A whole heap of things…

…is an accurate description of what I’m supposed to be doing…

…and what’s in this blog post.

Apologies for not posting earlier this week: we’re moving house (to a different continent!) and are spending the summer holidays packing, organising, getting rid of things,  visiting friends and family, having visitors, throwing parties, throwing away junk and researching our new city/country/culture.

What this means is…

I will be posting erratically (more so than usual!) this summer. But once we’ve arrived and settled (October-ish) I’m not able to work so will have more time to write material for this blog. I’m also looking forward to seeing church and children’s work in a different – albeit still western – culture and will have lots to learn from how things are done differently. You’ll get my thoughts on that when I have some.

In the future…

  • Writing up thoughts on children and youth engagement in church with a particular eye on those tricky beasts known as all age or family services.
  • Partially written a series on the 10 commandments for children which I’ll finish and post.
  • Checking this site to make sure that all my currently posted content is up to date and easily accessible – Spelling and grammar check on!
  • Games young people love to play – for all group sizes and situations!
  • Linking to other fantastic websites and blogs with great resources for teaching kids and young people in a Christian context. Any you use regularly or think are brilliant (especially your own) let me know!

Something for today…

The BBC posted this info on Makaton today. I often turn to Makaton or BSL when looking for actions for song words or to help teach memory verses. There are some great reasons why parents will find it a useful tool and I see no reason why Sunday School teachers wouldn’t find it helpful too!

Updates:

Dealing with Exam Stress

and more on Parables

So exam stress first: GCSEs started this week which means plenty of stressed out teenagers. Here‘s a study that aims to put exams in their proper place with a bit of Biblical perspective.

I’ve also updated the parables I posted last week. They now have a full complement of games, talk, prayer and songs to go with the dramas I put up already.

Subscribe if you like them as there will be more parables in the coming weeks; and more studies for youth looking at living as a disciple of Jesus in a fallen world.

Who will be King?

A Gospel Outline

and a session outline too!

I wrote this one-off session plan based on the Who will be King? booklets. Their stuff is amazing as it’s so simple and the kids can connect the pictures to what is being taught really well. Gospel outlines are great as a way of teaching non-believing kids the whole gospel and getting them to look at where they stand as well as equipping young believers with an easy way to share what they believe with their friends.

I’m working on writing four first person accounts of Christmassy events that link to the four advent Sundays (yes, I had to look them up) so look out for them next week!

Narnia

The Chronicles continue

but we haven’t finished yet

Yes, unfortunately the series is unfinished and will remain so for a while longer. We only had five weeks left before the holidays when I was writing these so that’s not enough for the whole series even if we hadn’t copped out and just had a Narnia themed party for our final week. Costumes were mainly of Pevensie children because that’s easy but we had a few talking animals and a very enterprising lamppost!
Check out the Magician’s Nephew and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

I do have plans to create talks for the rest of the series at some point, even if it’s only for the benefit of the blog.
#includesspoilers #althoughyoushouldhavereadthesebynow

Philippians 3

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Apologies for a super late post.

I have been holiday-ing and holiday clubbing and holiday club prepping (not in that order) and I’m afraid that you may well have been waiting longer for this blog post than the 1st cenury church were waiting for Paul’s letter. And if I think I’m busy I imagine it’s nothing compared to the apostle’s work load! It hasn’t taken prison to slow me down enough to write this up at last but a bee sting to the face and the fact that the right hand side of my lip is trying to occupy the space where the left hand side of my mouth normally is #troutpout.

I, like many of you, am back to school this week bringing the joys of teenagers, paperwork and (unless the swelling goes down soon) jokes about insect instigated cosmetic surgery. Check this out if you’re looking for something on new beginnings.

Philippians 2

Following Jesus

and shining like stars

Alpha Centauri is the closest star to our solar system and it’s 4.37 light years away. Now I’m famously bad with numbers and anything in light years is unimaginable but I know that’s a very very long way away. And that means all the other stars are even further away yet we can still see them; through the atmosphere, through light pollution, even ones that are much smaller than our own sun!

That’s super encouraging to me as I reflect on Philippians 2. Following Jesus does make a difference, like a star it shines out beautifully, over long distances and through difficult circumstances. And that is true of everyone who is being made more like Jesus whether, like me, they’re pottering along ordinarily or they’re standing alone against great persecution  or they’re a child whose just decided they want to be Jesus friend.
Let’s pray then for the christian kids you know, for their leaders and role models, that they would shine brightly as they strive to be like Jesus and draw others to his glorious light!

New Series!

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

(or Phillippians Phillipians Fillipians

Philipeans)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who always questions if I’ve spelt it right?

I was really excited to get to do this series; so much of what we do with kids is narrative based – and don’t get me wrong that’s great! – but as grown ups we spend much more of our time in the letters and that’s a big change to make if you’ve never looked at a letter before. Also there’s so much in them that’s worth looking at hence the new series looking at Philippians!
However, we’re kicking it off with a bit of Acts, so yes some narrative, but purely for context I assure you…
So here you are meet Paul the letter writer and through him meet Jesus the Saviour!

Paul

There’s no place like home

The Promised Land at last

and a promised rest as well.

The second day of our kids material for our church weekend away is here at last! If you missed last weeks you can find it here.
Unfortunately, I forgot to put the video we used up with the rest of the stuff last time – I’ve added it now and there’s another in this week’s so it seems a great opportunity to recommend yet another fantastic resource to you.

Check out the God’s Story videos from Crossroads Kids Club. They’re beautifully produced with a nice clear simple explanation that’s neither just facts or just application but the right amount of both. The animation styles differ but they all look great (they’ve also produced a few in Chinese and Spanish) and they cover a broad range of stories not only narrative. We used ‘Joshua Becomes Leader’ and ‘God’s Reminders’ for our weekend away but there are so many I’m sure we’ll come back to them later. They’ve also got a whole load of songs, verses and something called ‘the kitchen’ which I haven’t had a chance to check out yet but I’m looking forward to seeing more of what they’ve got!

My problem with Daniel…

He’s great

and so are his friends…

…and so we never get past chapter six!
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are fantastic examples of godly living, of standing up for what you believe in, of faithfulness, bravery, putting your relationship  with God first, speaking the truth and it doesn’t hurt that they are young and handsome either! I’m as guilty of it as anyone here (in fact I’ve ignored Rach, Shach and Benny) but I have dreams of writing children’s materials on  chapters 7 through 12 explaining the various beasts and introducing the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days! Maybe one day – not soon but one day…