Sometimes discipleship looks like a birthday party. As a church family, we can partner with parents by simply being present in the life of their child. On this episode of Better Children’s Ministry, David Jesse talks with Tara Thomas about what role the church plays in discipling children and some of the ways a children’s ministry leader can partner with parents.
2:17 – Common dynamics between children’s ministry and parents
5:33 – Inviting parents to serve
7:40 – There’s so much going on in a family’s life
8:50 – We all play a part in discipling children
10:23 – Kids benefit from having other adults disciple them too
12:30 – Encouragement, take two (re-recorded segment)
13:49 – What are we already doing right?
15:22 – Sometimes discipleship looks like a birthday party
Looking for volunteers? Check the youth group!
Many churches have eager, excited teens who want to serve their church, and children’s ministry is often a natural fit. In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Tara Thomas talks with David Jesse about what a huge blessing teenagers can be to a church’s KidMin. When we disciple these young leaders, we are investing in believers who are just beginning a life lived in service to Christ. It’s a special privilege to pour into those who will be pouring into our churches for generations to come.
2:16 – Teenagers are a huge blessing to children’s ministry
4:22 – What are some differences in the needs of teen volunteers?
7:28 – How can we encourage teens to serve in KidMin?
8:27 – We can invite teenagers into the life of the church
9:23 – Encouragement for teens from God’s Word
11:22 – Encouragement for leaders
It seems like there’s an undertone in many churches that children’s ministry is “pre-ministry.” The idea is that we’re serving people who are not yet old enough to have true faith in God, or maybe make a meaningful contribution to the life of the church.
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse talks with Daniel Watts about the value place on children by Jesus himself. When our focus in church is on discipleship and life transformation, we can help even the youngest among us experience a life dedicated to following Jesus and being part of His family.
4:29 – Is children’s ministry REAL ministry?
6:39 – Why would Jesus waste his time with toddlers?
8:20 – Is Christianity all about decision making and understanding?
10:47 – Some of the best disciples are children
12:35 – Helping children feel like they’re part of God’s family
16:25 – Encouragement for the discouraged
A big responsibility within children’s ministry is equipping and encouraging those who are directly discipling boys and girls. On this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse talks with Krysten Norkaitis, EGM’s Leadership Developer, about some of the most effective strategies for training volunteers and encouraging them in their own spiritual lives.
Krysten shares about the impact that simple acts of love and kindness can have on a child’s spiritual growth and how the most important qualification for any KidMin participant is their love for God and for children.
0:50 – Getting a little too creative with the Creation story
6:05 – What it takes to be involved in children’s ministry
8:30 – The impact of Mr. Dennis
10:00 – There’s nothing more important than love
11:30 – Reminding them how important the work is
14:08 – What does God’s Word say about equipping volunteers?
16:49 – Tips to Pastors/Directors
19:33 – Tips for volunteers
“Creativity” can be a scary word for some of us. Many people don’t feel equipped to teach children because they don’t feel like they’re creative people. On this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Krysten Norkaitis chats with David Jesse about what “being creative” really means.
4:20 – That 8 year old in your class might grow up to be in your shoes
6:20 – What’s the worst way to teach the Bible to children?
7:59 – Common misunderstandings of creativity
8:28 – An exercise for cultivating creativity
12:33 – What does God’s Word say about creativity?
13:39 – Why is being creative so intimidating?
15:28 – Practical tips for teaching the Bible creatively
18:05 – Encouragement for the discouraged
As VBS season continues, David Jesse sat down with Tara Thomas to talk about her experience this year. Her church designed a VBS program with differently-abled children in mind.
In this episode, David and Tara talk about the inherent value of every person created in the image of God and what a blessing it has been for her church to minister to special needs children and families in the local community. Tara offers encouragement to children’s ministry leaders – or anyone, really – who wants to create a welcoming environment at church for people with special needs.
3:19 – VBS looks a little different at Tara’s church
7:03 – Why are some families with special needs children reluctant to come to church?
10:42 – Immeasurable joys
13:53 – Welcome partners in the life of the church
15:52 – A wake-up call and an opportunity
17:43 – We have a gift from God coming into our churches
19:27 - God equips the called
Experiential teaching – helping children experience the feelings associated with a Bible truth – is not a method invented by EGM. In fact, it is modeled by Jesus himself and takes its cues from Deuteronomy 6. In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse and Daniel Watts talk about why experiential teaching is a crucial element of ministry when our goal is life transformation.
Download a FREE Bible lesson that follows the biblical principles of discipleship found in Deuteronomy 6: https://egmworld.org/bible-study-for-kids/
1:12 – The “them” in “Talk About Them” is really important
3:13 – Creating an experiential activity
7:14 – There’s 500 children in Chile who think Americans hold their chairs during church
10:44 – Experiential activities in the EGM office
14:00 – Bringing the everyday experiences of life into Sunday morning
16:12 – This isn’t a teaching method invented by EGM
18:52 – Encouragement for the discouraged
“So in a lot of children’s ministry work, there’s Bible stories told, Bible communicated, then there’s some questions and if the kids can get the right answers, then the kids are happy, the teacher’s happy, the parents are happy….but underneath the surface is all this real life stuff that’s going on with children that never gets touched.”
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David talks with Daniel Watts about why it is crucial to create an environment where boys and girls can talk about what’s happening in their everyday lives and how God’s Word relates to that.
5:15 – Bridging God’s Word into our real lives
10:20 – It’s super hard!
12:19 – You can say what you really think at church
14:00 – If it’s meaningful to them, it’s meaningful to us
18:15 – Children are formulating views that will carry into adulthood
19:46 – Become comfortable with the awkward and the messy
As we disciple children, as we model our Savior, as we try to live out the life that he would have lived, as we model Christ and help children become more like Christ, praying has to be a big part of that. In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Tara Thomas and David Jesse share about the honor and responsibility of leading children into the presence of the Lord.
2:00 – A children’s prayer conference in Egypt
5:20 – When prayer time gets real
6:45 – Kids have real problems just like us
8:03 – As disciplers, we must build prayer into our Bible lesson time
11:57 – The children we lead will teach us about God as we pray together
16:20 – Leading kids to the presence of the Lord
19:08 – Encouragement for the discouraged
Have you ever been personally transformed by the Bible lesson you prepared for KidMin? Spending time with God’s Word before presenting it to children is an important aspect of biblical leadership. In this episode, David is joined by Tara Thomas, EGM’s Mobilization Coordinator and a former Children’s Ministry Director. Tara shares about the challenges we face trying to prepare our hearts before Sunday morning and the importance of weighing the “urgent” against the “important.”
4:34 – Spiritual transformation in the life of a child starts with spiritual transformation in our own lives
5:16 – Weighing the urgent against the important
8:20 – Scheduling time to sit before the Lord before we lead on Sunday
9:49 – It benefits children to watch their leaders be transformed by God’s Word
14:06 – Discipleship is about more than teaching
14:51 – Encouragement for the discouraged
If we only do one thing in children’s ministry, it must be helping boys and girls connect God’s Word to their real life. Even if we have a super creative Bible lesson, a fun craft and the best snack prepared, we haven’t done our jobs if the children leave church unsure about real-life Bible application. We want to help them answer the question, “So What?” This episode of “Better Children’s Ministry” is about how to do that.
2:00 – What is the “So What” issue?
5:40 – “So What?” is not just a struggle in the KidMin world
8:42 – Knowing the real lives of the kids we serve
12:48 – “Talk About Them”
17:45 – Getting the right answers isn’t the goal
18:40 – Encouragement for the discouraged
Is there a kid in your church who might be more difficult to love than others? When you see them coming, do you cringe inwardly? In this episode, David and Daniel discuss the importance of ministering to boys and girls with a Gospel mindset.
2:18 – The sister of Attila the Hun
7:44 – We can be hopeful that God will use and transform troubled children
10:02 - Misbehavior can be addressed differently in church than in school
12:35 – Practical tips for managing a misbehaving child
14:20 – When spiritual transformation is our goal, motive matters
18:06 – Approaching misbehaving children with a Gospel mindset
20:02 – Ministering to misbehavior requires more people
22:00 – Encouragement for the discouraged
There is often a temptation in ministry to judge our success by big numbers and big programming that creates a lot of “buzz” around activities. Daniel reminisces about the best KidMin buzz he ever generated and how to refocus our ministry on the real lives of boys and girls.
1:50 – What’s “the buzz?”
4:38 – The KidMin “machine”
8:10 – Going Mach-8 with your hair on fire
10:00 – Making taco salads in garbage cans
16:28 – Big outreach and relational discipleship isn’t an either/or situation
20:19 – Children are attracted to genuine relationships, transformational teaching and a sense of belonging.
27:04 – Encouragement for the discouraged
Yep, you know the one. Why is it so difficult to find people to serve in children's ministry? Daniel Watts, EGM's President, talks to David about casting vision for KidMin and helping others realize their calling to serve boys and girls.
1:54 – Daniel Watts introduces himself
4:00 – Children’s ministry in a bathroom, under some trees and peeking through windows
5:25 – The Caspers
6:54 – Why do KidMin volunteers back out of their commitment so often?
10:48 – Seeing KidMin as a calling
17:00 – Casting vision for children’s ministry
18:07 – Re-recruiting ourselves
20:50 – Helping our church members realize their calling
26:58 – Mr. Pebbles
28:14 – The spiritual significance of the 2-year-olds class
31:33 – Encouragement for the discouraged
Welcome to Better Children’s Ministry! Here's an overview of what this podcast is all about.
2:10 – What Jesus thinks about ministry to children
4:08 – What makes this KidMin podcast different?
6:16 – What does Jonah and the big whale have to do with the real life of a five-year-old?
6:48 – The format of each show
9:50 – Who got into children’s ministry because they love paperwork and budgets? Beuller?
11:15 – Decades of KidMin experience around the world
12:53 – How to stay connected to EGM