Halloween Object Lesson

Jesus and the Jack-O-Lanterns

This object lesson is perfect to use at Halloween. Something that people use as decoration will remind children how Jesus saves them from their sin.

Needed: 2 jack-o-lanterns. One should have a frown carved, and should be warped and ugly. It shouldn’t be cleaned out completely and shouldn’t have a light in it. If you can, leave it to rot for a few days. The more disgusting it is, the better. The second jack-o-lantern should be clean, with a smile on its face and a candle in it.

Everywhere you go at this time of the year, you see jack-o-lanterns. Did you know jack-o-lanterns can remind you of how Jesus saved you. Before Jesus came into your heart, you were like this jack-o-lantern. Show first jack-o-lantern. You were full of sin and dirty inside. You had no light inside you, and you were very unhappy. But Jesus came into your heart and cleaned all the sin inside. Show the second jack-o-lantern. He gave you peace and put a smile on your face. He even shines His light through you. So everywhere you go this Halloween, when you see a jack-o-lantern, let it remind you of what Jesus did when He saved you.

5 Keys to Teaching Christian Kids about the Occult

Children today are bombarded with the occult through TV shows, cartoons, movies, and books targeted toward children. Today, it is more important than ever before to teach kids the Biblical view of the occult. If we shirk this duty, the secular world will teach them that the occult is harmless fun.

Unfortunately, many children’s pastors and church leaders either participate in occult entertainment or would rather allow children to be involved so they won’t scare them unduly. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. We need to teach the whole truth of Scripture before Satan gains a stronghold with our children.

Here are 5 keys to teaching your students and children about the occult.

The Bible forbids it. There are many verses that directly forbid the occult. All verses are in New International Readers Version. These are just a few of the verses that forbid it.

Leviticus 19:31  Do not look for advice from people who get messages from those who have died. Do not go to people who talk to the spirits of the dead. If you do, they will make you “unclean.” I am the Lord your God.

Revelation 21:8  But others will have their place in the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. Those who are afraid and those who do not believe will be there. Murderers and those who pollute themselves will join them. Those who commit sexual sins and those who practice witchcraft will go there. Those who worship statues of gods and all who tell lies will be there too. It is the second death.

Deuteronomy 18:10-11  Here are things you must not do. Don’t sacrifice your children in the fire to other gods. Don’t practice any kind of evil magic at all. Don’t use magic to try to explain the meaning of warnings in the sky or of any other signs. Don’t take part in worshiping evil powers. 11 Don’t put a spell on anyone. Don’t get messages from those who have died. Don’t talk to the spirits of the dead. Don’t get advice from the dead.

Renouncing the Occult was a sign of repentance in the Bible: There was a group of people who got saved while Paul was preaching. The first thing they did after getting saved was to burn all of their occult materials even though they cost a lot of money. We should also get rid of anything we have that is occult.

Acts 19:17-20  The Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus heard about this. They were all overcome with fear. They held the name of the Lord Jesus in high honor. Many who believed now came and openly admitted the evil they had done. A number of those who had practiced evil magic brought their scrolls together. They set them on fire out in the open. They added up the value of the scrolls. They found that it would take more than two lifetimes to earn what the scrolls were worth. The word of the Lord spread everywhere. It became more and more powerful.

Teach children what the occult is. Because the occult is so pervasive in our culture, many adults and children don’t understand what the occult is and what things we should avoid. They need practical teaching and examples of occult practices they need to avoid. Here’s a list of a few occult practices, although not exhaustive.

  • Witchcraft and sorcery
  • Séances and talking to the dead (ghosts)
  • Psychic powers
  • Telling fortunes (astrology, tarot cards, Ouija board, 8 ball)
  • Spirit or animal guides
  • Anything demonic

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faith

Give children an opportunity to repent of Occult practices. Children need to know that if they’ve been involved in the occult, all they need to do is ask God to forgive them and turn away from their sin. This would be a good time to encourage your students to bring any occult paraphernalia to the church. You can have a bonfire to get rid of it just like the Christians did in Acts 19.

Fear Not (2)Teach children to Fear Not. Children have nothing to fear from demons, the occult, or Satan because God is all powerful. Remind them often while you are teaching against the occult that God has overcome the world. You might also want to pray with your students and ask God to take away their fears and nightmares.

2 Timothy 1:7  God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves.

Psalm 27:1 (NIV)  The Lord is my light and my salvation,  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.

James 2:19  You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that. And they tremble!

7 Ways to Partner with Parents in Children’s Ministry

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsOne of the keys to effective children’s ministry is partnering with parents to minister to their children. Here’s some ideas on ways to do that.

Communication: Communication is one of the key factors in partnering with parents. Most children’s ministries only communicate with the parents of their students to let them know about an upcoming event or program. This is not enough. If you truly want to communicate with parents, you need to let them know what’s going on in children’s ministry, what your goals and core values are, where you’re headed, and what you’re teaching. Newsletters, fliers, and bulletins are one way to do this, but they can’t be the only way. Communication, to be effective, needs the personal touch. Call the parents of your students or visit them. When you do talk to them, don’t only talk. Ask them what they would like to see as spiritual growth in their children. Communication is a two way street.

5c2ac-parent-meeting-2Use Parents On Your Leadership Team: One way to make sure parents are involved in children’s ministry is to have parents on your children’s ministry planning team. Sometimes they won’t be able to participate every week as workers, but by having parents on your planning team, you give them a voice.

Minister to Families: Sometimes we get so focused on children, we forget about families. Make focused efforts to include the entire family in some programs. You could have a parent/child banquet or include entire families in baby dedication. When a child is baptized or becomes a member of the church, find a way to include the family in the celebration.

Singing Hymns in ChurchInclude Children In Services: It is great to have children’s services where children can learn and worship on their own level. But if they’re never allowed in the sanctuary, never allowed to be a part of the congregation as a whole, they miss out on being mentored by their parents and elders in a worship setting. Find a way to include children in services sometimes. And when you do include them, give them opportunities to participate.

Give Parents and Children Opportunities to Minister: Does you church do fundraisers for missions, feed the hungry, or give out free school supplies. These are great opportunities for parents and children to minister along side each other.

Give Parents Resources: You told the parents what you’re teaching their Pray Computer Keys Showing Worship And Religionchildren. Also give them resources to share with their children at home. Devotional books like One Year Devo For Girls and One Year Devotions For Boys and a list scriptures and prayers that relate to the lessons are a great resource tool for parents.

Pray: Don’t just pray for the children in your children’s ministry. Pray for their families.

Are You Trying Too Hard?

We’ve all been there. We want to provide a great children’s program where students learn to love God and operate in the Holy Spirit. We want to make sure every class is manned with competent teachers. We work hard to plan effective outreaches to reach the community.  And we do this all while trying to keep up with all the work involved with keeping up with running one of the largest ministries in the church. But are you trying too hard to juggle all the balls in a way God never expected?

None of these things are wrong. Scripture instructs us to not be weary in well doing. If you do all these things to build the Kingdom of God in the lives of children, you are doing a good work and will be rewarded for it. So what do I mean by trying too hard?

The problem comes when we don’t abide in Christ. If we abide in Christ with all we do, we will be effective and reap a harvest, but if we try to do all these things without abiding in Christ, all we’ll get is tired.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

The problem comes when we don’t understand how to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ isn’t a checklist we do to get God to move in our lives. Abiding in Christ is yielding to His will and allowing Him to move through us. But how do we do this?

138Recognize that without Christ, you can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how great you are as a children’s pastor, how long you’ve been at it, or how skilled you are. Without Christ, you can do nothing of value. Your effectiveness comes from Him.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Do what God wants, not what sounds good. Many times, children’s pastors go to conferences, talk to their peers, and read books on children’s ministry to get good ideas on what they should do. None of these things are wrong. But if the latest fad or book is what is driving your ministry, you will be spinning your wheels. Your main job is to find out what God wants you to do in ministry and do it.  We show our love for God through our obedience. Sometimes God will use a book or conference to speak, but make sure it is God speaking.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Kids studying bibleLove your students. If you are abiding in Christ, your students will know the love of God through you. If you have problems with certain children, ask God to give you His love for them.

1 Corinthians 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faith

Remember that it is God’s ministry, not yours. You did not choose to be a children’s pastor because there was a need in the church or as a stepping stone to “real” ministry. If you are a children’s pastor, it is because God chose you to work through to pastor His children.

John 15:15 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

kid-worship-620x335Be filled with joy. If you are abiding in Christ and doing the ministry He chose you for, then you joy will be complete and you will eventually bear fruit. If you are lacking in joy or in fruit bearing, ask God to show you where you need to abide in Him.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

See You at the Pole 2016 for Children’s Ministry

Every year, youth and children from around the nation gather at the flagpole at their schools and pray for revival. Some have left children out of this great event because of the need for adult supervision. But adults are legally allowed to join students in prayer.

One of the greatest things you can do for the students in your ministry as they go back to their elementary schools is to organize a See You At the Pole Event.

See You at the Pole is held on the last Wednesday of September at 7:00 am. This year, it is September 25th. You can find more information about See You At The Pole  at their website. The theme for See You at the Pole 2016 is We Cry Out: A Generation Seeking Him. Psalm 24:3-6

Organizing See You at the Pole for Children’s Ministry:

Pray: Bathe the students who want to participate in this in prayer.

Prepare: Have an adult leader and student leaders at each school. The students can advertise the event in the school by hanging up posters and telling their friends. The adult would notify the school principal and parents about the event and let them know that there will be adult supervision.

Publicize: Promote this event in your children’s ministry. Get the children excited about it. Give children fliers to pass out to their friends at school. Send a letter home to the parents telling them about this ministry and how their children can be involved.

Plan:  Have the adult at each school get together with the students and plan what they will do. What will they pray for? Will they sing a song or read scripture?

Promote: You can do this by having a special Back to School children’s church where you talk about the power of prayer as the children go to school and how this is one way they can demonstrate their faith. I also recommend a children’s service geared around prayer and this event. Take some time to teach the children why we are praying at the schools and how they can pray. Assure them that they don’t have to pray out loud at these events unless they want to. Showing up and praying silently at the school’s flagpole can be as powerful as praying out loud.

For more information about See You at the Pole, visit their website here.