As a team, we are always encouraged and uplifted when we receive news of how the Lord is spreading the fame of His name throughout the nations. Recently, we received an update from one of the most pain-stricken, war-torn regions in the world: South Sudan. Since 1955, the region has experienced two civil wars and casualties of more than 2.5 million people. In this seemingly hopeless land, Emilie Gonzalez and her team are being used to share the truth of the Gospel and the beauty of God’s character to children using Sally Michael’s book God’s Names. In her message to us, Emilie writes, (more…)
Our mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things so that the next generation may know and cherish Jesus Christ as the only One who saves and satisfies the desires of the heart.
We want millions in every generation to set their hope in God. To that end, we aim to is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things so that the next generation may know and cherish Jesus fuel spiritual desire by producing God-centered, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting resources, and by equipping parents and churches working in partnership to instruct the mind, engage the heart, and nurture the faith of the next generations.
This vision statement is the touchstone of the CDG discipleship efforts of teaching, writing, and ministry through curriculum, books, booklets, website, blog, apps…and now through the IMPACT Regional Conferences. Recently, a new focus was set at CDG on advancing this glorious vision for the joy of coming generations through IMPACT Regional Conferences—in other words, through much prayer and planning, we determined to “go on the road.”
Our IMPACT Regional Conferences feature three vision-casting plenary sessions featuring David and Sally Michael, founders of Children Desiring God. David and Sally then join others from the CDG staff to offer a variety of break-out seminars that give practical assistance to parents, pastors, Christian education leaders, teachers, and small group leaders in their discipleship efforts. An added blessing for those attending IMPACT is the opportunity to form networks with church leadership, Christian educators, and parents in their area for encouragement and prayer.
Here’s what others are saying about previous IMPACT Regional Conferences:
“The IMPACT Conference presents solid biblical foundations of teaching the next generation. I think the conference is also a good way to connect with people of other churches and to encourage each other.”
“The conference gave us new tools and more substance to help others understand the great truths of the Bible.”
“5 out of the 10 moms in my small group went to the conference and have been so blessed and challenged in our own spiritual walk and the call to impact effectively our children for God, that we are now sharing what we learned with the other moms. Also, your website is filled with lectures which we will utilize for small group times to further our learning. Thank you so much!”
“I told several people that attended the conference with me from our church that these seminars should be required consumption for all current or prospective parents. It’s never too late to learn this information but the earlier you receive it, the better.”
“This conference was truly a blessing. It reminded me again of the importance of pointing to God and his Son Jesus Christ in every aspect of parenting and Children’s ministry. It was also a great reminder of how to properly teach young children the Word of God, especially young children who we foolishly think shouldn’t be taught anything because they don’t “understand.” I really hope to put into practice what I learned at the conference. It was a blessing to me and to all the other fellow brothers and sisters.”
“As a teacher, I was really excited to be preparing this week’s lessons and hearing Sally and David’s voices as I read through them. Thanks for your heart for our Mighty Savior and our kids! CDG ROCKS!”
We hope you can join us for an upcoming IMPACT Regional Conference:
- ROCHESTER, NEW YORK—February 7-8
- AUSTIN, TEXAS—March 21-22
- LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—May 2-3
How many times do we as parents miss out on recognizing God at work in the most ordinary everyday circumstances? How many times do we fail to call upon Jesus in prayer thinking that the problem isn’t “big enough” to warrant His attention? Here is a true story of how a little girl’s simple faith in a big God taught her daddy a big lesson.
Does God care about a doll coat? Yes, He does. God cares about doll coats and He cares about the faith of little girls.
Driving down the highway coming home from summer vacation, a little girl was playing with her doll and doll clothes in the back seat. She hung up her doll coat on the wing window of the station wagon and noticed a few minutes later that it was gone.
“My doll coat! It’s gone!” she exclaimed. After looking around the back seat and realizing that the coat had probably gone out the window, she asked her daddy to turn around and go back for the coat.
Her daddy patiently tried to explain that he was driving 65 miles an hour down a divided highway, it would be some distance before he could cross the highway, and dusk was approaching. But the little girl was insistent.
“But it’s my favorite doll coat,” she sobbed. But there was no way that the doll coat could be found. They had traveled many miles since the coat was noticed to be missing and there was no way of knowing where the coat had gone out the window. Finally her parents convinced her that it was useless to go back for the doll coat.
After a few moments of silence, the little girl said quietly, “Would it help to pray?”
Skeptical that her prayer would be answered as she desired, yet not desiring to squash his daughter’s zeal for prayer and dependency on God, Dad answered, “It always helps to pray.”
The little girl prayed simply and sincerely that God would bring back her doll coat.
A few minutes later, Dad slammed on the brakes. “Kristi, God just answered your prayer!” he exclaimed. He jumped out of the car and ran to the back. There caught on the very end of the trailer they were pulling was…the doll coat!
Dad gleefully and gratefully restored the doll coat to his daughter and the family drove on, awed by a great and glorious God who notices little things like doll coats and loves to encourage the faith of His children.
(Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Family Devotional Guide by Sally Michael, copyright©2006, pages 141-142.)
It is always encouraging at Children Desiring God to hear from those who use our resources. The following testimonies are from churches and parents using the Fighter Verse Scripture memory program. This first testimony comes from a mother in Minnesota:
“My son [5 years old] and I do personal devotions in the morning before going to school…along with the Foundation Verses and/or Fighter Verses. Well, last week, as we were coming home from school, he asked if he could climb “his” tree, and I reminded him the three things he needs to do as soon as we get home: take his school shoes off, put his backpack away, and change from his uniform into play clothes. I felt him tense for a second and then relax. As we entered the house he said, “Mom, I was going to argue with you but the Holy Spirit reminded me one of the verses hidden in my heart, and so I didn’t! I obeyed!” I asked him which Bible verse that was, and he said, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”…We’re celebrating the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, and glorifying God!
This next testimony comes from a children’s ministry leader from a church in Wisconsin that started a weekly memory program using first the verses from CDG curriculum, and then from the Fighter Verses Scripture memory program:
One day [a six-year-old girl from this church] lost her temper as her father was disciplining her. After correcting her, he talked with her about the importance of self control. Her eyes got big and she said “Daddy, that is just like one of my Sunday school Verses.” He asked her which one and she said “Proverbs 14:29: Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” Needless to say, her dad told me this story with tears in his eyes.
Finally, this testimony comes from an associate pastor’s wife in Alberta, Canada:
A few months ago we ordered a pack of Fighter Verses for ourselves, believing that God was stirring us to know His Word better. After we received our pack, we ordered 20 more to give to friends and family as we were led. My husband recently preached a sermon on knowing the Word and offered our last 2 verse packs to whoever wanted them. The first 2 people out the door asked for them! Many others asked where they could get a pack. Due to the response, we ordered another 20 and made them available at church this morning. Again, they disappeared quickly, and others were asking if we have any more coming. We are so excited and encouraged to see our church respond in this way.
Friday Contest—If you, too, would like to start using the Fighter Verse Scripture memory program, we plan to give away a free copy of Fighter Verse Pack (a two-ring binder containing five sets of verses, 52 passages each). Simply leave us a comment about why you would like to receive this resource and your name will be entered in the contest. Leave your comment by Wednesday, November 13. We will randomly select the winner on Monday, November 18.
Children Desiring God in “Liceo Cristiano Rev. Juan Bueno” Christian Schools
One of the parents in our Christian school (Escuela Cristiana Oasis) is the Christian Education Director of a network of Christian schools called “Liceos Cristianos Rev. Juan Bueno,” which are part of the Assemblies of God and are spread throughout Latin America. In El Salvador, they have 37 schools and approximately 6,000 students enrolled. This dear brother has been greatly moved as he saw God’s work in his own children, who attend our Christian school and were being taught about God using CDG materials. He asked us to consider working to bring CDG to the schools he represents. God opened the door and gave us the grace to print CDG student workbooks in El Salvador for ease of distribution, and to bless all those children. The receptiveness within the Christian schools was great, so much so that they asked us to accompany them in their monthly training meetings with their teachers, so that we could present the vision of the centrality of God in every lesson (versus the centrality of man), and also provide some practical teaching tips for using CDG. The teachers clung to this vision eagerly, and the Word is been taught freely. It is our joy to see how the children have eagerly received it as well.
Children Desiring God in Guatemala
In recent days I received a call, asking me to meet with the directors of the Association of Christian Schools in Guatemala (about 30 schools), again from the Assemblies of God. These brothers and sisters from Guatemala were deeply moved by the testimony of what God had been doing in the Liceo Cristiano schools in El Salvador. We were overjoyed to see the hunger and willingness of our Guatemalan brothers, to the point that they traveled to El Salvador by bus (5-6 hours) for the sole purpose of holding this meeting. The meeting ended at approximately 7 p.m., at which time they climbed back on the bus and returned to Guatemala, something that is extremely dangerous in Central American countries. Our prayer is that the Lord, by His grace, will grant that we can serve our Guatemalan brothers to the best of our abilities, and that many more children would be reached by the truth of seeing God’s glory through His revelation of Himself in Scripture.
Children Desiring God in El Salvador
In 2003, we began using Children Desiring God in the Sunday school classes of our church, Iglesia Cimiento Estable. It was an answer to our prayers, because we were yearning for material that could lead our children to know God, to stand in awe of His greatness, and to enjoy all His wonders. We began teaching children in our church, then in our Christian school, Escuela Cristiana Oasis. We have approximately 570 students currently using CDG in Spanish in the school, ranging from preschool to high school. Using these curricula brought about significant changes in the lives of the children, so much so that we were able to witness how their hearts began to be softened and inclined to God, seeking to experience Him in everyday life. The parents of our students also began to notice a significant change in their children, and many of them sought us out and began to attend our church, yearning for good, healthy teaching of the truth of Scripture they were learning alongside their children through the Parent Resource Pages sent to them each week.
Children Desiring God Conference in Mexico City, Mexico
By God’s grace, in July of 2013, my wife and I were given the privilege to host a Children Desiring God conference in Mexico City titled “Passing on a God-centered Legacy to the Next Generation,” as part of our visit to Iglesia Cristiana Bíblica, a church that God, by His grace, allowed us to plant some years ago. A total of 150+ pastors, Christian school principals, and teachers attended the conference. They were extremely thankful and receptive as they began to understand and consider the call that the Lord has given His people to tell of His wonders to the next generation. They were eager to use CDG materials in their Christian schools and Sunday schools.
This is the fourth in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.
Jan Golias has served as Team Leader in a Sunday School classroom for over 15 years. We asked her a few questions about the role of Team Leader and her experience in the classroom.
Q: What challenges do you face while serving as team leader?
A: It is really important for the church to partner with parents, working together to see faith grow in their children. One of the biggest challenges I face is helping the small group leaders connect with parents to build that partnership.
Some strategies I use to overcome this is to introduce parents to small group leaders when the children are being picked up. I also invite parents to help in the classroom as a substitute small group leader or with a craft. I encourage small group leaders to take the initiative to call or write parents, and the children in their group, during the year.
Q: Can you give one or two examples of how you encourage your team?
Each week I send an email to my team to relay practical details for Sunday and to encourage their hearts as they study the lesson. I usually share a few verses, song lyrics or an excerpt from a devotional or sermon that relates to the word we are studying that week.
I also host a few events during the year to help us get to know each other. Sometimes we will meet at someone’s home for potluck or the ladies on my team meet at a coffee shop for fellowship.
Q: You’ve been involved in ministry to children for a long time. Are there any specific moments or experiences that stand out that you would like share in order to encourage others?
There are many special moments, but a few that stand out are these:
- One year we had a special needs boy in our class who needed surgery on his legs. It was a joy to have him, along with his parents and our children’s pastor, join our team for a special time of prayer before his surgery.
- I assign each of my small groups a child from one of our missionary families who is also in first grade. Throughout the year the small group prays for and writes to this individual. It is always a delight when they write back or visit our class when they are on furlough. This summer we had two children come home after Sunday school was finished, so we had a special open house for them to meet the children who are praying for them—it was a big blessing to the missionary families.
- One year, when I was out of town for a week, my team asked the kids and some of the parents to write me notes of appreciation for serving as team leader—that was such a surprise and encouragement to me.
- Each week, it is a joy to hear children saying verses and praising God. I love praying for them and I am blessed to see God working in their lives.
Read What is a Team Leader? (Part 1) where Jan describes her role as Team Leader and shares some of her favorite aspects of serving in this role.
This is the third in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.
At our 2013 Conference we were amazed at the number of comments we received regarding one seminar in particular: Bud Burk’s teaching on Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer. Listen to what people had to say:
God stirred my own heart in so many ways. One great challenge was PRAYER—Bud Burk’s workshop on Utter Dependency on God.
All the seminars I attended were so so good! Especially the seminar about the importance of prayer by Bud…
The most Spirit driven, led and empowered seminar that I attended was on “prayer” by Bud Burk. He was filled with passion, zeal, and love for intimacy and communion through prayer with Jesus.
I LOVE THE book that he wrote…
That last comment was shared by Carrie Christopher, who serves as Kids Director at Terra Nova Church in Troy, New York. We asked her to share how Bud’s seminar and his booklet have impacted her life and ministry.
This resource has truly encouraged, engaged and sparked my own heart to humbly seek Jesus’ communion through unceasing prayer. This is not just a resource for those toiling in Children’s Ministry, but for anyone seeking Jesus’ heart. This resource focuses on the dependence on the word of God, and our efforts to abide in His loving presence through prayer. I must admit this is perhaps one of the greatest truth-breathed, Christ-exalting books I have ever read! In Bud’s valiant efforts, he emphasizes prayer as a means to commune, worship, and testify to the everlasting love of Christ.
In our children’s ministry efforts, I think we can all agree, that we can easily fall into the temptation of reliance on one’s self, and our sinful yearning to abide in a measurement of ministry success by the work of our flesh. Bud encourages us as Christ-exalters that by no means should any of us continue in our fleshly efforts. For as Bud points out, John 15:5 states, “For apart from me you can do nothing.” Bud brings in Christ-exalting evidence from the word of God, that we are to first seek His presence in prayer and then we shall see the work of Christ’s hand upon us.
I completely agree with Bud’s call to be a praying people to further engage the next generation’s hearts, minds and souls to love our Christ almighty. How can we expect Christ to work through the hands of the entrusted ministries that He has generously given to us, if we aren’t a people of prayer? My heart is leaping for joy at the word of God filled in this resource. This isn’t a resource that is based on the will of the flesh, but instead on the will of the Father, emphasizing Christ’s desire to be intimately one with His people.
This book gives 11 opportunities for prayer in the classroom. I was inspired by all of the Spirit-led ideas to incorporate prayer in our Sunday School classes. In fact, I am praying that through these practical ideas that Bud provides, that the Lord would raise up a generation of prayer warriors within our church.
Bud encourages us to create an “On Watch” prayer group. By God’s grace our team of children’s ministry leaders/volunteers gathered to pray for our children. It was an amazing act of His grace, that by power of the Holy Spirit, He actually showed us how to pray for the children. Giving us specific words, and burdens for them! Our leaders were praying unexpected prayers, and in the process we heard the intercessory heart of Christ for this next generation, which brought each of us closer to Him.
This resource absolutely will not collect dust on my bookshelf, but will be one that I refer to frequently. I am fervently looking forward to rereading this book to be swept away in the wind of the Holy Spirt’s desire for us to abide. Praise be to Jesus, He has already filled my heart with wisdom on who to purchase copies for and on how to integrate the content of the booklet into our teacher training.
Terra Kids Director
Terra Nova Church
You can listen to Bud’s seminar (MP3), read the notes (PDF), or purchase the booklet in print or electronic format.
This is the second in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.
Jan Golias has served as Team Leader in a Sunday School classroom for over 15 years. We asked her a few questions about the role of Team Leader and her experience in the classroom.
Q: Jan, how would you describe your role as a Team Leader?
A: As a team leader in a first grade Sunday school class, I focus on showing Christ’s love to my team. (My team consists of two teachers (co-teaching the lessons), one worship leader, seven small group leaders, and two helpers, all of whom work together to serve a class of 30-35 first graders.)
I also encourage the team to show Christ to the children in our class as they lead worship, teach the lesson or lead a small group discussion. We use The ABCs of God curriculum which teaches the children to ask “Who is God?”, “What is God like?” and “How should I act towards God?” as they learn an attribute of God for each letter of the alphabet (i.e., A is for Almighty, B is for Bountiful, C is for Creator, etc.).
During the week, I communicate the plan for Sunday to my team, organize and prepare the classroom so it is ready when they arrive on Sunday morning, decorate the room with signs and pictures to remind the children of the attributes they are learning, arrange substitute teachers/small group leaders when needed and most importantly, pray for both my team and the children in my class throughout the week.
On Sunday mornings, I fill a number of roles:
I also look for opportunities to help my team get to know one other, pray for each other and encourage one other both on Sundays and outside the classroom.
Q: What do you consider the best part of being a Team Leader?
There are so many things I love about being a team leader. Here are a few highlights:
- I love working together with my team and helping them to serve effectively in their respective roles on Sunday morning. I also enjoy finding ways to serve them outside of the classroom.
- It is a joy to hear the teacher teach and watch the kids as they listen, understand and respond to the truths being taught. Big truths like “God is incomprehensible, he is more than we can fully understand”.
- It is wonderful to worship God alongside first graders who sing “big church” songs with their whole hearts. One year I had a boy who most would call rambunctious (to put it mildly), but when we started singing he would close his eyes and truly worship.
- I am so encouraged when I listen to children recite memory verses. There was a boy in my class with some disabilities. He would not always get the words perfect but he loved to memorize Scripture and he was always a willing volunteer to recite verses in class.
- I enjoy helping first graders memorize the books of the Bible. What a joy it is to have a child or even a group of 15 children come up to the front of the class to be prayed for and receive a prize after saying either the Old or New Testament books.
- I love seeing former students around church, saying hi and giving them a hug—in a large church this is always special. This year I was able to attend a graduation open house for a young man who was in my small group many years ago—what a privilege to see what God has done in his life!
- The best part of team leading is faithfully serving where you believe God wants you to and knowing that he is working in and through you to share the good news of Jesus with these young hearts!
Watch for Part 2 of this series when Jan will share ideas for encouraging your team, dealing with challenges in the classroom, and special moments she has experienced.
When we first began this blog, we envisioned it as an interactive tool in which to encourage one another in our respective churches and homes. To that end, we earnestly desire for you to send us your stories so that others may benefit and learn from your experiences, resulting in thanksgiving and praise to our great Savior, who is at work in the midst of His people. (more…)