Tag Archives: After School Program Training

Church Based After School Ministry: Presenting the Gospel to Children

As you begin a  new school year are you prepared to present the gospel to your children?

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Church Based After School Ministry – Don’t Give In To “BORING”

images (22)We had a half-hour before the end of the day and I had four rambunctious sixth grade boys.

“Come on I have a game to teach you. Sit on the floor here with me.”

They grudgingly came and sat down as I announced that we were going to play Rhythms.

“Rhythms? What’s that!” one boy whined.

“I’ll teach you this will be fun.”

“The goal of this game is that you want to be #1. I will be the first #1 and you want to get me out of my spot by getting me to call off the wrong number or not being in rhythm.” I explained.

I proceeded to show them how to hit their folded legs with their hands, then clap, then snap, snap. They had great difficulty getting their hands to cooperate – they immediately wanted to give up.

As I snapped my right thumb and middle finger I called “Number One.” Then I snapped my left fingers and called “Number Four.” Maurice was Number Four and he called out “Number Four” but couldn’t get someone else’s number out in time.

This is BORING” Maurice complained and the other three chimed in “BORING!”

I insisted that they could do this, I insisted it wasn’t boring – the complaints continued.

I praised them for their effort and promised it might take time but if we worked at it they would get it.  As much as I insisted that they could do this they insisted that this was BORING and we should stop, “Can’t we just play a game on the computers,” they begged.

“No! You are going to do this,” I continued to insist.

Then suddenly something happened, suddenly their hands and fingers did what they wanted them to do. Suddenly they were calling out the numbers – SUDDENLY I GOT OFF RHYTHM and had to go to the end of the circle. Raymond moved into the Number One spot.

The next thing we knew we were being called in for Family Time – the closing of the day.

I will forever remember as they headed out the door,

“HEY WANDA CAN WE PLAY RHYTHMS TOMORROW?”

KidTrek – After School Ministry: Are You Providing Relational Ministry?

motherdaughter  IS THE STAFF AT YOUR AFTER SCHOOL MINISTRY PREPARED/TRAINED TO RELATIONALLY MINISTER TO THE CHILDREN?

Imagine that someone came running in yelling,

“Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!  He’s going to be over at the park

on ______________________.”

Some of you would rush out because you would really want to see Jesus.  Wow!  What an exciting afternoon.

Others of you know this is going to be a juicy afternoon.  The Pharisees are going to be there!  Will they be able to trap Jesus this time?

Can you picture Jesus sitting there on a rock?  The crowd is seated down all around him and there is a sense of excitement.

How will Jesus answer the difficult questions that the Pharisees are putting to him?

 The air is filled with tension!

Jesus is calm.  He knows that He has the answers and He gives them slowly and deliberately.  You marvel at how He never falters.  The Pharisees are never able to stump Him.

A baby in his mother’s arms begins to whimper.  He has been sick for more than a week.  She has taken him to all the doctors.  She has done everything that everyone has suggested, but still the baby has become more ill.  She looks down at the pain-filled face of her precious infant thinking,

 “Oh, if only I could have Jesus lay His hands on my baby.”

The mother looks at the crowd that is between her and Jesus.  A shiver runs down her spine; she knows what she has to do, but she is afraid.  What will people think?  What will the Pharisees say when she interrupts?

The baby whimpers again.  The mother knows she must get her baby to Jesus.

She stands and begins to move, cautiously at first.

Then a father on the other side of the crowd sees her and, looking at his sixth grade son thinks, “Oh, if I can just get my son to Jesus, perhaps He’ll pray for him; then I know he

               will be less rebellious.

Suddenly others see and join them, pushing forward with their children, wanting so badly to bring their children to Jesus.

 BUT – there is a barrier!  How do they get past those 12 men?

“Don’t bother Jesus with the children.  Can’t you see He is in an important debate right now?  Take the children away,” one of the men shouts.

“Move back!  Move back!  You are disrupting things!  People can’t hear with your crying baby. Take it to the back where it won’t be disruptive!”

Can you hear the rebukes of the disciples as they push the people back?

But listen to Jesus’ words:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Look what happens next!  It says so much about the importance of our ministry to the children.

Jesus took the children in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

Jesus didn’t minister from a distance.  He did not hold his hand out and bless the mass of children from afar.

No, He took the children in His arms.  He touched them!  He held them!

Can you see the mother as she lays her precious infant in Jesus’ arms?  Jesus looks gently down at him and smiles.  He softly touches the baby’s forehead.  What sweet words of blessing is Jesus praying over the child?

Watch for a few moments as Jesus takes one child after another and blesses them.

As you begin a new school year how are you going  to bless the children? What does relational ministry mean to you?

Contact me at wanda@kidtrek if you need some help to think this through. How much of a difference do you want to make in the lives of the children you serve in the coming year?

Church Based After School: WHAT IS YOUR INTENTIONAL GOAL?

joewandahereford

I was living and working in a migrant labor camp in Texas – above are pictures of myself and husband (who I met while serving there). We were VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) Volunteers, part of President Johnson’s war on poverty.  I was just out of college and had such huge dreams of making a difference. 

 Never will I forget the day that Lupe knocked on our door and asked if I would like to accompany her to court.  She was going to court with two boys, both 12 year olds. They had put bricks on the railroad track and derailed a train. 

 I didn’t hesitate – to get out of the heat of the Texas sun and sit idly in the back of an air-conditioned courtroom sounded like an enjoyable afternoon.  LITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT GOD HAD IN STORE FOR ME. As we entered the court I sat in the last row while Lupe went to the front to be with the boys.

The judge came in and asked the two boys to stand in front of him.  Caesar wore a filthy, worn baseball cap. Pedro stood with his head bowed and never looked at the judge.

“Take that cap off!” the judge demanded in a gruff voice.

Pedro and Caesar didn’t move.

“I told you to take that cap off!  Take it off now!.” the judge said in a slow gruff voice.

Again, neither boy moved.

Shouting this time, “Did you hear me?  I told you to take that cap off!  Do so now!”

Again, neither boy moved.

“You, you sitting out there,” the judge shouted pointing at me.  “You’ve come into our small community thinking that you know everything.  You think that you can tell us how to run our community.  Well we’ll see.  We’ll see if you have all the answers or not!  I’m putting these two boys into your custody!

He hit the bench with his gavel.  I sat there not able to move.  What had just happened?  This was supposed to be an easy afternoon, a little time out of the heat.  Now at 21 I had custody of two twelve-year olds.  What do you do with two boys who are about to become teenagers? Were they to live with us?

As we drove back to the Labor Camp Lupe and I talked about the options available to me.  We decided it would be best for the boys to spend nights with their parents and spend days with us.  Joe and Ellen, my two roommates and fellow Vista Volunteers, had a good laugh as I explained what had happened –  that is until they realized how this impacted them too.

One of the first things we learned was that Caesar wouldn’t remove his cap because he had a scalp disease and his hair was all patchy.  Joe took him to town to pick out a new, clean cap.  A daily routine was making sure his head and cap were clean.

We checked with the school to see how they were doing.  Because they were the children of migrant laborers and moved a lot the school was basically warehousing them.  We requested they be tested.  It took a little pressuring but eventually the tests were administered.  Caesar had an IQ of 69, Pedro’s was 48.

Caesar and Pedro had no idea what the consequences would be when they placed those bricks on the railroad track.  They were merely having fun trying to balance the bricks.

For the next few months I worked hard with the school and their parents figuring out what would be best for them.  In the end we were able to get them enrolled in a residential school for mentally challenged children.

I remember the day I took them to the school.  They were excited and I knew that they were going to receive training that would give them skills to function as adults on their own.

As I drove out of the school grounds I had a sense of accomplishment, a sense I had done something good. 

Caesar and Pedro were American invisible children – there was no one in their lives who cared enough or had the sophistication to get them the help they needed.  Little did the judge realize what a blessing it was for those boys when he placed them in my custody.

But as the years have passed I have often felt that those boys may have been left behind. 

Not once did I speak to them about Jesus.

What did I truly give them if I gave them the whole world but they lose their souls?  Mark 8:36

Years later, when I was concerned about the outcome of my own children the Triune God taught me what motivates most of us in what we do as we serve others. Motivation for What We Do   In the years that I served in inner cities I saw this motivation over and over again. Just one example of what I observed.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTIONAL GOAL?

Church Based After School: “Life’s A Pain”

As we walk through life with children and guide them to walk with the Triune God it is important that we teach them the full truth. . .

Life often is a pain!

What are you teaching the children you serve, or your own children, about pain that never goes away no matter how much they beg God to take it from them? This is especially important as you serve at-risk children – their lives are filled with so much pain. Just because they grow to love Jesus and walk with them much of that pain will remain.

Please don’t lie to them and tell them that if they submit to Jesus that everything will be okay. IT WON”T BE

When we try to sugar coat life we cause more pain. If you have been a follower of my Blog you have perhaps read My Heart’s Cry – the story which taught me the importance of not over protecting our children.

My pastor, Todd Rettberg, is a pastor who truly pastors – he knows what you need when you are in the midst of pain because he lives with constant, continual pain that never leaves. I know from personal experience that he walks his talk. God has my husband and me on a very difficult journey filled with physical and emotional pain – Todd is walking with us through it.

I highly recommend his new book to anyone who serves children. It is important that we teach children that God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want. You can find some answers to share not only with children – but adults who question if God cares when they are in the midst of pain and there is no relief.

JOURNEYING BY FAITH WHEN

EVERY STEP HURTS

Life’s a Pain!

But God has treasures to impart through it.

As a pastor who suffers from chronic pain himself, Todd Rettberg knows what it can do to people and families. With straight talk, humor and compassion, he shows Christians how to find God In the midst of suffering.

Available at:

Crosslink Publishing

The e-book is also available at Amazon.

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: Emotional Needs of Children

   This is the story of a church-raised child – how much more devastating this would be for one of your kids in your after-school ministry.

Nine-year-old Marty loved Bill his Sunday school teacher.  On Sunday mornings, he could hardly wait to get to church to be with Bill.  Bill would call from time to time, and they would chat on the phone, or Bill would send him a postcard just to tell him how special he was.

One Sunday when Marty arrived at church, Bill was very excited.  He told Marty that he had just purchased a new fishing pole and was planning to go fishing the following Saturday.  He invited Marty to go with him, if his parents consented.

Marty was so excited!  After Sunday school, he made a mad dash to find his mom and see if it would be O.K.  Marty’s parents knew Bill well, and they were excited that he wanted to spend a day with their son, so they told Marty that it would be great.  Marty ran back into the room to tell Bill that he would be able to go with him.

Bill was also excited and they made arrangements regarding their day of fishing.

Marty could hardly wait until Saturday morning.  He told all his friends at school about his great Sunday school teacher who was going to take him fishing.

Friday evening rolled around and Marty’s family went out for dinner.  When they returned from dinner, there was a message on the answering machine.  It went something like this.

“Hey buddy, this is Bill.  I really hate to do this to you, but I know you’ll understand.  I was just given tickets to the UCLA – USC football game tomorrow.  I know you were really counting on going fishing but we’ll do it another time, O.K., buddy?  Love ‘ya.  See ‘ya Sunday.”

Marty’s mother told this story.

She had just read a brochure on the emotional needs of children.  After reading the brochure, Marty’s mom said that it was at that time that Marty suddenly changed his attitude about going to church.  She hadn’t made the connection before.

As we prepare to provide the most excellent ministry we can for the children whom God sends to us it is vital that we consider each child’s emotional needs.

 WHAT ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL NEEDS
OF THE CHILDREN?