Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

How to make the Bible fun for kids through age 3

How many times have you tried to read Bible stories to your little ones and thought – they have no idea what I’m saying! Or, they fall asleep before the story is over. Why don’t we make the Bible more realistic for kids? Why don’t we make the Bible fun?!

Here’s a story I found from a mom on focus on the family; “It was Bible Time, which meant my children were curled up on the couch with their blankies, ready for naptime. I read to them the story about Noah, and when I came to the part about loading up the animals, I paused. “Don’t you wonder what it would be like to float in a boat with all those animals?” I asked. My sleepyheads shrugged. Grinning, I pulled the cushions off the couch and shouted “Let’s go get all of our stuffed animals and find out!” Cheers followed my suggestion and before we knew it, we were floating in our living room with creatures great and small.”

Here’s three things that you can do to bring some creativity and fun into your Bible time with your kids:

Play

Toddlers love to play, so incorporating imagination and excitement into your Bible time helps little ones with learning. You’ll first want to purchase an age-appropriate Bible, beginning with a toddler version and progressing toward a children’s study Bible. Be sure to add a full dose of fun into your Bible reading. This might mean using action figures to reenact the story of David and Goliath, or clanging homemade musical instruments to one of the Psalms.

Learn

Although parents might wonder how much understanding occurs at this age, a new study at has discovered that children may comprehend words sooner than previously suspected. Cognitive science experts have reported that kids ages 12-14 months may be using a technique labeled “data mining” to acquire language. This is where “the human brain accumulates large amounts of data minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and handles this data processing automatically.” It then sorts “through massive amounts of raw data to find relationships, correlations, and ultimately useful information.” This “system” approach to language learning would explain the ease with which 2- and 3-year-olds can learn one word at a time. We have some 2 and 3 year olds that are amazing at Bible Verse Memorization! Sometimes, they’ll memorize a verse quicker than my fourth graders!

Do

Teaching your child the Bible also involves what you do outside the home with your little ones.  Here are some ideas:

  • Rock your child to sleep at night singing praise songs and hymns.
  • Dress up as Bible characters.
  • Invite other children over for a Bible story time with treats afterwards.
  • Turn up the music and dance to specially recorded toddler songs like Psalty’s Songs for Li’l Praisers or Bob and Larry Sing the 70’s.
  • Deliver handmade cards to nursing home residents.
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Why are you so angry?

On a normal Wednesday night, we were playing a great game at church. We were having a great time and, out of nowhere – one of our kids who comes regularly, a “churched” kid and one whose parents are extremely involved in our church…totally lost it. “I hate this game!” “I hate everyone here!” “You’re all stupid!”

What in the world was going on?! Why was this child so angry, and why was there such a sudden outburst?

This got me thinking – What do I do in a situation like this and how can I figure out how to help this child? Here’s the important steps to follow:

1- Pinpoint why the child is angry

  • Are there biological causes? (allergies, learning disabilities, developmental disorders)
  • Are there life stressors? (school performance, moving, divorce, death)
  • When is the anger exhibited? (playtime, after waking up, with a particular person, particular time of day, since a specific event took place)

2- Don’t try to keep the child from getting angry

  • Anger is a natural human emotion
  • Many Christians believe it’s wrong to get angry, but the Bible doesn’t say we can’t get angry. It says we shouldn’t act upon our anger. (Ephesians 4:26)
  • Telling a child they are not allowed to become angry will create an emotionally unhealthy adult who suffers from guilt and who does not know how to accept their feelings, or how to work through what’s hurt them.
  • However, just because it’s okay to get angry, it’s not okay to handle anger inappropriately, and the child needs to know that.

3- Help the child find alternative ways to deal with anger

  • Changing a physical position quickly is a great help (stretch, make facial expressions, 10 jumping jacks, walk around)
  • say or write what you want in the current situation (I want to start winning the game. I want Bill to stop making fun of me. I want a piece of candy.)
  • Say positive phrases instead of negative ones (stop using don’t, no, and won’t)
  • Go somewhere where there’s light (darkness just plays into your negative mood)
  • Surrender (let go of your pride)
  • Circle of influence (be around people who are positive)
  • Gratitude (think of 5 things in your life that you’re grateful for)
  • Breathing relaxation (take 5 deep breaths)
  • Meditation (take a minute to pray)
  • Laughter (think of or tell a joke)
  • Forgiveness (say you forgive someone who made you feel angry)

Hopefully these steps will help you with kids that you teach, or your own kids with their anger! Let’s try to fix the problem of anger before it can arise in adult form!!!

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FUN…a 3 letter word.

I recently attended a new church’s services.  I was very excited about it because I had heard that the church had prepared some great music, musical numbers, and an interactive thing using  phones.

Now, you might be thinking ”interactive thing using phones?”  “Musical numbers?”  Sounds like a show more than a church service.

Well, there was a family sitting right in front of us that was visiting the church I attended that I am pretty sure was thinking the same thing.  In fact, I saw the older son lean over to his father during one of the electric guitar solos and say, “This is ridiculous. This isn’t church. It’s just a show.  They’re just up there having fun!”  Needless to say, they were not happy.

Now, I have to admit, I was a little puzzled about how visibly appalled and angry they were.  Yes, it was fun. Yes, there was a lot of laughter.  But, eventually, there was a very compelling message about the fact that the story that the Son of God came to this earth as a baby. It isn’t JUST a Christmas-time fable, but an actual event. A Fact.

But, the family in front of me didn’t seem to hear that part. They were bent out of shape at some of the “fun” we were having and, I suppose, were upset that the service wasn’t something to “their” liking. Maybe something more–“Reverent”.

Now, cut to the end of the service. We are all filing out of our rows, and as I watched this openly disgruntled family exiting the row, I heard someone else talking over my shoulder.

It was a young couple. They were dressed casually. Didn’t have a Bible in their hands.  But, I over heard them saying something that sent chills down my spine. They were saying, ”That was awesome. Didn’t I tell you we needed to come here?” And then, the next phrase that came out of the guy’s mouth rocked me.  He said, ”Yeah. You know, I think I have always thought about Christmas like it was a fairy tale.  I mean, what if it is all real?”

What if it is all real?

This guy just asked the million-dollar question.  All because he showed up.

So, what’s my point? Here’s the point. When we create environments for our children and for our parents that use a lot of “fun,” we are going to get flack. We are. It’s inevitable.  There are people who will not like how much fun we have. There will be people who will not like how much time we spend laughing.  There will be people who will feel like cracking a smile or doing something silly in church detracts from the message of Christ.  And usually, they are very vocal about it.

But when that happens, remember the family who hasn’t stepped foot in a church in years, the family who doesn’t even own a Bible. Remember that family who has ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH within its pages.  Because I believe the “fun” (also referred to as JOY by more scholarly folk) might be what prepares that family to hear something that makes them ask, “What if this is all real?”

If I may go out on a limb, it’s those people whose opinions matter more.   The people who are walking into your church and are expecting, well . . . whatever it was that scared them or made them leave the last time they tried to come to a church. Their opinion matters most. I’m pretty sure that family that was sitting in front of me already have a relationship with Christ. But the other young couple may have just started a journey because they heard the Truth while having a good time.

What are some of the struggles you have overcome when it comes to incorporating “fun” into your environments?  Do you have any helpful ideas on how to talk with detractors?

(credit to orange)

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Human Trafficking

This is going to be a more grown-up blog than usual. And has a very outward focus…

Something that has always weighed huge on my heart was human trafficking, or sex trafficking. This is a practice started hundreds of years ago, and unfortunately still exists today. We, as a society  have been able to accomplish many great things – women given the right to vote, abolishing slavery in America, helping with clean water and food distribution in war-torn and impoverished societies. But, we’ve not solved the problem of sex slavery and human trafficking. This horrible problem comes down to our greatest human sin – selfishness. Because of selfishness, we desire money, power, and sex. And as humans, we would go through any lengths to get these things. So how can we address this problem?

“Over two hundred years ago, British Parliamentarian William Wilberforce tirelessly crusaded to protect innocent humans from forced bondage. His efforts led first to Britain’s abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and finally to a prohibition on slavery in 1833.

The United States ended slavery with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War. Or so it would seem. By the beginning of the 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt warned against the “white slave trade,” which involved the abduction and forced prostitution of young women and girls. Although Congress passed the Mann Act in 1910 forbidding the interstate transport of persons for immoral purposes, the forced prostitution of women and children continues in the United States – and globally – to this day.”

The definition of sex trafficking is:

a specific form of human trafficking in which a victim is induced by fraud, force or coercion to perform a sex act for payment. One common scheme to seduce women is to promise them jobs overseas as waitresses or domestic servants. Once out of the country and away from their family, traffickers take victims’ passports and subject them to beatings or rape to force them into their new “job.”

In the United States, victims of sex trafficking are often young girls who have run away from abusive situations at home and are quickly picked up by pimps who coerce them into prostitution by promising food, shelter or clothing. Pimps tighten their control over the girls by getting them dependent on drugs. Other recruiting methods include befriending vulnerable-looking girls at malls, movie theaters and even schools. The recruiter could be a young man posing as a doting boyfriend or another girl who appears to be friendly. (FOF)

Here’s some stats that I think might shock you:

Global

  • In January 2006, Interpol announced that human trafficking generates $32 billion annually.
  • The United Nations claims that the trafficking of human beings has surpassed the drug trade to become the second largest source of money for organized crime after the illegal arms trade.
  • The U.S. State Department estimates at least 600,000 to 800,000 human beings are trafficked across international borders each year. Numbers within national borders are much higher.
  • Among all trafficking victims, 80 percent are female and 50 percent are children.
  • Seventy percent of trafficking victims are forced into sexual servitude.
  • UNICEF reports that more than 1 million children around the world enter the sex trade every year.
  • Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood to sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.

United States

  • An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually from other countries.
  • Congress reported its findings for the Trafficking Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 that between 100,000 to 300,000 American teens are at risk for sex trafficking annually.

Despite an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 sex slaves in the U.S., fewer than 1,000 victims have been assisted through the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement since 2001, when services for trafficking victims were first made available. (FOF)

What can we do?

This is a had question to answer. When we look at stats like the ones above, we can become overwhelmed and get a huge feeling of helplessness. But, here’s some things we can do and some organizations that we can support:

– Educate your kids, families, and friends. The more people know about the secrecy of the sex trade, the better.

– Buy “fair trade” merchandise. What is “fair trade”? It’s merchandise made by people who were rescued from the sex trade or other difficult situations. Fair Trade means that the money you are paying goes straight to the maker of the merchandise. For example, if something costs $3…the person gets the profit (aside from the shipping cost). There is not a huge mark-up of the price from the retailer. https://admin.tenthousandvillages.com/index.php/storelocator/category/view/id/festival/ is a reliable fair trade retailer that’s been around for a long time. You can find others by searching “fair trade” online or asking your church about their knowledge of fair trade merchandise. (if you really like coffee, check this out – http://landofathousandhills.com)

– support organizations who are fighting to save people from the sex trade, and keep them out of the trade! here’s a few that I know of:

– PRAY! Those who are in the U.S. and other countries directly fighting trafficking by undercover operations are in a dangerous line of work. These people and their families need our prayers desperately!

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February Materials

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

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

Don’t forget our Schedule!

Our TrinityKids services:

9:00 Sunday morning eXplore!

  • Group 3s-kindergarten
  • 1st-4th grade groups based off of The Dig Curriculum
  • 5th-6th grade Grapple Group

10:30 Sunday morning eXclaim!

  • Small groups 3s-Kindergarten
  • Large group for 1st-4th grade
  • 5th-6th grade X-Crew

6:30-7:30 Wednesday night  eXplosion!

  • Game Based Lessons 3s-Kindergarten
  • Game Based Lessons 1st-4th Grade
  • eXtreme56! for 5th-6th Grade (Game Based Lessons with a Youth Group Atmosphere)

The Nursery is always up and running when we have programming!

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