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

Church Based After School: Evaluation Time – End of School Year

As we near the end of the school year it is time to evaluate the growth of EACH kid. Has his/her participation in your ministry made a difference in his/her life? 

Do you even know each child well enough to make such an evaluation? 

Go through the list below and place a 1-10 by each statement. If you did this each year you would know where you need to work with or pray for each kid. 

SPIRITUAL

A fully devoted follower of the Triune God
In response to his love for Jesus strives to obey – knowing he will continually fall
Daily admits brokenness, yet always sees hope and worth in Jesus
Self-talk is an on-going conversation with God
Loves God and Loves his neighbor
Knows God and Knows His Power
A studier of God’s Word  Deuteronomy 6
Discerner of Truth – does not compromise Truth
Boldness for Christ
Evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in his/her life
Walks with God and is Blameless Genesis 17:1
Biblical worldview
Actively involved in a God honoring, Bible based church
Uses His Spiritual Gift to the glory of God
Recognizes that apart from God he can do nothing of worth 

EMOTIONAL

God confidence
Secure based on relationship with Christ
Not fearful of emotions
Is able to express emotions in healthy ways
Knows Source of healing for woundedness and goes immediately to  the Source for healing
Full of joy and peace
Emotionally strong – able to persevere
Able to trust

SOCIAL

Respect for others
Leadership skills
Good relationship with parents and siblings
Solid peer group of believers
Healthy relationship with more mature believers
Willing to get involved in the messiness of others’ lives
Godly humility in relationships
A care for the needy
Sexually pure
Godly use of finances/resources

MENTAL

Biblical Worldview
Mind of Christ
A continual learner
Critical Thinking Skills
Planning skills
Minimum of a high school diploma

PHYSICAL

Treats body as temple of God
Makes good choices
Dresses appropriately, I Timothy 2:9

Church Based After School: PUT JESUS FIRST

WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE MEAN?

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”  John 12:1-8 ESV

When you know the entire Word of God you KNOW that it is not an excuse to ignore the poor. The Bible is full of commands to care for the poor.

Our first responsibility is to care for the poor within the Body of Christ.

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40 ESV)

 We are also challenged to care for the alien — those who aren’t part of the Family of God.

And you shall not strip your vineyard bare; neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:10 ESV)

So why did Jesus say, “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 

I’ve prayed over this a lot because I have seen ministries over and over ignore the guidance of scripture to ease the struggle of the poor. I tell of one such story here.

 I believe that Jesus is saying, don’t worship the
poor always put me first

How do we worship the poor?

When we get so caught up in “fixing things” for the poor that we ignore what God tells us in His Word, we thumb our nose at God. We choose to disobey God because we KNOW what this person needs. In so doing we make that person more important than The Triune God.

In the story of Tommy the adults working with Tommy ignored God’s directions in regard to the nurture of children.

           Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord(Ephesians 6:4 ESV)

 In other words we are to provide training and discipline that will provide healthy growth and development. The adults serving Tommy did not do that. He was never taught how to live a disciplined life, he was never challenged to work hard because everything was given to him – he became a sluggard. The adults wanted Tommy to “feel good,” and in so doing their actions said they knew better than God what was best for Tommy.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.(Deuteronomy 8:1-6 ESV)

God knows that it is best for us to walk through very difficult times.

 If the adults had put God before Tommy,
Tommy would have been the winner.

 This is just one example of how individuals put the poor (in this case a poor child) before God. I have seen it happen over and over and over. I believe it is a big reason why, though there are thousands and thousands of ministries serving the poor across America, we are not seeing greater results.

When the poor are put before God, before Jesus, it is the poor who suffer

Church Based After School: Choices part 3

PRESENTATION OF SCRIPTURE

The Adult Challenge for this lesson is found here

The Reality Check for this lesson is found here

A Bible for each kid