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lessons

Children’s Ministry Elevate FC Kids

Q&A: “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?”

To answer the question “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?” we have to go back to why we use games in the first place. We believe that children learn while having fun, which is why we revolve all our games around the lesson or theme to engage the children’s attention for each lesson. The number of games we use in FC Kids at Fellowship Church varies from 3-6, and some weekends a lot more. This is also why we write 5-6 different activities per lesson in Elevate Children’s Curriculum. These include Small Group application activities, Opening Activities, and Review Activities. We usually start off with an opening game to help all of the kids become involved. We do this because children can be dropped off in our FC Kids ministry up to 15 minutes before service actually starts. Then there are games that help illustrate the lesson, like “Forgiveness Freeze Tag,” “Courage Shield,” “Thank God And Share,” or “Worship Cube” to name a few. How many of these we pick depends on the time we have available to play games. Are we having an extra long service? Even if you are not sure how long service will go, it is always best to prepare a few extra application activities and games just in case! We also like to play Minute to Win It games or other games like I Spy during the review time of the lesson.

So the short answer to the question “How many games should you plan for one children’s service?” is, “However many games you need to fill the time and teach the children that week’s lesson.”

 

This was one of many additional questions from Pastor Mike’s C3 Conference Q&A session. Stay tuned for more or click the Q&A tag to see other questions and answers.

Behind the Scenes Elevate Uncategorized

Sometimes Our Work Looks Like Play – Paper Airplanes

Can you really complain about a job where you get to make paper airplanes? I can’t! Here we’re testing an activity for an upcoming Elevate Family series (now ElevateAtHome.com). The point? We need to hang around friends who will help us make wise decisions and keep our lives soaring for God.

We get to make paper airplanes and teach families about God, all at the same time! How great is that?! Guess who’s plane went the farthest? All those years sitting in the back pews making paper airplanes out of church bulletins finally paid off!

 

Elevate Production Uncategorized

Elevate Year 4 Map – Can You Guess It?

Year4Map_v2

Development on Elevate Year 4 is well under way. The first series has been approved and is being written right now!

Above is the second rendition (but still not the final) of the Year 4 map. By looking at the above map can you guess what the 7 series are? Take a look at the last map I posted (the first rendition) because 2 of the themes were guessed correctly…hmmm, I wonder which ones? Don't forget that the prize will go to whoever can guess the 7 themes correctly first, so give it a guess!

Children’s Ministry FC Kids Uncategorized

Three Words That Make Me Cringe

They’re… just… kids.

To hear these words sends a streak down my spine. It’s normally used as an excuse for poor performance or low quality in ministry. When people are too tired, too overwhelmed, or… dare I say… too lazy to do something great for the next generation, they say, “They’re just kids, they won’t know the difference.” Where did this idea come from anyway? If you want to make any major change in the world, you have to start with the children. They are the adults of the future. They are the difference makers, the risk takers, the dreamers who have yet to be. Why in the world would we sell short our children, the group of people most open to hearing ideas of change? In churches all over the country kids are relegated to the “basement” of ministry. This un-supported, under-funded, just-keep-them-quiet mentality could very well be the ruin of the church as we know it. If the children of the church grow up and believe that it is irrelevant, boring, and lacking in quality, then the first chance they get, they are out of here. If that happens, the church will die.

I know we cannot all do the same level of work, but we can all have the same spirit behind the work. Let us all embrace the next generation and give our best to them with the resources God has given us.

Children’s Ministry Elevate Uncategorized

Curriculum Essentials – Teaching the Bible

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

The Bible, to me, is an inspirational book. The Bible is where I learn about God and how He wants me to live. The Bible is a place where I hear life-changing messages directly from God. The Bible is…holy. It is set apart. There is no other book like it and no other book can have an impact on this world like the Bible can. So when I teach the Bible, I want to reflect that. I want my audience to be inspired and awed at what God did in the Bible, and hopefully by what He can do in their own lives. When teaching the Bible I like to use musical underscoring, because music can set a mood like nothing else. I like to use visuals, because my learners respond to them better than just looking at a speaker. I like to teach the Bible in such a way that the learner gets swept up in the story. In fact, when I teach the Bible, I like to get swept up in the story, so that the audience can get a glimpse of what I feel.

That’s how I like to teach the Bible. It may just be me, but I’m not one for off beat Bible story presentations. The kind with a goofy wig and bad bathrobe. To me, that makes the Bible seem silly. Now hear me please, I think comedy has its place in children’s church; it can be used for many fun activities that kids will enjoy, making them want to come back for more. But when it comes to teaching the stories of the Bible, the goal should be to inspire, to allow the Word’s penetrating message to do the work. Then, when God’s message settles into the heart, we must
help the child see how to use that message to make a difference in their world. When we impart God’s Word into the hearts of our kids, it will not come back void.

The Bible is God’s word. Listen to it, obey it and most of all respect it. After all, the Bible is…holy.

Behind the Scenes Elevate Production Uncategorized

The Birth of an Elevate Series…It All Starts Here

Staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series

Staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series in Mike Johnson's office 11-19-09

 

Holly Bennett and Daryl Oldenburg in staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series
To develop Elevate, Elevate Jr., and the new Elevate Family products there are three major departments:

  • Pre-production (brainstorming the series, writing the series)
  • Production (filming, art construction, animation)
  • Post production (editing, scoring, DVD production)

Each series begins here…the Deadline Meeting. It’s here that all the departments come together and work out all the kinks of doing what we do in just 8 weeks. Basically, in a nutshell, the agenda for the meeting is “who needs what and when?”

Currently we are in pre-production of “City Streets – The Musical”. Yes, I did say musical. This will be the most ambitious series yet. We’ve got some very talented High School kids who will be playing the leads…which makes for some interesting shoot times in the studio (all in the evening after sports and school). Should be lots of fun!

Children’s Ministry Conferences Leadership Uncategorized

February, One of My Favorite Times of the Year

I realize it might not be what you expect someone to say.
But February is one of my favorite times of the year.  When I was
growing up in rural Montana, February meant snow forts, snow ball
fights and the occasional hookie bobbin’. (If you know what hookie
bobbin’ is you’re probably from the north central U.S.) But as an
adult, February is one of my favorite times of the year for a different
reason. February means C3!

C3 is a great time to sit under some amazing teaching while
discovering how God can bring fresh creativity to your church. At C3
you will get the opportunity to connect with pastors from all over the
world and develop relationships that will last a lifetime. I cannot
tell you how I have been inspired and equipped over the years at this
conference. Ministry change AND life change happens at C3.  I can
testify because I have been to every one!

I am especially looking forward to February 2010 because in 2010
we have partnered C3 with our C3 Kids Conference.  Beginning February
16th-17th Fellowship church will be hosting children’s pastors and
volunteers from all over the world as they gather to learn how to reach
and grow the next generation. Then, all attendee’s of C3 Kids will have
the opportunity to stay for C3 (February 17th-19th) and hear from some
of the greatest leaders in ministry today. Ed Young, T.D. Jakes,
Jentezen Franklin and Ed Young Sr. are just a few of the powerful
speakers on the menu.

Okay, I’m promoting, and I’m not really trying to hide it. C3 is a
GREAT time! If there is any way you can be here, make it happen. I
promise, you will not regret a single minute of it. Check out the
details at c3conference.com.

 

Hope to see you 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!