YouTube Friday: Coldplay and Puppets.

This blog post is dedicated to my good friend and fellow kids pastor Jonathan Cliff who in addition to being a standup guy and a great kids pastor is deathly afraid of puppets (His wife is to guess it runs in the family).

I must admit I am not the biggest fan of puppets in kids ministry not because I am a puppet hater but more because I am an excellence lover. To often we relegate puppet ministry to throwing a script and a sock at a 12 year old and tell them they are on in 5.

I do have bad news for you Jonathan as a trend senser, puppets are coming back.

Enjoy this video, I did.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXSovfzyx28&feature=related

Keeping kids safe at church.

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I think regardless of size there are some basic things that you can do to keep your kiddos safe. In my mind the areas that I constantly try to review

Children’s Area Access – Do everything in your power to make sure you have one entrance and exit and don’t let anyone past that is not a worker with a background check, a parent with some form of ID, or a kiddo.

Room access – The only people allowed in a class room should be a teacher with a background check and application.

Parent/Child verification – This part of the process is huge this is really where you should be most careful. Who am I handing this kid to? We have used Fellowship One for about 4 years. One of the selling points was their innovative approach to kids safety. When kids and families check-in each child is gets a nametag with a randomly generated alph-numeric their parents get a receipt with the same number on it. The parent must use the receipt to get by the first layer of security. Then they must produce the receipt at the right room asking for the right kid. If they lose their tag they have to produce a valid photo ID and fill out a form. If you do not use Fellowship one you should. Or at least something like Fellowship One.

Bathroom procedures – Make sure you have bathrooms that are only used by kiddos. We don’t have the luxury of having private bathrooms in each room. We have large common areas that are used by adults during the week and only by kiddos during the weekend. When a uptown staff takes a kid to the bathroom they sweep the bathroom for occupants once they have verified there is no one in there the child is allowed in the adult waits in the hall.

Emergencies – This is one area I am currently working on so if you are a Children’s Worker and have an emergency plan in writing I would love to see what you have. If there is an emergency in our church we will take a printed roster of our kids and have all the kids exit the building and meet their parents at a designated location.

What do you do to keep kids safe at church?

Keeping kids safe on the internet.

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As I said in my last post keeping kids safe is huge in my eyes and although most parents are very good at stranger danger education. I feel that many parents either don’t know about the significant danger the internet poses or don’t know what to do about it.

What would you do if I told you if you have three kids there is a 100% chance that a stranger this week will flash one of your three kids. You would be first shocked that it could happen then seek ways to stop it. Here is a stat that should shake you as a parent or teacher.

2007 Internet Safety Statistics for Children
A total of 34 percent of those children surveyed reported they saw sexual material online as compared to 25 percent five years prior.

What can we do about it? Internet safety is only going to grow as the internet grows in scope and use. Am I an internet hater? NO not at all. Should you rip the internet out of your house. Only in extreme cases. The internet is a powerful tool that can do much good to help your child grow in healthy ways. It is however a powerful tool that could destroy your kids if you are not vigilant.

What can I do? Below are some simple guidelines to help you as a parent control the influence of the internet.

Parents can do a few simple things to protect their children online:

* Install filtering software that is constantly updated, such as those provided by your ISP
* Place the family computer in a place that is open and easily visible to the parents
* Keep computers out of your child’s bedroom
* Surf the Internet with your young children
* Don’t allow young children to have their own email address
* Allow teens to have their own em-ail account, but monitor it with parental control software
* Discuss Internet safety with your children, starting when they are very young so they learn how to
identify predators and cyberbullies
* Report illegal content to authorities

Resources
10 Things you can do today to protect your children on the internet. I found this from Katie Williams on twitter. Thanks Katie

A post i did a while back about “The 10 Commandments of Internet Safety”. It also has lots of links at the end of it.

www.imsafer.com

ikepsafe.org

How to keep kids safe online – Wall Street Journal

How to secure your childs iPhone and iPod touch. My friend Matt does an amazing step by step tutorial. Check it out.

Keeping kids safe this week

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This week I want to talk about keeping kids safe.

In Uptown we have 4 Be Attitudes

1. Be Safe
2. Be Courteous
3. Be Engaging
4 Be Consistent.

Some people wonder why we put safe first. To me if Parents don’t feel that their child will be safe they won’t bring them to Uptown and if the child doesn’t feel safe the child won’t stay.

This week I would like to talk about:

How to keep your kids safe online.
How to keep your kids safe at church.
What to do when a sexual offender wants to come to your church.

StickyStreet.com: Bible Bucks 2.0

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I have been a kids pastor for a few years now and in the course of those years have tried everything there is to do bible bucks
1. Custom name tags with points updated for each kid by hand. (was I crazy)
2. Paper money (kids getting beat up for bible bucks in the bathroom (bible buck bullies do exist)
3. Stamp books at check in (slowed check in down massively, and books got lost and washed all the time)
4. Bible Bucks 2.0 AKA stickystreet.com)

I originally wanted to use tokens I thought they went well with our city theme. After our pastor visited Lifechurch.tv (thank you Gina!) He wanted our store to be bigger and better than I had planed for. So bigger prizes means more points means we couldn’t use tokens. So I thought and prayed for a solution and the thought came to me to look into customer loyalty software (VERY expensive about 4,000.00ish). The next day I found stickystreet.com a web based (music to my mac loving ears) subscription service (music to our Pastors ears). I began to be excited about stickystreet in the past and was excited by the prospect of what it could do.

Well we are now one month into using stickystreet on Sunday mornings and I couldn’t be more pleased. A few people have asked about stickystreet.com and how does it relate to children’s ministry. Let me try and explain.

Why is sticky street better than Traditional Bible Bucks?
1. If the card is lost – the points are not lost
2. If the card is stolen – another kid can’t use the card only the owner can.
3. It is one card so you don’t have a pile of money to keep track of
4. I control how the points are given. Teachers can’t use it as a crutch for a lack of discipline or preparation.
5. It works with a card and barcode scanner but also without a card by searching by last name.
For more info on this visit a previous post of mine.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is stickstreet.com
It is a web based customer loyalty program that is entirely customizable by you.

2. How much does it cost?
It varies based on how many kids you have in their system

3. Do I have to put all my kids names in by hand?
No, you can import and export using excel

4. Do you have to use cards?
NO, but I use them because the kids love them. It’s a piece of uptown they take home each week. It also teaches responsibility because although they can get points with out a card they can’t buy anything without one and if they lose their card they have to save points to buy a new one. Lastly it connects them to the uptown website where they down load their devotional that they do with mom and dad, and were they can check their cards balance.

5. Do you need expensive equipment.
No, you need any computer Mac or PC that can go on the web, I am using old computers that our church staff has upgraded from. They work fine, our router is a different story.

6. How is the customer service.
I have been blown away by the personal interaction I have received. Anthony Angell is the owner and a super nice guy (make sure you tell him Sam says Hi)

Sign up for your free trial to see how it all works you first 10 kids are free.

Below are Downloads things I have made for store: They are PDF’s if you want the illustrator or Photoshop files email me and I will send them to you.

Letter To Parents
Card template
Key Tag
WebBanner
Parent/Child Bible Study