God Questions

If you could ask God any question, what would it be?  That’s the question I posed to the kids at church this past Sunday.  It was Mustache Night at KidVenture and I wanted to know what questions they “mustache” God.

We actually did this in both KidVenture and Kidz Church so all kids were able to participate.  Our younger classes drew pictures for God and wrote at the top of their paper their questions, while our older kids wrote down their questions on photo (45)speech bubble cut-outs.  I then took all the questions and put them on our “We mustache God a question” bulletin board.  It’s been fun watching everyone stop by and read these great questions.

The younger kids asked things like:  How are my grandparents?  Can you say hello to my kitten for me?  How old are you?  How do you make flowers?  How are things in heaven?

Some of the questions were silly:  When were t-shirts invented?  Do you like pants?  Do you like brussel sprouts?  Are beards a mistake?  Is Harry Potter real?  Did you make the world with your nose?  I think these were some of our older kids being silly!

However, there were some really good questions:  Jesus, will you live in my heart forever?  What is heaven like?  What is the exact time and date of my death?  Why did you create the world?

I enjoyed reading all of the questions from our kids.  I love their innocence and simplicity in asking God their questions.   Adults have deeper questions:   Why did this happen to me?  Why do good people die?  Why did you have to take my loved one so young?  Will you provide for me?  Why do I have to tithe?  Why is there evil in the world?   Why isn’t there peace on earth?  Do you really forgive us of all our sins?  Are you there God?

You may be struggling in your life and in your ministry right now.  You may be wondering if God even hears your prayers.  Remember the story of Elijah from 1 Kings 19 when he fled to Mount Horeb because  he feared for his life?  He was wanting to hear from God so God told him to stand on the mountain for he was about to pass by.  There came a strong wind, but he was not there.  Then came an earthquake, but he was not there.  Then a fire, but he was not there.  After that there was complete silence.  That is when he heard God speaking to him.

Many of you may be like Elijah, really wanting to hear from God, especially after something has happened in your life that has you questioning many things.  Where is God and does he hear me?  Yes, God is with you.  Yes, God does hear you.  Ask  your questions and then be silent and listen.  God will speak.

What questions do you want to ask God today?

Tourist Night

You all know how much I love a good theme night in Children’s Ministry!  Last night at our KidVenture program, it was Tourist Night!!  So, you may be asking, what made you pick Tourist for a theme night?  Our small town of Dahlonega is considered a very “touristy” town.  We are located in the mountains of North Georgia.  It’s also the site of the first major U.S. gold rush in 1828.  Lots of history in this little town and the city of Dahlonega has done an awesome job at making our town so beautiful (check out our city page:  www.dahlonega.org).  Many, many people flock here, especially in the fall as it’s gorgeous when the leaves are changing colors.  Tourists are all over the Square (our downtown) every weekend.  So, with our city being such a tourist hot spot, why not make a fun night of it for our kids at church?

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My Crazy Tourist Lady outfit

The kids were asked to come dressed in their “tourist” outfits.  I was so impressed with all of their creativeness!  We had Disney tourists,  Hawaiian tourists, Hollywood tourists, and we even had one boy came dressed in his cape and mask and said he was Robin touring Gotham City!  I loved the crazy hats, fanny packs, cameras, umbrellas, and all the tacky outfits!  Of course, I had to add to the tackiness!  I pulled together an outfit  from things at my home and the kids said I was the “Crazy Tourist Lady”.  Yes, I guess you could say I was!

Our Bible story for the night dealt with Paul and Silas in prison.  What does that have to do with tourists?  Remember that these men traveled all over telling others about Jesus.  They saw many cities and got to meet new people and experience different things in each of the cities they visited.  In one city, the people did not like them talking about Jesus and they were arrested and put in prison (Acts 16:16-26).  Despite their incarceration, these men sang songs of praise to God and prayed.  They gave thanks to God no matter what.  That’s what we wanted our children to remember.  Even in the hard times, we give thanks to our Lord.

I didn’t decorate the hall for the night, but I did plan some fun activities for the kids.  Here is what we did:

Class Map of our Town                                                                                                                                                              

Our 3-year olds & Pre-K kids designed a class map of our town.  The leaders reminded them that many people come to Dahlonega on the weekends to tour our city.  They asked them what some of their favorite places in Dahlonega are.   Using light brown butcher paper, they created one big class map of Dahlonega, listing the places that the children mentioned.  The kids drew a square and colored it which represented their favorite place in Dahlonega.  The leader then wrote above the square the name of the place and drew roads to connect all of their favorite places.  After they finished, the map was hung in their classroom.

Create-Your-Own-Map                                                                                                                                                                

Our Kindergarten and 1st Graders designed their own maps.  The leaders also talked with them about their favorite places in Dahlonega.  They did the same things as the younger ones, but created their own maps using the light brown butcher paper.  Then they folded them (like a map) and took them home.

Tourist Scavenger Hunt                                                                                                                                                             

Our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th/5th grade classes went on a Tourist Scavenger Hunt around the town Square!   Our church is located 2 blocks off the Square so it’s great that we can walk and do things around town with the kids.  Each class was given a list of places around the Square that are fun spots for tourists to visit.  Their job was to get a group picture (or group selfie) at each location.  Some of the places were shops, some with certain things inside a shop, one was even in front of the bathrooms at our local park (every tourist I’m sure makes a stop there!).  After their picture was taken, they each had to say one thing that they were thankful for.  They could not say the same thing twice either.  We all had fun running all over the Square taking photos!

A theme night can be as fun as you make it.  Whatever you want to do, go for it!  You can decorate as little or as elaborate as you like.  If you are all in, then the kids will be too.   Have fun with it!  The kids will remember it.  Below are some of my favorite pictures from the night.

Red Carpet Tacky Night

I love a good theme night in our Children’s Ministry.  They are fun!  The kids really love it and it just makes things more exciting!

This theme night is a fun event to kick off a new program.  It’s Red Carpet Tacky Night.  This was a movie premiere night theme.  To make it more fun for the kids, we told them to dress in tacky clothes and “walk down the red carpet”.  I was so impressed by all the tackiness!  The kids and volunteers really got into it!10628500_10152398628051589_4573948016191562019_n

Here are some things we did to make it a fun night:

1.  Decorations    In my search for some cool decorations, I went directly to Oriental Trading.  From OT, I bought some film strip rolls (which are called Premier Night Table Runner), but they are more poster-like and I used them on the wall making the film strip look like it was rolling.   I also bought film strip ceiling decorations, the red carpet (which was red gossamer fabric), a movie buff inflatable (which was a big Oscar statue), movie night tissue door rope, peel and stick stars (for the floor), 2 directors clapboards, and some stick costume props.

I like to make one wall the focal point for our theme nights.  For this night, I created a red curtain as the backdrop.  I bought rectangle red tablecloths from Wal-Mart and attached them to a string.  I folded the top of the tablecloth over the string and stapled it to make it stay.  By using a string, you can bunch up the tablecloths which gives it the effect of a real curtain.  On top of the red curtains, I attached the film poster and made it roll up every now and then which made it look like the film was rolling.  Then I blew up the Oscar statue and put it right in front of the red curtain backdrop.

I like to hang things on the ceiling, so I took the film strip ceiling decoration and hung it in front of the focal point wall and all the way down the main hallway.  I then took gold stars I had bought back at Christmas and hung them on either side of the film strip ceiling decoration.

We rolled the red carpet out just a few hours before we started (just a little side note, this red carpet lasted for about 30 minutes before it was torn in shreds by all the kids walking and running on it).  I had to buy 4 rolls so it would run the whole length of the hallway from the door where the kids enter.  I used duct tape to hold it down on the floor.  Right in front of the door I attached the door rope to some music stands which gave it an aisle effect.  I then used the stick and peel stars to look like our own “Bible Walk of Fame”.  I didn’t peel them off, but just taped them down.  On the stars we wrote the names of the people in the Bible we are learning this month:  Abraham, Gideon, Samuel, Peter, and Jesus.  The kids liked looking at the stars to see the great names from the Bible!   Our final touch was silver, gold, and black star balloons which we got from the Dollar Tree.  We bought lots of these and had them lined up and down the hall.   I think the look we created was awesome and made it so much fun for the kids!

2.  Pictures       With any theme night, we always do a photo booth.  For this night, our photo background was obviously the red 10636292_10152333882459135_1368031992959442564_ncurtain backdrop with the Oscar statue.  Each class had a set time to come to our photo booth to get a class picture as well as individual pictures with the statue.  Kids could use some of our stick photo props as well as the directors clapboards, too.  Another great addition to our night was our “Paparazzi”.  They were placed inside by the red carpet and took pictures of the kids as they walked down the hall.  It was a great effect and the kids loved it!

3.  Food      You gotta serve some yummy food on  your theme nights!  One would think that popcorn and drinks would be a perfect snack for this night, but I decided to go with some cupcakes that were colored red on top.  They were a  hit!  I also put out some bowls of candy  for the kids to get:  Dum-Dums, Skittles, and Starburst.  I didn’t want to serve sodas so they kids got Capri Suns instead.

4.  Movie Theme Activities     I like to incorporate some sort of activity or activities during our theme nights that relate to that theme.  Just some simple ideas.  For this night, the opening activity as the kids arrived was for each child to draw a self-portrait inside the marquee handout we gave them.  It had yellow spotlights all around it and made it look like a marquee or movie poster.  The kids were creative in their drawings!

Another activity this month we are doing is a Spotlight Hunt.  I cut out yellow circles using our die-cut machine.  On this night we are studying Samuel, so on the back of each circle I wrote 1 letter on each circle that spells “I am listening”.  The leader is going to hide the yellow spots around the room  and then the kids will have to unscramble the words to figure out the message.

One more activity is to cut small yellow circles out using the die-cut machine or Cricut machine.  The leader hung black butcher paper horizontally along the wall.  Each child took the yellow  circles and spelled their name in lights.  One class actually took them and spelled out “Samuel”, their Bible story for the day.  If you don’t have a die-cut or Cricut, then you could use white or yellow chalk on the black butcher paper and the kids could draw circles and make their name or the Bible story person name for the day.

If you do a theme night you got to make it fun and exciting so the kids will really get into it.  I think our Red Carpet Tacky Night was a blast!  I loved seeing the kids faces light up as they entered the hall and loved seeing their creativeness come alive in the tacky outfits they wore.

I hope you got some fun ideas here that you could use in your Children’s Ministry!   Here are some more fun pictures from the night.

Go for the Gold with God!: Olympic Night Lesson for Kids

This past Sunday we had Olympic Night at Pioneer Club (our Sunday night program for kids).  What a blast!  This was one of my favorite events (well….this and Duck Dynasty Night).  When we planned the year for Pioneer Club, we added fun events once a month. Some bigger than others and Sunday night’s Olympic Night was one of our bigger events.  I was so glad that I actually remembered that 2014 was the year for Olympics when we planned this back in August!

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Our Pre-K kids on the medal stand

When I have a themed event, I like to decorate.  Some say I do a little much, but I just like to make the experience for the kids be something they’ll always remember!   Just ask any of my volunteers who help me with decorations, they’ll back me up when I say that I like to go all out!

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Our 4th & 5th Graders on the medal stand
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Our Team USA area

For Olympic Night I decided to decorate just one end of the hallway.  My first task was getting 5 hula hoops and spray painting them to be the color of the Olympic rings:  blue, black, red, yellow, green.  Took a little longer than I expected, as I had to do several coats, but they turned out well.  I hung them from the ceiling using paper clips.  I attached the bottom 2 hoops to the other hoops using fishing line.  It turned out pretty good I think.  Underneath the Olympic rings I put a medal stand.  My awesome friend, Billy Luesing, built 3 boxes for me and painted them black (and these are something I can use for other events too).

I then found an American flag in the church and hung it from the ceiling. On either side, I hung red, white, and blue streamers (twisting them down and attaching to bottom of wall).  Below the flag I decorated a table with red, white, and blue tablecloths.  Underneath I put different size boxes to create a mini-medal stand and put the 3 meals on each stand (gold, silver, bronze).   We also cut out big letters in red, white, and blue that said “Team USA” and hung them above a door.  I like suspending things overhead from the ceiling, so I ordered banner of country flags from Party City and hung these.  All of these decorations were very easy and simple to create.

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Our 3-year olds with their torch and team flag

For the lesson we titled it “Go for the Gold with God”.   All kids (3-years-5th Grade) created their own team flags using pillowcases and fabric markers.  Some of the team names included:  Awesome Americans, Alpha & Omega, Team Voyagers, Olympic Cheetahs, and God’s Waffle Warriors.  Each team also created  Olympic torches (using tissue paper and cardstock) as well as their own gold medals (which they decorated and wrote “Keep Jesus First” and then strung with red ribbon).

The older kids (1st-5th) made bobsleds out of paper towel rolls and used a little car to race down their bobsleds.   Each class also participated in a few Olympic games, which included Cross Country Skiing (kids used shoe boxes to ski across our Fellowship Hall), Speed skating (they skated down the room, moving their arms like the skaters do, and raced to make a marshmallow snowman then raced back to their team), and Bobsledding (we used coolers as the bobsled.  One person jumped in while 2 others pushed them down and back).  They all enjoyed these games!

Our Bible lesson for the little ones used Philippians 3: 13-14:  “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  The teachers talked with them about Paul and how he kept telling others about Christ no matter what happened to him.  We talked about things that were hard for us to do (like sharing toys, not listening to parents, fighting with our siblings, etc).  We talked about how ways we could “keep Jesus first”, which included going to church, reading our Bibles or having parents read to us, praying, obeying parents, etc.  If we keep Jesus first in our lives we will always win.

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Bobsledding fun!
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Marshmallow Snowman!

For the elementary kids, we came up with 4 ways to “Go for the Gold with God”:  honor & respect God, spend time in prayer & read our Bible, listen & obey God, and persevere or never give up.  We used Isaiah 58:6-11, where Isaiah is speaking to the people of Judah and telling them things to do and not do.  We said that in order to be a true Christian we need to stop hurting each other (just as Isaiah said).  For kids that may include hurtful words, bullying, making fun of others, not listening to our parents, judging others, etc.  We got kids to also talk about ways they can help make our world a better place and how they can be better Christians.

We topped off the night with each class and kid getting their pictures made on the medal stand.  And of course we had to have a yummy Olympic snack!  On Pinterest I found Olympic torches (we used waffle cones and orange sherbert).  It was an awesome snack!

I had someone ask me the next day, “What is worth it?”  YES IT WAS!!!!  When a child smiles, laughs, tells others about Jesus and how much fun they had at church, it is definitely worth it!!  Everything I do as a Children’s Minister is for the kids, creating fun and exciting ways of teaching them about God, Jesus, and the stories of the Bible.  I want these things to stick and for them to remember the things we teach them about God and his love for them.  Everything I do as a Children’s Minister is worth it!  And everything you do as a Children’s Minister is worth it too!!

Duck Dynasty Night

All kids love Duck Dynasty so we made a fun theme night of it church!  Here are some of our ideas:

Decorations

I used camo burlap (found at Dick Sporting Goods) for a backdrop.  I hung them from the walls, and covered small tables with them.  A friend of mine used to be a duck hunter.  He let me borrow his decoy ducks so I displayed those on the tables and around the hall as well.  (My friend even came dressed as Phil for the night.  He looked just like him!).  I hung Duck Dynasty posters on the wall and used all the fake trees I could find in the church to give it the feel of being in the woods.  The best decoration was the life size Willie Robertson cut out!  Our local Wal-Mart has this cut-out of him in the Vision Center.  All I did was call the manager of the Vision Center and he allowed us to borrow it for the day.  So cool!  The kids really enjoyed the decorations.

Food

On the tables I put out 2 clear drink dispensers, one filled with lemonade and the other with sweet tea (I labeled them Willie’s lemonade and Uncle Si’s sweet tea).  We also had a plate of camo cupcakes (called Jase’s camo cupcakes), which kids got to eat in their classes.  I found the recipe for these cupcakes on Pinterest and asked a friend to make them.  They were really whoopie pies made with camo colored cake batter and icing in between. They were so yummy and were a big hit with the kids!

Games

 

I also like to incorporate a fun game that goes along with the theme into the class nights.  The Pre-K and Kindergarten classes went on a duck hunt.  We hid paper ducks around the church and they got to search for them.  They really enjoyed that!

Our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders played “Capture the Duck” (just like Capture the Flag but with a duck instead).  Kids really get into the night more when special games are played that relate to the theme.

After the night was over, we had to tear it all down.  We share space with our MMO/Preschool and we can’t keep all of our decorations up.  It’s kind of sad having to tear it all down when you worked so hard to put it all up the day before.  But, you know what??  I would do it every Sunday if I had to.  Why??  I do it for the kids.  To see the smiles on their faces as they enter is just priceless.  They get excited about the decorations and really have fun.