Oct 132015
 

baby 2

According to the ReThink Group and the book “It’s Just a Phase, So Don’t Miss It” by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy, a phase is a time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. Over the next few weeks we would like to share with you some thoughts about each age and phase from this book so you can better serve these children in Crossing Kids. Today we will start with Zero to One.

Zero to One is the phase when nobody sleeps, everybody smells, and one mesmerizing baby convinces you I NEED YOU NOW!

Sunday Morning at The Crossing

Babies in this phase want to know “AM I SAFE?”

baby 3

The goal in this phase is to “ESTABLISH TRUST”

baby 5

Our volunteers must embrace their physical needs so they can know God’s love and meet God’s family.

baby 4

Here’s what volunteers who serve with babies had to say about why they love this age:

I get as much love as I give and I get to serve parents on Sundays, by allowing them the opportunity to be part of the worship service. Once upon a time I was in their shoes.

“I love serving with the infants. Love their smiles and giggles, rocking them to sleep, caring for their needs in simple ways. And reassuring their parents we will love them like our own until they return.”

“Getting to spend those special months with precious babies as they explore on all fours and then in a flash are walkers, growing from babies to toddlers before our very eyes.”

“Being around a fresh, new, peaceful, little miracle of God’s draws me closer to Him. It reminds me of His perfect plan for me that started when I, too, was a newborn and that He has fearfully & wonderfully made each of us. There is nothing more beautiful than new life that He has created!”

“I serve in the infant room because I enjoy the cuddles from the sweet babies and I love the volunteers I get to work with!”

I just love the babies! Also hopefully give parents peace of mind that their precious baby is well cared for so they can worship or serve else where.  I remember dropping off my own children and what a blessing it was when care givers were glad to have my child in their care.  I love the fellowship with other volunteers…high school thru grandparent age.  It is a wonderful community that cares about one another as well as the babies and their families. Also fun to see young volunteers come back with their own children a few year after volunteering in college.

baby 1

We have 936 weeks and counting…until they graduate. It’s Just a Phase…So Don’t Miss It!

Oct 122015
 

This post was previously published on October 8, 2014.  We thought it would be wonderful to share again!

A mission statement is a brief description of our fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why do we exist?” So in Crossing Kids our mission is “to partner with families to help kids develop a lifetime relationship with Jesus.”

It is important for our leaders and every volunteer that serves in Crossing Kids to understand and know what we value. These values shape every Sunday, Tuesday morning and Wednesday night. They drive the decisions we make about curriculum, activities, music and family events. They help us accomplish our mission.

blog (families in hallway)Our values are:

Partnering with Families

  • The church must partner with families, because God intends kids to learn in context of family relationships.
  • Two combined influences make a greater impact than two separate influences.

blog (teaching)Targeting the Heart

  • God’s Word teaches that behavior is rooted in the heart.  Therefore, we want children to have a heart to follow God, not just go through outward motions.
  • Teaching must focus on cultivating a heart that loves God and trusts His promises above all else, rather than just seeking to change behavior.

_MG_8793

God-Centered, Grace-Centered Teaching

  • Teaching must be centered on God’s Word.
  • Teaching must focus on the gospel of God’s grace as the primary motivation for obeying Christ.
  • Teaching must be application-oriented, rather than just imparting knowledge.

blog (relationships)Relationships with Others

  • Relationships with others in the church are an essential component for spiritual growth.
  • Learning and relationships should always be in a safe, caring and comfortable environment for children.

blog (serving)Serving

  • We must teach children that everything we have is given to us from God and should be used to bring Him glory.
  • We must provide opportunities for children to express their faith through serving, giving, and reaching out to others both inside and outside the church.

blog (kid friendly)Kid-Relevant Teaching and Programs

  • Teaching must be appropriate to a child’s physical, social, cognitive, and spiritual development.
  • Different children have different learning styles, so we must teach in a variety of creative ways.
  • We must seek to understand a child’s cultural influences and relate to that culture, while never compromising biblical truth.
  • Our standards must meet the level of quality and excellence expected by those outside the church.

Sometimes it is easier to see what a value means when we share a personal story. Some of our volunteers shared a few ways they have seen our values on Sunday morning so I wanted to share them with you.

God-centered, grace-centered teaching:

Recently in my Women’s group study they were discussing the Bible as one big story about God that included the creation, fall, redemption and restoration.  Someone asked if we had ever heard the Bible described in that way and I couldn’t help but say yes, we spent an entire year focusing on creation, fall, redemption and restoration in Crossing Kids last year.  What an amazing gift to the children of our church that they are able to learn deep theological ideas at such a young age so they study the Bible and learn about God through the correct lens.

My husband and I being retired educators are constantly amazed at the wonderful, brain-based lessons that the children are exposed to at the Crossing.  Comparing these lessons to the worksheets our now-grown children had growing up, we just marvel at what these children at the Crossing are being exposed to.  And it’s clear that the children are learning and remembering.  The bible stories along with the concepts about them that these  children retain amaze us each week! Surely the parents of these children are taking the take-home sheets seriously, but the lessons themselves are so memorable!  What a great combination!

Targeting the heart:

The approach that Crossing kids has taken has targeted the heart, but more importantly the souls of the children and kept them interested. Sure we go through motions.  Songs with motions, prayers, and routines.  But all of these, from what I have witnessed, are done with the purpose of praising God.

Relationships with others:

Recently witnessed a volunteer that was with us in 2nd grade and is now in other half of 3rd grade class sought out a girl to give her card that included a note and picture of them together during our slumber party with the 2nd graders last year.  I thought it was such a thoughtful yet simple way to show this young girl that she is loved, thought of and being prayed for.

This is my favorite one.  Every week, we see the same kids, and week after week and we get to know them get to know their parents too, but largely the kids.  We know their strengths and struggles.  We know their moods and quirks.   Most importantly we know their hearts.  Children are so open and trusting, and even more honest.  They allow themselves to be just that when they are with us…themselves.  Even more sometimes I think than they are with Mom and Dad.

Whether you are a new volunteer or have been serving in our ministry for years, it is always good to remind ourselves of why we do what we do. I shared more about this topic here.

Please join us in praying that God would help us accomplish our mission and values and be honored in the process.

Oct 072015
 

We are excited to announce October is Volunteer Fall Focus month, meaning all month we will be equipping you with resources to encourage you in your kingdom work with children. This year’s Volunteer Fall Focus is:

Every Phase is Important

Children all go through phases. “A phase is a time frame in a child’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. If every child has been made in the image of God, and every kid matters to God, then what you do every week in a child’s life matters.”  (from the book It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It; pgs. 7 and 231)

At any given time, each child in our ministry is going through a phase. These different phases baffle us and other times they amaze us. Sometimes we aren’t quite sure what to make of the phase a child is in. This month we want to dig deeper into how we can embrace children’s God given uniqueness at each stage and how we can help you as a volunteer love and lead kids through each phase.

We pray the information in our blog posts will equip you to better serve the individual kids you invest in each Sunday. This month you will see posts on the following topics:

Get to Know Our Interns

The Phases of Children

The Benefits of Play

Giving Children Grace

Are you serving where you should be?

Separation Anxiety and How to Help

Why are worship motions important?

phase wall

Stop by the wall in the foyer some time soon and read about the children you serve with. It’s Just a Phase…so Don’t Miss It!

Oct 292014
 

Chances are that if you’ve volunteered for any length of time in one of our classroom, you’ve encountered some less than desirable behavior.  Our immediate response can sometimes be shock.  We’re at church after all.  Why are all these sinful children here?  Where are the perfect ones?  This response is often followed with panic.  What do I do?  Even seasoned parents and veteran teachers often find themselves unsure of how to handle situations with someone else’s child.  When should I ignore?  When should I intervene?  How do I have a conversations with a child that targets the heart rather than the behavior when there are 29 other kids here as well?  Trust me, I’ve been there too.

While there is no list I can give you that will magically prepare you for each situation with each child, there are a list of guiding principles we’d like to remind you of when faced  with some of these challenging situations.  Let’s take a closer look not just at the “what” and the “how,” but also the “why.”

ck2

What Our Goal is Not
In his book Christless Christianity, Michael Horton writes,

“What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city?  Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio.  Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastured), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other.  There would be no swearing.  The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday…where Christ was not preached.”

Our goal on Sunday morning is not a group of perfectly behaved children.  Our goal on Sunday morning is for children to hear, believe, and understand the Gospel.  Part of this is seeing our sin, recognizing our need for a Savior, and realizing that no amount of righteousness on the outside can make us right before a holy God.  We intentionally try to make our lessons Christ-centered rather than man or behavior centered on purpose each week.  As Donald Grey Barnhouse shared so many years ago, there is a real danger to  making our end goal behavior in and of itself.

Tedd Trip reminds us of this as well in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart:

“God is concerned about the heart—the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4:23).  Parents (*teachers) tend to focus on the externals of behavior rather than the internal overflow of the heart.  We tend to worry more about the “what” of behavior than the “why”.  Accordingly, most of us spend an enormous amount of energy in controlling and constraining behavior.  To the degree and extent to which our focus is on behavior, we miss the heart.” 

“The church borrowed the old “you listen to me, kid, or I’ll cuff you” method of raising children.  It seemed to work.  children seemed to obey.  They were externally submissive.  This method fails us now because our culture no longer responds to authority as it did a generation ago.  We lament the passing of this way of rearing children because we miss its simplicity.  I fear, however, we have overlooked its unbiblical methods and goals…Let me overview a biblical vision…it involves being a kind of authority, shepherding your children to understand themselves in God’s world, and keeping the Gospel in clear view so children can internalize the good news and someday live in mutuality with you as people under God.”

When we miss the heart, we miss subtle idols, the Gospel, and the Glory of God.  Yet, we also know that a completely chaotic and unsafe environment  will often cause us to miss these things as well.  How do we address the heart and do our part to create classrooms where children feel safe and are able to hear, participate, and engage with the lesson?

Again, Tedd Tripp reminds us that we have the ultimate example of what our roles should be as someone in authority:

“Jesus is an example of this.  The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant.  He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules…You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves.”

One of the best things we can do is to exercise our authority as a ruler who serves and a servant who rules.  That means not making a child’s behavior about us (something I struggle with consistently.)  That means that we don’t handle it through manipulation or other practices that seem easier or as a “quick fix” on the surface.  That means we don’t handle things cruelly, but we also don’t roll over either.  We set healthy boundaries.  We say no.  We pull kids aside to have conversations when necessary.  We communicate with parents and get their input (partnering with parents is one of our core values, after all.)  We target the heart rather than the external behavior as much as possible.  Here are just a few practical tips that may help you in the trenches on Sunday mornings.

teach1

The “What” and “How”

  • One way to “love” and to “serve” the children we shepherd is to be proactive, thoughtful, and intentional about the environment we create.
  • Sometimes we can anticipate hindrances for them, but also hindrances for us.
  • We are all sinners serving sinners and out of an overflow of our hearts, our mouths speak.  Take time to prepare yourself to serve on Sunday morning.  Pray for individual children who may have trouble on Sundays.  Ask God to soften your heart toward them and give you wisdom as you interact with them.

Practical Proactive Tips

Getting their Attention

  • Clapping
  • Turning off Lights
  • Show me your listening eyes, ears etc…
  • “If you can hear my voice say ________,” etc…

Transitions

  • Not Everybody All At Once—“If your birthday is in ___________,” “If you’re      wearing _________________,” etc… 
  • Agenda/ Sequence of Events—Let children know what you’re planning to do,     if/when you’re having snack, order of events, etc…  This is especially helpful for students with Autism or other special needs.
  • Time Frame—“In a minute, but not yet.,” Counting Backward, Song, Giving a Time Constraint with Reminders (In 3 minutes, in 1 minute, etc…)

Developmental Appropriateness

  • Kindergartners and 5th Graders are both alike and different.  Consider adapting your strategy based on your audience.

Proximity

  • Sit near child, move closer, etc…

Movement

  • Recognize and honor need for movement
  • Change things up
  • Limit Pocket Time

Transitioning/Distributing Materials

  • Centralized Location?
  • Pass Out Ahead of Time?
  • “Leading into temptation…”  (If I sit this in front of them, are they going to play with it instead of listening to directions, and will that drive me nuts?)

Multi-step Directions

  • Break into smaller chunks
  • Have children repeat
  • Model/Show Example

Take the Time to Listen, Laugh, and Have Fun

  • Individual conversations/relationships
  • Morning Meeting

What happens when “proactive” doesn’t work?

  • Check our hearts first.
  • Go back to the why: Go back to the heart.
  • Remember that when we miss the heart, we miss subtle idols, the Gospel, and God’s glory.
  • Have an individual conversation.
  • Ask Questions (See Wise Words chart in the Elementary Cabinets.)
  • Pray for/with child.
  • Communicate with families.

And sometimes we’ll then need to recognize that even after doing all those things, we still won’t have perfectly behaved children or classrooms and that as we talked about earlier, that’s o.k. because that’s not the end goal.  Moments like this are opportunities for us to remember our limitations.  Moments like this are opportunities for us to remember who is really in charge, who really changes hearts.  They’re moments for us to pray and preach the Gospel to ourselves.  They’re moments to remind us of what Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson say in their book, Give them Grace:

“We are always to do our best, striving to be obedient and to love, nurture, and discipline them.  But we are to do it with faith in the Lord’s ability to transform hearts, not in our ability to be consistent or faithful.  Seeking to be faithfully obedient parents (*teachers) is our responsibility; granting faith to our children is his.  Freedom to love and enjoy our children flows out of the knowledge that God saves them in spite of our best efforts, not because of them.  Salvation is of the Lord.”

Know that we pray for you and your time with children each week.  Also know that we’re here to support you when these situations arise, and pray for us as well.  We are all still in process with all of these things.  More than anyone else I know, I need God’s grace and wisdom in this arena of life on Sunday mornings.

Oct 082014
 

A mission statement is a brief description of our fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why do we exist?” So in Crossing Kids our mission is “to partner with families to help kids develop a lifetime relationship with Jesus.”

It is important for our leaders and every volunteer that serves in Crossing Kids to understand and know what we value. These values shape every Sunday, Tuesday morning and Wednesday night. They drive the decisions we make about curriculum, activities, music and family events. They help us accomplish our mission.

blog (families in hallway)Our values are:

Partnering with Families

  • The church must partner with families, because God intends kids to learn in context of family relationships.
  • Two combined influences make a greater impact than two separate influences.

blog (teaching)Targeting the Heart

  • God’s Word teaches that behavior is rooted in the heart.  Therefore, we want children to have a heart to follow God, not just go through outward motions.
  • Teaching must focus on cultivating a heart that loves God and trusts His promises above all else, rather than just seeking to change behavior.

_MG_8793

God-Centered, Grace-Centered Teaching

  • Teaching must be centered on God’s Word.
  • Teaching must focus on the gospel of God’s grace as the primary motivation for obeying Christ.
  • Teaching must be application-oriented, rather than just imparting knowledge.

blog (relationships)Relationships with Others

  • Relationships with others in the church are an essential component for spiritual growth.
  • Learning and relationships should always be in a safe, caring and comfortable environment for children.

blog (serving)Serving

  • We must teach children that everything we have is given to us from God and should be used to bring Him glory.
  • We must provide opportunities for children to express their faith through serving, giving, and reaching out to others both inside and outside the church.

blog (kid friendly)Kid-Relevant Teaching and Programs

  • Teaching must be appropriate to a child’s physical, social, cognitive, and spiritual development.
  • Different children have different learning styles, so we must teach in a variety of creative ways.
  • We must seek to understand a child’s cultural influences and relate to that culture, while never compromising biblical truth.
  • Our standards must meet the level of quality and excellence expected by those outside the church.

Sometimes it is easier to see what a value means when we share a personal story. Some of our volunteers shared a few ways they have seen our values on Sunday morning so I wanted to share them with you.

God-centered, grace-centered teaching:

Recently in my Women’s group study they were discussing the Bible as one big story about God that included the creation, fall, redemption and restoration.  Someone asked if we had ever heard the Bible described in that way and I couldn’t help but say yes, we spent an entire year focusing on creation, fall, redemption and restoration in Crossing Kids last year.  What an amazing gift to the children of our church that they are able to learn deep theological ideas at such a young age so they study the Bible and learn about God through the correct lens.

My husband and I being retired educators are constantly amazed at the wonderful, brain-based lessons that the children are exposed to at the Crossing.  Comparing these lessons to the worksheets our now-grown children had growing up, we just marvel at what these children at the Crossing are being exposed to.  And it’s clear that the children are learning and remembering.  The bible stories along with the concepts about them that these  children retain amaze us each week! Surely the parents of these children are taking the take-home sheets seriously, but the lessons themselves are so memorable!  What a great combination!

Targeting the heart:

The approach that Crossing kids has taken has targeted the heart, but more importantly the souls of the children and kept them interested. Sure we go through motions.  Songs with motions, prayers, and routines.  But all of these, from what I have witnessed, are done with the purpose of praising God.

Relationships with others:

Recently witnessed a volunteer that was with us in 2nd grade and is now in other half of 3rd grade class sought out a girl to give her card that included a note and picture of them together during our slumber party with the 2nd graders last year.  I thought it was such a thoughtful yet simple way to show this young girl that she is loved, thought of and being prayed for.

This is my favorite one.  Every week, we see the same kids, and week after week and we get to know them get to know their parents too, but largely the kids.  We know their strengths and struggles.  We know their moods and quirks.   Most importantly we know their hearts.  Children are so open and trusting, and even more honest.  They allow themselves to be just that when they are with us…themselves.  Even more sometimes I think than they are with Mom and Dad.

Whether you are a new volunteer or have been serving in our ministry for years, it is always good to remind ourselves of why we do what we do. I shared more about this topic here.

Please join us in praying that God would help us accomplish our mission and values and be honored in the process.

Aug 182014
 

08-12 Crossing Fall Fest WEB 476px x 261px 72piRecently we asked our volunteers WHY they serve in Crossing Kids. We asked for one word or a short phrase and got an incredible amount of answers – most were serious and some were funny. Keith shared some of the responses in his announcements on Sunday, but I wanted to share a few more here. We are so thankful to God for each person who serves and uses their gifts and talents to help children learn about Jesus.

elementary pic

Dustin:  Making Jesus known to the next generation.

Hannah said:  To Feel Hope; To Teach Christ; To Grow Love; Be a Model; To Show Care; To Feed and To Be Fed

Rachel said:  Helps me be a better Christian parent. I feel connected to what my kids are learning at church. I can use the lessons at home for deeper understanding.

Aaron said:  Provides a unique glimpse at what God has done and is doing to build his Kingdom—one that I don’t see anywhere else.

walkers pic

Jennifer:  The smiles after the tears!

Joeylynn said:  I volunteer in kids crossing because I LOVE seeing kids begin to grasp God’s story in their little lives

Dee:  Influence, legacy, the future.

Tanya said:  Serving in Crossing Kids is my physical act of worship.

preschool pic

Lauren said:  Love giving back to where my kids are spiritually motivated, fed, and loved.

Jeff said:  Brings me closer to God…I learn so much from the children and co-volunteers and feel God’s presence.

Megann said:  The funny things the kids say!

Katie said:  I volunteer because of what the KIDS teach ME!

Keith said:  I tremendously enjoy hanging out with kids. I believe serving has a large positive impact on my own relationship with Christ.

Sunday Morning at The Crossing

A Crawlers volunteer said: I volunteer for the MOMS.

Jessica said:  I serve in Crossing Kids because children see Christ better than me.

Cara said:  Sunday morning hugs from 2 year old kiddos excited to see me!

Tom:  It’s a blessing to watch children learn to love the Lord.

God has blessed us with amazing people who love, care and teach children every week. There are lots of reasons to serve and lots of ways that God uses that service for his glory.  If you are interested in joining our team, you can sign up here.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)

 

Aug 032014
 

Little Ones (walkers and twos)

Big Idea: God is the Almighty Hero

Memory Verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Mark 12:30

Scripture Focus: The Lions: Daniel Keeps Praying

Lesson Overview:

Kids will hear the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den and learn that God doesn’t want us to worship anything other than Him, even when we love something a lot.

Music:
“I Like To” from One Big Gulp CD
“You Are Great” from Every Day CD

ck1

Preschool (threes-fives)

Summer Big Idea:      God is the Almighty Hero.

Memory Verse:          “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.”- Mark 12:30

Bible Story Focus: The Contest: Elijah Defeats Evil Prophets

Lesson Overview:

Cindy Lou lives in Maine, where she is listening to her friends tell her that God isn’t real.  Cindy Lou doesn’t want to believe them but now she just isn’t sure.  Mighty Miss is going to help Cindy Lou realize that the Bible shows us that God is real through the story of Elijah and the rain.

Circle Time Discussion:

Have you ever seen a real fire? Where? What did it look like?


I Wonder Questions:

I wonder…why was there no rain in the land for a long time?(Because the people worshipped pretend gods).

I wonder…how did God prove to His people that He is real? (He set fire to the wet alter of rocks and He sent rain on the land).

I wonder…who is our Almighty Hero? (God)

Activities: 

  • Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will dance with “fire sticks” to the song, You Are Powerful, as a way of learning that God is the only true God. They will make murals that display God’s power, and discuss that God has power over all things.
  • Children at 9:30 will play a game, and discuss how some people believed that God was not real, but Elijah knew God was real. Children will make a campfire craft to remind them of how God set Elijah’s stones on fire even though they were soaked with water.”

Music:
“Blessed Be Your Name” from The Way I Was Made CD
“I Can See” from I Count on You CD

 ck2
Kindergarten-4th Grade

Psalm 34:1-19: Oh, magnify the Lord with me. 

Focus: God is worthy of our praise.

Summary: Activity: (Science/Music) After reading and discussing Psalm 34:1-19, we will discuss what it means to “magnify” God’s name.  Using John Piper’s illustration, we’ll discuss that this word is like a telescope, not a microscope.  We’re not making something small look big, we’re making a big God look as big as he really is just as a telescope would do to a planet.  When we see how big God really is, our response is worship.  Children will split into groups to listen to “Gloria” by King’s Kaleidoscope which is based on this Psalm for a response time.

Objectives:

  • God is worthy of our praise.
  • When we see who God really is, our response is thanksgiving and worship.

Follow Up Ideas:

  • Read  Psalm 34 twice.
  • Listen to “Gloria” by Kings Kaleidoscope
  • Ask
    • How does the Psalmist feel in today’s Psalm?
    • What does this Psalm tell us about who God is?
    • Illustrate the Psalm.
    • Pray together and thank God for giving us everything we need.

Music
“For Who You Are”by Hillsong Kids
“Better than Life”by Seeds Family Worship
“Worthy, You Are Worthy” by Matt Redman

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5th Grade

Grapple Question: How Can God Be Everywhere?

Kids Learn: God Is Always With Us

Dig Into the Bible: Deuteronomy 4:39; Psalm 139:7-12; Jonah 1:1-4; 2:1-6; Matthew 28:18-20

As a parent, do you sometimes think it would be nice if you could be in two—or more— places at once? You could finish that project at work, have dinner on the table on time, and pick your kids up from all of their activities. You might also finally find some quiet time for God!

You can’t be in more than one place at a time, but thank goodness God can be every- where. Talk with your preteen about all the places you each went today (home, school, work, sports activities, the orthodontist, church, and so on). Even though it’s hard to be- lieve, God was able to be with both of you in all of those places. Pray together and thank God for always being with you.

Jul 222014
 

guat10

Last Sunday as I pulled into the parking lot, I took notice of the construction site around the building in a new way.  This is because a large chunk of my last week was spent in a remote village in the mountains of Guatemala working with a team of people from The Crossing and Guatemala to build a new church.  When you sit down to have a conversation with their pastor, Miguel Anjel, it would be easy to focus on the ways his job is different from ours.  He works in an extremely impoverished area where the basic needs of those he pastors quite often are not met despite the grueling way the people work.  He works in an area where most of the people are Mayan and speak a dialect of Quiche, a language the Bible has yet to be translated in and a language that the people quite often only know how to speak, not read.  He lives on the side of a mountain, a mountain people quite often have to hike up an hour or more just to attend church.

guat2

When I listened to Miguel talk about his church and his people, though, I was more struck by what we have in common.  When Miguel talks about what’s happening in Chuabaj, he talks about how God is changing lives.  He tells stories of people whose hearts and lives and marriages and addictions and pain are being transformed by the Gospel.  When Miguel talks about how the rough structure they currently meet in can no longer contain the flood of people who walk up and down the side of a mountain, he talks of making room for someone else the way others made room for him.  Even organizing a lesson for the children of the church reminded me of Sunday mornings at The Crossing.  Originally we were told to expect 40 children.  When we opened the doors, a stream of 88 made their way into the room!  Our culture, our language, our geography all might be drastically different, but our similarities are all the more impressive.  They too are building to change lives.  They too are making sacrifices, albeit far more drastic, so that others can hear the Gospel.
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You are likely aware that The Crossing financially supports the ministry of ASELSI in Guatemala along with supporting Ron and Sally Widbin.  The Crossing also sponsors two trips each year where The Crossing pays for the supplies the group will need to accomplish what the group will do for the week.  This year a large chunk of the $5,000 went to build a church in Chuabaj.  When Ron and Sally went to purchase the building supplies, they were met with complete disbelief.  Disbelief that a group of Americans would care about what God was doing in their village.  Disbelief that 28 gringos would carry the supplies up and down the hill alongside their Guatemalan brothers and sisters.  Disbelief for how the Lord provided for them through people they had never met.  Disbelief that what was once a lofty dream for the region is slowly becoming a reality.  They were overwhelmed by the generosity of The Crossing, the first church in Guatemala or the U.S., to partner with them in this way.  They prayed for us, they cried tears of joy and amazement, and they even killed their own chickens that they worked so hard to purchase and raise to make all 28 of us an extremely generous lunch.  They gave their very best.  The truth is, the members of this church continually give their very best.  The labor on the church is done 100% through church volunteers who give up a day’s wages to create a place for more people to worship.  Aside from The Crossing’s donation, those same cinder blocks are purchased as people who have very little give what they do have.
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Whether you realize it or not, God is using you to grow His kingdom, not just in Mid-Missouri but all over the world.  He is using you, your talents, your finances to change lives both in Columbia and in places like this remote mountain village in Guatemala.  Over and over again the people told us to share their thanks with those who sent us.  Thank you.
Jul 132014
 

Little Ones 

Big Idea: God is the Almighty Hero

Memory Verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Mark 12:30

Scripture Focus: The Giant: David Kills Goliath

Lesson Overview:

Children will hear the story of David and Goliath.  They will learn that God gave David great strength to defeat the giant because with God’s strength, anything can happen.

Songs
My God is So Big from One Big Gulp CD
I LIke To from One Big Gulp CD

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Preschool 

Summer Big Idea:      God is the Almighty Hero.             

Memory Verse:          “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.”- Mark 12:30

Bible Story Focus: The Judge: Deborah Delivers God’s People

Lesson Overview:

The Tiny-Turtle T-ball team from Cleveland, Ohio has to play the Terrible Turkey’s in the championship game. They are afraid; they want to win but the game will be really hard.  They need a leader. X-Ray will hear the story of Deborah leading God’s people to victory and will learn that God said, “I Will Help You”.

Songs:

The Greatest Commandment from Seeds Family Worship
How Great is Our God from Promiseland Kids (version unavailable but can download a different one here)

Circle Time Discussion:

What do you think a leader is? (A person that may help guide or direct us (ex: coach, teacher, parents).

I Wonder Questions:

I wonder…Why did God’s people need help?
*Mean people were ruling them

I wonder…How did God help his people?
*He sent Deborah to lead God’s people.  Then, God helped the army defeat the Canaanites.

I wonder…What are some hard things you have to do? Will God help you?
*Help your child think of some things then say with them “God will help you”.

Activities
Children at 8:00 and 11:00 will play follow the leader to talk about how Deborah led her people. Then they will do a memory verse coloring sheet to take home. Children at 9:30 will play Simon Says and discuss how Deborah was a good leader. Then they will make a “love” bracelet to remember how Deborah loved and obeyed God.

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Kindergarten-4th Grade

Psalm 139 (Part 2)

Summary: The end of Psalm 139 focuses our attention on the magnitude of God’s thoughts – they would outnumber the grains of sand! The Psalm ends with the request for God to search our hearts for sin and lead us in the way everlasting – that we would know and follow Christ!

Activity: Children will read Psalm 139: 17-18;23- 24, then listen to it put to music as they create a “heartmap.” In their “heartmap,” they will write/draw what is in their hearts on a heart shaped paper: their sins, desires, fears, and questions. They will reflect on this through prayer. Children will then create a sand art cross necklace to remind them that God’s thoughts outnumber the grains of sand and that God’s way (through belief in His Son, Jesus) is the way everlasting. 

Objectives:

·      Know that God’s thoughts are vast and cannot be counted.

·      Know it is God to ask God to search our hearts.

·      Know “the way everlasting” is salvation in Jesus Christ.

 

Psalm 139:17-18; 23-24
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Follow Up Ideas:

·      Read  Psalm 139:17-18; 23-24

·      Listen to “You Are With Me” from The Crossing Music, Forever/Home

·      Ask

o   What are God’s thoughts like?

o   What does the Psalmist ask God to do?

·      Look up the word “everlasting.”  Read Revelation 21:1-7 to learn what the way of everlasting is like for those who trust Jesus as their Savior.

·      Illustrate the Psalm.

·      Pray together and ask God to search and know your hearts.  Ask God to lead you in the way of everlasting.

5th Grade

Grapple Question:  What if Someone’s Weird?

Kids Learn:  Learning Not to Judge Others

Dig Into the Bible:  Matthew 7:1-5; John 4:7-10; Romans 16:17-18; James 2:1-9

Preteens spend a lot of time and energy trying to fit in, which also leads them to compare and judge themselves and others. They see kids as cool or not so cool. And let’s face it—they see some people as weird. But Jesus actually hung out with the people who were considered weird and different. Think of a time your first impression of a “weird” person turned out to be wrong, and share this personal experience with your child. Encourage your child to really get to know people before jumping to conclusions.

 

Jun 152014
 

Little Ones
Big Idea: God is the Almighty Hero

Memory Verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Mark 12:30

Scripture Focus: The Ark: Noah Pleases God

Lesson Overview: Kids will hear the story of Noah’s Ark and how God kept Noah’s family safe. Kids will learn that obeying our parents and God is a way to show love to God.

Songs
Wherever, Whatever
Two by Two

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Preschool

Summer Big Idea: God is the Almighty Hero.

Memory Verse: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.”- Mark 12:30

Bible Story Focus: The Ark: Noah Pleases God

Lesson Overview: Max, a young boy in Pennsylvania, is building a doghouse for his new puppy. The problem is that he is not following instructions. The superhero team must find a way to help Max before his doghouse falls to the ground. Kids will hear the story of Noah’s Ark and how God kept Noah’s family safe. Kids will learn that obeying our parents and God is a way to show love to God.

Circle Time Discussion:

Can you think of a time that you were in a great storm? What did you do to stay safe?

I Wonder Questions:

I wonder…what did God need Noah to do to be safe from the flood? *God needed Noah to obey him; build an ark.

I wonder…why does God give us instructions and tell us to obey? *It keeps us safe and helps us follow him.

I wonder…why is it important to obey our parents and God?
*It shows love to God.

Activities
Children at 8:00 will talk about animal sounds and the animals Noah took on the ark. Then they will make a Noah sticker scene to take home. At 9:30 children will play in a blue rice sensory tub to make it look like water. Then they will make Noah’s Ark crosses to color and take home.

Songs
Greatest Commandment
HERO – not yet available online

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Kindergarten-4th Grade

Week 2—June 15, 2014
Psalm 8: How Majestic is God’s Name
Focus: Creation Glorifies God

Psalm 8—A Psalm of David

Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants     

you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels

and crowned them

with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands

you put everything under their feet: 

all flocks and herds,

and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,

and the fish in the sea,

all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Follow Up Ideas:

·      Read the Psalm twice.

·      Ask

o   How does the Psalmist feel in today’s Psalm?

o   What do we learn about God in this Psalm?

o   What does God do?  What does God create?

·      Illustrate the Psalm by drawing different things that God created.

·      Look Up the word “majestic” in the dictionary.  Talk about what it means that God’s name is “majestic.”

Pray together and praise God for His majestic name and all that He’s created.

Music:
Glory to God
As the Deer
Forever 


5th Grade

Grapple Question: What if Someone Won’t Forgive Me?

Kids Learn: Obedience and Being Responsible for Your Actions

Dig Into the Bible: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 66:16-20; Proverbs 14:9; James 5:16

Nothing feels worse than apologizing for something and then not receiving forgiveness. do this fun activity with your child: Find a die from a board game in your home. Have your child announce a direction (forward, left, or backward, for example), and then roll the die to see how many steps to take in that direction. do this about five times and see where you end up! Point out that your child could control part of the activity—which direction to take—but not how quickly you got there. In the same way, you can ask for forgiveness, but you can’t control whether someone will forgive you or not.