Thursday, November 14, 2013

Worship Response Stations: Wall of Blessing

The Blessing Wall!

Walking into the room and seeing all the kid's blessings just makes you smile. 
Isn't it a WONDERFUL thing to count the blessings
that God has deposited into your life?

This station is designed to get kids excited 
to really see how God has blessed them and their friends.

During Response Time, we turn off the overhead lights, using lamplight to quiet the mood of the room. We play quiet, worshipful music and explain to the kids that this is their time with God.  We have enough stations around the room so that every child can interact in some tangible way with the Holy Spirit. You can read a brief explanation of why we believe Worship Stations are so fruitful with this generation, HERE.

The basic concept is that we are making space for our kids to practice responding to God's Spirit.

And they look forward to it all morning.

For all of you creative "Pinners", here's how you can make it yourself:

We used pressed plywood - the cheap stuff!!  
One of the "Alpha" Men's Groups in our church
took a Saturday morning and cut out four of these plywood frames.

Then they drilled small starter holes every few inches and screwed in i-hooks.

I strung it with jute twine from the craft store in nice randomness.
We used i-hooks that were large enough for at least two strands of twine 
to pass through.  As I was stringing it, I had to be careful to keep it 
pretty tight along the way so there wouldn't be slack when tying it off. 
 I went around once with the twine, 
tied it off, and repeated once more to make sure 
there were plenty of lines to clip prayers onto.

We bolted it into the wall (on the studs since it is somewhat large).
And I cut out squares of colored card stock (With a scrapbook cutting tool) 
for writing prayers of blessing.
We added a table lamp (the main lights go off in the room during this time to "set the tone"),
buckets of pens and clothespins, and then we were in business!

Here is a close-up of what the instructions in the frame say:

It is a blessing to ready what the kids are thankful for...

God's blessings are greater than all the stars in the heavens!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Worship Response Stations: God's Family Tree

God's Family Tree.  

We are adopted, grafted, into the family
of the King of kings.

We are children of God.

This station is a place kids come to 
reflect over who they are in Christ.

The world may label you many things.
But who does GOD say you are?

The instructions are to simply take
a label and ask God which words of identity
He is speaking over them.

Write them on the label and hang it on 
God's Family Tree.

Remember who you are!
Remember WHOSE you are!

And now for those of you who are interested in how 
this station was put together...

The tree is actually from a manzanita branch that
a friend picked up from her family's home
in the mountains not too far away.  
You can buy them here however.

We simply "planted" it in a painted terra cotta pot.

... With rocks in the bottom for weight and to steady the branch....

My 10 year old son helped with this.

Then we sprayed that foaming gap filler stuff 
from the hardware store into the pot.  
Be sure to purchase the Big Gap Filler (1" +).
It's great stuff.  It sprays right in and dries firm.

We let it dry (and expand) over night.

Then cut out and shaped it.

And then using a glue gun and Dollar Store fake moss, 
covered the top with green and brown moss.

For the labels, we purchased some here.  
But once they got here I realized I could make
them for much cheaper.  So I just drew the outline
of a gift tag onto brown card stock and found 
I can get 10 per page.  So, with a little time and effort,
you can make each label for less than 3 cents!

Punch a hole at the top, 
and string a piece of thread for hanging.

Worship Response Stations: The Great (Com)Mission Station

This is such a special station.  
The Great (Com)Mission Station is all about 
stirring up a desire in the hearts of the next generation 
to make Jesus known all over the world.

There are two giving buckets for the kids
to collect offerings for children in need.

These were simply recycled coffee cans 
covered with brown packing paper 
and finished with a homemade "label".

One can is for kids to give to World Vision:
to purchase farm animals for children 
in third-world countries.  
The other can is for Foursquare Gospel Boxes:
A box filled with Sunday School supplies for
missionaries to share the story of Jesus with
children all over the world.

I printed the instructions for using this station
on plain printer paper and displayed
it in a cheap dollar store black frame.

The instructions simply say to take
a green dot sticker and find a place
on the map they would like to pray for.

As they touch that place, 
placing their sticker there,
they cover that ground in prayer.

May God touch this place.
May Jesus be known there.

We love this station!  

Our Children's Ministry Mission Statement is:
"To cultivate a harvest of world-changers, 
growing up in the presence of God."

We are asking God to give these kids
 a heart for changing the world.

And for those who are interested in the details 
of how this station was put together...

The map is from a local school supply shop (for $5!)
that we just stapled up with a staple gun.
The stickers are small transparent dot stickers
just like these.  It is very simple to do!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Worship Response Stations: Wall of Belief

We used our new "Wall of Belief" for the first time on Sunday.

This Worship Response Station is simply a half-wall that surrounds our sound booth, covered with Chalkboard paint.  But you could use any chalkboard to do this, or paint chalkboard paint on any semi-smooth surface.  It took three coats to get it ready.  We stuck black Command Hooks onto each side of the wall to hold two tin pails of white chalk.  The words "I Believe..." are stenciled at the top.  

After Worship, we played one more song, and the kids spent a few minutes worshipping quietly, thinking about what they believe about God.  Then, they each took a turn to write what they believe on the wall.

Our Lesson Title on Sunday was "God Saves" so there were a lot of kids who wrote some version of that.  We will erase it every few weeks and let the kids fill it up again!

Declaring what you believe has the power to deepen and solidify your faith.  
Don't you think?

And here's a quick sneak peak at one of the Worship Stations we are working on today:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hard At Work...

We have been hard at work over the last 2 weeks,
getting everything ready for the new Worship Response Stations.
Here's a little sneak peak of what we've been working on...

New speakers, sound board and projector went in this week.  Yay!

Our new Worship Response Tables arrived in boxes and some lovely volunteers put them together.  Here is a sample of a couple of the tables and lamps. Both the tables and lamps came from Target (on clearance!!) for 50-70% off!  Maybe that goes to show that with God's timing, even the little details can fall into place better than expected.  

On the right of the above picture you can see the Sound Booth which we have made-over into the first of our new Worship Response Stations.  

Here is what it looked like before:

We painted it with chalkboard paint (3 coats), stenciled the words 
"I Believe" with white paint and painted the trim red. 

 Tonight I bought black command hooks to hang white tin pails filled with white chalk on the wall.  The kids will then get to graffiti on the wall the things that they believe.  Statements of Faith.  Declarations.  

On Sunday the kids will begin filling it up.  

And there are many more little projects in the works.  
We are getting everything ready so that when the paint is on the walls, 
our new stations will be ready too.  Stay tuned! 

Thanks for taking a little sneak peak!  More to come in just a few days.  (I can't wait!)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kids Church Makeover

Our Kid's Church room is beautiful.  Truly amazing.  
About 15 years ago a team of talented artists got together and created this:

And this:

And have you seen the rest of the room?

We have loved this room and its beautifully cheerful design.

And yet here we are, wiping the slate clean...

Making room.  Creating space.

It feels CRAZY to me, to be whitewashing the beauty that was created here.

And yet I am convinced of what we are doing.  

The conviction comes from a vision for Kids Church to be more experiential.

Starting fresh for us began when we discovered Worship Response Stations.

About two years ago we began carving out space and time for the kids
to personally respond to God after each lesson.
And what we found is that kids truly want to know God's Spirit
for themselves and it is natural for them to learn to hear His voice.
...And so here we are, literally rearranging everything for more of that to happen.

Because at the end of the day, our number 1 goal isn't that our kids would just
know ABOUT God, but that they would KNOW Him for themselves.

Each Sunday we spend time responding to God about the message we've just heard.
You can learn more about this Large Group Response time here and here.  

Then we pray a prayer of blessing over them and invite them to
continue their worship by independently visiting a Worship Response Station
of their choice.  The lights are low, worshipful music is playing.
And they come up with notes to God like this:

So these beautiful walls are becoming blank slates to post permanent,
artistic and meaningful Worship Stations.

The new decor will be functional, filled with alters of remembrance
of what God is doing in our kids.  

So I guess you could say we are putting our "money" where our mouth is to do what it takes to make room for the Holy Spirit to interact with our kids that they can experience God for themselves.  Regularly.  Repeatedly.

Today we wrote scriptures over all the newly-primed walls.

To declare who God is in our lives.

...To proclaim what we believe...

...and to claim His promises over this new season.

And so it has begun!  Our Kids Church Makeover.

Check back often for updates over the next 30 days to watch the progress.
We will be posting about each of the new Worship Response Stations as we create them.

Update: To see how the Makeover turned out, go here.