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Lead By Example

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slide-02Quite often we fail to realize that the eyes of the kids in our children’s ministry are constantly glued on us and on what we do.

For those whose parents are not saved we can be the only example they have of how a believer should act.

This raises a question that we should all be asking ourselves: am I leading by example?

There are many areas in our ministry where we can exhort our kids to do one thing, but we could be failing to live up to that exhortation.

Telling others to do something while you do the opposite is called hypocrisy. There is no other term for this and it should not be the conduct of a child of God.

“Do as I say and not as I do.” We have all heard this saying before and I am willing to bet that growing up we all saw this played out in an adult that we respected. We can remember that at the moment of seeing this hypocrisy we all felt a certain frustration or confusion. “Why is he telling me to do this when he himself does not do it?”

As believers and servants in our ministries we should examine ourselves to see if there are continual instances where we might tell our kids to do something and yet we fail to do the same. Are we being hypocrites?

A few examples of where we could be failing to lead by example.

Priorities– It is important that we schedule the unimportant events in our lives around our ministry; NOT the other way around. Do you give your churches children’s ministry priority? Or would you prefer to stay home and watch the game on t.v? We need to show our kids the importance of going to church.

Evangelism And Outreach– When was the last time that you preached the gospel to someone who is not saved? When was the last time that you invited someone to your church?

Memorization And Study Of Scripture– Superficially reading God’s Word is like going to a restaurant and walking out without eating your meal. When was the last time you spent time memorizing God’s Word? What was the last verse you memorized? When did you last study God’s Word and not just read it?

PreparationA teacher that is unprepared is ineffective. Do you bring everything that you will need for your kids service or program? If you are going to be teaching, did you honestly spend enough time preparing yourself to teach? Do you remember to bring your Bible with you? (I hate to include this last one but it happens more than you think.)

Punctuality– What time do you arrive at church? Do you arrive early and make sure that your classroom is set up for when your kids arrive? Or are you running around like a headless chicken frantically setting things up? How can we encourage our kids to arrive on time if we are constantly arriving late?

Exhortation– Do you tell your kids to have patience and you easily get frustrated? Do you exhort your kids to love one another and yet there is a brother in your congregation who you cannot stand? Before you ask your kids to apply Scriptural truth to their lives, you should be putting it into practice in your own.

In our ministries we need to work hard to make sure we are leading our kids by example. Our words must match our actions.

Always remember that you have little pairs of eyes watching what you do and what you say.

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Practicing Discernment When Shopping For New Curriculum

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The Importance Of Practicing Discernment When Shopping For A NewEvery child who listens to you teach each week assumes that what they are hearing is Biblical. This is a great responsibility that no children’s ministry leader should take lightly because as teachers we have the potential to impact the lives of the children in our ministries.

This is why Scripture gives us the exhortation to practice discernment. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “but examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…” Paul’s exhortation is very clear. We must examine EVERYTHING carefully and only retain what is good.

There is no greater opportunity to practice discernment then in our next purchase of the curriculum for our children’s ministry.

If we were to walk into a modern Christian book store and look through the children’s ministry section we would find dozens and dozens of different curriculum. We could find everything from sunday school, V.B.S., to every kids program in between; all with bright colors, funny looking characters or smiling children on the packages.

The question then becomes which one is right for my children’s ministry?

Many times we first incorrectly look for the fun factor. Does this curriculum come with funny videos? Does it have catchy songs? Does it come with great take home worksheets?

These questions are important, but the fun factor should always take second place to the question, is this material Biblical?

Every curriculum in the book store claims to be Biblical, but how can you be sure?

The answer is very simple. Examine everything!

What do I examine it against? The answer again is simple, all of Scripture.

We must examine ALL curriculum through the light of Scripture to see if they are faithful to God’s Word.

This is why discernment is so important. No matter how fun and entertaining a program seems, if it is not Biblical then it is no good. It does not matter who the author, publisher or company is.

Why because only Scripture has the power to transform and save the kids in your ministry.

“and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9

If your curriculum is not Biblical then all that you are teaching is the opinion of the author, not the powerful and transforming Word of God.

So the next time you are shopping for new curriculum for your children’s ministry I exhort you to examine everything carefully against the light of Scripture to see if it is Biblical. Always keeping in mind the great responsibility that you have as a children’s ministry leader.

If the curriculum passes the Biblical test, then have fun looking for the one with the great worksheets, entertaining videos and catchy songs.

In App Purchases

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How many of us would give our children our credit card and send them into a toy store by themselves? I hope not many of you :).

In the last couple of weeks there has been a big uproar over “freemium” apps and in-app purchases. Freemium apps are apps that are free to download but give you the ability to purchase items to help you progress or finish the game faster.

In App Purchase

You can find countless stories online of parents receiving their credit card bill and discovering they have been charged hundreds of dollars in in-app purchases.

This post is not about how evil these developers are or how Apple and Google should warn parents and give refunds. It is not about blaming the parent either; although parents should be informed when it comes to giving your child an expensive device that requires a credit card on file.

No, this post is about equipping parents and giving them the tools they need to be informed.

Thankfully it is fairly easy to block in-app purchases. Just follow the simple steps below to put a barrier before unauthorized purchases from your device.

For iOS

  1. Start the Settings app from your home screen, and select the General submenu.
  2. Scroll down and tap on the Restrictions option.
  3. Enable Restrictions and set an easy for you to remember password, which should, however, not be easy to guess for users of your gear.
  4. With the password entered twice, go down to the Allowed Content option, and put the In-App Purchases slider in the Off position. This way the phone or tablet will ask for a passcode each time an in-app purchase attempt is detected.

With iOS you can also open a separate account for you child using iTunes gift cards. When the amount on the card is used up the child will not be allowed to download any apps that are not free.

For Android

  1. Start the Google Play Store app from the homescreen.
  2. Tap on the Menu button and pick Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the User Controls submenu, and tap on the Set or Change PIN option.
  4. Choose a PIN that will be easy for you to remember, but hard for the kids to guess, and reenter it after pressing OK..
  5. Now checkmark the box next to the Use PIN for purchases option, and the phone will ask for the digit code with each in-app purchase try.

For Windows Phone 8

  1. On Start , tap Kid’s Corner  and then tap Next. (You can also get to Kid’s Corner via Settings  in the App list.)
  2. To add content to Kid’s Corner, tap GamesMusicVideos, or Apps, select the items you want to add, and then tap Done
  3. When you’re finished adding things, tap Next.
  4. If your phone doesn’t already have a lock screen password, you’ll have a chance to set one now and ensure that your child can’t get to your Start screen from Kid’s Corner. Tap Set password, type your password, and then tap Done.
  5. Tap Finish to leave setup and open Kid’s Corner.

For Kindle Fire

  1. To enable Parental Controls, visit Settings (first tap “More” in the menu) on your device and select the “Parental Controls” option.
  2. On the next screen, select “On” located on the right side. The feature will then ask you to create a Parental Controls password that will be required to purchase any content on your Kindle Fire. Please note that once you select this setting, your password will need to be entered before every purchase.

I urge anyone that lends their smartphone or tablet to their child (or maybe you bought one specifically for them) to take a few minutes to make these changes in order to avoid any headaches down the line.