Discipleship Survey for Children

From the moment I first learned about Phil Maynard’s Discipleship Survey, I was excited about the possibilities this resource could mean for our congregation. During an All in Worship Sunday at my church, my pastor had planned to introduce the Discipleship Survey to our congregation and allow them time to complete the survey during worship. All in Worship Sundays at Faith UMC are special Sundays where children and youth remain in worship so that all ages can experience worship together. I didn’t want children to feel left out of this worship experience so I created a special discipleship survey just for them.

The Discipleship Survey for Young Kids encourages children to draw a picture that is representative of each area of discipleship.

The Discipleship Survey for Kids encourages older children and youth to reflect on each area of discipleship in their own way while encouraging them to be intentional about growing in their discipleship.

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our baptismal covenant empowers us to surround our children and youth with a community of love and prayer so that they may grow in their service to others and be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life. Imagine how teaching our children to live and grow in each of these areas of discipleship will equip them at a young age with a strong and lasting foundation that they can build on throughout their lives.

I see God at work in the hearts of children in so many ways. I wonder what adults can learn about discipleship through the eyes of our children. Engaging persons of all ages in the discipleship process can only enrich our faith journey and growth as vital congregations.


Kathy Schmucker, Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church, North Canton, Ohio


A printable PDF version of both versions of the Discipleship Survey for Kids can be found at http://www.faithumchurch.org/discipleship-matrix.html.

Learn more about East Ohio UMC Discipleship Survey resources at http://eocumc.com/cong-vitality/index.html.

Learn more about Phil Maynard’s Membership to Discipleship resources at http://emc3coaching.com/.


Sibshop – a Great Outreach!

“Thank you so much, he had a great time! I think it is just perfect
and exactly what he needs right now!”


A quote from a recent e-mail, sent from a grateful parent of a child who attended his first Sibshop earlier this year and is a regular attendee now.  Our Green Sibshop, as well as the hundreds of Sibshops across this country and the world, provides brothers and sisters of children with special needs an opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreational and safe setting.  Our group came into being in June of 2016, and we are pleased to share that our program grows each month as we continue to welcome new children from all over our area.

Through the generosity of Greensburg United Methodist Church, we have the use of an area of the building that is perfect for our once a month events — plenty of room for crafts, active games and lots of fun.  We currently are reaching out to kids in 3rd through 6th grade.  Our growth has been slow but steady, and at this time we are serving approximately a dozen children, with room for more, of course.  Our events are always on a Saturdays from 10:30 to 1:30, lunch is provided, and there is no charge.

These kids don’t take long to form bonds with one another, to relax, and have a good time.  We always include an opportunity for some discussion activities.  This can happen informally while making a yummy food craft (we just made applesauce at our October event) or in a planned activity designed to encourage participants to reflect on their experiences with their siblings with special needs, if they choose to.  These opportunities to share help produce a feeling among the boys and girls that they are not alone in this life experience.

Most of all, we have fun!  And that’s really what a Sibshop is all about.  For registration information, please visit www.greensburgumc.net or http://www.facebook.com/greensibshops/. You may also call the church office at (330) 896-1936.

Halloween- Is Candy Sinful?

When I was a kid, churches loved Halloween and its parties. But it’s not quite so simple these days, with some merely ignoring the holiday, others calling it evil, and others embracing it either directly or indirectly with a “Harvest Party” approach. But as followers of Jesus and as church leaders engaged in our communities– especially when we have a hand in children’s ministries– it’s kinda hard to ignore Halloween! So what do we do with it?

Colossians 3: 17 summarizes the whole chapter that’s a great discussion on using all facets of life for ministry: “EVERYTHING you say or do, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.” So is candy and the fun of Halloween sinful, or can it be used as a tool for ministry? Even if we just embrace the smiling scarecrows, pumpkins, corn stalks and corn mazes, and have the kids dress up as their favorite superheroes, perhaps we can also use the time as a Big Invitation.

Almost as dependable as death and taxes, author Kim Wier notes of Halloween: “It’s the only time of year that neighbors come knocking on our door. What a wonderful opportunity to make our home a place of hospitality.” Or, what a wonderful opportunity to reflect the joy and grace of a life in Christ for those who may never see that joy at any other time of year!
I’m not much of one for handing out religious tracts to everyone who knocks on the door. But with the abundance of church life where we can build relationships and offer Jesus in powerful ways in the weeks and months following Halloween, maybe it could be a time to hand out a smile, a warm handshake, and invitations to coming events along with the candy to those who come for a visit. Here are some links to more reflections and scripture for followers of Jesus on Halloween as you consider the season:


Dr. Jim Lewis, campus minister, Army Chaplain, author, researcher in spirituality and wellness

The Way of the Wolf: the Gospel in New Images

I recently signed up to do devotions for a group I am in.  When thinking about what I was going to do, a book I had used many times for devotions when I was a camp counselor came to mind. Despite having used it many times early in my ministry, I had not thought of Martin Bell’s “The Way of the Wolf: The Gospel in New Images” for years, but something brought it to mind.  “Rag-Tag Army” in the book had always been one of my favorites, and I thought it would work well for our group of Spiritual Formation leaders.  After sharing the devotion, several others were excited in that they had also used that book years ago, but hadn’t thought of it in a while, and others had never heard of the book before.

This little book has great stories that re-present the gospel message in new ways.  The short stories and poems open our hearts and minds to new and fresh ways of hearing Jesus’ Good News.  The group enjoyed the story so much that they asked if I could share another treasured story from the book called “Barrington Bunny.”  One of my own favorites has always been “The Porcupine Whose Name Didn’t Matter.”  The stories that resonate with me are stories of those who feel lost or insignificant, and how they are reminded that in the forest of God’s Kingdom, no one is insignificant or unworthy.

It’s amazing how often we put aside books that have deeply touched us somewhere along our journey, yet somehow forget about them.  I was reminded that sharing these treasures and resources with a new generation is a gift that we have to offer.  If you are interested in finding “The Way of the Wolf,” it is available on Amazon.

Rev. Karol Lewis
Director of Christian Education
First UMC, Cuyahoga Falls

Social Media Workshop

On Thursday, September 21, 2017 there will be a Social Media Workshop from 9 a.m. until Noon at Faith UMC in North Canton.  Rick Wolcott, the EOC Director of Communications, will lead us in a workshop focused on learning how your church can implement a copyright –  and Safe Sanctuary – compliant social media strategy using Websites, Twitter, Blogs, Photos, Music, Facebook, Videos, and more.   The registration fee is $5 per person.   Go to www.123singup.com/register?id=hgtbn to register.

What Every Child Should Experience

This is a great resource available to us from Melanie Gordon through Discipleship Ministries of The UMC.  It was developed “to assist leaders and teachers of children in United Methodist Congregations in the area of faith formation.  You will find this guide useful in choosing and studying scripture, selecting and writing curriculum, offering parents and guardians useful developmental information, and addressing issues facing today’s children.”

Click on the link in the Blogroll to the right to download a PDF copy.

Media Center is a Great Resource!

The Media Center offers an extensive collection of worship, Sunday school, and small group curriculum, as well as equipment resources. Any church in East Ohio may join the Media Center for a once-a-year, affordable membership fee. The cost is based on the number of members in the joining church.

Media Center staff is available to consult with you to find the right media resource(s) for your program and/or group. These are just some of the items available to East Ohio members:

VBS kits
DVD players
LCD projectors
All videos in the Media Center are licensed for church use.

Resources may be reserved up to a year in advance. They may be picked up and returned either in person at the Area Center, or via mail. Ordered resources will be shipped to your church a week prior to the time they are needed, allowing plenty of time for shipment and review. The church would then return the materials to the Media Center via Library Mail, for the cost of postage.

For more information on how to use the Media Center, please watch these member testimonies or contact Susan Arnold. She may be reached by e-mail or by calling 800-831-3972 ext. 139.

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:
• The Good Book; 40 Chapters That Reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible’s biggest ideas. By encouraging readers to spend just fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, reading key Bible chapters, Deron Spoo helps them understand the context and content of the Bible in a way that can open the whole Bible to them.
• The Daniel Prayer; Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations explores what believers in Christ can learn today from this prayer that forever changed the course of a nation. She shows how this type of prayer is one born deep within the soul, erupting through your heart and pouring out on your lips as the Spirit of God infuses the words with spiritual electricity.
• VBS Hero Central Super Starter Kit: Discover Your Strength in God! has everything you need to help your kids discover their strength in God and realize that they are God’s heroes!
• VBS Super God! Super Me! Super-Possibility! Starter Kit helps participants know that the super power given us by Jesus Christ is greater than any other power -imagined or in existence.
• The Committee; Pilot & 15 Episodes is a humorous, yet poignant, series that examines the struggles congregations face as they look toward a preferred future.

We are blessed in East Ohio to have such a vital and helpful resource!