Mother’s Day Coloring Sheet by Mandy Groce

Download and print off this coloring sheet to use with your children around Mother’s Day. It was created by Mandy Groce, an Sojourner, elder’s wife, and local artist.  Mandy will be putting together a number of sheets like this for my friend Tony Kummer at http://ministry-to-children.com. The coloring page features a mother and her son along with the prayer, “God, I am thankful for Mommy!” The scene is framed by a large heart shape.

Directions: Click on the image to the right to download this resource as a printer friendly PDF file. Alternately, you can download the image as a jpeg image file (496K) if you want to re-size or paste it into a Word Document.

HT: Tony Kummer

Sojourn’s Vision & SojournKids

Sojourn’s vision is to see the gospel transform everything–ourselves as individuals, our church, our city, and our world. By 2020, we desire to see that vision expressed in our church as a body of 7,500 people, gathering in 5 locations, and planting churches all over the world that draw many more un-churched people into a relationship with God.

SojournKids’ vision is to see the gospel transform the next generation. By 2020, we desire to see that vision expressed in our church with 1,200 children (ages 0-5th grade) and 1,000 students (6th-12th grade), gathering in 5 locations, and equipping churches all over the world to train up the next generation in the gospel. Continue Reading…

Sojourn’s Vision & Teaching Stewardship to Kids

Dear Parents,

During the month of April, we’ve been teaching Sojourn’s kids about giving and stewardship.  We’ve used the story of the seven year-old king, Joash (2 Kings 11-13; 2 Chronicles 22-24), to highlight stewardship principles for the kids.  See the lesson here. God used Joash and the wise priest Jehoiada to turn Israel’s hearts back to him and away from worshiping idols.  When Joash became king, God’s temple had fallen into disrepair.  So, Jeohiada made a collection box by boring a hole in the top of a chest and put it beside the altar in the temple.  Israel brought gifts for the temple along with their regular sacrifices.  Even though he was just seven, God used Joash to make things new again in Israel!

Sojourn’s vision is to see the gospel transform everything–ourselves as individuals, our church, our city, and our world.  SojournKids’ vision is to see the gospel transform the next generation.  Part of seeing kids grow up to be a new people made alive by the gospel is teaching them how to participate in regular Christian practices.  We’re intentional about teaching kids to pray, sing, respond, and read their Bible.  We also want to be intentional about teaching them to give.  During SojournKids’ regular gatherings, we have a basket (“with a hole in the top just like Joash’s box”). When we gather together on Sundays, kids can bring money to put in the basket.  These gifts support Sojourn’s vision of gospel transformation as part of our regular budget. Continue Reading…

Family Worship: Book of Acts

Here are some simple ideas for studying the Acts 1-9 with your family.  Begin by gathering the family to hear from God by reading His Word then responding to Him through asking, praying, memorizing, and doing.  This brief outline will help you lead your family in short times of family worship.  Children should be involved as much as their age allows. Devotions should last around 15 minutes.   If this is a new experience for your family, keep it very simple. Have the whole family gather in the living room or bedroom, or around the table together. Even the very young children should participate. Turn off any radios or televisions that might be distractions.

Step #1: Hear from God’s Word—Read one chapter each time you gather together.  If your children are confident readers, ask them to read portions of scripture from their Bibles.  Prepare in advance to explain difficult concepts and words.

Step #2: Respond to God—Truly hearing from God involves responding to what he has said.  Here are some ideas for leading your children to respond to God.

  • Ask: Ask your children questions about what you’ve read: Ask about the main characters in the story.  For example, who wrote the Book of Acts? (Luke)  Who did Luke write the Book of Acts to?  (Theophilus).  Ask what key verses stand out in each chapter.  Each night, as your kids to name the three persons of the Trinity. (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit)  Ask your children what happened in the chapter. Chapters 1-9 follow the basic outline below. You can refer back to it as you are asking questions.  Ask your children to remember what God did in the chapter.  Then, praise Him for what He did.The Birth of the Church, chapters 1-5
    –chapter 1: The ascension and replacing Judas
    –chapter 2: The day of Pentecost
    –chapters 3-5:  The church grows as the apostles continue Jesus’ works

    The Church is Persecuted and Expands, chapters 6-9
    –chapters 6-7: Stephen
    –chapter 8: Philip
    –chapter 9: Saul of Tarsus

  • Memorize: Take a month to memorize this key passage as a family.  Repeat the words aloud with your family, and put them in a prominent place in your home (like the refrigerator door) where family members can regularly see them. Acts 1:8 (NIV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
  • Pray: As a way to pray through the Acts 1:8 memory verse, draw a large circle with 2 smaller concentric circles inside the larger circle.   Talk to your kids about what Jesus meant when He told his disciples to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth.   Use a map (found in the back of many Bibles) to point out the areas mentioned in the verse.Jerusalem is where the apostles lived.  Place the name of our city (Louisville) or your neighborhood (e.g. Germantown, St. Matthews, Smoketown, etc.) in the center circle.  Think of the names of three people in your neighborhood that you can pray for.  Put them in that circle.  Pray for them.  Pray especially for those who need to hear about Jesus.  Walk and pray in your neighborhood.  Include your kids in your times of prayer.

    Judea and Samaria
    was the region that Jerusalem was a part of. In the second circle have your children write the name of the state they are in and some surrounding states (Kentucky or Indiana).  Pray for friends and family that live outside of your immediate area (maybe friends across the river).  Pray especially for those who need to hear about Jesus.

    The ends of the earth include the whole world.  Explore the National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers online (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids-world-atlas/). Have students write in the 3rd circle some names of countries.  Pray for other states and other countries around the world.  Pray for Sojourn missionaries in Ethiopia (the Groce family), in Italy (the Karr family), and in Argentina (the Hess family).

  • Do: The three circles remind me about what happens when you throw a stone in a lake or pond.  There is a ripple effect that happens because the rock hit the water.  It’s the same with the message of the Gospel.  When you and I take that message to others there is a ripple effect that takes place.  As you share with others and they believe in Jesus, they share with others, and the circle keeps growing.  Challenge your family to be intentional about investing in the people on your circle chart.  Invite them into your home for parties, and invite them to celebrate Jesus with Sojourn at a Sunday service.

Resources: Kelly Henderson, “Lesson: Journey through the Book of Acts.”

The History of Family Ministry, Part 4: The Family Ministry Movement

The Family Ministry Movement (present day) is seeking to address and deconstruct the departmentalizing /compartmentalizing of the church’s people by re-connecting church and home. Listen to Reggie Joiner.

  • Reggie Joiner, “Chapter 26—Where Do You Start?” in Collaborate: Family + Church, (2010)“If we can be more effective at engaging parents to partner in our ministries, and improve the quality of relationships in the family, we will increase the possibility of a child having a dynamic and authentic faith.”

    “When we partner with ministries, we call this an ‘Orange’ way of thinking.  If the color red [warm nurturing hearts] represents parents and the color yellow [bright missional lights] represents church leaders, they need to combine to make orange.  Orange is the idea that two combined influences will make a greater impact than either of the two influences alone…  [So,] family ministry is ‘synchronizing church leaders and parents around a master plan to build faith and character in their sons and daughters.’”

Most practitioners agree with Reggie, but few agree on how to go about the changes that need to be made.  Here are a few contemporary family ministry models:

Family Integrated—Family integrated ministry is by far the most radical.   They have solved the problem by going back to Baxter.  In a family-integrated church, all age-graded classes and events are eliminated. There is no youth group, no children’s ministry, and no age-graded training program.  The generations learn and worship together, and parents bear primary responsibility for the evangelism and discipleship of their children.

Family Equipping—In the family-equipping model, many semblances of age-organized ministry remain intact. But the church leaders plan and organize their ministries so that they champion the place of parents as primary faith trainers.   The church intentionally co-champions the role of both the church and the home in equipping students and families.  As such, there is a clear focus on church insiders.  Family pastors champion family worship guides, parenting classes, and milestone strategies (baby dedication, baptism, rites of passage, etc.).  Often parents are required to serve.

Family Based—In the family based model, no radical changes occur in the church’s internal structure. The congregation still maintains youth ministry, children’s ministry, singles ministry, etc.  Gospel mission—reaching outsiders—remains the primary emphasis of the church as a whole even as ministry areas shift to draw generations together. Students may still experience worship and small groups in peer groups, separated from other generations, but each ministry sponsors events and learning experiences that are intentionally designed to draw generations together.

The greatest danger in the family ministry movement is that all these models are pragmatic methodologies. While principles drive these methods, the methodology chosen by each local church is a matter of Christian freedom—a matter of conscience and context.  One potential danger for family ministers is allowing the family emphasis to eclipse the gospel so that ministry becomes family-driven rather than gospel-driven.  Our prayer for SojournKids and Sojourn’s Student & Family Ministry is that it remains gospel-driven rather than family driven.  Thanks for praying for us while we’ve been at the Orange conference.  Please continue to pray as we return and serve at Sojourn.  We’re driving back today.