Archives for posts with tag: #parenting


How you noticed that this is election has become all about personalities and not issues? I have heard it said that more than any other election in history, this vote is about who people are voting AGAINST, not what issues we are voting FOR.  I propose that every American should vote, not for or against a personality, but for the issues that matter the most for our faith, our families and our future.

Our future starts with educating ourselves on the issues at hand. And I do not mean just glancing at CNN once in awhile. Like it or not, one of these candidates will choose up to 5 Supreme Court justices, whose decisions on several pending cases WILL greatly affect churches, denominations, Christian schools and colleges. Yes, I believe God is Sovereign- but I also believe we need to stop jumping off of high places expecting angels to catch us before we hit the ground. We have to do our part, educate ourselves, and vote.

I have been researching the issues at stake for awhile now, and I do have to say, I am surprised at the conflicting information, or missing information out there in the media. It can be difficult to get a concise, side by side look at what each candidate really stands for. So, I am compiling one here for your convenience, and I will list my sources at the end for your own reading/research. Feel free to discuss, share as you wish. These are not in any order of importance.

1. School Choice. This one is very dear to my heart. School Choice means that the parent is allowed the right to choose the school that they consider to be best for their child. This includes public schools, private schools, charter schools, Christian schools, home schooling etc. Several states offer voucher programs in support of parent school choice.

Trump: He is very pro-school choice. He believes that no one school system works for every child, and that competition will help the schools improve (I do not know if I agree with that part. Anyone have any information on school competition and quality of schools?)

Clinton: She used to be pro school choice, but in order to get the endorsement of the teacher’s union this year, she had to agree to be anti school choice in all of its forms. Her current position is: “I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system – not outside of it.” She goes on to say that other forms of education may support “values that are not America.” So support for, and legal rights for anything outside of the public schools may be soon to fade away.

2. Death penalty- Surprisingly, both candidates are pro-death penalty.

3. Abortion-

Trump- He is not for abortion rights, and has states he would like to see Roe v Wade repealed. He is also for an end to late term abortions and partial birth abortions. He does say he supports abortion in the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

Clinton- She used to be against abortion. In the past few years, her stance has changed to be very pro abortion in any form, and for any reason- late term, partial birth abortion etc.  “I have been proud to stand with Planned parenthood for a long time and, as president, I will always have your back,” Hillary said. “We need to protect Planned Parenthood from partisan attacks (defunding).” She was also on video recently stating, “The unborn person does not have Constitutional rights.”

4. Gun Rights-

Trump-He is for unlimited gun rights and opposes any new restrictions.

Clinton-She strongly opposes gun ownership rights. She claims guns are responsible for the wave of violence in our nation right now. In a recent speech, Hillary claimed that the 2nd Amendment was one of a “few” amendments, that needed to be “looked at again” in the light of modern cultural changes. Which ones? What exactly are we “rethinking”?

5. Lawsuits pending against churches, denominations, and Christian schools

Under Obama’s controversial Title IX law, there are currently a tidal wave of law suits “on hold” against religious organizations over transgender bathroom issues, refusals to marry gay couples or offer gay couples married housing etc. The Christian groups are claiming religious freedom/religious right to object. Whomever is appointed to the Supreme Court will decide the outcome of all these cases and the many to come.

Trump- He plans to appoint conservative judges who will lean towards protecting religious rights.

Clinton- She plans to appoint Progressive liberal judges who will vote that non-discrimination rites override religious objection. She says the first judge she plans to appoint is Barack Obama. This will be a radical left turn for our nation. “Open season” on churches and Christian schools to say the least. I do not think that some of our Christian colleges will be able to stay open. In response to those objecting to paying for abortions, citing their religious convictions, Clinton responded, “Deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to change.”

6.  National security/terrorism-

Our nation is facing an unprecedented wave of terrorism and violence. Every single day there is more death and tragedy.

Trump- Prides himself on being the “law and order” candidate. He promises to support police, spend more on our military, be “tougher” on violent crime. He has been endorsed by our largest national police society ‘The Fraternal Order of Police.” Every presedential candidate except Clinton has actively sought this endorsement.

Clinton- She believes that our police are biased, whether intentially or unintentionally, perpetuating systemic racism in our country. Her plan involved “reeducation” for police officers nation wide to be more tolerant. She has stated that she believes that crime nationally is better than it has been and is improving. Clinton believes that the violence in our nation is due to racism and guns, and that by reducing the number of guns across our country, we can reduce the violence.

7. Immigration-

Trump- He is against allowing illegal aliens to remain in the country (amnesty). He is against providing monetary benefits to illegal aliens. He has been VERY vocal about enforcing stronger borders (even a wall). Trump does NOT believe our nation is vetting immigrants very well. He has proposed limiting or excluding Muslim immigrants, either refugee or migrant, from “terror” nation, at the very least until we can come up with a safer vetting system. He has said that he would support a faster path to legal immigration and would continue taking in the same number of immigrants as in years before, but not from “terror” areas.

Clinton- She has been instrumental in helping Obama bring in the first 11,000 Syrian Muslim refugees. She has promised to continue Obama’s policy (even though it has been vigorously criticized by Congress). But she claims that Obama has not gone anywhere near far enough in bringing in Muslim migrants. She has promised to assist her friend Angela Merkel, in bringing over “at least” another 160,000 in the first year of her presidency. Her overall goal is bring in ONE MILLION Muslim migrants in her first term alone. She believes our current vetting process is working well. The cost of Clinton’s plan will be 400 BILLION for U.S. taxpayers to pay. Clinton proposes allowing illegal immigrants to stay, be given amnesty and full benefits.

8. Voting rights-

Trump- He wants stricter regulations on voting. He has expressed concerns on voter fraud. He is against allowing illegal immigrants or felons to vote.

Clinton- She is against stronger regulations on voting. She is for voting rights for felons, inmates and illegal immigrants.

9. Taxes-

Both candidates are for higher taxes on the rich.

Trump is for lower taxes on businesses (in an attempt to bring jobs back to the U.S.) He wants higher taxes on foreign businesses for the same reason.

Clinton’s tax plan will impact the rich, certainly, but taxes for everyone will have to go up some in order to pay for 100 million migrants. Taxes on the middle class will “ONLY” increase by “0.6 percent” is the plan.

10. Defeating Isis-

Both candidates are for partnering with Russia to attack Isis. Neither candidate wishes to send in a ground invasion of troops into Syria to defeat Isis.

Trump- He has been secretive as to his strategies. He has been critical of our current generals. What we know of Trump’s plan, is that he wants to send in Navy Seal and Special Forces teams to wipe out Isis.

Clinton-She has stated that she will continue to do what we have been doing under Obama. She will partner with other Muslim nations in the area, gather intelligence and continue drone strikes of the area. (Drone strikes have been very controversial lately, because the U.S. has repeatedly accidently killed innocent women and children- literally hundred to thousands in the last 4 years).


So these are the 10 key reasons I MUST vote in this crucial election seasons. I am not voting for a personality. I am not voting for a perfect person. I am voting based on my conscience, a lot of prayer, and a lot of research. These 10 keys are far to crucial to ever let slide by. What keys are driving YOU this election? Did I miss any of yours? Please check out my sources below for more information. Keep educating yourself, register and get out to vote!


Hillary’s Refugee Proposal Would Run Taxpayers $400 Billion

Hillary Clinton Tells Planned Parenthood: “As President I Will Always Have Your Back”

Hillary Says Americans Will Have to Change Their Personal and Religious Beliefs

I was delighted to meet Becky Fischer last year at CPC (Children’s Pastor’s Conference) in front of her booth in the resource hall.  She was literally surrounded by dozens and dozens of curriculums and other literary works she has written. This woman has been BUSY. Here are some of the things she has been up to according to her ministry website  :

“Ms. Fischer spent twenty-three years in business before answering the call to full-time ministry, serving first as a children’s pastor for ten years. She later joined Tasch Ministries International, which had taken over 700 boys and girls on mission trips. She was later employed as the children’s pastor and as a graphic artist by MorningStar Publications and Ministries, Inc. in Wilkesboro, NC. Becky Fischer founded of Kids in Ministry International (KIMI) in 2001. KIMI is a multifaceted ministry that trains children and adults to walk in the supernatural power of God.

Becky Fischer has trained thousands of children, teens, parents, and children’s workers. This was done through conferences, Bible schools, mission trips, churches and resource materials. She is the author of the book Redefining Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century, Jesus Camp My Story, and three children’s books. She has also authored/co-authored eight unique and dynamic children’s church curriculums.”

Her latest Kid’s in Ministry International (KIMI) curriculum-Kingdom of Light- is coming soon, and I’m honored that I was able to get an opportunity to preview it and review it.What is “Kingdom of Light” all about? Well here’s what it says on her site:

“Kids in Ministry International curriculums, designed for children’s church

encompassing kids from ages 6 to 12, are very unique in content. Not only do

they cover the foundational truths and doctrines of the Bible not readily available

in other curriculums, but even familiar topics are taught in very distinctive ways.

Our materials are written specifically for Spirit empowered churches who believe

in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, hearing God’s voice,

healing, that the gifts of the Spirit are for today, and who believe in walking in

the supernatural lifestyle of God found in Scripture.”

After checking out this upcoming curriculum, I have a few thoughts on it. Here are a few of bright points, the “Shining Stars” of Kingdom of Light, if you will:

  1. Great Potential for Truly Engaging Your Current and Even New Children-The bright colors are great. I am a visual person, and the first thing that grabs me about KOL are the vivid colors. It looks modern and FUN.The themes of light and royalty are usually big hits with kids. I think the fun activities would also generate a lot of excitement, willingness to bring friends and an anticipation of what’s to come next!
  2. Diversity- If churches are not careful, they can make the mistake of featuring curriculum with all white kids, a white Jesus, white disciples and so forth. I believe it is important to VISUALLY let all kids know, “We want you in church here this morning. Jesus wants you here. You belong here.” KOL is packed with pictures of children from all over the globe. The settings are very diverse. This is probably because Ms. Fischer travels extensively all over the world, and has always had such a passion for reaching children of every language, economic and racial background.
  3. Holy Spirit Emphasis- This curriculum is ideal for Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I know from experience (I’m ordained through the Assemblies of God) that it can be tough to find quality curriculum that speaks to our Pentecostal distinctives and heritage. In the past, my teams have just found the best curriculum we could and then added our own Holy Spirit emphasis on- or written our own. This curriculum is unabashedly Spirit-filled from the get go.
  4.  Great Tie-Ins- The theme of “LIGHT” lends itself easily to some great events. I would do a black light night to kick it off or as an end point rally. I also think that with Halloween coming up, many churches try to do a Halloween alternative. I think a night with an emphasis on breaking free from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light would work well in a lot of our settings. This curriculum would be an effective tool in talking about tough topics this fall season.
  5. Built-in Teacher Training Tools- I like the fact that Ms. Fischer puts great emphasis on giving your leaders the training they need. In fact, from the beginning of the series, she starts with training. Volunteers often complain, “I didn’t get the training I thought I would/should.” This curriculum seems to come with the training ideas built right in. Correct and thorough training for volunteer leaders can make all the difference!
  6. Parent-Home Ministry Component- Not all curriculums include any connection between the church and the home. But wise churches know the powerful impact that parents have on their child’s spiritual journey; and SOMETIMES those children will minister powerfully to their parents! So Ms. Fischer has included a section on each lesson that goes home for family ministry. I get excited at the thought of the light shining out from our homes all week long!
  7. Kinesthetic Learning- This is not a “I speak and you sit and listen” kind of curriculum. These are “Kid’s Church Services” and they are EXPERIENCE as well as knowledge based. They do not just learn ABOUT prayer, they then participate in prayer. They talk about the power of God, and then begin to engage with a living God. There are costume characters, object lessons, movement…This curriculum would appeal to many different learning styles.

Potential Drawbacks of Using “Kingdom of Light” Curriculum:

  1. KOL would not be a good fit for churches opposed to prayer for the sick, praying for miracles or church who do not believe in the supernatural.
  2. You and your team would need to be prepared to answer a lot of questions and do ministry to non-Christian parents of children who attend your services. Yes, you probably will atract some new kids who are not from Christian families (which is so great that they are coming!) No kidding, we have had several occasions of parents wanting to meet with us, asking, “Why is my child wanting to pray every night?” “You aren’t actually telling my child that Jesus ACTUALLY rose from the dead??” The best thing to do is to expect and be ready for those interactions. They are actually potential God moments- ministry openings! So do not be defensive. For us, many many of these curious parents ended up joining our church and becoming just as committed as their kids! This is extra work, but it’s so worth it. It’s why we are here!

If you are interested in seeing more on Becky Fischer’s work and ministry, check out her website mentioned earlier in this post.

To see titles and sample lessons visit

After you check out samples for yourself, please let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

Love Trisha Peach

Author of Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch and Your Children’s Ministry Beyond Basics, now available on

NO way around it, if you are in ministry you WILL be criticized. Someone will not like you, your ministry, your approach, your messages etc. How you HANDLE that negative feedback will either make or break your future in ministry.

First off, let me be clear on this: not all criticism or advice is sound or from God. As you mature in life, you must turn up the voices of those who are for you and believe in what God is doing through you. Your close friends will tell you the truth, but in love. Then you must carefully but firmly begin to turn down and even mute, remove the voices in your life that are destructive, not uplifting, not for you, distressing and distracting. As you move up in responsibility, your time becomes more limited, and who you choose to listen to will make ALL the difference. You do NOT have to give equal or any time to all the people who want to speak into (or dump into) your life.

I have heard it said that, “All criticism has a grain of truth in it.” However, many criticisms that were leveled at Jesus were not true: that He was a drunkard, that He was inciting a revolt, that He had a demon,  that He was trying to destroy the temple etc. Paul the Apostle had people in churches HE launched saying things like “Paul is weak” “Paul is unable to handle discipline” etc. So not all accusations have a basis in truth. Paul and Jesus both KEPT MINISTERING, They did not let their critics halt or even slow down their impact. They had a mission that God put them on, and they weren’t going to let an aggravated human derail it.

A better way to handle someone’s criticism is to ask yourself, “Is there ANY grain of truth I can gather from situation? What can I learn from it?” There were several times in my life that I finally had to admit, my critic had a good point- they were right, and I needed to work on that area of my approach etc. A big part of maturity in Christ is being able to take a good hard look at yourself, be willing to humble yourself and make changes. But there is a definite line between uplifting criticisms offered only to help you succeed and damaging verbal attacks used to hurt you, gain power or make you feel discouraged. Have you noticed that people’s negative words often ring in our ears long after those people are gone? Too often we give those dark words our attention, even over God’s Word. The enemy would like to see criticism, both legit and unfounded, totally destroy your ministry and your image as a child of God.

Is that you or someone you know right now who is the subject of some criticism? Perhaps it is mean spirited, jealous accusations? Is it unfair and unfounded? Please remember that it is God Who called you, and a human being (including yourself) cannot UN call you! God will perfect what He has started in you. You are in a great company of Biblical champions who survived criticism- Moses, Noah, David, Daniel etc etc. Even God takes His share of criticism. He understands. So don’t quit. Hang on to the One Who called you and Who will carry you through. And remember today to turn UP the positive voices in your life (including God’s) and turn DOWN or OFF the people who are just blaring noise. God Bless and much love, Trisha

Has criticism ever tempted YOU to quit? What would you say to someone who is considering quitting ministry or are very discouraged over criticisms?



“So I was so excited, to see these middle schoolers walk right up to our youth center at our church  on a Tuesday. For months I had been trying several outreach approaches, friend nights and more and praying that God would bring new kids in. Growth was definitely a major goal for us. It was clear that these kids wanted to ask me something. And I was certainly flattered that they had their phones out to take a picture of me and our youth facilities. And it wasn’t even a Sunday or Wednesday night! Then to my shock, one of them said, ‘You have a Jigglypuff on your head,” and then ‘This is where Trey got his Venonat. Oh hey I see it!’ And then the boys ran around to the church’s back parking lot. Talk about an ego killer.” –B.T. Youth Pastor

Have you been noticing a few more kids, youth and grown adults roaming around your church parking lot lately with their phones out? Well they are PROBABLY not trying to plan a robbery or their next visit to your church. Chances are high that these people are playing the hottest new game right now- Pokemon Go. And chances are also high that there are Pokemon that they want to catch AT YOUR CHURCH. “Wait a minute!” you may be saying. “Our church did not authorize that. We never signed up for that.” Well, you do not get a say in whether or not your church is a part of the game. And the fact is:

CHURCHES ARE A MAJOR PLACE TO FIND POKEMON IN THE GAME. churches are also what is known as “Pokemon gyms.” Once you reach level 5 in the game, you then pick a “team”- red (valor), blue (mystic), yellow (instinct) and more. If you see a gym (often a church) “owned” by another team, you can battle it for YOUR team. Do you even know which Pokemon team has claimed your church yet? You are already in the game like it or not! What is this game anyway? Well Wikipedia defines Pokemon Go as:

“Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company as part of the Pokémon franchise. It was released worldwide in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices.” This means that kids will be actually WALKING OUTSIDE with their phones to play the game. It looks like a GPS with google maps to actual locations to find “Pokemon.”

The benefits of the game include: 1. For the first time in too long, children are going OUTSIDE and WALKING. They are still looking at a screen. But they are walking outside. This is a big deal for some families. I did hear of a few kids immediately uninstalling the game when they found out they would have to walk outside lol. 2. Many families are choosing to play the game together. This is a family friendly game that gets people doing something in community. Full disclosure, my husband and son have been going out every evening having a blast  playing this. 3. Many kids would never otherwise go these locations- museums, post offices, churches, fire stations. They are exploring the world around them, where they actually live.

The drawbacks to the game include: 1. There have been reports already of pedophiles using the game to lure children to a desolate area ie, “Come to this abandoned building. You will find a very rare ___________ there.” 2. Like any other game, Pokemon Go can become addictive and very time consuming. Kids can spend hours and hours and days and days in this immersive virtual reality. 3. I have already seen more than one near car accident caused by individuals playing Pokemon GO while driving! It seems many adults who do not want to walk around, are collecting their Pokemon while driving. YIKES!

I would like to caution churches and pastors- if we are truly saying “God, please send us kids and families!” and God send them on the “wrong” day (Thursday afternoon etc.) we shouldn’t be responding with, “get off my lawn you kids!” either with our words or actions. You will have families coming to your church now at all weird hours. I remember Jesus going where He knew the people would be. And Jesus spoke in a lot of “stories”, parables, in which He used the common pictures of the day to reach people with eternal truths- sheep, coins, farmers, soldiers etc. What if Pokemon Go is the common story of our culture at this moment. How can we use a popular game to speak eternal truth? Regardless of the reasons or your feelings about the game, what you are going to do with this opportunity just handed into your lap??

Here are a few ideas that I have seen recently, that churches are doing to reach the kids and families who are coming in for Pokemon Go:

  1. One church had coolers outside with a sign saying, “Welcome Pokemon Go players! Take a free water and a map (map has service times and upcoming events on it).
  2. Another church had a very large sign saying, “Come on in Pokemon Go players! Cool off inside and get water and snacks!” The people that came inside were greeted warmly with smiles, snacks and an invite to some back for services.
  3. A youth pastor organized a very successful youth rally, a YOUTH GO night. The whole student ministries team went out together through the city playing the game and connecting with people. Then they had a big rally at the end at the church.

What about YOU? I want to hear what your church is doing or is planning to do in response to the popularity of the game. What benefits, drawbacks do you see? What ideas do you have for reaching children and families through the Pokemon Go phenomena?

Love Trisha

During height of the Azuza street revivals that launched many Pentecostal denominations including the Assemblies of God, a woman named “May Faye” attended faithfully and was deeply affected by the powerful moves of God’s Spirit. As she had no children of her own, she felt deeply impressed of God to pray daily for her nephew Jim John Barker. For a very long time she committed herself to intercede for Jim, whether or not she saw results right away or not.  Many other people had given up on Jim John- a man known for his ferocious temper.  To the public, Jim made his living selling his delicious hot tamales at his cart every day, but in reality he made his money in the dangerous bootleg trade of the 1920’s, smuggling homemade liquor during the prohibition. He had no interest in God, repentance or “revivals”.  But May had made a covenant with God to pray for Jim every single day until God “got ahold of him”.  And God blessed that persistant lady, her committed prayer life and her unshakable faith.  Jim John Barker had an earth-shattering “Saul into Paul” encounter at an altar one night; everyone who had ever known him swore he was NOT the same man- in a GOOD WAY.  Jim Barker devoted his life to the study of God’s Word, and to the ministry.  After becoming an ordained minister, Rev. Barker helped found several growing churches across the state of Texas during his lifetime.  I have heard stories about the long hours he spent in prayer; he never so much as drank a glass of water without stopping to thank God.  This was a man who truly WALKED with Jesus, every single day. And the story did not end there.  Rev. James and his aunt May Faye, then made a pact to pray every day for James’ son Jim Hollis Barker.  Jim H. was a navy gunner in World War II, a great dancer and (from what I hear) pretty popular with the girls.  Jim was smoking several packs a day.  But after he encountered God during a powerful church service, Jim left all of his cigarettes right there on the altar and never touched anything like them again.  Jim Hollis Barker became an ordained minister and started several churches across the state of Texas (and he literally built several of the church buildings in which he pastored!) As you may have guessed Jim Hollis is my grandfather and James Barker is my great-grandfather.  My parents, Rev. Mark and Bonnie Stevens have pastored now with the Assemblies of God for over 40 years. My sister Rev. Erika Goffin (AG ordained) and her husband are youth pastors in a growing youth group, often working with kids who have been abused, addicted, and/or neglected (while raising their own 2 beautiful boys and foster daughter).  My little brother Shawn Stevens is a police officer and an absolutely anointed worship pastor (and father to 4 children). My adopted sister Bethany Thompson has a successful military career, a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful boys, and she has such a passion and faith that is contagious! All together there are at least 7 pastors in my family. Which means a few things:

A. If you are in our family and you try to become a Buddhist, we WILL have all night prayer meetings frequently until you come on back. We love you. Resistance is futile. All will be assimilated. 🙂

B. Holidays take FOREVER when we all get together. Christmas will include a worship service, prayer meeting, testimonies- preaching… all 7 pastors, and others, until their spouses get them to allow present opening.  Healings definitely happen at holiday gatherings.  #blessed

C. Funerals will include a worship service, prayer meetings, testimonies- preaching.  Healings will probably happen at our funerals. And a salvation altar call.

D. I can ask my family day or night for help or prayer- and they will go to PRAYER.  Not a “now I lay me down to sleep” prayer, but what they would call “laying hold of the horns of the altar, praying through etc.”  And I couldn’t be more grateful.  I know I am here because of those prayers.

And all of this came down to one little Assemblies of God woman, who made a promise to God to pray for her angry nephew every day. She never went to Bible College, never preached to the masses, and I don’t even know what she looked like.But I know she wouldn’t give up. And she was faithful.  My own children both read their Bibles every day and want to keep serving in ministry using their gifts which makes me want to say:.

To May Faye: I just wanted to say “Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for never giving up. See you when I get home. love Trish”

Do you have a prodigal in your life? Don’t give up praying for them. Don’t have children of your own? Believe me, there are prodigals who need your prayers right now. And you have NO idea how God will use your prayers, persistance and compassion to change many generations to come.



Next week I am speaking for a kid’s camp, and this is part of a challenge booklet I am passing out. I just thought I would share it with ya, because I know there are a lot of children’s pastors and parents and teachers on here. I will be challenging these kids to revolutionize their spiritual lives in 21 days by doing 7 important things-

1. Cleaning out the sin

2. Reading the Bible for themselves daily

3. Journaling about what they find in Scripture

4. Praying daily

5. Listening to God in prayer

6. Serving in the church, home and community

7. Finding a Christian mentor/accountability partner and a Christian friend to take the journey with them

I am excited to see what God will do in these kids lives in just 21 days of focusing on Him! What do you think? Have you done something like this? I do not want what happens at camp to stay at camp. I want them to come home from camp and GROW. Feel free to use this and alter it as you like. It has fill in the blanks to do with the kids, but I added the answers I am using in parenthesis for you. God bless! Pastor Trisha

Getting “Fit” in Christ 21 Day Challenge


NAME:                                   AGE:                                       DATE:

Did you know? That just like we have to train hard to get fit physically and mentally, we have to train hard to get fit spiritually? Take the 21 day challenge to know God better, and take your spiritual life to whole new levels! Here are the action steps; let’s get started…

1.The Bible tells us to “Throw aside every weight, and every ______(sin) that slows us down.” Hebrews 12:1 We throw aside these weights so we can pursue Jesus with our whole heart, soul, mind and _______ (Spirit). With God’s help, in the next 3 weeks, I am going to pray about getting rid of these things that may be slowing me down in my walk with Jesus: ________________________________________________________________

  1. I am learning this weekend that to really grow closer to God, I must read my Bible every day. “Your Word is a _____ to my feet and a _____ to my path.” Psalm 119:105. Have you ever tried to find the bathroom at night at the camp without a flashlight? We need God’s directions to grow! With God’s help I am going to read God’s Word every day for 3 weeks. I will check off the chart below:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21

  1. It is important to _______(listen) to what God is trying to say to me through His Word. His Word is _______(living) and active right now in my life and can speak to my situation right now! These are some of the things that I believe God is _________(speaking) to me through my Bible reading.


  1. A huge part of growing in Christ in not just listening but also _________(talking) to Jesus. I will try to pray every single day. Prayer is talking to God. He ____(hears) us when we pray and He answers us. He will say _____(yes) , ______(no) or ________(wait). Here are my top three things I will be praying about in the next 3 three weeks _______________, ____________, _______________. I will pray every day for the next 21 days.

1  2  3  4  5   6   7   8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21

  1. Here is what I believe God has been speaking to my heart during my prayer times during my 3 week time of growth ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. A huge part of growing spiritually is finding my place to _______(serve). I should not wait until I am older; I should find my place to serve in my church, my family and my __________ (community). Here are some ways that I am going to try to serve Jesus and others these next 21 days (VBS helper, cleaning at the church, camp helper, cleaning the house, visiting the sick or shut ins, using my gifts of singing, or playing an instrument, baking for someone or more!) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7.We all need a person to hold us _____ (accountable). A parent, a pastor, a Christian friend or teacher are good choices. You need to find a great ________ (adult) to help you grow and to keep you on _______( track). You should also have a friend your own age to do the challenge with. During my 21 day challenge, I found _________________ to be my accountability grownup and ________________ to be my challenge buddy!



EXCERPT from the newly released book “Your Children’s Ministry Beyond Basics” (Amazon)

How do we know that we have fully equipped a child spiritually to go into youth group? What is the goal? What does the fully discipled child look like? What does that child sound like? The answer to these questions should guide us in EVERY decision we make in children’s ministry from curriculum, to service structure, to what we choose to emphasize week to week.

Now I realize that this list will not be comprehensive. But when I visualize a child, age 11-12, graduating out of children’s ministries into student ministries, this is what I and my teams are looking for, fighting for and planning for every week, Sunday after Sunday. Here are our goals in no particular order.


  1. Will know what they believe and why. They will be able to accurately and positively defend their faith (apologetics) – A child in grade school, is the best they will ever be in their entire lives at committing things to memory. We should not waste a moment of this key time for helping children learn and memorize what matters most. In fact, a lot of people will tell you that they memorized most of the Scripture they know now, BEFORE the age of 12. One of the most important things we can do for our kids is to teach them what we believe, why we believe it, and how to effectively articulate, defend and share those beliefs. So when they leave our program, we want every child to be able to explain what we believe, and why, and defend it using Scriptures.

I had a talk with a Mom recently, who informed me that she would not be bringing her young son to church. She said that she felt a child was too young to learn things about God and the Bible, and that when he turned 18, she would let him choose for himself if he wanted to start going to church. I looked at her and asked, “So are you keeping him out of school as well? Perhaps when he is 18 you should let him decide if he should start school or not. He is far too young to understand everything they teach in school too. And definitely do not take him to the pediatrician. Just wait until he is 18 and let him decide if he wants to visit the doctor and start his vaccinations.” She instantly snapped, “Well 18 is far too late to start school and WAY too late to start his vaccinations! He has to start now or he’ll be way behind! He may not like school but that’s too bad. He has a lot to learn.” I responded, “Exactly, Mae. Your child’s spiritual health, spiritual journey is the MOST important part of your child’s life.”  To my delight, she really thought about what I said, and so far has routinely been bringing her son to church.

  1. Will be as prepared as possible for a positive transition to student ministries. BOTTOM LINE: it is mission critical that we work together to do our graduation handoffs WELL. Do celebrate and make a big deal of when a child graduates up to student ministries. Let them know you are proud of them, that this is part of growing up, and a whole new exciting chapter in their lives. Do not make it a funeral, or a sad thing. Do NOT make it sound like the end of FUN. Talk up all the great things they will now be able to be a part of!
  2. Will KNOW their major Bible stories and have a working knowledge of God’s Word. They will be able to search Scripture for themselves to find the answers they need. This is important. We want the children to go from being “fed” beliefs and Scriptures, to digging in and finding these treasures for themselves. We want to instill a lifelong love of God’s Word, and a daily habit of reading and studying it.
  3. Can spot cults and false doctrine and know why they are false. This goes right along with knowing what we believe and why. More and more cults are targeting children. It is more important now than ever that our kids can search the Bible for themselves, and know a false doctrine when they come across it.
  4. Has solid Christian friendships that hopefully will go with him into student ministries. One common denominator that has kept kids in church longer is having a network of kids their age that they identify with and surround themselves with. We want each child to make solid Christian friends, and to learn to be a positive Christian friend to others. Because living in a community of believers, growing together in Jesus is what CHURCH is all about! We intentionally work to foster these friendships, to provide positive peer pressure, accountability and a “net” to keep kids from slipping through the cracks and out of our doors. We want “normal life” for every child as they grow up to include worshipping together with their friends.
  5. Is actively serving in the church. We want our kids to love their church, and feel very much a part of it- right now. We will help each child to know what their giftings are and how to use them in ministry! We should always be looking for new ways to use our talents for God and others, at church, at home, and in our community. Over and over again, I have found this to be true: The children you INVOLVE will be the children you KEEP. You cannot expect them to sit around until they are 25 staring at the wall, and then suddenly join the deacon board. If you wait too long, they are already gone. Children that are involved in serving are much more likely to stay in church, and stay committed even through rocky church times and transitions. Involve them right now! Create opportunities for the kids and their families in your ministry to reach out using their giftings. A life of serving should be the routine for every Christian- it should be NORMAL for these kids to join student ministries and immediately look for their place to help out. The child who is graduating up, should be a child excited to minister!
  6. Has surrendered their life to Jesus. This includes a dynamic commitment to live life God’s way. This child will have Biblical view of the world, of right and wrong and of the family. In everything, this child will be thinking, “What does God want?” When they consider their future, they are thinking, “What does God have for me to do?” God takes center stage over all else. This also translates into the child’s attitude and actions reflecting the fruit of the Spirit. This is a child working to be more and more like Jesus.
  7. Has had SEVERAL EXPERIENCES of God’s Presence. God is a very real Person in their life, on a daily basis. Not an impersonal, historical or mythical figure. This is a vibrant relationship with a living God. This is just as crucial, if not more so than making sure each child has the “head knowledge” of God. Heart knowledge needs to be happening week to week as well. The child who is graduating up knows how to pray for themselves and others. They will have had prayers answered. They cannot be convinced that God does not exist, because they have SEEN God in action in their lives and on their behalf. The desire will be there for more of God’s Presence in their lives through worship, water and Spirit baptism, Scripture, serving and more. When crisis hits, they will turn to God for help. This child believes and has an active vital relationship with a BIG God, Who listens, cares and ACTS on their behalf.
  8. Is missions minded-A Giver. We want our kids to leave our programs with a giving nature that runs directly counter-culture to our mainly selfish, materialistic human nature. Each child will learn to tithe and to give. They will make it a habit to give to and serve the poor, the hurting, the hungry, soldiers, the imprisoned, Christians suffering around the world for their faith, those in the hospital and more. When there is a natural disaster or community crisis, these kids will be thinking, “How can I show the love of Christ? How can I help?” These are kids who will give sacrificially of time, money, things and service. Instead of hoarding “stuff” for themselves, they will think of their possessions as gifts God has entrusted to them to use for good.

When we sit down to plan our year of ministry, we have all of the above in our minds when we pick out curriculum, plan events and evaluate our progress. You cannot ever get “there” if you do not know where you are going.

What about the children graduating up from YOUR kid’s ministry into student ministries? What is the most important to you and the culture of your church? What are your non-negotiables? How will you know that you “got all the bases covered”? Hoping for some good imput/discussion here! Trisha Peach


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I got a chance to review the International Children’s Bible last fall, and I always love to get my hands on a new Bible for kids. This one did not disappoint. Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about instilling a love of Scripture in our kids- a lifelong relationship with God, a habit of studying and memorizing His Word. I want my children and the children I minister to to live their lives God’s way, not their own way; to follow the instructions He gave us in His Book.

Why do I like the ICB Bible? Well here are a few of my favorite reasons:

  1. I like the layout- colorful, modern, engaging for young readers
  2. It is easier for our littler ones to understand and follow along
  3. I like all the illustrations. Color pictures throughout keeps those pages turning.

How much do I like the ICB Bible? I liked it enough to give one to my own nephew this past Christmas. He and his parents were pleased and intrigued.

How would you like to win YOUR OWN FREE COPY for yourself or that amazing child in your life/ministry? Please leave a comment below, even if it is just your name and where you serve and that will put you in the running to win! Winner will be announced later this month. God bless and thank you for all you do!!! love Trisha

sleepoverDoes your church offer childcare for every event? Do they expect the children’s leader to find volunteers to babysit at those events? Are you or your team getting really burned out with event childcare during the week, to the point that it is affecting your weekends? Are you tapping the same volunteers for weekend ministry AND weekday event childcare? This is definitely a growing problem. If the above describes you or someone you know, read on.


Excerpt from the recent book, “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch”

SO, I’m going to address an elephant in the room: children’s ministry versus child care.  And I’m not talking about people VIEWING your ministry as childcare- that’s bad enough.  I’m talking about actual childcare for church events. There is this battle raging in churches across the United States right now, and it’s directly related to children’s ministry and recruiting. Sometime in the late 1980s, when the church-consumer mentality hit its peak, the church began offering free child care for every event during the week. As time has gone by, parents have come to expect free child care for church events. And this problem is further complicated by churches having more and more events, sometimes every night of the week. Many times when a new event or study is announced, child care is just expected, and the new unsuspecting kids’ ministry leader has no idea that he or she was supposed to find babysitters for every event. I think at this point, you realize how passionate I am about children’s and family ministry. I believe in making a clear separation between ministry and babysitting. We do not take kids in another room and “entertain” them or “keep them quiet” while the church does important ministry. We are reaching kids for Christ, and every moment counts. When I first came on staff at my third pastorate, I had no idea my team and I would be expected to find babysitters for Bible studies and events every night of the week. It was beyond overwhelming. We were already using every strategy available just to try to cover our weekend services and our midweek service. Our focus had to be recruiting, training, working with our leaders and parents for our weekend programs, not being on the phone all day begging for sitters at all the other events. Everything finally came to a head when I came to our kids’ leaders meeting one Tuesday morning and laid yet another event on the table. One of my amazing hard-working leaders put her head on the table and started crying. The next day she turned in her resignation. There was no doubt in my mind that she left due to feeling overwhelmed, at least in part, by the child care duties. We were still not able to turn things around in a week, but her departure gave me incentive to keep trying. We were able to completely separate children’s ministry from babysitting, though it took a year and half of hard work to do so. And it was worth EVERY meeting and presentation to make that happen. Most growing churches are now having to address this issue.

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend the book Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger (2011, B&H Publishing). Here is the reality: our churches need to do fewer events with more quality, and we need to streamline our events to coincide with what is already going on. What events is your church doing that have run their course?  How can we begin moving those Bible studies and classes to Wednesday nights or Sunday during services? For us, we moved all Bible studies and classes to Wednesday nights and Sunday third services. Then we started letting people know that we would no longer be providing child care for events or classes that did not include the whole church. People were surprised and dumbfounded, but we patiently worked with them and eventually they caught on. I recruited an amazing young woman who took over as “Events Child Care Coordinator.” Her volunteer position was to find babysitters only for all-church events and only for an average of two events per month. She also focuses on recruiting and using babysitters who are not from our pool of every-week children’s ministry teachers! Some examples of all church events were: What We Believe 101, the Annual Church Business Meeting, and the Live Worship Album Recording Night. We created and implemented preplanning forms that helped her to plan ahead and stay fully staffed. It also kept other departments of the church from asking for “ten babysitters by tomorrow night.”

The effect of taking babysitting off our hands for our staff, key volunteers and our ministries was beyond description. Instead of finding babysitters every night of the week, we now rarely need to do so. We focus all our energy on children’s ministry, filling classes with amazing leaders, training those leaders, and connecting with parents. As a result, my staff, my team, and I are less stressed, and all of our areas have grown quickly under this laser-focused attention.

Why should your church consider limiting its babysitting services?

  1. We were spreading ourselves and our volunteers too thin. At our church, we were having to ask our same pool of overworked, overcommitted volunteers to bail us out and babysit weeknight after weeknight. We lost two great weekend kids’ ministry leaders because they were burned out babysitting during the week. Do not let this happen. Your weekend kids’ ministry is far too important to sacrifice for any group’s babysitting. Having trouble recruiting? It’s time to cut out recruiting for nonpriorities. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do everything. And if you try to do it all, you will stumble through it poorly with fried, unhappy leaders. Choose the few things you are going to do, and do them well. Your priority needs to be your weekend and midweek services.
  2. All that babysitting can be a liability for the church. Some churches are getting sued because of things happening during these largely unstructured babysitting times on church property. Do we really want to be liable for what happens with kids in church classrooms after office hours? This is usually when items go missing, are broken or destroyed, or a child gets hurt on the church property with no staff member present. Not good.
  3. This is a great opportunity to let people see the value of the children’s ministry at your church. Your first step here needs to be to vision cast, lead UP, to your senior leader and leadership team. This can take time, patience, and effort. Then, as a church team, start streamlining what you do, and being more effective at the few things you continue to do. Be prepared for a lot of arguments and excuses such as:

“But we have to have child care or they won’t show up.” This is true in some cases. There are families that will not attend if no babysitting is provided. So start putting all of these meetings and events when children’s ministry is already in session, such as Sundays or midweek. It is better to streamline events for families anyway. For your events and meetings, you will have to specify and advertise whether you will be providing child care. If families know ahead of time, it gives them time to plan.

“It is what we have always done. Now people expect free babysitting at every event. There are no other options.” The truth is people can learn to do things a different way. It takes time, love, and patience. What did the average family do before we offered child care to every event? What do parents do now when they have a meeting for work, an outing, a PTA gathering, or a date night? They get a babysitter. All of these other events do not provide free babysitting; only the church does. The time has come to rethink that policy.

“Well it involves kids, so it’s the kids’ leader’s job.” That is as ridiculous as saying, “Well, I need a teacher for fourth grade. I need an adult so that’s your job.” This is why job descriptions matter. We are a team, and we need to work together. You cannot perpetuate the outdated thinking that you and your team babysit while the “real staff” does ministry. What your team does each week is far beyond babysitting. Do ministry, and do it together as a church team. Note that over time, people came to expect free babysitting at every church event. Over time, then, you can change that expectation. Helping your people to become active participants in their kids’ ministry is a process, but it’s worth it.  What about your church? Has your church/ministry come up with a few creative ways to address the church childcare dilemma?? What are your thoughts?

So, how is your ministry to families going?

This week in my seminary class, we started discussing family ministry. It got me really thinking about whats going on right now in our ministries. Here are some of the things I love about family ministry and a few of the things….well, that I don’t:


  1. That we get to be a part of what God is doing.  There are very few institutions that God Himself instituted in Scripture.  The two most important are family and the Church. To me, family ministry is a PARTNERSHIP of the two- truly the ORANGE that we think of.
  2. In a culture that undermines families, we get to be a support and encouragement for families!
  3. When we see families “get it”. I love it when families are discipled to the point that they are winning other families to Jesus and serving together. How that makes me celebrate!
  4. When parents truly get involved with ministering to and discipling their child. You see that parent grow spiritually by leaps and bounds!


What I don’t love so much:

  1. When churches lose their “balance”. Humans in general are not good at BALANCE. We tend to swing along like a pendulum. In the 80s and 90’s we allowed parents to dump kids off for us to fix and train like a Christian fast food McDonald’s. Now, at times, the church is dumping the kids back on parents who are not yet discipled and ready to train their kids. Family ministry means a partnership of the church and home. This may mean offering activities for the family as a whole, as well as age appropriate experiences. This is a both/and situation.
  2. When churches use “family ministry” as an excuse for something else. In my city, 2 years back, three of the largest churches fired their children’s directors saying that having a children’s pastor was not necessary or Biblical when you have family ministry. These churches saw family ministry as an answer to their prayers- it “helped” the church budget by not paying those salaries anymore, and they said that they wouldn’t have to recruit much anymore because “the children’s pastors are the parents in their own home.” Family ministry is not an excuse to withhold resources, time and effort. In fact, ministering to the family will most likely mean MORE work, more money, time and effort- and volunteers- but it is worth it! Do family ministry because you believe in it. Not to save money, or because you are tired of recruiting.
  3. When I ask churches the all important question:” How are you discipling families? How are you training parents?” They almost always say something like, “Well, we preach on it twice a year and send home take home sheets.” Really? That just doesn’t cut it. Our family ministry strategies are going to need a LOT more time and thought than a handout. How do we really disciple families? How do we get parents to come to trainings? I’m asking this honestly, because we need to work for answers.
  4. When our narrow view of family ministry does not reach the majority of those in our pews/city. What I mean by this is, how does our family ministry impact children in single parent homes, children of divorce, blended families, families with parents cohabitating, children with a parent in prison, children whose parents are not Christians, foster children? Neither the church nor the parents are “off the hook”. We are called to minister to the least of these. And in a broken world, families are also often broken. We are called to minister to them in love.

How about YOU? What strategies have you found to minister to and support families in your own ministry? What is the biggest problem you are facing in family ministry right now?


love Trishablogpic4