Category Archives: Children

A HollandsKids “Did You Know” Moment

One of the best ways to follow the happening’s in and around HollandsKids is through our social media accounts (see the links at the bottom of the page).  We have four…

download (5)Our Facebook is a private page and requires approval before you can enter.  Facebook is the place to find photos, Sunday School bible verses/LifeApps, and other information about our ministry.  Since it is private and we can screen the creepy people from entering, it has become the place to show ALL of HollandsKids.

You can also follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for schedules, LifeApps, bible verses, videos, conversation starters, relevant blog and podcast links, as well as other children’s ministry nuggets.  Remember, your child’s Christian education remains largely irrelevant without intentional continuing education at home.  I only see your children about 40 hours per year.  So, tapping into these social media outlets provides the tools to be successful at home.



Our Village Needs More Villagers

download (3)The etymology of this phrase is likely derived from an old Nigerian proverb.  The historical communal nature of African tribes lends itself to a village mentality for, not only raising children, but also foraging, hunting, building, farming, or any activity a community would need to survive.

As a society, we have outsourced every activity on this communal list; even raising children.  We send them to daycares and schools.  Some who can afford, hire nannies or babysitters on a regular basis.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate for date nights and maintaining a strong bond with your spouse (I’ve even written about it…read here) and I’m not being critical of this outsourcing mentality.  We do it at my house, too.  The point?  If we spend our time and money on outsourcing the care and education of our own children, we certainly aren’t focused on other people’s children.


Especially in a Christian environment where, statistically, half of the children we see in Sunday school won’t continue their faith passed 12th grade.  We need MORE adults in our kids’ lives, not less.  My goal for each child is, through the years, they come to know and trust 4-8 adults to be mentors and stand-in parents.  These relationships foster a watchdog and nurturing mentality that every parent should want for their kids.  If you think you should parent by yourselves, then you are missing an amazing opportunity for your child to know love from a multitude of different people.  Jesus did say, “…and most importantly, love.”

The next time you see one of our Sunday School volunteers, thank them.  They are the boots on the ground, soldiers for Jesus adults with whom they have begun to create these critical early faith journey relationships.  Continue to encourage and foster these relationships because without them, your child may end up on the dark side of the 50%!

Jim Ellis

Where Should Your Child be on Sunday Morning?

imagesThe answer is simple…where the rest of the kids their age are going.  It is easy to give in and allow your child to go to worship with you or talk you out of going to church all together.  At my church, Holland’s United Methodist Church, our children’s Sunday School is during the contemporary, 9:45 AM service.  Some kids like the cool music and the laid back format of that style of worship, but being cool doesn’t equate to fostering an #AuthenticFaith.  The messages delivered during that service are intended for adults.  Children, especially those who are elementary aged and younger, have not achieved a level of maturity to where the sermons, songs, and fellowship will progress their journey.

We know that more than 50% of high school grads abandon their faith after high school.  The absolutely, no-doubt-about-it method to improving those odds with your child is to make sure they are in the right room with the right people on Sunday mornings.  At Holland’s that is our flagship children’s Sunday school programs during the 9:45 service.  Three to five years old children should be with our loving pre-school ambassadors and our K – 5 grade kiddos are with Mr. Jim and the amazingly cool and fun children’s ministry ambassadors (I like to call them education ninjas…cuz they are that good).

Does this mean they should never attend worship?  Of course they should.  We certainly don’t want a church full of college aged kids who have never worshiped before.  However, their Christian education and basic worship practices will be taught in Sunday School as well.  Maybe go to an earlier or later service from time to time so they can experience a pastor led worship.  Maybe encourage your Sunday School leader to take the kiddos to “Big People” church once a quarter or so.

Now go #NJS the heck out of the day.  :)



What is Orange?

Orange is the robust, #AuthenticFaith building, mega-awesome curriculum from the reThink Group in Atlanta.  They developed a program that revolves around a partnership with parents.  Your church leaders will see your child about 40 hours per year, while you see them about 3,000 hours.  Soooooo, it’s pretty obvious, right?  In order to be effective in our leadership,  parents MUST be plugged into our teachings…every week.  Starting in preschool all the way through high school, Orange provides the information, tools, and fun to make that happen.  Our job is to lead them and you through that.

indexThe First Look curriculum works to incite wonder by helping preschoolers embrace a God who is bigger than their imagination.  Here we introduce Bible stories, ask key questions and work to memorize a new verse every month.  Before they leave First Look, the kiddos will know that God Made Me, God Loves Me, and Jesus Wants to be My Friend Forever.

indexStarting in kindergarten and ending in 5th grade, 252 Basics aims to provoke discovery and invites kids to a new understanding of how to grow in a relationship with Jesus.  It is here that we believe the story of God reveals the character of God.  Bible stories and principles anchor this curriculum to help kids discover Jesus and reflect his character to the world around them.  Each month we feature a Life App where our lessons show children that what they are learning applies to their everyday lives.  Before they leave, 252 Basics, the kiddos will know that I Need to Make Wise Choices, I Can Trust God No Matter What, and I Should Treat Others the Way I want to be Treated.

indexAs they enter middle school, their world changes very rapidly.  XP3 attempts to maintain a consistent message through those tough years by fueling a passion for Christ in the heart of a teenager.  This is the time to lead our young people from spectators to participants.  The content and conversations elevate to a deeper sense of purpose while helping youth leaders grow their influence with students, leaders and parents.  Upon graduation, we expect our kiddos to know they are Created to Pursue an Authentic Relationship with Their Creator, Belong to Jesus Christ and Define Who They are by What He Says, and Exist Every Day to Demonstrate God’s Love to a Broken World.

Our effort isn’t about one person, or about you…it’s about what we can do together.  Each phase of Orange encourages communication and tools for parents called a Parent Cue.  You can currently find them by hard copy, e-mail, social media, and SOON text.  We are still developing that process so much more to come!

Thanks for your interest in our children’s and youth ministries.  If you have further questions about 5th grade and below, e-mail Jim Ellis at  For questions about middle and high school programs, e-mail Susan Wright at

Orange also provides a curriculum for Marriedpeople.  Coming soon to a Holland’s United Methodist Church near you!

I’m Just One Traffic Cone

indexImagine you are driving down the highway.  Traffic is zipping by at a gazillion miles per hour and you see the dreaded, “This lane closes in one mile” sign.  The brake lights engage and traffic begins to slow and merge.  After a mile of bumper to bumper traffic you reach that first traffic cone that doesn’t allow you to travel in that lane anymore.  The construction area spans for about a half a mile, then the row of cones allows you to merge into the previously closed lane and traffic resumes a natural flow and speed.  Not a convenient encounter, but safe (generally) for everyone involved.

Let’s pretend (I am a children’s ministry leader, after all)…as you approach that same work zone, the only cone there is the first one.  Then after that…FREE FOR ALL!!  Inevitable chaos, yes?

Now imagine, as you drive you and your child to Sunday School this week, ready to navigate the maze that is our journey to an #AuthenticFaith, and the only person there is your ministry leader.  You guessed it, inevitable chaos.  Nobody wants that.  If our mission is to provide our graduating seniors the best opportunity to NOT abandon their faith after high school (statistically, over half do) then our Authentic Faith Construction Zone must include every possible available traffic cone…or volunteer/parent/small group leader.

This idea lovingly stolen from Mike Clear at the Orange 2015 Conference.

Jim Ellis is the Children’s Ministry Leader at Holland’s United Methodist Church and host of the upcoming podcast Holland’s Thunder