Discovery Land Blog

I Thought This Was Obvious: A Lesson In Training Others

Discovery Land - Thursday, July 26, 2018

As I was standing in line at the Sacramento Airport, I noticed this safety sign posted in a prominent place so everyone could see it. I thought was, "Isn't that obvious? No guns, no smoking, no explosives, no in incendiary devices. Did you really need to post this? Haven't we all heard this a million times?"

After shaking my head, I paused and realized that this was my perspective, as someone who travels regularly. For others, this may be the first time they've ever flown, or maybe they haven't flown in a very long time. I also remembered that one time a mission trip colleague, also a seasoned traveler, inadvertently packed a very long knife in her carry on bag for a trip to the jungle, which is obviously not allows. Whoops!

So I guess the obvious isn't always so...obvious! This is a principle to remember as we prepare to train our volunteers for a new season of ministry. As leaders, we eat, sleep, and breathe children's ministry, but that is not the case for our most of our volunteers.

So let's remember:
1) Repetition is key. Do no assume that volunteers fully understood an idea or instruction the first time.

2) Make your key points big, simple and obvious. Be bold and just say what you need to say. For example: "We expect our kids to listen and obey while in class because we value them learning and living out the Word of God."

3) Avoid big words. What does incendiary even mean? It means "(of a device or attack) designed to cause fires" by the way. If you want to make your point clear, use words that the average person can readily understand and apply.

Your whole ministry will benefit when you look at your training through the lens of others!

How Do Our Kids View The World?

Discovery Land - Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Why do we focus so heavily in Discovery Land on grounding kids in the Word of God and giving them a Biblical worldview?

The research in this recent article is alarming. But as followers of Christ, we are not people of despair...we are people of hope! Let's commit to holding God's Word in high regard, praying for our kids, teaching God's Word with passion and excellence, and then trusting God to work in big ways!

I Corinthians 15:58 - STAND FIRM!

The Know, Do, Think and Feel Right of Leadership

Discovery Land - Friday, September 23, 2016
By: Amanda Alberts

With the start of a new year of Discovery Land, it is a great time to talk about the Do Right point of being a great leader. Whether you are a leader in a classroom, a service leader, a department leader or leader of the ministry, it is important to Do leadership Right!

In Discovery Land, it is always important to Know why we do what is Right. We lead Right because we serve an awesome God who brought all things into being by the power of His word, appointed each one of us to this particular time and place to do the work He has called us to do, equips us, perfects us, molds us and uses all we are and offer to Him for His great glory. He is perfect, He is almighty, and He could have done all the work alone, but He has invited us to serve Him and be a part of the amazing work He is doing in His Kingdom on earth and into eternity. Isn’t it worthwhile to serve such a God-- a God who keeps the hailstones, who gives borders to the waves and who tells the sun to rise and set--with excellence?

Let’s Think about 1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. As we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, right leadership:

  • Finds answers rather than excuses
  • Apologizes and doesn’t blame
  • Finds new ways to assist others and make their jobs easier
  • Delegates responsibilities and then allows new leaders to flourish
  • Is humble and welcomes constructive criticism 
  • Chooses to serve alongside those on their team 
  • Says ‘thank you’ and is sincere 
  • Is passionate and shares that passion with others
  • Keeps your personal relationship with Christ number one 
  • Prays for the ministry
  • Studies their Bible lesson from the Bible
  • Reads and knows the curriculum each week
  • Has a teachable spirit

When we Know why we lead with excellence, we Think of 1 Corinthians 15:58, and then we lead Right, we can Feel good about a job well done, grateful for the opportunity to be part of God’s work and excited about what comes next.


Discovery Land - Tuesday, May 31, 2016
By: Amanda Alberts

As children’s ministry leaders, what is the number one resource God has provided? It’s not the curriculum or the supplies. It's the volunteers! Our Teachers, Discover Time leaders, Shepherds, One2One leaders, welcome team and cafe volunteers are critically important. It would be nearly impossible to run Sunday morning without the men, women and students who give their time and talents to Bring the Bible to Life.

One big way to invest in your volunteers is through training and equipping them. We kick off each new ministry season (summer/school year) with a very focused and intentional volunteer training session. Here are some of the ways we made the most of our most recent round of training.

1. Make it welcoming.

2. Keep it looking professional.

3. Mix it up! Change up the usual rows of chairs and speaker-style training and instead set up opportunities for conversation and fellowship-style learning.
  • Arrange tables and chairs in a welcoming, relaxed manner
  • Assign a personal trainer to each table to direct conversation
  • Place training materials at each table for trainers
  • Offer a meal or snacks
  • Play a fun icebreaker game
  • Main speaker keeps schedule and directs training
  • Leave time for short question and answer at tables

4. After group training, allow time for individual teams to meet and also provide a break out session for each specific position (teacher, shepherd, welcome team, ect.)

5. Give specific examples of study material and visual aids.

6. Send them home with a challenge to memorize the DL Top 12! Have a fun way to display the names or faces of those who participate.

7. Invest in in your volunteers, share the vision and equip them to in turn invest in our Discovery Land kids! They take their time to come to training, let’s be sure to take our time to make it a fun, interactive and effective time together!

Enjoy the Journey

Discovery Land - Tuesday, September 29, 2015
As we looked forward to fall kick off, my goal was to enjoy the journey of ministry; to look for where God was working, rejoice in that work, and keep my eyes focused on Him. I was going to run strong, leap challenging hurdles, and sprint up the hills of ministry. This sounds awesome, doesn't it? Like a worthy goal?

But what happens when you're not leaping over anything? Or you're limping instead of sprinting? What do you do when God takes you to the desert, where your convictions are tested under pressure? In those times, the joy of the journey can feel more like a twisted ankle with asphalt shavings in your face while sliding under a hurdle. Can you be joyful in the journey when it feels like that?

As always, God's Word has the answer. As I'm reviewing a lesson for the upcoming months, I find Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4 -- not by a pool or getting a tan with a fan slowly waving over him. He was being tested and he was staying strong in extremely difficult conditions. The one thing that kept him focused was the Word of God. Yes, the very thing we teach our children each week. With the Word we can walk forward and continue the journey that God has planned out before us. Knowing that it is His plan can give us the courage to keep going and help us to sit back, rest and enjoy the journey.

Expect to Win

Discovery Land - Friday, September 18, 2015

"Expect to win!" was shouted across the football field from the opposing team's coach. The coach knew his players were equipped and ready for a victory. I love that attitude and belief; let's bring it over to Discovery Land on Sunday morning! Do you expect to score big this Sunday? Do you expect each leader to be well prepared? Do you expect kids to learn God's Word and use it? Do you expect kids to surrender their souls to Jesus? What would happen if we had that fight, that drive, that belief that our God could do amazing things and truly show up next Sunday? I Corinthians 15:57 - tells us that we have the victory. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. We should expect to win this weekend!

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.

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!