In our last e-newsletter we introduced you to 10 ways to encourage kids to live out their faith. To recap those:
#1 Coach kids to know and love the Word of God.
#2 Train kids to confidently share their personal testimony.
#3 Teach kids to feed themselves.
#4 Meditate on God’s Word together.
#5 Challenge kids to cry out to God.
#6 Empower kids to evaluate the digital world.
#7 Give kids opportunities to experience authentic worship.
#8 Teach kids to recognize miracles of God.
#9 Express God@Work.
#10 Create spiritual conversations.
But there’s so much more! We’re going to continue on and look at 10 MORE ways. Get ready … here’s #11 – #20.
# 11 Expect kids to resist temptation.
Living out your faith often means saying “no” to sin. Joseph resisted temptation when he said, “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). We say “no” not out of a legalistic heart, but because of our understanding and love for our God. A way to personalize this is to have your kids write out at the beginning of class the top three sins they struggle with. Have them put it in their pocket (no need to show you). Teach the lesson, then challenge them to think about what they wrote and why it would be harmful in their relationship with God and His plan for their life. Allow them to personally process and choose what to do with these sins during the week. The following week hold them accountable in small groups for at least one area they dealt with.
#12 Equip kids to clearly share the Gospel.
Mark 16:15 teaches us to go out and preach the Gospel. In our children’s ministry, we equip kids to live this out by investing time into teaching the wordless book. The wordless book is a simple, classic tool that highlights five key colors that connect with key words and verses to reinforce Gospel points. At the age of two, children are already matching specific colors to keywords and are learning three of the key verses. As kids continue to grow, they learn all the key verses and gain a fuller understanding of the meaning behind each key word. This tool is used and taught consistently in all of our kids’ programs, so they are equipped to confidently share and defend their faith outside the church walls with friends, family, and even strangers.
I went to the “Armor On” Camp in Discovery Land for three days this summer. It made me want to tell people about Christ and share the Gospel with them. At the end of the camp, I felt stronger in my faith. After Armor On was done, I was wearing my wordless book bracelet and was at a karate class. I felt the Holy Spirit inside of me urging me to tell another kid in our class about Jesus. He was all about himself and I knew he needed Jesus. He was an older kid (about 15) and assists in teaching the classes. I went up to him and asked him, “Do you believe heaven is real?” He said, “Yes.” So I asked him, “Do you know what it’s like?” and he said that he didn’t. I then told him that it’s a perfect place and Jesus is there. There’s no pain, sin, or crying in heaven. I told him that because we are sinners, we can’t go there unless we let Jesus take the punishment for our sins. He just stared at me like I was weird. I walked away, and I just hope I planted a seed.
Cora Rae, 5th Grade
#13 Expose kids to the reality of rejection.
Nobody said it would be easy to live out your faith, and it’s critical that your kids are taught this truth. Kids who speak truth in love may very well watch friends reject God and walk away from their friendship. This is tough! Equip them with a godly response. Teach kids to continue to love, pray, and go forward. Bring the Bible to life by reminding your kids of people like Paul, Stephen, and others who were persecuted. Accepting rejection after presenting the Gospel is a true test of living out your faith.
More tools and resources can be found at Kidsofcourage.com.
#14 Teach kids to think like a quarterback.
Let’s raise a generation of quarterbacks—kids who can take the knowledge they’ve gained in ministry and apply it immediately as life situations arise. We can help them train for this by giving them short, real-life story problems or situations and expecting quick, brief answers with Scripture to back it up. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see your children actually use the verses they memorized? During our Awana club we use a simple game like Jenga as a review game. We divide children into teams, and a leader asks a question such as, “I was told that good works can get you heaven.” Instantly, the kids will raise their hands to state, “It’s not by works, it’s faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that you are saved by faith and not by works.” Bam! That’s what we want! The team that answered correctly can move a block. The game continues with fast-paced questions that make kids think about how to apply the Word to situations.
#15 Create “real time” missions opportunities.
Often kids truly do not understand and appreciate what they have as Christians until they wrap their minds around the religions and situations of this world. I value teaching “real time” missions. Allow missions to be part of the DNA of your ministry rather than a “special event.” Currently, our kids are learning about the need for Jesus in refugee camps. Next quarter, we will be creatively highlighting specific religions and comparing them to Christianity, which will help kids see the spiritual differences, understand how to use what they have learned from the Bible to defend their faith, and, most importantly, appreciate the true love, sacrifice, and mercy that God has provided for the world.
Are you looking for a good resource that provides current mission lessons? Go to awana.org/go.
#16 Start a mission movement.
The kids and leaders at our church started a movement in Burkina Faso, Africa with Awana International. God put a huge burden on our hearts to reach 1 million kids with Awana clubs in that country. Our kids created summer businesses, had penny wars, and held verse-a-thons striving to earn as much money as possible to train and multiply Awana leaders. After only a year and a half into this project, almost 10,000 children are in over 140 Awana clubs in Burkina Faso! Our kids are praying and truly living out what they believe.
For more information on how to begin a missions movement like this or to join with our kids on the Burkina Faso project, contact either Chris Dunrud at 888-292-6250 or Kathi Marciniak at 800-222-9262.
#17 Let them serve.
Do your kids know they have a spiritual gift? A simple test asking what they like to do, their favorite subject, hobbies, and how they like to help at home may help you begin guiding them towards the gifts God has given them. Once this is discovered, let them serve! Ideas for serving include: assisting the worship leader, prepping projects at home, painting signs to advertise an upcoming event, allowing them to play their instruments at a special event, assisting with preparing snacks, puppets, being a table leader and more. The key to kids successfully serving in the church is to train them, give clear expectations, and then allow them to take ownership while continuing to coach them.
#18 Allow students to rise up into leadership and think future ministry.
Occasionally, I see a sixth grade student who has gifts that line up with great ministry leadership potential. They are mature, spiritually solid, responsible, love kids, can lead their peers, and have a heart that beats for God. When I discover this, I love to give them opportunities to job shadow during special family events while giving them specific grade-appropriate tasks such as: delivering water bottles to volunteers who are serving, encouraging small children who may be struggling, explaining responsibilities to other peers who are coming to serve, allowing them to wear a walkie-talkie to hear the behind-the-scenes conversations, and more. It’s amazing what these kids learn and do when asked to rise to a challenge. It’s also amazing to watch God work as students move from this role to unpaid internships, to paid internships, to staff positions.
I always expected that I would go into ministry. In all the Bibles I’ve owned, from my Sunday-name-tag-covered elementary school Bible to my bigger-than-my-face study Bible, Matthew 28:16-20 has always ended up underlined, highlighted and circled. Coincidence? Christ’s command to go and make disciples has been a recurring theme in my life. Throughout elementary school, I assumed I would do mission work abroad. As I grew older, I began to volunteer in my church’s children’s ministry program, Discovery Land, and came to realize my passion for reaching kids. For a few years I interned in Discovery Land; now I work there as a Ministry Assistant. As I look to the future, I don’t know where I will go or what I will do, but wherever God takes me, I know He has called me to share the Good News and make disciples. It’s a truth that has stuck with me for years and will continue to impact all areas of my life.
#19 Cheer your kids on to stand firm together.
Give kids the opportunity to stand firm together. If you’re from a church with several services, your kids may not even know that they go to the same church. To help kids stand together we created wristbands that say, “Rock’n the Halls.” Kids wear these the first few weeks of school. This reminds our kids that Jesus is the Rock and He is in the halls of your school. It also helps kids identify friends at school that they can stand firm with in the good times and the hard times. We’ve heard stories of kids praying together and even forming small recess Bible studies at school to support and encourage each other to live out their faith.
#20 Coach kids to pray with confidence.
I love listening to kids pray with confidence. How do you instill this in your kids so they feel comfortable praying in a public setting? Start at a young age and continue to have kids open the class in prayer on a regular basis. This year we are selecting students to pray on the stage, with a microphone, for our large group speaker each Awana night. To be asked to pray is an honor and when selected it builds spiritual leadership and confidence in the kids.
To explore a new children’s ministry program designed for churches that are eager to invest in a long-term discipleship plan, visit DLGlobal.org.