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Written by

Kim Bestian

Kim E. Bestian is a trained Lutheran elementary school teacher, director of children’s ministry, pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to share how God, the Almighty Architect, has helped her build children’s ministry over her many years of experience.

Recent Posts by Kim Bestian

Teach and Impress God's Words on Your Children

Each evening after dinner, our whole family would clear the dishes and gather again at the table for family devotions. This one particular time after clearing the plates, Mom said everyone should go out to the garbage cans in the alley behind our house. So all of us kids trekked outside wondering what was going on. She brought a candle along and placed it on top of our heavy metal garbage can lid. We said our usual opening devotional words, “Holy Spirit, enter in and in our hearts Thy work begin,” while Dad added a flame to the wick. We talked about how our sins are like garbage. Just like we take our garbage out to the waste cans, we offer up our sins to Jesus to take them away for His sake. The garbage man comes and takes our trash away just like Jesus comes and takes our trashy old sins away. There was Scripture read, conversation, and a prayer at the end. Wow! That impressed us so much that we still talk about that to this day! Mom and Dad were very creative and came up with many marvelous devotions that we still reflect upon. Those impressive life-changing moments fed us then, still continue to nurture us to this day, and were great examples for us to do with our children.

How to Have Family Devotions

As a child, family devotions were a highlight of each day. We gathered after dinner for this short yet amazing family time together. Sometimes us kids even got to lead them. One night, it was my little brother’s turn. He was only three. Watching the rest of us as examples to follow with object lesson ideas, he wanted to do something too. We all watched as he brought out crayons and other interesting supplies. After handing everything out to us while we tried to hide our giggles, he finally sat down and folded his hands. Out of his mouth came three little but very powerful words: “God is love.” That was it. That was the whole devotion. Best devotion we ever had. That little brother is now in his fifties. We still remember his message from God to our family even to this day.

The Thankful Heart of a Child

Up went a big section of white butcher paper each November on the dining room door in our home when I was a child. A piece of yarn holding a colored marker hung right next to the paper. On top were the words, “Thank You, God!” All through the season of Thanksgiving, we were to write on the paper all for which we were thankful. The paper became full of the wonderful things that God had given to us. (Of course, it was always a race to see who could be the first one to write JESUS on the paper!) These were our thank-you prayers to God and a visual of all God’s good gifts to our family.

Children and the Story of Martin Luther

When I was a little girl, our family had a children’s book about Martin Luther. I think it was called Little Martin Luther. It must have been written before full-color books were common, because I remember it was mostly printed in orange and green ink. I can still see the page in my mind where young Martin was singing for his supper. Another page showed a big Bible chained to a podium. Further on in the book, a picture displayed lighting striking a tree next to Martin. Skipping ahead, if I remember correctly, the last page showed him in his bed close to death—knowing Jesus loved him. Maybe you still have that simple hardcover book as a treasure from the past. My copy was lost in a family move. Losing the book was disappointing because I had hoped to read it to my children and grandchildren. But at least I have vivid memories of what some of the pages looked like, along with the uncomplicated version of the story. It impressed me enough to pass the story on in a simple way to today’s children.

Children’s Ministry Taking Root

One Minnesota spring, my mother gathered us kids together and took us outside in the backyard. Just west of our sandbox, she gave us each our own little “plot” of land (which probably only measured four feet by four feet, but to us looked like an acre). In each of our hands she placed little seed packets. We were in such awe that a person would have thought she was handing us golden coins. In a way, those seeds were like gold—tiny little treasures of God’s creation just waiting to do what He had created and programmed them to do. She instructed us about dirt, seeds, and planting. After a thorough preparation of the ground for our little seeds, we put them to bed, covered them up softly with soil, and gave them a little drink of water. Mom then explained about our job of caring for our garden. She also warned about enemies of plants, such as weeds and rabbits. It was so exciting when the first little seedlings popped their heads aboveground and began to grow. I will never forget all the lessons I learned that summer, caring for my own little garden that had been entrusted to me.

Hope In the Lord When Lutheran Schools Close

A few years ago, I received a letter informing me that the Lutheran School where I first taught was closing its doors. The words seemed surreal to me as a tear ran down my cheek. How could this be? Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine went on vacation and visited her hometown where she grew up. While attending the church of her childhood, she was heartbroken to discover that the Lutheran elementary school, which she attended as a child, had closed.

What Happens in Sunday School?

Smiles on the faces of children coming to Sunday School is what I get to experience each week in the creatively decorated halls of our church. Happy little voices and quick steps overflow with sounds of excitement as friends in the faith anxiously gather to learn more about Jesus—the one who loves them so very much. Even the shy ones, who only weeks before were in tears as separation from parents presented moments of panic, now happily enter their special room. I watch teachers move swiftly to collect Bibles, crayons, stickers, and other supplies. How will they share and make a lasting impression of God’s great love and His mighty power with those so young? Welcoming words and Bible song CDs can be heard coming from classrooms. The activity is inviting. Enthusiasm and anticipation is in the air!

7 Ways to Pray for Parents of Sunday School Children

It would be hard to remember what we ate at every meal in our life. But eating all those meals has helped our bodies to grow healthy and strong. It is a slow—yet vital—lifetime process for obvious reasons. That’s how it is with God’s Word too. Feeding on His Word each day helps our faith to grow up healthy and strong. When we gather with the fellowship of saints every week, our faith is nurtured and we find unity and strength together in Christ. What an awesome experience to worship the One who has saved us and cares for us!  Attending church and Sunday School every Sunday is beneficial and builds up the Body of Christ. Sometimes that isn’t what gets first priority though. Instead, we often tend to follow after what’s convenient and comfortable.

Keep the Sunday School

One of my favorite moments of the evening is getting into a warm bubble bath. The water is so relaxing and melts the stress of the day away. The little fragrant bubbles bring refreshment and contentment. That’s how I feel when I’m in Scripture too. God’s Word gives me all those same things and so much more!

Top Ten Reasons Parents Want to Bring Their Kids to Sunday School

In today’s world there are so many choices. Sometimes it's hard for parents to know what they are to do when it comes to making decisions for their family and their children. They try their best. But what is really best? The beach? A cabin? Yes, tired parents seek to get away from it all and relax. A change of environment for the weekend sounds good. And that’s pretty easy, since most everyone has a vehicle. Or, how about this? The week was long and Saturday was busy, so Sunday morning worship and Sunday School are exchanged for sleeping in or a leisurely breakfast. Then, there is the world of sports. “We can’t miss that Sunday morning soccer game.” “The coach won’t let my children play next week if they miss Sunday morning T-ball practice.” Or, it could be, “I can’t miss . . . I’m the coach!” There are so many distractions to confuse parents. Ultimately, whatever is of most value or highest priority to the parents will win out.