For the last six weeks, we’ve been hosting a Parent Cafe class at the same time as our Wednesday night Kids Club program. We brew some coffee, pile everyone in a room, and encourage parents to swap stories, share concerns, and discuss a book they are all reading together.
We just finished up the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner (link in the resources below), and instead of wrapping things up, all the parents in the class want to continue! When the leader asked if I had any suggestions for another book, I knew just what to grab — my copy of Michelle Anthony’s Spiritual Parenting. I’ve been a huge fan of Michelle ever since my first trip to the Gathering in 2012, but even if I had never met Michelle, I still would have loved this book.
If you’re familiar with the Spiritual Parenting concept (or the philosopy behind the Tru curriculum by David C. Cook), you’ll know that there are 10 Environments which the book focuses on. These include:
1) Environment of Storytelling
Sharing The Big God Story with kids gives them an inspiring view of how God has been moving throughout history, even from the beginning of time, to save his people and bring glory to His name.
2) Environment of Identity
Giving children a true view of their identity in light of what God has done for them allows them to stand firm against the world. We are part of God’s family and He loves us dearly — dwell on that for a moment!
3) Environment of Faith Community
You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village” and thankfully, God has already provided our village through the local church. Learn how to partner with the faith community to bring a richness to your child’s faith.
4) Environment of Out of the Comfort Zone
As children are challenged to step out of their comfort zone at an early age, they learn to depend on God and strengthen their spiritual muscles.
5) Environment of Responsibility
In this environment, children are able to see what a privilege it is to be a part of God’s great work as they learn they are responsible not only for their own lives, but also for caring for others around them.
6) Environment of Course Correction
What do we do when kids deliberately choose to go against our house rules and the ways of the Bible? Course correction includes a season of pain, an opportunity to build up in love, and a vision of the corrected path.
…along with four other environments that are used to help raise children who love God and are conditioned to care for others.
This book has been encouraging to me as a parent and I’m excited to get it into the hands of other parents at my church. I love the concept of environments and the idea that we are creating a space for spiritual growth to happen, but we, as parents, are not ultimately responsible for that growth — God is, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Again and again, Michelle reminds readers to allow the Holy Spirit to work and to not be afraid of the things God may ask your child to do in response to His promptings.
Here’s a quick promo of the book:
So, if you’re thinking about a terrific resource to bring to the parents in your church — one that doesn’t reduce parenting to a series of checklists, but really acknowledges the ebb and flow of getting in step with the work of God — check out Spiritual Parenting. I think you’ll really like it.
I sure do love Fall! The football games, the cooler weather… the perfect excuse to eat donuts with cider (every day!) Here in Erie, PA, it seems we only get about 3 weeks of fall before the snow starts to fall, so you’ve really got to seize the day!
We decided to kick off the fall season with some nice leaf crowns. We all headed outside to look for beautiful leaves, but when we got out there — we only had green ones! Oops! Guess the weather hasn’t been quite cold enough around here yet!
What You Need:
What You Do:
To begin, cut the construction paper into strips to make two halves of a child’s headband. You can either staple one side together now or have the kids decorate the strips separately and then staple at the end.
Gather up some leaves from outside and lay them in a pile for the kids to rumage around in. Hand out the glue sticks and demonstrate gluing a few leaves in place. Sit back and be amazed at how cool your kids are.
I love seeing how things will turn out. Chipmunk ripped up all her little leaves before gluing them on. L.B. was way more interested in gluing the table, and N.D. was concentrating intensely. The crowns turned out great!
After both sides of the crown are completed, wrap it around the child’s head to measure. Holding the size in place with your finger, remove it from the child’s head and then staple the ends together to make a crown.
We’ve been doing some preschool homeschool for about a year now with my 3 year old and now my 2 year old has been joining in the fun. This week, we memorized Genesis 1:1 which fit in perfect with the leaf crowns.
What Does the Bible Say About Leaves?
Leaves are mentioned a few times in the Bible. If you have older kids, it might be fun to look in a Bible dictionary or concordance for references to leaves. If you have younger kids, take a look at a few of the following passages:
Genesis 3:7: Adam and Eve sewed clothes with leaves
Are you looking for some quick and easy Christmas themed activities for your Children’s Ministry? Want to have something easy to set up and implement for those kids who might not be practicing for the Christmas play? Take a look at some of these games, crafts, and activities, perfect for your Children’s Ministry (you could also include a few of these ideas in your weekly newsletter for parents to do at home).
My Personal Favorite: Minute to Win It Games!
We played a few of these games at a recent family gathering and even though it took a few minutes for everyone to warm up, people ended up having a lot of fun! If you’d read my other Minute to Win it posts, you know that kids generally love these games and the minute time limit keeps things lively and fun. The games we played were Cup Stacking, Do You Hear What I Here, and Hung With Care. We also played a version of Merry Fishmas during church last week and the kids loved it!
Got some extra ripped up green paper left over from the above wreath? Make a Christmas tree while you’re at it! This is also a terrific AFTER Christmas project — make the whole tree out that fabulous wrapping paper that you wanted to save, but didn’t exactly know WHAT to do with it.
You may have spotted these around Pinterest recently. We did this project as part of the Truth in Tinsel Church Curriculum and the kids loved it. Parents thought it was adorable too! Grab some ink pads and away you go!
What About You?
What do you during the December month at church? What about at home? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it!
My friend Kelly and I were chatting the other day about the mountain of books that were sitting on our shelves. Books that the kids had grown tired of, books that were either too young or too old or books that the kids never really seemed to connect with. Normally, I just pack this type of thing up and send it to the thrift store, but Kelly suggested a book swap, I thought it was a great idea! The plan was to invite all our friends, have a few snacks, and swap our old books for some new-to-you books on a 1:1 ratio. The actual book swap would take place on a Saturday from 9-11AM, open house style. Friends were invited to drop off their books ahead of time so we could sort them and also so people could have a full selection from the start of the event.
Of course, we would need snacks, and I had just been sent two boxes of Alpha-Bits cereal to review, so I decided to make a fun letter-oriented snack. After all, this event WAS all about literature.
To keep things simple, I decided to use a Rice Krispie Treat recipe, substituting the Rice Krispies with Alpha-bits.
My kids are in love with Super Why (the guy on the front of the box) right now, so they were thrilled about this idea. To give it more of a fall-themed flair, I mixed in some Reese Pieces for some chocolate flair!
Getting ready to mix it up!
The kids had a blast picking out letters while mixing things up. Even though my kids can’t read yet, the shaped pieces help them become more familiar with the alphabet. Turns out, this snack was a fun family activity and a learning experience!
Taking a bite of our tasty snack!
(Find out more about Alpha-bits at http://bit.ly/19NAYrl)
This type of book swap event would also be GREAT for Children’s Ministry teams. How many curriculums are sitting on your shelf because you’ve already done them, and don’t want to repeat them just yet? Have you ever picked up some fabulous lesson or activity book at a conference just to discover it’s not actually a good fit for your ministry? Why not host a curriculum and resource swap at your church for all the ministries in your area? You could find some great new material and it wouldn’t cost you a dime!
The kids loved playing with the Alpha-bit snacks so much that we decided to make a Thankful list with our letter shaped snacks as well. Check out the finished project!
In case you’re wondering, Pixie is our cat. Glad to see she made the list!
I bet even adults would get into this if we laid out some Alpha-bits on the thanksgiving table. Might be worth a try!
What kind of fun fall and Thanksgiving activities are you doing this year? I’d love to hear about them!