Kristin Jeffries

Nov 112015

With Thanksgiving just around the corner I’m sure lots of you are excited to spend time with family and friends. With some extra time off, and the kids home from school it can also be overwhelming to find something to keep kids busy and in the holiday spirit. If your kiddos are anything like I was as a child, then a good craft project is always appreciated. If that craft project just so happens to help kids think about thankfulness as well, then it’s all the better! With that in mind I present to you-

The Thankful Prayer Turkey! (Or TPT for short)



This was a fun and easy to do project that lead to some really good conversation with my 5-year-old niece. This could be done with most ages, but younger kiddos will need a lot more help. Here is how we did it!





Pen or Pencil (maybe some markers)

Glue Sticks


Construction Paper in Various Colors





First and foremost we had to pick our colors. I tired to encourage the red-orange-yellow look in the name of tradition, but what 5-year-old girl doesn’t put a little pink on every craft project? So we traced our hands 4 times, once on the brown paper for our turkey “body” and then once for each of our three “feather” colors. The farther apart our fingers were the better they turned out once you put it all together.



From there we need to cut things out. This is where younger kiddos might need some extra help. For the 5-year-old it just meant drawing some lines to help her know what we were cutting around and what we were cutting off. (And then Auntie Kristin took over the cutting and let her take the pictures when little-bit got bored.)



For your turkey body you cut out the thumb and hand, but ignore the 4 fingers. All of the other colors are the opposite; cut out the fingers and hand, ignore the thumb.



Next it’s time to glue. What worked best for us was to have her glue on the “body” and add the feathers layer by layer.










Finally it was time for my favorite part- writing on the feathers. Instead of just being done when we had a cute turkey, I thought it would be fun to let our craft lead to some discussion about what we are thankful for. I gave the options of either drawing pictures or writing on the feathers and being the “Big Girl” she is it was time to write! If you have a little one who wants to draw or write on their own, it might be helpful to write on the back of each feather what their picture is of. (That way we won’t forget when it’s time to pray.)

 IMG_2882 IMG_2884 IMG_2886

This was so much fun because it gave us a chance to talk about all of the wonderful things we can be thankful for. We talked about foods, toys, people, places, and activities. My niece had endless suggestions of what to put on her turkey, but soon realized that she had limited space and needed to be selective. It was so fun to see her choose “God” over “Frozen” and how the first thing she insisted on writing was her best friend’s name (which she can spell all by herself!)

IMG_2887        IMG_2889

When we were all done she decided to put it by her bed so that she could pray to God and thank Him for all of the things on her turkey. This could also easily be pulled out to use as a prayer before dinner, or even just to lead a prayer right after you make your turkey. Regardless of how your family chooses to use these turkeys, it will get kids focused on thankfulness instead of belly-fullness.


Happy Crafting!


Oct 292015

This is a question I often get as Programming Director or “that girl from large group” as your kids may say. Why do we use motions? We, as adults, don’t do synchronized motions for our worship, so shouldn’t we be teaching kids what real worship looks like?

While I think this is a very valid point, I want to teach kids what real worship feels like. Some kids may be able to earnestly engage during worship without motions but most children need that element to help them focus and think about what they are singing. So here are 3 BIG reasons why we use motions for worship in Crossing Kids.

Reason 1: It is in the Bible!preschool 4

Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
Let them praise his name with dancing,

making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

Psalm 149: 1-3

There are several references to dancing in the Bible as an act of worship. True, this kind of worship was probably more free-form than what we do in Large Group, but there is something really powerful about worshiping with your whole body if you embrace it. If you have ever felt the impulse to raise your arms or clap during worship then you know what I am talking about. God created us to move, so we can use that as a tool to help kids engage with what they are singing.

Reason 2: Moving Helps Kids Focus

I am sure you have seen the articles; kids sitting on exercise balls instead of chairs in school, teachers taking short “brain breaks” to get rowdy kids active, or even the latest story of a reading room with exercise bikes! Study after study has shown that children need to move and be active to help them focus. Whenever we can appropriately include movement into our curriculum it makes those times when kids do have to sit quietly and listen much more successful. Motions during worship time help make the lessons kids are learning on Sundays stick. Since we have already embraced a child’s need to move it is much easier to engage them when it is time to focus. Giving kids a chance to burn some energy helps cut down on behavior problems too!

Reason 3: Motions Help Kids Learn the Words

I saved this one for last, because it is one of the primary reasons that we use motions – to help kids learn the words! A lot of our kiddos are either non-readers, or beginner readers, and that means they might not be able to follow along with a lyrics PowerPoint like we can as adults. We put a lot of thought into our motions to make sure that they are both fun and helpful. This could mean bringing in some sign language that we pre-teach the kids. Other times it means having consistency with our motions from song to song, like always pointing up when we sing “God” or putting our hands on our heart when we sing the word “heart.” For a kindergartener who has not learned to read yet, or a second grader who can read well just not very quickly, having motions that go along with what we are singing helps them to understand what they are singing about.

One time we had a song where the lyrics were from scripture, particularly something that Jesus said. Every time we sang the word “I” we pointed up, like we usually do for “God” or “Christ” since in this song Jesus was the “I.” Even though we always introduced the song by telling kids that the words in the song were things that Jesus actually said, it was that motions that helped the kids make that connection. “I GET IT! WE ARE POINTING UP BECAUSE JESUS IS TALKING!” an elementary girl exclaimed one day.

Motions EL BW

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that we are trying to teach children what worship feels like. By engaging kids with motions we are taking the focus off of them and putting it on the songs. Many kids, especially our older elementary kids, are starting to enter that self-conscious phase. What do I do with my hands? Can my friends hear me singing? What if I am not a good singer? For lots of our kids the motions help them know what to do so that they can stop worrying and start worshiping. We want worship to be a joyful and gospel-centered time. We choose our songs and verses carefully to make sure that worship is focused on the gospel and big biblical truths. We use motions to help kids engage in a fun and developmentally appropriate way.

Oct 092015

Our Crossing Kids Interns are a HUGE part of what we do on Sunday mornings and throughout the week, so we thought you all should get to know them a little better. We have 12 interns who help out in various ways with our ministry. This post is going to highlight our Large Group, Multi-Age, Agape Kids, Seeds of Promise and Night Crossing Interns.



Caroline Curran: Large GroupCare

AKA: Carol, Care, Care-Bear


Caroline has been an intern since the spring of 2015. She is currently a senior at Mizzou studying Human Development and Family Studies. She hopes to one day be a child-life specialist. Caroline loves getting to work with kids of all ages and share the gospel with them. When she’s not interning for Crossing Kids she loves to go on hikes, drink lots of coffee, visit her family in Chicago, and hang out with friends (particularly other Crossing Kids Interns.) You may not know this about Caroline, but she has played lacrosse since age 4!





Courtney Cooksey: Large Group

AKA: Courts, Little Cooksey, Dinosaur, Sis-tern

Dino (1)


Courtney has been an Intern for 3 years, going on her 4th! She started out as the Night Crossing Intern and when a second Large Group position was made she jumped on that team as well. Courtney will graduate in December with a Bachelors of Science in IT and a Minor in Art. Courtney hopes to one day be a dragon trainer, but seeing as that is unlikely to pan out she would like to be an animator for Pixar. When Courtney’s not being an intern she likes to draw, hang out with her dog, and work on computers. Courtney’s favorite thing about being an intern is getting to work so closely with her sister and staff-overseer Kristin. It’s such a great experience getting to work so closely with someone you have looked up to your whole life. (Ok… so maybe that was Kristin talking… but I’m pretty sure that’s Courtney’s favorite part of being an intern.) You may not know this about Courtney, but she was a math-lete in High School and used to be a dance teacher.




NickNicholas Thomas: Multi-Age

AKA: Nick, “Nichard”


Nick has been an intern for just over a year. He is a senior at Mizzou studying Health Sciences. He hopes to one day be a physical therapist and is looking into graduate programs for a PT degree. Nick loves getting to interact with the kids in multi-age. It’s such a fun time to hang out and be silly with kids while also learning more about Jesus. He is very thankful to be a part of kids lives in this unique way. When he’s not being an intern Nick loves to take naps and hang out with friends. You might not know this about Nick, but he has a major sweet tooth!




SamSam Rourke: Multi-Age


Sam has been an intern since the spring semester of 2015. He was originally an elementary intern, then switched to multi-age over the summer. Same graduated in May of 2015 with a degree in Economics. Right now he works at the State Capitol, but he hopes to be a pastor one day. Sam loves watching the kids have fun as they learn more about who God is, and who they are. It’s such a great experience to know these kids as they are still developing into the unique person that God has crafted them to be. When he’s not being an Intern, Sam likes to play sports, run (he’s training for a marathon), hang out with friends, and read. You may not know this about Sam, but he was homeschooled until High School.





Emily MEmily Malguen: Agape Kids


Emily has been involved with Crossing Kids for a little over a year now. She is a Graduate Student in the school of Psychology at Mizzou and does a lot of work with children who have special needs. Emily loves the relationships she had been able to build with our Agape Kids. She is very thankful for the opportunity to help kids learn about God in a way that reaches them where they are and lets them develop spiritually. When she’s not being an intern, Emily loves to hang out with her dog Rosie!





 Giuli Krug: Agape Kids

GiuliGiuli has been involved in Crossing Kids since the building opened! She was the team leader for the infants room, then helped the Agape Ministry from it’s beginning. Giuli teaches at Mizzou in the Occupational Therapy department, and is also a mom to three awesome kids Gabriel (17), Sophie (16), and Ellie (13.) Her husband Jeff is also a long-time member of the Preschool Large Group team. Giuli loves the Agape Kids ministry because it gives lots of parents the opportunity to learn, worship, and serve knowing their kids are in good hands. She loves seeing kids “get” the excitement that comes from the love of Jesus, particularly when it’s one of our Agape kids. When she’s not working with Crossing Kids, Giuli loves to bargain hunt at thrift-stores and garage sales!



As for Seeds of Promise and Night Crossing- You’ve already met those interns! Emily Koenig (also an Early Childhood Intern) is our Seeds of Promise Intern and Courtney Cooksey (also a Large Group Intern) is around for Night Crossing. Here is what they had to say about Seeds and Night Crossing:

Emily loves Seeds of Promise because it is extra time with the kids every week while their Moms are growing closer to God. She loves being able to serve moms in the way, knowing that their kids are safe and having fun learning with us on Tuesday mornings.

Courtney loves Night Crossing because it always keeps her on toes, you never what to expect on Wednesday nights. Courtney loves the slightly more laid back atmosphere of Night Crossing where you really get to see a whole new side of the kids. Preschool Worship on Wednesdays is also pretty great, they’re pretty tired but still really want to engage so it’s normally very cute!


We love all of our awesome hard-working Interns!