“Truth” is one of the five principles found in Deuteronomy 6 that we use at EGM when we work with churches to disciple children. Each of them -- Relationship, Experience, Truth, Discussion and Response – works to provide children with opportunities to respond to God and experience the transformed life He intends for them.
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Tara and Kelli discuss some of the best – and worst – ways to teach the Truth to boys and girls in church.
5:25 – What is the worst way to teach the Bible to children?
7:11 – Tara’s favorite ways to teach Bible truth
11:48 – Practical tips when considering how to teach this week
13:10 – We can teach creatively without buying new supplies
14:48 – What does God’s Word say about how we should teach God’s Word?
18:05 – Encouragement as we look for new, fresh ways to teach
When our goal in children’s ministry is life transformation, it becomes increasingly important to ensure every child has a discipleship relationship. One of the most practical ways we can facilitate relational ministry is in a small group setting.
On this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Tara Thomas and Kelli Johnson discuss the advantages and challenges of ministering to boys and girls in small groups.
3:14 – The special relationships we develop in a small group setting
5:39 – How children relate differently to their leaders and to each other in small groups
7:26 – The challenges we face when ministering in small groups
10:37 – How to handle radio silence
12:49 – What does the Bible say about the value of small groups?
16:24 – Jesus himself modeled small group relationships
16:46 – Encouragement when considering small groups
Many children’s ministry leaders express a desire to have a better relationship with their senior pastors and senior leadership. On this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” Kelli Johnson and Tara Thomas talk with Jed Manimtim, Executive Pastor at Sunridge Community Church in Temecula, about both sides of this very important relationship. Jed and Tara share about how pastors and children’s ministry leaders can encourage each other and work together to disciple children.
5:20 – The value of children’s ministry in the life of a church
9:27 – How can pastors support children’s ministry?
13:48 – Our relationships with church leaders have layers
14:46 – How can pastors empower and encourage KidMin leaders?
16:24 – How can children’s ministry leaders encourage their pastors?
19:16 – Relating to our pastors when there is no problem that needs solving
20:15 – What does God’s Word say about children’s ministry?
24:09 – Equipping parents together
27:18 – A prayer from Tara
There is a special honor that comes with ministering to boys and girls who aren’t quite old enough to hear and respond to a Bible lesson – at least not in ways we can see. We are talking about infants and children in the church nursery. Jesus himself spent time blessing “little children” by picking them up and laying hands on them. The disciples seemed to think the world would not be changed by holding babies and squandering time with little children, but Jesus’ reaction was different.
In this episode of "Better Children's Ministry," Tara Thomas and Kelli Johnson discuss the unique privilege of serving some of the most helpless among us by ministering in the church nursery. In God’s Kingdom, power is shown in sacrifice. The last are first and the greatest are the least. We do important, impactful Kingdom work when we spend time holding babies.
3:30 – The joys of serving in the nursery
4:52 – What gifting is important for serving in the nursery?
6:17 – What does transformational ministry to babies look like?
8:05 – What does the Bible say about holding babies?
11:10 – Encouragement for those serving the babies of the family
It’s October, which means that a lot of kids in our churches will probably be trick-or-treating and dressing up in costumes. Around the time of Halloween and our fall celebrations, the topic of fear, or being afraid, comes up a lot. There’s a lot of cultural expression around this time of year here in the U.S. that involves dressing up as something scary or wanting to scare people for fun.
But the reality of fear is about so much more than just October and Halloween. Fears don’t always go away as we get older. All of us have experienced fear at some point, and the Bible has a lot to say about it.
In this episode of Better Children’s Ministry, Tara Thomas and Kelli Johnson discuss how we as children’s ministry leaders can comfort children who experience fear and model a godly response to fear in our own lives.
5:45 – How can we as adults help children feel safe to open up when they have fears?
8:44 – It it’s important to the child, it’s important to us
10:37 – How can comfort a child who is experiencing fear when they’re with us at church?
13:38 – There are different kinds of fear
15:30 – Scripture memorization as a response to fear
16:47 – Let the Lord speak into our fears
20:10 – What does the Bible say about responding to fear?
25:34 – Download a free Bible lesson on fear right now!
Every Generation Ministries believes every child can experience the transformed life Jesus intends for them. That is why we help churches give children opportunities to respond to God in their real lives.
The Word of God is intended to impact every single area of our lives. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, part of the command from God is to practice the truths of God. For this reason, “response” is one of the five principles from this passage that EGM uses to help churches disciple children.
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse and Tara Thomas discuss the practical ways we can encourage children to respond to God’s Word in their real lives.
4:07 – The blessing of watching children respond to Bible truth
6:30 – Children do ministry too
8:55 – How can we facilitate opportunities for response?
11:49 – Hearing and obeying God’s Word
13:04 – Response activity examples
14:44 – “You will be blessed if you do them.”
15:36 – Encouragement as we help children respond to God
The real-life experiences of children in the U.S. vary greatly. The life of a child in a rural southern town is not the same as the life of a child in a major northeastern city. How do we use the children’s ministry curriculum we have most effectively to speak into the lives of the particular children we serve?
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse and Tara Thomas discuss the most important elements of Bible teaching materials that are focused on transformation in the life of a child.
3:02 – What elements of a KidMin curriculum are most important?
4:05 – The challenges of meeting every child’s need with curriculum
10:00 – The value of a singular lesson aim for each Bible lesson
11:34 – Lesson aim examples
12:24 – First, let the lesson change you
13:38 – What does the Bible say about how we teach the Bible?
15:09 – Does every aspect of our time together point back to our lesson aim?
A big part of help children experience the transformed life Jesus intends for them is creating an environment at church where children want to be, and that means helping children have FUN. Although we don’t want the whole point of church to be about entertainment, God’s Word places a high priority on joy in the Christian life.
In this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse and Daniel Watts talk about how “fun” can be different for different kids and how real fun in church is experiencing relationships and being known.
2:21 – Why is having fun and experiencing joy so important in children’s ministry?
3:30 - Flooding the church bathroom and refrigerator box tag
8:28 – The definition of “fun” is different for different kids
9:20 – How can we help make church a fun place for children?
10:50 – What does the Bible say about the value of fun and joy?
14:18 – Real fun and joy in the church is having relationships and being known
Every Generation Ministries believes every child can experience the transformed life Jesus intends for them. That is why we help churches around the world disciple children using five principles from Deuteronomy 6.
We talk about discipleship a lot on this podcast because it’s really at the core of why EGM exists. On this episode of “Better Children’s Ministry,” David Jesse and Daniel Watts talk about what discipleship is, what evangelism is, where those ideas come from, and why they're both important in children's ministry.
2:54 – What is discipleship?
4:17 – Are there differences between discipleship and evangelism?
5:39 – Discipleship and evangelism are not opposing ideas
7:35 – Focus on proclaiming Good News – to all children
9:13 – How do we develop a discipleship relationship with kids we see for 1 hour per week?
13:21 – Part of discipleship is modeling mistakes, humility, repentance and forgiveness
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