Dream Time

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Everybody needs time to dream.  No, I don’t mean day dreaming…. although maybe that’s a start.  I mean dream about what you envision for the future.

If we don’t dream we just maintain.  Maintaining is not fun!  There’s no growth.  It’s like going round a hamster wheel.  You just accomplish the same thing over and over.  When you dream of what can be you allow yourself to dream big.  You see a future where there’s improvements, more people, more detail.

When my children were young (and to be honest, even now sometimes) I felt that all I could afford to do was maintain.  My mind was drained and I was exhausted.  The last thing I did was dream.  As they’ve got older and become more independant, I’ve allowed to give myself some time.  I’ve re-entered the workplace, focused my attention on other things other than my kids and started to dream.

As the Children’s Ministry Director I see one of my roles as being a vision caster for our ministry.  To cast vision I need to dream.  When I take time out to do that at the beginning it can be hard, tiresome even.  But once one idea starts it just starts rolling.  More ideas come up.  That’s when the fun begins…

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StoryKids Recap – 7/14/2013

kid-superhero

This Sunday is my first Sunday away from Story Church this summer. We’re in London visiting family for the month. Our StoryKids team are amazing. They were happy to step up and try some new things like leading our weekly devotion. So proud of them.

This week in our Elementary class we are on the final week of our series, Super UII.  We are continuing to teach about how Jesus is our Super Hero and how He has given us the important job of reaching out to others in our lives. This might not be easy because we may be stretched to do something that may be uncomfortable but as we do it we realize it’s what God has called us to do and He empowers us.

The children got to make their own cool Super Heroes and write bios for each of their characters.  Give your child an opportunity to share with you about their Super Hero.  Ask them about the bio and why they chose the powers they have.

In our PreK/K class the children were on the final lesson of learning the importance of talking to God.  This is such an important lesson and the earlier we learn it the more dependent on prayer we become.  In any relationship talking is the key.  More so in our relationship with God.  This week we talked to the children about finding that quiet place and taking time out every day to have one-on-one time – them and God.

Every time I look at these lessons I see how it applies to me.  We teach our kids but these are definitely life lessons for us.

StoryKids Weekly Recap

Last Sunday our PreK/Kindergarten Class were told about Jonah and that big, hungry whale.  Our purpose was to explain that we can talk to God anywhere because He is everywhere!  What a great lesson!  We all need to know that we can’t escape from God (something that adults probably more than kids often need reminded of).  He is there. He’s patient and He’ll wait for us to call upon Him.  Remind your child (and yourself) that God answers simply because He loves you.  I love how are children’s lessons are told so simply.  Yet, we think that it’s simplicity is for our children’s sake.  I often look at these lessons and think that I need reminded of it.  If your child was in this class on Sunday ask them to use the super puppets they made to act out the story.  If you’d like to read it again with your kids, check out Jonah 1-2.

In our StoryKids Elementary Class, our children are learning about “God’s Super View”.  When we go through hard times self pity tries to find easy access to our hearts and minds.  We often think that we’re the only one who knows how bad it feels.  Nobody else would understand and often we convince ourselves nobody else cares.  Yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted and tried in the worst possible ways.  He went through hard times!  If it was us we’d probably be begging for God to take away the hard times.   Jesus’ prayer was for God to have His way.  He understood the greater purpose and saw the bigger plan.

We explained to the children that when you go through hard times we need to ask for God’s peace.  We need to ask that God will protect our heart and mind from being overwhelmed and we should ask for God’s strength to help get us through.

One of main aims as a mentor and leader to children is that we show them how practical the Bible is and how the principles that were written down 2000 years ago apply today.  We talk to them about situations they may have found themselves in, maybe at school or at home, and how they could handle it after hearing the lesson.  The kids would have taken home a MapBook.  Remind them to go through this.  Their mission this week was to write down the things that they want God to help them with.  One of my favorite verses was their memory verse: 1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.”  

Special thanks are owed to all our leaders who served this week, Lauren, Starla, Roxanne, Grace, Danielle, Shawn, Annie and Rebecca.  You’re all amazing!

StoryKids

537442_536944159131_145267260_nI’ve promised myself that I’ll make more of a concerted effort to blog.  My husband, Alastair Vance, has been at me for a good while.  And it now seems he’s got others to join the choir, so to speak.  So, now, his persuasion (or pestering) has worked.

I’ve had a lot of good intentions to provide our parents at StoryChurch an update of what our kids learn in StoryKids.  Sure, we provide handouts after each lesson but I wanted to provide more.  For some reason it has only recently occurred to me that this could be through a blog!!!

My vision for StoryKids has always been that it should be about the family, not just the kids.  Realize it or not, parents still have a big influence on their children.  We need to engage the parents as well.  Every Sunday we tell kids that the Bible is practical, it’s for today.  If we engage our parents as well as the children then we encourage families to continue the lesson throughout the week in a practical way and not just on a Sunday.  When situations arise, parents can say “Hey, remember what you learnt in StoryKids this week?  What’s the wise choice to make?”

So, all us parents know what a struggle it can be to get our kids to talk about their days, or what they have learnt through their day (more so if you have boys).  Blood and stone come to mind here.  I’m gonna give it a go and create some write ups each week.   Be sure to watch this space for a weekly update on what we learn in StoryKids.  And yes, you too can pester me if I fail to get my blogging up and running.

Dunking The Kids!

A few months ago I was challenged to approach the subject of baptism with my kids.  My children have accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts, they know He is their Lord and Saviour.

Whenever it comes to the crunch, whenever they need a miracle, whenever they need someone bigger than Alastair and I to step in and move mountains, they know exactly where to go.  They call on God!  In fact, they often turn to us asking us to pray to God.  As parents, there’s no greater pleasure than interceding on behalf of our kids.

So, when is the right time for our kids to be baptized?  Neither Alastair and I agreed with child baptism or that special sprinkling that sometimes happens not long after your bundle of joy is born.  I was “sprinkled” when I was 7 during a trip to my family’s home in India. My grandparents felt it was necessary to baptize my sisters and me into the family church.

It was a big occasion for the family but my sister was stood there threatening to punch the bishop for splashing her.  It just didn’t have any significance for us except the fact that this dude just splashed water in our faces.  I couldn’t even understand what they were saying since they were speaking in our parents’ mother tongue.  Oh well, the grandparents were happy!  When I was seventeen I decided for myself that I wanted to get baptized.  It was actually a few years after asking Jesus into my heart.

Nathan and Noah are now 12 and 11 respectively.  After being challenged, I realized it was time to find out exactly what they knew about baptism.  I did a little google research to find out how other Kids Ministries dealt with baptism.  One thing stood out to me.  Leaders were challenged by kids who confused baptism with salvation!

I like to use my kids as guinea pigs on a regular basis so this was a great opportunity.   I’d ask my boys to explain what baptism meant.  They’ve seen plenty of baptisms and I thought I had explained it all well enough but sure enough, when I asked “why do we get baptized?” they talked about salvation.  They thought that when you get baptised you receive your salvation!  Okay, now I had to do some unravelling.

So this was the main misconception.  Basically, children (and adults) need to understand that salvation comes when you ask God into your heart.  You ask God for forgiveness and accept Jesus into your heart. If we have done this, we don’t need to doubt our salvation.

Baptism, on the other hand, is an act of obedience.  Peter’s instructions were to repent and be baptized (Acts 2 vs 38).

Baptism is the symbol of the old life being washed away and the start of a new life with God.  It’s a symbol of the decision we’ve already made.  Baptism doesn’t save you or get you into Heaven.  Only the sacrifice and  grace of God can do that (Ephesians 2 vs:8-9).

We also have to remember that baptism does not make us christians.  People may choose to be baptized or have their children baptized but this does not give them that relationship with Jesus.  Again, only the sacrifice and grace of God has that power.  We have to invite Jesus into our hearts.

Baptism is an opportunity for us to show others what Jesus has done for us. It’s showing people on the outside what has happened to us on the inside.

Hopefully my kids and I have talked through any misconceptions.  I often wonder what their next step will be in their relationship with God.  I continue to watch them serving in church (I’m definitely a proud mummy).  I hope to see them off on many a mission trip, maybe go on a few with them, and when they are ready I hope to watch them get baptized.

I don’t intend to push them to do it, although I’ll take the opportunities to talk to them about it.  When they are ready and when they choose to, I’m sure they will be baptized.

I’m thankful that we have so many great leaders and mentors in my church.  People that I can trust to take my children under their wing and help lead my kids.  It definitely takes a village to raise a child and Story Church is my village.

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