Children Experiencing God

Children Experiencing God

In June, I had an experience that filled me with joy and thanksgiving. I was serving as the evangelist at a summer camp in Tennessee. The first night of camp, I walked into the chapel where 109 eight-, nine- and ten-year-old kids were worshiping. They weren’t just singing songs and moving to the rhythm; they were worshiping with hands raised high and voices emphatically strong. And that was just the first night. Each night these campers worshiped vibrantly; they actively listened to God’s Word; they humbly received prayer ministry; and they passionately prayed for others. God honored their worship.

During these times of worship children came to the altar with tears of conviction streaming down their face; they believed and were saved. They raised their hands and in faith received Holy Spirit baptism. They boldly prayed for others around them until they too were laughing with Holy Spirit joy and speaking in heavenly languages. They reverently took communion. Filled with agape love, they moved through the chapel experiencing true Christian fellowship with one another. And again, as they worshiped God and loved one another, God’s presence filled the chapel.

Worship is a must for kids. Through worship children’s minds focus on God, their emotions sense His presence, and their wills yield to His. Through worship children experience the reality of God—His nearness, His love, His comfort, His guidance and more. They realize that God is not just someone you read about in the Bible.  He is real.  He is near.  He responds to their prayers and their praises.

Through worship children “rise up” to do the good works of ministry—acts of compassion, intercession, testimony, and sacrificial giving.  During ministry time one evening as the presence of God became real to each child, a young girl was baptized in the Holy Spirit. In continued worship, she moved to her friend who was handicapped. She hugged her friend and prayed for healing. Her worship had inspired faith-filled ministry.

Through worship children say “yes” to God for a lifetime. During this kids’ camp one of the senior staff members reminded me of a children’s revival that he participated in when he was only twelve years old. During worship at that children’s revival, the lights went out. The minister reminded the children that the early Christians often worshiped in the darkness of the caves. This reminder inspired the children to continue worshiping. Soon every child responded in praise to God and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. This staff member not only received Holy Spirit baptism but was also called into ministry. He accepted that call and has served as a pastor throughout his adult life.

During Jesus’ last week here on earth he was in the Temple doing miraculous things. The children saw the wonderful things he was doing—healing and forgiving—and they began to shout praises. The wicked religious leaders questioned Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”  Matthew 21:16

Do you hear what the children are saying? Yes. Even today God continues to order His praise from the lips and hearts of our children so that His kingdom can be established in their lives and in their world.

Kathy

Contributing Author: Kathy Creasy

Kathy is the International Children’s Ministry Director for the Church of God of Prophecy.  It is through her leadership that this Developing Leaders, Impacting Kids website operates.  She has a  Masters of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and a certificate in Children’s Ministry from Lancaster Bible University. Kathy is committed to providing encouragement and training to those who serve children. Kathy is married to Rick Creasy.  They have two sons and three wonderful grandchildren.

 

 

 

Engaging Kids in Worship

Engaging Kids in Worship

My church recently began having family worship services twice a month on Sunday nights.  The goal is to incorporate all ages in worship.  One of the ways we do this is by providing the children with instruments to play while singing.  I was next to one very rambunctious three year old boy this past week whose mom is on the praise team.  He loved the first song and was so excited about the worship.  As the song ended, he shouted loud enough for almost everyone to hear, “Good job with singing Mommy!”  It brought a smile to all of our faces. Not only had he been given the opportunity to worship God through song, but He had the privilege of being led into worship by his mom. As children’s ministers, we also have the privilege of leading kids into the worship of their God.

We know that it is biblical for children to experience true worship. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, children were active participants in worship.  Moses, Jehoshophat, and Nehemiah all invited children to be part of worshiping the Lord. (Exodus 10:8,9; 2 Chronicles 10:13, 18; Nehemiah 12:43) Jesus himself accepted the worship of children.  When the children saw Jesus healing the blind and the crippled in the Temple, they began to shout praises, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” This made the rulers of the Temple angry. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked Jesus. “Yes,” Jesus answered. “Haven’t you read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”

We often think of worship as being a time of singing in church.  While this is certainly an important part of our worship, we can also teach children that worship is anything we do to show God that we know who He is and what He has done.  We can worship with words by singing and saying words of praise. We can also worship with our actions by reading the Bible, praying, and obeying Him.  As children begin to understand the different ways of worshiping God, they learn that worship is both a lifestyle and an experience.  We live our lives in worship (Romans 12:1,) and we also experience specific times of worship, such as singing and praising God in church.

Ideas You Can Use

View of hand writing on blackboard on desk

Learning Activity: “What is Worship?”

Make a large worship chart by writing the word “worship” at the top of the paper and including the following definition:  Worship is what you do to show God that you know who He is and what He has done.  Under the definition, divide the paper into two columns, “Who is God?” and “What has God done?”

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multicultural hands around Bible

Worship Using the Word of God

Use the Word to show children who God is, provide examples of worshippers, help children define right attitudes of worship, define worship, and invite children to worship.

Worship Activities

Noisy Nursery Lesson

Worship through Singing, Movement, and Instruments

Praise and worship is a wonderful opportunity to engage every part of the child— body (movement), mind (singing) and spirit (feelings of joy, sensing the presence of our God as the child focuses on who God is).

Active Worship Ideas

Blank paper notes pinned on cork board

Worship Through Prayer

Prayer is an important act of worship. Encourage your children to participate in prayer by planning creative, interactive prayer activities.

Prayer Activities

woman handing coins

Worship Through Giving

Giving is another way we can worship God with our actions. Vary the ways you invite children to give so that giving doesn’t become a habit but continues to be a true act of worship.

Giving Ideas

I love God text spelled in cubes on wooden background

Praise Cube

Make and use a praise cube to help children understand different ways they can worship God.

Directions

RESOURCES

Kids and Raising Money for Missions

Kids and Raising Money for Missions

Part of ministry to children is teaching them to serve Christ by serving others. Involving kids in a missions project is a wonderful opportunity to help meet this goal. These projects typically involve raising money, and children are often a bit unsure of how to handle this challenge.  Beyond asking their parents for money or dipping into their small savings, how can they raise money? Below are some ideas for how you can help children earn money for missions.  Hopefully these ideas will help you as you prepare to involve your children in the Helping Hands for Kids 2017 project- “Do Your Part: Helping Venezuela’s Pastors’ Kids.”

  • Generate excitement about the missions project! Use the materials provided at children.cogop.org to help children truly understand the need and how they can make a difference.  There are ideas for teaching children about the culture of Venezuela, the needs of the people, prayer ideas, and much more.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to teach your children to have the hearts of servants.
  • Guide the children in preparing a presentation for their parents and grandparents, similar to a project they might do for school. Provide the children with poster board, art supplies, and pictures related to the project for which they they want to raise money.  Once they have prepared a visual board, help them practice using their board to share with adults about the project.  When children invest their time and effort into explaining the missions need, adults are more likely to give.
  • Ask an adult who is gifted in the area of media production to help children create a video to share in church and on social media. For example, the children at my church were raising money for Christians in Nepal to purchase chickens and goats.  Each child shared just one or two sentences about the need.  We filmed in different outdoor settings, and we even found someone with pet goats who let us film part of the video at their house.  Once it was edited, this was a wonderful tool for sharing about the mission project.
  • Be creative in helping children discover ways to raise money. One of the children at my church lives near a bookstore that purchases used books.  This child gathered up books she had finished reading, sold them, and gave the money to missions.  Another child held a traditional bake sale after church to raise money.  If yard sales or garage sales are popular in your area, this would also be a great project for the children to do together.

I love watching the excitement of children when they realize that they are truly making a difference in the world.  Beyond just making a difference, however, it is my prayer that they will know and understand the words of Jesus….”Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

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Click for more information about the 2017 Helping Hands for Kids Project.

 

 

Institute of Children’s Ministry in Paraguay

Institute of Children’s Ministry in Paraguay

The Institute of Children’s Ministry in Paraguay was an amazing time of training and ministry. Participants developed discipleship plans for their ministries, learned creative ministry techniques, participated in times of prayer, and so much more. The grand finale of the Institute was a fiesta for the children of the community. The children’s ministers did a great job of promoting, decorating, welcoming, and feeding the kids and families. We love the commitment the children’s ministers and congregations have made to underprivileged, unchurched kids.

There were several young leaders who assisted Kathy in leading the institute. It was an honor for her to serve with these leaders who share a big vision of helping kids live an abundant life.

She was also privileged to visit the Dining Hall of one of our committed pastors who serve children. The children were the best–telling their names, giving hugs, and trying to teach their American visitor Guaranese (the native language of Paraguay).

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Mission Minded Kids

Mission Minded Kids

As a mom of two daughters and a children’s pastor, I wish I could tell you that my children developed a heart for missions through my inspired teaching, but I cannot.  My oldest daughter first became aware of the needs of others in the world through the Helping Hands for Kids program.  As a five year old, she attended a preschool class at the Assembly for Children in which the teacher shared about the needs of children in Guatemala.  She began to tell me all about it.  A few years later, we once again attended the General Assembly, and I took her to an afternoon mission’s fair where we learned about the work of missionaries in other countries.  Once again, we talked to someone about the Helping Hands for Kids program.  In a moment of divine inspiration, I asked her if she would like to be in charge of the program for our church.  She was excited and told me that she had been praying for God to give her something to do for Him!  That year, she was able to help raise over $1000 US dollars for curriculum and supplies for children’s ministers in Central and South America. Continue reading

Malawi Institute

Malawi Institute

The Malawi Institute is over. What a great experience. 55 participants–40 from the nation of Malawi including pastors, national leaders, and children’s ministers. The national leaders from five other nations were also present. Thanks to everyone who participated and everyone who served. Special thanks to Stephen Masilela, area presbyter, Phillip Segadika, overseer of Botswana, and Bernard Makhuna, overseer of Malawi.

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Ivory Coast ICM

Ivory Coast ICM

Our first ever French speaking Institute of Children’s Ministry could only be described as SIGNIFICANT. 150 participants came from nine nations. The three overseers of these nations as well as eight national children’s ministry leaders were present and active in the Institute sessions. And each pastor came with his/her children’s ministry director–learning together how to better serve children. Thanks to Kim Batson, Tennessee’s children’s ministry director, and MIchelle Brooks-Young, Tennessee’s Global Mission Director, for being a part of the training team.

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It’s Time for Summer Camp!

It’s Time for Summer Camp!

I remember when I first fell in love with the camping ministry.  It was the summer that I brought my youngest daughter to a camp for 6-8 year olds in the state of Tennessee.  She and I were both campers because, at her age, the camp had the option for parents to attend with their child as a parent camper. We both left closer to God, and God continued to work in our lives through the camping ministry.  His plan for my daughter was to encourage her spiritual growth each summer as she returned to camp. I will never forget the day she came home from Teen Camp hungry for more of God and His Word.  She spent weeks studying the Bible and making notes.  That camp was a turning point for her. God’s plan for me went beyond just attending camp. Continue reading

Entrusting Our Treasured Possessions

Entrusting Our Treasured Possessions

There is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for parenting. From the time that first cry pierces the air of the delivery room, your life is split in half, and you suddenly feel the unimaginable joy but also intense responsibility as a caregiver. For me, it was as if my heart was taken out of its chest, swaddled up and placed in a window display for everyone to examine. Never had I felt so elated and yet also so vulnerable. Continue reading

Let the Little Ones Come: Preschool Ministry

Let the Little Ones Come: Preschool Ministry

Prior to the birth of each of our daughters, we purchased an elegant, lovely silver photo album to collect photos of the most cherished of memories as they grew. As soon as they were born, we inserted their photo into the front cover and wrote out the details of their birth—their name, birth date, delivery time, and weight. Each photo album contained pages of empty pockets just waiting for photos to be inserted. Continue reading