Category Archives: After school programs

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!


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. 


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 


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


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


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


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

Church Based After School: PUT JESUS FIRST


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


The Adult Challenge for this lesson is found here

The Reality Check for this lesson is found here

A Bible for each kid


Church Based After School: Teaching Kids To Make Choices Begins With You

When you make a split second choice what is it based on?

Most likely it is based on who you truly are. Not what you live on the outside but who you truly are on the inside. What is most important to you? What do you believe? WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?


If you want to train the kids to make wise choices you must begin
by taking a good look at yourself.

If we attempt to make choices in a vacuum without an awareness of who God is, we are going to be overwhelmed.  We will cower and take the easy way out each time.

 However, if we stop and acknowledge who God is, we will be empowered.  We serve the God of the Universe; He can make the sun stand still; He speaks and the seas are calmed; He can bring a human back to life and He can be everywhere at the same time.  Yet, He loves you so much He sent His only Son to earth to pay the price for your sins.  Almighty God wants to have an intimate relationship with you.

Do you believe God can overcome any obstacle in your life?  Do you believe He will do for you what you need done?

Think back over the past year; how have your beliefs affected the choices you have made?  Have you walked by faith or by sight?  Do your choices clearly tell the world who your God is?

This week you will guide the kids in discovering who the false gods are in their lives.  But they must first know who the one true God is.  Who/what are the false gods in your life?  Ask the Lord to show you.


Church Based After School: RELATIONAL MINISTRY:Take The Lid Off

I was in the bedroom creating a seminar on the “Love One Another” passages in the Bible when my youngest daughter, who was then in kindergarten, came into the bedroom.  Dana was fixing herself lunch so she could go to her afternoon kindergarten class and asked me to open the peanut butter jar.

My study had so absorbed me that I did not pay attention to her.  Each time she asked, I automatically answered, “Yes, honey,” or “Sure, in just a minute.”

Finally, exasperated with her mother’s lack of concern for her needs, Dana took the peanut butter jar and whacked me on the back with it.  She got my attention!

Though it hurt, I could not get angry, for the Lord impressed on my heart at the instant of contact with the jar that my study of love had not made me a loving, caring mother, attentive to the needs of my kids.

During the last week of His life on earth Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment:

“A new commandment I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

We can do a lot of talking about love.  We can study the scriptures.  We can intellectually know the difference between agapë, philio, and eros love; however, everything is useless if it does not come alive within and through us.

The way we treat the kids and our attitude toward them will speak louder than any words we utter.

Relational ministry is taking the lid off the peanut butter jar the first time we are asked.  In doing so, we tell the kid he is valued; he is significant enough to interrupt what we are doing to meet his need.  As we do this, the kid learns that Jesus loves him unconditionally.  We may be the kid’s only link to Jesus.


Church Based After School: Teaching Kids To Plan

Planning is an important life skill.

It is a learned skill.

We must be intentional to teach the kids to plan.

This is an activity to do with your kids to help develop that skill.

Materials: Depends on what you are going to be doing.


Think of a reason the kids in your ministry have to celebrate.


  • Have all the Trek Teams meet together
  • If the teens grumble remind them you are a family. This is a time for the family to work together.
  • Tell the kids that you are going to work together to plan a celebration for (whatever fits your kids).
  • Have the kids brainstorm the planning.
    • Put their planning on wall size Post-It’s.

Possible ideas to help you with your brainstorming

    • Skits
    • Carnival Type Booths – perhaps have them open as the guests gather so they have something to do as soon as they arrive.
      • Throw a penny on a plate
      • Throw a ping-pong ball in a jar
      • Squirt out a candle
      • Bounce a ball into a wastepaper basket
      • The number of booths will depend on the number of guests
      • What will you have for prizes or do you need prizes?
    • Memory Verse
      • Trek Teams could quote a verse and then one kid explains its meaning.
      • Two Trek Teams could play a game in front of their guests.
      • Guests are given the verse to read while the two teams play.
      • A kid explains the verse after the game.
      • Give all the guests a verse to try and memorize before the end of the of the festival.
      • At the end of the festival, volunteers can attempt to quote the verse.
      • Have prizes for those who try.
      • Some game ideas
    • Teach their guests songs that they sing.
    • Games
      • Is there a recreation game that they would like to have everyone play together?
      • Have them create debriefing questions to go with one of the promises from the memory verses..
  • FOOD
    • Cookies
    • Salads
    • Crackers and cheese
    • Punch
    • Sandwiches

Help your kids to think critically. Help them think of the details.