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FC Kids Leadership Parenting

20 Questions To Ask Your Child Instead Of “How Was Church?”

FC Kids Church

When my girls were younger and I would pick them up after church each weekend, my usual question of “How was church?” was met with an unenthusiastic “Fine.” Or if I changed the question up and asked, “Did you have fun?” the usual answer was “Yes.” Or if I would ask them the expectant “What did you learn today?” I would be answered with an indifferent, “I don’t know.”

I knew our children’s church was fun. I trusted that the teachers spent lots of time preparing a great lesson. Why wouldn’t my girls tell me about it? I didn’t realize the problem was with my questions themselves. These questions were terrible starters to get my girls talking about their experience at church.

So, to help out all the parents who ask these questions to their children as they leave church, like I did, I’ve started a list of questions my girls answered with more than a single word. Try them. Your kid’s may even talk to you about church all the way home!

Questions a child will answer at the end of their time at church:

1.  What did you eat for snack?

2.  How did you help someone today?

3.  What games did you play?

4.  What was the funniest thing that happened today?

5.  Did anyone do anything super nice for you?

6.  Who made you smile today?

7.  What new fact about the Bible did you learn today?

8.  What challenged you today? (This is a great question for older kids)

9.  Who was the Bible Lesson about?

10. If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?

11. If you had the chance to be the teacher next weekend, what would you teach the class?

12. Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?

13. What is your teacher’s most important rule?

14. Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?

15. Tell me something you learned about a friend today.

16. Did you catch anyone picking their nose?

17. What rule was the hardest to follow?

18. Which person in your class is the exact opposite of you?

19. Which time during church is the most fun?

And the most important question…

20.  What was your Main Point for today?

The last question is by far my favorite, because if your church uses a curriculum, like Elevate, that includes an application statement, or Main Point, then you can be sure your child learned something to put into practice during the week.

In FC Kids we do this so parents can connect with their kids. And it’s not just through the Main Point! There’s a poster by each classroom door in the preschool that gives parents a question to ask their children every week, and we post the Main Point on our FC Kids Facebook page with links to the corresponding lesson on the free website LeadershipForKids.com.

What questions have you used to engage your children in their church experience and to help them apply the Bible Lesson all week long?

Children’s Ministry Current Affairs Parenting Uncategorized

A Parent’s And Childrens Pastor's Response To The Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

gay marriage

Yesterday my good friend, and fellow children’s pastor, Brian Dollar wrote up a fantastic article on how we as parents, and children’s pastors, can respond to questions our kids may pose to us about same-sex marriage. I was thinking of writing an article like this myself, but, to be honest, I couldn’t have done a better job, so I asked Brian for his permission to re-post it here. You can check out the link to his blog at the bottom of the article for more great stuff.

Hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

How do I talk to my kids about this?

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that marriage between homosexual couples would be legally recognized in all fifty states. No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground.  It’s hard for any parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic.

Many Christian parents have struggled with the question, “How do I talk to my kids about this?” Likewise, many Children’s Pastors have struggled with the question, “What is my responsibility in this? Should I discuss ‘Gay Marriage’ with the children in my Kids Church?”

Some thoughts for Children’s Pastors:

I think you have to be careful what issues you are addressing in Children’s Church “as a group.”  So many children are at different points in the journey regarding both mental and emotional maturity.  When you address something as weighty and serious as homosexuality and gay marriage to a large group of kids, it is very difficult to do so in a way that is appropriate for EVERY child.

In addition, many parents (as they should) want to be THE ones to discuss topics such as this with their kids.  I understand, many parents DON’T ever discuss it with their kids.  That’s unfortunate.  However, you don’t want to undercut parents by addressing it publicly in a large group of kids.  This should be something that parents include in their general talks about “Biblical Sexuality” with their kids.

Of course, if a child asks you a direct question about it – treat that just like you do any other question about sex or sexuality.  Answer with, “I would be happy to share my thoughts with you about this subject.  Let’s talk to Mom or Dad when they come to pick you up.  Perhaps together, we can answer your questions in a healthy way.”  Then, follow the cues of the parent.  If they do not wish to discuss it right then and there, follow their lead.  Allow them to do so on their own terms and in their own timing.

An alternative to discussing this with the large group is to offer a special class or “discussion” in which you allow parents to sign their kids up to attend.  Encourage parents to attend with their children.  Rather than coming at the topic in a negative manner (i.e. “We are AGAINST gay marriage”, etc.), discuss the topic within the overall umbrella of God’s plan for our sexuality (“God created male and female to complement one another.  Marriage is the life-long commitment between one man and one woman.”).

The topic of “gay marriage” and “homosexuality” is a difficult one for kids.  Yes, it is becoming much more commonplace and a topic that they are hearing more and more about, but it is also very polarizing.  While we don’t ever shy away from the Truth, we also must be wise and careful when dealing with the youngest among us.  We want clarity, not confusion.

Some thoughts for Christian Parents:

Depending on the age of your child, they may or may not be aware of the Supreme Court decision. They may or may not be aware of the subject of “Gay Marriage” at all.  Don’t feel pressure to bring the topic up to your child simply because it is in the news, all over Social Media, etc.  Your child may be too young to even consider the conversation.

If your child asks you a question about it, address it. However, if your child is in the 4th Grade or above – they are GOING to hear about it. Kids love to talk about things that seem “taboo,” so it is better for you to be the FIRST one to speak with your children about this issue. It’s a lot harder to deal with when you are having to UNDO the misinformation your child may have already received from friends or the media.

As you have this conversation, remember:

  • Don’t freak out! – Don’t overreact and freak out! I see too many parents flip out over things like this. Don’t go on a diatribe about the “liberal agenda” and the “LGBT Conspiracy.” Just calmly share with them how, although some people choose to live their lives in contradiction to what God planned and the Bible teaches – our goal should be to pray for them, show them God’s love, and display God’s character in everything we do. Don’t flip out! Children take their emotional cues from you, the parent. Although there is reason to be concerned about our nation and community regarding this issue, God is STILL on the throne. There is no need to panic!
  • Don’t only give PART of the story! – Don’t simply say, “We believe that Homosexuality is a sin.” Explain to them what “sin” really is – “CHOOSING to live outside of God’s plan and purpose for your life.” Sin is the willful choice to disobey God’s commands. Revisit the story of Adam and Eve and how sin and temptation has been a problem for human beings since the beginning of time. Remind them that, although people make choices that are the opposite of what God has commanded, Jesus came to die on the cross so that ALL sin can be forgiven. All we must do is admit our sin, receive forgiveness, and CHOOSE to follow Jesus every day!
  • Don’t focus on the DON’T! – More important than the fact that “We DON’T believe that ‘Gay Marriage’ is right,” children need to hear what we DO believe. They need to hear that God has a plan for marriage. He created male and female and desires that they come together for a life-long partnership with God as the Head. God wants to bless the family unit with His presence on a daily basis. It is a sacred institution, and no law, decree, or court can change what God has planned since the Creation of the human race.

A reminder for us all:

Children are watching you during this critical time. In fact, THE WORLD is watching Christians during this time.  If they see you addressing this issue with anger, bitterness, or (God forbid) hatred in your words or tone of voice, that will send a confusing message to them.  After all, God is Love.  He created EVERY man, woman, boy, and girl.  He loves them ALL!

Remember that Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) states, “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

That is our mandate as the Church….to speak God’s truth with love.  Just because the truth of God’s word is different from the beliefs of others or the ruling of a court doesn’t mean we should join with others who choose to resort to name-calling, picketing, belittling and hate. As children of God, we need to be careful that our speech, tweets and posts are speaking the truth in love. We need to T.H.I.N.K. before we tweet.

The Church should respond in the same way that God instructed the children of Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

We can’t force others to be humble – but we can be humble.

We can’t make people pray and seek His face – but we can.

We can’t force people to turn from their wicked ways, but we can and should clean up our ownlives.

When we do, God promises, He will hear from Heaven and heal our land.

The answer to this world’s problems and America’s problems is Jesus. Share Jesus. Share His love. Share the difference He has made in your life. Trust that when people encounter His grace – they, too, will be changed!

For more great parenting or children’s ministry posts check out Brian Dollar’s Blog!

Children’s Ministry FC Kids Leadership Parenting Uncategorized

Why Leadership For Kids?

Making Good Kids Into Great Leaders

As the children’s pastor at Fellowship Church for the last 19 years, I have longed for a program that could get kids into God’s Word on regular basis during the week. I have also desired to find a way to grow children into great men and women of God who will assert biblical leadership into our world.

I firmly believe that God designed every child to be a leader, to be someone who influences the lives of others. This looks different for each child: For a four-year-old, it can be sharing toys at daycare. For a first grader, it can be helping their parents out with chores. For a fifth grader, it can be showing the courage to stand up for someone at school. For a child with special needs, it can be learning to be patient.

So, what are we doing to help the kids at our church become influential, Christ-following leaders? We spend lots of energy on our kids weekend experiences and spend lots of money on VBS and summer camp, hoping it will make an impact. Yet we know that the majority of our kids don’t come to church events often enough to reinforce the lessons in their daily lives. Thankfully, there is another tool that God gives us to help us teach our children to lead – the Bible itself.

It may be a new thought for some, but the Bible is full of leadership principles. You could also call them character qualities – courage, integrity, service, and perseverance, just to name a few. To become a leader, each child must have leadership principles from the Bible instilled in them. The best way for children to learn these leadership principles is to learn them from God’s Word for themselves and put them into practice in their daily lives.

That’s why we created the free kid’s website LeadershipForKids.com – an online resource that uses the leadership principles found in the Bible to help children become the leaders God designed them to be.

Parents – Use it for free! Go to LeadershipForKids.com for free access to over 400 Bible Leadership Videos and Music Videos!

Kid Min Leaders – Want to learn more about how you can connect what kids learn at church with what they do at home? Go to ElevateAtChurch.com/leadership-for-kids to watch how easy it is to use the Leadership For Kids program with your ministry.

I hope you will join Fellowship Church, along with thousands of churches across the world, as we use LeadershipForKids.com to impact our kid’s lives today so that they can impact the lives of others tomorrow.

Parenting Uncategorized

How do you have "The Conversation”

Mike Johnson from Fellowship Church’s Sexperiment Bed In

How do you talk to kids about sex? When is too early? When it is time to talk about it, how do I start? All parents face these questions and in this video from Fellowship Church’s Sexperiment Bed-In, I answer these questions, and more. Get some great words of truth to share with your kids about God’s gift for married couples – sex.

 

 

Parenting Uncategorized Volunteers

Volunteering – Do It For (Your) Kids

When a parent volunteers it is a huge benefit for their kids. When kids grow up in a household where mom and dad serve every week they are much more likely to begin serving themselves when they get into 6th, 7th, 8th grade. The reason for this? Because that is what is normal to them, it’s all they know. When they leave high school and go off to college, the first thing they are going to do is look for a church where they can be plugged into serving. Their thought will be, “Doesn’t everybody do that? It’s just the way I was brought up, the way I do church.” What greater gift can we give to our kids than that?

Now serving as a family is not a magic bullet, but in all the years I’ve been doing children’s ministry, the majority of families that have orbited their lives around church and served are the strongest families. Divorce and discord is down. Children going south and getting into drugs and alcohol is down. Rebellion against parents is way down.

Parents look at many things for the benefits to their children: sports, ballet, music and assorted other extra-curricular activities. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those things, but only if they’re following in the footsteps of serving in the church. Obviously those other activities can help you become well rounded as a person, but they cannot replace church and service and living an others-oriented life. Our family’s priorities should center around service to the church.

We need parents to see that. If I want my child to grow up to be a morally responsible adult, if I want him or her to grow up to be a force for Christ who leads others to Him and is a productive person in society, then I’m going about it the wrong way if I’m not incorporating church and service as a huge part of what I’m doing as a parent.

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Current Affairs Parenting Uncategorized

Are Movies Becoming More "Christian"?

I love movies! And it looks like Hollywood might be getting the message that the movies that bring in the most money are those that a family can go and see together. Since I have always loved going to movies with my girls, I like the trend that I am seeing. Read on below…

Movieguide® has recently released statistics about changes that can be seen in the movie industry over the last 20 years.

Here are a few of the statistics:

  • Since 1991, there’s been a 425% increase in the number of movies with Christian, redemptive content that reflect a Christian biblical worldview – with a 20% increase in just the last five years.
  • From 2005-2009, movies with a very strong Christian and redemptive worldview averaged $65.3 million, while movies with a strong negative or anti-Christian worldview averaged only $23 million.
  • In 1995, movies with a strong Christian and redemptive worldview were earning an average of $21.14 million, but by 2009 that number had increased to $80.3 million.
  • In 1996, 12 of the Top 25 movies at the Box Office were R-rated; in 2009, only two of the Top 25 were R-rated. Conversely, in 1996 only three of the Top 25 movies had a strong Christian and redemptive worldview, but in 2009, 18 of the Top 25 had a strong Christian and redemptive worldview – a 500% increase.

For the complete list of Movieguide® statistics, click here.

Children’s Ministry Elevate Leadership Uncategorized

What can I do with a blog?

Over the past couple of years I have struggled with the question, “Should I, or shouldn’t I, do a blog?” I mean, after all, what can I do with a blog? Well, after much deliberation I have decided that, with a blog, I can share my thoughts on life, on family, on church, on volunteers, on ministry, and on being a Children’s Pastor in today’s world. And because I love connecting with people and I get excited about the conversations we all could have, I have decided to give it a whirl.

At mikejohnsonblog.com, I am going to share the insights of 16 years as Children’s Pastor of Fellowship Church. We will get into the nitty gritty, the ups and downs, as well as the challenges and victories of ministry today.

Some of the things I will share are:

  • Leadership strategies.
  • Tackling and overcoming the challenges of ministry that happen Monday-Friday.
  • Video of strategy meetings and conference planning sessions.
  • Behind the scenes looks at the production of our curriculum, Elevate/Elevate Jr./Elevate Family.
  • A peek backstage to look at the jam sessions of Cloud Nine, the band behind all the music for FCKids and Elevate.
  • Concept art.
  • First hand knowledge of new releases from FCKids.
  • Insights from the FCKids staff in all areas of children’s ministry: nursery, preschool, and elementary weekends, large events, discipleship, and curriculum development.
  • Thoughts on curriculum essentials.
  • Team building ideas.
  • Behind the scenes of our C3Kids conference planning.
  • Building/sculpting tips.
  • Set design.

In a nut shell, if it makes FCKids go, we’ll talk about it here. God is doing many exciting things in Children’s Ministry today. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and hearing your ideas!