is the only country where women topped men in saying they were 1) almost always busy and 2) that busyness affected their spiritual walk.

Based on profession alone, pastors are the most likely to say they often or always rush from task to task, beating out business owners, lawyers, teachers, and salespeople.”

The Bible is clear when it talks about Pastors being held to a higher standard since Pastors are leading the rest of the church. 1 Timothy 3:4 – “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate,self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness,not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

Since I’ll be ordained in two years, this verse rings loudly to me. So, how do we help our Pastors? How do we hold each other accountable?

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