Archive | family ministry RSS feed for this section

A Peek Into My Small Group

11 Apr
I have had a few people as me what small group looks like for me in our children’s ministry. I lead a small group of girls in third through fifth grade.
Here is a peek into my small group.

We are dismissed from large group time to break out into our small groups. One of my girls will grab our small group bucket which contains our activities and supplies. As we gather in our circle, I will ask how everyone’s week was and if anyone has something about it that they would like to share. Now in a group of girls this could take some time, so I usually limit it to just a couple of stories.

I ask everyone to open their Bibles so that we can read our Bible verse together and talk more about it. For example, this past weekend our Bible verse was Proverbs 3:5, so I first asked if Proverbs was in the Old or New Testament. As the girls were looking up the Bible verse, I told them about Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom and that Proverbs was written to share that wisdom. We will then read the verse aloud a few times as not everyone has the same translation and the girls enjoy reading how it is worded in their Bibles. Then I asked the girls what they think it means to trust God with all of their heart. Then I asked the girls if we should only trust God for some things and not others. Then I asked what it means to them when the verse tells us not to depend on our own understanding. We listened to everyone’s answers and discussed each of them. We do this on a regular basis with our weekly Bible verses.

At this time we will move on to our activity provided with our curriculum. Sometimes I will add a craft to our activities which the girls can take home as a reminder of what they have learned and a way to share with their families. This past week we made beaded bracelets with a heart on them to remind us of our Bible verse. This activity time is when my girls are most talkative. They share about what is happening in their lives, talk about our Bible story, and really connect with each other. 
I guide the conversation by asking questions, but for the most part I am listening more than talking during this time.

Towards the end of our time together, I ask the girls if they have any prayer requests. We listen as each one shares. I repeat each one and remind the girls to be praying for each other through the week. The girls will also share any answered prayers during this time. Then we pray together. I ask the girls if they would like to pray out loud and explain that no one has to do so. We do “tap a knee” circle praying. Once a girl is done praying, she will tap the knee of the girl beside her. If someone doesn’t want to pray aloud, then she will tap the knee of the girl beside her. This goes on until the circle comes back to me and then I will close the prayer.

Most times the girls are released to their families from our small group. If we happen to have time left before pick up, then I usually break out playing cards (Uno is our favorite right now) or blank paper and colored pencils (I get lots of artwork to hang on my fridge this way). We continue our conversations in the extra time.

Although I am a big believer in planning and preparing for each week, there have been times when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to put all plans aside in our time together. This happened once when one of my girls shared that they were being bullied in school. We spent our time in group discussing this issue and I watched these girls encourage and love on each other. You can’t plan those moments.

I love these sweet girls and am so very blessed to be part of their lives. They are smart and funny and sassy and so very precious. In this circle, I have watched them grow in their faith, love on each other, and become a tribe.

What does small group look like for you?


Riding the Rollercoaster

7 Mar
Leading a small group of preteen girls is both rewarding and challenging. They are in that in-between stage and learning how to navigate new waters and we are part of the journey they are taking between child and teenager. Part of this new path is changing hormones and the emotions that accompany them. 
A preteen girl’s emotions can be up one minute and down another. 
This rollercoaster of feelings can sometimes manifest itself in bouts of tears.
Here are four pointers in dealing with this kind of emotional outburst:

Deal with it. Don’t ignore it or trivialize it. The situation may seem silly, but to a girl in the midst of the outburst it can be scary and overwhelming.

Talk about it. Taking the girl aside and giving her a chance to share how she is feeling and helping her identify why she is feeling that way is a huge help.

Normalize it. Reassure her that what she is feeling is normal for her age. Let her know that other girls are going through this same thing.

Pray about it. Take this time to pray with her and for her. Let her know that God wants to hear how she is feeling and will be there for her.

Part of being a small group leader of preteen girls is riding this rollercoaster with them. We are here to support and encourage them along the way.

I wouldn’t trade a moment of it and am so blessed 
to be a part of my small group girls’ lives.


Wednesdays With Women In Kidmin

13 Feb
Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children’s ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each other…to sharpen each other.

As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

For the past few months several incredible women in Children’s Ministry 
have shared their hearts here on topics from leadership to motherhood.
You can read all of them here:
Women In Kidmin.

I am in the process of gathering another group of women
to add to the conversation and I need your help.

If you could sit across the table from another woman in ministry 
over coffee and could ask her anything, what would you ask?

Share your questions in the comments below.


Wednesdays With Women in Kidmin

16 Jan
Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children’s ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each other…to sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Leadership Lessons from Deborah
– Cherie Duffey

What advice were you given when you started in children’s ministry? 
I began my first days on staff at NewSpring Church after my pastor asked me about taking a temporary leadership role over the nursery.  I never thought it would lead to a full time ministry position, but over time, as I did whatever I could to serve Jesus and my church, I took on more and more responsibilities, leading me to where I serve now, as the KidSpring Director.  Because I was a complete “novice” in the beginning and I didn’t realize my role would turn into anything more, it never dawned on me to seek out advice as I was starting in ministry. Now, almost 9 years later, I can look back with the most grateful heart and say that I know Jesus was ordaining my steps, walking with me moment by moment and protecting me from seeing where we were headed as a ministry.  If I could’ve seen what was coming, I don’t think I would have been in the position as long!
What advice would you give to a women just starting out in ministry?

Recently I was preparing a Bible story for our kids and was reading about Deborah. I had one of those moments where the Lord just fills your cup through His word and shows you something you need to see. As I read Judges 4-5, I started writing down a list of 5 things that I have learned in my time in ministry.  I think they qualify as “advice” for other women in ministry as well. 
 1. Trust in God’s Calling on Your Life – (Judges 4:4-5)

· You are a child of God and your calling is to the Lord first. Deborah was a prophet –she listened to the voice of God and was ready to be used by Him! Being in ministry and getting advice is as simple as listening to the Lord and doing what He says. 
· You have other priorities in your life that come before the ministry. Deborah was the wife of Lappidoth–I love how scripture points this out, reminding us that a calling is first to the Lord, then to our husband/family and then to the ministry.
· You are a leader with spiritual authority.  Deborah was a leader of Israel who must have also been a good listener!  People came to her with their problems seeking wisdom, grace and justice.  With that in mind, we should grow more and more desperate for the presence of the Lord to lead us with every decision.
 2. Embrace Biblical Authority – (Judges 4:6)

· As a ministry leader, respect the man God put in authority over you. Deborah knew that Barak was her leader. She went to him when there was a problem.  Learn how to be led and how to lead up to the leader God has placed over you in ministry.
· Always listen to the voice of God and act on what you have heard. Deborah knew the Lord had issued Barak a command, and she knew she needed to act on it.
· Be a leader who asks questions and speaks from your heart rather than giving a direct order. Deborah asks Barak a question to prompt him to action, rather than telling him what to do.  This is difficult to put into practice but is absolutely effective in leading people.
 3. Be a Servant Leader – (Judges 4:7)

· Be a leader who asks “What can I do to help?” Deborah tells Barak she will help him.
· Look for opportunities to go to battle for your team. Deborah was ready to fight with Barak and for her people. There’s a balance with this. Fight for the vision of your ministry in a way that shows grace and also passion.
· Always be willing to serve no matter the cost. Deborah risked her life for the sake of her leader and her people.  Lead by example. 
 4. Recognize Your Value – (Judges 4:8-9)

· You can be a source of strength to the leaders above you and below you.  Barak did not want to go to battle without Deborah. Don’t be afraid when other leaders ask you for advice or your help.
· Be confident to speak up when you discern the need to do so. Deborah spoke up knowing that she had truth Barak needed to hear. Measure your words but use them when you know you should.
· You can have influence without telling the leaders above you and below you what to do. Deborah let Barak make the decision to take her to battle, and when she spoke truth to him, Barak listened.  She had influence with him because of the way she led.
 5. Be Willing to Fight – (Judges 4:14; Judges 5:31)

· You should be confident in knowing that the Lord is with you as you are a leader in ministry. Deborah reminds Barak that the Lord has gone before them in battle.
· You should fight to uphold the vision of your church and the vision of your children’s ministry. Deborah was fighting for God’s people to be free from the enemy.
· You should always fight for unity and peace. Deborah’s leadership brought peace to Israel for 40 years. Fighting to maintain healthy relationships with everyone in your scope of ministry will not be easy, but it’s essential. Learn to forgive because you’ve been forgiven.  Learn to love unconditionally, because that’s how Jesus has loved you.
Seeking advice from other ministry leaders is something I do regularly now that I’ve moved from “novice” to “beginner” status as a leader in ministry.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to share with you, but I would love for you to add to this post with comments about the advice you would also give to other females starting out in ministry!

Cherie Duffey is the Children’s Ministry Director at NewSpring Church.  She has been married to Shane (a pastor at NewSpring) for 23 years and they have four teenage boys. 

My God Sized Dream

8 Jan
I have sat down at the computer about a thousand times in the last week to write this post about my dream. I wouldn’t have guessed how hard it would be to actually put it into words, but I have to admit that it has been a struggle.

I have been serving in Children’s Ministry for some years now and I absolutely LOVE it. I have the privilege of loving on and sharing Jesus with an amazing group of kids each week. There is nothing like it. Or so I thought.

A few months ago God opened a door for me to lead a Bible study for moms. To say that I was scared is definitely putting it lightly. I am more than comfortable leading a small group of 4th and 5th grade girls, but to lead a group of women was totally out of my comfort zone. 
So I did it scared.

Something happened those first couple of weeks that I just can’t find the words to explain. Sitting around this table with these moms…God broke my heart. Not just for them, but for the moms of our church and the moms of our community.
The moms who hide behind the busy and get lost in the laundry.
The moms who feel discouraged and alone.
The moms who are seeking God and long for community.

My God sized dream is to be part of making that happen. 
A community of moms doing life together.

I don’t know what that looks like or how it will happen, but I know that He does.
I am trusting Him to lead the way.

What I do know is: 

I believe God has created and called me to love and encourage 
children and moms through shepherding, teaching, and writing.

God-Sized Dreams

My friend Holley Gerth invited me to join a group of dreamers that she affectionately calls her God Sized Dream Team. What a blessing to be part of this group. 

We will be gathering each week on Tuesdays at Holley’s to encourage each other and you to dream those God sized dreams.

Won’t you join us?
What is your God sized dream?


Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin

2 Jan
Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children’s ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each other…to sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Motherhood and Ministry
– Yancy

I grew up a preacher’s kid. Yeah, yeah, I know often times that is filled with negative connotations but for me it’s been a great thing. As look back on my life I can very gladly and openly say that I had a great life. I had two parents that loved me and did everything in their power to teach, guide and train me in the way I should go. My life as a preacher’s kid was a happy one. I found it filled with many positive opportunities I would have never gotten any other way. I accepted Christ when I was seven and knew from an early age that God had called me to do music. Because of that dream I’ve been working hard at my music for most of my life. Because of what I felt God had called me to do in my life it required me to have a relationship with Him. The church is where I found a place to belong. A place to serve and a place to use my gifts. 
I am now a mom myself. My son, Sparrow, will be two in February. I can’t believe how much time flies. It’s been an amazing and joy-filled almost two years. I am also in ministry. I travel doing family concerts at churches all over the country and throughout the world. I have many different CD’s, DVD’s and devotionals that focus on different ages like preteen and preschool. I train kidmin worship leaders through workshops and articles. I write and produce the music for Standard Publishing’s VBS and help with Plus, I serve in my local church on a couple different worship teams.
I can be honest and say most days I feel like I’m at least ten to fifteen “things to dos” behind. Everyday I wake up with the idea that I can accomplish so much in my day only to realize that I am not Super Woman and by the time I do some Mommy things with Sparrow and around the house my work to do list is well, not going to get accomplished like I thought.
So, at this stage in the game as I reflect on the many things my parents did right and follow their model as I parent Sparrow here’s a few things I want to share:
1. Include your kids. It wasn’t just Dad’s ministry but something we did as a family. Every Saturday I’d go to the church with Dad growing up and help prepare the classrooms and kid’s ministry for Sunday morning. Whether it was straightening chairs, filling buckets of candy, making Visitor packs or many other tasks I was right there in the middle of it and spending time with Dad in the process. When Dad traveled to conferences we’d either all go as a family or take turns going on special trips with Dad. Sparrow travels with me to all my concerts and he loves to play with cables and plug stuff in and he’s awesome at carrying a megaphone. J

 2. Make special focused time for your kids.Time with Mom was many shopping trips. Time with Dad was usually a lunch or dinner. The point is they made special, dedicated time that was about me.  They made me feel important in their world. One of my biggest challenges is stopping to acknowledge Sparrow when I’m in the middle of responding to emails. But I’ve read that if you want your kids to share important stuff with you then you need to not ignore them when they try to talk to you.

 3. Allow your kids to experience, try and fail in protected environments. My parents were super strict with what we watched and listened to when I was young. In our teen years they were great about taking us to the non-Christian concerts we were interested in and allowing us to see the world in a controlled environment. They were with us when we smelled pot or saw people gorging in PDA. It was a controlled environment and we were able to see how ridiculous someone is that’s drunk or living a lifestyle that is not God honoring. In those environments it made us only want to live holy…instead of wondering what the world was like, we saw it with our parents. Even on into making some career choices. My parents helped guide me to seek God and listen to His voice to guide my steps. They let me make the decisions. Great lessons learned at young ages on how listening to God’s voice and doing what He says always pays off.  I want to help Sparrow make Godly choices as he navigates his life. I want Him to learn to hear God’s voice and obey what He says.

 4. My parents blessed us. They didn’t spoil us, but they did bless us. When I was a kid my parents didn’t have much to go around so spoiling wasn’t an option. My Dad is a giver   though is he strived very hard to be loving and giving just like our Heavenly father is. He said He doesn’t want to get to Heaven and have God asked why He didn’t do more to help his kids answer the call of God on their life. Even as I write this that is a humbling statement. I am so blessed to have such giving parents that sacrificed so we could take the dance and music lessons we took. They made sure we had great keyboards, guitars, drums, lawyers or whatever was needed for that season. I want to be giving like that to Sparrow. I want to support Him as He dreams the dreams God has for his life. I want to teach him that God provides for all of our needs!

5. Love God, Hate Sin. Both my parents repeated things over and over to us through the years. Of course, sometimes I rolled my eyes hearing the same stuff again but you know what, it stuck with me. Those things got down in my heart and are here to stay. One of those things was “Love God, Hate Sin.” It’s an old 80’s CCM song by Mylon LeFevre. My Mom signed every birthday card and letter at camp with those four words. It’s kind of funny and I’ve already started signing things to Sparrow the same way. If I can get those four words down in his heart as he makes the wise choice then I think we’ll be off to a good start.
Happy New Year! Many blessings on you, your family and your ministry in 2013.
Learn more about Yancy at

A Look Back at 2012

31 Dec
Looking back at what I’ve written in the past year 
and am feeling so incredibly blessed.
Not by what I’ve written, but by you all sharing
your hearts in response to my heart on the page.
I am so thankful for each one of you who 
have read, responded to, and shared my words.
You all are a treasured gift.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
Philippians 1:3

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from the past year with you.

In January, I shared about God calling me to be still with Him. 

In February, I shared about exchanging my weakness for His strength.

In March, I shared about what Family Ministry looks like in our own homes.

In April, I shared about moments with my boys that taught me more about God.

In May, I shared about a time that I have my deepest conversations with God.

In June, I shared about making the most of every moment we have with our children.

In July, I shared truths from The Lord’s Prayer to teach our children.

In August, I shared about standing on the promise of provision from God.

In September, I joined other bloggers in writing a letter to myself as a teenager. 
This was by far the most challenging post I wrote all year and is still the hardest for me to read. It is the post that had both positive and negative responses, but through it all I knew it had to be shared.
If it touched one person’s life, then it was all worth it.

In October, I shared about our longing to be welcomed and the power of those words.

In October, I also shared about one of my biggest fears and how God is bigger.

In November, I shared about celebrating 20 years married to my warrior.

In November, I also shared about the power of my Abba answering a prayer.

In December, I shared about God breaking my heart and joining The Exodus Road team.

In December, I also shared a letter of encouragement written to the undercover investigators of The Exodus Road and invited you to write one as well.

Again I want to thank you all.

Thank you for joining me here and allowing me 
to share my heart and sharing yours right back. 
I am looking forward to what God has 
in store for us in the coming year together.


Covered in Grace