Values

Value #5: Engagement

Kids eat with their eyes. 

 

If their pizza doesn't come in the right shape, it's rejected.

If their mac and cheese is the wrong color, it's refused. 

If their portion of pasta is too large, it's rubbish. 

 

When food doesn't look the way it's supposed to look, we get suspicious. Some even get sick.  

It's the exact same food. It has the exact same taste. 

It just has a different presentation. 

For example...

Did you know that carrots come in colors other than orange?

I didn't. 

At least not until one of my friends posted the above picture on his social accounts last summer.

My mind was blown. 

Then later that summer, I read that orange carrots didn't even exist until the 17th Century. Shocker! A group of Dutch farmers honored their king, William of Orange by developing carrots in their country's color...orange.*

That's true patriotism! 

I thought I was doing good by buying an Old Navy flag tee once a year. I guess I was wrong. 

Presentation matters not only in the food preparation but also when it comes to teaching kids the Bible.

Because...

How you say what you say is as important as what you say!
— Andy Stanley, Communicating for a Change

A purple carrot tastes exactly the same as an orange carrot. Nothing about the carrot has changed except it's appearance or in another term, it's presentation. 

At Northridge Kids, we are in the presentation business. Not presentation for the sake of presentation itself, but presentation in order to engage the heart and mind of kids and motivate them to acting out the truths of the Bible. This is what we refer to as life change.  

We don't think we've done our job when we've merely presented truth. Content by itself is not enough. 

Americans live in a culture that's flooded with content. The average elementary student spends an average of 35 hours a week ingesting content from technology on TVs, iPads and gaming devices. 

The church has to cut through the cultural clutter by presenting content, biblical truth, that is accurate, clear and compelling. This type of content captures the attention of everyone. Including kids. 

Cutting through the cultural clutter is what Disney has been able to do with its princess story lines in movies like Cinderella, Brave and The Little Mermaid. My daughter will sit and watch those movies on repeat all day. Then she'll go and pretend that she is one of those characters. That's engagement! Disney, captures our attention and moves our imagination to action. And they even provide tools that help us engage our imaginations...toys.  

While Northridge Kids may never produce a full-length animated movie, we want to tell the stories of the Bible in such a way that kids hear, understand, and are moved to take action on what they hear. We want kids to want to come back every Sunday because they're hearing something unique, the story of God, being told in a unique way. 

We want to capture kids' attention in order to tell God's story. And when we do, we call it: engagement. 

There are three ways we seek to engage your kids each week. 

1. STORIES

We think it's a sin to bore kids with the Bible. 

Northridge Kids' hosts and storytellers work hard, investing literally hours, to accurately and creatively teach the Bible using technology, illustrations and applications that best makes sense with each kid's stage of life. 

When we get this right, kids are able to pay attention to what we're teaching in order to best hear what God is saying. 

2. ACTIVITIES

Every week, the leaders of each of environment selects activities (such as games, role play or crafts) that further illustrate and reinforce the story that was presented. 

While we try not to overwhelm parents with too many papers (or popsicle sticks) on any given Sunday, when we do send home a paper or project, please remember that it is a tool that was used in your child's environment to reinforce the story. That craft wasn't merely used to fill the time allotment for that Sunday. These projects, whatever their level of artistic value, can be one more tool you can utilize in your family's weekly rhythm to discuss with you what they learned that week, especially for the preK kids in your house.  

3. DISCUSSIONS

When our volunteers and Small Group Leaders talk with the kids in their environments, they are reinforcing the lesson by interacting with and asking questions of each kid. These interactions help: gauge what each child learned, hear how it is impacting them, encourage them to take the next steps and even to pray for courage for your child to obey God.

If you have any questions about what conversations are taking place in your child's environment, ask them, "what did you learn today," on your drive home. Or feel free to ask a volunteer serving in your child's environment at pick up.  This connection is one more way we love to demonstrate that we are partners with you, the parent. 

Storytelling is...searching for the best way to frame and communicate an idea.
— Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

Who knows? I may never have the courage to eat purple carrots. The presentation is just too weird for my brain. 

Plums are purple. Grapes are purple. Eggplants are purple. 

Carrots are orange. 

Regardless of what I eat, our commitment to parents at Northridge, our partners, is that we will work as hard as we can to tell the most important story, in the most engaging way possible. And as we prepare, we'll be praying that God will use us to motivate your kids to faith in action. 

Presentation matters. 

 

*Orange Essentials by Reggie Joiner, 30.

Value #1: Bible

 

In every area of life we prioritize what we find most important. 

Values. When we talk about values, we are actually talking about priorities. 

Values determine both the "WHAT" we do and the "HOW" we do it. We talked about the "WHY" in a previous post on the mission of Northridge Kids. (Click HERE to read it now, if you missed it.)

Ultimately, values reveal and reflect the priorities of any organization.

For example, if you've ever flown on Southwest Airlines you'll recognize that compared to other airlines they're dressed more casually and create a level of brevity surrounding their safety announcements...that most people ignore anyways. That's a reflection of their value of being Fun-LUVing. Fun is a value that is clearly visible within their organization. Fun is celebrated and rewarded as the way that creates and maintains loyal customers. However, you will not see fun in the core values of Delta Airlines. They even call their values "Rules of the Road." There is no fun with Delta. There is however, safety and professionalism, which are also admirable traits. 

Delta's values aren't bad. Southwest's values aren't good. Their values just serve as a guide for what they do and how they do it. Their values also determine "WHO" chooses to do business with them.

You're far more likely to hear a screaming baby on Southwest than Delta because serious business travelers want to be treated seriously, not greeted with families wearing Hawaiian shirts and floaties headed to San Diego for vacation. And since families don't want to annoy serious people, they'll fly Southwest, where kids are welcomed as evidence of fun.   

Northridge Kids has seven values that serve as the basis for WHAT we do (Foundational Values) and HOW we do ministry (Methodological Values). Over the next several weeks we want to take time to introduce our priorities since they directly affect what activities and programs our staff implements. These values establish the words and actions of our volunteers and ultimately each parent's willingness to allow their kids to participate in our Sunday morning environments. 

Our first value is the standard for everything else we know and do.

Value #1: Bible

If your best friend wrote a story about herself, you'd want to read it. The same is true of God. If the Creator of the universe took steps to tell us about himself in a book, we should want to know about Him. 

God has talked to us in such a way. That way is the Bible!

The Bible is where we hear what God says. 

One of Jesus' closest friends, Paul, wrote to a young pastor in the first century named Timothy and reminded him that God has spoken to us and that knowing God has spoken was important. That letter is the book of 2 Timothy. It's amazing that we still have that letter 2,000 years later! Here's what Paul told Timothy: 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Paul told him that Scripture, or the Bible, is God-breathed. That means its very words come from God! God is the source of the Bible's words. 

Because those words came from God, their content is useful and helpful to us. According to Paul's letter, the words of God:

  • Point us in the right direction ("useful for teaching"),
  • Keep us from going in the wrong direction ("rebuking" and "correcting") and
  • Help us become who God made us to be ("training in righteousness"). 

And ultimately the goal of that teaching is that we demonstrate our love for God and others through obedient service ("equipped for every good work").

When your kids come to Northridge Kids, you can be sure that what they hear will emphasize the Bible as the very words of God and that because God speaks to us, we should listen and obey. 

 

 

want to know more about the bible? 

Article. Brief yet detailed. Revelation, Inspiration and Illumination by Tim Challies.

Book. Deeper but understandable. Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung.

Tool. Talking points for your kids. Big Truths for Young Hears by Bruce A.Ware.