The ABCs of guiding a child’s behavior

Posted by Phil

To assist you in guiding the behavior of the children in your ministry, try the following.

Always model Christ’s love for children and adults. Children learn Jesus loves them as they sense the adults in their lives love them. Children need to know they are loved and accepted for who they are, not for what they do or how they behave.

Be an example. If you want children to do as you say, then do what you say. If you want children to actively participate, then participate with them. Children will follow your actions more than your words.

Consistency is key. Work with the other children’s ministry leaders in your church in regards to what is expected of the children. What is expected in one ministry should be the same for others. Children are easily confused when there are different standards with different ministries.

Don’t expect too much. Children are not little adults; they are children and they need time to be children.

Explain activities before giving out resources. It is difficult for children to listen to the rules of a game while holding the equipment. Explain the rules before handing out the equipment.

Find time to know what is going on in a child’s world.

Give choices when possible, but make sure the choices are ones you are willing to accept.

Hold children accountable for their actions. Children need to learn there are results to their actions, and they may need help accepting the consequences of their behavior. This means both positive and negative consequences.

Involve men in your ministry. Children’s behavior tends to be different when there is a positive male role model in the room. Enlist men to serve in your Worship KidStyle ministry. Children need positive male role models in their lives.

Judge what is misbehaving and what are simply childhood characteristics. It is important to separate the child’s behavior from the child, and understand what are normal childhood developmental characteristics, attitudes, and abilities.

Know the children’s likes, dislikes, hobbies,interests, and so forth. Select activities that fulfill their likes.

Love each child. Children need to know there are adults who love them and want the best for them. No child should be made to feel unloved when she is at church.

Meet the needs of the children. Make sure the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the children are met. If any one of these needs is not being met, it will affect the child’s behavior.

Notice children’s “good” behavior. Catch children doing things the way you would like for them to do things. Reinforce their positive behavior.

Observe what the child’s home life is like. Children act out what they see and experience at home. Visit children in their homes, and discover what their home lives are like.

Pray, pray, and pray. This should be your first step in dealing with any behavioral issues. Pray before, during, and after the session for each child and leader by name. Pray for yourself that God will give you the peace and patience to deal with any situation which may arise.

Quickly deal with any unsafe situation.

Respect the rights of the children. Children do have rights. No child deserves to have his self-esteem destroyed because of his behavior. When it is necessary to redirect a child, make sure it is done in a manner that will not destroy the child’s self-esteem.

State what is expected. Children will live up to your expectations. Let the children know what is expected of them.

Take the initiative to participate with the children. Children need to see you learning with them, playing games with them, and enjoying the session.

Use additional adults when dealing with behavioral situations that may arise.

AVoid calling down every negative action a child does. It is OK to overlook some stuff.

Work with other adults. Make sure the teacher/child ratio is maintained.

X marks the spot. Be in your spot, prepared and ready when the first child arrives.

Yelling accomplishes nothing. Lower your voice, and the child will lower his.

Be Zealous for children. Stand up for them, and be their voice. When they know you are on their side, they are more likely to do what you ask them to do.

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Center of My Belief

Posted by Phil

Colossians 2:8-23

fullness over emptiness; substance over shadows; relationship over rules

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers

• Read a Bible story book together. Talk about the pictures. Point out words and letters. Why are you happy God gave us the Bible?

For School-Age

• What’s your favorite book? Why?

• Why is it important to know how to read?

• What is your favorite Bible story? Why is it important that we read the Bible?

For Students

• Why do you believe what you believe about Jesus?

• How would you respond to someone who thinks believing in Jesus Christ is wishful thinking? Where would you get your facts?

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a reply

The priceless purpose of fatherhood

Posted by Phil

Following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Resolution for Men, by Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick, and Randy Alcorn. This book, and The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, expand on the message of the Sherwood Pictures film Courageous, challenging Christian families to embrace the power and purpose of fatherhood.

God created fatherhood with an eternal purpose: to reveal and represent Himself. He did not simply realize that earthly fathers were like Him and then decide to call Himself our Father. On the contrary, He eternally existed as God the Father in heaven and intentionally created the role of fatherhood on earth to reveal who He is and to show us the nature of His relationship with His Son.

Courageous - © 2011 Sherwood Pictures Ministry, Inc. All Rights Reserved.All fatherhood comes from Him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Every human father is called to be a daily, physical representation of God to his children, to introduce Him to the next generation. When a child looks at his earthly father, he should be able to see these qualities of God.

  • a loving Provider
  • a strong Protector
  • a truthful Leader
  • a respectable Authority
  • an intimate Friend

This affects how a child thinks. “If my earthly father loves and cares for me, then my heavenly Father loves and cares for me. If my father means what he says, then God means what He says. If my father would die for me, God would die for me.” On the other hand, if a child’s earthly father is harsh or distant, what will the child think when someone says, “God is your Father”?

Naturally, all of us earthly fathers are unavoidably flawed. We are a long way from being like God. And yet it is part of children’s human nature to judge what they cannot see in God in light of what they can see in us.

Right now, this generation doesn’t know what true fatherhood looks like. They rarely see it modeled in the media or at home. And sadly, the result is another generation deeply struggling to understand what God is really like.

The word father means “founder, source, chief, or leader.” The father of a nation, an invention, a company, or a movement is the one who helped bring it into existence. As our heavenly Father, God is the source from which all other things come into being. In Scripture, God as Father is the first Person of the Trinity. Any time you hear the Godhead described, it is always God the Father first, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit. Jesus the Son willingly follows the leadership of the Father. And if you study the life of Christ, you discover that He always speaks the words, performs the works, and carries out the will of His heavenly Father. As God’s Son, Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. The Bible says that Jesus is the “fullness” of the Godhead “in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). So if you want to know what God is like, then just look at Jesus. He represents His Father perfectly.

How well are you representing your heavenly Father? To your son? To your daughter? That is your priceless purpose.

Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV), it is revealing an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.

They learn their identity from you.

When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. But kids naturally go to their dads for answers to their biggest questions: Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life? And if dads don’t teach their kids the truth about these things, then the world will teach them lies.

They learn their values from you.

Kids watch their dads to find what’s important. It’s a dad’s job to keep his children from having to learn the lessons of life the hard way. A father’s wise words and actions constantly reinforce the higher priorities and deeper truths of life. So if he is not there – or if he’s there but not intentional in his training and leadership – his kids will be walking through their most important decisions without the one person who should be loving and leading them the most.

They learn their worth from you.

When a child has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you and always be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever. Sons who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to criminal behavior.

Similarly, when a daughter looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure – and are much less likely to have eating disorders and identity issues or to become sexually active in their teen years. But in too many families, this is not what’s happening.

We need to rediscover God’s original intention of what our homes are supposed to be like. Families should be havens of love and enjoyment. Homes should be places of peace and purpose. But great homes don’t just happen. They are gardens that need to be intentionally cultivated and guarded. A man must let truth, love, and wise discipline become constant ingredients to his fathering. He should carefully nurture his wife, his children, and his own attitude so that his home is a place where his marriage and the next generation can grow and thrive.

That’s why we need a game-changing Resolution.

And that’s what our times are calling for.

by Randy Alcorn , Alex Kendrick , Stephen Kendrick 

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starter: Center of Everything

Posted by Phil

Colossians 1:9-23

why beliefs matter, who Christ is, what Christ has done

Family Connection


Invite your child to join you in drawing pictures to match the words “Big, Bigger, Biggest.” Make sure that your “biggest” picture is God. As you and your child continue drawing, discuss why God is biggest of everything.

Adapted from “My God Is the Biggest” by Susan Easterday, HomeLife (September 2010): 38.


Have a contest to see who can get to the center of their tootsie pop first. Ask if your child would be mad if she got to the center and found a Brussels sprout and why. Point out that what’s in the center matters. Explain the Bible teaches Jesus is the center of everything. Consider why that matters.


Evaluate how your teen resembles others in your family. Consider how something visible, such as parent/child look-alikes, proves the existence of something invisible, like DNA. Explore how the visible Jesus proved the existence of the invisible God

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply

Trials and Truths for Today’s Teen Girls

Posted by Phil

Today’s girls deal with so much — gender confusion, sexual pressure, fractured families, mean girls, just to name a few. Join us as we talk with Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan, licensed counselors who work with teen girls on a regular basis. In this Web cast, you’ll not only hear from them about what girls are dealing with but also what you can do.

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a reply

5 Questions with Melissa Wilson

Posted by Phil

dotMOM event - worshipby Polly House

Women gather for worship at the first .Mom (pronounced Dot Mom) event from the LifeWay Women.

Melissa Wilson is an event coordinator with LifeWay Women and organizer of the .Mom (pronounced “Dot Mom”) event recently held in Birmingham, Ala. Wilson took time to answer some questions about how the event turned out.

Q. You had about 1,500 women at the event, many of them moms in their 20s and 30s. Did you design this conference specifically for them?

A. We wanted to have a conference for moms of all ages with children of all ages. It was incredible to see three generations from a family – all moms attending together. We offered speakers and conferences from young moms in their 20s all the way to some great grandmothers! Moms of all ages were represented.

Q. Why did you choose Angela Thomas, Angie Smith, Vicki Courtney and Priscilla Shirer for your platform speakers?

A. All of them have written Bible studies for LifeWay Women, so their names and work were familiar to the women who attended. All of the platform speakers are incredible Bible teachers, plus all of them are moms too.

Q. You had dozens of breakout conferences the women could choose to attend. Why so many?

A. We wanted to cover as many mom-related topics as possible. Our prayer had been for moms to walk away encouraged, energized and excited about being the mom God has called them to be.

Q. You surprised the conference attendees when you brought the Dugger family from Arkansas out on stage. Why did you bring them in?

A. They were in Birmingham working with Impact Alabama, helping to rebuild homes destroyed by the recent tornadoes. They happened to be staying at our hotel, and since LifeWay already has a relationship with them (program personalities at the LifeWay Kids conference), we asked them to stop by. We were thrilled when all of the family was able to show up and sing for us. Only Michelle, the mom, and the youngest baby were unable to be there since they were both sick.

Q. What will the next .Mom conference look like?

A. .Mom will be back in Birmingham at the Sheraton Sept. 21-22, 2012. We will have a different line up of main session speakers, but again we will have a wide assortment of breakout sessions for the moms to choose from.

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Generosity vs. Greed

Posted by Phil

Deuteronomy 15:7-11; 24:10-15,17-18

share generously, treat with dignity, protect with mercy

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers

• Teach your preschooler about giving by handing them a quarter or another sum of money to give in the offering plate. Explain that we give to God because He loves us and gives to us.

For School-Age

• Teach your elementary school child to give by helping her count out a tenth of her allowance and give it in an offering envelope. Tell her that God gives us 100% and only asks for 10% back in order to help others.

For Students

• With your teenager, establish a working budget based on allowance and any part-time job he has. Help him learn to contribute a tenth of all income. Be sure to lead by example, and be open to discussing your budget and your giving habits.

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a reply

Remind daughters, ‘Don’t marry a Bozo’

Posted by Phil

dotMom event - Jackie Kendallby Polly House

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jackie Kendall is a straight talker. She tells moms straight out, “Don’t let your daughter marry a Bozo!”

Kendall was one of the breakout conference leaders during the .Mom (pronounced Dot Mom) event, held Sept. 23-24 in Birmingham, Ala.

Speaking to a room full of women, Kendall didn’t hold back from telling them they have a great responsibility for keeping their girls safe from predatory guys.

“The greatest abuse is letting your [daughter] grow up thinking the world revolves around her,” she said. “The easiest way to make sure a girl is a Bozo-magnet is to teach her that everything is all about her.

“Is your girl growing in her love for Jesus?” Kendall asked. “Does she see that you are? Does she have a pattern of doing for others at home and at church?”

She cautioned that girls who aren’t helping other people are usually self-focused and will attract guys who are aware of this vulnerability.

“Do you know why older guys date younger girls?” she asked. “It’s because they are easier to seduce.”

She cautioned moms to step in if they see their freshman daughter dating a senior boy (in high school or college). “These guys see these younger girls as easy fruit. A girl will be all swooning and flattered that the older guy is interested in her, but you need to stop that relationship. He isn’t interested in her, just interested in using her.”

Kendall warned the women that in their roles as moms, Sunday school teachers, or any other where they are around girls regularly, they need to watch for signs of abuse in girls who are in relationships with guys.

“Remind them that sex will ruin a good relationship and sustain a bad one,” she said. “If you see a girl in a really bad, abusive (verbal, emotional or physical) relationship, there is sex involved. These precious girls get involved with these Bozo guys and get led around like dogs.”

She said girls need to be reminded that they need to require guys treat them with respect. “No sexual control before marriage means no sexual control after marriage. Fornication will lead to adultery.”

Kendall is author of several books, including Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right; The Young Lady in Waiting: Developing the Heart of a Princess; and A Man Worth Waiting For: How to Avoid a Bozo.

“These girls have to know that waiting for Mr. Right is important,” she said. “What is worse than waiting? Wishing you had!”

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starter: Unity vs. Division

Posted by Phil

Acts 10:9-15,22-23,28-29a,34-36

Peter’s vision teaching that God does not show favoritism, here between Jews and Gentiles

Family Connection

For Preschoolers

Find books that present different individuals from various cultures. Read aloud to him, pointing out how God created everyone, no matter where they were born. Help him understand that all people are God’s special creation.

For School-Age

Discuss the children in your elementary-age child’s class or grade. Ask her about her understanding of their heritage and culture. If needed, spend time with your child’s teacher learning about the variety of cultures represented in her class. Help your child by finding Web sites and books that teach about the cultures of individuals in her everyday world.

For Students

Discuss current events with your teenager. As issues of different cultures come forth, spend time researching and discussing the background and back stories of the people involved. Attempt to develop an understanding of those involved in order to grasp the event and their response from their perspectives.

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Compassion vs. Expendability

Posted by Phil

Psalm 139:1-6,13-18

Sanctity of Human Life Lesson; God values us, has a plan for us, is with us

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers

• Have you ever done something that made one of your friends say they didn’t want to be your friend anymore? How did that make you feel?

• Do you know that God loves you no matter what? How does THAT make you feel?

For School-Age

• [If you have a pet] What are all the things we have to do to take care of our pet? Why do we do them?

• What are some ways God takes care of animals in nature? Do you know that people are much more important to God than animals are?

For Students

• Psalm 139:16 says, “All my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” What does that tell you about your future? About how God cares for the unborn?

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a reply