Archives For KidMin Families

Great Resources for Lent

February 17, 2015 — 2 Comments

This Wednesday, February 18th, is the first day of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, is the time when we mark the time when Jesus is sent into the wilderness.  While there, He prayed and prepared for what was ahead of Him.  Likewise, the season of Lent can be presented to children as a time to pause, pray and prepare for what lies ahead of us.  Each year, we provide our church families with a family friendly devotional to encourage faith conversations at home during this time.

If you are looking for materials for your family or for yourself, here are a few I’d recommend.


A Sense of the Resurrection

Blogger Amanda White, who wrote the popular Advent devotional Truth in the Tinsel, has written a resource for Lent.  A Sense of the Resurrection contains 12 fun, hands-on, easy, meaningful activities to help your kids come face to face with the Easter story.

Sense of the resurrection image


Family Lenten Practices Calendar

This free downloadable calendar written by blogger Traci Smith shares either a prayer, service or fasting activity each day.  The activities can be adapted for children of all ages.  In addition, she offers an adult calendar for purchase.

lentenpracticescalendar20151Holy Week Devotional

According to the What’s In the Bible? website, this devotional contains an 8-day family Bible reading and devotional plan designed to guide your family into a deeper understanding of the days of Holy Week and prepare your hearts to celebrate on Resurrection Sunday!

Each day includes 1-2 short Bible readings and a conversation-starting discussion guide, as well as a coloring page that illustrates the day’s Bible story. The Holy Week Devotional Download Pack will engage your kids in discussion, prayer and creative expression in the week leading up to Easter.



Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway offers a free devotional delivered straight to your inbox.  Get more details here.

Margaret Feinberg

Join author Margaret Feinberg as she reads through the Gospels this Lenten season.

margaret feinberg lent challenge 2015

What About the Tweens?

February 10, 2015 — 17 Comments

I am so excited to have my friend, Andrea Hopgood, share about her recent experience at the Children’s Pastors’ Conference.  Andrea and I connected through another national conference a few years ago and I count her as one of my trusted kidmin sisters.  Thank you for sharing your story with us, Andrea!

What about the tweens

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Children’s Pastors’ Conference (CPC15).  The four days of sitting and learning from experts in their field started with a long, daily look into, “What Matters Most in Ministry to Tweens”. Kids are considered a “tween” when they are between 9-12 years old. I will share with you highlights and AHA moments that were both confirming and convicting to me.

According to Daniel Nott with Tween Gospel Alliance, the average:

  • family time is 36 minutes per day
  • church time is 3 hours per week
  • media/digital time is 8-10 hours per day

These statistics show that media is forming and shaping the minds of our tweens. Our teens are buying into these thoughts:

There isn’t any absolute truth. They believe it’s ok to believe what you want.

They’re asking the question, “Is church relevant for me?”

Partying is good and being skinny is the key to happiness.  Anorexia is starting between ages 9-11.

Divorce and living together is okay.

They are being mentored by media.

Having sex is normal because it’s on TV regularly. According to Dannah Gresch, founder of Secret Keeper Girl, kids as young as 11 have been exposed to pornography.

 As parents and Christian leaders, it is our responsibility to nurture the tweens in our lives so they will not build their moral compass on a shaky (worldly) foundation. Instead, we need to guide them in creating a Biblical perspective that will be a firm foundation for their lives.

Moral Development Phases

3 to 6 year olds – This is the “copycat” phase. They want to be like mom or dad. At this age, they have the play kitchen sets and pretend tool boxes and they mimic what they see mom and dad do.

 7 to 12 year olds – This is referred to as the “counseling” phase because they are forming their spiritual beliefs. No longer can we say “Because I said so”, they want to know “why”. This is always a spiritual question. This gives us the opportunity to give an answer from a Biblical perspective. If we aren’t ready to answer their questions, the world is definitely ready.


The battle for the mind and hearts of people are largely won or lost by age 13. According to studies conducted by Barna, 80% of tweens say the Bible, Qur’an and Book of Mormon teach the same truth.

1% of tweens have a Biblical world view.

Social Peers

Tweens tend to detach from face to face communication and prefer to engage in social media. This detachment causes a decrease in empathy. To grab their attention in the church setting, we must provide experiences that will grasp their attention and apply the lesson directly to their lives, followed by time for them to verbally process how the lesson (for example) applies to their life. Many tweens are the 4th-5th graders in our ministries. They are bored being with the 1st-3rd graders, but they aren’t ready to be with the older kids. This is a golden opportunity for us to create a transitional ministry.

When they were asked, “Who is the biggest influencer in your life?”, the #1 answer was their parents. This is confirmation that we must provide opportunities for parents to be in the driver’s seat for spiritual encounters and spiritual formation.  How can we do that?

  • Provide a parent/child baptism and/or communion class. This class will allow families to attend together as a ministry leader facilitates conversation. Parents will have an opportunity to share their faith story with their child or begin a conversation letting the child know that they are beginning this journey together.  This will start heart conversations that can continue even after the class is complete.
  • Host date nights for fathers and daughters or mothers and sons.
  • Organize a parent/child purity retreat to guide conversations so parents are teaching their kids the Biblical perspective of modesty and truth about sexuality.

As you ponder what God would like your next steps to be, I pray that you receive the clarity and courage you need in order to walk out the next steps He has for you.


Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresch

Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy by Dannah Gresch

Keep the conversation going!  Are you the parent or leader of a tween?  Do you feel equipped to navigate these years?  What resources have you found helpful?  Share a comment here or on our Facebook page!

Andrea has a passion for equipping ministry leaders with tools needed to lead children and families to have a relationship with our Savior.  During her 17 year career, she has served as a Children’s Pastor, a consultant, and a Presenter at various conferences.  Currently, she is the Director of Elementary Ministry at Elmbrook Church.

This post originally posted on February 14, 2014.

Well, today is Valentine’s Day, a day when love is shared, boxed chocolates are enjoyed and roses are ridiculously over-priced.  Don’t get me wrong – when my husband & I were dating, I wanted all of the ‘outward’ expressions of love.  Now that we’ve been married for 18 years, I appreciate love more throughout the year than just focused on the day you’re supposed to show it.

One way I appreciate the love my husband and I share is through our date nights.  Over the years, our date nights have evolved.  As newlyweds, Friday nights and all-day Saturday were our date days.  When children came along, our date days became “meet you on the couch after we put the children to bed”.  As the children got older and our calendars became more jam-packed, carving out time together would include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee or weekends away.  We just wanted to be together, to talk, to look into each other’s eyes as well as each other’s hearts and listen to each other.  In my book, date nights (or days) are non-negotiable.

Last fall, I received a copy of 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp.  I thought I’d wait until Valentine’s Day to share my thoughts about it.  The book was released in September 2013 by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Book

The book’s purpose is to “help you connect faith, love and marriage in ways that result in a deeper spiritual connection.”  The book offers 10 great date night options, each with its own chapter within the book, outlining pre-date preparation, date night tips, and post-date spiritual application.

The date night options are:

  1. Connecting Faith and Love – You’ll talk about how connecting faith in your marriage can help you build a more loving, growing relationship.
  2. Appreciating Your Differences – You’ll talk about two key core values: acceptance & forgiveness.
  3. Experiencing God Together – You’ll talk about factors that bring you together spiritually as you worship God together.
  4. Getting Into the Word – You’ll be given simple tools to help you grow spiritually through studying the Bible together.
  5. Loving Your Closest Neighbor – You’ll talk about how to love and encourage your spouse.
  6. Talking Together With God – You’ll talk about how to overcome some of the obstacles to praying as a couple and practical ways to develop a meaningful prayer life together.
  7. Building Your Marriage on a Strong Foundation – You’ll talk about the importance of what the Bible calls leaving, cleaving and becoming one.
  8. Facing the Storms of Life Together – This date will help you talk about how to stay close and face the storms of life together.
  9. Guarding Your Heart Under God’s Canopy – You’ll look at what it means to have God’s sacred canopy over your marriage and how to guard your heart.
  10. Making Your Marriage a Lighthouse – You’ll be encouraged to talk about how you can continue to draw close spiritually and how your marriage can be a lighthouse to those around you.

What I Liked

If you notice what each date encourages, you’ll discover what I love about this book. It gets spouses talking to one another.  These dates make talking to each other a priority, and I love that.  And not just talking to fill time – but meaningful discussions. That’s a winner to me!

I also love that the book takes the guesswork out of what to talk about.  It’s so easy to talk about work, children, family and friends but being intentional and having guided spiritual conversations that will benefit your marriage is another winner for me.

What I Think Was Missing

I’m a pretty practical person, so I was expecting more practical ideas.  Maybe something like, “Over coffee, talk about…”  I wasn’t expecting that there would be ‘homework’ before and after the date.  This aspect might be a turn-off to some readers and might result in one of the spouses doing more prep-work than the other.

Also, my husband isn’t a big reader, so I’m not sure how practical that would be.  I would see myself as the primary date conversation facilitator, which would be extra work on my part.

My Recommendation

Overall, I think the book is a great read for marriage rookies and veterans alike.  If you’re looking to make your date night conversation more meaningful, then grab a copy of this book today!  Visit their website for more information.

Have you read 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage?  What were your thoughts?

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  No compensation was received.