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That’s Riverside

This is a sign that hangs outside the chapel building @ Riverside Bible Camp (the location of our summer Youth Camp).


OREO Bible Quiz

At the end of the school year, we have what we call the “OREO Bible Quiz” in Main Street. It’s a blend of an end-of-the-year party along with assessing what the students learned as we navigated through the stories of the Bible the past year. And we leverage the ever-popular OREO cookie to accomplish this.

This year there were 50 questions in the quiz on the stories we covered in Main Street – Year 2. We divided them into two teams. We would ask a question, then whoever stood up first on one of the teams got to try and answer the question. If they get it right, that person comes up front and grabs one OREO cookie out of the box and places it on a table or chair. If the person gets it wrong, then it goes to the other team, and back and forth until one team gets it right. When a team places 5 OREO cookies on their respective table or chair up front, then the whole team gets to come up and grab 1 OREO cookie to eat (we also had milk in the back of the room if anyone wanted to compliment their OREO eating experience the right way!). When a team places the next 5 cookies (which would total 10), then the team gets to grab 2 cookies. All in all, the students ate roughly 5-6 OREO cookies that morning. Not too much!

If my memory serves me well (and sometimes it doesn’t!), we have done this tradition for the last 5 years. The students really like it and the tradition has grown to become a highly anticipated event at the end of the year.

400 Years of the King James Bible (infographic)

I’m only a month late on this.

HT ChurchMag

Bible Verses @ Followers | 2010-2011

Memorizing Bible Verses @ Home

I credit this to my Mom! When my brother Brad and I were young, my Mom would help us memorize Bible verses. We had no idea at the time what an impact knowing these Bible verses would be.

So, drawing on the tradition of my family, in our home we’ve been trying to do some of the same. Right before Easter I knew that our senior Pastor was going to be speaking on John 3:16, so I took some butcher block paper and a Sharpie and proceeded to write the verse on it and then taped it to the wall in our hallway. Once or twice a day we would stop by the verse on the wall, pause, and say it together. When the girls were in church on Easter Sunday and Mark started preaching on John 3:16, the girls heads whipped up at me in shock that someone else would know this verse we’ve been learning at home! It was a neat connection piece.

Then we added another verse, Ephesians 4:32, because they have been learning what it means to forgive as they offend and annoy each other as sisters. Fascinating!

Conspiracy of Absalom (story & video)

Conspiracy of Absalom - y2_w25

Absalom kills his half-brother, Amnon, then goes into hiding. After 3 years he returns, woos people to like him (and not his dad, King David) and then proceeds to perform a coup. King David flees, but eventually returns after his commander, Joab, finds and kills young Absalom.

Key Lesson of the Story? Sin has consequences.

Click Here to access the graphic novel “narrated” version of this story, otherwise, the LIVE teaching video is below:

Books of the Bible | First Ten (video)

This past Wednesday @ msy YOUTH, we did a blitzkrieg through the first ten books of the Bible: Genesis through 2 Samuel. We used a Skit Guy video entitled: “The Skinny on the Bible” to introduce the evening, then we did 5 books at a time. We showed a video segment from JellyTelly for each of the books of the Bible. The videos are meant for a younger audience, so I was pushing the envelope a little using them with middle school students, but it worked out great. The videos did a great job of keeping their interest as we plowed through 10 of them.

While the students were watching the videos they had to write down some key words for each book of the Bible. After we did the first 5, then we had students go and write some of those key words on posterboard that we had taped around the room, one for each of the 10 books of the Bible. Then the students watched the second set of 5, the went and wrote on the posterboards. It was a neat exercise that took up our entire programming time, but it worked remarkably well.

Some of the students realized their names came from the Bible. It was funny, because after all the students wrote on the various posterboards, in order to personalize things, we had them pick one book of the Bible that was their favorite (of the 10 we went through) and write their name (and circle it, so it was different that the key words) on the posterboards. Students whose names were in certain books ended up putting their name on that one!

Here are the links to the JellyTelly videos on YouTube:

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible (video)

The Kingdom Story

a come-from-behind-story of the King

Once upon a time, there was a King. Everything the King did was good. The people in his kingdom adored him and followed him as their King. The King found time to spend with each person in his kingdom. He loved everybody no matter what they were like. He had but one rule… This rule was put in place so that his people would have life. If they violated this rule, they would suffer the consequences—death. The choice was theirs.

One day, an enemy of the King snuck into the kingdom. He deceived the people of the kingdom by saying that they would not die if they disobeyed the one rule. They believed this cleverly disguised enemy of the King. The people broke the one rule. They chose death, not life.

How do you think the King felt when he found out that the people he loved disobeyed the one rule?

Probably sad.
Maybe angry.
Perhaps bummed.

He loved his people and did not want them to experience death. But the King was true to his word. The people violated the one rule and so they must suffer the consequences of their actions. They were banished from the King’s kingdom and died.

Read the rest of this entry

Bible Verse Hand Motions (video)

We have done this a lot the past couple of years with the Followers. We’ve combined kinetic movements with Scripture and it really makes memorizing fun and engaging. I’m curious if it sticks with the kids long-term, however; especially if you add new ones every week. Anyway, here are some tips to doing your own hand motions:

Tips for Bible Verse Hand Motions

1. Keep it simple enough for preschoolers. Each symbol should correspond to a phrase. Sign language can be helpful but is often too complicate for most kids to retain long term.

2. Make them fun. A little playfulness makes the whole exercise more enjoyable. In the example above the phrase “with all your soul” was supposed to be acted out with great enthusiasm. We even had children volunteer to see who had the most passion in their soul movements.

3. Re-use the same movements. Many Bible memory verses for kids will include similar concepts. Consistent hand motions will help with recall. We typically will point to heaven when speaking of God but make a nail sign when the word is Jesus.

4. Challenge the kids to invent their own. I try to include at least one motion for each verse where the kids get to pick their movement. In the example above the phrase “with all your might” could be rendered as a karate punch, muscle pose, or even dance move. I offered these options when kids first learned the verse.

5. Get ideas from others. You can find some on YouTube (here and here and here) but often your Sunday School teachers are the best source for these motions. Assign verses to different classes or small groups, then have them teach the whole children’s ministry.

6. Write them down or make a Facebook video for parents. Thee Bible memory hand movements are a great take home activity. Send a note with motion explanations so kids can teach them to their parents. You could also upload examples on video to you church Facebook page.

HT Ministry-To-Children

David and Jonathan (story & video)

David and Jonathan - y2_w19

David is successful in whatever Saul sent him to do, then Saul got jealous and tried to kill David a number of times. In the process, David and Saul’s son Jonathan became best friends and looked out for each other.

This is the story of that friendship…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

to make God’s kind of world?

@ msy YOUTH this past school year, we have been thinking through the statement:

“The Bible is about God continually working to fix this world through his kind of special people in order to make his kind of world.”

We’ve interacted with this statement by walking ourselves through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel. We learned how humanity came about, fell into sin, and needed to be redeemed. God started his redemption plan through his covenant with Abraham, which initiated the “special people of God” or his representatives on earth to show the world what he was like. God was going to “fix” this world through his special representatives in order to re-make his world.

This has been somewhat heady for middle school students, though we have had fun in the process. Right before the Christmas break we talked about how the author of Samuel was comparing and contrasting the boy Samuel with Eli’s boys, Hophni & Phinehas. It was an either or kind of thing.

I thought about the simplicity of that, and, conversely, the complexity of what we’ve been doing so far. I felt like we needed to take a sort of time-out to talk through what “God’s kind of world” looked like.

I came across a series entitled “Two-Faced” from for middle school students. This series perfectly fit the simplicity of explaining what “God’s kind of world” looked like. And to this point we have done the 3 out of the 4 lessons so far.

As you can see from the graphic at the beginning of this post, we have two posters hung at the front of our room. One is labeled “Flesh” while the other is labeled “Spirit”.

The first lesson brought the topic of gossiping vs. encouraging (flesh vs. spirit), the second talked about the issue of stealing vs. giving (selfishness vs. generosity), and the third relayed the two opposing notions of lying and truth-telling.

These last 3 Wednesday night conversations have really brought some concrete and clearly labeled adjectives to what “God’s kind of world” looks like.

VBS 2011 @ Hayward Wesleyan

We are planning VBS (Vacation Bible School) for July 11-15, 2011 @ Hayward Wesleyan Church from 6:oo-8:3op (for preschool children potty-trained up through grade 5). Web landing page for future info:

For as long as I can remember we have used Group Publishing‘s curriculum for VBS. And while it has served us well over the years, I am ready for something different. I noticed it last year as I was planning for it. It was easy. I didn’t take much work. I knew the format and layout and expectations and ins and outs. And while this is typically a good thing, for me it is not. It lost it’s “allure” for me. It was predictable and boring.

If you’re not used to me (and how I manage things as a children’s pastor), I’m usually always writing, crafting and arranging my own stuff. I don’t trust curriculum companys to think for me, nor minister to Hayward Wesleyan’s children. Now I know you have to make curriculum your own and Group’s curriculum is just a shell, but for me I needed a change.

Typically we would just ALWAYS choose whatever “theme” and “content” Group had to offer. And with this year’s Group theme of “Pandamania: Where God is Wild About You” it helped me make an already easy decision even easier (I hope any church who uses this curriculum the best and hope it communicates the Word of God to children).

So with freedom of choice on my plate what are we planning on using this year? Inside Out and Upside Down on Main Street from Standard Publishing. Three things I like about this curriculum:

  1. It has to do with living the “Jesus-kind-of-way”, which is inside out and upside down.
    This is a topic which I talk and emphasize constantly with the children (and youth) @ Hayward Wesleyan: if you want to live “like Jesus” basically do the opposite of your natural human reaction (or intention) is and that opposite is usually the “Jesus-kind-of-way”. I’m intrigued to see how this is done with this VBS curriculum and excited to see not only the content, but also the effects after VBS.
  2. The theme compliments what our “environment” already is: Main Street!
    Again, for those of you unfamiliar with the children’s ministry @ Hayward Wesleyan, it is called Main Street on Sunday mornings. Over the last several years we have slowly tried to decorate and “theme” the “Main Street Hallway” and rooms. My (secondary) hope with this curriculum is to help propel us to complete some of our decor and leave this “temporary” theme, permanent.
  3. It’s different.
    Like I’ve already said, for me it’s going to be different and I am excited about that. Not only because it presents a new challenge, but I will have to redo our material and re-communicate and re-structure better. I think the way the flow works with this curriculum better fits our time frame and our expectations. I’m also excited to see how the volunteers and directors do with this new curriculum. They are always up for new challenges!


“The Bible” Motions

This year in our Middle School Youth group we have been journeying through the Bible. Our journey is chronicled on our website – click here.

One of the creative elements to this overview of Scripture is the motions we attribute to each segment of stories as we move progressively and chronologically through the Bible. Here’s what we have so far:

Story of the Ark (story & video)

y2_w13 - Story of the Ark

Eli and his two son, Hophni and Phinehas, get judged by God (according to Samuel’s) conversation with the Lord the previous chapter. Along with their judgment comes the Israelites’ as well as the Philistines’.

I wonder if we treat God like He can be contained in a box?