Discovery Land Blog

Mystery Coolers

Discovery Land - Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Technology is extremely helpful in communicating efficiently with a group of volunteers. But do you find yourself crafting emails filled with inspiring vision, important ministry details, and prayer requests...only to have volunteers show up without having read them?

"Mystery Coolers" is a fun tool that helps us boost the number of volunteers who open and read their ministry emails.

About once a month, we fill up a cooler with a snack or treat, and place it in the out-of-the-way location. In that week's email, we let our volunteers know that it's "Mystery Cooler" night and add in a clue as to what's in the cooler.

Example: This week the mystery cooler can be found in the kitchen. You bring so much "Pep" to our ministry. Thank you for reading your weekly email!

Note: They are instructed to keep the location under wraps: it's only for those who actually read the email!

This year's mystery coolers will include:

Pepsi - You bring so much "Pep" to our ministry...Thank you for reading your weekly email and not allowing tonight to be a mystery to you...

M&M's - Many Many thanks for reading your weekly emails.

Bubble gum - Thanks for sticking with us during fall kick off

Orange Crush - It's time to CRUSH the enemy! Thanks for faithfully serving!

Small Pringle cans - Thanks for multiplying yourself by making disciples of Jesus.

St. Patty cookies - It's way beyond luck that you serve in Awana...Thank you for obeying God's calling on your life to serve.

Teach Like a... Rock Star?

Discovery Land - Thursday, July 23, 2015


I was recently at Lifest, a Christian Music Festival with the tag line: Party with a Purpose.

I spent some time thinking about what it might be like to be a rock star on stage, from the set up to the team of handlers keeping adoring fans at bay, being sure you’re fed your favorite foods and all your favorite items are at hand, from your sweat towel to new guitar. I’ll never be a rock star leading a field full of fans in worship and dancing. I’ll never get a standing ovation or have a line of people waiting for me to put my name on a shirt, or a photo, or....anything. No one at Lifest lined up to take pictures with me, but there was this one little boy… his name was Wyatt. I ran into him and his mom outside the kid’s tent. It was day three of the festival and his mom told me he was beginning to get worried. His mom shared that each of those three days he looked and looked for me, because I had told him in our class the week before that I’d be there. To Wyatt I’m important and his mom loves that he looks for me. I’m not a rock star, but I am a Discovery Land teacher. I think it is just as important. So I stopped thinking about rock stars and started thinking about what it means to teach with purpose every Sunday morning.

Just like the performers at Lifest we need to assess our audience. We need to teach to their level, we need to know if they are coming because someone made them and they have no idea what they are going to get, or if they have heard it all a hundred times before but just don’t get how it applies to them and where they fit in, or if they are solid in their faith and looking to grow closer to God each time they walk through the doors. Teaching with purpose will have each of those kids walking out of your room with just what they need. DL Curriculum hits each of these points when you follow the lesson plan. You will give each kid what they came for and even what they didn’t know they were looking for. Each lesson builds on the lesson before and sets up the next. This is done so our kids can understand that God has a good and perfect plan. These are not random stories we thought were fun. They demonstrate the time line God set in place when He created the world. Kids learn where they fit in God's world. The lessons are taught with a know right, think right and do right point so we can understand how to apply Gods word to our current lives, whether we are talking about Paul praising God in prison or the Israelites disobeying in the desert. And each and every lesson offers the opportunity to share the Gospel. Sunday after Sunday we are given the chance to be the very first exposure a child has to the Word of God, and we don’t know when, or if, that chance will come again. Give that child a clear understanding of the Gospel and an invitation to ask Christ to be their Savior. If you teach with these purposes in mind and you hit each of these points as spelled out in the lesson, you might have three or four kids at the end jumping up, not beginning for an autograph, but excited to take the next step in their walk with Christ! You might not get a standing ovation, you probably have to put away your own creative props and likely you'll be finding your own lunch. It’s not exactly like being a rock star, but I believe it might even be better. Be a teacher who teaches with purpose!

Our God Is So Big!!!

Discovery Land - Friday, July 10, 2015
A team of 6 Discovery Land Global members ​recently​ returned from a week in Lima, Peru where we were able to see God working in Big and Wonderful ways.

It was a beautiful thing to witness the work of our God on both sides of the globe.
There were two late night training session​s​ which encouraged and enabled the Directors and leaders of our Peruvian churches to continue teaching children the Word of God with excellence, purpose and total time teaching. The dedication of those who gave up their night after a long day of work was remarkable and appreciated.

We were able to welcome ​IACyM ​Santa Anita​ ​to our Global Family and their hospitality ​of their church ​was fantastic​,​ but what will remain with us the most was the ability of their Pastor and Children's Director to communicate their love of children and their passion to reach them with the Gospel and offer them eternal hope.

As we visited the Chinese Christian Missionary Alliance in Peru, we were reminded of the everyday struggles that are transcontinental as their Pastor shared His heart to teach Children Bible based lessons and give them the Gospel, both for eternity and ​for a ​new way of life.

As rewarding as it was to meet with the leaders of Discovery Land Global and hear the love of Christ being shared and growing in their programs, the highlight of the trip was seeing the actual children of Lima at the Central church learning. We watched an entire morning of Discovery Land take place, from ​w​orship to Discover Time through ​t​eaching and ​r​eview games. I can assure you these children are learning the word of God, they are taking verses and hiding them in their hearts​,​ and they are growing in the knowledge of Christ.

Our God is so big, He is working in amazing ways through the Leaders, volunteers, parents and children of Peru.
We continue to pray for our Peruvian family and DL Global partners here and away!




Roll Paper River

Discovery Land - Tuesday, July 07, 2015
A quick and easy idea to bring the Bible to life for your kids: a roll of blue paper transformed into a river! This can be used to illustrate the Jordan River, the Red Sea, etc. Your students will be intrigued by a river in their classroom or leading up to the door of their classroom!


LET'S GO!

Discovery Land - Friday, June 05, 2015
As children's ministry starts up for the summer let us not forget Philippians 4:19: "...and my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus"

The billboards have been hung, the volunteers have been trained, the children are waiting; let's take a moment to pray and cover our ministries and surrender them to Him who equips, provides and loves. Let's take a deep breath and remember that God has a will for all of us,that he works through all of us, and that all of the right people will be in the right place. Let us be diligent in our duties to prepare, to pray and to trust God. LET'S GO!


Calling All Superheroes! (Volunteer Recruiting Tip)

Discovery Land - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

While recruiting volunteers should be an all-year-round activity, there are usually heavier recruit seasons -- times when you're forming a new team and need to let your needs be known to your congregation. Having something with some *POW* and *SHAZAM* can help open up conversations to share your vision and your needs.

​​Discovery Land's summer curriculum is superhero themed, and we designed a recruiting theme to match : ​Calling All Superheroes! ​ ​​​Each black outline ​​represented​​​​ a needed​ volunteer​. Once a volunteer commit​ted​ to serving​,​ they g​ot​ to pick an ​a​vatar​, ​write their name​ on it,​ and ​fill in ​a black outline.

The c​​lear box ​says​,​ "Will you ​answer the call​?​" ​and has​​​ a batman​-inspired​ red phone​ on it​.​ It ​was ​used ​to collect volunteer flyers.













We h​ope that ​​gives you some inspiration! 

Are You the Missing Piece?

Discovery Land - Monday, May 04, 2015

We all know that "THE ASK" is almost always the most effective way to invite volunteers into your ministry, but an attention-getting theme is a great way to prime the pump. A recruit theme that helps people feel part of the bigger picture, highlights that they are truly needed, and shows there are gaps without them can be especially helpful.  

For a recent recruit season at DL-Appleton, we ordered large puzzle pieces from: http://www.thecommunitypuzzle.com to create a giant puzzle.  When a volunteer signed up to serve, they wrote their name on a piece and added it to the giant puzzle. They saw that if we all work together, it's a beautiful, complete picture. Giant, colorful puzzle pieces made out of styrofoam or cardboard were also used for the "pop" and fun factor .

We've got a new superhero recruit theme coming up....description and pictures coming soon!!

The Easy Button

Discovery Land - Monday, July 07, 2014

It seems like all too often, we look for the "easy button" in life. What's a quick way to get from Point A to Point B that is fun, simple, exciting and personally satisfying for me?

Unfortunately, sometimes churches feel the same way when it comes to children's ministries. And while you might be able to slap something together that keeps kids busy (and might even be fun), the hard truth is that there is never an easy button for effective Children's Ministry. In effective ministry, the soul of the child and leader are transformed to be more like Jesus

I don’t know about you, but our Discovery Land has hurting kids who need to hear the Gospel, know God’s Word, and be truly discipled. This takes intentional work, focus, prayer, and commitment. It's not easy, but it’s the best. Hit the "effective button" in your ministry and watch God work!

Keeping Score

Discovery Land - Monday, July 07, 2014
It’s no secret that kids most kids love a healthy competition! This simple tube and bucket contraption can be made and used to keep score during game time, review games, etc. The balls in the buckets give a clear visual that keeps kids engaged and excited.