Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Are you lost?

A grandfather was out walking with his grandson one day. "How far do you think we are from home?" he asked the grandson.

The boy said, "Grandpa, I don't know."

The grandfather asked, "Well, where are you?"

Again the boy said, "I don't know."

Then the grandfather chuckled and said, "Sounds to me as if you are lost."

The young boy looked up at his grandfather and said, "I can't be lost, I'm with you."

Ultimately that is the answer to all that worries or threatens us too. We are never lost; we are always safe- safe in the truest sense of the word when we are with God.


Colours for Easter

An All- Age Worship Activity

You need : Green, Red,Black, White and Yellow balloon bunches or streamers or flags.

Call forward any of the congregation or children's group who are wearing a green top (t-shirt, jumper, sweater...). Give them the green props and ask them to stand in a group on the far left side of your stage or up-front area. Talk about how the colour green may remind us that Jesus came... and on the way he was welcomed into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Ask the green group to practice their phrase. Continue this process with the following colours and phrases.

"Jesus came- and suffered- and died- but came alive again- to bring new life...


Finally invite all those remaining in the congregation wearing other colours to add "for everyone" to finish the phrase. Those holding the balloons can form a rolling Mexican wave of colour as they circle the balloons in front of them as they say their phrase.

Easter Chant

Easter is...

Easter is a time of joy

For everyone, girls and boys.

Rejoice, be glad, let's all sing,

Jesus is our risen King!

Jesus is living!

Yes he is living!

Jesus is living!

The Bible tells me so.

( You can also sing this to "Jesus Loves Me")

Easter Fanfare

An Easter illustration -

A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her second graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, she asked : "And what do you think were Jesus' first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?" A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom from one of the little girls. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly, "I know, I know!" "Good" said the teacher, "Tell us, what were Jesus first words." And extending her arms into the air she said:: "TA-DA!!"

Jesus' resurrection is the "TA-DA!" of Christianity.

Easter Resources from the Web

Easter Resources from the Web

Easter ideas


Beyond the Easter Bunny


How Easter Works


Countdown to Easter


Easter Skits


Easter Crafts


Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Eliab.creative outreach ministries-puppets, stories, chants...


Joseph of Arimathaea

Someone asked Joseph of Arimathaea , "That was a great tomb. Why did you give it to someone else to be buried in?" "Oh," said Joseph, "he only needed it for the weekend."

Sing with Children

New research into the effects of music on children has some interesting implications-

PLONKING kids in front of music videos such as the Wiggles or Hi-5 doesn't enhance their musical talent and may even hinder it.

New Australian research shows parents rely heavily on commercially produced CDs and DVDs for children's musical stimulation, claiming they don't have the time or musical talent for anything more creative.

"Research shows that music helps develop children's co-ordination, listening, language, communication and social skills."

Read the whole article from the HeraldSun.com.au "Hand-on parents strike a better chord with kids."


Beatitudes for Children's Workers

Blessed are they who love children with all their heart, for they shall be rewarded with big smiles.

Blessed are they who have planned and prepared, for the children will be interested and pay attention.

Blessed are they that arrive early, for they shall be able to welcome the children have time to talk to them rather than rushing to get things in place.

Blessed are they that get to know the children, their children's parents, and the children's home situation; for they shall be able to minister more effectively.

Blessed are they who respect each child's personality and seek to meet that child on his or her own level of understanding, for young lives shall reap benefits from these efforts in years to come.

Blessed are they who bear witness to children week after week, for they shall see boys and girls grow in knowledge and love of God.

Blessed are they who spend time alone with God each day, for they shall grow spiritually and the Lord will use them as His instruments.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for the Lord will honour your commitment and give you pleasure and satisfaction in your ministry to children.

(author unknown)

Trying to make a Hexaflexagon?

I first discovered hexaflexagons when I was teaching mathematics. I later used the template for making a hexflexagon and used my own art work to put Bible memory verses or Sunday School teaching points on them. Because the hexaflexagons are so interesting to older primary (elementary) aged children I found that they were a great activity to be used in teaching or for a lesson review.

You may be wondering at this point "well what is a hexaflexagon"? They are not easy to explain but the websites below give you some helpful templates and photos so that you get the idea. Once you make one yourself you will see the potential here for using them with children or even creating an evangelistic tool for use with adults or in mission situations. May the 'flex' be with you!




The Teacher's Psalm

The Lord is my helper; I shall not fear in guiding these pupils.

He leads me to the heart of the truth and prepares the mind of the pupils for the truth.

He gives me a vision of the immortality of these lives.

He leads me to see the sacredness of teaching His book.

Yea, though I become discouraged and despair at times, yet shall I lift my head, for His promises cannot fail me.

His word will not return to Him void, and my faith undimmed shall burn through all the coming years.

You walk before me that the seed planted shall grow.

You shall stand by my side on Sunday and speak through these lips so that His children may feel that Father God is near them.

You shall cause each broken effort to gather sheaves through unnumbered years. My joy is full when I know that every effort in Your name shall abide forever.

Surely Your love and care shall be with me everyday of my life, and some day I shall live with those who turn many to righteousness for ever and ever.

Rosalee Mills Appleby (adapted)

A Father's Laws Concerning Food and Drink

Check out this very humorous look at family life by Ian Frazier.

Household Principles, Lamentations of the Father

Monday, 22 December 2008

Balloon Prayers

First give each child a deflated balloon. Each time the leader pauses in the following prayer invite the children to blow gently into their balloons. Get them to hold them carefully but not tie them.

Now say this prayer ( or use your own), pausing at the end of each line.

" Thank you, God, that you are with us always.

Thank you for the Holy Spirit, who gives us power to live our lives for you.

Help us to follow you this week and to do the things you want us to do at home, at school, and with our friends."

Finally invite the children to call out "Thank you God!" and let their balloons go. You may like to give them another balloon to blow up and take home. Write on it in 'texta' pen, 'God is with me."( As a reminder of God's presence and power for them this week).

Thinking about Pentecost?

Pentecost Rap by Nick Clarke

Pentecost Rap from 77 Talks for 21st Century Kids by Chris Chesterton

Breath and Spirit - children's talk

Ideas for celebrating Pentecost.

Mother's Day on Pentecost- Worship ideas

LaughingBird.net Paraphrase of Acts 2:1-21

Scripture Union "Xstream" LIGHT Sunday School downloads

What a gift!

A simple puppet script I wrote a couple of years ago for an all-age Pentecost service might be of interest to someone who is planning to use puppets.

What a gift ! at Eliab.com

Chalk Games

How to play the traditional chalk games like hopscotch, 4 square, human snakes and ladders, goalies goal, and bulls eye. Many of these can be adapted to be used along with quiz questions on a topic to review a lesson.

Chalk Games for children

New free resources for children's ministry

Scripture Union continues it's long tradition of producing high quality resources for bible reading and children's ministry. Scripture Union UK have just launched a new website which makes available thousands of resources from their "LIGHT" material archive. Fully searchable and free.


Are children too tech savvy?

Is there a cost in pushing our children to use an array of tech gadgets and computer software?

Read this very interesting article in The Age newspaper which examines the world of the junior geek.

Squiggles-drawing game

To play Squiggles, you need some drawing paper for each child or adult and some crayons or pencils for each player. Give each player paper and pencil to draw four squiggles (random line drawings) of whatever sort they wish. Then get the children to swap their sheet of four drawings with one another. They now have to make the squiggles into one large or four separate pictures by adding to them. There are no winners in this game which is only for fun but after some time the children might like to share what they have drawn with each other.

One way to pray with children

Here's a simple way to encourage children to pray which has been around for some years but it's easy for a child to learn. It's called the five-finger prayer pattern.

Have your child place his hand on the table or bed, and illustrate the following to him or her.

1. Your thumb is close to you so it will represent (remind us of) those who are close to you. It reminds you to pray fro your family members, relatives, and friends. Let's think of some now...

2. Next comes your pointer finger. This finger reminds you to pray for people you want to follow Jesus (become a friend of Jesus). Hold up your pointer finger. Let's think of some of these people now.

3. Your third finger ("tall man") represents those who are in authority. It is the biggest finger and the strongest one.It stands for leaders, pastors, missionaries, teachers, and "big" people who you want to pray for.

4. The fourth finger (ring finger) is your weakest finger. It reminds you of people who are weak, sick, or going through a hard time. Can you think of any people like this that you'd like to pray for?

5. The smallest finger reminds you to pray for yourself. What would you like to tell God about how your feeling or what's been happening at school, with friends, or with family?

"Pray continually;give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18


Child Safe online

A new program of Child Safety training has just been launched by Scripture Union in Australia and New Zealand. This program and resources would be of interest to all those who work with children and are concerned about child safety.

ChildSafe online provides...

"Our aim is to help you create a culture of safety for children and young people. Safety Management Online (SMO) has been built to facilitate this aim within your organisation.

This sophisticated system manages people's appointment and tracks their training. It provides a framework for all of your programs to operate safely. Online training is available, along with a huge range of resources."

One with the Lot

A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"

Is there a 'boy crisis'?

The August 6, 2007 issue of TIME Magazine featured an article titled “The Myth About Boys,” which alleged that the boy crisis was overstated and that boys were, in fact, not in trouble. There were a number of flaws with the article, which have been eloquently addressed by Dr. Leonard Sax, an expert on gender and learning, and author of the new book Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men. Anyone interested in these issues is encouraged to check out Boys Adrift.

To read the article in TIME, go here.

To see the Boys and Schools response to the article, go here.

The Myth of “The Myth About Boys”By Dr. Leonard Sax

Nearness prayers

Give each child a pencil or crayon and a sheet of paper. Invite eveyone to close their eyes and think of a time when they have felt God very near to them. Suggest that each child ask God to help them to remember one of these times. The leader should not give any specific suggestions of when anyone may have felt near to God.

Now, on your piece of paper, see if you can draw or write something to illustrate or describe that special time.

When everyone is finished, invite those who would like to share what they have written or drawn, or talk about their time of feeling near to God. You will find that once one child has shared, it becomes easier for others.

Finish by praying together thanking God for being close and asking Him to be with them during this coming week.

Read Psalm 139:1-12

Bible basketball

The group is divided into two equal teams. Children are identified by number rather than position, as in basketball. One child from each team comes to the "referee" (leader) who "tosses up" a short, one-word answer question. The first player to answer a question gets the "ball" for the team. The player is now asked a question by the leader. The player may choose to answer the question or pass the ball to another player who is named by number. If the player answers the question correctly, two points are scored. If not, the ball is turned over to the other team. If the player chooses to pass the ball, the player named must attempt the answer. If the answer is correct, the team scores. If it is incorrect, a "rebound" situation results in which any player on either team can call "Rebound!" The leader identifies the first child who called, and that child gives an answer. If incorrect, the ball passes to the opposing team.

After each score, the ball goes to the other team. Each new sequence of play is begun with a "jump" or "toss-up" question. The leader always questions the children in rank order. a passed "ball" can be used to break that order; however the leader always returns to the rank order for the next question.

Other refinements can be added like penalties and free throw situations.


Bart was sad because his dog had died. To help soothe some of his emotions, dad helpfully added,"While I know your sad about losing Benji, I think that God wanted to enjoy having Benji in heaven with him". "What's God want with a dead dog?" asked Bart.

Have a ball game

A warm-up game.

Each child is given a small table tennis ball ( other small objects could be used) which they write their name on. The children are given a short time to go off and hide their ball and then return when a whistle is blown to gather again. Everybody then goes off in search of as many balls as possible. Each ball found is returned to its owner. The person whose ball is found last is the winner.

Variation: Instead of names written on the balls other things like Bible characters, colors, sports teams, Books of the Bible... could be written and the person finding the ball then has to guess who wrote on it to return it correctly.

Generation Z children

Generation Z are possibly the most informed, technologically advanced and socially aware kids of all time. This generation is the first generation born into the digital world. There is some debate amongst the experts as to when this age group began. Some researchers claiming as early as 1995, (so the oldest are now hitting 13), while others contend that 2001 is a better starting point. It seems safe to assume that today's babys to seven-year olds are definitely gen Z, and kids aged eight to 12 are on the fuzzy line between very young gen Y and the oldest gen Zs.

McCrindle, founder of McCrindle Research says that this generation that's "fairly demanding and maybe a bit precocious" with high expectations and plenty of material comforts and toys.

How can children's ministers best engage Gen. Z children? What are the implications of working with children who are "high tech" users, highly programmed lives, and generally having parents who are older than the two previous generations?

Who are Generation Z?

The ten commandments of Generation Z

Get ready, here comes Generation Z

Children and Music

I was reminded recently of a helpful guide to choosing songs or music to use with children. This test (originally developed by Scripture Union) has been also a very useful tool in training music teams working with children in mission situations. The test is called the TRIM test.

T = Teaching Is the teaching true and suitable for the age group? Is there anything in the lyrics which the children will have to 'unlearn' later? Do the lyrics honor God and lead kids to respect him?

R= Relevance Are the lyrics relevant to the real experiences of children? There is no point teaching them songs which only adults will understand , or songs which do not deal with the things that crop up in their lives.

I= Interest Is the song enjoyable? Will they love to sing it and remember it?

M= Meaning Does the song make sense in language which is child oriented? Does the song help children understand a little more about God and about life?

The TRIM test is simple. If the tune and rhythm are winners, but the song fails the other test, DON'T USE IT!


The Good Samaritan

Are you looking for resources to teach the "Good Samaritan Story" ( Luke 10:25-37)?

Here are some which you might find useful.




Who holds the future?

There's the story told about a family who was woken by their smoke detector in the middle of the night to discover that their house was on fire. The father ran into the upstairs bedroom of his children and carried his eighteen-month old baby in his arms while dragging his four-year old by the hand.

They were halfway down the stairs when the little boy remembered that he had let his teddy bear in the bedroom so he broke free from his father's hand and ran back to his bedroom to retrieve it. In the furore and confusion, the father didn't notice straight away that this son wasn't with him until he got outside. By now the little boy was trapped by the smoke in his second story bedroom. Smoke swirled around him and he coughed and cried out from the upstairs window, "Daddy, Daddy! Help me!"

His father yelled from below, "Jump out of the window Michael! I'll catch you!"

In the darkness and smoke, the little boy yelled back, "But Daddy! I can't see you!"

Daddy shouted back, That's okay, son. I can see you! Jump!"

Who holds your future? Do you fret about things you can't see? Or things you can see? God tells us to trust him and "jump!"

Free reproducible art for children's ministry

Dick Gruber's Evangel Art: Reproducible Art for Children's Ministries is offered for FREE and includes:

Pray at all times

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 together and then share this poem.

God of colour,

God of light,

God of darkness,

God of night,

God of laughter,

joy and tears,

To you I dance.

I share my fears.

Majestic God;

Father dear, to you I come,

keep me near.

(author unknown)

Jigsaw Hunt Game

To play this game you need two jigsaws about the same size but different in style and not too many pieces. Before the game starts, put together part of the jigsaws and then hide the other pieces in the meeting room/classroom/hall , but don't make them too ha dr to find.

The children are divided into two teams which must search for their missing pieces, which they then put in the correct position in their teams' jigsaw. Any pieces of their opponents' puzzle which are found should be left alone. The first team to complete their jigsaw is the winner. Players are not allowed to hold onto opponents' pieces and stop them from finishing.

Variation: Play the game using two bible memory verses which have been written out on two different colored sheets of thick cardboard.Then cut into jigsaw pieces. Hide some pieces as above. You may make it harder by leaving some letters or words incomplete which need to be filled in by looking the verse up in a bible when the team assembles the pieces.

Circle Prayer

Begin with the children sitting in a circle.

Ask the first child to begin by saying something he/she does at the beginning of the day. All the children respond with the words "Lord you are with me'. The second child repeats what the first has said and adds their own and all the children repeat the response. Keep going like this and building up a daily routine of things that the children do each day with the response repeated after each child. No one is "out" if a child forgets what comes next, others can help them. Finish with the following : "You are here Lord, everyday. Amen."

Children's Ministry Resources

The Centre for Theology and Ministry- The Uniting Church in Australia. Children and Family Ministry.

The following website has a number of great materials for children's workers.

Children's and Family Ministry resources including, material for Advent, Pentecost and Easter also latest resources and helpful web links.

Faith at Home resources
The 'Faith at Home' resources offers activities that explore the practices of the faith. These activities emerge from the lectionary readings for each week and are simple ways for families and households to discover the rhythms and rituals that have shaped Christian faith for centuries. You can also join the email list to receive them each month.

Dramatised Audio Bible for Children

I have just come across a free dramatized audio (MP3) Bible which can be downloaded on the internet. It also includes music, songs and sound effects to enhance the reading for children. It's available in different languages at http://faithcomesbyhearing.com. The Bible is called "Kidz Bible" and the version is "The New International Readers Version for Children".

Two Little Boys

Two Little Boys ~

After a hardy rainstorm filled all the potholes in the streets and alleys, a young mother watched her two little boys playing in the puddle through her kitchen window.

The older of the two, a five year old lad, grabbed his sibling by the back of his head and shoved his face into the water hole.

As the boy recovered and stood laughing and dripping, the mother runs to the yard in a panic.

Why on earth did you do that to your little brother?!' she asks as she shook the older boy in anger

'We were just playing 'church' mommy, ' he said.

'And I was just baptizing him..... In the name of the Father, the Son and in...the hole-he-goes.'

David and Goliath Play

I have recently posted a short script for children on 'David and Goliath" at my other website- http://eliab.com .
Please check it out if you think you could use it sometime.

7 Discipline Hints

What are some key elements in dealing with discipline problems?

Lay a good foundation of discipline through your positive relationships with the children. Get to know what makes them tick and what to expect from children of differing ages and stages of growth.

Discipline Hints-

1. Make expectations clear. Before a children's program, camp or retreat, outline what will be the expected behaviour and boundaries.

2. Be positive. When you go over the rules focus on what the kids can do rather than what they can't. Your 'do's' should largely outnumber your 'don'ts'. Be postive also in your tone of voice.Try not to sound "too heavy" when outlining rules.

3. Keep rules to a minimum. Decide what is really important and focus on those issues. If you expect the children to 'respect one another ' then that kind of encouragement covers a lot of different situations like using 'hurtful words' or physical intimidation.

4. Plan your program carefully. Keep a good balance between active and passive activities. Think about the different children that will take part in the program. Are there any children with special needs that should be catered for? Where are the times when the children's concentration and participation could lag? Where could distractions come from and what should be done to counter these?

5. Build mutual respect. Let your children know that you respect them. If possible select other leaders who also are good role models and who are not "power-hungry" or who have unrealistic expectations of children's behaviour. Look for leaders who readily show God's love and are willing to give, as well as learn from the children.

6. Aim high. Expect the best. Let the chidren know that you expect the program or activities to run smoothly and that everyone contributes to this community. Show the children that you have confidence in their ability to behave.

7. Process failure. When something goes wrong, talk to the group about it. Was the activity too hard or instructions unclear? Tell the children how you feel about the situation and listen to their views also. Use failure as a situation where God's grace and forgiveness can be exercised.

Nativity Play

At a nativity play, all was going well until the angel appeared and told the little girl playing Mary that she was going to have a baby.

"But how can this be," said Mary, "since I am a Viking?"