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Kids and Ministry: Ministers’ group offers resources, aid for Southern Baptist children’s ministerscomment (0)

January 8, 2009

One great way to get a children’s ministry up and running is to consult others in the ministry. And the Alabama Preschool and Children’s Ministers Organization (APCMO) provides opportunity for that to happen.

Established by Baptist ministers for Baptist ministers, APCMO was founded nearly 20 years ago as a means of pooling salaried Southern Baptist preschool and children’s ministers throughout the state in order provide mutual support and beneficial resources.

“[Our goal is] networking, encouraging and using each other as a resource,” said Teresa Shaw, APCMO president and children’s minister at Westwood Baptist Church, Alabaster, in Shelby Baptist Association. “We provide packets each year at our retreat, ideas, flyers, events we’ve done and idea starters for new people in the ministry or people who’ve been at a location for several years. We share what we know.”

Kathy King has been a member of APCMO for 15 years, serving in multiple positions and currently serving as secretary/treasurer.

“We are an educational support group for preschool and children’s professional/ministerial salaried staff members in Alabama Baptist churches,” said King, who is minister to children at First Baptist Church, Opelika, in Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association. “As a support group, we want to meet whatever needs we can for those serving others in these positions.”

APCMO maintains a set of bylaws and officers to ensure organization and legitimacy. Regional representatives are in charge of ministers from four specific regions of the state — Jefferson/Shelby counties and north, south and central Alabama areas.

APCMO’s annual retreat provides an opportunity for ministers to socialize with others in the field and receive a time of worship away from the everyday duties of ministry.

“We meet once a year, usually in February. We come together and share and bring packets [about] what has worked, and that is a great resource. We have a time where we encourage each other and get encouragement,” said Rhonda Freeman, children’s director at Green Valley Baptist Church, Hoover, in Birmingham Baptist Association.

King added, “By far, the networking with others in similar positions and the resources we share are the best asset.
But we also enjoy a time of worship at our retreat, specifically because so many of us are busy taking care of children or workers or emergencies during our church’s worship time and we have trouble actually getting into the services.

“And if we do make it — 20 minutes late — it takes us a while to unwind and be able to worship. When we’re away at the retreat, we aren’t in charge of children, so we can relax and truly focus on the worship time,” she said.

Shaw said she encourages all newcomers to the ministry to get involved in APCMO.

“The time and financial commitment of participating in the organization is greatly outweighed by the friendships, networking and support you gain through the organization,” she said. “To anyone (who is) seasoned and may think that they wouldn’t gain anything, I would challenge them to say it’s very much a give and take — that we would want seasoned preschool and children’s ministers because they have things to offer. It’s a two-fold thing — you’ll get something out of it … and you have something to give.”

For more information, contact Charles Slyvest, membership chair, at 334-567-5191.  (TAB)


Ideas on a Budget
Because creativity is important in budgeting, communication, resources and teaching methods, here are a few ways children’s ministers can be more creative in their ministries without blowing the budget:

- Use the floor for visuals and games
- Provide an area rug, quilt or tablecloth for children to sit on
- For a writing surface, provide lap-size pieces of cardboard
- Cover tables with bright paper
- Use sheets or plastic tablecloths to cover items on the wall that are not related to the teaching session
- Simple drama costumes for pantomiming Bible stories
- Stickers
- Markers
- Glitter pens
- Glue sticks
- Bean bags for tossing on a game board
- Colored masking tape to mark off start/finish lines and tick-tack-toe games
- Foam balls for tossing to say Bible memory verses
- Plastic cups for stacking (write a Bible book name on each cup)
- Giant Game Floor Mat, LifeWay Christian Resources

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