Tag: kids ministry

Four Back-To-School Tips for Families

It’s that time of year again – back to school. It’s time for new shoes and backpacks filled with sharpened pencils and glue sticks. Sports are starting back up and routines set the pace for the day. Some families are dreading the month of August. For others, it feels like this truly is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

For our family, back to school really means back to the basics. Summer is great with its laid back schedule and unending supply of popsicles. But we can’t live on kool-aid alone. So as our family prepares for a new school year, we try to keep a few simple things in mind as we head back into structured routines.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE THINGS WE DO AS WE HEAD INTO THE FALL SEMESTER –

  1. Family is always first // Before we commit to a new activity, we try to evaluate each person’s activities. We ask the question – can the entire family commit to the activity and support each other? We want to be each other’s biggest fans, so we try to make sure we aren’t too maxed out with activities. We don’t want those good ideas and new activities to become heavy burdens. We look at the overarching schedule and include family fun times, date nights for mom and dad and activities for the kids. Then we choose our commitments wisely. We try to do this altogether and, as a family, decide what things we can do and what we can’t. If everyone agrees on the schedule in the beginning, it’s easier to push through later on in the year.
  2. Devotionals are a priority // Our family devotionals aren’t fancy. We sit around the table and they look different each day. Usually we share what we’re thankful for between gulps of orange juice and bites of cereal. Sometimes we share how we can pray for each other. Other days we read certain passages from the Bible. For us, devotionals are about getting a little focused time as a family where we commit our day to the Lord before we go our separate ways. We declare that we will follow Jesus and support one another. We don’t shoot for perfection, but consistency. This helps us stay unified and reminds us who we are as a family unit.
  3. Nightly check-ins are important // This often happens around the dinner table. We share the best and worst parts of our day, or we share something that we think no one else knows yet. Sometimes check-ins happen in the car on the way to an activity. We ask questions like, “who’d you sit by at lunch?” or “Who did you play with on the playground?” We then ask what they talked about or what game they played. We also make sure to go into each kid’s room at bedtime and chat for a second, looking for an open window into their hearts where they feel safe to share. We try to prioritize this as we’re often tired, but we never regret taking those few moments to ask focused questions that give us insight into their private world.
  4. Pray together // We try to make sure we have a set time during our day to pray together for our kids. It’s not often a very long prayer time, but it’s focused solely on our kids and family. If you’re a single parent, look for a friend that will pray with you for your kids. Praying with someone else really gives us courage to believe the best and helps us trust God with our children’s lives.

No matter how you feel about the start of school, doing a few simple things to prepare will help you start off on the right foot!

By Shawn and Connie Dunn

Shawn serves with our Kids Ministry as one of our pastors. He and Connie have three kids.

Volunteer Spotlight –
Lisa Zgarba

Lisa lives in a small town outside of Waco with her four children and her husband. She homeschools two of her children, and she is usually on-the-go between baseball, softball and dance lessons. On Sunday mornings, you can find Lisa taking care of our little ones in the babies’ classroom.

Find out why Lisa enjoys serving with our Kids Ministry –

Why did you decide to start volunteering?

I have always had a heart for children. I enjoy being around children, watching them grow and being a part of their journey. I have also seen firsthand what an impact the ministry mentors have made in the lives of my own children as they have attended Kids Ministry through the years. Each of the mentors are such a blessing, and as a parent, I am very thankful for them. I wanted the opportunity to serve alongside them and give back what I have been given.

How have you personally grown through your experience serving?

Being primarily with babies, has challenged me to have faith no matter what. Babies fully rely on us to care for them: whether they’re hungry, need a diaper changed or just want to play and learn. In the same way, our Heavenly Father is always there to fulfill our needs.

Do you have a testimony to share from your time serving?

When the children go into the one-and two-year-old classrooms across the hall, it is fun to see how much they have grown since being in our classroom. The first time I saw one of the little ones that started in the baby room with me, their parents and I smiled and waved to each other as the little one looked at me questionably until I said hi and their name. The look in their eyes changed and they smiled. It was a reminder to me that they hear our voices while we are praying, speaking and singing over them as babies.

Is there anything you want to share with people who are thinking about volunteering in Kids Ministry?

If the Lord puts it on your heart to join Kids Ministry, just jump in and let Him guide you. Whether you have children or not, it is an awesome experience. Every day is new and exciting with them and it is so much fun to be a part of their journey.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Kids Ministry, or in another area of our church, fill out this form. We can’t wait for you to get connected!

Making this Summer a
Win for You and Your Family

School is ending and summer is upon us. With less extracurricular activities and no more homework, chances are we as parents have a little more space in our schedule to plan some fun and meaningful times as a family.

HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS:

Have some fun together //

  • Make homemade pizzas or a meal together
  • Play board games – let each family member take turns choosing one
  • Make s’mores in your fire pit, if you have one, or on the stove
  • Invite a family over for dinner, dessert and/or a game night
  • Play disc golf at a park
  • Go fishing
  • Go tortilla tossing at the Suspension Bridge
  • Create a picture scavenger hunt to do with another family
  • Fly kites
  • Get outside and play some sports – basketball, gaga ball, kickball, volleyball, etc.
  • Go paddle boarding or kayaking on Lake Waco
  • Go bowling
  • Go on a hike
  • Take a camping trip, or just set up a tent in your backyard
  • Make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt bar at home
  • Movie night
  • Have each family member take turns planning a family fun night
  • Go out for snow cones

Take some time to connect as a family //

  • Pray and wait on God for a word of encouragement for each family member
  • Ask God to highlight someone in need and bless them as a family – help the with yard work or a house project, write notes of encouragement, make them a meal, etc.
  • Have each person choose an area that feels hard or discouraging and ask God for a verse that reminds them of truth. Share those verses with one another.
  • Family worship time – have family members take turns choosing songs
  • Read a portion of Scripture and share insights with each other
  • Plan a Family Retreat – make it a staycation or take a weekend trip together
  • Have each family member take a personality test and spend time observing how different personalities impact communication and expectations within the family; there are several free tests online
  • Help each person identify their love language and share specific ways they would feel loved by family members
  • Take time to identify goals, as a family and individually; brainstorm ways to contend for each other to reach those goals

No matter what you do this summer, my hope is that you and your family have a ton of fun together and grow closer together.

Have a great summer!

By Shannon Jones, Associate Youth Pastor

Cultivating Imagination: Teaching our Kids to Live Creatively

There is something uniquely holy about imagination, that which envisions and inspires and dreams and creates more than we presently see.

Growing up, my sister and I spent hours upon hours in our basement. Walls became endless gardens, the storage closet became a mysterious maze and my mom’s dresses became ball gowns and capes. We hung foil from the ceiling and stood on the ottoman to dance, imagining that magic filled the air around us.

A few weeks ago I began to think about creativity, imagination and the Holy Spirit. I did not realize during my childhood years, but much of my framework for friendship with the Holy Spirit was constructed in wild dreams, brave adventure and the realization that my surroundings had nothing to do with what I could see with my eyes.

More than ever, we live in a world of mass-produced entertainment and paint-by-number “artistic expression.” Precisely planned activity consumes each day.

HOW THEN DO WE CULTIVATE CAREFREE IMAGINATION IN OUR CHILDREN?

Teaching our children to dream creatively not only invites imagination, but inspires understanding of the Holy Spirit.

If imagination is dreaming of what could be and what hasn’t been before, then creating (creativity) is calling and bringing imagination to life. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created human beings in his own image.” God imagined us, created us and then made us like him so that we could do the same thing-imagine and create!

ULTIMATELY, HE WAS INVITING US TO KNOW HIM AND BE LIKE HIM.

|Recognizing Imagination|

Cultivating creativity in our kids begins with us, as parents, educators, family, friends and volunteers. In order to recognize and encourage children’s imagination, we must first know the power of imagination for ourselves. Often as we grow, we lose sight of the wonder and delight of imagination, but there is joy in remembering. C.S. Lewis once said, “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”  If imagination gives way to the power of the Holy Spirit, then certainly “all things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE FOR US TO BEGIN TO IMAGINE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AGAIN?

How can we lead someone into a place that we ourselves have not gone? Cultivating creativity requires us to be a step ahead, ever reminding our children (and ourselves) that there is more to discover than we could ever imagine.

|Acknowledging Imagination|

As we express delight in our children’s imagination, we represent the Father’s heart. My dad has always loved baseball. When I was little, he coached my t-ball team and I remember his laughing smile as he taught me to play. I could feel his delight in our similarities, “Look, you look like me!” I imagine that this is similar to how our Father feels when He watches us imagine and create. Like a new dad who looks at his baby’s eyes or nose and realizes that they mirror his own. It is so important that our children know the delight of their Father, and His pleasure in their creativity. And He trusts us to tell them.

In Ephesians 3:20-21 Paul says, “To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory…for ever and ever!” Not only do we share the Father’s delight with our children, but we encourage them to imagine freely and then remind them-“the reality is EVEN BETTER than this.”

|Cultivating Creativity|

So what does it look like to cultivate creativity, providing scaffolding as our children build with their imaginations?

Similar to the Holy Spirit, art in its truest form is open-ended and free from limits, lines and outside expectations. From placing rocks to tracing in shaving cream and painting the sidewalk, we can cultivate creativity by encouraging our children to ask “What do I want to create for Jesus? What do I want to create with Jesus? What do I want to create from Jesus (for me/someone else)?”

Much of my framework for imagination was cultivated within the pages of books like The Chronicles of Narnia and other fantastic adventures. We lose ourselves in the wonder of stories, and we can inspire imagination by encouraging children to act out the story, create new twists and imagine alternative endings.

Storytelling encourages imagination, as children dream and create beyond what they have previously seen or known. One of my favorite ways to do this is with the “Person, Place, Thing” game. Write examples of each category on notecards and have kids draw one from each pile. Encourage them to create a story based on the cards. It’s beautiful that every story will be completely different, because Jesus has given every child unique creativity!

Proverbs 13:12 “When dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.”

By Sydnee Nichols, Kids Ministry Staff

Simple Ways to Save

We are a part of a church where there are always opportunities to give. While I believe His Word when it says it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), it’s sometimes a struggle to navigate life’s needs and the regular rhythms of giving in life, much less all the unique opportunities that come our way to partner and invest in the Kingdom. Even before the vision for Miracle Month was given, because of some personal financial goals, my wife and I began to look at our budget and brainstorm about ways we could cut back and live on less for a season. God began to show us some very simple things we could do that would save an extra $2 here and an extra $5 there. While He definitely leads us all to give radically at times and will speak amounts that don’t make sense to us (obey if He says this!),

SOMETIMES HE ASKS US TO DO SMALL THINGS AND OBEDIENCE HERE IS JUST AS SIGNIFICANT.

When I heard about Miracle Month, I was reminded of these small things God spoke to us, and I began to think wow,

IF A LARGE PORTION OF OUR CHURCH DID SOME OF THESE SMALL THINGS, THE SMALL AMOUNTS WOULD REALLY BEGIN TO ADD UP QUICKLY!

Our church is full of wonderful kids. Let’s all play our part in giving our kids a wonderful new environment where they can continue to learn and discover more of Jesus and His wonderful love and all He has called them to be!

LISTED BELOW ARE SOME SIMPLE WAYS TO EARN OR SAVE MONEY TO PUT TOWARD THE BUILDING RENOVATION:

  • Sell things on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Amazon or have a garage sale
  • No Tea/Cokes when having meals out
  • Eat out less
  • Eat more simply/cheaper (soups, etc.)
  • No Starbucks
  • No convenience store/Sonic runs
  • Buy necessities only
  • Give all coin change
  • Limit entertainment to free events or creative things at home
  • Get those taxes in quickly so you can donate your refund
  • No looking at magazines or window shopping

IN RESPONSE:

What small thing might God be asking you to give up for the remainder of miracle month to help reach our goal? Ask Him and obey. It will be worth it!

By Kerry Ethridge

5 Reasons to Come to World Mandate Kids

World Mandate is just around the corner and this year we have an amazing conference planned just for our kids!

WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD HEAR MORE ABOUT IT, SO HERE ARE FIVE REASONS TO COME TO WORLD MANDATE KIDS:

1. A CHANCE TO HEAR FROM MISSIONARIES

Every kid that comes to the conference will get a chance to hear from current or former missionary families in each session. Not only will they get to learn about the country and culture the missionaries have served in, but they will be able to hear about why these families felt it was worth it to, “Go and make disciples.”

2. A CHANCE TO PRAY

At World Mandate Kids, our theme is: Pray, Give and Go. Kids are going to learn not only why we pray, but practical tips on how to pray. They will practice praying about what God is doing locally, nationally, and internationally. Through this they will be able to sow into what Antioch is doing around the globe!

3. A CHANCE TO GIVE

Kids will learn that giving doesn’t just mean giving money: it means using our talents, gifts and resources to benefit the body of Christ. Hands on crafts, skits and videos will help reiterate this point throughout the weekend.

4. A CHANCE TO BLESS OTHERS

As kids learn the heart behind giving, they will have the opportunity to practically give toward helping kids affected by the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece. As they learn about what is happening with ENGAGE THE CRISIS they will be able to give toward real needs that refugees are facing.

5. A CHANCE TO ENCOUNTER GOD

Through worship, fun games, teachings and small groups, we are setting kids up to encounter God and His heart for the nations. Our hope is that every individual, no matter the age, will walk away having met God in a personal way and be inspired to live the rest of their lives in radical obedience to Jesus both here and in the nations of the earth.

World Mandate Kids is designed for kindergarten – 5th graders. The cost is $25 per child and $20 for each additional child for families with multiple children. Register today at worldmandate.com. Online registration closes on January 25th. If you have any questions, feel free to email our kids ministry.

Just Like You

Good or bad, children are great imitators of their parents.

Charles Caleb Colton said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” When my granddaughter was three years old she was visting with Nana, and I received a phone call from someone who had a situation that needed prayer. I said, “Well, let’s pray.” I usually walk when I pray, so I went to my bedroom and closed the door to walk and pray. As soon as my granddaughter heard me say, “let’s pray,” she took off to my bedroom, grabbed a kleenex and began to walk around praying in her three-year-old language.

Paul exhorts us in I Corinthians 11:1 to imitate him as he is imitating Christ.

As a child I have comforting memories of my parents walking out their relationship with Jesus. Mom would have me join her in her devotions, and I was expected to go with her to the prayer time before church. My dad has always been an early riser, and I remember the early mornings when I would walk down the hallway, peek in the living room and see my dad with coffee and his bible communing with the Lord. Every morning before dad left for work and each night before retiring, my parents would pray together out loud. In the church where my brothers and I were raised, the children worshipped with their parents and then went to their classes. Watching my dad as he led worship with his face uplifted, eyes closed and tears streaming made me hunger for that type of relationship with Jesus.

In Parenting Without Regret Jimmy states, “none of us is perfect, or ever will be, but we have to live with the understanding that little eyes are watching us all the time.”

Your comfort level may not be one in which you could invite your children to join you in your quiet time. However, I believe strongly there is an indelible impression left on your children when they watch you live out your walk with Jesus. It leaves a passion in their hearts to have the same experience. Caleb Siebert, when reflecting on the time he shared in his dad’s devotional time said, “Those moments, more than anything else, defined the way I see my time with God today.”

My children and grandchildren have and will no doubt continue to imitate some of my not so flattering characteristics. I just want to be intentional and bold to love Jesus through worship and prayer in front of them.

IN RESPONSE

May I encourage each of you to be intentional about inviting your children into your relationship with Jesus? Let them hear you talk to your best friend. Let them see your vulnerability as you reflect on HIS holiness, His awesome might and His power. If this is a new endeavor, start with something simple and easy. Pray over the meal out loud. Pray together before retiring at night out loud. Pray together about the sick pet. Pray together over issues in school. I know the reward will be priceless.

Those little eyes are watching us. What are they seeing? I kept the poem Children Learn What they Live, on my desk as the children were growing up. Let us say as the apostle Paul, Imitate me as I imitate Christ.

By Thresa Lawson, Children’s Pastor

Top 5 Reasons to go to Ignite Weekend!

Here are the top 5 reasons we think YOU need to go to Ignite Weekend:

  1. 1. It’s THE BEST sleepover ever with all your best friends!
  2. 2. You get to hang out with Mr. Andrew and Mrs. Erin. JK! But you do get to hang out with some pretty cool leaders all weekend!
  3. 3. You get to go out to eat at restaurants without your parents!
  4. 4. You get to play games that you can ONLY play at Ignite!
  5. 5. You get to be part of a discipleship weekend that will change your life FOREVER as you let God ignite you through worship, small groups and community!

Whether you’ve been to Ignite before or this is your first time, you do not want to miss this life-changing weekend.

Register today!

By Andrew Wible, Quest Pastor

Special note for parents:

Ignite Weekend is the the Quest’s annual retreat for 4th – 6th graders.  This overnight discipleship retreat is filled with powerful worship, crazy games, awesome food, engaging teachings, and most importantly, life-on-life relationships.  The weekend will start in the Underground (located in the Office Building) and then small groups will meet in host homes.  The cost is $45 for one child OR $40 per child for families with multiple children attending. Register today and contact Andrew Wible with questions.

Kids Ministry Monthly: November

Read this letter from our senior pastor, Jimmy Seibert, for more information on the transition in our Kids Ministry.

DOWNLOAD THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF HOMEFRONT MONTHLY

THIS MONTH IN THE NURSERY:

BIRTH THROUGH 2.5 YEARS:

This month, read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 over your child:

Blessing: (Child’s Name), may you always know God’s incredible goodness. May you be thankful beyond measure as you experience His joy. May you find His joy to be your strength in whatever circumstances you encounter in life. May you rest in the will of God for your life, and may you bask in His love. May His joy and peace fill your hearts as you grow and learn to experience the world He created. May you hear His voice continually.

2.5 THROUGH 3.5 YEARS:

November 8 // God Speaks (Calling of Samuel) // 1 Samuel 3
November 15 & 22 // God is Worshiped (Psalms) // Selections from Psalms
November 29 // Remember and Celebrate //


THIS MONTH IN THE PRESCHOOL:

November 8 // God is the Famous One (Rahab and the Spies) // Joshua 2; 5:13-6:27
November 15 // God Bless (Ruth) // Ruth 1-4
November 22 // God is With Us (Call of Samuel) // 1 Samuel 3
November 29 // Remember and Celebrate // Feast

MEMORY VERSE:

For what you have done I will always praise You in the presence of Your faithful people. And I will hope in Your name for Your name is good. Psalm 52:9


THIS MONTH IN THE JOURNEY AND QUEST:

November 8 // God Delivers (Ehud) // Judges 3-4
November 15 // God is With Us (Deborah) // Judges 4-5
November 22 // God is Worthy (Gideon) // Judges 6-8
November 29 // Remember and Celebrate // Feast

MEMORY VERSE:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Kids Ministry Monthly: September

Dear Parents,

We hope you find our Kids Ministry Monthly helpful as our aim is to inform you about what’s happening in our church for kids, as well as what the Kids Ministry is covering on Sunday mornings. With the summer’s close and the school year’s start, one key event I want to encourage you to consider is one of our two week parenting classes in October. These classes will be our 101 basics on nurturing and training your child in his or her faith and identity. Attending one of the two week sessions is also our prerequisite for dedicating your baby here so head on over to antiochcc.com/events and sign up today – space is limited. Perhaps you have attended a parenting class in the past and are looking for a great resource. If so I would encourage you to pick up a Home|Front Magazine from church or go to homefrontmag.com and subscribe today (it’s free!).

 As always, we’d love to be of any help to your family if we can do feel free to reach out to us with an email or phone call. Have an amazing September!

Noah Hutchison, Children’s Pastor

DOWNLOAD THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF HOMEFRONT MONTHLY

THIS MONTH IN THE NURSERY:

BIRTH through 2.5 YEARS:

This month, read Ephesians 1:4-6 over your child:
“Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.”

Blessing:
(Child’s name), God chose you before the creation of the world. He loves you, He knows you. He has always known you. He cares for you and wants to be close to you. May you always remember that no matter what you experience in this world, God will always be on your side because you belong to Him.

2.5 through 3.5 YEARS:

September 6 and 13 // God Made Our World (Creation) // Genesis 1:2-3
September 20 and 27 // God Made People (Adam and Eve) // Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25


THIS MONTH IN THE Preschool:

September 6 // God is Creator (Creation) // Genesis 1-2:3
September 13  // God is Holy (The Fall) // Genesis 2-3
September 20 // God is a Promise Keeper (Noah and the Flood) // Genesis 6-9:17
September 27 // God Loves Faith (Abraham) // Genesis 12:1-7; 17:1-8 and Hebrews 11:8-10


THIS MONTH IN THE Journey and Quest:

September 6 // God Redeems (Need for a Redeemer) // Genesis 1-3
September 13  // God Keeps His Word (The Flood) // Genesis 6:5-9:17
September 20 // God is Lord of All (The Promise) // Genesis 12:1-9; 15-16; 21:1-7
September 27 // God Blesses (Jacob) // Genesis 25:19-34; 27:1-41; 32-33:11

Memory Verse:

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations  of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9