If you have questions related to children's ministries, please feel free to contact the Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford, our intergenerational discipleship coordinator, via email.
By the Rev. Rebecca Hjelle and the Rev. Ashley Prescott Barlow-Thompson, regional children’s ministry coordinators for the Great Plains Conference
The start of the school year is brings the opportunity to offer a blessing for our kids and youth as well as the volunteers who shape our kids and youth ministries! In this resource you will find a Back to School Blessing, along with some ideas for sharing it with your congregation. As always, feel free to get creative and make it your own!
By Rev. Seulki Choi
Raising children in a rural community can be tough, but the church is uniquely positioned to offer a guiding light to children in need. Read the Rev. Seulki Choi's top three needs of children in rural communities.
Volunteer Training Guide — All Christians are called to be in service, but sometimes we have difficulty finding people who are willing to work with Jesus' youngest followers. One of the reasons is lack of support once someone has stepped up to help. This KidsMin Volunteer Training Guide is meant to help you recruit volunteers, but it doesn't stop there. It also shares ideas for training, appreciation for your volunteers, concepts for policies and a covenant for the church and the volunteer.
Tried and True Recruiting Secrets — ChildrensMinistry.com shares eight "tried & true recruiting secrets for children's ministry. A this list explains, The most effective recruiters are people who know that recruiting “isn’t just filling holes.” To help you shake the mindset of what recruiting isn’t, here’s a walkthrough of what recruiting is, or at least should be.
Safe Gatherings — Parents need to know that their children are safe when young disciples are cared for at the church. This program provides training meant to keep children and vulnerable adults safe, while also protecting the people providing the care.
We want to invest in you! Grants are available for innovative intergenerational ministry initiatives. Learn more and apply.
Check out a timeline of activities and resources for intergenerational discipleship for the 2020-21 school year. Download the document.
GP KidsMin Collective — Each month, you’ll receive a eNewsletter full of devotions, articles, curriculum, grant opportunities, and Great Plains Kids and Family news. Contact the Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford for details.
Great Plains Discipleship Facebook Group — Articles, events, webinars, Live events, and more in our official Facebook group
Ministry Leadership Initiative offers coaching, consulting and YMI cohort training services for youth, children’s, and congregational ministry.
BeADisciple.com, out of the Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College, offers online courses related to youth, children, and retreats. Online certification in youth ministry is also available in partnership with Youth Ministry Institute.
Ministry Architects offers training and resources for healthy KidsMin systems and innovative change for the future of the church. More information on our partnership will be coming soon!
Podcasts, Curriculum, and Other Resource Hubs
Children's Messages — Developing an appropriate children's message every week can be challenging, especially when one is beholden to the lectionary readings. Some scriptures will resonate with children more than others. Ministry Matters has a free weekly series called "Worship for Kids" designed to help pastors and children's ministry leaders teach youngsters using the lectionary readings. Author Carolyn C. Brown is a certified Christian educator who has written many books on how to include children in worship. Articles are released weeks in advance to allow leaders plenty of time to prep their children's message.
Superhero Family Serve Day — Have you ever wondered how to get parents and their kids in the same room to actually grow together. Sure, worship is intergenerational in nature, if the kids don't leave for kids church, but there can be a disconnect between Sunday School programming and incorporating those valuable lessons into the daily lives of families. But how do we offer space and resources for families? One way might be through quarterly Family Serve Days, where all are invited to serve together. Gather families — people of all ages — into one room to learn the same thing and participate in the same activities. Make sure the activities are missionally minded, and then let your imagination run wild with fun themes. In this resource, you'll find everything you need to host your very own Superhero Family Serve Day, where you and your crew will train to defeat the Hunger Villain! Enjoy!
Virtual Vacation Bible School — In times when children can't gather for Vacation Bible School, what can you do to continue to teach about the good news of Jesus Christ to His youngest disciples? Here is what one church — Basehor United Methodist Church in Kansas — did. They have provided links to their first day of activities so you can get a feel for how they made a virtual event seem like the activities were right there in the kids' living rooms.
Grants — The Great Plains Conference, through a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation and coupled with funds from the Great Plains Conference earmarked for such initiatives, is offering matching mini-grants to churches to help with direct expenses for jump-starting a sustainable partnership in support of a local public school(s). United Methodist congregations in Nebraska and Kansas can apply online for up to $1,000 to match local contributions. Priority will be given to churches that are forming or have formed a partnership or collaboration with one or more local public schools.
50 Ways to Engage Local Schools — Many congregations find that reaching out to their local schools is an important way to serve children and their families and strengthen ties with the broader community. From the Lewis Center for Christian Leadership, here are 50 Ways you can engage your local school effectively.
Church is certainly different these days, and the beautiful thing about it is we can share the Good News in new and fresh ways. We are offering you "Advent in a Box" and "Christmas in a Box" resources for you to share with those in your church and community. You may use this and adapt as you see fit for your ministry context from Advent through Epiphany.