Posts filed under ‘Children’s Ministry’

G is for . . . Grandma

“I like the advice Dr. James Dobson gives to parents and I think it applies more easily to grandparents, ‘Let your love for the children be transparent.’

Spend all the time you can with them … camping … school events … holidays … and just because. … Just like your own children, your grandchildren will be grown up before you know it.

“We do this by the way we look at them, talk to them and about them, as well as the way we act with them, and care about their futures.

“It’s little ways and big ways. Grandchildren should be secure in the love of their Grandparents.” Rosemary

Being a grandma while liberating and totally amazing, is also a responsibility. Therefore, I am always on the hunt for how to be a “good” grandparent.

Below are tips from some wonderful grandmothers that I know. 

PLAY TOGETHER WITH SPECIAL TOYS. I have a (not so) secret box of toys that my grandchildren are only allowed to play with when I am present.  They are our special toys and we play with them together. Brenda

CONNECT VIA TECHNOLOGY. If you don’t text, learn how. It is a fun way to keep in touch with my grandkids. They were pretty surprised the first time I did it and even more so when I used FaceTime. Shirley

A SURPRISE JUST FOR THEM. I like to have a “Grandma Drawer” in my house. When they come over, they go straight to it, and they know there will be a little surprise just for them. I put their first initial on it, just so they know it was chosen for them alone. I stalk the shelves at Target, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, WalMart and any place I can find inexpensive books, small toys or interesting things for each of them. They love it! Julie

GIVE ATTENTION, PLAY, AND BE CONSISTENT.  I would have to say being constant and always willing to play and give your attention to your grandchild. Be willing to be a kid again and play. Michelle

PRAYER, SHARE LOVE OF GOD & HOBBY/SKILL. Besides praying for them and sharing your love of God, share a favorite hobby or skill. Amina loved to cook with me. My grandma McLeod taught me songs on the piano (by ear). Jeanne


SYMPATHETIC RESPONSE. I read once that a grandmother’s best response to anything that upsets the child is a sympatric “Awwww” as you cuddle the little one or hug the older child.  I have used it so I don’t have to contradict parents or take sides, or try to fix what I cannot. Good for boo-boos, too.

SUPPORT PARENTS WHILE TEACHING RESPECT. I believe that a grandma should be supportive of the parents’ wishes and dictates.

However, a grandma  should be able to say, “At grandma’s house we: use inside voices … put away the toys … don’t jump on the furniture.”

At grandma’s you ask “May I please have that” and say “Thank you, grandma,” etc. It works where your “ways” differ from what’s going on at home. Grandma has to teach the children to respect her and her belongings.

DISCIPLINE USING THE NAUGHTY CHAIR. We have a comfortable chair where a child is taken to sit until he/she decides to behave. “Time out” lasts until the child is ready to get off the chair and behave. So the child can sit there and pout or cry for as long as they want, but meanwhile they are seeing the rest of us carry on as usual.

DEALING WITH CRUDE TALK. When a child uses crude words, swearing and other shock language, I stop the conversation and say “That’s bathroom talk. Does this look like a bathroom? If you want to talk that way, go into the bathroom and close the door, because the rest of us don’t want to hear that kind of talk.” (I used this with my own children and as adult men they do not use foul language.)

A TEEN GRAND CHILD ANSWERS. A good grandma . . .

  • Takes the place of your mom.
  • Is someone you can always talk to & get advice from.
  • Does everything within their means that the parent can’t do.

Your Turn . . . What tip(s) do you have to share? . . .  What tip(s) would you like to implement?

Gee, what “G” word would you write about?

I am linking this to ABC Wednesday.  The ABC Wednesday Facebook Group is here.



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Dozen Ways to be More Effective in Children’s Ministry

The soul is healed by being with children. ~ English proverb

The soul is healed by being with children. ~ English proverb

Working with children whether in church, school or in the home, is work that should be applauded and encouraged.

  • Children are one-third of our population and all of our future. ~ Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981
  • Children make your life important. ~ Erma Bombeck, author
  • If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God! ~Dwight L. Moody, evangelist
  • Every child needs a champion. ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton, former US Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States

And of course working with kiddos is hard work at times.

  • Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. ~ Ray Romano, actor and comedian

Since part of my job and ministry is working with children from nursery through 5th grade, I am always on the lookout for how I can be a better pastor, leader and volunteer. So let me ask YOU a question, what are things you do to be effective in your ministry to children?

Here are a dozen of my ideas.

1. Praymost effective thing you can do for them.

  • Pray for behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and mental growth of the kiddos in your class.
  • Pray and ask God if there is one child or one family He wants you to focus on outside of class.
  • Pray for the kiddos to have an open heart to the gospel and spiritual growth.

2. Pray – most effective thing you can do for yourself.

  • Pray for your own growth in love, faithfulness, and maturity.
  • Pray that the information you’ll be teaching has an impact on their lives today and in the future.
  • Pray for effectiveness in how you teach.

3. Study – even if it is for the littlest of children because you are . . .

  • Building their base of knowledge about the Bible and church.
  • Making yourself a usable vehicle.
  • Enhancing your own devotional life – which you can share with adults (helpers, teachers and parents)

4. Connect with class kiddos as individuals – bimonthly is good.

  • A card reinforcing an idea.
  • A call to complement them on something.
  • a “date” – to spend one-on-one time.

5. Connect with parents/grandparents as individuals – Quarterly is good.

  • A card reinforcing an idea.
  • A call to complement them on something.
  • a “date” – to spend one-on-one time.

6. Give thanks 

  • Send a note to someone who helped in your class today.
  • Send a note to a parent/grandparent for a specific way they are raising their child(ren) well.
  • Send a note to a pastor, custodian or admin who support your ministry.

7. Plan for Fun – It is hard-wired into kiddos

  • What can you do that’s fun with the Scripture?
  • What can you that’s fun with the craft?
  • What can you do that’s fun with story time?

8. Sharpen your skills/giftings – there is always something to learn.

  • Interview people from another church that do the same ministry you do. Ask their advice on areas you’d like to improve. Share your info with helpers, teachers, and the director of Nursery and Children’s Director/Pastor.
  • Read books that can hone your skills and give you ideas. One such book is this one on kids and worship, Teaching Kids Authentic Worship: How to Keep Them Close to God for Life by Kathleen Chapman.
  • Get feedback from others in your ministry as to how you can improve.

9. Update your room – how it looks really does influence the behaviour of the children and the opinion of parents/grandparents.

  • Change up the room set-up every once in a while so that it is always attractive, appealing, and usable.
  • Leave it clean for the next class.
  • Hang up the children’s work and do what you can to make them feel like the room is theirs.
  • Teach and model to the children room cleanup. Show them how to clean up after themselves, put things away when they are done, and before pulling another toy out.
  • At the end of class have the children ready to go home. Shoes on, go potty, gather belongings etc.

10. Keep on top of your spiritual life – spend time on your own relationship with God.

  • Attend the adult service.
  • Ask God to empower your teaching, embolden your words, and make you a better “lover.”
  • Make prayer, study, confession, meditation and other spiritual disciplines a priority

11. Celebrate – take notice of what’s going on in your ministry and celebrate. Look for things like . . .

  • Answered prayer.
  • New volunteers.
  • The faithfulness and growth of the kiddos, volunteers, and yourself.

12. Improve – pray and think about ways to improve your ministry in areas such as . . .

  • Outreach.
  • Curriculum.
  • Volunteer attraction and growth (this doesn’t have to be the job of the Nursery and Children’s Director/Pastor only).

Your Turn . . .  What would you add to this list? . . .  What have you tried and how did it work?

Related Posts   . . . 

NOTE: This post spurred me on to write a list. I am grateful for their ideas, as I was impacted by most of them.



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8 Characteristics that Encourage Kids to Worship

"Image courtesy of [Phaitoon] /".

“Image courtesy of [Phaitoon] /”.

While looking for music ideas  for our Kids Church, I came across this video,  “What Does Kids Worship Look Like?” It opened my mind as to what good kids worship looks like.

They are NOT miniature adults. Kiddos do not have the attention span, emotional/cognitive maturity, and likes of adults. Their worship time, if it is to be meaningful,  needs to have different characteristics than an adult worship service.

Below are bullet points from this video.

  1. It has energy, wiggles, and attention-deprived behavior.
  2. Expect kids worship to look like your kids look everywhere else.
  3. Do NOT think that kids will worship like adults.
  4. Kids are multi-sensory.
  5. Kids worship God in the context of the size of their world.
  6. You’re not training them to sit still; you’re allowing them to connect with God.
  7. Don’t worry if the time you spend in kids worship doesn’t fit some artificial formula.
  8. Worship loud.

 Go here to see the video and for more kids worship characteristics. it was written by  Bob Singleton–President of God’s Kids Worship and is found at his blog.

Your Turn . . . Do you agree or disagree? . . . What have you noticed that is present when kids worship well?

Related Posts

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What I Miss Most About My Babies and What This Has To Do With The Church Nursery

Please join our fabulous staff in caring for the little ones in our nursery. You can choose to help in either the 1st or 2nd service.

Please join our fabulous staff in caring for the kiddos in our nursery. You can  help at either the 1st or 2nd service.

The number of children in our Cordova Neighborhood Church Sunday nursery is GROWING. We minister to kiddos from 6 weeks – 2 1/2 years old. These delightful infants and exploring tots need more adults in the room. So I am asking for help from our congregation.

If you are over 18 and can devote one (or more) Sundays a month to helping in this ministry, please contact Pastor Susan. You will be given an application and a background check.

To whet your appetite for working with nursery-aged kiddos, here is my TOP NINE LIST of What I Miss Most from When My Kiddos Were 2 1/2-Years-Old and Younger.

ONE. BELLY LAUGHS & GIGGLES. I feel better after hearing a baby laugh or giggle. These sounds are so contagious and sometimes so unexpected. Who knows why tearing paper cracks up this baby especially since the paper is a job rejection letter. These quadruplets belly laugh at their dad’s silly noises.   I’m laughing too, but not at the dad, but at the babies’ reactions.

TWO. I’M BIGGER. At first babies don’t need correction. But give them a year and the battle starts. But at this age, I can enforce the course of our day. It is tiring and relentless, but since I am bigger, I win (more easily).

THREE. SNUGGLES. Not all little ones are overly affectionate or given to snuggle time. But watch carefully and you can get a snuggle or two a day. And oh, that fills me with love and protective instincts for the young one.

FOUR. NO JUDGMENT. Babies don’t know when I do “it” wrong” no matter what the “it” is. They don’t care about the state of my house . . . . my looks . . . my lack of poise or education . . . or my place in society. They just love me. And even after making a mistake, they still love and accept me.

FIVE. TRUST. The under 2 1/2-years-old crowd trust the adults around them. They trust that I’ll be the best version of me. They trust I know what I am doing – even my first born had that trust. That trust in me made me a better person and parent. I strove to live up to that trust.

SIX. WONDER. Babies seem to be amazed at their perfection and the perfection of those around them. Do you remember watching a baby stare at his/her hand in fascination? It thrills me to have a baby stare into my eyes. It seem like s/he is trying to figure out who this marvelous creation is?

SEVEN. NOT CAMERA SHY. I enjoy taking photos of my family. They don’t always enjoy it back though. However, this age group is “clueless” about running from photographers and will “perform” away.

EIGHT. LEARNER. Infants and toddlers are learning machines. And most of the time they enjoy that process. I enjoy that they enjoy it. And I enjoy being part of the process. Just last week one the nursery girls and I spent 15 minutes playing with a pop up toy exploring, pushing, pulling, and talking about the experience.

NINE. SLEEPING POSTURE. It is so c-u-t-e the way our little ones sleep with their behinds up in the air. It is innocent, unself-conscious, and funny. Do you miss that pose too?

Hey grandparents, aunties, and uncles with older children in your lives, doesn’t reading this Top 9 List bring back happy memories?  Want to re-experience these again? Then contact me today! Leave a comment, I’ll call you.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What would you add to this list so I can make it a Top 10 List? 
  2. Will you sign up today to help in the nursery?

Still need another reason to volunteer? Think that working in the nursery is not ministry? Then go read 10 Reasons Why Involvement in Your Church Nursery is ImportantYou’ll see how being a nursery worker is totally important. And COOL.

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Seven Ways to Help Your Child Hear God’s VOICE

Children as well as adults can “hear” from God and benefit from it. Unfortunately, this is a topic I never brought up with my children. Because I never thought to do so.

And Listen . . . God is speaking as well.

And Listen . . . God is speaking as well.

Have you thought to teach your child the necessary skills and steps needed for this?

What’s needed to hear God’s voice? Below are some ideas.

ONE. Relationship with God. God wants to speak to His children. He wants them to know how to live wisely. He wants them to have a proper view of Him, themselves, and their circumstances. In order for your child to “hear” and even want to hear from God, s/he must have a personal relationship with God, in other words, to be born again. This post gives 3 Simple Words To Use When Explaining To Kids What It Means To Follow Jesus.

TWO. Desire to hear from God. Talk with your kiddo about the benefits of hearing God’s voice. Tell him/her why you desire to hear from God. There are many “voices” in society from whom we can get answers and affirmation. There are many things that can distract and grab the attention of your child. For Believers, absolute truth comes from God. Therefore listening for His answers and affirmation is the best thing we can do. 

THREE. Knowledge that this is possible. Let your kiddo know that just as God hears them, s/he can hear from God. Go to this link to read verses about hearing from God. Now that s/he knows it is possible, have the child start listening. This post shares How to Hear God’s Voice.

FOUR. Quiet place and thoughts. Your child lives in a noisy world. All types of gadgets vie for his/her attention and s/he most likely has one on a majority of the day. But in order to hear the quiet voice of God, quiet is needed. This is a great post that deals with this topic: Helping Kids Hear God’s Voice In The Quiet.

FIVE. Read and Get to Know God’s Word. A majour way that God speaks to His Children is through His Word, the Bible. Teach your child how to have regular devotions and why they are important. This post shares 3 REASONS I Have a Regular Quiet Time (aka Devotions). Tell your child your 3 reasons.

SIX. Practice and Patience. Hearing God’s voice is not usually something that happens without practice. As already mentioned, there are many voices in our world endeavoring to give us input. Therefore, it takes practice to be able to sort out which voice is God’s. And since this is something that will take some time to learn, tell your child that s/he will also need patience. Listen to this youtube video of Casting Crowns singing Voice of Truth.

SEVEN. Model the behaviour for your child. “What we desire our children to become, we must endeavor to be before them,” (Andrew Combe). In this case, it is important that you “do” as you say. Read this post for some more thoughts on this: An Example for Others to Imitate.

Parents, don’t be like me and neglect discussing this topic with your child. Knowing how to listen to God is a great aid in living according to His Word. And learning this young in life is something they will use until their last breath.

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.” By Lisa Wingate

Your Turn . . .

  • What would you add to this list?
  • What item from this list has been most effective for your child?

Related Posts . . .

  1. 3 Encouragements I Needed When My Children Were Young
  2. 10 Things to Teach Your Child About Behaving in Church
  3. 85% of People Who Make Decisions for Christ do so Between the Ages of 4-14
  4. How Can I Hear You, God? (
  5. If Google Doesn’t Have God’s Phone Number, Try This One


NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is V. The topic is God’s VOICE.

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M: What a MOTORCYCLE Reminds Me About Parenting


Elizabeth is all packed for her first motorcycle camping trip to Big Sur.

Elizabeth is all packed for her first motorcycle camping trip to Big Sur.

“Don’t you tell her to stop?” 

“Aren’t you afraid for your daughter?”

These are the kinds of comments I get when folks learn that my 20-something daughter rides a motorcycle.Truthfully, I’m not usually afraid for her and I don’t tell her to stop.

Elizabeth is a careful rider.

  • She is hyper alert when riding.
  • She doesn’t drink and drive.
  • She has mitigated the risks by taking several riding classes.
  • She always wears full gear. Always.

I trust her. I trust God.

I know this trust doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen. But I am not willing to spoil my peace by filling my mind with the “what if’s.”

If/when the bad happens, I will deal with it then, not before. That idea has been an anchor for 27 or so years when I first learned that my toddler son had sclerosis.

The prognosis was grim. A boy being diagnosed so young in life meant limited mobility, a back brace, surgery. But I remember God breathing this thought into my mind,  “Don’t worry about it today. If/when this happens, I will give you the grace to deal with it.”

This truth is similar to Scarlet O’Hara’s  (Gone With the Wind) “I will think about it tomorrow” coping device. But there is a difference.

The difference is God. I can and will deal will it (well) tomorrow because I know that God is with me. He will give me the grace and wisdom to handle any situation that comes into my life.

I’ve seen this to be true in the hard times in my life: financial woes, illness, death, divorce, (to name a few situations). And yes, I’ve “seen” God in parenting challenges and scares as well.

Parenting adult children is such a different task. My roles as guide and protector have slid from the forefront to the background. I think one of the best ways I can now parent Elizabeth is by trusting her, supporting her, and of course, praying for her.

I can choose to worry about the possible bad and nag. Or I can choose to trust, refresh my mind with the good, and praise my daughter.

I choose to trust. I choose the good. I choose to praise. In short, I choose God’s way.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8, The Message)

In full disclosure, I am not perfect in this. There have been times I fretted, said the wrong things, and haven’t trusted my daughter and/or God.

Your Turn . . . What have you learned about parenting (well) an adult child?

Related Posts . . . 


NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is M. The topic is about MOTORCYCLES and parenting.

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85% of People Who Make Decisions for Christ do so Between the Ages of 4-14

Dear Children’s Ministry Worker,

What can we do so that children ages 4-14 find church a good place to participate in?

What can we do so that children ages 4-14 find church a good place to be?

FOUR out of Five (roughly) kiddos that you interact with, teach, help, and love on will become a Believer.

  • What you do is important.
  • You ALL are making a huge difference RIGHT now and for eternity.

THANKS for your awesome ministry.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What do you think about this statistic and your volunteer hours in children’s ministry?
  2. What changes could you/we make that will impact our 4-14 year olds?
  3. What could you/we do more often?

Related Posts . . .

NOTE: This post by Melissa MacDonald inspired the above post on the same topic.

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Feel Like Shopping? We Need Filled Easter Eggs.

Please bring filled eggs to the Church

Please bring filled eggs to the Church by Sunday, March 24th. You can fill them with either candy or toys. We will not be having an egg hunt this year. These eggs will be put into a goody bag and given to the kiddos after the services, 9am and 11am, on Easter Sunday, March 31st.

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3 Reasons to Read This Bible Storybook (interview with an 11-year-old)

One day while Em was waiting in my office she looked through my copy of 

“It’s like a friend telling you stories from the Bible. . . . I’d like this book for Christmas.”

 Totally Awesome, Super-Cool Bible Stories as Drawn by Nerdy Ned  (Thomas Nelson is the Author.) I am a Bible and Bible storybook nerd and bought this brand new Bible storybook (October 2012) to review.

Bible story books can help kids (anyone really) grasp the main point of the stories presented. This storybook grabs attention by its conversational language and the use of (appropriate) humour in the writing and captions in the many pictures.

I liked what I saw, but let’s hear what someone in their target audience (late elementary and middle-grade kids) has to say.

Here are 4 reasons Em thinks kids will like to read this storybook.

“You have to like reading a bit in order to like this book. But kids will see that you can draw in it and they’ll say, “That’s totally awesome.”

Reason # 1. Understandable language. This Bible storybook is one of the first ones I’ve read that gives me the most understanding. It uses words in my language so it’s easy to understand. I wanted to keep reading.

Reason #2. Love Jesus better. It will bring us kids closer to Jesus because we will be able to understand. Since we can better understand what His Word says and what He did for us, we’ll love Him better.

Reason #3. Use creativity to understand. We get to respond to what we read [by drawing in the book] which helps us understand the stories better. It also keeps our attention because we get to draw what’s in our minds.

Em concluded the interview with, “I can see myself doing this Bible [reading and drawing] on my own. But it could be fun doing this with a [like-minded] friend.”

NOTE: I was  not compensated for writing this review. Neither was Em.


During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why.  

My gratitude posting for November 29: I am grateful for books in general and books that lead us closer to God in specific. Outside of the Bible there isn’t a perfect book or author that has it all correct. But there are many, many books and authors who can lead us closer to God through their understandable writing and explanations.


Your Turn . . .

  • Have you read this storybook? If yes, what would you add to Em’s comments.
  • Do you have a recommendation for a Bible storybook especially for this age-group?
  • Tell us about a book that has led you closer to God.

Related Posts . . .

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Bulletin Board Gives Reason to Stop Worrying and to Praise God

“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere”  (Glenn Turner).

And yet how many of us are self-confessed worry-warts?  We admit to this like it’s a harmless trait. Since it is harmless nothing bad comes of worrying, we conclude, except for a night’s loss of sleep and an upset stomach.

Thinking on verses like these help us find truth: God sees us and provides for us. Therefore worry NOT.

But what is the definition of worry? Here are a few thoughts from the dictionaries.

  • To feel uneasy, anxious, distressed, troubled, or concerned about something
  • To disturb one’s peace of mind
  • To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts
  • To fret

So it’s a lie that worrying is harmless. It disturbs our thinking, robs our peace, and generates negative physical reactions in our body.

Left unchecked worry leads to fear.

There’s an Antidote to Worry . . . “But in those moments when I have found myself gasping for air, feeling that I was going under, I discovered that gratitude truly is my lifesaver. ”

“Even in the most turbulent waters . . .

  • Choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions.
  • It buoys me on the grace of God, and
  • Keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt … negativity … discouragement … and anxiety.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Gratitude, 17)

This verse, Matthew 6:26, tells us we don’t need to worry. Since God sees the sparrows and provides for them, won’t He do the same for us? God sees our situations. He knows our needs. He will provide.

If we really believed such news, such marvelous truth, wouldn’t our response be one of gratitude … peace of mind and body … trust in God?

That’s my prayer for you and for me today. That we’d be full of gratitude.

Let’s believe Scripture. Let’s concentrate on gratitude and squash worrying.

“Cultivating a thankful heart is a safeguard against becoming bitter … prickly … and sour. A grateful child of God can’t but help but be a joyful … peaceful … radiant person.” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Choosing Gratitude, 17)


During November I am writing or posting a photo about something for which I am grateful. This explains why. 

Gratitude for November 9: I am grateful for the insight, godliness, warmth, and frankness of Barb Wilber. She is a life coach and has been helping me sort out a few things.


Your Turn . . . Are you a worry – wart? . . . Has this post helped you to see worrying in a different light? . . . What is something on your gratitude list

Related Post . . . God is in Control


NOTE: This bulletin board is in the Children’s Ministry Hallway at church. I got the idea for it from That Artist Woman. I wove the nest. Carol did the rest. Isn’t she awesome?!

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Filled Easter Eggs Needed

CNC children (PreK-5th grade) are invited to the Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, April 8th, at 12:10pm. This is right after the 2nd service.

Please bring filled eggs. Candy or toys are fun.

The preschoolers will have their hunt in the big playground. The others will hunt in the grassy area behind the church office.

Ways you can help . . .

  • More filled Easter Eggs are needed.
  • Deadline to drop them off is Tuesday, April 3rd (Church office).
  • Volunteers are needed to help hide the eggs during the 2nd service.

Contact Danielle Hatler, if you can help or have any questions: 366-6689,

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10 Actions Parents Can Take for a Happier Morning at Church

Time spent at church (or some other place that requires a quiet, behaved child) can either be stressful or peaceful. Too many times it is stressful. Our children know what buttons to push to get us to react wildly instead of respond calmly.

As parents and adults we can change this situation. We can change the environment and our responses so that when the buttons are pushed, our responses contribute to peace not chaos. Below are 10 ideas that can turn stress into peace.

1. Assess your morning for hotspots. Think back over the past month of Sundays. What were the typical problem behaviors? Before you can formulate a plan, you need to document what is actually happening.

2. Begin dealing with these hotspots. Write down how you’d like your child to behave. Pray and ask the Lord for wisdom. Does the Bible tell you what to do? Ask other parents or your children’s pastor for ideas, resources, and support. Use the bookstore, library, and Google as resources as well. Formulate a plan with your spouse and then consistently apply your “answers.”

3. Bring something for your child to do if you keep him/her with you in the service. There are many “quiet” toys that are ideal for this time: a coloring book and crayons, a doll or action figure, a puzzle, a book. Keep these items put away in a bag that you bring out only on Sundays. That way the toys will be “novel” and better hold the attention of your child.

4. Don’t expect your child to be perfect. Have a reasonable expectation according to their age. If s/he is very wiggly, perhaps there is a Sunday school class or nursery for their age. Or if you prefer, go to the cry room so the child can walk around.

5. Explain what you expect and why. Even little ones need to know which behavior is acceptable at church and which behaviors are not. Through consistency on your part and a maturing on theirs, they will soon learn proper church etiquette. It is never too soon to learn how to be obedient. This pleases God.

6. Get proper rest and nutrition. Make sure you and your child have had enough sleep and a nutritious breakfast before coming to church. Both will help ensure that you can be on your best behavior. It is hard to pay attention or even be nice when you are grumpy from lack of sleep or food.

7. Plan ahead. Set out church clothes – including socks and shoes – the night before. Allow plenty of time to get ready in the morning. Plan ahead what you’ll have for Sunday breakfast. Put your Bible, notebook and toy bag by the front door or in the car on Saturday night. Spending a half hour on Saturday night doing these things will make Sunday flow much better. Everyone will then arrive at church in a more peaceful mood. This means less acting out behavior in Sunday school and/or in the Service.

8. Provide a snack. This is especially good if you didn’t have time for a hearty breakfast or if it is getting close to lunch time. Bring snacks that are not overly messy (anything chocolate coated), overly noisy (anything in crinkly wrappers), or overly laden with sugar (otherwise your child could be running around in a fit of sugar fueled frenzy while you are trying to visit after the service is over). Apple slices and cheese or a little box of raisins are two ideas. Again try to bring foods that are reserved only for Sunday church time.

9. Pray and ask God to reveal what you could do. God is the revealer of wisdom. He knows you and your child’s needs. Sometimes God answers through that still, quiet voice. But He also answers through the Bible, other people, and circumstances. God does not give answers that conflict with each other or conflicts with Biblical principles. Keep seeking until you have a workable plan. Then put it into action. What can you do today?

10. Set a good example. Model the behavior you want your child to copy. Respectfully listen. Participate in singing, prayers, and greeting time. Give your child a notebook and pencil so s/he can also take notes just like you. Respectfully and quietly correct misbehavior. Be sure to praise the good behavior especially if it is new.

Go here for 14 Ways to Stop the Morning Madness (from imom).

Related Post . . . 10 Things to Teach Your Child About Behaving in Church

Your Turn . . . What have you done that has worked well for you?

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