Blog Archives

Kids and the Gospel (video)

I’m a children’s pastor, so I’m supposed to emphasize the value and importance of children in God’s kingdom. But I’m in good company. Jesus did as well (actually, I did as well, Jesus was first!).

via Ministry-To-Children
source YouTube


Need Help Starting a Conversation With Kids?

For some of us, it has been a long time since we were a kid. And in the words of an epistle writer, most adults have put their childish ways behind them. So how do you converse with children (especially today’s children!)? What do you say? What questions do you ask?

This is a great resource for starting a conversation with a kid: 100 Questions to Start Conversations

HT Ministry-To-Children

Memories | Kids Camp 2011 (video)

Jessie is a high school student who has helped out for years @ Kids Camp in the Crafts arena. She took some great pictures over the week of Kids Camp 2011 that we used to show the campers on the last morning of camp.

via YouTube

Thursday @ Kids Camp 2011 (video)

In light of “rainy” Wednesday, Thursday @ Kids Camp 2011 was incredible. It turned out to be a cool day so we didn’t do Water Wars in the morning like we had planned, but we ended up in the rec field and Mr. Dixon led the campers in Pom-Pom Pull-Away, Mob Tag, and a couple of Noodle Races. We still pulled out the Slip -n- Slide for those die-hard swimming fans!

Thursday evening we did the Dodgeball Tournament and Campfire w/ Smores (always a hit)! John cabin dominated the boys and Eve cabin won the girls, and John cabin won the showdown between the girls and the boys! Then John cabin went on to beat the staff (with a little help from me turning things in their favor… JAILBREAK!).

via YouTube

Talent Show @ Kids Camp 2011 (videos)

Normally we do the Kids Camp Talent Show on Thursday night, but due to the rain we moved it up to Wednesday night. The students always seem to pull out funny and off the wall acts and performances. We were able to catch most of them on video. Enjoy!

Pig Sweaking
Laik R. performs his lifelong dream!

Keys to the Kingdom DANCE
Brady C. wows the crowd with an impressive dance number!

I’m a Little Tea Pot RAP
Suzanne F. and Laik R. bring a new twist on an old song.

Plastic Cup Ping Pong
Cody and Zak play a round of invisible ping pong on stage!

You Are My All in All
Lindsay and her cabin sing a song on the guitar and do some motions.

Oboe Solo

Leg Flexibility Tricks
Gabe K. shares a very “flexible” talent!

The Invisible Bench Skit
An invisible bench makes an “appearance”!

Dropped Skit
I don’t know the name of the skit, but a girl gets “dropped” in it!

Awesome God
Lindsay plays the guitar and some campers sing and share some motions to “Awesome God”.

Tuesday @ Kids Camp 2011 (videos)

The second day @ Kids Camp 2011 tends to run pretty smoothly. Campers are settling in to the routine, they’ve got some exploring still to do, games are fun and exciting, swimming is awesome, etc. It helped that the weather was incredible! I got a sunburn on the top of my head (which isn’t unheard of!). It was a great day!

via YouTube (1), YouTube (2)

Monday @ Kids Camp 2011 (video)

This is the recap video for the first day of Kids Camp 2011. It’s been an interestingly good week so far. Good because we have 78 campers who are excited to be here along with a capable staff of 35-40 (I forget the exact number). Good because my friend Suzanne Fisher is speaking/teaching us this week using the Jump Curriculum from Orange. Interesting because we’ve already lost a couple of campers due to homesickness. Interesting because gained two more campers on Tuesday. Interesting because the weather in Northern Wisconsin has been questionable over the last couple of months, but it seems like this week of camp has turned out to be gorgeous!

via YouTube

Tweeting @ Kids Camp 2011

Okay, so I’m gonna try and experiment. The Twitter.

I don’t use Twitter very much because the people in our area (and the teenagers) do not tend to use it. I do have a Twitter account (@jdmavis), but it is mostly filled with my blog posts that some people find helpful to receive through the Twitter feed.

This summer, however, I plan to use the Twitter for Kids Camp 2011. In an effort to connect with parents back home who might want to read and hear (and possibly) see what their kids are up to, I plan to post and update thoughts and happenings @ Kids Camp.

So if you want to “follow” me on the Twitter and get updates throughout the week from Kids Camp 2011, click on @jdmavis (I’ve already started!).

Speaking Life into Your Kids

This is another great blog post from about speaking life into your kids:

I believe that parents hold the greatest, most powerful and life altering tool in our possession…


Not sure if you read the Bible much, but here is what is says about the tongue…

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  Proverbs 18:21


  • SAY YES:  I say “NO” to my kids because it is the easy, simple and if I am totally honest, “NO” just requires less of me. Speak life to your kids by saying “YES” this week.  Try it; say “YES” to every reasonable & most unreasonable requests.
  • ASK HOW YOU CAN SERVE THEM: Try this with your most challenging kiddo, it will transform the relationship.
  • PRAY: Every day this week pray over your kid’s right before they leave for school.
  • LISTEN: God could be trying to get your attention or send a message to you through your kids.  Stop what you are doing, sit down and really listen.
  • ADMIT YOUR MISTAKE: I blew it big time this weekend by taking my kids to a movie that they just should not have seen.  As soon as we walked in the house I gathered Team Sprad together and admitted my mistake.  Parents, you will blow it…its okay be real w/ your kiddos and let them know.
  • DISCIPLINE THEM IN LOVE: I get a ton of things wrong in parenting, but this is one I get right.  I take a considerable amount of time in the discipline process to love and protect their hearts.
  • WRITE THEM A LETTER: The picture above is a copy of the letter I wrote my daughter for Christmas.
  • BE SOFT: Lower your tone and use life giving words.
  • IRRATIONAL GRACE: Cole came home last month trying to explain why he made a bad grade in Science.  I simply wrapped my arms around him, looked him in the eye and said “if you brought home a 100 I wouldn’t love you anymore.”  When you kids expect discipline, try love and grace.
  • I BELIEVE IN YOU: Your kids have to hear this from you weekly.  I believe in you because you’re a person of your word.  I believe in you because…

Residual Impact of Small Group Ministry on Children

My friend, Jesse Smith, wrote a great blog post about the impact their weekly small group has on his kids.

I really resonated with it because our small group has been really impactful for our family as well. My kids really look forward to spending time with their friends at small group. Our small group’s kids are a little younger than Jesse’s because we still pay babysitters to watch them while we are talking. The sitters we have are amazing!

A couple of weeks ago, when the parents went downstairs to get their kids, we witnessed a storytelling time. The babysitters had been telling them the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus and they were live acting everything. The kids were all playing different roles and parts from an angel, to a donkey, to the characters of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. It was incredible!

What Can Adults Learn From Kids (TED video)

About this talk:

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

Source TED

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do (TED video)

In our increasingly safety-conscious and bubble-wrapped world, this presenter defies the mainstream. Think about it: as you watch the video above, don’t you find it offensive and wrong at times? I mean, giving a kid a knife to play with?! Fire?! A spear?! What kind of a parent would do such a thing?

Gever Tully takes the listener through some of these wildly unpopular ideas in this TED Video that you can decide for yourself: Is our world too safe? Or is our world not “dangerous” enough?

The 5 dangerous things are:

  1. Play with fire
  2. Own a pocket knife
  3. Throw a spear
  4. Deconstruct appliances
  5. Break the Digital Millennium Copyright Law / Drive a car

Update: There is a blog entitled Fifty Dangerous Things that Gever Tully and friends write at.

Parenting and Some Spray Paint (or Water)

This picture is from, where people, you know, post secrets. I got the idea for this post from Parents | Celebrate Your Kids.

As a parent myself, I wondered how I would have responded to seeing this on my garage floor initially. Would I praise and celebrate? (probably not) Would I scold and yell? (yep, more likely!)

This picture, however, makes me stop and think about what we as parents get mad and frustrated at, instead of looking beyond “the messes” and into the creativity and celebrating our children. I know it is much easier for me to “get on” to my daughters when they spill water on the floor while attempting to fill their water cup at the dispenser on the refrigerator… instead of praising their independence and ability to try and fail, try and succeed at performing basic human tasks, like getting water for oneself.

Maybe it’s perspective. One way parents look at these situations is that they are inconvenient, messy, and a teachable moment of what not to do. We get mad, scold, and tell them not to do that again. Another way to look at these situations are training for life. What if our children are not learning to not spill water, but rather “when I mess up, it is normal to get yelled at”? Don’t we want our children to learn that it is okay to mess up? And isn’t it our job as parents to help our children learn life’s basic (and later, complicated) tasks in an environment that is okay with them making mistakes to learn these things?

Thinking about these things helps me to parent with much more grace. It also reminds me of my ultimate job as a parent: to train these “little, dependent people” to be “big, independent people” someday.

A further side benefit? As a parent, I’m not as stressed then about some water on the floor (or spray paint on the garage floor).

Technology and Us (and our kids)

The television. Also known as: the TV. Love it or hate it, the TV has been an influential force in the last hundred years. From its early, crude transmitted silhouette images, to black and white with no sound, and then eventually sound, and later into color and recently high definition sets that hang on the wall, the TV has radically impacted the transmission of information and entertainment. Only since the Internet has a technology had a remarkable impact on the advancement and development of technology.

But how to use such a technology wisely? With all the negative and disturbing images coming across the screen of a television, how do we as people (and parents) protect ourselves (and our kids) from “seeing” and “hearing” things that help or hurt us. This same question of wisdom can also be applied to the use of the Internet (or anything for that matter).

How do we use technology wisely? And particularly as a person who follows Jesus and wants to live out the kingdom of God in this world… what does it practically look like to use such resources wisely?

A recent post @ Engadget revealed that kids watch too much TV (shocker, I know!). What is it about TV and technology that seems to enable parents to use it to “babysit” their children. I know for me, it is “easier” to parent when my kids are watching a movie in the other room. Even with other “screens” available (i.e. iPod Touches, iPads, iPhones, Blackberrys, tablets, laptops, advertisement screens at Walmart next to displays, etc.), we (and my kids) are bombarded with technology and information.

I’m not saying technology is bad or inherently evil. It isn’t. It’s how we use them, how we implicitly regulate them, that makes its use good or bad.

So, how do we wisely use technology?

I wonder if the answer to that question lies in what each person thinks about the use of free time or the attention (or inattention) to human interaction (going out with friends, spending face-to-face time with your kids, etc.). And maybe moderation. I’m reminded that with anything, be it food, sports, drinks, video games, or gardening, one can go to the extreme of spending all of their time (free or borrowed) on things that throw every other thing in their life off balance. The opposite of moderation would be excessiveness.

So, what is excessive when it comes to technology (or anything else for that matter)?

LIVE Worship Videos for Children

I’ve been working on uploading some videos of the kids @ Hayward Wesleyan singing the various worship/music videos we use to sing during VBS and Kids Camp this past summer. While you can visit the Vimeo video channel for LIVE Worship Videos for Children anytime now and in the future for more and more updated content, here are a couple I’ve got so far: