Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Equipping Children's Ministry Leaders Conference

We are conducting a FREE Children's Ministry Training and equipping conference at Faith Tabernacle Church in Urbana, OH that is open to the public. anyone interested in reaching this generation with the Gospel is welcome to attend. FREE lunch provided.


Speakers include:

Jerry Moyer of Jubilee Gang Ministries.
Jerry has over 25 years experience in Children's Ministry. 25 years as a Children's Evangelist and over 12 years as a Children's Pastor.
Since starting The Jubilee Gang in 1991 he has ministered in 44 States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Russia and in over 25 different denominations and a host of non denominational churches and have seen over 20,000 people born again during Jubilee Gang events.

Julie Snodgrass- Pence
Julie has over 20 years experience in Children's and Youth Ministry
She had developed and taught all ages from Birth thru High School. She had also directed a very successful inner city youth ministry that reached and discipled inner city youth.

Class Topics include:
1. How to teach kids for over an hour and keep their attention
2. Six types of Games that teach
3. Developing the leader within you
4. Power Packed PreShcool

Monday, April 27, 2015

Taking the spiritual temperature of your ministry

Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?
A thermometer reacts to the temperature of the room.
A thermostat sets the temperature in a room.

Do you set the spiritual climate in your class or do the children?

We as Christian leaders need to set the spiritual temperature for our classrooms whether we are a Sunday school teacher, Children’s Pastor, or volunteer children’s worker. It is important that when we enter a classroom that we are spiritually prepared to set the spiritual climate for the class. If not the child with the strongest personality will set that climate.

If a child experienced chaos on the way to the service they will bring chaos to the service. If everyone was up late the night before Sunday morning service and tired, the class will be unresponsive to the lesson.

However, if we enter the room spiritually charged and on fire about our lesson the excitement will spread. If we believe in what we are teaching and show excitement about the subject others will be excited also. True faith is contagious. When someone is so excited about what they believe that they speak about it in confidence with passion in their voice others will believe also. If we are not sure about what we are teaching and are reading it out of our lesson planner, the children will be board and not buy into what we are offering them. Confidence comes through knowing the material inside out. You need to know it so well you can present it without reading it.
I have notes every time I speak publicly, however notes are to glance at to keep me on tract so, I arrive at the planned destination. I can expound upon each point of my notes without reading them line for line, however my notes make sure I do not drift off course during my program. I can expound upon each point because the subject is in my heart. It is not something I am not sure about or do not know a lot about.

If we are not confident on our lesson it will show in our body language, tone of our voice, and all around presentation. We cannot give something we do not have. If it is not in our heart then we are just regurgitating an old cold lesson out of a book that really means nothing to us.

The reason young adults are leaving our churches by the droves when they are old enough to make the decision for themselves is that all they have heard their entire time growing up in church is old, cold, regurgitated material that is not relative. It does not apply to them. We have offered exciting programs with all the latest methods but have forgotten the message.

Teachers must be passionate about their faith and what they are teaching. Like I said before true faith is contagious. It spreads like a wild fire. When we hear someone with true heartfelt convictions, we want what they have. If we are around it long enough we will start to crave it. And when you crave something bad enough you do whatever it takes to get it.

Let’s turn up the spiritual temperature in our classrooms.

Our children deserve it.

Jerry Moyer
The Jubilee Gang

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Which comes first?

Which comes first?

For generations we have argued about which came first the chicken or the egg. I recently read an article that seems to finally put this questions to rest. The article said, “the body of a hen is the only thing that produces the right chemicals and calcium to make the shell of an egg.” So, it seems that we must have a hen to make the egg because the shell cannot come from anywhere else.

In recent years with so many resources available to children’s ministers the question has arose “which comes first the message or the method?” Hopefully most of us would say it’s the message, but let’s examine this questions further.

For over 25 years in children’s ministry, I have used and taught the method of “theme and repetition” as a great way to teach children, keep their attention, and have them retain what we teach. The theory behind this method of teaching is below:

Studies show that the attention span of children is one minute per age of child. Therefore, if you have 5 year olds you have approximately 5 minutes to get your message across before you lose their attention. If you have 10 year olds you have approximately ten minutes before you lose their attention. It’s been said that with this generation we probably have less than one minute per age of child.

Because of this short attention span, I endeavor each week to put the theme in a sentence of around 10 to 12 words. Usually the theme will be a verse out of the bible, which I want the children to remember.

Because people enjoy change, especially children, we use a variety of methods each week to present this theme. The theme for the week stays the same throughout each service, but we change methods every 5 to 10 minutes to keep up with the short attention span of the children we are ministering to. In each segment of the service we should endeavor to repeat the theme in one way or another.

Some of the different ways we will use to repeat this theme are:
1 Music/songs
2. Bible stories
3. Games
4. Object lessons/illustrated sermons
5. Skits/drama
6. Puppets/full body costumes
7. Video clips and presentations

I have found that teaching with this method, it is important to start off with the most exciting thing first, usually an exciting intro followed by an icebreaker skit or game. This is to grab the children’s attention and let them know that what we are doing is more important than anything they could ever want to do. Once we start off with the excitement, it is important to keep transitions flowing smoothly. Dead spots are great chances to lose the attention of children and maybe even loose control of the class. We gradually lead the children into serious instruction.  Then give them a chance to respond to the theme with a time of altar ministry. This is the time we allow the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of the children, and encourage them to seek a deeper relationship with God. After the ministry time we will usually end in a time of excitement again, usually a review game or a high impact skit that reviews the theme. This will leave the children with a charge to take this message home.

I have used this method for over 25 years of teaching children and usually I have a very limited amount of discipline problems, and a very high amount of children that retain the theme of the lesson. I have been able to go into inner city areas where children have even smaller attention spans and keep the attention of a large group of children for around an hour. People have remarked that they had never seen these children set still this long before. I first learned this method of teaching from attending Willie George conferences, when I was first starting out in children’s ministry.

As a creative person I have been tempted throughout the years to use really cool new methods that have nothing to do with the message like lights, video, and special effects which is not necessary wrong however, if we have a really cool service and the children are not retaining what is being taught and are not being ministered to then what is the point. All these methods are to be used to reinforce the message.

When I first started out in Children’s ministry, I read an article by a Christian magician that said, “That we should always develop the Gospel message first, then come up with a trick or illusion to reinforce the message. If we come up with a really cool illusion, then try to put a gospel message to it, it will usually become watered down and be more about the illusion and performance instead of the message.”

I have endeavored to always hear from God and get the message that he wants me to present first. Then find creative ways to teach and reinforce this message that makes it exciting for children, so that they retain it.

When writing Jubilee Gang programs, I usually start off with a subject that has been stirring around in my heart for a while. After studying this subject and taking notes, I then turn it into something similar to a sermon outline. From there I start adding more creative elements like object lessons, power point, video, and media. Then I start adding things like skits, and games. The last thing I usually do is come up with a big intro, where I choreograph lights & video to make the program exciting for children with short attention spans. Lights are to enhance the experience not be the experience, especially in a church setting. Check out an article I wrote called Lighting and Tech in Children’s ministry that talks about this further.

The bible says in Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” The word of God is the only thing that produces faith in the heart of children.

By all means use all the modern technology available to reinforce your lessons, help keep kids attention, and enhance the learning experience. However, don’t let it become the main attraction by developing a really cool show then adding a little gospel to make it Christian. Let us always put first things first when it comes to ministry.

Jerry Moyer
Jubilee Gang Ministries

Monday, April 20, 2015

24 people born again in Springfield, OH

We had an awesome time ministering at New Life of Springfield, OH this weekend. We conducted a family service on Sunday morning April 19th and saw over 24 people come forward to be born again. parents, teens, and children were encouraged by the Word of God that was presented.

Below are some pictures from this event...

Families playing the pizza flop game 

Candy counseling Wild Thing

Jerry praying with 24 children to be born again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions

Have you ever wondered why someone that seems to have a lot more talent and experience than you do, and seems to have more influential contacts than you do, just can’t seem to get anywhere in life?  Why do they keep running in circles and are never able to brake out of the small box they are in? It seems like they are in a hamster wheel running and running, but never getting any where.

If you talk to them you might hear them say, “They have not received the right breaks in life, or that someone or some circumstance is holding them back.” If you find yourself in this situation don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions of yourself. And after asking the tough questions, do not be afraid of the answers. A lot of people do not ask the tough questions because they are afraid of the answers. They are afraid of the truth.

Proverbs 11:14 says Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Now this does not mean that every time we go make a decision we should ask 100 people what they think.  We need to be decisive in every area of life.

James 1:8 says that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. We need to be able to make decisions in life without asking 100 people what they think. If we ask 100 people what they think, we will get 100 different answers, and then we will be more confused than when we started.

I believe that Proverbs 11:14 is talking about when we hear the same criticism of ourselves over and over again and we ignore it and keep brushing it off as something that is wrong with everyone else,  but we never look inward and never see the problem.  

A lot of people either get hurt or offended when they receive criticism. Therefore; they never grow in life. They never allow themselves to be stretched. They never allow anyone to speak into their lives. Getting hurt and offended is a defense Mechanism that keeps them from facing the truth that will help them grow.

I have been blessed through out the years to work under different leaders that have spoken into my life and have stretched me. When something is stretched it hurts.  A lot of times when leaders spoke into my life it hurt. Human nature never likes to be corrected or criticized.

When criticized I try to ask myself two questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I do anything about it?

Sometimes people just like to tear into other people and their criticism is not thought out or constructive. They lash out with criticism for others to boost their own self esteem. This type of criticism is usually not true. We cannot receive all criticism, or we would go insane.

Sometimes criticism is true but there is nothing we can do about it. We cannot get hurt or offended if what people say is true. I have found that the best way to handle the area’s in my life where I might not be as talented as others or naturally gifted as others is to laugh about it. Accept the fact that I am not gifted in these areas and enjoy the area’s I am gifted in. However we can always strive to improve ourselves as much as we can.

I cannot sing at all. I know this. I am not blessed with musical ability. I play no instruments except my IPod. I enjoy good music but cannot produce it.

However, there is a 3rd category of criticism that I want to talk about in this article. This type of criticism is true, and we can do something about it. These are the areas of our life that need to change, so that we can be more successful.

Over the years I have heard certain things over and over about myself. For a few years we passed out evaluation forms to every church we ministered at. We wanted to make sure that we were achieving our goals in ministry. We eventually quit using this form because people were not giving constructive criticism, but were using it to nit pick our ministry. Too much nit picking can ware on you after a while, and you become less effective in anything you do because you cannot please everyone.

A few good things did come out of using this evaluation form though. One thing that I heard a few times was that I should be more exciting when I speak. I have never claimed to be the best speaker in the world, and I still do not claim to be. I know that there are others that are much more eloquent than me. I always used the scripture that Paul wrote in 1 Cor 2:4 to justify my lack of talent in this area

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

However after hearing this criticism a few times, I began to ask myself, “Can I do anything about this.” I decided to really start working on being more exciting when I teach. I worked on body language, my voice inflection, not being monotone, and moving around the stage instead of standing in one place. I have come a long way since then. I realize that there are still others that are better, but I always have room to improve and I am continuing working on developing in this area.

When I first started hearing this criticism it hurt. I heard statement like my program and presentation was awesome, but I myself was boring. Ouch!!!!!
Thank God I received this criticism and worked on developing myself, so I could go to the next level in my ministry.

When young people work under me as an intern, I am very cautious not to ripe into them with everything they are doing wrong. I try and pick my battles. Most of the time when I share something it is to help them better themselves, so they can be more successful in life and ministry. One young man had a very annoying action when he would get excited that was a turn off for most people. He continually did this over and over. I could see that this would hold him back in achieving his goals in life and ministry. When I approached him about this his statement was that, “No one had ever had a problem with it in the past, no one had ever told him this, so why should it be a problem now?” My statement was that no one ever loved him enough to tell him the truth. This naturally offended him. As time went on I believe that he thought about this statement and made adjustments in his life. A lot of times pride stands in our way of receiving criticism.

If someone has experienced the same problem at every job they have had, they might need to ask themselves, ‘Do I have a problem in this area?” Instead human nature is to blame everyone around us for this problem. To me it’s sad to watch someone go through life experiencing the same problem everywhere they go. Never able to hold down a job because of bad people skills or a “know it all” attitude that rubs people the wrong way. They never ask themselves if it could be them. Instead others are always blamed. Therefore; they never go to the next level.

I once worked under a leader that spoke into my life greatly. He stretched me to help me become what I am today. As we spoke one day the subject came up, “Why the church was not growing?” I was hesitant to share why I believed that it was not growing because I was taught not to disrespect leaders that I am working for. I finally decided to be honest and share what I saw and what others were saying. I was very cautious with my words. I checked the motivation of my heart to make sure it was out of love for Him that I was sharing this information and not to cut him down, hurt him, or lift up myself. After sharing what was on my heart, I wished I would have kept it to myself. The leader rejected my suggestion and said, “That it was not true.” He did not believe this. To this day the church continues to not grow, and has actually lost members because of this problem that was never dealt with. I never shared from my heart with this leader again because I learned that he did not receive criticism. Even though he had spoken into my life greatly and stretched me, he did not allow others to speak into his life therefore; resulting in never going to the next level that God had planned for him and the church.

I used to where goofy hats and looney tunes ties on stage to try to relate to kids until I realized that most of the adults were turned off and thought of me as an oversized kid. I learned that I needed to dress for success. A children’s minister can dress in a way that is appealing to children and is not a turn off to adults that are potential supporters and workers in your ministry.

Let’s not be afraid to ask ourselves the tough questions in life:

  • Is there something I am doing that is turning people off?

  • Is there a reason no one wants to work under me in children’s ministry?

  • Is my messy lifestyle and lack of organization just the way I am or is it holding me back? Is there something I can do about it?

  • Is the way I dress or my style offensive to some or a turn off? Is it just the way I am or can I change?

  • Is there a reason people are not coming to my church or calling me to minister at their church? I have heard some ministers say “People are not spiritual enough to handle the truth that I am preaching, that’s why my church isn’t growing.”

  • Is my style of ministry a little outdated or not relative, even though I have done it this way for years and have worked hard on developing it?

  • Do I come across hard and cold or is it that people are just not mature enough to handle the truth?

  • Do I come across as a goofball or immature because of the silly things I do in children’s ministry resulting in the adults in my church and community not respecting me?

  • Is there something about our building or children’s church room that is a turn off to first time visitors?

Let’s not be afraid of the answers to the tough questions. Let’s move up to the next level in our life and ministry. Let’s be all that God has created us to be and cast away anything that holds us back.

Jerry Moyer
Jubilee Gang Ministries

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lighting and Tech in Children’s Ministry

Lighting and Tech in Children’s Ministry

I have probably been branded the lighting and techie guy in some children’s ministry realms because I haul around over 7000 pounds of lighting, video, and sound gear when we travel and minister to children and families. That’s probably more gear than most traveling children’s evangelist that I personally know of.

Let me start off by saying, I don’t believe that lighting and tech is necessary in children’s ministry or ministry in general. However, it can be used to enhance worship and add excitement to certain parts of our services.

I started using lights in children’s ministry after attending a puppet ministry conference by puppet productions years ago.  I was taught at this conference that lighting can be used to direct attention to whatever is going on at the moment on stage. If the room is darkened and the stage is lit then children will focus on the stage area. Attention can be directed to certain parts of the stage where things are happening by darkening one area and lighting another. This was originally the reason why I started using lighting in Children's Ministry. It really does help  keep kids attention by having a darkened room with lighting directed to the front of the room. This gives children less things to look at to distract them.Many parents and church members might be freaked out by teaching in a darkened room. However, my goal was never to make it a club or concert atmosphere.

My first lighting system was made by connecting silver clamp lights that one would use in their garage to a controller that was a wooden box with home rheostat dimmers. We have come a mighty long way over the last 25 years.

First Jubilee Gang lighting rig. 

Over the years I have learned some do’s and don'ts to lighting in ministry. Below are some of the things that I have learned that I would like to share.

1. Lighting during worship: 
   a. When we use lighting during praise and worship it is meant to enhance the experience not to     draw attention to its self. I have seen many children’s ministers that have sporadic lighting going around the room that can be very distracting. When we lead children into worship the attention should be on Jesus, not our awesome lighting show. Using colors and moving lights to change the mood from a happy time of fast and celebrating praise to warm colors and very subtle movements to create a more worshipful environment. Colors and scenes do not need to be changed many times during a song. Maybe one scene for the chorus and another for the verses are plenty. The colors and the amount of movement need to correspond with the mood of song being sang.
   b. When it comes to lighting and production to enhance the experience, I am always reminded of the song “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman. “When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come. Longing just to bring something that's of worth that will bless your heart. I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about you, it's all about You, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it when it's all about You. ”

It’s all about God not our show.

2. Less is more 
   a. Sometimes it’s tempting to give an audience everything you've got when you first get some really cool lights. When it comes to lighting I had to learn to control these urges. As I said before lighting is to enhance the service not to draw attention to it's self. Most of the time good lighting is not even noticed. It is part of the entire experience. Most people don’t walk away saying, “wasn't that an awesome lighting show at church today?” It was part of the overall experience. A good lighting person will be able to dim the lights and smoothly transition them from one area to another and one scene to another without the crowd noticing. Make sure your lighting does not look cluttered or sporadic by using too many colors or to much movement.
   b. Exceptions to the rule: During games and other exciting times it’s more acceptable to use more lighting within reason.

3. Be considerate of your audience.
   a. Today we have more and more children with sensory disorders and Autism. For these children some lighting effects and loud noises can set off adverse conditions for them including seizures and panic attacks. Strobe effects and quick sporadic movements are some of the things that can trigger this. I have started noticing this more over the last five or so years. Back in the day all we had to worry about was people with epilepsy having a seizer triggered by a strobe light or someone with Asthma have an attack because of the fog machines. Usually an asthma attack was a psychological one instead of the actual fog or haze used triggering it. However, we need to be considerate of our audience by warning parents ahead of time if we are using such effects. Also, we can be considerate by not going over board with certain effects like strobe and haze.

4. Tech is to reinforce the message not be the message. 
   a. Some one said the message never changes, but the methods must change from generation to generation. A Christian Magician once said when he develops new Gospel illusions that he always develops the Gospel message first then the illusion is developed to reinforce the message. Its tempting to come up with a really awesome illusion, then throw in a little gospel message to go with the illusion. This is what I am afraid happens in children ministry today many times. We come up with an elaborate production including lights, video and sound, then try to fit the Gospel into it. Instead of first knowing what God wants us to communicate to our audience and then using tech to reinforce what we are teaching. In my opinion this is of utmost importance in ministry that the message does not get lost in all the tech and awesome stuff. I ran lights at a Christian youth camp for years that started off very ministry oriented where kids experienced God and walked away changed. Throughout the years they became more and more tech savvy and even surpassed most large churches in the tech realm. As they perfected the technology being used the quality of ministry continued to decrease resulting in teens having an awesome time at camp, but not as many lives were changed. Kids walked away saying wasn't the lights and production awesome this year. Instead of, my life was touched by God and I will never be the same. I believe we can have all the technology and still flow with the Holy Spirit and see lives touched.

By all means let us take advantage of all the cool new technology to enhance the worship experience, but let us never create an awesome experience and add a little bible to it, so we can call it Christian.

Jerry Moyer
Jubilee Gang Ministries

Below us one of our newest Intro's that we use during our live events.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Outreach is reaching out

Several times a year we get to do one of my favorite things. We get to OUTREACH! Or to put it another way we get to REACH OUT! We are able to go outside the four walls of a church building and be a blessing to the world and present the Gospel to people that might not ever come to a church building. Many times what we call outreach is when we have a big event at our church and invite the world to come to us. Dr. Roy Fish said it this way, “Evangelizing in the church is like fishing in a bathtub: it’s terribly convenient, but you don’t catch much.”

Sadly to say that most of the unsaved people in our communities will never come to a church building because of pre conceived ideas about churches. Things like churches are nothing but dead religion or churches are no longer relevant to their life or today’s society.  Many people have had a bad experience at church therefore; they believe all churches are alike.

If we are truly going to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus told us was our job as his disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples.” We are going to have to go to the world. Go into our communities and present the gospel to the world on their turf. It really does not matter what this looks like as long as the gospel is presented.  If we can find a need in our community to be a blessing to people, it will open the door for people to hear the good news of Jesus. I have seen churches go to the community and spend upward of $10,000 on an event that was a blessing however; the gospel was not presented. Essentially this equals nothing more that a carnival or a fair that the world puts on for themselves however; it was sponsored by a church. If we are going to make disciples we must present the gospel in a nonthreatening way and give people an opportunity to respond to the message by giving their lives to Jesus. Otherwise, we are throwing money at the wind.

a few years we got to partner with a local ministry called React that holds monthly events in our city with free food, prizes, and entertainment however; the Gospel is clearly presented to all that attend. We did a scaled down version of our “What is a Christian” program and were able to lead the ones who wanted to follow Jesus in a prayer to give their lives to him.

Every year for the last several years we have been able to minister at one of our local Elementary Schools at an after school program called “The Sonshine Club.” This ministry does an after school program once a week in many of our city’s Elementary Schools. It provides parents with an hour of after school activity for their children including games and bible lessons. This Tuesday we were able to do our scaled down version of our “What is a Christian” program to children that might not get a chance to hear the gospel message anywhere else. After our presentation, we were able to pray with the children who wanted to receive Jesus into their lives.

Each year our goal is to do several programs outside of a local church building. Out where the people are. In communities, parks, schools, anywhere we can get a crown to hear the Gospel.

Someone once said "We're no longer fishers of men, but keepers of the aquarium, and we spend most of our time swiping fish from each others bowls."

I pray this changes! I pray that more churches would have us in to do events at a neutral location where more unchurched people will come and give their lives to Jesus and then be invited to a local church and become disciples of Jesus. 

Jerry Moyer

Jubilee Gang Ministries