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Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids: Billy Graham’s God’s Good News

I received this book (no money) for my honest review and that’s what you always get!

Billy Graham remains one of the foremost pastors in America’s history, and parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and more will want this lovely edition of God‘s GoodNews for the children in their life to show them the way to the cross and to help them begin a lifetime of following Christ. God‘s Good News is a collection of more than 60 favorite Bible stories told in actual Bible text from the New King James Version, including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples, and each story is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham. The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the good news from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham.

Christianity is good news. . . . When we open up the Bible, it is good news from cover to cover. It’s the good news that God loves us.

—Billy Graham

This book is yet another part of the amazing legacy that Reverend Billy Graham leaves behind – him ministering, through book, to the next generation.

Graham starts this capturing Book by talking about what he always talks about – God’s love and how “it passes knowledge.” Graham was big on talking about how much God loves us and that tone is set from the very beginning in this book.

Separated – just as the Bible is – between Old and New Testaments, this story and devotion book prepares the youngest for independently reading the Bible.

Meanwhile, Scott Wakefield’s illustrations are making every story come alive in your child’s mind! His artistic interpretation, while beautiful, is realistic enough that the illustrations do not deviate from the Word while still being child-friendly.

Throughout this story and devotion book, your children will hear words directly from Billy Graham’s writings as well.

I highly recommend this book. I know that shouldn’t surprise most of you as it is the works of Reverend Billy Graham. His legacy and history, though, do not just give him an automatic seal of approval by me. Going through this book, I am very impressed with the stories that were included.

So many children’s devotionals include stories such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Esau, Jonah, and others. Many, however, do not include the Tower of Babel, Jacob’s ladder, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, King Solomon, Josiah, Zacharias, the sermon on the mount, Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, the widow’s coins, Stephen, and many, many, more. This story and devotion book has more than 60 of them in it!

If you want to know what a child’s honest first thoughts are of this book, before you buy it, watch this short video:

https://youtu.be/pNTE6KfRFZM

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Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it?

Start this 6 part series HERE or refresh yourself on the last article.


When I taught children a lot more than I do now, I used to often say, “God sends them to us perfect. It’s our job not to screw them up.”

So, when parents tell me things such as…

“My kiddo was just asked to not come back to church next Sunday as punishment for behavior…this is the third church we’ve been to. We’ll try again the next Sunday, but this momma is afraid we might be three strikes and we’re out.”

“I was dismayed today to have it reported that a nursery volunteer told a child ’you’re a bad boy’ in response to something he did. The church has such a profound influence on a child’s identity formation- we need to take care to reach children that they are beloved bearers of Christ’s image.”

it breaks my heart.


When I asked if I should write on this topic, parents said…

“Yes! I honestly can’t even take my children to church at times because they are trauma kids and need help. But they have been told they were bad, they’ve been put in time out, and I’ve been told that I’m not a good mom and don’t have control over my kids… I know they are tough. I live with them. I don’t need them to be hurt at church.”

Also…

“Definitely! I have that kid, and now when I serve in children’s ministry, I seek out ’that kid’ and their mom, and try to encourage them and love them both!! I also found that the teacher who I initially felt was tough on my kid turned out to be EXACTLY what he needed.”

I want to be clear about something though: all throughout the responses and emails I’ve received, the parents have been understanding! They’ve been understanding about a lack of volunteers, a lack of training, and more. No parent came across angry or unforgiving. Rather they came across to me as simply wanting a solution, and to be a part of it at that! Occasionally, they were clearly hurting, frustrated, confused, or fearful.


So…how do we fix this?

Well, first – as with any problem , a great part of the solution lies in communication. Just because it’s church, doesn’t mean you just hand off your child as you would with maybe their grandparents. Just as if you were interviewing a babysitter or checking out schools for your little one you need to know the situation they are walking into. It’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK to sit in the back of the classroom and see the way they facilitate their class. It can be frustrating to experience the way a ministry may facilitate discipline, celebration, worship,… any list of things if you are not first aware of how they will be doing that, if you’re not already prepared.

As an example:

If you know that your little Johnny gets out of hand when excited then you need to be his advocate and be proactive. Don’t set him up for failure. If you know that your children’s ministry has exciting worship before their lesson, then maybe you go to children’s church during praise and worship and sit by him simply to teach him how to control himself and then wind down for the lesson…and then you leave. Alternatively, maybe you keep him with you wherever you are until the lesson starts and then you escort him to children’s church.

Another example:

If you know that your children’s minister calls people out by name and sends them to timeout but your child has experienced a past trauma that would be revisited or exacerbated by this, then speak privately with your minister and come up with a plan beforehand. Hit it off at the pass!

These were just some of the responses that I received from ministers when I asked them “What does your department consider a ‘problem’ that must be addressed immediately with parents?”

“Anything that a child brings up about their home life that could be harmful. That would be first and foremost. If a child is injured I would bring that up immediately with a parent. If a child wants to be baptized and has questions about Jesus or God, I would always pull the parent to the side and have a conversation with them. I never addressed behavior [with a parent] unless they harmed another child.”

“A ‘problem’ would be anything that is keeping the department or class from running smoothly. If a child were to hit, kick,bite, cause distraction, harm Church property or others, defy leadership. Any of these things happen, parents are notified.”

“One of the few times I had problems with behavior was if after many times of trying to redirect a child who was unruly (fighting, yelling out, being sexually inappropriate, cussing) I would send for their parents or if it was one of my inner city kids, I would get the superintendent. One instance I was able to turn around was a child who I suspected was dyslexic. The kids were teasing him. So I just rewrote everything on the chalk board for the class. No one could read it but the said child. Victory for him! Understanding and empathy for the other children [goes a long way].”

Do you see how very different all three of those answers were? Different churches, different ministries, different ministers will respond and direct differently! You need to know who and what you’re dealing with so you can be proactive.

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part…But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it…Yes, there are many parts, but only one body….while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:12-14, 18, 20, 24-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Second, you have to be understanding of your church’s limitations just as you are their positive aspects. Some churches are blessed with an over-abundance of volunteers in every department of ministry. Others are not. Did you know that children’s ministry needs the most volunteers yet typically is the very ministry that has the very least people that volunteer for it? Further, with things being the way that they are in the world now, churches find themselves having to go to the extra expense of paying for background checks. That cost alone can limit them to the amount of volunteers they can afford. Your simple offer to pay for your own background check could nullify that. Also, while there are many that love children and may be parents themselves, they may have not been given any training in regard to the teaching or caring of others’ children outside of or within a church setting…for whatever reason. If there has been no training offered, you should know that before your child has joined children’s church. If you have a problem with that, then you have some options: 1) you can volunteer yourself; 2) you can spearhead getting training brought to your church’s children’s ministry; or 3) you can take your chances knowing that or keep your child out.

When I asked ministers “Are all of your volunteers trained? Some? If so, how?” these were just some of the responses I received:

“[Our] churches do not have a lot of money for training and materials. We offer them the best training possible which is to tell them what we expect in each class/service. If something were to happen, we are to be alerted as the leaders of the department, and then we talk to the Parents.”

“All volunteers are trained before being placed in a classroom. Training takes place monthly for new team members and is required for all team members because it is held monthly in a team rally situation.”

“We took classes taught by church for training. I had an advantage in that I had my AA degree in child education and additional classes in special needs children.” Not all ministries have the luxury of having formally trained teachers, obviously.

Lastly, you must be an active participant. You can’t treat children’s ministry as if it’s a babysitting service and then be disappointed, upset, or angry when you don’t get the results you’re hoping for (e.g., your child knowing the Bible, knowing Christ, understanding repentance, your child ultimately accepting Christ). Babysitters don’t do anything other than assure that your child is safe while you’re away. If you treat it all as babysitting, then you should expect to get called out of church. After all, you wouldn’t expect your babysitter to discipline your child would you? If you treat them as a babysitting service, you would be shocked and astounded if you came to pick up your child and your child suddenly knew how to read a book.


You know…you may feel like they want to get your kids and to get rid of you at the door. If you feel that way, that’s probably not what’s going on. Teachers and ministers get in a zone just like the players of a game do. Seriously! They get totally focused on their “game plan” and are anxious to initiate it. So, don’t be afraid to ask, “How can I get involved?” Because just as you’re getting different responses here, you may get a very different response from your children’s minister!


When I asked “What do you think parents can do to be most beneficial overall and for their children specifically, in regard to their relationship with your children’s ministry?” These were some responses I received…

“The most important thing a parent can do is serve in kids ministry. Especially if they have a child in kids ministry. It helps them [that] you sweat and it’s not a babysitting service and opens up communication about their children’s faith. Children’s ministry is one of the most important ministries in a church and will help promote church growth if done correctly and parents are a big part of this.”

“Talking positively about the teachers. Calling them Ms. or Mr., not their first names. Speaking with parents separate from the classroom. No one needs to hear [about situations] but those involved. Not calling out or speaking about the issue in front of [a] child and [the] whole class. Talk about [the] problem, not [the] child, and without naming names!”

“In our department, we had parents who used us as babysitters. If they would see us as much more than that. We are pouring into the souls of their children for the sake of the Kingdom. If parents could put our classes and services on the top of their priority list, ensure their students are in class on time and as often as classes or an event are held, it only helps. If parents could remind students of how they should behave that would be great. If parents would communicate with leadership and let them know about any special needs the student has, that would be great! As volunteers freely give up their time to serve in the ministry, it is our hope that children and students will have a great time so parents can focus on their own class/service.”

No. You need to treat them and respect them for what they are – educators. They are educating your children on the very most important thing they’ll ever need to know in life – God and His will. Do you recall at the beginning of this series where I lined out how “kids” in the Bible learned?

In Christ’s time, a Jewish child was sent to school within the fifth or sixth year of his life. Until they were ten, the Bible was their one text book. From the ages of ten to fifteen, traditional law was their main subject. After the age of fifteen, they studied theology as it was taught in the Talmud. The Talmud is the record of rabbinic teachings that spans a period of about six hundred years… The rabbinic teachings of the Talmud explain in great detail how the commandments of the Torah are to be carried out.


If with school you get progress reports, you meet with the teacher, you assure that they are behaving properly, you ask them what they learned that day…why would you not do that and more for their lessons on God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit? We are talking about their entire life on this planet and eternity!

Somewhere along the line we all get our priorities messed up, out of alignment, out of order. Sometimes our churches do. After all, they’re ran by us – deficient humans. Sometimes Churches get distracted by trying to entertain the children, trying to hem up the children, trying to grow the ministry. So too, though, do we parents get messed up and begin to treat children’s ministry as if it’s somehow less important than school, a reprieve from parenting for a couple of hours, not our responsibility.


So, today take responsibility for yours! If you feel like your children are being entertained rather than ministered, speak up. Do so with respect and patience; because these folks are working hard for your children.

You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when you are directed by the Holy Spirit and speak as Christ would. After all, complaints are usually filed away and put in one of two boxes in our minds: 1) “I can’t let it bother me”; or 2) the box of insecurities. When spoken to with suggestions and concerns, offers of assistance and encouragement, those words are often put into boxes like: 1) “That’s someone who’s on my side. I can work with them.” 2) “Maybe that’s who God is sending me to help me.” 3) “I see there’s an area I need to work on; and, I’m okay with that.”

Lastly, I would challenge you to pray for your children’s ministers and teachers. Are you praying for our president? Your governor? Your boss? Your pastor? You better be! And, if you are, then shouldn’t you be praying for all of those same people that influence your children’s lives?


Thank you for staying with me throughout this series. I pray that God has brought hope and forgiveness to parents. I pray that God has brought insight to teachers and ministers. Above all, I pray that this series is able to change the outcome of even just one of His children and the path that they take for His kingdom.


Do you want to do more with your children? You might start here: Focus on the Family’s Summer Adventure Kit! It’s completely free (but you can always donate) and is a great way for you to take an active part in the Biblical education of your children in a very fun way.

Do you need some more encouragement on a very real and specific thing you and your child(ren) are going through? I encourage you to check out Focus on the Family’s parenting website. They cover a variety of topics from newborn on up. To learn more about them CLICK HERE.

“Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles.”

STAY TUNED: We’re on vacation this week but because so many of you have responded so well to this series, when I return home, I’m going to be doing a giveaway! Follow my blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, and on Instagram and you’ll never miss a giveaway!

Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? (5 of 6)

Begin this six-part series HERE or refresh yourself on the last part.

Then we encountered something God knew we needed – a group of people that just wanted to love my son. Even though my husband still did his leadership gig at “the big church” – and still does – we began attending at a church a ways out from our house. We knew, at the very least, that it was where our son needed to be to heal and we saw this very quickly. His first few Sundays he didn’t trust his teachers for obvious reasons. And…you know what? They thought outside of the box… without even knowing what had happened to him. I found out that Mr. Zach, the youth pastor, was taking him out to the inflated moon bounce every Sunday morning… just the two of them while class was going on. Then, after my son would burn off some energy and see that he was loved and accepted, Mr. Zach would take him back to class.


After a while, I only got random messages (about once every few months) from an usher asking me to check on him. My son would often get excited during music and not be able to calm himself down afterward. I’d sit in class and remind him of his expected behavior. These events only happened on days when there was only one teacher and she couldn’t do it all. It was completely understandable to me. It was a wonderful season for my son that allowed him to see that there was a healthy environment for him to learn about the Lord, away from Mommy’s house, where he could trust the teachers and others to love him and expect good behavior as well.


Thankfully, his preschool school year helped to solidify this as well. God showed us a great school for our son and placed him with the most perfect teachers ever. His preschool teacher was an amazing balance of firmness and love. She saw all that he had inside him: leadership skills, intelligence, zeal, etc. but didn’t allow her love for him to cause her to neglect to be firm and not reward him for poor behavior. No matter how many times he got put in time out or didn’t get “a bug in his jar,” my son never – not once – felt unloved. I told her many times, “This is your calling. Don’t underestimate that for a moment.”


I was beginning to gain perspective that these were all the growing pains of dealing with many other people very unlike myself. These were the growing pains of being made aware of a growing dichotomy between how the church once did things and now do things. After all my children are 15 years apart.


Then my son visited that same church as his preschool, of where he was so successful, for its Vacation Bible School (his preschool was not at the same church of which we attend). On the very first day of pick-up (a day of which included excitement because it was the first day, meeting new friends, bouncie houses, dancing, etc.) the teacher welcomes me by saying, “He was disruptive during music, bumping people next to him while dancing, so I had to pull him out of music.” I didn’t even get a “Hello,” y’all. I swear I am not making that up. Can I just tell you that it was one of those days and I barely made it to the car before I began hiccup crying in front of my five-year-old? That was never my intention. I don’t like to argue in front of my kids. I certainly don’t like to cry in front of them. I’m not saying those things are bad I’m just saying they’re not who I am or, try to be, in front of my kids. Was it an overreaction? Yes – to this one incident. But my reaction was one of a working mom doing her best and getting a “bad report” yet again.

And…it ruined my day. It disappointed my son. It was Vacation. Bible. School. Why was there even in a behavior chart? It’s four days of bible, songs, and games. We didn’t even have a behavior chart at church camp where we stayed overnight, let alone any VBS I ever went to or taught! Is someone going to tell me they do that at camp now, too?!


The following morning I had gotten it together. I told the teacher calmly and even pleasantly (because I had allowed God to adjust my attitude), “Please remind him to stay in his personal bubble during music time and he won’t accidentally bump into his friends. If you have any problems, though, call me and I’ll come get him.” I think that she read from my body language that if that were the case, he wouldn’t be back. Her entire demeanor changed so I believed the very best.


I was pleased when I picked him up to find out that just as I had adjusted my attitude, the teacher had adjusted hers. She shared with me how all of the kids had learned about their personal bubbles and they all stayed in their own. She shared with me her appreciation for me teaching her about the whole “personal bubble” method. God is good!


I had to remind myself that Matthew 22:14 says that “many are called but few are chosen.” I think that every parent has to remind themselves of that when they place their children in others’ hands. I also did something that some may think a little odd but I put my son in a shirt that I bought him last year. I wanted his teacher to remember something about him just as God was reminding me (Matthew 22:14) about volunteers and teachers. His shirt said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Our children are. You know? Whether they’re perfect angels or being selfish. Whether you’re teaching a child that knows every single answer or you’re trying to teach that one kid that just acts as if he’s full of vinegar, God made them and He doesn’t make junk.



Come back tomorrow for the last installment of When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? I think it’s the most interesting and informative of them all! And…I have a surprise for you for staying with it through this whole series!

Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? (4 of 6)

This is part 4 of a 6 part series entitled When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? Start HERE at the beginning or refresh yourself on the last post.


When my son was three, we attended a church that was pastored by someone who went to Bible college with a great Pastor-friend of ours. The church was exceptional. The children’s ministry seemed to be organized and exciting. The youth was on point with an outstanding youth pastor. The pastor himself delivered a good word every sermon. 

Bells and whistles went off, for me however, when I picked my son up one evening and the teacher – of whom has no medical background – tried to insinuate that my son may suffer from ADD or ADHD. I assured her that he was a typical three year old boy who was also under the care of one of the best pediatricians in the area. Then she proceeded to encourage me to put him in preschool – even though I worked from home – because “the consistency and discipline of being in a classroom environment would benefit his behavior.”


Now, I think every mom – at some point – has experienced the whole unsolicited advice thing; but, I’m sure you can agree with me that this was both a little over the top and above her pay-grade. It was unbelievably hurtful and worrisome for her to infer that my son may suffer from a very real behavioral disorder. Then she assumed my family had the budget to put my son in a preschool and that I would rather him be there than at home with me. All of this should have worried me and it did. I shared my concerns with my husband and he (and please know that I’m not throwing him under the bus here) assumed that this was just one woman who’s opinion didn’t matter a flip to him.

Well, a couple of weeks later I found my three year old in the nursery with the infants. I inquired as to why he was not in his classroom and they said that it was just easier for the class for him to be in there. I was hot. I was livid. I was ….. beyond angry. I was so angry, in fact, that I asked my husband to deal with it because if I dealt with it, I could not promise that I’d be Christian about it. So, my husband spoke to the women of the preschool classes there to assure that it would not happen again. He even offered for either himself or me to be in the classroom if there were any problems. They assured us there would not be and we were not called away from church… ever.

Fast forward about three weeks and while picking up my son a little girl who was about four or five very nastily says in a sing-song way, “Oh she’s here to pick up little baby Eli.” I would not have thought much about it except for the fact that one of the teachers quickly shushed her with a composure of utter guilt all over her face. I came to find out that this was a name that not only the children were calling him but a name of which had been perpetuated by one of the teachers. I guess they thought they would teach him to man up by calling him a baby and allowing everyone to make fun of him.


Can you imagine how I felt in that moment? Can you? I can try and take you there. I can try and explain the seething anger that vibrated through me like a coursing river. I can attempt to describe the way it felt as if my blood was quite literally boiling and the top of my head might blow off. I can tell you that my hands fisted and flexed and I took several deep breaths before lovingly taking my son and then not-so-lovingly looking at the teacher and saying, “You never have to worry about my son being a problem in your class ever again. He will never again darken the doors of this place. Mark my words.”


Pretty awful, yeah? Yeah. I thought so, too. For two years my son called it “the mean church” whenever we drove past it. We tried to never drive past it obviously because we didn’t want our son to harbor anything but good feelings towards a house of God. We would get something in the mail from them and he’d say, “The bad church” and I would have to redirect him. At three! Does that tell you the amount of hurt he had to have endured there that I wasn’t even aware of? I mean… most three year olds forget about their best friend saying they hate them the very day before but my kid held onto this for nearly two years.


Now, because my husband and I have been and are a part of different ministries we’ve experienced several different churches and, with them, their respective atmospheres. One church in particular that my husband must attend weekly because he has a leadership role there has an interesting approach. The woman who runs their preschool ministry does in fact run a daycare. With all due respect, this doesn’t impress me as it does others. It’s not a daycare. It’s church, as I inferred earlier. To me that’s like asking me to be impressed that a high school principal is my highschooler’s new youth pastor. The two are different vocations and require different approaches. I cannot tell you how many times my husband was called away to come tend to our son. There was simply too many times to count. At one point we were asked to come get him and take him.


I was done after that. I’m not saying whether they were wrong or right. All I can tell you is my opinion. In my opinion, you don’t kick ANYONE out of church. I mean…exactly how terrorizing can an overly-hugging motor-mouth 4-year-old be?! Isn’t that quite literally saying, “You’re not welcome in God’s house because of your behavior,” when in fact God’s word is constantly begging everyone – regardless of their background – to come unto the Father?


If my home church in Savannah, Georgia could lovingly tell fuddy-duddies that complained about the guy on the pew that stunk to get over their sensitive nose or find themselves a new church, then I’m pretty sure this much bigger church that is spreading its seeds all over North Georgia can figure out that church is where the hurt, lost, confused, and sometimes stinky people – whether in body or behavior – are supposed to be and that my four year old is welcome there no matter his behavior. They never wanted us to partner with them. They wanted our son to fit into their mold or leave. Seriously. That was it.


Come back tomorrow when I’ll share with you the hope we found, the hope God sent us. 

Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: whose fault is it? (2 of 6)

This is part 2 of a 6 part series on When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: whose fault is it? Begin at Part 1 HERE!


When I asked my dad why he became a children’s pastor, he said, “To make a long story short, you and your brother started to go to children’s church; and, when you did, I wanted to go down there and see what y’all were being taught. There was a young man down there that – little did I know – wanted to rid himself of having to teach children’s church and… I sort of inherited it because of no interest by anyone else in the church. It became something important to me because I saw the effect that it was having on the children there.” My dad didn’t have lesson plans given to him. He created his own lessons; being a long-time Sunday school teacher of adults this wasn’t hard for him to do. He built inspiring sets, had puppetry, and even dressed me up as a giant cardboard Bible for the “Hallelujah Party” (aka Halloween). I’m pretty sure I’ll need hypnotherapy and psychedelics to remove that particular memory.

I think this is often how it happens. A person feels called into the ministry but not necessarily children’s ministry. Or, there’s simply a spot that needs to be filled. I know that, as for me, I kept nursery for many years and when my daughter came along there weren’t many volunteers for teachers. I believe in being part of the solution, not the problem. In other words, I wouldn’t complain that there were no teachers and then not volunteer. So, I found myself teaching my own daughter from Pre-K through 5th grade on Sunday nights. Don’t get me wrong, though, I felt a passion for it – a calling even. I had always volunteered in one capacity or another for the kids and youth. I’ve always liked teaching and talking about the Bible and love, love, love, children; so, this was truly a passionate thing for me and no burden at all. My only requirement, of which the pastor approved, was that I didn’t have to use the lesson plans that the church offered. The pastor knew my family well, knew my father’s teaching style. He understood that I would never deviate from the Bible, so he was fine with my creating my own lessons.


Why would I do this, you ask? Why would a person who was a single mom at the time and working full time, put upon her plate creating a captivating lesson plan each week for her students? I’ll tell you: because the kids could teach me about Noah’s ark and every parable known to man. They all knew them by heart but… not in their hearts. You know? They knew them like you’d know a song. They could repeat them back to me but couldn’t apply them to their lives. Further, they lost their excitement for the stories they had been taught.


Photo courtesy Robert McLaughlin, www.robertmclaughlinart.com

So, I found myself asking them about their days at school, at home, what sort of situations they were dealing with; and we found the Biblical answers for what to do when your friend decides to not be your friend anymore. We found the Biblical answers for why we must be bold and at times quiet. These things were not over the kids’ heads. And… I’m talking about first graders, here. I mean children! These were real-life scenarios that we were conquering through God’s word. Not to disparage such stories as Noah’s ark and the parting of the Red Sea but they weren’t what some may call a “rhema” word. They weren’t the Word that these children needed at the time. They didn’t need the same stories regurgitated to them in a circular fashion for five years in a row. They were hungering for meat and yet still being given milk. Sounds very adult-y, doesn’t it?


Not to digress, as you may already think that I have, but this leads me to a valuable point: When you have people “teaching” Sunday school and children’s church that are really more of a daycare or day school coordinator or administrator, they are approaching the children from a caretaking standpoint rather than a spiritual or ministerial standpoint. When this happens, you find that your children’s ministry is treating your child as if they are a student in school rather than a church member – a child of God. For instance, at school if your child is disruptive, not listening, invading someone’s personal space… they will probably find themselves in time out. If this happens repeatedly, they may be asked to be removed from the class. Have you noticed any of these things happening in your church? If it feels as if that’s wrong, that’s because it is.

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew‬ 19:14

If Christ says it, that settles it. So.. back to our regularly scheduled programming where we left off with Little Timmy and Little Molly having real world “adult-y” problems… 


And…just as with a group of adults, a group of children have very different… complex personalities. Sure, I always had my core group of children that I could count on to be called to attention under my authority; but… there were other children that I had sometimes regularly and sometimes not. Those children were the ones that I prefer to refer to as “unpredictable.” 


Unpredictable is not a bad word. It’s simply a word that means “not able to determine what will happen.” Some of these children cried at the tiniest thing because there was no continuity at home and slight changes terrified them. Some hit because they thought that was the only way to get something to change, however it ended up… they just wanted the situation changed. Some unpredictable children simply didn’t talk. They were shy. They were quiet. Some were quiet because they didn’t yet feel comfortable talking but once they felt part of the family you couldn’t shut them up. Other quiet children simply were observers. They preferred to keep to themselves yet were devouring everything around them.


Photo courtesy Robert McLaughlin, www.robertmclaughlinart.com

We don’t kick the grumpy out of church. We don’t kick the person who talks all through service out. We don’t kick out the prostitute, the drug addict, the gang banger. So….why are we kicking children out of church? Don’t we realize this is setting a precedent in their minds? Is that how God deals with us when we’re difficult? 


As I write this, several children stand out in my head. One child was what some would label “a hitter.” I refuse to label children. I believe it’s a horrific practice. People today would never label a puppy “a bad, biting, puppy.” They would teach the puppy healthier behavior and simply call him a puppy; yet, in the same breath they’ll say, “That kid is a spoiled brat.” It’s awful.


Whenever a kid would do something unexpected this child would hit them. It only happened maybe twice with me. It apparently happened more often on Wednesday nights because that teacher asked me how I had stopped it. Simple, I called his mom and told her she had to come get him in order for me to protect the other children!
 Or did I?🤔😏

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 (of 6) of When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: whose fault is it? when I’ll talk about our approach to students, the Church’s responsibility, and ours!

Read Part 3 HERE!