See: Using Visuals for Greater Impact

15 12 2015

…paint a power-packed picture for all those visual learners out there.

-Aaron Reynolds

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.

-Jesus (Matthew 6:22)

God created this world with striking visual stimulus. He wired us to learn visually. Children learn especially fast and effectively when visual elements are woven into our conversations, teaching and stories. If you don’t have any props, paint a mental picture. But by grabbing some key objects, you can power home concepts that would otherwise be lost. Fill ‘em up with transformational light!

Common visuals that teach:

  • Stuffed Lamb, staff (agrarian themes, Lamb of God)
  • Sporting gear (training for the Christian life)
  • Art (draw, paint, craft, video)
  • Lighting effects (flashlight, turn off lights)
  • Costumes
  • Games (useful for recall)
  • Personal hobby items (relate with personal interests)

Object Tips:

  • Hold the item and describe it
  • Pass the item around if reasonable
  • Ask questions about it, explore it
  • Tell a story with it
  • Search for the word in the Bible to help illustrate

How to paint a mental picture:

  • Visualize it yourself first
  • Describe the details
  • Feel the emotions yourself
  • Express feelings strongly with your face and gestures

Here’s an example combining both elements.

God has a plan that can’t be stopped. Check out this basketball play (Use a basketball video replay or other sport that fits your style and the idea of changing plans. Alternatively, you could plan ahead of time and draw some movement using Xs and Os on a white board.) I love basketball. Take a look at this. The way it bounces and feels is awesome. Feel this for a moment (pass it around). Now the goal of the player is to move the ball into a good position to get a basket. The defence is trying to stop him and so his plans are constantly changing as to how he’ll get there. Frustration sets in when he gets stopped (show disappointment). But he doesn’t give up when he’s forced to move in a different direction (show determination). He keeps trying different options until he can score. Our life choices cause us to make plans, change plans and sometimes leave plans altogether. But no matter what, God’s plan to make a way for us to be forgiven can’t be stopped!

Isn’t that so much better than just talking about basketball?

Lord, your wonders abound. Help me show them to any children you put in my path.

Ministry Models and Fired Up Volunteers!

6 10 2011

I’ve been re-reading “Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week,” by Sue Miller and David Staal, for one of my seminary classes. The following are some brief reflections.

Much of how I do children’s ministry has been shaped by the Promiseland model that has come from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. From later on in high school and using the curriculum in my church, to attending Promiseland conferences throughout college and beyond, to volunteering in the ministry when I attended Moody Bible Institute, to knowing Amy Dolan-a fantastic programmer who I first connected with there, to reading this book, to watching and learning from the exceptional skills of Aaron Reynolds, to using their program structure in my current ministry, I have been surrounded by Sue Miller’s thinking. I’ve used much of what’s in this book in my ministry. It’s helped me with mission and values. We’ve structured our Sunday programs around their structure. While we still have a long way to go towards being strong in all the areas, we’ve been blessed with a strong starting point.

If there’s one thing that I disagree with, and it’s really more of a caution than a disagreement, it would be the focus on models and structured approach. Sometimes we little churches love to tag onto what some other larger church does so we can say we do it this way or that way. That may be kind of like the disagreement in the letter to the Corinthians where some were following Apollos and others Paul, which was causing divisions. I think it’s important to craft a mission statement and adopt some core values and find a program structure that works. It’s efficient and creates focus. I think a potential problem with this focus is it can lead to blind spots where God may be nudging us to another priority, but we’re stuck on our system. This can lead to a lot of discussion on strategies and approaches and priorities, but I think we just need to keep a very clear head and be responsive to God’s priorities even while we hold to our “way of ministry life.”

I think the biggest challenge for me from this book is working with volunteers. If our ministry context would really apply some of the volunteering principles laid out in this book, fewer people would drop out, more people would take greater ownership and increasing numbers of kids and families would be foundational and spiritually solid. I once used the team experience with our volunteers to discuss the ministry monsters from chapter seven. We discussed how well we were doing. Generally, our strengths were that volunteers didn’t commonly feel used and abused and there didn’t seem to be much power mongering. Our weaknesses tended to be the areas of stagnation and isolation. So we need to continue to fight those monsters to watch our ministry blossom. I’d love to see more and more volunteers connected in meaningful relationships and moved toward passionate service! Then families and kids will begin to flourish in this tainted world as they learn to walk through it with Jesus.

Blog Monster-Aaron Reynolds

1 03 2011

Blog Monster.

Aaron Reynolds is a children’s author and speaker for creative children’s ministry. Check out his blog (link to it from the picture)! Get his books for the kids in your life or the kid in your soul. You can find them online at Amazon.

Transformational Children’s Ministry

11 02 2011


Transformation is a powerful word to me. There is the classic Transformers cartoon where vehicles turn into powerful machines and back again. You see the wonder of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. There’s the annual transformation of nature from cold and dead to green and vibrant. Each night and morning God dazzles us with His light shows in the sky.

Then there are personal awakenings. Those moments where life stands still, discoveries are made, ‘whoa factors’ stun us and we are jolted into forging a new path.

Life isn’t normally this way. We don’t often face these high intensity decision points. Life usually happens in those little moments. Change and development takes place slowly. For believers, the question lingers daily: “Am I being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ?”

The LEDGE (the children’s ministry of Bluewater Baptist Church) is all about leveraging those everyday moments by using high impact moments. Our programming is designed to provide a transforming experience that translates into daily change. We believe that the two go hand in hand; church and home are both necessary for this transformation to occur. What this means is that we want to inspire the children that walk through our doors to consider the magnitude of God all week long in a way that changes everything about them.

The LEDGE strives to equip kids with powerful and transformational moments so that parents will be empowered to engage in meaningful and transformational conversations about Jesus throughout the week.

(Thanks Aaron Reynolds for the ‘whoa factor’ phrase and cementing the transformational principles into our mindset. Click here for my summation of our Aaron Reynolds training event.)

Kidmin Equipping Event Recap (With Aaron Reynolds)

22 09 2010

This past weekend our church had the privilege of hosting Aaron Reynolds, creative children’s ministry trainer. I wish I could box up the event and deliver it live to anyone who was not able to attend. There’s a lot in this entry so I’ll give you a summary so you can get to what you’re most interested in. This entry is broken up into the following sections:

  • Meeting Aaron Reynolds
  • Arrival in Sarnia
  • Recruitment
  • Preschool Teaching
  • Friday Leadership Discussions
  • Transformational Teaching
  • Transformational Relationships
  • Departure
  • Collection of Tweets and quotes from the Weekend
    Read the rest of this entry »

Aaron Reynolds’ Children’s Ministry Equipping Event

12 08 2010


For more information and to RSVP for this “must attend” event with Aaron Reynolds go to my Facebook event page or contact me at



9:00am – 12:00           “The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School” (Large Group Teacher focus)

12:00                           Lunch

1:00pm – 1:30pm        Ooze: Creating Children’s Ministries that Overflow with Excellence

1:30pm – 3:00pm        Creating Transformational Small Groups

Aaron Reynold’s is Coming to Our Church!

10 05 2010

Want to improve your creativity with kids? Come to our church on September 18! Aaron Reynold’s will be investing his time with us. Check out his information here and here.

Web Head Shot for Creative Arts Ministry02

%d bloggers like this: