Our little boy arrived safe and healthy on Thursday, July 21. We had a bit of scare with a heart murmur, but the Lord is already answering prayer in that department, and I would say for the most part, all is well! We’ve certainly been enjoying our time with our little guy and his big sister has adjusted beautifully! Hope all is going well for you out there! Keep enjoying summer!
Party City is having their annual $0.50 clearance event with thousands of potential Children’s Ministry props just begging to be picked up! Check out the selection online or head to your local Party City to stock up on some fun supplies for your ministry. They also have a $5 costume clearance sale — perfect if you regularly incorporate drama into your lesson time.
My brother, who is doing the Egypt VBS at their church this year, recently posted this video on his facebook page. I just had to share with my fellow Children’s Ministry friends. This isn’t a real camel, but a fabulous costume made for two people. Wouldn’t the kids love seeing this camel walking around your church? Check it out here!
Hope you’re all having a great time this summer with your ministry and with your families. Our family is expecting baby #2 any day now, so I’ll be taking a short break from Growing Kids Ministry blog to have the baby and then get adjusted to life all over again! The winner for the Bible will be announced on the 20th. Otherwise, I’ll catch up with you all in a few weeks!
I had the privilege of reviewing “My Awesome God Bible Storybook” by DiscipleLand recently, and here’s what I thought:
- The illustrations were lively and interesting. They were very modern and could easily keep a reader engaged.
- In many instances, these pictures really brought the story to life. For instance, Abraham and Sarah look seriously old (p32) when Isaac was born (which they were!). It’s nice to have a storybook illustration finally portray this.
- This Bible included some lesser known, but important stories from the Bible, such as Rahab, Achan, Saul’s wrongful offering to the Lord, and passages from Nehemiah and Ezra. Even the mention of Cain and Abel is missing in many Bible storybooks, but it was included here.
- I also liked the fact that My Awesome God Bible included some of the Psalms and almost the whole book of Acts. And THANK YOU for including Paul’s letters — it was a perfect approach for a storybook Bible, including the main points of the letters in an actual letter form. It’s so hard when we turn to one of these passages in a “real Bible” during lesson time and our preschoolers with storybook Bible don’t have anything to turn to because the book isn’t even represented. I’m really glad to see this isn’t the case in this version.
- For some of the more common stories, page after page wasn’t devoted to the details. For example, I’ve never understood why every day in creation and every single plague needed their own page while some very important books of the Bible or stories got completely skipped. This storybook Bible condenses these typically drawn out stories to only a few pages, without skimping on important facts.
- Some commonly misrepresented stories were correct in this Bible. For example, Adam and Eve ate some unidentifiable fruit instead of an apple (finally!) and the wise men gave gifts to a walking toddler, not a baby in the manger.
What’s Not So Good:
- Sometimes inferences are made that are not directly from Scripture, such as a person’s thoughts, motives, or feelings. For example, how do the authors know that Mary, mother of Jesus, was a very good housekeeper (p217).
- Transitions in this book were very shaky. It was often difficult to tell where one story ended and other began. The reader has to do a double take to realize they’ve moved onto another story or another time-frame. Many people in the Bible were mentioned without any introduction or background information. For a kid reading, this could be confusing. (This happens quite a few times in this book).
- Almost everyone in this book was super attractive, well-built, muscular, and well-groomed. Even Job didn’t look so bad in the midst of his struggles. Neither did the the lame man who apparently was able to work out quite a bit in his condition. Not only is this unrealistic, but don’t our kids get enough of the “perfect body” imagery from the media already?
Um… I’m not Sure About…
- A few of the illustrations were clearly not biblical, like the umbrella on Noah’s ship,the man using a kiln in the middle of the desert (p67), or the king’s men eating pizza and hot dogs at a banquet (p187). Also, there were weird little animals like lizards, turtles and mice everywhere. These quirky additions were probably meant to bring some modern relevance to the story or a smile to the reading adult, but I’m just not so sure about it. I know we have to be really careful about what we present to children. Often, they have difficultly discerning the difference between real and imaginary, and I would hate for their first exposure to God’s Word to be full of false pictures.
Great, great, great additional to any Children’s Ministry leader’s library. Also, great thing for parents to pick up for their kids. All in all, it’s pretty accurate and gives a great overview of the Bible. I’ve been a big fan of the Read and Share Bible for some time, but I have found myself switching back and forth frequently between that and My Awesome God Bible during “The Big Story” story time program we’ve been running on Wednesday nights. If you haven’t picked up a storybook Bible for your preschooler yet, this would be a great book to invest in.
Time to Win!
Thanks to DiscipleLand.com, I’ve got three copies to give away to readers! Here’s how to enter (you get one entry for each comment):
- Leave a comment, telling me what your favorite Bible story is.
- Follow me (@lrwhitney) on twitter and then leave a comment letting me know you did so.
- Like Growing Kids Ministry on Facebook and then leave a comment letting me know.
- Like DiscipleLand on Facebook and then leave a comment letting me know.
- Send me a Starbucks card (this will count as 10 entries) . :)
- Contest ends July 20th.
Interested in buying one for yourself or ministry? Head on over to DiscipleLand and pick one up for $19.95.
WINNERS: Michelle, Rachel and Pam! I’ll be contacting you soon!
This year, we decided to take a break from Vacation Bible School, and here’s our letter to the church explaining why:
We’re Taking a Break from Vacation Bible School
We love seeing all those kid faces flood into the church on VBS week. The singing, the crafts, the games, and the costumes – what could be better, right? We asked ourselves that same question — could we make a program that’s even better than VBS? Something that might keep kids with us longer or something that might draw families as a whole in more? As a Christian Education committee, we decided to give it a try. These were our priorities:
- Design a program the whole family could participate in. Even though VBS was designed to be a family-friendly affair, it still seemed pretty kid-oriented. We wanted something parents would feel comfortable attending as well.
- Create a program that engages the community more. So often when we create events, we hold them inside the four walls of our church. We wanted something that stretches us out a bit more. Maybe some kind of outdoor event? Maybe something in the local neighborhoods? We wanted to be out where people simply passing by would see that the church cares for the people around it.
- Build a program that is longer-lasting. Because VBS is so often seen as “an event”, kids often swoop in for the week, and then swoop out at the end, never to be seen again. Certainly, there’s value in the things they learned while they were with us. Some of you may have even been saved during a Vacation Bible School program. Praise God! We want to see kids saved, and we also want to see them grow in Christ. We wanted to build a program that encourage growing relationships – with church members, other kids, and of course with God.
So, with all that to consider, here’s what the Lord brought to our minds:
- Monday Morning Story Time at Whitford Park, 10:30AM (Story, craft, snack) (All summer)
- Five Fabulous Friday Family Movie Nights, Dusk -11PM (July)
- Wednesday Night “The Big Story” at ELRAC, 6:30PM (Story, hands-on activities, snack)
Good News for Volunteers
We know VBS was intense and exhausting. Now, you have an opportunity to serve once a week for a few weeks, once or twice the whole summer, or become a big part of one program. There’s a lot more flexibility for you! Check out this Sunday’s bulletin for job descriptions (also on the Kids Ministry bulletin board) or give me a call to learn more! Please pray about being a part of this exciting new step we’re taking to be a light to the world. We’d love to have you on the team.
So, How’s it Going?
I’m so glad you asked! We’ve done one movie night and a month of story time. I’ve seen a number of story-time families out and about in the community, and it’s been fun being able to say hi and connect with them as a normal person! I’m really excited about the connections we’re building and the relationships that are forming. Though I must say, volunteer power is SERIOUSLY low on this front. Final report still in the works!
How About You?
What is your church doing this summer? Traditional VBS? Sports Camp? Backyard parties? I’d love to hear how it’s going! Leave a comment and let me know!