Category Archives: Family Discipleship

After School Programs:Church Based – A Family Service Plan

“When you fail to plan
You plan to fail”
Author Unknown

It is important that we are intentional as we minister to at-risk kids and their families.

Intentionality requires planning.

In the PDF below you will find a tool to assist you plan what services you will provide a family. It will take you through a step by step process to assess what each individual family requires for lasting change.

Do not attempt to work with more than one family in this intense manner until you have developed the policies that are unique to your church.

Remember that everything begins with the building of relationship. Read last week’s post – Be Mom’s Best Friend.

A Family Service Plan

If you are a Children’s Pastor with struggling families within your church consider using this tool to come alongside of them.

If you want to use this tool to train staff write me  for the Staff Pages.
The above PDF is from the KidTrek Directors’ Training Manual.

wanda@kidtrek.org

COMING NEXT WEEK:

A Tutoring Plan

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Child Discipleship – Competition, Good or Bad?

By Wanda Parker

The first of three posts on Children and Competition.

I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry atkidtrek: sunday plus. I will continue writing about christian after school ministries here.

Every Tuesday I visit a different KidTrek Associate Center. Yesterday Bible Focus was a competition between two teams.  A volunteer read the Bible story and then asked questions for which the teams had to come up with a consensus answer.

I was amazed as I watched 3rd through 6th graders work together on each team to come up with the correct answer. As I watched, I wondered if they would have been so engaged with listening to the scripture read if there wasn’t a reward being offered.

They were actually competing against themselves because each member on the team received a KidTrek Buck if the team’s answer was correct.  Both teams worked on each question.  There was also the sense of pride when they gave a correct answer.

The Secondary Nurturers were awesome as they interacted with the kids during the game.  I don’t think the kids even realized they were learning.  Yet when one of the Secondary Nurturers would ask his[1] team a non-competitive question such as, “Would you have done what Joseph did?  Why?” I had to fight back the tears as I listened to their responses; it was amazing to hear their depth.

They weren’t just getting the head knowledge – they had an understanding of the concept that God is all loving even though He takes us through difficult painful circumstances.  They could even give personal examples of such.

A second grader at one point said, “Aw Devon, you know the answer; tell us.”

“No, you have to know the answer to get a Buck.  Listen more carefully and you will get the next one” was Devon’s response.

In this interaction, they learned that lack of attention leads to negative consequences; paying attention leads to positive consequences.

When one team answered incorrectly while the other team answered correctly, the “losing” team spontaneously clapped for the winning team and said, “You guys are great.”  The “winning” team thanked the “losing” team.  There were no losers because of the guidance they received from their Secondary Nurturers.

In raising children we must be intentional in everything we do. We must think critically as we establish our philosophy of child rearing.  We must go to the Bible continually to guide us in this process.  Too often what appears to be good today can actually do more harm than good when one looks out into the future.

We must ask ourselves:

“HOW DOES CHILDHOOD RELATE TO ADULTHOOD?”

No matter where you go in the world, once a child is weaned, there are still decades during which the child depends on adults for subsistence.  What is the reason for this time of childhood?

A child can learn how to use a computer at a fairly young age, but the judgment needed to discern the best use of the computer takes time.  This judgment requires adults who are productive, empathetic and wise to guide the child through real life experiences.  Children may become productive at varying ages dependent on their culture; however the empathy and wisdom needed for total self-sufficiency takes decades.

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.

What are some tools that children will need as adults to be productive,empathetic and wise?

They need to learn how to handle:

  • Winning
  • Losing
  • Pain – both physical and emotional
  • Anger
  • Empathy
  • Grief
  • Responsibility
  • Disappointment
  • Decision making
  • Peer pressure
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Shame
  • Generosity

They will need to have:

  • A work ethic
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Knowledge of biblical truth
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Discernment of justice
  • Restraint.
  • Trust
  • Self-Initiative
  • Industriousness
  • Know Who They Are
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Generosity

Further Posts On Using Competition in the Nurturing of Children.

Temptation To Create a Pseudo World For Kids

The Real World Is Filled With Competition

Competition Provides . . . #1 and #2

Competition Provides . . . #3 and #4

Guiding Children Through A Competitive World . . . #1, #2 and #3

Guiding Children Through A Competitive World  . . . #4 and #5  


[1] For reading ease the male pronoun will be used through out the paper as an inclusive pronoun for both genders.

Child Discipleship: A Scripture Memorization Ministry Plan

(I am now writing in regard to Children’s Ministry at www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org  I will continue writing in regard to Christian After School Programs here at www.kidtrekasp.wordpress.com)

Hugo approached the director’s office asking, “May I quote a memory verse to you?”

“Sure,” Vonnie responded, with a thrill in her voice.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2

Hugo proudly continued . . .

It’s a good thing I memorized that verse. A kid was calling me names today and getting in my face. I kept saying this verse to myself and kept my arms at my sides . . .

“ . . . Miss Vonnie, I was steadfast.”

What a difference when kids apply the Word of God into their everyday lives.

But if Hugo hadn’t memorized that verse the week before he wouldn’t have had it on his heart when he needed it.

Scripture memorization is a vital part of discipling children whole-istically. Sunday Plus Curriculum encourages churches to set up a Scripture Memorization Ministry which eventually engages the entire church (or almost entire church).

FORMAT:

Children will have one verse a month to memorize.  The verse will relate to the concept they are learning on Sunday morning.

Why only one verse a month?

  • Children have a tendency to memorize a verse on the way to church Sunday morning and forget it on the way home. Working on a verse for a whole month, saying it weekly to the Memory Verse Specialists and then continuing to say it in the months to come it won’t be easily forgotten.
  • Kids are taught the meaning of the verse in the Midweek Celebration.
  • The current month’s verse may be recited to the Memory Verse Specialists between services.

Children earn Bucks for memorizing the verses.

  • Children will receive additional Bucks as they retain verses and recite each of the previous month’s verses.
    • Children say past months’ verses at home to their parents.
    • The parents sign a voucher which the child turns in on Sunday morning to the Memory Verse Specialists.
  • The Memory Verse Specialist gives the child the allotted number of Bucks when the child quotes that month’s verse between services.
  • Vouchers can be picked up at the Memory Verse tables each Sunday.
    • They could also be passed out in The Shema Focus.
    • Children may say their verses and turn in the vouchers every week.

If a parent or other adult (must always be the same adult) accompany the child to the Memory Verse Specialist and can quote that month’s verse, the child receives extra KidTrek Bucks.

  • Adults may quote the verse in the translation in which they learned it.
  • An adult can quote the verse for only one child.
    • If there are four children in a family the father can quote for one child and the mother for a second child.
    • Children three and four will need to recruit other adults in the church to be their scripture memorization partners.
      • This again engages more of the church body in the discipleship of children.
      • Children are connecting with more adults in the church.

4 year olds through 2nd graders may memorize an abbreviated verse.

  • A “slash” is placed in the verse to indicate the portion they are to memorize.
  • Encourage them to memorize the entire verse if they are able.
  • Parents should also make adjustments for children with learning disabilities.

AWARDS:

  • A child receives 5 Bucks for each verse quoted.
  • A child receives 5 Bucks for an adult who quotes the present month’s verse.
  • A child receives 5 Bucks for each past verse s/he quotes to parents and returns the voucher.
  • When two verses are given for a month and the child learns both verses, s/he receives 5 Bucks for each verse

Parental Voucher

If you would like a “Sample Voucher”  http://www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org/curriculum/  Then scroll down to the Scripture Memorization Plan pdf

Child Discipleship – Scripture Memorization Games

By Wanda Parker

(I am now blogging on Children’s Ministry at www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org  I will continue blogging on Christian After School Programs at this site.)

It is vital that we assist kids in memorizing scripture. We never know how long we will have easy access to the Bible.

I remember hearing the story of Brother Andrew meeting with a group of pastors to discuss how the church should prepare to go underground. The response of the pastors was that this is ridiculous, this will never happen in “our country.” The following weekend the country fell to communists and it was illegal to have a Bible.

Be sure the kids understand the verse they are memorizing before playing the games.

Here are a few game to use to encourage kids as they memorize scriptures.

Dizzy Drop

Materials: a penny, blindfold, small pieces of paper with 1,000; 2,000;3,000; 4,000; 5,000   written on them

PREP

  • Decide the teams you will use for this game, Primary or Secondary.
  • Lay out the numbered pieces of paper on the floor

THE ACTIVITY

  • Select a volunteer from the first team to quote the verse from memory.
  • If she is able to correctly quote the verse she is blindfolded, spun around and given the penny to drop.
  • Her team receives the points closest to where the penny dropped.
  • If she is unable to correctly quote the verse she does not get any points.
  • Next select a volunteer from the second team to quote the verse from memory.
  • To go faster have a kid quote the verse to one Discipler while a second Discipler is supervising the spin and drop.
  • Don’t forget to give out Spirit Points for participation, encouraging other players, sitting quietly when it isn’t your turn.

PENNY TOSS

Materials: a plate per team, a penny per team, copies of the verses

  • A Discipler from an opposing team works with a team.
  • The Discipler lays the dish down approximately 6ft.from the player.
  • The Discipler asks the player to quote the verse.
  • If she is able to quote the verse she is allowed to toss the penny.
  • If the penny lands in the plate that team gets a point.
  • The players may keep studying the verse when it is not their turn.
  • Make sure everyone goes home with a copy of the verse.

Duck Duck Verse

Materials: copy of The Ten Commandments for each kid

THE ACTIVITY

  • Give each kid a sheet with the verse written on it.
  • Give them a couple of minutes to study.
  • Play the game in the two big teams from recreation.
  • One player from each team is chosen to be “IT”
  • “IT” goes around the circle tapping each player on the head and saying, “Duck, Duck Duck, Verse.”
  • The player whose head is tapped “Verse” stands and chases “IT.”
  • If “IT” makes it around to the space of the player he tagged then “Verse” must say the verse.
  • If “VERSE” tags “IT” before getting to the vacant spot then “IT” must say the verse.
  • If the player is able to say the verse their team gets 1,000 points.
  • Give teams points for cheering on their players.

What’s The Next Word

Materials: a set of cards for each team, each set will have one word written on                            each  card, the reference stands as one word

THE ACTIVITY

  • Determine if this will be played in Primary Teams or Secondary Teams.
  • This is played similar to a relay.
  • All the word cards are laid at one end of the room and scrambled.
  • Teams are at the opposite end of the room.
  • When the adult says “GO” the first person from each team runs down and finds the first word of the verse.
  • She then runs back to his team and lays the word down.
  • The second player then runs down and looks for the second word, runs back and lays his word down.
  • If a wrong word is brought back the player must return to find the correct word.
  • The team to win is the first team to have laid its verse(s) out correctly.

More Games Click Here

In this PDF are a list of games to review the verses they’ve learned in the past year  Memory Verse Review


Child Discipleship – How Children Learn

By Wanda Parker

(Now posting on Children’s Ministry at KidTrek Sunday Plus. I will continue to post here on After School Ministries)

“I had to go to the hospital because I had a bug in my stomach,” ten year old Olivia told her Sunday school teacher. When the doctor told her she had a bug his picture of the bug looked very different from the bug Olivia saw.

What we want more than anything is for children to internalize the truths that we are presenting to them. However, how can they do so when we present these abstract truths in ways that their brains can’t yet grasp?

CHILDREN THINK AND LEARN IN THE CONCRETE

They need to taste, touch, see, hear and smell what is being taught. In other words they need to experience the concept being taught. When the truth is presented in this way it is internalized, the child has an internal understanding that they still can’t put into words.

New studies show us that the teen brain isn’t as developed as once thought but they fool us because of the experiences they have had. They can communicate at a higher level because through living they have internalized concepts.

Elsa, a kindergartener, and her Mom went to visit Grammy.  Upon entering the house Mom said, “Elsa, tell Grammy what the pump is in your body.”

Elsa replied, “My heart.”

“Elsa, tell Grammy what makes you breathe.”  Mom prodded

“My lungs,” Elsa proudly replied.

Grammy quickly asked, “Elsa what does it mean to breathe?”

“I don’t know,” came the hesitant answer

Not to be outdone Mom told Elsa to show Grammy what it meant to breathe.  With that Elsa took two huge intakes of breath.  To put into words what the word “breathe” meant was too abstract.  But Elsa did know what it meant to breathe because she had experienced breathing and thus had internalized the concept. The abstract concept had become concrete to Elsa, she could use the word breathe and know what it meant but she could not explain it.

BIBLICAL CONCEPTS ARE ABSTRACT

Our challenge as we present the Biblical concepts is to make them concrete so that the children can understand them.

In Sunday Plus Curriculum we do this through what we call Reality Check. – the first portion of each Kids’ Bible Focus lesson.

Reality Check is intended to bring alive the Biblical truth being taught.  This usually means making abstract concepts concrete – allowing the child to taste, touch, see, hear, and smell the concept being taught.  You are also permitting emotions to become a part of the learning process.  In other words, you are allowing the whole child to experience the truth – bringing reality into the lesson.  The kids will actually experience the concept.

The best way to explain such learning is to give you a couple of examples.

Temptation

As the children entered the room, there was a large stack of newspapers next to the door.  One of the adults told them they could take the paper and do anything they wanted with it.  However, they were directed towards a table where there was a craft they could make out of the newspaper.

Each child came in and began working on the craft.  After a few minutes, you could almost see the wheels turning in Kevin’s mind as he looked at this “stupid” craft he was working on and then looked over at the stack of newspapers.  He got out of his chair, walked over to the adult, Miss Tish, who was welcoming the children and asked, “Did you say we could do anything we wanted with this paper?”

“That’s right,” she answered.

“You mean I could take and wad up the paper and throw it around the room?” he prodded.

“As long as you don’t hit anyone,” Miss Tish directed.

With that Kevin took one piece of paper after another, wadded it up and threw it across the room.  The other boys, after seeing the fun Kevin was having, didn’t want to work on any “stupid” old craft.  They left the table and joined Kevin in making a mess of the room with the newspaper.  When it was time to clean up the adults helped the children who had been working on the craft.   Those children got their area cleaned up quickly and were given donuts and juice.

“Hey!  How come they are getting donuts and juice?”  Kevin demanded.

“Because they got their mess cleaned up.”  Miss Tish answered.

The whole room was now paying attention to the exchange between Kevin and Miss Tish.

“But you helped them clean up,” Kevin responded

“They were working on the craft,” Miss Tish explained.

“But you said we could do anything we wanted!”  Kevin argued.

“That’s right, and that is called TEMPTATION.” Miss Tish explained.  “In the world people tell you all the time to do whatever you want.  You know what the best things are to do.  You have to make choices.  There are always consequences for the choices we make.  When we give into temptation and choose to do what looks like its more fun or easier, though we know the other choice is the better choice, we will eventually pay the consequence.”

The children were then sat down and immediately told a Bible story which related to temptation.

Honesty

Miss Marla led the kids in a game of Red Light, Green Light.

The game was played on the honor system.  Miss Marla never turned around.  The winners were given a baggie full of candy, but were told not to open it until the end of class.

Then they had the Bible lesson on honesty after which the adults brought out the video camera that had been secretly recording the children as they played Red Light, Green Light.  Upon playing the video, those children who had cheated had to give their candy back.

Reality Learning also engages the emotions. When does God teach you the most? My experience has been that it has been when he has engaged my emotions – that is when the truth moves from the head to the heart.

WHAT REALITY LEARNING IS NOT

Skits
Object Lessons

These are both abstract presentations – object lessons in particular.

If you would like to learn how to use Reality Learning in your ministry and also how to create your own I am offering a two hour free training to the first ten people to email me at wanda@kidtrek.org If you live outside the United States it may mean middle of the night.

Child Discipleship: Gathering Games

By Wanda Parker

(I am now blogging about Children’s Ministry at http://www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org  I will continue to Blog about After School Ministries at this site.)

What do you do when the kids first arrive? Here are a few games to get kids involved as soon as they enter.

  • Always think of that kid who has never been to church – thus an activity that everyone is engaged in, he doesn’t have to make a choice when he is feeling insecure.
  • An activity into which kids can engage as they come in one at a time.
  • Nothing Biblical – again for that kid that has never been to church before. How embarrassing when everyone but you knows what the answers are, or you have no idea what the adult is talking about. There will be plenty of time to share Christ once the child is comfortable.
  • Always have an adult at the door to greet kids and guide them into the game while a second adult is with the kids guiding the game.

Hidden Surprise

Materials :      lots of masking tape, pill bottle, Bucks, flat box, dice

Object:            To be the one to unwrap the pill box with the Bucks inside.

  • Have the kids sit with you on the floor in a circle.
    • If there is more than one Trek Team per age group have all teams sit in one large circle.
    • Disciplers play too – except for the one greeting at the door.
  • You may want to have more than one pill box wrapped so the game can be played more than once.
  • Take an empty pill bottle and place any amount of Bucks in it.
  • Wrap it up with layers of newspaper and duct tape, electrical tape or any other kind of tape.
    • You can even layer it with different types and make a huge tape ball.
  • Take a set of dice and place them in a flat box.
  • If the person rolls a double, they start working on getting the tape ball apart, while the other kids pass the dice attempting to be the next one to get a double.
  • They continue unwrapping until the next person rolls a double.
  • Keep going until someone wins the Bucks.

Play again if time allows and you have a pill bottle prepared

BALLOON BAT

 

Materials: Several balloons of different colors

Object of game is to keep your balloon in the air longer than the opposing team.

  • Children sit in a circle.
  • Number kids off 1,2,1,2 around the circle.
  • Give a number 1 player a blown up blue balloon and a number 2 player a blown up red balloon.
  • When the adult says “GO” the balloons are batted to another player.
  • Players can only hit their own balloon.
  • If a player hits the wrong balloon he is out of the game.
    • The winning team is the team that can keep their balloon up in the air the longest.
    • This is a fun game to play over and over – expect craziness.
    • Have the kids take some deep breaths and sit without speaking for 30 seconds before going into Reality Check.

Musical Spoons

Materials :  plastic spoons

  • Kids sit in a circle.
  • Using a permanent marker place a spot on one of the spoons where it is not readily noticeable.
  • One less spoon than players are placed in the center of the circle.
    • Make sure the spoon with the dot is in the pile from the first round.
  • All players are given 3 Bucks.
  • Music is played or leader claps.
  • When the sound stops everyone tries to get a spoon.
  • The player to not get a spoon must give the leader a Buck.
  • Every fifth round the person who gets the spoon with the black dot gets all the Bucks the leader is holding.

COTTON BALL CRAZINESS

Materials: cotton balls, masking tape

Object: to be the team with the least amount of cotton balls on their side of the circle.

  • Kids sit in a circle.
  • Cut the circle in half so half the kids are on one team and the other half are on a second team.
  • Put a strip across the center of the circle so there is no question which side the cotton balls fall.
  • Every kid starts off with 5 cotton balls.
  • When the adult says “GO” everyone begins throwing their cotton balls to the opposite side of the circle.
  • They keep throwing until the adult says, “STOP.”
  • The team with the least amount of cotton balls on their side is the winner.
  • Play it several times – the best of 3 or 5.
  • When finished have the kids take deep breaths to relax before moving into the remainder of the morning.

Every Sunday Plus lesson has a Gathering Game suggestion.

Child Discipleship – A Parent’s Challenge Is To Model Faithfulness

By Wanda Parker

GOD’S PURPOSE – WILL BE DONE!

If you walk with God He has a purpose for your life. He can open and close any door that is needed to bring you to the place where He wants you to be.

Are you walking fully with Jesus? Are you ready to walk through the doors He opens? Are you ready to accept the doors He closes? Do your children see you accepting God’s purpose for your life? Do you accept where God has you – even if you’d rather be somewhere else? Do you believe that God is sovereign and that He can put you where is best for you?

Do your kids see you modeling a walk with a sovereign God, do they see you trusting Him no matter where He takes you?

The following was first written and sent to friends the day after what I called “A Most Amazing Day.” Life had been VERY difficult and I had been struggling if I should continue in ministry. Everything my husband and I tried slammed shut in our faces. We thought we were about to lose everything. I could hear the mockers in the background, “The Parkers are so foolish.”

Our children were already adults; however I knew we were still modeling.

If you remember my sharing that we received a call two weeks ago from the White House.  Yes it was THE WHITE HOUSE.  It was an invitation to attend a conference on Faith Based Initiatives at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

In speaking to the young man who had called with the invitation I had asked him how he had gotten KidTrek’s name.  He said he wasn’t sure but that someone from the White House staff had laid a note on his desk that said, “Contact this ministry.  It is an incredible ministry that should be at the conference.”

My husband, Joe, and I hemmed and hawed about whether we should take a day to go to a conference from which we believed we could benefit little.  KidTrek does not benefit from Faith Based monies because we flow spiritual truths through every aspect of the ministry.  In fact when I shared KidTrek with the young man at the White House he agreed that we probably wouldn’t be able to receive monies.

The White House caller also told me, “I heard my boss, Jim Touhy (Director of White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives), just last week tell a group to not compromise their faith just to take money.”  This young man urged me in the same way.

After pondering and praying we decided we should go anyway.  We e-mailed our reservations and soon after began receiving daily e-mails (sometimes two a day) about security procedures for the day.

We arrived yesterday morning and soon realized our name tags were a different color from the majority of people.  When the doors were opened and we found a table to sit at in the back of the room someone came up to us and asked, “Why are you sitting back here, you have yellow name tags, you get to sit in the VIP section.”  Joe and I looked at each other in wonderment; we got up and went to the “VIP section” in the front of the auditorium.

Sitting at a table I asked the others sitting there, “Were you called by the White House?” “No” was the answer from everyone. I wondered, why was I called, how did they get KidTrek’s name?

The young woman who introduced the day to us also shared that not only would her boss Jim Touhy be joining us in the afternoon but also the President of the United States.

After the morning sessions we were to pick up a box lunch and go back into the auditorium.  By the time Joe and I got into the auditorium almost all the seats in the “VIP section” were taken.  We were about ready to go to the back section when Joe noticed a table in the front corner that maybe had a couple of places.  He walked over and those already seated moved closer and made room for us.  As I sat down and looked at the name tags I realized we were sitting at a table of White House staff.

The next thing I knew the morning’s presenter sat down next to me and engaged me in a conversation.

Then “Hail to the Chief” blared and the words, “Welcome the President of the United States.”

Response to his entry was amazing.  It was such a mixed group of people, but everyone rose to their feet and cheered.  His words were powerful.  Mainly he was one human, sharing his own failings, his own hopes with a group of other humans full of failings and hopes.  He challenged us to not give up on the visions that God has given us.

At the end we realized we were in the section that was allowed to go and speak to the President. I hung back, the gentleman next to me said, “Don’t you want to speak to the President?” I smiled and said, “No, this day isn’t about him. My Heavenly Father is showing me He can open any door He wants.”

I wiped away tears, my feeling of overwhelmedness was not over standing in the presence of the President of the United States, it was my awe of how the Sovereign God of the Universe had opened doors to bring me into the presence of the most powerful human in the world. God had opened doors so that I had permission to approach the President and speak with him.

The last speaker was Jim Touhy.  In his earlier life He had served with Mother Teresa and he quoted her,

“I am not called to success,
I am called to faithfulness.”

For me, that is what yesterday was all about.

As I stood there with the tears running down my face I knew beyond a doubt that God was in control. If we did lose everything God had a purpose and a plan in it. My task was to submit to God almighty and accept what was best for me – not what I wanted.

When you walk with God He opens and closes the doors that will bring you to the best place possible for you.

Your children are watching how you handle the opening and closing of those doors.


[1] Parenting Tips are written by Wanda Parker, Founder/Director of KidTrek, from her experience as a Children’s/Family Pastor, but more importantly from raising three children who today have their own families all of whom walk with the Lord.