Author Archives: Tamera Lynn Kraft

Kidmin Pastors Try 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 faithRemember 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.

3 Things for a Kidmin Pastor to Remember about Easter

Many times, children’s pastors stress about Easter Sunday. The idea is more children will be there that Sunday, and they need to be at their best if they want to win those children into the Kingdom. Here are 3 things to remember to make your life easier on Easter Sunday.

1. Most of the effective ministry you do will be the day in and day out discipling of children. Ministry on one day out of the year is not as important as ministry throughout the year.

2. Your job is to convey the Good News of the Gospel. Don’t worry about all the gimmicks and circus tricks that are promoted in children’s ministry. The important thing has always been the Gospel.

3. It is not your job to save children. It is your job to preach the Gospel in a way children can understand and respond to. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and convince children to be saved.

Lent for Children’s Ministry

Lent is what the forty days leading up to Easter. Lent this year is March 1st, so this Sunday will be the Sunday before Lent.

Because Easter or Resurrection Day is the holiest holiday in the Christian faith, many churches and Christians use Lent as a time dedicated to growing closer to God. Many fast or sacrifice something for Lent. Although most churches frown on children fasting for any length of time, Lent is a good opportunity to teach children about dedicating this time to focus on their relationship with God. They can also do limited fasting or sacrifice something to encourage them to deny their flesh.

All verses are in New International Readers Version. Here’s some idea for celebrating Lent:

Pretzel Sunday: The Sunday before Lent is called Pretzel Sunday. It’s called that because pretzel were made in Europe many years ago to eat during Lent. The people would fast other foods and only eat bread shaped in the form of someone bowing. To find out more about Pretzel Sunday and the story of the pretzel, click here.

Fasting: Talk to the children about fasting. They may be too young for an extended fast, but they can fast a meal once a week, or they could fast one of their favorite treats such as soda or sweets.

Matthew 6:16-18   When you go without eating, do not look gloomy like those who only pretend to be holy. They make their faces very sad. They want to show people they are fasting. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. But when you go without eating, put olive oil on your head. Wash your face.  Then others will not know that you are fasting. Only your Father, who can’t be seen, will know it. He will reward you. Your Father sees what is done secretly.

Sacrifice: Children don’t have to sacrifice food for Lent. They can sacrifice other things in devotion to God. They might want to give up video games or television. This might be a great time for them to decide not to listen to secular music.

Romans 12:1-2    Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him. Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.

Devotion: Lent is a wonderful time to teach children to devote themselves to God. Talk to them about what to do with the time they would normally use to eat their favorite sweet or play the video game they decided to forego. This is the time they should spend devoting themselves to God with prayer, Bible reading, and worship.

Colossians 4:2    Spend a lot of time in prayer. Always be watchful and thankful.

Here’s some links with more children’s ministry resources for Lent:

Lent for Kid’s: Focusing on God’s Time

An Intergenerational Lenten Fair

Lenten Bible Lesson for Kids

 

 

 

 

Word for 2017

There are some years God gives me a word for Revival Fire for Kids. In 2017, He’s given me several words. It has become like an explosion in my spirit. I believe 2017 will be a year like none other. Here are some of the things God is showing me.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of GodGod-centered:

John 15:4-5  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

God has been speaking this to me for a while now, and it has revolutionized my understanding of how to “do” ministry. For too long, we have operated our ministries in a man-centered way. Yes, we’ve admitted God is sovereign and in the center of everything, but do we act like this is true?

Do we seek God’s guidance on what to do next and what plans to make and events to have, or do we do what we’ve always done in the past? Do we get our marching instructions by spending time in the presence of God, or do we follow the advice of a “successful” children minister who wrote a new book?

What do we consider successful? To God, success is not measured by the results. It is measured by faithfulness and obedience. Do we strive to accomplish what God has promised, or do we yield and allow God to do it through us. When upsets happen, and they will, do we trust that God has things under control, or do we wring our hands, worry, and try to fix things?

This year, I am determined to abide and yield to God and trust Him every step of the way.

Joy Key Meaning Enjoy Fun Or HappyJoy:

John 15:11   I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” — John Piper

Another word that God has exploded in my spirit is the word Joy.  God is showing me He wants me to be joyful and happy in Him. I’ve heard the catch phrase at times in Christian circles, “God doesn’t care if we’re happy as much as He wants us to be holy.” I didn’t realize how false this statement is.

The truth is He want us to find our happiness and holiness in Him. Isaiah 35:8-10 calls it the Highway of Holiness and says gladness and joy will overtake those on this highway. Only those in the narrow way will be found there. Not only that, there is safety on this highway. No ravenous beasts can be found there.

Isaiah 35:8-10 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

The more time I spend enjoying God, the easier it is to handle the stress within my life. I am learning that finding joy in Him really does give me strength. John Piper calls this Christian Hedonism. You can read more about Christian Hedonism at this link.

Little boy hugging an old bookChrist Revealed:

Matthew 16:16-17  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

1 Peter 1:7-9  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The final word I want to share with you is Christ revealed. Many times, we children’s pastors lament because more children aren’t being saved or baptized in the Holy Spirit. Many live in secular homes. How can we possibly make a difference in their lives in one hour a week? The truth is we can’t, but Christ can. None of us have any chance of knowing Christ, no matter what our background was, unless the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us. The same is true with our students. Don’t strive to be your students’ Holy Spirit. Instead teach the truth of God’s Word and pray for Christ to be revealed in their hearts.

I know this to be true. I grew up in a home that was far away from God. I went to church when I was 13 on a church bus because I heard there were cute guys. One night in a youth service, the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to me, I yielded, and my life was never the same.

Don’t only pray for Christ to be revealed in the hearts of your students; pray for Christ to be revealed in a greater way in your own heart, and watch what happens. That’s my prayer for 2017.

Happy New Year from Revival Fire for Kids!

Merry Christmas

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I won’t have any more posts until after Christmas. I wished you a blessed Christmas and pray God’s reveals His love for you in a new way this Christmas.

This Sunday is Christmas, and I’m sure you want to help children understand the real meaning of Christmas. I hope I can help you. The real meaning comes from John 3:16.

John 3:16 ( ICB ) For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.

God loves us so much, He gave us His only son, born at Christmas, to save us and give us eternal life.