Tag Archive: Resources

  1. IGNITE Conference 2018

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    What a great weekend it was at IGNITE!

    Over 200 Baptist children’s and family ministry leaders gathered together with nearly 900 other like-minded leaders on Friday and Saturday.

    We heard from engaging keynote speakers, Chelsea Follet and Cath Tallack, as well as joined in on over 60 electives on how to welcome, disciple and serve kids and families in our churches and communities.

    It was great to meet so many of you for the first time, so thanks for stopping by the QB Kids booth! If you took a ‘free coffee’ card, and would like a visit this year, we are keen to come to you. We will be planning our trips and trainings over the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your emails!

    We can’t wait to see you all again at Ignite & Ignite Summit next year, but until then, stay tuned for more opportunities to hang out together. We are busy planning our next event – on how we can partner with & serve foster kids in our communities- for April 19th. Save the date!

    If you are chasing resources you saw and loved at Ignite, remember to check out our resources tab in the top corner of our website, or email qbkids@qb.org.au.

    Looking forward to 2018 with you!

  2. Faith In The Home: Moment By Moment

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    As our kids get older opportunities to talk with them can seem to diminish. They get busy with school work, sport, music or friends and there seems to be less time available for a casual chat. But actually, as our kids get older, this is the time we need to be talking with them more than ever.
    As they process the big life questions, we want to know what they are thinking, engage with them and know what they are wondering about.

    Our kids do wonder. I remember going through a 12 month period of asking my then 12-year-old son, what he was wondering about at least once a fortnight. It started out as an experiment after chatting with a friend who had started a similar habit, with fantastic relationship payoff with his daughter. I was constantly amazed at the many wonderings that went on in my boy’s busy mind. I remember thinking how much I appreciated these opportunities that only came about through asking this simple question. I would never have been given this glimpse into his thoughts without this simple prompting. These conversations were sometimes pretty shallow and one-offs while others would require chewing over a few times. They paved the way for conversations into the future that had a significant influence on decisions he had to make and as he began to process some big life questions.

    Our kids have a lot of processing to do. Research into child theology tells us that around the age of 8 or 9, children start to process faith ideas differently. They begin to have significant questions and will begin to seek to find the answers. Sometimes as parents, this can be really daunting and we sometimes start to worry that our kids are having a faith crisis. But we don’t have to fear as these questions are generally a positive sign that our kids are starting to really engage with their faith. What we need to worry about is that they have somewhere these questions can get answered. In Deuteronomy 6, God instructs parents to talk about Him with their children throughout the day. The last thing we want is for our kids to find the answers to their questions through Google. It’s interesting to note that verse 20 says “When your children ask about ….” God knows our children will have questions and he wants us, as parents to be the ones engaging with our kids. We may not know all of the answers and that is totally fine. In fact when we seek the answers together we show kids how faith and understanding is a life-long process.

    If we want meaningful conversations when our kids are older, then we need to engage in conversations with them from a very young age. Paving the way for a culture of regular faith talks takes intentionality. We live in a world filled with distractions and busyness so we need to be in the moment with our kids. Putting our phone or iPad down, or turning the radio off in the car, gives a message of availability to our kids.

    Sometimes our faith conversations happen during an intentional devotional time as a family, and these conversations can be very rich. But often the most engaging conversations around faith happen in our day to day life as things happen. Having conversations in the moment as our kids share their daily struggles, challenges and triumphs are rich in opportunity. When we capture these times for speaking of our faith to our kids, it makes faith relevant to them. It takes their life and shines Jesus into it.

    The moment when our child is anxious about a test at school is the moment we can point to the assurance we have in Jesus that he will never leave us. The moment our teen is struggling with self-confidence is the moment we can affirm them with Psalm 139, that they have been fearfully and wonderfully made. The moment our kids wake in the middle of the night with a nightmare is the moment we can speak of God’s power and encourage them from Isaiah 43 with “Do not be afraid for I am with you”. Our lives are full of these moments with our kids and when we point to Jesus and our faith in these times, we help our kids to see the relevance of God for their lives.

    There is so much joy in sharing faith with children through talking with them. As you disciple your kids to grow in their faith I really do hope you enjoy each one of those special little moments of connection that enrich not only your relationship but help to brings our kids closer each day to Jesus.

     

    Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist Church

  3. Worship for Kids: more than a song?

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    An excerpt from one of my favourite KidMin blogs :

    “In today’s culture, worship has once again become associated to “music at church.” As we see the progression of worship in scripture we see it attached to the tabernacle and then later, to the temple. Very often, we see that when someone worshiped, they fell down. We see Jesus change the game a little bit in the conversation with the woman at the well in the gospel of John, chapter 4. He simply points out that people will begin to worship God differently. We see this emphasized in Romans 12 when Paul equates the sacrifice or offering of self as the act of worship. Have we gone back to attaching worship to a place…a style…a certain sound?

    In other words, the act of worshiping God should not be limited to style, tempo, location, volume, and so on. Do we force our own style or tastes on kids in the area of worship? I’m not talking about doctrine here. By all means, kid leaders must ensure that the lyrics are truthful and God-centered. I’m talking about the other things that we often equate with what is appropriate worship for children.

    Are we allowing children to make worship a regular part of their lives by allowing them to worship Him in spirit and in truth? Are we teaching them that worship and the music associated with it should extend into their everyday lives? Are you using music that is similar in style to what they might listen to at home or with their parents? (Again, this is not about lyrics.) If you don’t make an effort to connect with kids on a cultural level, you may limit their ability to extend what happens at church into their everyday lives. We want them to be ambassadors for Jesus, not defenders of a culturally disconnected church.” –Jeffrey Reed, Lifeway Kids (check out the link for more).

    An interesting point of view! Michelle Anthony puts it another way: are we giving out kids time to “be with Jesus“? Time for them to “hear from Jesus”? Are we giving them a chance to hear from the Holy Spirit, or just keeping them entertained with funny lyrics and entertaining actions? Our time of worship in our kids church services is not restricted to the music we play, but are we giving kids a chance to truly worship God when we play our music? If you would like some helpful resources and information on worship for kids – particularly worship music, then check out these links:

    Worship For Life

    Elements Kids Worship

    Hillsong Kids Worship

    Worship KidStyle

    There are tonnes more! Email qbkids@qb.com.au for more information on helping your kids and families worship God together 🙂

  4. Playing For Keeps

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    Recently I was in the USA, specifically Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennesee for a children’s ministry conference called CM CONNECT conference. (Check out CM Connect here: cmconnect.org). It became abundantly clear to me that God was calling us to prioritise reaching families, specifically parents, to help them disciple their children.

    Sunday school teachers (or kids church ministry leaders) have on average, 1-2 hours a week with our kids. Families have the rest. A lot can happen in a week. Here’s a quote from my favourite book at the moment, Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner & Kristen Ivy.

    Several years ago, we handed out jars of marbles to parents and to leaders who work with kids and teenagers. There were 936 marbles in each jar. 936 is the estimated number of weeks between birth and high school graduation. Parents and leaders were challenged to reduce the number of marbles in the jar to match the actual number of weeks they had left with each child. Then they were given a simple assignment: Remove one marble each week. Over time, the practice of losing marbles had a strange effect. It reminded them to value their time. It made each week matter a little more. It reinforced a simple principle: When you see how much time you have left, you tend to do more with the time you have now.

    “What are we doing with the time we have now? The reality is, children have a ‘best before’ date.”

    There comes a time when a child is no longer a child. And research indicates that once a child hits that date, they are no longer as open to the Gospel. 43% of all Americans who are Christians made decision to become a Christian before the age of 13, and 64% made the decision before the age of 18. Nine out of ten church leaders became Christians before they were 18. Evangelism is most effective amongst kids. (Check out the article here: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids#.VUmdsFwRrVp) It is true that whatever we learn as a child affects us into adulthood. The good and the bad. Things we are intentional about teaching children, and things we aren’t. Our time is precious, and short. So are we really going to relinquish all the time we have to teach them about the Gospel to the one hour a week that their Sunday School teachers have? (Note: Sunday school teachers totally rock for dedicating their time and energy into this one hour, and if you see a Sunday school teacher, you should definitely hug them, or high-five them, or whatever is appropriate according to your child safety policy. Just appreciate them!)

    “The point is, if you are investing in a kid or teenager, you are already making history every week. The problem is, when you’re making history, you usually don’t know it…Let’s think about it another way. Most kids don’t know what you’re doing this week is going to be a formative part of their history. They are just kids. They only see “now”. To them you just… built a sandcastle. Took them to swim lessons. Played basketball in the driveway. Saw a movie. Ate some pizza… But you are an adult. You see yesterday, today and tomorrow. So you should know better. You should realise by being present in their life week after week in a variety of different ways, you are actually making HISTORY.”

    The QB Kids and their Families team is passionate about awakening parents and church leaders to their calling to impact children for the Gospel. We are passionate about not just running ‘Sunday School’ programs (seriously, who wants to be at school on a Sunday?!) but reaching our young people, who are the most receptive to the Gospel, for the Gospel. To raise a generation who know the importance of life-long faith, not just church attendance.

    So we need to equip families to disciple their kids. And we want to help you do that. Here is a really great list of places you can start to learn more about equipping families to be Gospel-centered in their homes. To be investing time into making history. To disciple their kids in the short time they have, so that ‘when they are old they will not depart from it.’ (Proverbs 22:6).

    Start here. Start now. And if you want to know more, email qbkids@qb.com.au.

    Two books you can read:

    • Playing For Keeps by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy: orangebooks.com/books/playing-for-keeps-losing-your-marbles
    • Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: www.koorong.com/search/product/parenting-beyond-your-capacity-reggie-joiner-carey-nieuwhof/9781434764812.jhtml

     

    Or read access helpful resources here:

  5. Easter Resouces – The Best of the Best (And they’re FREE)

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     Easter is just around the corner, so I have rounded up my FAVOURITE FREE Easter resources, and posted links to them HERE IN THIS POST…

    It’s that WONDERFUL time of year we get to reflect on the cross, talk about the gospel, and how great Jesus is – on a national holiday! WOO!

    So here are some GREAT & FREE downloadable resources, I have researched my favourites, so HERE YOU GO! Take and use! And focus on what’s important this year at Easter!

    From LifeWay Kids (lifeway.com/kidsministry)

    • 3 Free LESSON PLANS, find them HERE: http://blog.lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife/spring-2014-kids-grades-1-6-extra-helps-and-bonus-easter-sessions/

    o Jesus Triumphal Entry (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5atuxzpf5U)
    o Crucifixion and Resurrection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKLoOm83pTg)
    o Jesus Gave Hope (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZfjiLK_17w)

    Find the Bible Story Videos for these weeks on Youtube^^

    • Additional colouring sheets here: http://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/2014/04/11/free-easter-coloring-pages-2/
    • Additional activity sheets: http://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/2014/03/28/free-easter-activity-pages/
    • Easy Easter Craft “Lamb Of God” http://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/2014/04/14/easy-easter-craft-the-lamb-of-god-2/

    From What’s In the Bible (whatsinthebible.com)

    • “What is the Gospel?” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uppjUEzOwOg
    • “Were You There?” Hymn video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tCMW5Fxtmo
    • What Is Easter? Colouring Page: http://whatsinthebible.com/activity-library/what-is-easter-cover-coloring-page/
    • Jesus is Risen Colouring Page: http://whatsinthebible.com/activity-library/jesus-risen-coloring-page/

    All resources are FREE to download, but check out both these websites for more resources to buy and use ALL YEAR round!
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    Footnotes: • http://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/ AND http://whatsinthebible.com

    Post date: 18/03/2015Post Author: Sally Contessi

  6. Lost Sheep Resources

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    When Jesus wanted to change lives he told stories. That’s what we do at Lost Sheep — and at the centre of our stories is Jesus. Some stories are about him, some are by him, but all of them point to him. We take the spirituality of children seriously but also believe the gospel is fun. Lost Sheep create resources to assist parents, teachers and children’s workers build the faith of kids in Aus!

    Why not purchase a Church Membership and receive multi-person instant access to all the Lost Sheep stories, activities and resources.

    There are digital stories for the big screen that will transform you into a storytelling dynamo. Activity books bursting with 600 printable activity sheets. And, if you feel you don’t know enough to teach the kids, check out the ‘Sheepdog school’ biblical background materials. Lost Sheep resources are excellent for Sunday schools, all age ministry, messy church and outreach.
    Download a free Cecil the Lost Sheep Storytelling kit, Sheepdog School and 32 page Activity Book. Test them out on the kids and oldies at your church.
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    Footnotes: http://lostsheep.com.auTry these resources for FREE! https://www.lostsheep.com.au/free-cecil/

    Post date: 18/02/2015Post Author: Sally Contessi

  7. Are You Wearing Your Seatbelt?

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    CHILD SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT.

    Yep, I said it. Arguably the 4 most boring (or scary) words in children’s ministry. I get it, you sit in front of the computer at the beginning of every year (if we’re lucky) and think of all the possible ways children can injure themselves at your ministry, and then dream up ways to prevent/manage them. It’s time consuming…
    So is pouring over volunteer application forms and blue card registries and children’s allergy lists. Unless you’re one of the few God blessed with the ability to get excited by excel spreadsheets and matrixes of data, then this side of children’s ministry bores (or scares) you to tears- if you even actually complete it!

    I have thought it to myself, too, “I signed up to tell kids about Jesus, and spend time playing with them, teaching them and loving them! I am NOT a risk-management person! Why does this have to be MY job!?” And when I finally get around that thought, I sit down in front of the reams of paperwork and think, “This is TOO hard, how on earth do I get this done, and WHERE do I start?” Finally, even when it’s done, I put my pen down and think, “Well I hope we’re never audited or have an accident because I’m really not sure we’d pass…”

    But here is the deal: Risk management and child safety are non-negotiable, fundamentally important aspects of our programs. For a start, if we aren’t compliant with legislation, not only are we putting our churches at risk of litigation, we are putting our teams of leaders at risk of the same. If we let our risk assessments and child safety slide, we are putting our kids at risk of danger – and that is exactly what Jesus instructs us not to do. Matthew 18:6 tells us that if anyone causes offense to a child, it would be better for them to have a millstone around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Jesus takes child protection pretty seriously.

    Risk assessments and child safety is like wearing a seatbelt. It is habit to put on your seatbelt when you get into the car because a) it is the law and b) you don’t want to go flying through the windscreen of the car in an accident. You don’t wear it because every time you get in the car you know you’ll need it – rather, you wear it because you never know when you will. You don’t want the one time you forgot it to be the time you slam into the car in front, and you certainly better hope that if that happens, that you had it clicked in properly. (None of this wearing-it-under-your-arm nonsense). Child safety is the same. It should be habit. It should be done every time you get behind the wheel of children’s ministry – because it’s the law, and because it will help you should you have an accident- and you never know what day that might be.

    It’s foolish to think that we are under some sort of special exemption just because we belong to churches. If anything, we should have a higher standard of child safety management, so that when people ask if they can trust us with their children, we can be sure that they can. Our churches should be lights to our community, places of hope and safety – not darkness and danger. And I know it’s hard, and time consuming and at times confusing- so we want to help.

    Many of our churches use the “Child Safe” program – we encourage you. It is a very detailed and thorough program that covers all – above and beyond- the issues and requirements of our current child safety laws. Many of you, however, have expressed that ChildSafe is too much for your ministry, and you are a volunteer who has no experience with child safety, and don’t know how to comply with the law or keep your kids safe, because you’re unsure where to start.

    SO HERE WE GO

    To cater for churches who are unable to adopt ChildSafe for any reason, Queensland Baptists has produced an alternative risk management strategy that complies with the legislative requirements and is simpler to implement. A copy of this strategy can be obtained from Ken Conwell, our Professional Standards Officer (and all-round superhero). In addition, we have partnered with Baptist Insurance Services, and have come up with some tools to make it easier for you. We have simple, easy to read documents you can access to read all you need to know on how to comply with the law for child safety. We have also put together an example ‘risk management’ strategy matrix that you can download, use and adapt to suit your ministry, rather than try to start from scratch. We are doing all we can to help, because at the end of the day, we know that you really do want to be sitting on the floor playing with the kids, not at the desk filling out files – and we really do want you there too. So take these tools, and please let us help you keep your kids safe, so you can spend more time telling them about Jesus.
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    Footnotes: http://baptistinsurance.com.au/Risk-Management-For-Churches Check out this link for helpful resources you can download for free!  • For more information on these forms, tools and resources, and more information about child safety and risk management for your children’s ministry, please contact Ken by emailing ken.conwell@qb.com.au or me (Sally) at qbkids@qb.com.au

    Post date: 04/02/2015Post Author: Sally Contessi

  8. It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS

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    It is that time of year again! Maybe you’re SUPER EXCITED! Maybe you just groaned because you can’t face another year of mayhem. Maybe you’re panicking because you can’t believe it’s here already! Maybe you’re apprehensive as to what you will possibly do that’s different this year- whatever you feel, look no further. We have ideas for you!

    If you’re like me, Christmas carols are sung in the car at the top of your lungs, all year around. Decorations are up as soon as the first signs in Coles and the presents are wrapped and sitting under the tree by November! I LOVE Christmas! I get as excited at this time of year as… well… a kid at Christmas!

    But maybe you’re a bit nervous about what you’ll possibly come up with this year for your kids. It can be a bit daunting trying to come up with new, exciting ideas every year. But! Never fear! Be encouraged! Because here’s the truth: We aren’t meant to make Christmas exciting! (I know – just go with me here!)

    The Christmas story, in essence, is the Gospel. Our Creator, despite our sin, sent His Son, to save us. And every year we get an excuse to shout to the world JESUS IS REAL AND HE WANTS TO SAVE YOU! If you’re excited about preaching THAT this year- then you won’t need to pull your hair out trying to come up with new fun things to make Christmas great. It already IS great, we just need to stress less about making the perfect program and focus ourselves more on spreading the good news of Jesus 🙂

    Here are some GREAT resources you can access to help make your kids ministry a gospel-centered one this year. Forget about hot glue guns, snowflake making, wise men costumes, angel wings and donkey masks unless you can show your kids the real reason behind why we celebrate this time of year. We are going to point these kids to Jesus!

    Below are some great links to resources that will help you make your kids ministry all about JESUS this Christmas…

    What’s In The Bible with Buck Denver – Christmas Resources
    What’s in The Bible with Buck Denver – Christmas Short Videos
    The Gospel Project for Kids – Christmas Downloadable Lessons

    Here is a sneak peek at some of the great Christmas videos at What’s In the Bible (whatsinthebible.com)


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    Footnotes: If you would like more Christmas resources for FREE or would like some more information or even just want help accessing these ones, please email qbkids@qb.com.au today!

    Post date: 17/11/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  9. FREE Family Devotions for your church family!

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    If you want to encourage families in your church or community to be investing int heir child’s spiritual lives, here is a way to do it effectively! It is a fact that the biggest and most effective influence in a child’s spiritual life is their parents. So if you want to be reaching kids and families for more than just the hour you see them each week, here is a way you can do it FOR FREE!

    We all want to be able to reach kids for Jesus the best way we can – but we know that in order to make a REAL difference, we need to see whole families worshipping God together, and spending time with Jesus together as a family. It’s tough trying to equip parents, especially when they aren’t sure how to start these sorts of spiritual conversations, so HERE is a really simple way to help them. Email out FREE family devotions for them to do each week – from SPLINK!

    Splink is a simple way to link your family together spiritually. Through FREE weekly emails packed with ideas, Splink helps you and your family engage in conversation. Whether it’s making memories or having fun together, Splink allows you to capture those teachable moments to impress spiritual truths and life lessons on your kids. No matter where you are, there’s always time to Splink!

    Check it out… JUST HIT SUBSCRIBE! d6family.com/splink/ (see the link in the ‘Footnotes’ section of this post)

    For more information, email Sally at qbkids@qb.org.au
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    Footnotes: http://d6family.com/splink/

    Post date: 01/09/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  10. Ministry Focus: Brigades in Our Communities

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    Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate…

    Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate. No matter what the ill of society, it tends to downward spiral and eventually land with its cruellest and most smothering impact on our littlest citizens. Small, weak, helpless, innocent, vulnerable and trusting, they are waiting victims for our simple neglect and most evil abuse. No matter what goes wrong, the little ones pay the greatest price…Our most vunerable citizens have become the world’s most disposable commodity.” (Too Small To Ignore, 2005, page 3).

    Children are often left voiceless in our society. They rely on us, the adults of the world, to be their advocates. So often we do a terrible job of protecting them, and our ‘advocate’ status translates to nothing more than ‘child-minder’; someone baby-sitting the children until they grow into someone who can really ‘offer something’. But it is clear from Jesus example in the Gospels, and all throughout the Bible, that we are charged with being the ‘voice for the voiceless.” Followers of Jesus are to reach out to those who cannot speak up for themselves, and to fight for them.

    A few months ago I met with the state co-ordinators for Girls and Boys brigades. Both Girls’ and Boys’ brigades do an amazing job of reaching children of the community, investing in them and their families and training them to be influential Christ-followers in their own communities. Brigades across our state are gathering together in many shapes and forms to give fathers to the fatherless, mothers to the motherless, to build leadership skills and invest in children so that they know their worth isn’t in what society tells them, but in the love of Jesus Christ. I was encouraged to hear stories of boys without dads who came to brigade and now have godly men investing time into their lives and showing them what a good father can be like. There are stories of girls who have been bullied at school coming to brigades to find a place where it doesn’t matter what clothes they wear or how good they are at something, but find worth in knowing godly women want to spend time teaching them about Christ.

    Brigades of this state are doing a wonderful job of not just advocating for the importance of investing in young people in our society, but also reaching the community in a tangible and effective way so that churches have a way they can connect with families and build meaningful relationships with them. I was so encouraged by meeting with these passionate leaders of brigades that I asked them to share some of their experiences so that you too could see the difference they are making. Below is a story from Glenda Brooks, the state co-ordinator for Girl’s Brigade.

    “During the first week of January, 145 girls and 50 leaders from all over Australia congregated at the Currumundi Campsite on the Sunshine Coast. The theme for the week was “Rise, Shine for your Light has come.” from Isaiah 60:1. As part of the activities for the week, the girls were challenged in the “Shine” sessions by Chaplain Jess Currie to rise, shine and let the Light take over the dark areas of their lives.

    At least ten girls made first time commitments and for many the comment was “I have not been walking very close to God but this week has re-awakened my desire to get close to Him again.” Girls’ Brigade is a ministry within seventeen Baptist Churches around Queensland.”

    If you or your church is involved with Girls’ and/or Boys’ Brigade, be encouraged that what you are doing is not out-dated or unimportant. You have a real and exciting opportunity to invest in the children of our society and to teach them about Christ and the worth they have in Him, in a way that truly shows Jesus’ love. I hope that this article encourages you as much as meeting with these leaders encouraged me, and that you are led to pray for, invest in and partner with those who are reaching the marginalised in our society. It’s what Jesus did, and it’s what we are called to do. (Luke 19:9-10)
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    Post date: 14/05/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi

  11. What is “fruit that will last” ?

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    A question I am often asked about children’s ministry is “what program do you use for your ministry?”. 

    As the end of the year comes up quickly I am already looking at what programs are available for 2014. There is a smorgasbord of children’s ministry programs available, all fun, vibrant and informative. The choice is tough, because I want to choose one that is equally as fun as it is engaging with the Bible. I want kids who attend our church to know that Jesus is King and Saviour- but I also want them to have fun while they learn. There are so many programs available, I find myself asking what makes one program better than the rest; which would “grow more fruit” than the others.

    But what does it mean to have children ‘grow fruit’? How do you measure the spiritual ‘fruit’ of a child? How do you know when the lesson you’ve taught them has sunk from head to heart? James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. When children start to use their hands to demonstrate what they know in their heart, then we can see real ‘fruit’. But what is this ‘fruit’? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, as in Galatians chapter 5? Is it telling others about Jesus like He says in John 15? How do we know that what we are teaching will last?

    Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Yet statistics in Australia are telling us that once a child becomes an adolescent, they are much less likely to stay at church, and more often than not, leave church altogether. So what is this ‘fruit’ that will last and what do we teach that they ‘will not depart from it,’?

    While many children’s programs and lessons are vibrant, fun and informative, we often unintentionally measure their ‘fruit’ or effectiveness by how much Bible knowledge or moral conscience children have. But knowledge of how many colours in the rainbow in the story of Noah is not enough. Knowing the difference between a ‘whale’ and a ‘big fish’ in the story of Jonah is helpful, but not life-changing. Even memorizing Bible verses each week is ineffective if children have no idea why they are learning them. In a world where children know that there are ten commandments, but don’t know why God’s people were given them, and when children know that Zaccheus was short but not that Jesus forgave his sins, faith becomes little more than head knowledge. In that world, blessings become ‘gold stars’ that God ‘gives’ to ‘good people’ and sin is something that only ‘bad people’ do. There is no need for Jesus in that world – and that is not what we desire. In fact, we desire the opposite.

    We want children to know God. We want them to know that he made the rainbow as a promise to Noah, because God is good and His glory is magnificent. We want children to know that Jonah was swallowed by a ‘big fish’ in an act of undeserved grace by our loving heavenly Father. We want them to know the Bible. But more than that, we want them to know Jesus. Personally and authentically, for themselves. We want to see kids bringing their friends to church because they want them to hear about God’s love. We want to see kids praying for their world because they see the need for Jesus around them. We want to see them worshipping God in song because they are overwhelmed with the grace He has shown them. This is the fruit we strive for. Whether we talk about the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit in Galatians or the ‘fruit’ that is telling people about Jesus, children will only move from head-knowledge to heart-felt action when they are moved by God’s Holy Spirit.

    We are blessed to be able to partner with Him in this ministry. We get to see the Holy Spirit grow ‘fruit’ in children when we cease to try to do it ourselves with only programs. The best way we can make a real difference in the lives of children is to be like Him ourselves. Our love for Jesus should be so obvious in our ministry to children that they want it for themselves. If we want to see children grow ‘fruit’ and have faith that will last – it needs to start in our own lives.

    -If we want to see children passionate for Jesus Christ, we need to be passionate for Jesus Christ. (Be an example)
    -If we want to see children telling others about God’s love, we must tell others about God’s love. (Be an example)
    -If we want to see children praying to their Heavenly Father in all circumstances, first, guess what? We must pray often and with them! (Be an example)

    Fruit that will last stems from a heartfelt passion for Jesus – and that overflows into others’ lives. Children will want to tell their friends about Jesus love when they experience it for themselves. They won’t want to memorise bible verses to win prizes, they’ll be doing it so they can tell their friends at school. Our programs and intentions can be wonderful, but if they aren’t pointing kids directly to the source of the wonder, they aren’t worth the time it takes to photocopy. We need children transformed by Jesus’ love, and they will see this love when we show them what it looks like.
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    Post date: 16/04/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi