Category Archives: Christian After School Curriculum

Church Based After School Ministry: SUMMER

1.08-6.08 503Summer gives you amazing opportunities to touch the lives of the children you serve.

  • Don’t do the same old thing you do through the school year.

Kids need change – adults need change too.

Summer is a time to loosen up and have fun.

 

  • SUMMER IS A TIME TO TEACH SKILLS YOU AREN’T ABLE TO INTRODUCE THROUGH THE SCHOOL YEAR.

Summer is a great time to teach children how to take a vision – plan it out,  develop the vision and then implement the vision.

Learning to plan is a vital skill that children must learn in order to succeed in life.  In her book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” Ruby Payne writes:

“If an individual depends upon a random episodic story structure for memory patterns, lives in an unpredictable environment, and has not developed the ability to plan, then …

“If an individual cannot plan, he/she cannot predict

“If an individual cannot predict, he/she cannot identify cause and effect

“If an individual cannot identify cause and effect, he/she cannot identify consequence

“If an individual cannot identify consequence, he/she cannot control impulsivity

“If an individual cannot control impulsivity, he/she has an inclination toward criminal behavior.

If we are going to disciple the whole child we must teach them the skill of planning.  When you have kids for a week you can walk them through the process of planning and implementing an event.  They discover, perhaps for the first time, that they are able to create, to do some critical thinking for the best outcome and they have the skills to actually carry through on what they have planned.

Samples of such Day Camps are:   The Fun Zone (they create a Penny Carnival they hold at the end of the week), County Fair (they work all week to create a fair which includes art judging, animals, baking, plants and a carnival), Christmas in Summer (they study how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and create an evening celebration of all these customs for friends and families.)

CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE OF THE FUN ZONE

The wonder and excitement as the kids implement what they have created is amazing.

Church Based After School Ministry: EXCELLENCE

A.  DILIGENCE

Romans 12:11; II Timothy 2:15

As Christians, we are called to a life of perseverance.  We are to move ahead with careful, steady  effort.  To have an excellent Center, we cannot become sluggish or indifferent.

Mediocrity IS OUR ENEMY

If you are diligent you will:

be   Challenged

get   tired

want to  give up  at times

BUT YOU WILL persevere

I had just begun as Children’s Pastor in a different church and knew that the most excellent Children’s Ministry was achieved when volunteers met monthly for training and evaluation.  For the first few months, only a few people showed up.  The fourth month, only two people were at the meeting.  I was so frustrated I sat with the two who had come and cried.  Everyone told me to give it up.  People were just too busy to come to meetings.

Matthew 18 was always going over and over in my mind – I knew God expected me to do everything I could to provide an excellent Children’s Ministry. I REFUSED TO GIVE UP. Slowly the attendance began to grow until there were 20, 30 and even 40 people turning out for these volunteer gatherings.

EXCELLENCE DEMANDS GOING THE EXTRA MILE!

B.        PRODUCTIVITY

You will bear fruit if you are excellent.

What may be some of the fruit you will produce if you have an excellent Center?

(Children catching a love for Jesus, parents coming to church, grades improving, behavior improving, life skills learned, etc.)

C.        PROGRESS

There will be continual change and growth in the program.  You will never be content with how things are going now, even if they are pretty good.

You will be growing as an individual, spiritually, emotionally and professionally.  Don’t be satisfied with where you are.  Browse through a book store at least once a month for the latest children’s books, educational books, and craft and recreational books. OR browse through the internet for books, children’s ministry ideas, parenting ideas.

Seek God daily!  Allow God to show you His truth in your innermost being.  Hunger after knowledge about child development, parenting skills and how to motivate children to learn.

LOOK BACK AT WHERE YOU’VE COME FROM
CELEBRATE WHERE YOU ARE
LOOK FORWARD TO WHERE YOU CAN GO

D.        POWER

Through God, you can meet whatever is thrown at you.  You know that apart from God you can do nothing.  However, you know in your heart that all things are possible with God.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

 E.        ABUNDANCE

You go beyond what you have to do.  You look for what you can do, even if it is tedious or means more work, longer hours, getting dirty, looking ridiculous, or taking risks.

I was leading a vacation Bible school program with hundreds of children.  Each day the children were to bring pennies, which were to go to a missionary.  My son visited the first day and at the end of the day was giving me a critique of what he had observed.

“Mom, you have to give the kids a reason to bring in their pennies that is more concrete than just helping the missionaries,” he challenged.

So I thought about it and the next morning told the kids that if they brought in a certain number of pennies, she would let the interns (six college students hired to run the summer weekday activities) do anything to me that they wanted.

The interns told the kids that at the big closing celebration, they were going to turn me into a hot fudge if enough money was raised.

The week had a new excitement to it.  I egged on the kids telling them there was no way they could raise so much money.  The kids kept saying, “Wait till Friday night.”

Friday evening arrived.  As families began arriving, I was walking around the church dressed in a long black evening dress.  The kids were aghast!  “Wanda, your dress is going to get ruined.”

“No way!  You haven’t raised enough money,” I needled.

One dad came up and told me that he had gone around his office collecting money because this was one event he wanted to make sure happened.

As you might guess, the money was raised.  I changed clothes and was brought out to sit in a wading pool while the interns poured ice cream, whip cream, chocolate syrup, nuts and cherries over me.  The church was packed with children and families.  There was a sense of electricity in the building.

I didn’t have to allow myself  to be made a fool of, but I knew the difference it would make in the week.  What I wasn’t counting on was the lasting effect it had.  Many parents came up afterward and told me how much they appreciated my willingness to go the extra mile so that their kids could be challenged and grow.

F.   RESPONSIBILITY

Excellence demands a realization that I am responsible for the outcome of what happens at the Center.  It requires awareness that one day, I will stand before the Lord and He will judge the effort I put into my ministry.

Romans 14:9-12

  G.   QUALITY

Aim for high quality in all you do.  Continually ask yourself, “Can this be done better?”

H.   HONESTY

Excellence demands that you be honest with yourself.  It is easy to fool oneself because the heart is deceitful beyond all else, Jeremiah 17:9

It is easy to think you are doing something great – when you really aren’t!

The Challenge of the Pedestal

 

Church Based After School Ministry: Teaching Children To Pray

One of the most important tools you can give a child to walk through life is prayer.

When was the last time you took time to teach the children about the importance of prayer.

One of my passions is to teach children to turn their self-talk into an on-going conversation with Jesus. There isn’t a moment in the day that we can’t be talking to Jesus and expecting Him to guide us and direct us.

 

What do you do with prayer? 

When a problem arises, where is the first place you turn?  In your day in/day out living, how often are you in a conversation with Jesus Christ?  When your life is going good, do you share with Jesus the excitement of what is going on in your life?  What about when life is difficult?

 How will you teach the kids to pray without ceasing if this isn’t your lifestyle?

How will you challenge them to move toward a victorious walk with Jesus if your walk isn’t victorious?

A lesson on prayer

Below is a prayer I’ve prayed for you.

 Jesus,

I lift this faithful laborer up to You today.  Let him/her grow in his/her depth of conversation with You.  As s/he comes to You, bless him/her with a sense of Your presence.  Speak to him/her in his/her inner most being.  Oh Lord, I know You long to have a continual conversation with this child of Yours.  Please Lord; teach him/her how to speak with you constantly.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Church Based After School: Is It Worth It All?

    When you begin to wonder, IS IT WORTH IT ALL?

The giving, giving, giving of yourself.

STOP and take a few minutes to write out the little changes you have seen in kids over the past year.

Here are a few from directors I’ve trained.

Keon, 7 years old, used to get in fits and crawl up in a ball and hide in the corner. He would get mad if things didn’t go his way or if he had to do his homework. After one month of having people pray for him daily this behavior stopped. He hasn’t got in a ball like that in months. He has learned to be more responsible according to his teacher and grandmother.

WHEN YOU RUN UP AGAINST A DIFFICULTY WITH A PARTICULAR CHILD ASK AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE TO PRAY EVERYDAY FOR THE CHILD. SEND THEM A DAILY EMAIL DETAILING HOW TO PRAY.

A mother’s statement about her son with fetal-alcohol syndrome, “In all the years my boy has come to church I’ve NEVER seen him grow so much as he did this last year at the center. Thank You.”

IT WAS THE CONSISTENCY
OF DAILY BEING CHALLENGED TO FOCUS ON THE TRIUNE GOD.

We have a six-year-old who believes in God with her whole heart and is completely unashamed of the Gospel. She includes God when she is playing with her friends; I overheard her the other day laying out the plan of salvation as she and another child played. She concluded with, “At the center we learn about God. EVERYTHING is ALL about God!”

DON’T DO TUTORING AND STICK JESUS IN,
DO JESUS AND STICK TUTORING IN.

What At-Risk Kids can receive from adults committed to intentional, individualistic Discipleship.

Church Based After School: Be Intentional With The Kids You Serve

Dimitri was a child full of anger — he had a right to be angry.

His mother was a prostitute and he had to deal with whatever man mom brought home that night. One night mom brought home a drunk who picked Dimitri up and threw him across the front of his car. Dimitri’s face was cut by the car’s emblem from his forehead to his chin.

Dimitri will live with the scar for his entire life.

Though he was full of anger he was so loving with our new born son. He would carry Joseph all over the Boys’ Club. I was never fearful — he loved Joseph. Dimitri was also in and out of our home.

Years later Joe was at a meeting in a nearby community when a young man with a large scar walked up to him, “Uh, are you by any chance Joe Parker?”

They hugged and Dimitri continue, “I want to thank you. I’m a probation officer now but I wouldn’t be what I am if it hadn’t been for what you did for me. All the time you spent with me — and you trusted me with your son.”

Children need long-term relationships with adults who are productive, empathetic and wise.These are the characteristics we want to see replicated in children that they too become self-sufficient adults.

Below is a chart showing some of the real needs kids have if they are going to become the self-sufficient adults we all hope they will be.

Below are some things that kids need to learn to be able to function as adults.

How are you being intentional in the mentoring of the kids so they will have these qualities as adults?

What Do Kids Need?

Training Secondary Nurturers

What Kids Receive From Secondary Nurturers

Church Based After School: A Lesson On Joy Philippians 4

Church Based After School: A Secondary-Nurturer’s Story

 Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to continue my education and expand my capacity to minister to the children and families…

…on my way home I knew that I would be passing by my community.

I have been in the process of getting to know about five families to build rapport and trust with the parents so that they will allow their children to be involved in our programs and summer camp.

I began to pray and ask God,

“Lord, please open up an opportunity with a family so that I can pour out your love this afternoon.” 
I picked up my phone and called “Toony.”

She is a single mom who had recently moved to escape the difficulties she and her children were facing…her ex-husband just got out out of prison for attempted murder…

Toony’s son is ADD/ADHD and is sometimes abusive towards her; and her daughter gets in fights frequently because other girls pick on her.

I called three times. No answer.

I called one more time, she picked up, and after I reminded her of who I was her voice lit up and she was so excited to hear from me.

I asked her if I could come by and meet her son. She said yes.

What on earth was I going to talk with a 13 year old boy about? 

I was empty.

I had nothing.

No agendas.

No expectations.

Would I get there and just hear a silent ringing, or crickets chirping, while we looked at each other in awkwardness?

I decided to bring milkshakes. 

He greeted me as I gave him the milkshake. I shared for two minutes about The Center, gave my testimony, and told him why I have an interest in his life…

All of a sudden he ran out of the room.

He soon returned…with the trophy he had been awarded in football and showed me his team and individual football picture.

He began to share his life.

He told me about his joy of learning, spending time with his grandparents in N.C., and his joy of sports.

He told me about his mess ups and how his mom intervened and took him off the football team as a repercussion for bad grades and getting into trouble and agreed that his mom acted in his best interest!

We talked for over an hour and I shared with him that I’d like to spend some time with him and get him involved in the Center programs.

He said he’d like that.

In fact, he was so excited that someone who cared about his life came to talk with him that he didn’t take one sip of his milkshake!

Maybe I’ll get to see him enjoy another one soon!

  I think I have my first kid recruited into the  program; his name is Carlos.

I picked him up from home, met with the other Secondary-Nurturers and their kids and then we went bowling.

While we were at the church, Carlos saw another young man, Samuel, and they started snappin’ at one another.

Carlos just got suspended from school for fighting and I thought to myself,

“Great. Now he’s gonna’ get into a fight and get suspended from The Center and he’s not even in our program yet.” 

At the dinner table, Samuel was telling Carlos,

“I’m gonna call yo Daddy and tell ‘im you got suspended. Then he’s gonna whoop yo butt!” 

I chimed in,

“Ya’ll aren’t into tattle-telling are you?” 

 As if I were challenging them to grow up a little.

Carlos looked at me and said,

“Joseph, this is my brother. We’ve got different Mommas but the same Daddy.” 

They were chummy the rest of the night, like brothers can be!

Incredible. 

In part one of this story I told you how the Holy Spirit prompted me to call Carlos’s mom, Toony.

What if I had been disobedient, did not listen to the Spirit’s promptings, and gave up when getting the answering machine three times?

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but what I am trying to point to is the powerful prodding and unction the Spirit of God puts on us…

…especially when we have a mandate to go and make disciples.

Moreover, my hope is not that doing fun things with Carlos will make him a better person, student, and son…

our center is  just a tool, it won’t save or make a disciple out of Carlos …

…that is my task.

And if I do not carry out this mandate, not only have I failed God, but I have failed Carlos as well.

My desire is to substitute candy for milk and hopefully…Lord willing…meat.

I told him on the way home that The Center wasn’t only committed to having fun but we were…I was… committed to walk with him through life, as much as God permits.

“I’ll be picking you up Friday around 5:30 for the C.O.R.P.S (Christ Our Real Power Source-for the newbies at The Center) retreat, ” I said.

“That’s cool, ” he said.

Next, it’s summer camp. Then, it is the Community Development and Leadership Program, a.k.a.: Discipleship.

God is not only reuniting us to Him, He is reuniting families as well.

Only the strategic and powerful work of Christ can do such a thing…in Carlos’ life…in my life…in your life.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for allowing me to be a conduit, a clay pipe (connected with others) that distributes God’s life giving water from the source!

God is not only sustaining my faith but ever increasing it to believe Him in his promise that,

“He who began the good work will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6, NLT).

To learn more about Secondary-Nurtuers click below

What Do At Risk Kids Need?

How Secondary-Nurturers Disciple Kids

What Kids Receive From Secondary-Nurturers