Free Help for Your Children\'s Ministry: This website offers thousands of resources & ministry ideas.This website began as the personal blog of Tony Kummer. It has grown to be a leading website for anyone serving in kids ministry.
I just got my hands on a review copy of Eek! Said Amy by L.J. Zimmerman.
It’s really good.
It’s a short read, ideal for bedtime with the children. The illustrations are catchy and will make you laugh at times.
The story is about learning to handle emotions. Right from the start it reminded me of the Disney movie “Inside Out” with a major differences. In short, Eek! Said Amy points children (and parents) back to God to help deal with emotional struggles. Our feelings are normal – even things like fear and anger. With God’s help we can all learn to manage those urges.
Meet Devon. Devon is a little boy that introduces readers to his friend Amy the AMYgdala! Amy helps Devon feel emotions, including fear. Through his friendship with Amy, Devon learns that fear helps him stay safe, but sometimes he needs to face his fears.
An age-appropriate book to teach kids how to deal with fear. Recommended for ages 3-7.
Check out the book on Amazon – it’s coming out in March 2018.
The life of Jesus is full of examples of how Christ criticized judgmental, hypocritical Pharisees, and encouraged his disciples to let God worry over righteousness, and instead live for Him. The epistles echo this sentiment. Unfortunately, modern day Christians and “church people” seem to have developed a reputation for judging or chastising those who might differ from our beliefs and ideas. This lesson takes a peek at what it means to belong to God.
Lesson focus: Jesus commands us to love one another, which includes accepting and caring for each other, no matter what. All that we do should be aimed to please the Lord.
Passage: Matthew 18:21-35; Romans 14:1-12
Target Audience: Pre-k through fifth grade (adaptable)
Materials Needed: Aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, pictures of various objects, snack wrappers or containers; decorating supplies.
Lesson Opening: Trick wrappers! This opening activity will introduce how easy it is to make mistakes when we try to judge too quickly…
Have a couple of snack items available. This might be one large box or a couple of smaller (candy bar-sized) things. Have different items inside than what would be expected. One wrapper should appear “boring” (oatmeal, vitamins, bland crackers) while the other looks enticing.
Ask students which one they think they want to open. The more “fun” looking container should have something bland and boring, like raisins or cotton balls or carrots (not that there is anything wrong with raisins or carrots, of course!). In the other container, have something fun and desirable, like cookies or candy.
Explain that sometimes things are not as they might appear. We often try to make judgments about things without knowing all of the details. This can wind up hurting people, including ourselves!
The passage today needs a little bit of background. Remind students that in the book of Romans (which they will be looking at), Paul is writing a letter to the church in Rome. Explain that some of the church followers there had argued about the specific rules and details of the faith. We would never do that, would we….??? Have students popcorn or group read the first verses:
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. -Romans 12:1-4
Ask students if they know anyone on a special diet. Sometimes people can only eat certain things because of allergies or health reasons. But other times people choose to give up foods, often animals, but sometimes out of dietary concerns. Let’s face it: sometimes people who are very strict and vocal about diets can seem just a bit like they look down their noses on others. Well, this was sort of happening in reverse, with the church leaders scorning those who did follow the law more strictly. This was because the emphasis was not supposed to be on eating and drinking or rule following. The Romans had missed the point, because the focus was to be living for the Lord.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. -Romans 12:5-9
Play another game of sorts. Place several pictures on the table, and invite students to put them into two categories, “good” or “bad.” There are no in betweens, no particular definitions or distinctions within those categories; just good or bad. Include things like donuts, broccoli, people with tattoos, church signs, bars, cats, dogs, boats, balloons… talk about why students might place things as “good” or “bad.” Can we truly judge what things are good or bad? Do we ever do this with people?
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. -Romans 14:10-12
Now, do note that there IS an absolute right and wrong/good and evil in the world. Murder is wrong. Sin is wrong. What Paul is describing here is that we are not the ones who can determine a person’s heart. We cannot be the judge over what people do or how. Our lives should not be all about that. Instead, our job is to love and serve God. We do this by loving and serving people—all kinds of people. Jesus did that. He ministered and talked to and loved the outcasts of society that most people would have judged. Refer back to the wrappers at the beginning of the lesson. Some people look great on the outside, but inside are still dirty or empty. These people are often called “hypocrites.” We cannot judge others when we are surely imperfect ourselves. We can demonstrate love and mercy, and compassion.
Going along with the mercy theme, if time allows, discuss another of Jesus’s parables, the story of the Unmerciful servant (found in Matthew 18). Discuss how we should show mercy and love, just as God does. We show mercy, rather than judgment.
Reflecting God… help children create a “mirror” by decorating wide popsicle sticks and arranging them like a picture frame. Place aluminum foil behind the frame like a glass mirror, and place a cross in the center of the foil to remind children to reflect Christ in all we do, looking to Him for direction.
Close with prayer and thank God for all He has given. Ask for help in showing others kindness and compassion, and not judging how others think or behave.
Children are frequently challenged to memorize the 10 Commandments. These coloring pages will help them understand the meaning behind each. We will be adding files directly to this page as the project moves forward. Click on the links below to download.
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lordwill not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lordyour God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lordmade heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Kids—and some adults, expect children’s ministry leaders to offer some type of snack during their ministry time. What used to be an occasional treat or a tasty party extra is now practically a must-have in some children’s ministries. Of course most kids want snacks and treats—just ask them. But what about teachers? For many reasons, some teachers are bucking this “trend” in ministry and I can’t say that I entirely blame them. As a children’s ministry veteran, I can see both sides of this issue. Maybe some discussion on the subject will help us all decide what’s best for our churches and ministries. The question is: to treat or not to treat? I’ve collected some thoughts from various children’s leaders that I know.
Why Some Choose to Treat
Kids are hungry. “We have a lot of ‘bus’ kids and I’m not sure some of these families feed kids before they send them to church. I feel compelled to provide them with something.” -Annette H.
It fills in a time gap. “We always have time at the end of service and I don’t mind.”
I like doing food crafts. “I like getting creative with snacks because I teach young kids. They love it.” -Rachel K.
All the other teachers feed their kids. “I give kids treats because the other classes do. I’m not a fan but one of my parents complained that one kid got something and the other one didn’t.” -Jeremy R.
It’s our fellowship time. “I actually like snack time because it’s the only time we get to really slow down and be with the kids. It’s kind of our fellowship time.” -Vita R.
Why Some Don’t Like Giving Treats
People forget this is an extra. “I gave up on treats because none of the parents wanted to help and my kids acted terrible during snack time. I really just stopped doing it.” Rick H.
Food shouldn’t be a reward. “I have personal issues with food so it kind of influenced me, I guess. I like rewarding the kids with stickers or bible bucks, not food. We have food at parties but any other time.” Becka D.
It’s too time-consuming and/or expensive to buy treats every week. “Kids weren’t happy with cookies and juice boxes. They wanted nachos and cheese and the list goes on. I couldn’t spend my budget on food.” Liz Y.
I have kids who have good allergies. “I’m nervous about giving kids food. Some of mine have food allergies so we don’t do treats.” Anna K.
It’s too messy. “I’m short handed on volunteers and the mess after a snack is too much to handle. I don’t have a cleaning crew–just me!” Missy O.
So what’s the bottom line? If I were in a quandary over treating or not treating, I’d be looking at this list. Every ministry is different but these leaders made some pretty good points. Most of the time during my work in churches, I did provide snacks. The reason being because we did do a lot of outreach ministry and new families often visited, many of these were poor. It can get to you at times, feeling unappreciated but it’s good to remember the words of Christ, “If you have done this for the least of these, you have done it unto me.” If you do decide to quit serving treats, it might be a good idea to talk to other teachers. This kind of policy works best when everyone is on board.
We love this resource to help kids and parents share grow in faith together AND that a part of all profits goes to helping rescue girls from human trafficking.
God’s Story 365 is a fun way to explore the Bible as a family. Each page has bright-colored art, short and engaging stories (including biblical references to dive deeper) and table-talk-style questions to get kids of any age talking about the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
Use promo code “FAMILY” on their website to receive a 30% discount.
You should probably know that the history behind the pastor appreciation month/day is a little dubious. The guy who launched the concept later went to jail for defrauding his own church members. (Read more here) Ultimately, showing honor to Christian leaders is something the Bible commands, even if the “holiday” has a weird history.
Title: God’s Forgave David’s Sin Scripture: 2 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 51 Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Ask: Does anyone know what the word “restore” means?
Say: When something is restored it means it’s put back together after it’s been broken or messed up in some way. The other day as I was loading my dishwasher at home I dropped one of my favorite dessert plates. It broke into two pieces, and luckily I was able to glue it back together. My plate was restored!
Ask: What if my plate had broken into 500 pieces? Do you think I would have been able to fix it? (Probably not.)
Say: Sometimes our sin is a bit like that dessert plate. When we disobey God we can totally wreck our lives! And it might seem like there’s no way to put things right again. But God is so powerful and so merciful that He is able to restore us when we repent of our sin and ask Him to forgive us.
Say: Our story is about King David and how he sinned against God, but God was able to restore David and forgive him.
Tell the Story
Explain It (Book): This is where you school ‘em!
Say: Our story comes from the book of 2 Samuel. For the last few weeks we’ve been learning about King David.
Ask: Who can tell me something they’ve learned about David in the last few weeks?
Say: We’ve heard all kinds of stories about David and how brave he was and how He trusted God. We might be tempted to think David was a perfect guy who had it all together. But we would be wrong.
Say: During springtime when kings often went out to war, David put a man named Joab in charge of the army, but David stayed home. One night, David was standing on the roof of the palace and across the way he noticed a beautiful woman. David asked his servants about her. They said, “Her name is Bathsheba and she is married to Uriah, a strong warrior in your army.” David sent messengers to Bathsheba to bring her to the palace and she spent the night there.
Say: Sometime later Bathsheba sent a message to David saying “I am pregnant, and you are the father.” David knew that it was wrong for him to have a baby with someone who was married to another man. But instead of confessing his sin, David tried to hide it.
Say: David had Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband brought home from the fighting. He told him to go home and spend time with his wife. That way, everyone would think that Bathsheba’s baby was Uriah’s. But Uriah refused. He said, “It’s not right for me to go home and spend time relaxing when the rest of the army is out fighting.” So instead of going home, Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with the other servants.
Say: David’s plan wasn’t working! Instead of confessing his sin, he came up with another plan, one much worse than the first. David sent a message with Uriah and told him to give it to Joab, the commander of the army. In the message David told Joab to put Uriah at the center of the battle where the fighting was the most dangerous. That way, Uriah would surely be killed. Joab obeyed David’s order and sure enough, Uriah died during the battle.
Ask: David hid his sin from other people. But do you think he was able to hide it from God?
Say: God knew exactly what David had done, and God was not happy about it. God spoke to the prophet named Nathan and sent Nathan to David to confront him with his sin.
Say: Nathan came to David and instead of coming right out and accusing David, he told him a story. The story was of a rich man who had many animals. There was also a poor man who had only one baby lamb. One day a visitor came to the rich man for dinner, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own animals for the meal. Instead he took the one baby lamb from the poor man and served it to the visitor for dinner.
Say: When David heard the story he was furious. “That rich man deserves to die!” He said. Nathan looked at him and said, “You are the man!” At that moment David knew that he couldn’t hide his sin any longer. He realized what a terrible thing he had done. David knew that he deserved to die for what he had done, but God promised that David wouldn’t die. Instead, Nathan told David that the baby that he and Bathsheba had would die.
Ask: How do you think David will respond to God’s mercy?
Say: Instead of continuing to hide his sin, David finally confessed it to God. He also begged God to forgive him. David wrote Psalm 51 as a prayer to God. Let’s read it together.
Read Psalm 51:1, 10
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love. According to you great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Ask: What did David ask God to do? (Forgive his sin, make his heart pure, to not forsake him)
Connect it (Look): Apply it & Answer “How?”
Say: When we do something wrong our first thought it often to try to hide what we’ve done. But there is no need to try to hide from God. Not because God is like a big bully up in heaven just waiting to bust us for everything we do wrong, but because God loves us so much that He wants to restore us even when we sin.
Ask: Is there anything we can do that is so bad that God would never ever forgive us?
Say: No way! God knows that we are weak and sinful, and our hearts are naturally far from Him, but He loves us anyway. God created us so He could pour out His love in our lives, and He is eager and willing to do that!
Say: Because of our sin, like David, we know that we deserve to die. The Bible says in the book of Romans that the punishment for sin is death. Someone must die to pay for our sins. God loves us so much that He was willing to die for us! Isn’t that incredible? We serve such a loving, glorious God who has offered us a wonderful gift—forgiveness for our sin. And there’s nothing that we have to do to try to earn it! God forgives us when we turn to Jesus and put our faith in Him. When we follow Jesus and repent of our sin, we find freedom from our sin. And just like David prayed, we can ask God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Say: Let’s pray and thank God for His wonderful gift of salvation.
What does it mean to restore something? (Fix something that is broken)
What books of the Bible did our story come from? (2 Samuel, Psalms)
What did David do instead of confessing his sin? (Tried to hide it)
Was David able to hide his sin from God? (No!)
Which prophet told the story of the poor man to David? (Nathan)
How did David respond when confronted with his sin? (He repented and confessed to God, asking God to forgive him.)
Is there any sin too great for God to forgive? (No!)
What does this story teach us about God? (He is merciful and forgiving.)
Title: Saul Disobeyed God Scripture: 1 Samuel 13 and 15 Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Ask: Do you ever have a hard time obeying completely? I mean, maybe your teacher gives you an assignment but you only finished half of it. If you only do half of your homework does that count as completing it? Nope!
Ask: Or what if your dad asks you to mow the grass but you only mow half the yard. Will your dad believe you when you said “But I did what you asked!”? No way!
Say: We can’t get away with just following directions or obeying halfway. Our story today is about King Saul, and how he only partially obeyed God, but he learned that partial obedience is really just disobedience!
Tell the Story
Explain It (Book): This is where you school ‘em!
Say: Last week we learned that God’s people (the Israelites) asked Samuel to anoint a king for them so they could be like all the other nations around them. By asking for a king they rejected God as their king. But God told Samuel to anoint a man to be Israel’s king.
Ask: Whom did Samuel anoint with oil? (Saul)
Say: That’s right. Saul became Israel’s first king, but unfortunately he didn’t turn out to be the perfect king that everyone had hoped for. He might have been a tall, strong, handsome guy, but his heart was sinful, and because of his sin, God would ultimately reject him as king!
Say: One day Saul went out with his army to fight the Philistines. Saul wanted to offer a sacrifice before the battle so they could ask God for help. Only Samuel, the priest, could offer sacrifices but he wasn’t there yet. Saul waited and waited but Samuel didn’t show up. Finally, Saul became impatient so he offered the sacrifice himself. That might not seem like a big deal to us, but by offering a sacrifice Saul was actually disobeying God!
Say: As soon as Saul had offered the sacrifice Samuel showed up. Let’s read from God’s Word to hear what Samuel said.
Read 1 Samuel 13:11-14
“What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
“You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lords’ command.”
Say: Awhile later Samuel sent a message to Saul telling him to go up and fight against their enemies, the Amalekites. Through Samuel, God told Saul to completely destroy all the people and their animals. Saul and his army went out against the Amalekites like God said, and they did defeat them, but they didn’t obey God completely. Saul allowed the Amalekite king, Agag to live, as well as some of their animals.
Say: Saul was proud of himself for obeying God, even though he hadn’t actually obeyed at all! Partial obedience is disobedience in God’s eyes.
Say: Samuel came out to meet Saul and Saul said, “Look! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions!” But Samuel said, “If you obeyed God completely, why do I hear the sheep bleating? And why did you allow King Agag to live?”
Say: Saul answered, “We kept the best of the livestock to offer as sacrifices to God!”
“No!” Said Samuel. “God would rather you obey Him than sin against Him and offer a sacrifice! God cares more about what is in your heart than about burnt offerings! And now, because you have rejected God by sinning against Him, God has rejected you as king!”
Say: Saul was very sorry that he had sinned against God, and God was sorry He had made Saul king.
Connect it (Look): Apply it & Answer “How?”
Say: It’s not hard to see that Saul wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t a perfect king and he wasn’t a perfect person because his heart was sinful. Really, you and I aren’t all that different from Saul. Maybe we wouldn’t have made exactly the same mistakes that he did, but we probably would’ve made our own mistakes!
Say: Do you remember our lesson last week? Israel demanded a king and Samuel warned them that any human king wouldn’t be able to truly take care of them. Any earthly king would fail them because all people are sinful! What the people really needed was a heavenly king; someone who would rule over them with love and justice. Back in Saul’s day the people were still waiting for that perfect king. But guess what! The wait is over! Our perfect King is here. His name is Jesus, and He is the long-awaited king and messiah that God’s people were hoping for.
Say: God used earthly kings to show His people that what they really needed only He could give them. The people wanted justice, but all their kings were selfish at heart. The people wanted peace, but their kings faced many wars. The people wanted comfort, but because their sinful kings led them away from God, the people were punished for their sin!
Say: Jesus is the only King who can truly provide for us and care for us the way we need Him to.
Whom did Samuel anoint as king over Israel? (Saul)
How did Saul disobey God? (He offered a sacrifice that only Samuel was supposed to offer.)
After the battle with the Amalekites whom did Saul allow to live? (King Agag and the best of the livestock)
Why did God take the kingdom away from Saul? (He disobeyed)
Who is our one true King? (Jesus)
What does this story teach us about God? (He takes sin seriously, He loves us too much to let us disobey Him without consequences)
How might we live differently in light of the truths in this story?
11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.