KKids News

by Tuesday, 29 October 2013 23:22

Top 10 Reasons to Serve in Children's Ministry!


Top 10 Reasons to Serve in Children’s Ministry
Jeanine Shumaker,
Children's Ministry Coordinator, Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ


When recruiting volunteers, sometimes an offbeat, humorous approach can attract more attention & interest than a typical announcement.  Serving in Children's Ministry is such a joy - here are ten unique benefits of serving in the Children's Ministry.


1.     Impact a child’s life for eternity by providing them the opportunity to learn about God’s love for them.

2.     Become more like Jesus and let the little children come to you by serving whole-heartedly in Children's Ministry.

3.     Re-learn bible stories and experience the excitement of Noah’s Ark and Daniel and the Lion’s Den through the eyes of a child.

4.     Learn how to play creative games and entertain a roomful of energetic toddlers with only a cotton ball and a balloon.

5.     Stretch your brainpower as you figure out a creative answer to the following question:  “If God has the whole world in his hands,  don’t the people in Antarctica get squashed?"

6.     Be a hero and role model in your own child’s life or the life of another child.

7.     Tone your arms while singing and doing the hand motions to “The Sea of Galilee”.

8.     Have a legitimate reason to dress up in outrageous costumes made out of bed sheets and paperclips.

9.     Eat all the gold fish and drink all the apple juice you desire.

10.            Grow in the virtue of patience as 16 children repeatedly ask you "When is snack time?"
by Tuesday, 29 October 2013 23:15

Is That Food Safe?

Is that Food Safe?
By Vicky Bergem, San Diego, California


Kids love Snacks! Our kids classes are only a couple of hours long but we find that the kids love to stop for a fellowship break and eat a snack. It is a great time to get to know each other, and share about the class and the week. Sometimes snacks can be tied into the lesson and reinforce the message, but sometimes they are just a snack!

However, with food allergies abounding these days, we have to ask ourselves, “Is the snack I am serving safe for all the children? Will anyone feel left out if I serve this snack?”

It is not always easy to find a snack that everyone can eat. Some kids are even allergic to certain fruits. If you have a child with severe allergies, it may be best to ask the parents to provide a personal snack, so their child can eat with everyone and not worry about reactions.

Some other recommendations to keep allergic reactions at bay: At sign in, let parents know what the snack will be for the day. Encourage, or even insist, that all children wash their hands with soap and water before coming to class. (They should be going to the bathroom and washing their hands before class anyway). At the very least have hand sanitizer in the class. Finally, be sure to have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

I was recently talking to the mother of a child with allergies. She fed someone else’s baby a bottle and the baby coughed and splattered milk on her hands and clothes. She did not hug her own child until she was able to go home and change. It may sound drastic, but it kept her child safe and free from reactions.

Allergies can be serious and we need to protect our children by taking snack time seriously. A local school put out the following information that may help you make safe snack choices:

Some Helpful Tips

1) Avoid snacks that contain milk, casein, cheese, eggs, peanuts, peanut flour, peanut oil, or peanut butter or other nuts. This includes snacks with almonds, coconuts, filberts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nut, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.

2) Read labels carefully. Food companies are getting better about labeling the ingredients. Basically, if the food item says: Contains Wheat or Soy (which is usually in bold under the ingredient list) it's safe as long as it was NOT manufactured in the same facility or on the same equipment containing the allergens listed above (due to cross contamination).

3) Include the packaging of your treat when you send it to the classroom, so that the label may be rechecked if there are any questions.

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Here is a list of some common snack foods that are free of dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. The major brands are much better at labeling and manufacturing than store brands, such as Great Value. Great Value (Walmart) usually processes their products on the same equipment as peanuts, tree nuts, egg, and milk. This is only a small list of the possible safe snacks. Please remember that carefully reading the labels is the only way to know for sure if something is safe.

HEALTHY CHOICES

Fresh fruit

Fresh vegetables

Applesauce

Sun Maid raisins




CEREAL, CRACKERS, and CHIPS

Original or Chocolate Cheerios (NOT the Honey Nut variety!)

Nabisco Ritz crackers (original – NOT Ritz Bits)

Nabisco Wheat Thins crackers

Keebler Club crackers

Rold Gold Classic Style Pretzels – Tiny Twists or Sticks (NOT Snyder’s)

Pringles (original or BBQ)

Tostitos Tortilla Chips

Fritos Corn Chips

Lays Original Potato Chips

COOKIES and TREATS

Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers or sticks (Original)

Nabisco Teddy Grahams (honey, chocolate or cinnamon)

Nabisco Barnum's Animal crackers (this brand only!)

Nabisco Oreo Cookies (original or golden only)

Jolly Time Healthy Pop (Kettle Corn Popcorn)

Pop Tarts (strawberry, cherry & blueberry)




CANDY

Jolly Rancher

Jolly Rancher Gummies

Lifesavers

Lifesaver Gummies

Lifesaver Jelly Beans (NOT BRACHS!)

Nerds

Sweet Tarts

Smarties

Skittles

Starburst

Dum-Dum lollipops

Twizzlers (strawberry)

Fun Dip

by Monday, 24 June 2013 17:52

VBS "KINGDOM ROCK" ROCKS NORTH RIVER!

VBS "KINGDOM ROCK" ROCKS NORTH RIVER!

This past week more than 80 dedicated volunteers worked together to
transport 119 kids (including 23 visitors) to "Kingdom Rock"  North River's
2013 Vacation Bible School! From the first day, greeted at the door by a
knight in armor, to the last Pizza party, our kids had fun, learned how to
Stand Strong in God's love,  prayed, sang, met amazing Biblical characters,
and got to know children in other churches across the world!
Some of the highlights:
.       Watching King Josiah smash idols during Bible Adventure time
.       Meeting children from Romania and other churches in the Royal Theatre
.       Doing the coolest science experiments ever (with spiritual lessons attached) in Imagination Station
.       playing wild wild wild Tournament Games
.       Pulling together to give over $240 dollars (mostly in coins) for school supplies for poor children in Africa!!!!
       The "God Sighting" wall, where the children post the ways they have seen God in their lives during VBS week, shows clearly how the hearts of the children
        were changed by their time in Kingdom Rock. They saw God working everywhare.
.       "God healed my Mom from her pain"
.       "the food"
.       "Karissa's phone stopped working then she prayed and it started working again"
.       "Able to confess and share to an adult that understands"
.       "Dad saved a cat"
.       "I saw a kid let another kid go first"
.       "My dog prayed with me this morning"
.       "When Stanford gave up his bagel"
.       "I saw God because of VBS"
.       "Light, so we can see cookies"
.       "When we were singing and dancing, I could feel and see God's love around us"
.       " Jasmine was sent to VBS"
.       "Mya got a new friend"
.       "When Kyler almost shared a marshmallow"
.       "the cooks"
.       "Walking to Wendy's 4 times and car almost hit me every time. Because of God, nothing happened"

A Super THANKS to Lauren Arnett and her wonderful team of talented and
dedicated volunteers. You went "over the top" this year!!!!



by Tuesday, 04 June 2013 01:14

Father Daughter Dance

The New York Church held a Father-Daughter Dance, "You are my Hero", was a huge success. We had over 175 Father/Escort and daughters attend this year's event.


Everyone looked wonderful and you could see the pride in each father’s/escort’s eyes, he walked in with his princess on his arm.

The evening began with conversation starters to give the fathers and daughters time to talk. There were sheets of paper with questions like, "What was the name of your kindergarten teacher?" Many of the dads struggled to answer correctly, which made it fun for the girls. Next the beautiful buffet dinner openened.


After dinner, the dancing began and not one person was sitting down - Everyone was on the dance floor! A few dedicated songs were performed and then we ended the ended the evening with delicious mini cupcakes.


This event was great for non-Christian dads as well, and gave the disciples an opportunity to share their lives and show how much fun we have in God. We hope we can inspire you to hold a similar event in your ministry.

Lorraine Westervelt
Westchester, NY
by Tuesday, 04 June 2013 00:32

Twins' Heart for HOPE

The Heart of a Child


When local Christian artists Ralph and Julie Kinscheck put on a fund raising concert with their band LIFLIGHT for HOPE worldwide on May 18th, they had no idea their biggest contributors would be their 9 year old twins!
It was after a successful concert event at The Stable Coffeehouse in Chelmsford; everything was cleaned up and the equipment was unloaded, the high heels kicked off. Julie was putting the concert donations into her Walk For HOPE envelope to turn in the next morning when her son Caleb approached her with a fistful of money.
"Mom," He said, "I am just a kid. I don’t need money. I have everything I need, I want to give my birthday money to kids who really need it."

Wow! What a heart! "For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." - Mark 10:14
Not to be outdone, his sister Hannah came running in with another pile of bills from her birthday stash!
We never know what will move our kids, but they are influenced by those around them- It definitely takes a Kingdom!

The twins had apparently been inspired by two things recently. First, Harold Cadet had spearheaded a family group effort to reach a group goal to raise money for HOPE. As part of that effort, Lori Gath had encouraged the children to make a HOPE jar and put in spare change. The children had been very moved by how they could help- but spare change was not enough! Then second, in between songs at her parents' show, there had been sharing by Gail Scott Key and Anselm Beach about how HOPE worldwide was helping families in Haitti and India- even helping children to be adopted from around the world.

 The children were invited to sing on a song dedicated to HOPE written by Ralph and Julie: "HOPE Faith LOVE". See them do a live performance at this Youtube link: http://youtu.be/DkTJItn2JCc

Ironically, during a conversation with a parent of one of the twins’ friends at her son’s birthday party a week earlier, Julie had remarked, "I almost feel bad that my kids will get so much more stuff today...maybe we should have asked everyone to pitch into a fund." The other mother had suggested, "For a charity?" Julie had answered- "I’m not sure the kids would go for that- maybe to get new bikes, after all-it is their birthday." Surprisingly, both twins received over $100 each in cash gifts from friends that day. Mom joked, "Awesome! More money toward a new bikes!" Little did she know that the twins had much bigger hearts than she realized. Unprompted by anyone, Caleb and Hannah Kinscheck proudly donated over $200 from their birthday money. "I only kept $3 for myself!" Caleb bragged.
"Are you sure you want to give so much? You don’t have to, you know. Any amount is appreciated." offered the parents "No. I want to do this." Caleb returned resolutely.

What if we all had such a heart before God? "I don’t need anything, you take such good care of me, Lord." Is there any wonder why Jesus tells us to be like little children?
The concert raised over $500 for HOPE worldwide and their family group from church (Northern Region, Boston Church of Christ) blew out their goal of $4,600 with over $5,200 at last count!
When Julie shared this story with friend Michelle Perry during the Walk for HOPE Michelle promised: "I’m going to pray someone gives the twins some awesome bikes!"

 
by Tuesday, 28 May 2013 21:53

UPDATE - CHESS TOURNAMENT- SLOVENIA

CHESS TOURNAMENT- SLOVENIA

By Janet Nzisa

Sporting in the 21st century has come of age. Chess, once considered a rich man’s wit game, has now become the cream of modern society and the current generation has not been left behind.

Mid-year 2012 the Nairobi Christian Church made a call from the pulpit for any children interested in playing chess to register with Mr. Samuel Kimani Ng’ang’a - the chess coach, and a teacher by profession.

After rigorous and consistent practicing, a vibrant team of 20 youngsters formed and began attending tournaments throughout the country. The children, all seven to nine years old, were incorporated in the National Junior Team and were slotted to represent the country of Nairobi in Maribour, Slovenia, for the World Youth Chess Championship, 2012.

According to Gilliane Otieno, the youngest member of the team, the competition in Slovenia was tight and tough and included over 1,000 children from countries around the world.  “I had to practice more often and harder,“ she added.

An enthusiastic Raisa Wanjiku said, “I have learnt to always watch my opponents’ moves and master them.” Although they each won only a single game and had a draw for another, the youthful players reiterated that the exposure was good for them and that they gathered a wealth of experience from interacting with different players in a different land. Max Wambua also took part in the competition, winning two matches and reaching a draw in two others.                                                               

It was clear that the players had fun during and after the competition, although the flight and weather took a toll on them – this was a first flight out of the country for each of them.

Mr. Gilbert Wandera, Gilliane’s father and a Senior Sports Journalist in his own right, revealed that it takes a lot of sacrifice and encouragement to help the children perform well.  Time and resources are a challenge to the sport in a country where sports are not emphasized. As a result, the children are left with little time to train amidst loads of homework and class assignments.

“It’s a sacrifice,” he added, “but the experience and benefits outweigh the investment.”  The sport gives the kids some added excitement apart from just going to school, watching television and eating.

Gilbert asserts that his daughter, Gilliane, needs more competition. Interestingly, she has won 12 of the 13 matches she has played. He would like to see both her and the rest of the team members rise to the highest echelons as professional chess players.

The Chess coach, Mr Samuel Kimani, says registration for the chess club is open to all children between the ages of six and 15. So far 15 children have registered and are training seriously in preparation for the coming World Youth Chess Championship 2013 preliminaries.

Meanwhile, the other children continue to excel. Raisa won the under-10 championships and Ryan Kiarie reached a draw with Fide Master Ritvik Pendyna, the recognized World Champion from Kenya. Raisa Wanjiku was given a scholarship by a prestigious school for her excellence.

As a church we are encouraged to pursue, nurture and express talent. Having the young ones on board is an assurance that God has indeed called us to maximize our talents. Matthew 25:14-30.

by Tuesday, 28 May 2013 21:33

“YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME TEACHING A CHILD”

YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME TEACHING A CHILD.”

That was my attitude 16 years ago. Children were not a priority or much of a consideration before I became a Christian. I certainly did not have the patience. Thankfully, God did!

After becoming a disciple, my perspective of children underwent a transformation. I remember, a few months into my new life, I noticed a group of kids running to a brother. Being reminded of how the little ones went to Jesus, it was at this moment I simply prayed for God to change my heart. Little did I know He took me seriously!

Since that fateful day, I have taught in the Children’s Ministry and served as a Preteen and Teen Worker. Furthermore, 10 years into being a disciple, I did the one thing I was convinced I’d never do: become a teacher by profession. God moved my arrogant heart to desire to be in the one place where I could be immersed in a sea of struggling, wounded minds, yearning for hope and freedom: the public middle/high school.

As you can imagine, I prayed for patience! I yearned to show them Jesus, even though I wasn’t sure how. On my difficult days, I tried to remember that the kid I wanted to remove from my classroom was handmade by the same God that created us all. I made so many mistakes, but my greatest concern was giving the students a picture of Jesus. How does one do this in a country where God’s name is not allowed in the schools? Live by faith. How does one dream for a broken individual who cannot dream for herself? Instill hope. How do you reach hearts, inspire confidence, and help restore? Love. Isn’t this Jesus’ attitude toward us?

I am deeply grateful for God’s faith that I would see Him, God’s hope that I could dream, and His decision to love me through my weaknesses. “Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one” (Lisa Hammond). After working as a teacher for several years, God sent me in an unexpected direction. In the last year, He blessed me with the opportunity to serve as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the New York City Church of Christ. While it has been a time of learning tasks and responsibilities, it has matured my relationship with God and His Church.

God is constantly directing me to Him. In a world where Satan insists on clouding the biblical perspective, the Almighty still keeps it simple. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good” (New International Version, Deuteronomy 10:12-13). I need to respect, obey, love, and serve Him with all of my heart and soul. Moreover, He asks me – really, all of us – to teach the same to the children.

I am honored to work with people who answer the call day in and day out. The NYC Regional Coordinators serve children out of love and respect, reminding me of God’s heart for His precious ones. They carry out their responsibilities as tireless servants, volunteering their time, resources, and talents, for the glory of God. They are heart shapers, ministers of families, and spiritual firefighters. They deserve nothing less than to be lifted up as examples worthy of imitation.

Although each of us is gifted in varying ways, any disciple can teach a child. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them… There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). God worked in me and made it possible to live for Him in unexpected ways. No matter which path He takes you, know that His power is able to transform you and His grace is able to sustain you. Our youth need us as they attempt to make sense of this dark world. So go in faith, instill hope, and love them through God’s power. He can do anything.

Yahaira  Loperena,
NY, NY
by Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:07

The Heart to Teach!

The Heart to Teach!

Sometimes I wonder if I should be in Children’s Ministry every rotation, but I’m not really sure. Many of my fellow teachers feel like they need the sermons on Sunday to keep them strong spiritually. It’s funny, but I feel like I need to be with the children to keep me strong. I have often been more fruitful bringing people to church when I am in the Children’s Ministry. I’m not sure why, but it happens often enough that I think God is telling me to spend more time with the children.

Recently I was asked to help improve the teaching in the Children’s Ministry of my region. I have been a teacher in Children’s Ministry for over 30 years, and a professional teacher for 23 years, so I was encouraged by the request and felt well suited for it. I began by giving tips on keeping the children engaged. These included stressing the importance of positive behavior, management plans, careful lesson planning and being animated when teaching.

After several rounds of observations, note-taking, feedback and demonstration, I was surprised by the most common responses I received from the brothers and sisters whom I was coaching. Though they appreciated the effectiveness of my tips and support, they commented most on my attitude and enthusiasm for teaching the children. They pointed out that I knew the lessons, so wasn’t referring to the curriculum constantly; that they could tell I enjoyed sharing the Bible stories and the children were engaged with me in learning.

Reflecting on these comments, and after much thought and prayer, I believe the following has helped me be a more effective Children’s Ministry teacher throughout the years:

1. I prepare my heart for the children by using the lesson for my quiet times two or three times a week. I pray for insight to make the lessons fun and interesting for the children. Then I do it!

2. I see my time in Children’s Ministry as just that, Ministry. I think my first experience with the Children’s Ministry shaped that viewpoint for me.

The Children’s Ministry is not more or less important than studying the Bible with adults or counseling married couples. It is not something that “needs to be done” so “I have to serve” and endure it. It is my privilege to share the Gospel with the up-and-coming leaders of God’s movement. What can be more important to God than that?

No one should serve in the Children’s Ministry because of a guilty conscience, and this is not an attempt to convince anyone to serve. However, if God calls you to serve, then do it with a great heart. Similarly, we also need to continue helping each other to be more effective Children’s Ministry teachers.

I believe that God knows that the Children’s Ministry is not just for the children. Look at what Jesus said when the apostles did not want the children to get in the way, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” - Luke 18:16

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3.

Pedro Fiqueroa,
San Diego, USA

by Wednesday, 01 May 2013 00:42

Calling all Musical Children

Calling all Musically Gifted Children from Churches of Christ Around the World...

Hear Them Singing, the same team that produced the "Praises Heard Around the World" music video that was shown at the World Discipleship Conference in San Antonio, is looking for talented individual children an
d children's ministries for the next big project created by our fellowship of churches. 

This idea was inspired by Steve and Vicky Bergem, who have done incredible things in their service to the children's ministry here in San Diego, CA. They have a vision to see a musical production similar to the Praises Heard Around the World video, but this time with children's ministries represented across the globe, singing one united version of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" in each of the country's respective language!!

 What will we do with it when it's done? 

It has the potential to be an i
ncredible encouragement to churches all over the world, as they will be able to share and watch it on Disciples Today, Kingdom Kids, U-Tube and show as part of future Kingdom Kids Conference!

What we are looking for is...

 *Individual gifted children, (ages 4 to 18) who can sing solos of the song.

*Groups of children (can be one age group, or your whole children's ministry) singing the song all together.

I am really excited to have the expertise of Devon Sparks from the Kingston church in this project, as he himself is a talented musician and producer, along with advisory role of J Brian Craig and many others. So, look for this to be another inspiring, heart-moving music video when it is completed!

If you have any interest please contact me as soon as possible, as we will need our finalized team together by Sunday, June 2. 

Thanks in advance for your heart to be a part of this!
Much Love, 

Russ Kirkpatrick
858-603-1207
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