A Few Fun Patriotic Jokes from Kids!

Grunge American flagFor our U.S. friends, I hope you are able to enjoy this day off and appreciate the freedom that we have in our country.

Regardless of where you are from, you can enjoy these patriotic jokes from children!

  • Do they have a 4th of July in England? Yes, that’s how they get from the 3rd to the 5th.
  • What did King George think of the American colonists? He thought they were revolting!
  • Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell? Yeah, it cracked me up!

Fun Ways to Practice a Memory Verse

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Memorizing Scripture is important for children, but let’s be honest- sometimes it can be difficult to engage them when we use the same methods repeatedly. To help kids memorize verses, we have to use every method possible to help them learn Scripture. Looking for fresh ideas for memory verse activities? Here are 34 fun ways that children can practice a memory verse:

Memory Verse Recitation:

  1. Whisper the memory verse
  2. Yell the memory verse
  3. Say the verse fast
  4. Say the verse slow
  5. Split the room into two teams, and have the teams alternate by each word or each line
  6. Pinch your nose and say the verse in a “mosquito-style” voice
  7. Have a kid lead the verse activity
  8. Make the verse into a song
  9. Make the verse into a rap (don’t forget a handy beatbox app!)
  10. Write the verse on a board, then erase a few words each time the kids repeat the verse. Pick a child to erase a few words of their choice each time
  11. Teach hand motions with the words of the verse
  12. Have the kids spin in a circle after every line of the verse
  13. Throw the ball to a kid in the crowd and ask him/her to say between 1-5 words of the verse
  14. Use a rhythm (such as clapping hands, thighs, tummies, etc) while reciting the verse
  15. Hold an object that you can raise or lower while kids recite the memory verse. Explain that when you raise the object, they need to yell the verse, and when you lower the object, they must whisper the verse
  16. Recite the memory verse once for each month’s birthdays (January kids go first, then February, etc)
  17. Practice the verse backwards
  18. Say the verse in a pirate voice

Memory Verse Activity:

  1. Write the words onto pieces of paper (2 or more sets of the verse), then hide the paper around the room. Split the room into teams, and let them see who can find their complete verse assemble it, then say it all together. First one to do it wins! (Note: different colors of paper for each team would make this game run smoothly)
  2. Do a Bible sword drill (first one to find the verse and say it gets a prize!)
  3. Pass a ball around the room, allowing the kid holding the ball to say the next word of the verse before passing it on
  4. Write the verse onto a piece of paper, then cut up the paper into a puzzle. Let the kids put the puzzle back together and say the verse
  5. Write the verse down on different craft sticks, then put them in Jello. Have the kids look for it and put the verse together!
  6. Give the kids a bunch of words on pieces of paper (about half of them from the verse, and half of them just random words) and let them put the memory verse together. Make sure each team has a Bible and the verse reference
  7. Let the kids create bookmarks with the memory verse on it (works with other craft activities as well)
  8. Play a game of charades and act out each word of the verse
  9. Play wheel of fortune with the memory verse
  10. Write the verse onto sports balls (taping a paper with a few of the words onto a football, basketball or soccer ball would work), then have the kids kick the balls into the right order
  11. Have kids recite the verse while doing a jump rope (maybe have a kid or two do this on stage)
  12. Write out the verse without vowels. Have the kids guess the vowels
  13. Write the verse out on post-it notes, then place the notes on the kids’ heads. They then have to line up in the correct order for the verse
  14. Pull a word out of a bowl of whipped cream, slime, or other interesting food choice, then put the words together
  15. Hold a word relay, where every runner gets the next word in the verse. First team done wins!
  16. Turn the memory verse into a word search

What are some of your favorite memory verse activities? Share them in the comments!

The New Awana Mission

A few months ago I was invited to visit the Awana Headquarters and see some of the great things they are planning for the future. I’m excited to finally share that you can now learn about some of their new ministry!

The new Awana website is up and running, so feel free to take a look and learn more. Also, here are a few other things you may want to check out:

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Connect with Kids in 10 Seconds or Less

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One of the things I love most about working with children is that it is easy to connect with them. Kids want to trust others, and the older they get, the more work it takes to earn their trust and connect with them. Here’s what I do to connect with kids in 10 seconds or less:

  • When you first meet younger children, look to see if they are carrying a toy with them. If they are, start a conversation with them, engaging them if they begin talking about it or their imaginary world that involves their toy. The second you start engaging with them, they will begin to trust you, and after about two minutes will be your friend!
  • With older children, I try to keep 8-10 topics in the back of my head that I can bring up to start a conversation with them. What are some of the latest movies out that they may have watched? Do they play any sports? What are there favorite books? If I strike out on one or two questions, I usually ask them what they did last weekend (if it’s Sunday, I ask what they did the day before). Usually, this question works great, because they get to tell you about something they did that isn’t related to school.
  • One of the fastest ways to connect with kids of any age is to LITERALLY get down on their level. When I meet kids for the first time, I crouch down so that we are about the same height, introduce myself, ask for their name, and give them a high-five. This gives them the feeling that I value who they are.

What methods do you use to connect with kids when you meet them?

From the Kidmin Experts: Children’s Pastors, Retaining Volunteers, Handling Critics, Kidmin Trends, and Beating Burnout

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I am always looking for helpful podcasts and videos that address topics in children’s and family ministry that I think would be helpful for the kidmin community. This week, I found a few great resources for you (all of them free!):

Additionally, prepare yourself for this summer by reading my article on 5 Ways to Beat Burnout!

6 Tips for New Bloggers

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I’ve been blogging here on KidminTools for over 2 years, so I want to share with you a few things that I have learned that have really helped me for blogging:

  1. When starting a new blog, write a lot of posts! When you share your website with others, you want them to go to your site and have various resources and articles to access. Also, you increase your web traffic by having more posts.
  2. Once you get going, stay consistent. Over the past year, I tried to write a post every week. Going forward (into a new season of life), I may be able to write more every week, depending on my schedule. It’s better to stay consistent than post a bunch of articles, then disappear for a few months.
  3. Write about what you know and love. If you don’t already know about something, it’s hard to write an article that will be helpful for others as well. If you are knowledgeable and passionate about a topic, then write away!
  4. Find your niche. I have a broader range of topics that I write about on KidminTools, but they all fall within the category of “articles, tools, and resources for children’s and family ministry.” Some blogs are very specific (ex: crafts for Children’s lessons), while other blogs are very open in terms of what they write about. Decide what your desired niche is, figure out how broad it will be, and stick to it!
  5. Look for direction. In order to get inspired for my posts, I try to find out what kinds of questions ministry leaders are asking. I listen to leaders at my church, hear about topics from colleagues, read questions posted in online forums, and try to predict the needed resources that churches will need. When I look to others for direction for my posts, I am seeking to serve them by providing help for their ministry.
  6. Write your ideas down. I always try to keep a list of my ideas for posts. I usually keep this list on my phone or computer, so that I can write them down as soon as I get the idea.

 

The Big Move to Texas!

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Katie and I are excited to announce our big move! We have just graduated from the Moody Bible Institute, and are moving down to Dallas, Texas! I will begin studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in the Master’s of Theology program, with an emphasis in Family Ministry. Katie will be starting as the Children’s Music Director at Woodcreek Church, and will also begin studies through Liberty University Online in the Master of Arts program, with a focus on Worship and Music Ministry. We are both excited for the move, and while there are still some job details for me to figure out, but we are looking forward to building relationships and ministering to children and families in the Dallas area.

It’s been an exciting last few months for us as we finished our time at Moody and have prepared for this move, and we are thankful for those of you who have supported us throughout our time at Moody! Please pray for us as we begin this new chapter down in Dallas, Texas. I will be continuing to blog here on KidminTools, so feel free to stop by and I will post an update about us once in awhile, in between the articles and resources shared here. If you follow the blog and live in Texas, I’d love to meet you, so drop me an email!

Your partner in ministry,

Steven Knight

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Game for Samson Children’s Lesson: Follow the Voice!

Follow the Voice!

c494620_mSupplies:

  • Colored construction paper

Preparation:

  • Take some colored construction paper and set up a square or rectangle that is approximately 10 pages x 10 pages.
  • Create any path that you would like from the starting square to the last square, and write the path down on a piece of paper. Make it challenging enough for the children in your ministry! Just make sure the children know that they can only move forwards, backwards, and sideways (not diagonally), and make sure the kids know that they can never step on the same square twice.

Presentation:

Pick one child to navigate the course. Have the rest of the kids line up around the square and shout out different directions (tell them to shout out the wrong directions on purpose). Before you start, select one child to always tell the truth about the correct path to take, and let that child know secretly what about their role. The child in the middle will then attempt to navigate the course. If he steps on the wrong square (off the path), then he has to start over!

Have a leader hold the answer sheet with the correct path from the starting square to the last square. The child will need to check with every step to see if they made the right choice or not. Once the child reaches the last square on the map, he/she wins!

(Note: if you have a large group of children, split them into groups for this game, possibly their small groups)

Directions for Kids:

One of you will try to navigate this course. You may only move one square at a time, along a secret path. If you step on the wrong square, you will have to start over! The other kids will be trying to distract you and tell you the wrong way to go, but only one of them will be trying to help you the whole time. You can move forward, backwards, and sideways, but you can never step on the same square twice. If you step on the wrong square, you need to start over from the beginning. Once you reach the last square, you win!

Say (at the end of game): Even though there are many people that want us to listen to them instead of God, we need to listen to God and follow Him! In our story today, we are going to learn about someone from the Bible who didn’t always listen to God.

Live Blog for the Awana 2014 Launch

awana_logoI’m excited to be live blogging today at the Awana 2014 Launch, straight from the Awana Headquarters! I’ll be keeping this blog post updated throughout the day as our blog team learns more about what is going on. Awana has some VERY big things coming down the line, and I’m excited to share about those things with you. Follow the blog today to learn more!

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Few fun notes for you from Awana:

  • They currently minister to 2.3 children worldwide in over 28,000 churches.
  • Awana plans to reach over 10 million children by 2020.
  • Micro-churches and mega-churches are on the rise, while mid-size churches are shrinking.
  • Side note: The average church size is 75 people (source: Moody Bible Institute).

Awana is excited to unite itself under one goal as they create a new vision to reach more children both in the U.S. and across the world. The Awana clubs you know and love will continue and thrive, but they are seeking to grow their impact even more by seeking to change lives.

Awana and the Church need to look at Mission through three different ways. Here are a few notes about them:

  • Mission as Posture. In the Global North, the opportunities for mission as posture has never been greater.
  • Mission as Presence. Having a presence in the world, and bringing people into your church. This does not mean filling up church schedules with events, but instead training people and giving them the chance to go out into the world to share the Gospel.
  • Mission as Cultural Stewardship. Taking all of what we know it means to follow Jesus, and making resources to help people grow and be discipled.

The Big Question Change that prompted the change in Awana: Instead of asking: How do we plant more clubs? We are now asking: How do we reach more children?

Peter Greer is now coming up to address the entire Awana staff. Here’s a few notes from his talk:

  • There is no immunity, regardless of your history, to the steady pull of culture to become lukewarm.
  • Growth is what happens when we get the necessary pieces in place.
  • Anytime we make ourselves the center of the story, we minimize the message of the mission.
  • When we lose sight that we are only the messengers, we harm the cause of Christ.
  • Don’t allow the people you are serving become pawns in the story you are telling.
  • Passions of first generation can become the preferences of the second generation, and then become irrelevant for the third generation.
  • The way we think about board recruitment directly effects the mission of the organization.

Afternoon Sessions:

We’re starting off with some top-secret stuff that we can’t announce until June 16th! Suffice it to say that Awana is planning some great things as they seek to reach more children and youth with the Gospel.

Matt Guevara closed out the afternoon with a keynote session. After sharing several stories, he said this: “You should not commit yourself to any story for your life that is not itself worth the spending of the only life you have.”

Are you committing yourself to God’s story?

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Overall, our time with Awana was a great one, in which I was able to meet many Awana staff and other bloggers whom they had flown in for this big day. Now that Awana has shared their new vision, they will be sharing how exactly this will all play out.

There are two takeaways you can get from all of this:

  1. Awana is keeping its clubs, but it is now aiming to reach more children with the Gospel. In order to do that, some new and exciting things are coming!
  2. The next big announcement will be on June 16th!

 

The NEXT 2014 Children’s Ministry Conference

NEXT 2014 logoI’m excited to share with you about the NEXT 2014 Children’s Ministry Conference, taking place in Chicago, IL on May 3rd! This conference is being hosted by Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. I have the privilege of being the NEXT Conference Director and being a part of the NEXT 2014 team that is putting together this amazing day of children’s ministry training. We are excited to bring in four quality children’s ministry speakers to speak on the general topic of communicating biblical truth to children. The theme this year is Communicating Truth: Theologically, Developmentally, and Creatively.

This day of children’s ministry training is designed for church leaders, ministry volunteers, and college students who are serving currently or would like to serve in children’s ministry. Here is a list of our incredible line-up of speakers and their topics:

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Dr. Paul Nyquist, President of the Moody Bible Institute

Topic: Partnership Between the Church and the Family in Ministry to Children

 

Elizabeth-Smith

 

Elizabeth Smith, Professor of Youth and Children’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute

Topic: Teaching Children Theologically

 

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Karl Bastian, President of Kidology

Topic: Teaching Children Developmentally

 

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Brannon Marshall, Director of Global Church Engagement at Awana

Topic: Teaching Children Creatively

 

Thanks to the support of the Moody Bible Institute, we are able to provide this event to you at a very low cost: $20 for general admission and $10 for student admission! 

Here is what the day will look like:

  • Registration (8-9am)
  • Opening Session (9-9:30am)
  • Main Session #1 (9:30-10:45am)
  • Break (10:45-11am)
  • Main Session #2 (11am-12:15pm)
  • Lunch (12:15-1:15pm)
  • Main Session #3 (1:15-2:30pm)
  • Closing Session (2:30-3pm)

Interested in coming? You can register for this event at our Eventbrite webpage!

Summary Info:

  • Date: May 3rd from 9am-3pm (registration and check-in begins at 8am)
  • Where: Moody Bible Institute, 820 N LaSalle Blvd, Chicago IL 60610
  • Registration: Register for your ticket at our Eventbrite page.
  • Lunch: Is provided for $5 per person (in addition to admission price)
  • Parking: Free parking at Moody all-day
  • Bring: Your ticket from Eventbrite registration, payment for admission, and lunch (or $5 for conference lunch)
  • Pay: You can pay for your admission (and lunch if requested) at the door
  • Questions: Email us at mbinext@gmail.com

We hope that this excellent day of children’s ministry training will help your ministry team become better equipped to share the Gospel with children. We hope to see you there!