Monday, September 25, 2017

Children's Ministry of Concordia Lutheran Church: Beyond Crayons and Cheerios

Children's Ministry of Concordia Lutheran Church: Beyond Crayons and Cheerios: Beyond Crayons and Cheerios  Each week parents go to great lengths to keep children occupied during the worship hour. They quickly ...

Beyond Crayons and Cheerios

Beyond Crayons and Cheerios 

Each week parents go to great lengths to keep children occupied during the worship hour. They quickly become bored and uninterested with what is in the worship bag, when the crayons break or when the cheerios have all been eaten.

What if we viewed children in worship beyond keeping them occupied?
What if we engage them in ways that model what worship is?

We all learn by repetition and predictability. Encouraging children to participate in prayers by folding their hands and making the sign of the cross is a powerful point of entry into the liturgy. Being part of Passing the Peace with those sitting around them sends the message that they are part of the congregation.
Hearing a familiar versicle from the Pastor,"the Lord be with you' followed with the response from the congregation,"and also with you"gives the non reading child opportunity to participate in the liturgy.

Children learn from watching their parents and others participate in worship. Over time, children learn what to do and when to do it and how to conduct themselves.

Yes, there is a place for cheerios, crayons, worship bags and children's bulletins in the divine Service. When we pair those things with the riches of the liturgy through participation in predictable parts of the service, learning takes place.
There are no universal answers and simple solutions and it is not easy work in the beginning for sure, but by and by those sweet wigglers in worship will become active particpants and listeners.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Visual Faith For Kids

Visual Faith For Kids

As a former Early Childhood Educator I have seen many students with many different learning styles.   All children enjoy a kinesthetic/tactile learning environment where learning takes place while manipulating or touching objects. Most children retain material better in this setting rather than sitting and listening and sitting and watching. As a Children's Minister I understand that faith formation at an early age is important.
This blog post is to encourage parents and teachers to explore the world of Visual Faith, Praying in Color and Bible Journaling with their children and students.

Illustrating the Scripture

This student who attended Summer Sunday school last year used watercolors to give her  journal page some color . She then wrote Matthew 5:16 on some scrap paper that she found and also created the focal piece, which she wanted to be the sunshine. From the verse she created two statements that simplified the passage. God is our Path. The sun is our light.

This journal page was created by cutting apart a verse printed from the computer and glueing it to the page. A simple encouragement card and stamped footprints illustrated Proverbs 3:8

A small travel size notebook is perfect to have students doodle a scripture passage using different colors of pens/markers, stickers and other assorted craft type supplies. Giving the page a tab using a descriptive word helps to give the passage a personal meaning.

Gifting the Scriptures

Repurpose large flash cards. Washi tape and free words of faith printables found on the web make fun bookmarkers or gifts for sharing.

Using faith based stamps and craft supplies turns a plain brown tag into a meaningful way to share encouragement or a favorite scripture.

Illustrating on the Bible Page

One of my sweet 1st graders had parent permission to take her own bible and illustrate the crucifixion and the resurrection. 

Workshops and Bible Studies

At a recent Visual Faith workshop this sweet child made paperclip bookmarks for bibles and journals  using fabric and washi tape. She had a whole room full of adults wanting her paperclip goodness. With her big ole servant heart she gladly gave them away.

Free Resources

Doodle art has become very popular with children and adults. Doodle Art Alley has many designs and scripture pages for free downloads. For several years now I have used this prayer doodle to encourage children to pray for their friends. Each Sunday at the end of class I turn on soft music and each child child writes the names of friends who were not in attendance in the white space of the word. In addition they always include the pastors and their family on their prayer page. They then color the doodles until the music stops. Almost always, you can hear a pin drop in the room and no one gets up until the music is over. Interesting isn't it.

Older children enjoy using the "Hey God" page. I wanted to take them a step futher in their meditations to ask prayers on behalf of themselves as well as family and friends and to practice gratitude. This page offers space to color and to make brief comments in each section. I have saved this page as a jpeg so you should be able to click and save it and print it.

This baptism activity sheet serves a tool for the worship service when a baptism is taking place . One can be reminded of their own baptism. It is a jpeg file as well.

Classroom Devotional Calendar

Middle schoolers might enjoy marking the passage of time using sticky notes made from devotionals. This is a past calendar hanging in my office. For this particular month I decided to post points or phrases that I wanted to remember for the daily devotion. Some are doodles and some are just filled with many words.This is a great concept for day planners using the smaller sticky notes.

Get the word out ! Take advantage of people traffic.

I have created a display outside of my office for scripture coloring sheets, encouraging those throughout the week and on Sunday morning with ways to add to their prayer life. Praying the scriptures is a great  way to put the verse to memory and mediate on what the meaning is for each individual. Take it one step further and find the verse in the bible and perhaps make notes in the margin or illustrate on the bible page. Faith based coloring books can be found everywhere these days. I recently purchased praying the Psalms and praying Proverbs at my local Dollar General Store.

Share your Faith!

I enjoy my time in my bible. Coloring. Doodling. Praying the scriptures. Gives me focus. Calms my nerves. Gives me strength and courage to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

For The Next Generation
And my HOPE is that one day it will be a source of comfort, encouragement, direction and strength to others. Here, in between this leather cover, is my legacy of faith. The most important possession I can leave behind.

My seven year old grand daughter has her own Inspire Journaling/Coloring Bible and when she visits she has her space to slow down and quiet down.

A portable art cart with all kids of pencils, crayons, markers, stamps and stickers keeps supplies in one place and ready for her. She is an has to be kept this way! Notice the orange porcupine pencil holder. It was her great grandmothers, a second grade teacher. I am sure it had a place on her desk in her classroom.

Visual Faith for kids ! Yes, indeed. Perhaps praying can be works of art. Perhaps scripture can be gifted rather than just put to memory. And perhaps coloring is more than just coloring!

For more information on Visual Faith workshops and bible study groups contact me 
Belinda Bost, Children's Minister , Concordia Lutheran Church and Christian Day School

Monday, April 10, 2017

Holy Week Box

The Holy Week Box

The Holy Week Box will be a help for young children to have a better understanding of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Perhaps the Holy Week box can be a keepsake for retelling the Passion of Our Lord each year. 


What's Inside?

A wooden Jesus doll. 2 3/8 inch. I wish I had ordered a tad smaller.
Amazon Prime 10 @ $5.70
Plastic mini goblet by Lulus Cupcake Boutique 12@ $3.25
Plastic Coins at Party City
Small Wooden Cross- Michael's
Stones- Dollar Tree
Smilie Face Stickers- Dollar Tree
Palm Branch, Praying Hands, Easter Lilly and Jesus Hanging on the Cross
Free Google Clip Art
Holy Week Booklet Clip Art 
From the Holy Week Photo Cube no longer available from Oriental Trading


The Last Supper

The inside lid of the box makes a table setting for the 12 disciples. The goblet can be placed  on each face while repeating the words of Jesus," this is my blood shed for you." A small crouton can be used, "this is my body, broken for you."


Holy Week Cube

I purchased this Holy Week cross/cube  from Oriental Trading and used the clip art to create the mini Holy Week Book. A little work from the copier to change it up a little made each picture the right size for the spaces. I am listing the item number but it is no longer available IN-13721100 $4.98 for 12


The Holy Week Mini Booklet

Unfolded the booklet looks like this. It can be colored. The page is half of 8.5 x 11 copy paper then folded to create 8 blocks for clip art.


Telling The Story

Using props, children can tell the story of the Passion as they place the objects on the pictures.
The clip art card objects are laminated. 


The Easter Reminder

On the back of the box is clip art of Jesus hanging on the cross. His blood shed for us. The wooden Jesus can be placed on top of the cross as a reminder of His love for us and the forgiveness of our sins.


More Resources for Celebration

All of the items here were purchased from

He Lives Mini Board Book IN-13721021 12@ $11.99 
Perfect for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Jesus Wind Up In-13720140 12@ $12.99

Crown of Thorns Rubber Bracelet IN-13757503 24 pkgs @ $11.99 with 3 bracelets in each pack.

Palm Leaf Gummies IN-13757588 
I wanted to order more but they are no longer available. They smell wonderful and the kiddos loved them.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

It's Just A Phase ...Don't Miss It Week #3

It's Just a Phase...Don't Miss It Week #3

As a parent you are not the only influence of the needs of your child. A church has the potential to connect your son or daughter to a leader who believes in their future like you do.
Every child is looking for a "tribe" outside of their family where they can find a place to belong. They will eventually find somewhere and someone on their own OR you can help them find a place that reflects your values and heart for their future.

If you are a Sunday School teacher, a Youth leader , neighbor or a friend of the family...BE LIKEABLE ! Discover their world. Know their culture. Consider watching their movies or the trailers. Read their books. Watch their TV shows. Follow their favorite celebrities. Listen to their music.
Lifetime educator Rita Pierson spoke at the TED conference to a room of educators to remind us all, "Kids don't learn from people they don't like."
Let's look at the culture. A child's culture changes the day they are born. CULTURE SCHOCK for everyone! Also when they become potty-trained, encounter discipline, enters elementary school, hit puberty, develop abstract thinking, enters high school, gets a drivers license and graduates from high school.
Don't assume you know what you don't know about their culture. For example; if you are a mother of a preschooler picking music for the sixth grade dance just may not be the job for you.
You will never know kids the way you need to know them if you don't take time to discover their world again and again. Show up where they show up; at ballgames, school plays and concerts. Look, listen and observe.Think of it as research.
Every phase of a child's life has unique cultural changes. Every phase presents new challenges when what is changing mentally and physically collides with what is changing culturally.
Relationships help resolve those challenges in a way that shapes their emotional and mental responses.
In the first 18 years of a life, kids are changing in six fundamental ways. Those changes affect how they think, learn, feel and relate. Research shows us that if we want to have influence, we have to understand what is changing physically, mentally, relationally, culturally, emotionally and morally.
Consider this; before we can lead someone where they need to go, we need to know where they are.
Kids! The more we know them, the more they will know they matter. They will believe they can win. They will feel that they belong. They will discern what they should do. If we don't now who we are talking to we can't really expect a listening ear. The better we understand who kids are now, the better they will understand who they are meant to be.
A look a week #4. Shaping character and faith is through small deposits in the KidBank. Investments, returns, rate of growth are financial words that we will use in a spiritual way.


Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Just a Phase...Don't Miss It Week #2

It's Just A Phase...Don't Miss It Week #2

You can not rewind your kids life! You can't "Fall" back and get an extra hour. Truth!! However, you can pause at significant moments and celebrate what is happening while it is still happening. Let's take a look at the day in the life of a child and discover some new ways to connect in positive ways. Remember the basic principal of this series: if you don't miss out on your kid's life, then maybe your kid won't miss out on some important things about life.

Morning Time

Let's face it , most mornings are not always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Sometimes showing up and being part of the morning does not have to be in the physical or verbal forms. Truth be known, sometimes the less physical/verbal interaction the better.... I'm referring to middle and high school sweeties.
When you connect positively in the Morning Time, you can instill purpose and give fuel for their day.

Leaving written messages for all to see is a great way to be part of the morning madness. If you have multiple bathrooms then leave multiple messages. Here is one BIG OLE RULE !!! Do not write, please remember to flush!!!  

Drive Time

If you kept a record of how much time you spend with your kids each day in the car, it would become very clear that drive time is an excellent opportunity for sharing, discovery and investigation. If you car pool, kiddos are more likely to "spill the beans" as they discuss the days events. Take a drive time check up. How quickly do the earbuds go in the ears? How much of their day are they sharing? How much of your day do you share with them? Every now and again throw in an element of surprise. Pick a day when you can take a quick detour to get some ice cream or whatever the favorite treat is. Have a strategy of being part of the "ride." When you leverage Drive Time, you can interpret life during informal conversations as you travel.

Meal Time

Elementary kiddos love, love for visitors to show up at lunch time in the cafeteria. Lunch time with a table of First graders can be very enlightening. Observing your child in social situations with their peers can be an eye opener.

Bed Time

Bed time can be just as challenging as morning time. No matter if your child is three or thirteen, both need to end the day knowing they are valued and loved. Too many kids grow up and miss experiencing God's unconditional love and forgiveness. For that teenager that slams the bedroom door behind them, perhaps a note of affirmation slid under the door reminding them of their worth. For that toddler that simply refuses to end the day, perhaps a few minutes of relaxing music together in a comfy chair embracing when the child is yearning to know if they are safe and loved. Engage the imagination of the seven year old. Stories under the sheets with a flashlight is always popular.
When you pause at Bed Time, you strengthen your relationship through heart conversations.

The average educator will spend over 5,000 hours studying child development before they try to teach a class . That's a lot of homework.
A typical pediatrician will spend ten years and nearly half a million dollars so they can practice medicine with children. That's a big investment. 
The manufacturer of the top selling toy, Barbie, will spend an estimated $6000,000,000 a year to win the heart of a typical eight-year-old girl. That's a lot of ads.
The point is sometimes it takes a lot of time, effort and investment if you want to have influence with kids.

No one has the potential to influence your son or daughter like you. Do you feel the pressure?And it can be confusing. You are a mix of teacher, coach, counselor and friend. So here are some items to add to your job description:
1. EMBRACE the physical needs of your child developing security and confidence.
2. ENGAGE in their interests.
3. AFFIRM their personal journey, showing up consistently to give stability.
4. MOBILIZE the potential of your child, guiding and setting examples as they develop values and passions.

A peek at next week...Don't miss Sunday! Connect your kids to other caring adults who will treat them like they are made in the image of God. A church has the potential to connect your son or daughter to a caring leader who believes in their future like you do.