This summer at Allaso Ranch, kids experienced life change like never before. Check out this recap video to see how God has been moving in the lives of the campers and volunteers at FCKids Camp 2012: Summer Olympics!
Guest post by Ryan McMackin, FCKids children’s worship pastor
“Enhanced” is a trendy word these days. Seemingly everything in our culture has been enhanced in some way; tweaked so it’s bigger, better, faster, stronger, etc. Our bottled water is enhanced with electrolytes to aid in hydration. Our phones are enhanced with smart technology so we can play Angry Birds anywhere. Our TVs are enhanced with HD channels so we can see the individual blades of grass on the football field.
Now, we can argue the merits of some of these “enhancements,” but their existence and popularity prove that human beings are always looking for their life, and everything in it, to go to a higher level.
In FCKids, we are always looking for ways to enhance our worship services, and we will try anything if we think it will help kids learn about God. We do big events like Adventure Week (think Vacation Bible School on steroids), lock-ins at Legoland, and kids camp at Allaso Ranch. While those things are great, I think little enhancements make a huge impact in our ministry. Often overlooked in the light of big events, the value of these little tweaks is tremendous because they don’t require thousands of dollars, thousands of volunteers, or thousands of man-hours to put together.
In the last year, I’ve seen two of these little enhancements make a big difference in our kids’ church experience. The first is a bubble machine. We added two bubble machines in the atrium of our children’s building, strategically placed to where almost every kid who comes to church has to walk by them. We turn them on fifteen minutes before service and fifteen minutes after service, and the kids go nuts. Every weekend, I see kids playing in the giant mass of bubbles created by these machines, completely oblivious to anything else around them. The kids’ favorite thing in our atrium is not the giant purple mountain made of foam or any of the other amazingly cool visuals we have; it’s the $70.00 bubble machines.
The second enhancement came during our Easter series called Good News. One of the music videos, a song called “Hosanna,” features a group of high school students with glow sticks, waving them back and forth to the beat of the song. This gave our staff an idea: What if we got glow sticks for the kids, and passed them out during the song? So, we bought battery powered glow sticks (much cheaper than buying real glow sticks every weekend), and for the eight weeks of Good News, we passed them out in each service to each kid. When the chorus of “Hosanna” would start with, “Hey, hands in the air with a wave, lifted to the One who can save…” we would turn the lights off and all the kids would wave the glow sticks back and forth. They loved it. And by the way, so did our volunteers. It was a very cool sight.
Now, neither of these enhancements are flashy. And by themselves, neither will change a kid’s life. Certainly not like Adventure Week or kids camp can. But they do create excitement, and excitement brings kids back to church. As our pastor, Ed Young, says, “Small tweaks take you to giant peaks.” It’s often the little enhancements that make the biggest difference.
At night, you can sometimes find me drinking bottled water and playing Angry Birds while ESPN HD is airing commercials. Have these things changed my life? No. But they’ve definitely enhanced it.
Ever wondered how Fellowship Church does VBS? Check out this year’s Adventure Week online at FellowshipLive.com at 8:15pm every night this week!
One of our biggest FCKids outreach events at Fellowship Church is our annual Adventure Week! Five nights of activities, Bible lessons, games, snacks, crafts and a theatrical performance. This year’s production is called Adventure Islands. You’ll meet Jack and Jackie, the main characters who have to choose to do what is right, as well as Dip and Dot, who tend to follow the notorious pirate, Blacktooth’s, bad example. Each night this week we will teach the kids leadership lessons on Kindness, Generosity, Forgiveness, Service and Following God!
Go to FellowshipLive.com at 8:15pm and watch the performance on Adventure Islands!
Parents – your kids can earn the Adventure Islands leadership badge on ElevateAtHome.com!
Preschool Renovation: Part 1
What once was a seldom used area near one of our Preschool lobbies at Fellowship Church, is a space that has now become an interactive playroom for kids to hang out while mom and dad chat and check in before services! All themed by Wonder and Palette!
With a week of work and a lot of volunteers, our team transformed the lobby in time for Easter services. First we removed the old walls, created cubby spaces for the window TV’s, reframed and drywalled the area, cut out the foam core graphics, painted the edges, and placed the final touches from our favorite store…IKEA!
These updates changed the entire atmosphere in our Preschool lobby. Now, the 2-3 year olds sit down to color while moms and dads meet other moms and dads, and new families immediately see how important their children are to us in FCKids.
Taking on a build project to change the environment of your church may seem like a daunting task, but it makes a big difference in the atmosphere of your church. Think of it like this: you remodel your home to make it comfortable and inviting for yourself and for your guests. In the same way, we remodel the areas of our church to make them more comfortable and inviting for our attendees and visitors.
Over the next few weeks I will share the details of how we made this project come together successfully.
You can use the same graphics we did to decorate your preschool area too! Visit ElevateAtChurch.com to download the full sized Preschool Wall Art and Graphics.
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.
The motto for FC Kids is “Making Good Kids Into Great Leaders.” We achieve this several ways. One way we achieve this is through a salvation presentation.
We use a salvation presentation to show kids God’s love and help them become great leaders. How do we do it? It’s a three step presentation:
Present the Gospel in a corporate setting.
This includes presenting the Gospel in Children’s church, presenting the Gospel at camp, and presenting the Gospel during Adventure Week, which is similar to a VBS. In Children’s church, the Gospel is presented at least once every 8 – 12 weeks. We will spend the entire Children’s church service on the Gospel that weekend. At camp, the Gospel is presented during a nightly event where all of the campers are taught together. During Adventure Week, the kids have a Bible study time with their age group and the Gospel is presented there.
Present the Gospel in a small group setting.
Kids who are interested after hearing the Gospel in the large group setting attend a small group. This takes place during the small group time in Children’s church. Here they have more one on one interaction with a leader. At camp, kids hear the Gospel presentation while spending one on one time with their counselor. During Adventure Week, the same would happen with the kids and their leader.
Present the Gospel to the children and their parents as they attend Kid Faith.
Kid Faith is a class that all of our children must take with their parents before they can be baptized. The class gives parents an opportunity to hear the Gospel presentation with their child. This serves two purposes. The first is that sometimes parents taking the class with their child are not believers. Not only does the class give them an understanding of what their child is doing, it also gives them the information and opportunity to become a Christ follower themselves.
The second purpose of the class is that it gives parents a specific set of questions to ask their child to assist the parents in knowing if their child really understands the Gospel. This helps the family bond as they go through the process together and ensures that the child is making an informed decision. A parent is normally going to be best at gauging their own child’s level of understanding. The child is able to answer questions at the end of Kid Faith with a leader at Fellowship Church. This helps determine if they are ready for baptism. In addition, they are given the opportunity to accept Christ into their lives if they have not done so already.
How do you show kids God’s love and help them become great leaders by presenting the Gospel to them? I’d love to hear any ideas and suggestions you have!
I am so looking forward to our first full Elevate Christmas series! We’ve had several questions about how we are going to use this eight week series here at FC. Since we don’t want the kids to get tired of Christmas before we ever get there (if that is even possible), we are going to start Professor Playtime the first weekend in December. We’ll use four weeks of the series this year and then the other four weeks of the series next year. If you would like to do the same, it will be helpful for you to know that all of the lessons stand alone (i.e. no lesson depends on another lesson to make sense) so you can pick any four you would like to show this year!
Keep your eyes on my blog for upcoming sneak peaks. I really think you are going to love this series! It’s going to be a lot of fun!
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.