Dynamic Children's Ministry - Blog

Book Review - Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels

I just finished reading the book, Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels.  It’s a small book and an easy read, but wow, what an impact it had on me!  In the book, Hybels (wife to Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago) tells how she lived most of her life believing that being a ‘nice girl’ (good, hard-working, socially acceptable, and generally pleasing to everyone) was the way to earn God’s favor.  In fact, she was so determined to earn God’s love (and everyone else’s), that she stifled her own gifts and desires so she could appear to be what she thought God and others really wanted.NiceGirls

Until one day, she utterly ran out of all energy…physically, emotionally and spiritually.  She tells in the book that she called out to God and said, “I can’t do it anymore…maybe there is a God who doesn’t drain the life out of His people, but I don’t know who that God is…”  Then she spent a decade digging out of that hole and renewing her mind and her view of God.

Lynne describes that her new goal in life is not to be a nice girl, who lives to please others, but a good woman, a dangerous woman, who lives to discern and live out the will of God.  She explains how a dangerous woman serves from her true self, the person God created, not like a cookie-cutter woman but one that shows up with everything she is and does not let fear hold her back.  Through her trials, Hybels discovered that a dangerous woman knows her unique life matters to God and is grounded in His love.

Lynne is now using her God-given gifts and desires as the Advocate for Global Engagement at Willow Creek Community Church.  She blogs at http://blog.sojo.net/author/lynne_hybels/

As a Children’s Minister, have you ever felt this way?  Do you feel that you must live up to everyone’s expectations or they will question you and your abilities?  Or have you had a desire to try something new in your ministry, but fear is holding you back?  If so, I urge you to read this book, pray, and give all that is holding you back from your calling to God.  If you need an understanding ear and some accountability, check out our Coaching Packages.

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Help Your Families Help Your Children’s Ministry - 2

So, if you have been collecting toys for your ministry and are ready to use them to radically improve your children’s ministry, read on!

Engaging and Appropriate
When using Activity Stations, keep in mind that you want to use engaging and age appropriate toys for every group of kids.  For example, using wooden blocks in a preschool room is perfect, as long as they are in good shape, but the same crate of big wooden blocks in the pre-teen room is going to seriously turn those kids off.  Also, using non-violent video games with older Elementary kids is totally awesome (dude), unless…it’s played on a video game system that was manufactured before the kids were born. Just keep in mind that just because it’s a toy, doesn’t mean it should be used in your ministry.  You need to weed out anything that’s not going to engage your kids.

Six Stations Speak to Every Child
Not all kids are created the same, and not all toys have the same appeal to every child.  Using toys from these six categories should attract and engage nearly every child that walks into your church:

•Building Toys (Blocks, Kinex, Gears, etc)
•Play Sets Geared for Boys (Tool Sets, Dinosaurs, etc)
•Play Sets Geared for Girls (Dolls, Kitchens, etc)
•Art (Crafts, Playdough, Chalkboards, MagnaDoodle, etc)
•Games and Puzzles (Video Games, Board Games, Puzzles that can be put together quickly, etc)
•Large Motor (Balls, Jump Ropes, Basketball Hoop, Air Hockey Table, etc)

Filling in the Gaps
If your donations haven’t included all that you need, there are ways to fill in the gaps without blowing your budget.

•Give the congregation a specific list of items you are looking for - people are more willing to donate items if they know what they have is exactly what you need
•Find the people in your church who love to garage-sale and have them hunt for specific items, in like-new condition
•Shop at children’s consignment stores
•Register the church on the baby registry at a discount/department store and let your congregation know that you are having a “shower” for the children’s ministry
•Watch the store sales and check clearance isles - many items are dramatically reduced throughout the year
•Contact Store Managers - they may have great items in damaged boxes that they will donate or sell at cost

Need more ideas, or want help totally overhauling your ministry?  Contact Dynamic Children’s Ministry to assist you in making your Children’s Ministry…Dynamic!

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Help Your Families Help Your Children’s Ministry

Christmas is over, your ministry kids are back to school, church families are putting away their Christmas decorations, and most families…are wondering where to put all the new stuff!  The post-Christmas toy clean out is a wonderful opportunity for churches and families to work together for the benefit of each other.

So I know what you are wondering, “How can an abundance of used toys help my church?”  The answer is a concept called Activity Stations.  kids-toy-drawers-openActivity Stations are groups of age appropriate toys used at the beginning of your Children’s Ministry program.  They help build relationships between children and leaders, make timid or uneasy children feel less stressed entering the room, and give off wonderful visitor-appeal vibes!  It also gives leaders an opportunity to speak to children in their own special language - play!  When churches engage kids in their play language, it tells these kids, “Our church is a place for you”, and when churches combine play with other relevant and life-changing church experiences, kids end up saying, “I can’t wait to come back!”

So send a note home with your families this week.  Tell them that you are looking for donations of a variety of gently used toys, in good condition, to use at church…and watch the excitement start to build!

In another post I’ll let you know what kinds of toys appeal to different children and some ways to fill in the gaps for any items you are missing from the Christmas donations.

Reply to this post and let me know what you think about this idea and other things you have done in your ministry that really appeal to kids.

If you would like help with this or any issues in your children’s ministry, check out the Coaching link at the top of the page.  You can also contact me, Debbie Spidle, by clicking the contact link at the top of the page.

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