Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camp Grace Curriculum

In Camp Grace, our purpose is to engage elementary-age children through meaningful relationships, creative drama, lively music, and Biblical teaching in order to communicate the message of the Gospel.

Our Camp Grace curriculum is a 2-year character study, going through the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. We have 85 total lessons with several special programming weekends included (such as a Christmas Program, Passover Seder, and several Review Days). The goal is for a child to enter Camp Grace in 1st grade, and assuming he or she stays in Camp Grace through 4th grade, to go through the whole curriculum (all 85 lessons) twice over the course of 4 years. The curriculum has been written by the hands of staff and volunteers over the past 8 years, with several rounds of revising and editing already having taken place.

The most current revision, which has taken place over the past 2 1/2 years, has been to create a 1st and 2nd grade version of the curriculum that is tailored to reach the younger age group in a more engaging way. The curriculum was written at a 4th grade level, and we saw the need to provide a version of each lesson written at a 1st and 2nd grade level. All four grade levels learn the same basic principle and study from the same passage for each lesson, but the 1st and 2nd grade copy of each lesson has simpler content with more hands-on activities, whereas the 3rd and 4th grade copy of each lesson has more in-depth content with more discussion oriented activities. We began teaching this version of the curriculum 2 years ago in August.

We now have 2 more lessons before we finish this round of our curriculum in the 2-year series! This weekend (July 30/31), we will be teaching from Galatians 2:11-16 about our need to confront other believers in sin, and the danger found in hypocrisy. Next weekend will be our final lesson, where we will be teaching from Revelation 20:11-15 and 21:1-4 about the final chapter of God's story; Jesus returns, Satan is defeated once and for all, and God's promise to create a new heaven and new earth for his children that will be free from pain and sorrow.

You can find out more information about Camp Grace on our website.

- Nicky Darling, Elementary Coordinator

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pick Up Your Copy of "Eden Derailed"

Have you gotten your copy of Eden Derailed yet? You can pick one up online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You also have a special opportunity to get a signed copy at Cross Way Christian Supply tomorrow, Saturday July 23rd, from 11am-1pm. Cross Way is located at the corner of East North St. and Pleasantburg Dr.  Don't miss this event!

You can visit the Eden Derailed website to find out more about this book that offers answers to life-changing questions about Biblical sexuality.

Also, check out a Q&A with Matt Williams about his book, posted on the Grace Church Pastor's Blog.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

11 Ways To Break Through Ministry Discouragement

We all run into it at some point in ministry… discouragement. Sometimes it creeps in gradually, and sometimes it hits us like a brick wall. It could be a particular situation that causes it, a season where things are tough, or it could come from nowhere. However, it is universal. Every person in kidmin will face discouragement in ministry. Here are eleven ways to fight to overcome discouragement.

1.  Get back to the basics – It is quite common that my feelings of discouragement in ministry often come in seasons when I have neglected the basics in my relationship with God. If you are feeling discouraged, ask yourself how consistent your own walk with God is. Are you reading the Word? Are you praying? When is the last time you sat in big church for service?

2.  Get Away – Not forever, you have to come back. But sometimes if you can just take a brief break, you can regain perspective. Sometimes discouragement is a sign that you need rest.  Honor that and take a break. Go to the beach. Go to the mountains. Go to Target. Go somewhere and don’t think about ministry for a little bit.

3.  Get Friends – Often discouragement in ministry can cause us to feel very isolated and alone. Resist the urge to hide away. The more alone you are, the more discouraged you will feel. Take a friend to lunch. Don’t have friends?  (That’s probably part of your problem, by the way.)  Get some! Figure out someone that you kinda like and reach out to them. Do something fun.

4. Get to tomorrow – When times are tough, this is the statement I say to myself, “Tomorrow will be better, if not it is a day closer to being better.” There are seasons in every ministry. Some are awesome, some not so much. The good thing about seasons is they come to an end. Hang in there.

5.  Get Real – Not everything is bad. It may feel that way, and there may be lots of bad things happening. But not everything is bad. Write down a list of the “wins”. Write down everything that you’ve seen God do in your life and in your ministry over the past six months. The reality is that God is faithful and is doing great things. Don’t let discouragement hide those from you.

6.  Get organized – Sometimes our discouragement feels greater because our world feels like chaos. We are trying to juggle way too much, and it is overwhelming. Take some time to organize yourself. Write down what has to be accomplished, and prioritize them. Create timelines for completing projects. Don’t let the lists overwhelm you, either, but use them as tools to help you feel in control and to see light at the end of the tunnel.

7. Get perspective – There are a lot of things that are out of your control. Those things are often extremely discouraging. You’ve heard the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” Acknowledge that you can’t control it all, but you serve the God who does. Let Him carry the stress.

8.  Get past the past – Dwelling on past decisions, events, or mistakes will only increase our discouragement. You can not go backwards. Learn from the past, fix what you can, and then move forward to what God has next. Revisiting the past repeatedly rarely is healthy.

9.  Get ice cream – Ice cream makes everything better. Really, it does.

10. Get on your face – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Isn’t this what we teach the kids? It is absolutely true for you too. God has called you to ministry. That is precious. Your calling is precious. Get on your face and cry out to God to heal your heart and to strengthen you for what He wants to accomplish.

11. Talk to me, let me know – Let us pray for you, with you. Let's see if you are carrying too much of the load physically, spiritually, and if you are serving in your strengths.

Blog post by Jenny Funderburke on ministry-children.com. (#11 added by Grace Children's Ministry)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Registration Deadline - July 25th!!

Make sure you don't miss out on registration for the fall!  Click here to get your child(ren) registered so you won't have to wait in line Promotion Weekend, August 13th & 14th, to get your kids in a class.

ALL children (infant-rising 4th grade) and students (rising 5th & 6th grade only) need to be registered in order to be put into a small group starting August 13th & 14th.

It only takes a few minutes to register! The deadline is one week from today, Monday, July 25th!

Delivering Consequences

While at the 3rd & 4th grade camp at the end of June at Look Up Lodge, I observed some actions and conversations that sparked some ideas! I got to stay in a mainly rising fourth grade girls' cabin. I am going to school for elementary education, so this was a great experience for me to tie into that.

While walking around the camp, I overheard a lot of conversation among even some of the younger girls that was a real reality check for me. Some examples of what I heard were several girls talking about some very secular music and how they were getting access to it. Several of the girls were somewhat bragging about getting on YouTube when their parents weren't home, or sneaking this type of music onto their iPods and hiding it from parents. I felt that I was in a unique position; I felt the girls viewed me not quite as an adult because I am only twenty, but still respected me. With this being said, they were not as cautious to say these things in my presence. I took that opportunity to explain to them why it was wrong to not only listen to those types of artists, but to then hide it from their parents. A good piece of scripture to apply and share in this type of situation is Proverbs 13:1 "A wise child accepts a parent's discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction." Expressing this concept to your child can be extremely beneficial. Also, Proverbs 15:5 states, "Only a fool despises a parent's discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise." This displays the importance of understanding and accepting a parent's discipline.

This past Spring, I took a course on educational psychology at Clemson University by Dr. Brent Igo. The class focused mostly around the way children think, act, react, learn, and how we are to interact and deal with them. A section of the class that I was reminded of when I came upon these issues at camp was the topic of consequences - the different types of consequences and when to use them.

There are four main ways to deliver consequences: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.
  1. Positive reinforcement - giving your child something to increase a behavior. For example, if your daughter has been struggling with her quiet time, you can give her a devotional plan to encourage increasing her quiet times. With this example, you want to try to avoid your child relying too much on you for guidance.
  2. Negative reinforcement - taking something away from your child to then increase a behavior. An example of this would be if, like at camp, your child was hiding their music selections from you. You could take away their iPod to increase their obedience towards you.
  3. Positive punishment - giving your child something to decrease a behavior. For example, if your son is showing a lack of respect and honor towards his counselor at camp, you can give you child examples of how he should have acted to decrease the bad behavior in return.
  4. Negative punishment - taking something away from your child to decrease a behavior. This is probably the form that is most familiar with you. A common example of how this can put into effect would be if your child is disobeying your rules, you in return take away play time or friend opportunities to then decrease the disobedience.
Using these techniques, paired with scripture and supporting your children by being a good example of following Christ, can influence them and what they think more than you may realize. I strongly suggest having more specific and honest conversations with your child about these and other related topics. Also, I feel that giving personal examples when you have struggled with the same problem would be very beneficial. Follow up with ways to fix the problem by pointing your children closer to God through scripture and spiritual context.

Recommended Scripture:
Colossians 3:19-21 "Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged."
Ephesians 6:1-3 "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, 'things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.'"

- Michelle Phillips, Children's Ministry Kairos Intern

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scriptural Basis for Elementary Camp Teaching

Our teaching at 3rd & 4th grade camp a few weekends ago (June 24-26) centered around the theme "Are You 4 Real?" The concept of real relationships with God and with others was fleshed out through the four main sessions - Real Faith, Real Family, Real Friends, and Real Life. You can check out an overview of each session here.

We have had interest in the scriptural basis for the teaching, so below is an overview of each session. Let us know if you have questions, or would like further clarification.

Theme Verse: Colossians 3:3 "For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God."

Session 1: Real Faith
Big Idea - The reason life is hard and frustrating sometimes is because God wants us to need Him and trust Him.
Scripture - Colossians 3:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; John 10:10
Gospel Story - Luke 19:1-10 (story of Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus)

Session 2: Real Family
Big Idea - God placed you in your family on purpose, because He loves you and wants what is best for you.
Scripture - Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:18-23; Acts 17:26
Gospel Story - Luke 2:40-52 (story of Jesus' encounter with His parents)

Session 3: Real Friends
Big Idea - Real friendship doesn't depend on others, it depends on you.
Scripture - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12; Philippians 2:2-5
Gospel Story - Marks 2:1-12 (story of Jesus' encounter with a broken man and his four friends)

Session 4: Real Life
Big Idea - Real life can never be lived in your own strength.
Scripture - Colossians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17
Gospel Story - Matthew 19:16-26 (story of Jesus' encounter with the rich young man)

Kairos Internship

My internship is halfway over.

I finally came to that realization last week. In reality, it's something that I've known, but haven't let myself think about because I avoid dealing with things I don't particularly like. Part of me is overwhelmed when I think of how much is still left on my task lists, but most of me does not want to embrace the fact that at some point this will end, and I will head back to the real world. Well...as real of a world as life in college gets. Since we're halfway though the summer, I wanted to take some time to share my heart with you, and the ways in which the Lord is working in my life.

Kairos has been amazing. Matt Kelley said it well when he said that the internship was the staff taking what they've learned in 14 years and instilling it in us in about 2 months. If you know anything about the staff at Grace Church, that's a whole lot of wisdom, knowledge, and experience to absorb in a short period of time. My internship is split between Children's Ministry and Dioko (student ministry for 7th-12th grade at the Powdersville campus), which has taught me a lot about balance and prioritizing work. Thankfully, there's been a lot of grace, as I have a lot to learn about working and doing ministry.

I came into this internship thinking that I knew a lot about this Jesus guy and what the Bible says about Him. It took about twenty minutes in my first Kairos class to realize that I really don't know what I am talking about, and that there's a whole lot more to the Bible than I can even fathom. It's been incredible for me to take the knowledge that I am learning in the classroom and see how it plays out in my day-to-day life. These classes have instilled a hunger to know more about the Lord, and a desire to study and dig into His Word. I am so excited to take this knowledge and all the tools I am learning, and apply it to life back at school.

Working at Grace has taught me a lot about loving others, about the value of being intentional with the people you work with. I have been blown away by the amount of love and support both the staff and members of Grace Church have shown me. I have loved getting lunches with staff members, getting a chance to do life with them, and absorbing all of the wisdom that they have. I get to work with so many strong women of God, and have grown so much through observing how they live their lives. I have also been grateful for the members of Grace Church. The fact that people genuinely want to sit down and ask me questions about my life (which, by the way, is pretty boring) has meant so much to me. The way that the members of Grace have loved me has taught me so much about what it looks like to be in community, and what it means to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

While I am sad that this experience is halfway over, I am excited. I know that if the Lord has done this much already, then there is no telling what is in store for the next five weeks.

- Katie Horton, Children's Ministry Kairos Intern

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Disciplined Parenting

Last weekend, Jeremy Keever taught on Proverbs 3:1-12 about disciplined parenting. He explained that we are given information to help us teach our children about God, which will in turn help lead them towards a transformed life. As parents, we cannot change the hearts of our children and make them love God, but we can provide an environment that models what it looks like to love God. He went on to explain that disciplined parenting has two main components - teaching and correction. We must use all of our resources to move our children towards heart change. We also need to recognize that discipline involves being intentional, verbal, and physical. All believers must discipline themselves to seek a life of godliness, and this trickles down to disciplined parenting in leading children to a life of godliness.

If you missed this teaching or would like to hear it again, check out his sermon below:

Jeremy also gave a list of excellent parenting resources during his sermon, and we have that list for you here:

  • Shepherding A Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp
  • On Becoming Baby Wise - Ezzo and Bucknam
  • Don't Make Me Count To Three! - Ginger Plowman
  • Wise Words For Moms - Ginger Plowman
  • Age Of Opportunity - Paul Tripp
  • Grace-Based Parenting - Tim Kimmel
  • Big Truths For Young Hearts - Bruce Ware
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible - Sally Lloyd-Jones

We hope these resources will help you as you seek to reach the hearts of your children, and the children in our church community.

Have questions? Know of any other good parenting resources? Leave us a comment!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't Forget To Register!

Promotion Weekend is just around the corner! On August 13th & 14th, we will promote all of our children and students to the next grade level. 

We are asking that ALL families register their children (infants through rising 4th graders) and students (rising 5th and 6th graders) by July 25th. 

This will help to ensure that we have enough volunteers and adequate accommodations for all children and students participating in our regular Children’s Ministry weekend programming and our Student Ministry Fusion Program.

Please go to our Registration Page to register your children and students.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Are You 4 Real?" - Recap of Elementary Camp

After your rising fourth and fifth graders returned home from camp last weekend, you are possibly asking yourself “now what?” I feel confident you have heard all about camp - zip-line, swing, and big group games. Besides these things, I hope you have heard from your child about the real relationships and real life they learned about at camp this past weekend. The theme of camp was “Are you 4 real?- Real Faith, Real Family, Real Friends, Real Life.” I feel a recap and overview of what your child was taught at camp will be beneficial for you as a family. By understanding what was taught at camp, you can reflect on these issues and apply them, based on the needs of your family.

On Friday night, Ed Sweeny talked about what it means to have real faith. He introduced the idea on\f how God created us for relationships, but the most important relationship we can have is a relationship with God Himself. Our other relationships mean nothing without this relationship. The truth about our hearts is that we naturally and normally want what we want, and not what God wants. Once we acknowledge our sin, we see our need for a relationship with God.

On Saturday, we talked about one of God’s greatest inventions- family. God has placed your family together for many good reasons. Your family is designed to complement each other for a purpose, and to help each other through hard times. Ed talked about three things your children will learn from you, the parent. First of all, it is the first example they see of authority. This authority provides security, as well as preparation for the rest of their lives. Second of all, they can see God’s love for them through the blessing of parents. Not only that, but they learn how to love by the way you love them! Lastly, they learn responsibility through the role each member of the family plays. Whether it’s feeding the dog, taking out trash, or helping with cleaning, your child will understand what it feels like to be relied on and liable for something getting done. Siblings teach each other way more than you see on the surface! Siblings are normally the first friends your child will have. From this relationship, they learn how to share, how to forgive, and how to love. A family shows each member who they really are.

On Saturday night we talked about the importance of real friends. The making of a real friendship doesn’t rely on the other person, but on us. In a friendship, we are known, heard, and loved. We need friends to disciple us and guide us on issues that we cannot get through alone. 

By tying all of this together on Sunday, we saw how to live a ‘Real Life’ can be achieved. Through a relationship with our Creator, we can achieve real friendships with family, friends, and siblings!

-Caleb Phillips, Children's Ministry Kairos Intern