Three “Creativity Killers”

Creativity is a MUST in Kids Ministry.  It takes creativity to capture attention and illuminate the gospel to a young mind that is bombarded with flashy, glitzy attention-grabbers all day from a world whose message is less than spiritually healthy.

We all want to be more creative, but we often fall prey to one or more of the three CREATIVITY KILLERS in ministry…


There’s an epidemic of procrastination in Kids Ministry.  I can’t believe how many times I hear people saying that they don’t even begin to start their preparation for Sunday until Saturday Night.

Nothing will kill your ability to be creative like procrastination.

YOU CAN DO IT!  Work ahead!  Prepare.  Make time for creative thinking.  Get alone with God and pray.  Allow the Spirit to inspire you NOW for what He wants to do down the road!  It is THE most important part of the creative process.


This phenomenon happens quite often in the church world.  We go to a conference, attend a seminar, watch a YouTube video, or read a blog as someone shares a great concept or strategy.  We think, “What an amazing idea!”  Then we run straight back to our church and try to duplicate it.

We hear reports of what God is doing in the church down the street or the “hot church” in our denomination, and we try to chase their ideas instead of asking God for His ideas.  We do this for a lot of reasons:

  • Duplication is easier

When we opt for duplication, we avoid the tough work of seeking God for a vision and strategy to grow our ministry.  It’s a lot easier to steal someone else’s “good idea” than invest time seeking a “God idea.”

  • Duplication is faster

It doesn’t take any time at all to get plenty of cool ideas from church leaders in every kind of ministry.  Type the words “Children’s Ministry growth ideas” on your browser, and you’ll get over 19 million hits.  There are books upon books and conferences upon conferences that provide a ton of great ideas.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with books and conferences.  I’m a firm believer in attending conferences, networking with other ministries, and reading great books. However, books and conferences can easily become a substitute for seeking God and trusting Him for guidance and creativity.

You see, duplication may be easier and faster, but the problem is…

  • Duplication rarely produces eternal results

Jesus told His followers, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).  What do we “seek first”?   Is it conferences, books, message boards, and ministry networks, and then do we go to God only when all those things begin to lose their punch? Instead, we should begin on our knees, seeking for His idea that will change our lives and ministry.


Some immediately disqualify themselves and say, “I can’t do it!  I’m just not wired that way!”  They allow themselves to believe the six word lie that I despise.  Here are the six words – “I’m just not a creative person.” 

Many Kidmin Leaders sell themselves short when it comes to their ability to think creatively and innovate.  They have decided that God only gifted a few key leaders to be able to create and innovate.  We have turned the innovative process into some mysterious, spooky, hokus pokus type of activity.

Listen – YOU were BORN for creativity and innovation!  Somehow, we allowed society to suppress our creative juices and we began to be conformed to the mainstream.  We are afraid of getting outside the box.  We allow fear to dominate our minds and hearts and we never become the Kidminnovators God wants us to be!

We serve a Creative God with limitless creative ability!  Even the most naturally innovative and creative minds are finite.  The term finite means “having bounds or limits; not infinite; measurable.”  But God is infinite.  He is “far above all,” not limited by any boundaries at all.  When we draw only on our own creative resources, it’s like drinking from a thimble instead of the Great Lakes.

I believe the time is coming when every Kidmin Leader will believe in God (and themselves) enough to be able to tap into the creative innovator that lives in each of them.  When that happens, we will change the world!!

How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen

This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at an event called Illuminate.  This event is put on by my friend and fellow Kidmin Blogger, Kenny Conley.   It was an incredible time of pouring into a great group of leaders!

I did a workshop on “How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen.”  I thought I would share some of the thoughts I shared with those leaders.

How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen:

1.  When teaching the lesson or telling a Bible Story, have your Bible in your hand.  I never want kids to think God’s truth comes from a screen or a creative element.  God’s truth comes from the Bible.

2.  Change your volume and inflection often.  Make it purposeful, not just an “inflection roller coaster”Getting quiet is often more impactful than getting loud.

3.  Don’t use a script.  Memorize as much as possible, then speak from the heart.  If you use notes, make them as minimal as you can.  Eye contact is crucial.  Use your eyes to communicate as much as your mouth.  Preparation is the key!  Kids know when you are “winging it!”

4.   Use large hand movements. Small movements are not noticeable on stage.

5.    When possible, use stories – not just facts.  Jesus told parables, not just reciting scripture facts.  Tell your own personal stories as well as Bible stories.  Be willing to be open and vulnerable.

6.  Avoid the “baby talk” voice at all costs.  Kids want to be talked to like “small adults”, not “babies”.  Nothing turns a kid’s attention to the OFF position like a communicator using the “baby talk” voice.

7.  Three words:  energy, energy, energy.  It is nearly impossible to be TOO animated and energetic.  If you feel stupid, you are probably just scratching the surface.  It doesn’t matter how you feel or your staff feels.  It doesn’t matter if your dog at your favorite pair of boxers.  What matters is that souls are on the line, and kids are making decisions for eternity based on their understanding of the gospel you are presenting.

8.     Use technology to help set the mood.  Lower lights to help them focus.  Use background music when appropriate.  Use sound effects and Bible Story Illustrated Graphics during Bible Story.

9.     Use relevant and up-to-date examples.  Don’t say, “Hey kids, you know how much everyone loves to play with the Slinky?”  Know kid culture!  Watch Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Kids Choice Awards to see what’s HOT with kids!

10.  In a setting of varied ages, aim at the oldest in the room.  They are the leaders.  If you “have them”, then you have the youngest ones.  If your message is clear, then the younger ones will still “get it.”

How about YOU?  What are some keys to communicating to kids that you use often?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Book Review: “Connecting Church & Home” by Dr. Tim Kimmel

“Strong churches don’t make strong families.  Strong families make strong churches.” – Dr. Tim Kimmel

What is the center of your Family Ministry strategy?  Is it safety and protection from the dark influences of this world?  Is it reaching unchurched families through evangelism?  What drives your ministry to kids and families?

Dr. Tim Kimmel offers a one word answer in his new book, “Connecting Church & Home.” That one word:  GRACE.  Dr. Kimmel suggests that God’s grace can and should be what encompasses everything we do as a church – especially ministering to families.

Kimmel begins with the book with a challenging history of what has happened in the American church in the last 75 years.  As society has deteriorated, parents have felt more and more isolated and incapable of leading their own children on a spiritual journey.  Add to that – the church answered by raising up professional Children’s and Youth Ministers to “help” them raise their kids.  What happened more often was that the parents abdigated their responsibility to the “professionals.”

This book is challenging, but is a very encouraging read.  Kimmel offers a blue print of a “grace based parenting system.”  This is clearly defined as “treating others the way that God treats us” in every single relationship in the home.  Kimmel writes, “By making God’s grace the philosophical starting point of everything we do, we guarantee that whatever is done will be done within an authentic connection to our kids’ heart” (P. 58).

Kimmel’s strategy of “Grace Based Parenting” is broken into four dimensions:  Greatness (aiming kids at the biblical standard of greatness), Character (guiding kids through the building of godly character that will last a lifetime), Freedom (every child wants freedom; allowing the child freedom to fail, etc.), and Inner Needs (providing for the basic needs for love, security, hope, etc.).

Grace based parenting is a parenting strategy that seeks to produce heart change in the life of our kids.  This type of parenting results in kids who inwardly love Jesus and inwardly want to serve Him wholeheartedly.  Kimmel understands that if you change the heart – the outward actions will change to imitate Jesus as well.

“Connecting Church & Home” can be purchased here.

Check out this video from Dr. Tim Kimmel discussing his book: