Tag: antioch kids ministry

Making the Most of Your Christmas Break // Kids Edition

The Christmas season is a time of celebration, but it can often be a time of stress and anxiety for both children and parents.

CHECK OUT THESE TIPS FROM OUR KIDS MINISTRY FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHRISTMAS BREAK:

  • Interview your spouse and older kids // Find out what makes Christmas seem like Christmas to your spouse and to your older kids. What is their favorite thing your family does during Christmas? How are they feeling about upcoming visits with extended family? What special things would they like to make time during their school break (think hobbies, visits with friends, fun times as a family)? What are some ways they can intentionally serve and bless other family members during this special time together? This can help you have the conversations your family needs and focus the way you spend your time over the holidays.
  • Make the most of your car time // If you are taking a road trip, plan to download or borrow intentional, meaningful, fun audio books you can listen to together. Make sure you have your family’s favorite Christmas music on hand as well so you can all sing along together. These create shared experiences that draw you together. Through the years, we have found our kids sharing inside jokes from these books or singing these shared songs as we cook together in the kitchen.
  • Make connections // Proactively plan ahead with your spouse about how to facilitate time with Jesus for each family member while you are with extended family. Whether you are staying with relatives or hosting them, your rhythms and spaces change, and you’ll want to plan intentionally so that time with Jesus actually happens. Also, find time to pull away in the morning and evening, both as a couple and as a nuclear family, even just for a few minutes. This time can allow you to help your children sort through family dynamics or talk in honoring but honest ways about places where your values differ from those of extended family members.
  • Keep food prep shared and simple // Consider taking time in the days leading up to Christmas to spend unpressured time in the kitchen with your kids, enjoying the process of baking and letting them explore and develop their skills, whatever their ability level. As you prepare holiday meals, break tasks down and figure out what each child can do. Even if it is chaotic, working together in the kitchen can be a time of great joy, togetherness and memory-making. If you tend to make similar things each year, making a master grocery list for the week of Christmas will save you time when you pull it back out each year. Our list includes all the ingredients for Christmas cookies, our favorite Christmas Eve chili (keeping it simple), candy for stockings, breakfast for Christmas morning, a special Christmas dinner and supplies for s’mores.
  • Simple gifts // Consider giving and/or letting your kids contribute toward an amount of money you will give to an organization like World Vision. Once you settle on the amount, give them the World Vision catalog and let them know they must agree on what to give. Our kid “committee” spent a long time around the dining room table deliberating and persuading each other, laboring over which was more important – clean water or vaccinations, chickens or goats. They eventually agreed and were very excited about what they were able to give. This process also helps them keep a perspective of thankfulness in the midst of a commercialized Christmas culture.
  • Have a Giving Day // Before Christmas, our kids take some time to clean out their closets and toy shelves. We encourage our kids to think about things they would like to give that would bless another child, not just their unwanted junk. Thinning out their belongings and thinking about what would bless others is another way to cultivate thankfulness and generosity. It makes more impact on kids’ hearts to do this before they receive their Christmas gifts, so they are giving without knowing what they will receive.
  • It’s Classified // Arm your kids with this simple phrase. It will enable you to draw them into gift-giving without having them divulge secrets or feel compelled to resort to lying. You could take one child at a time on a mission to find gifts for another child or other family members. When siblings try to extract hints from this child, all they have to say (repeatedly) is, “It’s classified.” Drawing your kids into searching for each other’s gifts can help them grow in thoughtfulness and love for their siblings.
  • The real deal // Take time on Christmas morning to gather your kids, read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sing some worshipful Christmas carols together.

Most of all, enjoy Jesus together as a family. You can take these steps to keep your family connected and focused on beholding the King of Kings with wonder through the Christmas season!

By Betty Lewis – Infant and Toddlers Pastor

Teaching Kids to be Thankful

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Being thankful is the way to go; in every season, in every circumstance. One of the best things we can do for our kids is instill a value for thankfulness within them. Why? Well, the Bible promises us that when we pray and give thanks, the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds (Philippians 4:6-7). We want that for our kids.

Below is a thankfulness activity you can do with your kids this week. Print one per child, or fill it out as a family. Together, you can have an incredible week of thanks.

Download My Week of Thanks

 

ACTIVITY GUIDE

  • Start by reading 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Ask, “What does it mean to give thanks in all circumstances?” Explain how this mean giving thanks in every situation, whether good or bad.
  • Have each person in your family share one thing they are thankful for. Encourage your kids as they answer; being thankful (even if it’s for ice cream) is obeying God, which pleases Him greatly!
  • Fill out the “My Week of Thanks” template (one per person or one for the family to share). When finished, take some time to pray, thanking God for the many ways He has blessed your family.
  • Did your child say he or she was thankful for a specific person? Make sure you let that person know!

By Antioch Kids Ministry

Making Back to School a Win – Kids Edition

It’s that time of year again! Summer is winding down and the kids are heading back to school. For most families, this can be an exciting time of year, and for some it can also be a time where our already busy schedules become even busier.  As parents of five kids who are all under the age of 12, we too are in that season of life where we feel pulled in every direction.  Sometimes we need to slow down and just enjoy each other, even during the school week!

Here are a few suggestions on how to do that and enjoy this time as our kids go back to school:

 

1. Be Intentional:

I love to come up with ideas and then come up with the plans to put them to good use. The problem is- I fail to execute them the way I had envisioned. I know I’m probably the only one with this issue, so please feel free to skip to the next point. In all seriousness, you aren’t the only one! Thinking about doing something that promotes improvement makes me feel great, but actually doing it makes me feel awesome. Parenting kids is not much different. Looking for the small win is better than going for the grand slam. If leading a Bible study for 45 minutes each morning with your kids is unrealistic, and it is for me, then don’t try it. Be intentional with whatever you are doing. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. If teaching your kids the Bible is what you want to accomplish, how about starting with a family memory verse every week, or every month? Post it on the fridge and talk about it on the way to school or to soccer practice during the week. You’ll be amazed at the small win that will come from being intentional in this way.

2. Stay Connected:

It sounds obvious, but the busy bee is always ‘doing’ something. If we are not intentional about connecting with our loved ones, then we will fill up our schedule with everything else. A simple solution is to schedule a regular time to connect with the family. I’ve found that connecting around things you normally don’t do on a daily basis can have the greatest impact. Perhaps a game night on Mondays, an evening at the park on Thursdays or going out for breakfast on Saturdays. There’s no need to make it complicated, pick something that you can commit to as a family and stick to it. All of you will have this scheduled connection time to look forward to in the midst of a hectic school week.

3. Be Spontaneous:

Being spontaneous can serve as a great opportunity to intentionally connect with your family too. In general, kids love it when parents decide on doing something fun that was unexpected. With the new school year comes a lot of routine, it’s okay to be spontaneous every now and then. It adds some mystery and excitement back into the routine. Deviating from a structured schedule can help to slow the pace down which lets you focus on what really matters. My kids love it when I come home from work and take them out for a surprise ice cream trip. Even waking up on Saturday morning and taking the family for an impromptu hike or a bike ride is fun and promotes opportunities for your kids to open up and connect.

4. Pray Together:

Lastly, but most important, take every opportunity to pray with each other. Through both intentional and spontaneous prayer, you’ll find your family growing closer together. Connecting through prayer will help to keep the school year in perspective. Kids will have plenty of things to pray for throughout the year; such as friendships, school work, sports and health just to name a few. If you drive your kids to school or walk them to the bus stop, take those moments to pray with them. Taking this opportunity to focus on prayer and align our desires with God’s, will knit your hearts together more effectively than anything else. Colossians 4:2 is a reminder to devote ourselves to prayer. Being obedient to this will showcase the power and importance of prayer in our daily lives.

I hope you will find ways to be intentional, connect and add some spontaneity to your family’s routine this school year, and doing all this while being devoted to prayer and keeping Jesus at the center. I trust that the Lord will meet you in this effort as you grow closer together and to Him. Be blessed and enjoy the school year!

By Ben Glen – Kids Pastor

Sunday Recap in Pictures

Our kids helped us out with the services yesterday, and we had a blast! We are so thankful for our Kids Ministry, and we’re believing for more of our little ones to know the love of Jesus! Our new kids building creates a greater space for us to equip and encourage the next generation. We hope to break ground on our new kids building on March 1st, and we encourage you to jump in with us as we take the month of February to give sacrificially. If you would like to invest in our project, donate online or text ANTIOCH to 444999.

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MORNING:

 

A Gift For A King

Ask almost anyone and they would say, we are in the Christmas season. There are parties, lights, shopping and so many festivities. I went to Toys-R-US and Walmart yesterday. I know, right? What was I thinking? It is crazy out there.

Ask anyone the meaning of Christmas and you will get varied answers. I googled “The Christmas Story” and what popped up was the 1983 holiday movie about the exploits of Ralphi Parker and his desire for the “Red Ryder air rifle.”

It seems Christmas has been relegated to being all about the perfect gift. What does one buy the person who has everything? But aren’t we missing something? When I read the first Christmas story the wise men were bringing gifts to Jesus who was, ironically, the gift to humankind. Why did we stop bringing gifts to Jesus? This past week I think I saw what bringing gifts to Jesus would look like.

The Single Moms Ministry is hosting a Christmas party for our single moms and children. Since it is a new ministry there is no budget to offset the expense. We prayed, asked and saw the body of Christ come together! We have food, gifts for the moms, gifts for all 36 kids and decorations. We have door prizes for the moms and six kiddos who win a door prize are going to take home a brand new bicycle. I am amazed! That is what Christmas is all about.

THIS IS THE BODY OF CHRIST REFLECTING THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

James tells us that “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this; to visit orphans, and widows in their distress…(James 1:27).  In Leviticus, the law reminds us to “save some of the harvest and fruit for the poor and stranger” (Leviticus 19:9). I think the author of Hebrews sums it up best, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” 13:6

Giving gifts is a great tradition as long as we remember the message behind the gift giving. When we give gifts to the widows, orphans, elderly, single moms and dads or the poor, I believe it is as if we are bringing our gift to the King.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every family at Antioch blessed another family in some way? Not all gifts are purchased with money. Parents can make gifts with their kids or visit the sick or shut-ins. When I was a pre-teen and teenager I would visit the shut-ins from our church. Sometimes I would play the piano and sing, sometimes I would read to them and other times we would simply talk. Jesus said, “When you’ve done it to the least of these my brethren you’ve done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40).


CHRISTMAS CRAFT:

A fun way to give to another family is by making Christmas cards to give out. Check out this simple craft you can do as a family.

By Thresa Lawson – Children’s Pastor & Single Moms Ministry

Fall is for Family

Fall is my favorite season because it reminds me of the weather in my home country:   breezy, sunny and cool. You see, I am originally from Costa Rica and the weather is pretty cool all year long. So when fall comes around, Texas feels that much more like home to me. When I first came here, I had never seen a tree without leaves or experienced snow and winter weather.

It was an amazing experience, but it was hard because we were in a strange place trying to adapt to the new culture. When I look back to those days I remember growing closer to my family in the sweet times we spent together with Jesus in His Word by the fire place.

Likewise, life throws us so many difficulties, but we can rest assured that God is in control.  We can trust that He is taking care of us.  His Word is clear in Psalm 46:1.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” — Psalms 46:1

God reminded my family and me that He is for us in good times and bad times. He is faithful to keep His promises to us. My family and I love the Lord, and we have all adapted to the American culture. When fall rolls around I feel the good memories rushing back and I remember how we grew closer together, we loved deeper and we cared more for each other during that time.

In Response:

So, in honor of that time, I want to share some activities you can enjoy with your family this fall. As you try these activities, I encourage you take a moment and look at your kids smiling faces, hold your spouse’s hand a little tighter, feel the breeze on your face and thank the Lord for all His goodness. Look around at the trees and creation and admire the beauty God has made for you, for your family, for everyone and fill your heart with gratitude.

Fall Family Activities:

An Update from the Kids Ministry

Every few weeks, the Kids Ministry does something called “Remember and Celebrate.” On these Sundays, we intentionally take time to remember everything God has taught us and celebrate the ways we have seen Him move in our lives. In the elementary area, we often do something called “Campfire Testimonies.” Kids come up to the stage to share testimonies as a campfire crackles on the screen behind them. Here are a few recent campfire testimonies:

We kicked off the summer with our annual kids’ camp at Latham Springs. There were several salvations, more than 50 kids recommitted their lives to Jesus and many of our kids heard God for the first time.

The kids learned to run to Jesus instead of responding to their flesh in daily circumstances.

Camp happened several months ago, and kids are still sharing testimonies about ways they are choosing Jesus over their flesh.

A 4th grade girl made the decision to accept Jesus a few weeks ago, and she immediately expressed interest in getting baptized! We are excited to continue walking alongside her and her family as she learns what it means to follow Jesus.

God is also doing things among the families in our ministry. We’ve heard stories from our kids about God moving powerfully in the lives of family members that are in prison. He is healing family members from eating disorders and speaking purpose over our kids. Two of our kids were asking God what they should do one day, and He told them to start an animal rescue house in their backyard. They have since helped rescue a few animals since then because of the way they are obeying God!

Psalm 77:11 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”

Our kids are learning how to do this at a young age! If you have kids in our ministry, we encourage you to ask them what God is doing in their lives. You’ll be amazed at all they have to say.

IN RESPONSE:

Would you continue to pray for the Kids Ministry this school year? We are believing for our kids to continue to know the goodness of God and follow Him for the rest of their lives! Want to see what God is doing in our kids firsthand? You can sign up today to volunteer with us!

Each week, we encourage you to check out the back of your bulletin for great resources for you and your family to enjoy. Take a look at some of the resources we’ve shared and be on the look out for more:

  • 1. “What’s in the Bible?” with Buck Denver: This DVD series is great for the whole family as Buck Denver goes through the stories of the Bible and brings the biblical truths to life. To learn more, head over to whatsinthebible.com.
  • 2. All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible by Herbert Lockyer: Explore how God’s various names in the Bible point to His character in this study that is great for the whole family.
  • 3. JellyTelly Parents Devotionals: JellyTelly provides devotionals, movies and other great resources for the whole family to enjoy together
  • 4. Starry Waco Family Counseling Services: Starry Waco offers affordable counseling and encouragement for families. Check out their website for more information.

By Thresa Lawson

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Jesus Loves the Little Children and So Do We

When Laura and I were first married, we invested in the kids in our local neighborhood and in the church on Sunday morning. We heard a statistic that 80 percent of adults who knew Jesus came to know Him before they were 18 years old, the majority of those coming to Jesus when they were 12 and under.

We knew whatever we invested in a child’s life would bear fruit for eternity.

Whether it was working in the nursery at church, leading Bible Clubs in our front yard or raising our own kids; one thing we knew was if we wanted to impact the world we could do it by investing in kids’ lives because they were the most open to Jesus.

I remember walking into a 7/11 about five years ago and a very polite woman behind the counter spoke up and said, “Mr. Jimmy, is that you?”, and I said “Yes, my name is Jimmy. I’m so sorry I don’t remember your name.” She said, “It’s me! It’s Chante! Don’t you remember? You and Miss Laura used to pick me up at my house when I was a little kid.”

All of a sudden all of the memories came flooding back about Chante. She was full of life and also quite a challenge. Many times we had to take her home from our Bible Club because she was being disruptive. She talked about drifting in her teenage years but always thinking about Laura and me and the time we invested in her as a child. Today she’s loving Jesus, very committed to her church and raising her daughter.

When I look back at the extra effort Laura and I put in during those days to care for other people’s kids; it was probably the greatest investment we ever had in life and ministry.

To invest in children is to invest in the Kingdom of God.

So, here we are with another great opportunity at Antioch Community Church. We have anywhere from 800 to 1,000 kids on a Sunday morning. We need laborers. We need men and women who are willing to love kids one semester at a time; to care for and invest in them so they not only come to know Jesus but are mentored and discipled. When we do, we will have an opportunity to one day look back and know we invested in young people at the most important time in their lives.

Jesus loves the little children, and so do we!

Let’s invest in the next generation so our kids know they are central to God’s purpose, plan and mission for our city, our nation and the nations of the earth.

In Response:

If you are interested in jumping in and serving with our Kids Ministry, please join us this Sunday, September 4th, for a training from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in the Kindergarten Room (former Journey Room). Childcare and lunch will be provided. Register for the training here. If you will not be able to attend the training, but would still like to serve, fill out this form and one of our Kids Ministry staff members will connect with you.

 

By Jimmy Seibert, Senior Pastor

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Serving in the Unseen

For all of us, the start of a new school year is a time where we recommit to living out our values. And as we start the school year my challenge to everyone is to evaluate who and where they will serve this year?

This summer I was doing a study in the book of John and, as often happens when I study the Word, I got stuck on a story, reading it over and over again. I couldn’t get past John 2:1-11 and the story of Jesus changing the water to wine at the wedding at Cana. It was one of those times when I was reading a story I’ve heard dozens of times, but for the first time I saw it in a new light.

I saw Jesus giving us a clear, living example on serving!

The story starts with Jesus’ mom asking Him to serve the master of a wedding feast, but Jesus’ time has not come yet. In this midst of it all, Jesus’ response teaches us so much. Jesus served his mom. Jesus, of all people, had reason to not do the miracle, because His time as the Messiah had not come yet. But the first lesson He teaches us is that we are to serve our authority. With Jesus being 100 percent man as well as 100 percent God, His mother Mary was a spiritual authority in His life. Jesus taught us this important lesson through his actions.

We are all called to serve our authority. Even the Savior of the world served His mother when she asked Him to.

The second big lesson Jesus teaches us is to serve humbly. In today’s culture, it is so easy to do things for the glory of it. We want to be seen and praised for what we do, but Jesus shows us in the second half of the story how we are to serve. After Jesus had filled the jars with water and turned it to wine, there is a verse that blows my modern western mindset every time I read it. Verse 9 says the master of the feast never knew who did the miracle. Jesus never served to be seen or receive praise.

He served in the unseen and unpraised places.

Jesus teaches us through this story that serving isn’t about being seen or noticed, but is ALL about looking like Jesus. To serve is to look like Christ!
My encouragement is for us to take this new season and commit to looking like Jesus. Let’s commit to serving, not to get noticed or to get praise, but because our desire is to look like Christ.

IN RESPONSE:

If you would like to serve in the Kids Ministry sign up for one of our volunteer trainings on August 28th or September 4th at 1 p.m. in the Journey Room.

By Andrew Wible, Elementary Pastor

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