After a long day at work, my wife greeted me at the door, saying, “This isn’t working; something has to change!”

I knew what she was referring to. Our lives were so busy we barely had time to breathe. However, there was nothing left to cut out. Life seemed to fit into two full buckets: my work in the church and my family.

This conversation happened a few years ago when our kids were spread out over four different schools, plus a handful of additional youngsters still at home. Family time consisted of surviving to pass the transportation baton while scurrying here and there. Additionally, at church, my job required vast amounts of time and energy.

Our lives were so busy we barely had time to breathe.

Starting Wonder Ink in a Unique Large Group Setting

The official Sunday programming targeting children was designed for three services. As any veteran minister knows, that does not include transitions. Those times before and after each Bible hour typically required survival entertainment without volunteers, or as educators refer to it, constantly trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

There were early drop-offs from leaders and late pick-ups, often parents seeking respite. Wednesday transitions were even worse, as some parents left their children up to an hour early since they were volunteering elsewhere and needed space to prepare.

While juggling those service challenges, extra time was spent editing our curriculum, which required adding Scripture with application to its cool media focus. We were both feeling drained on the home front, with no end to the tension in sight.

Then, society came to a screeching halt, and slowly, small glimpses of hope emerged out of the Covid pandemic. 

At home, we were drawn to homeschool our kids, which solved many of our traveling logistic problems with intentionality. As a result, when school started again, we chose to continue with the home education model.

Wonder Ink’s 3-year, 52-week children’s ministry curriculum offers kids space to fully find their place in God’s Big Story. Children discover they are Known by God, Loved by Jesus, and Led by the Holy Spirit.

At church, we finally had the time to reevaluate our current curriculum and Sunday transitions. What could we fix, what should we change, what do we omit? These were the questions my staff and I were now facing. Yes, we would have infinite dedicated volunteers, an unlimited budget, and full board rubber stamp support in a perfect world.

However, I dreamt of more parental support while finding a fun and memorable curriculum that contained a solid Scriptural education, emphasizing one’s relationship with God and the gospel. 

Enter Wonder Ink. A good friend encouraged me to look at this new digital curriculum for creatively engaging kids with God’s Word. It seemed to connect the dots between my vision, wants, and needs. I briefly purveyed the Explore section in the Wonder Ink site and was impressed.

This was a biblical, meaty curriculum yet attainable to the typical audience, capitalizing on questions and creativity. We decided to try it, targeting our Kids’ Church environment.

Solution One

Worship services in our church were fully operational toward the end of the pandemic, but children’s programming was not. As we brainstormed, God provided a radical adjustment to scale back up. What if children started in a big church as a family and worshiped together? Then, after the singing and communion, kids were released (during the offering time) to attend a children’s church during the sermon.

This eliminated two lengthened transitions and leveled up our partnering with parents. Most parents appreciated the adjustment and expressed gratitude as we supported attainable family worship. This logistical tweak substantively strengthened our church and families.

This eliminated two lengthened transitions and leveled up our partnering with parents.

Solution Two

Wonder Ink fits ideally into this shortened time as it is customizable. With a shortened teaching time, we chose Curiosity and Belief. These sections, which target a biblical passage, were selected for the education sections of Kids’ Church. 

The Curiosity opener is essential as it shepherds the children’s opportunity to wonder by encouraging questions. This concept draws in interest, often with a very light touch, giving a vague glimpse of what is coming. Sometimes, there is an object lesson or a multi-sensory activity. Often, we pre-make a video of this introduction, desiring that the message will be the same during all services, plus keeping the room clean for quick transitions.

We create weekly content quickly using a phone and editing materials provided on our computer. By creating a video, I am free to not be tethered to the stage but float the room, coming alongside children who need a friend while focusing on the message. This intro typically transitions to the Bible section (Belief) with a faith declaration designed to recalibrate those quires back to one’s life in Jesus.  

The Belief section is the meat of the lesson, utilizing creative media to present Scripture, then digging a little deep through the Experience portion. With few volunteers, I am able to supervise the room and rotate through a few prominent group presenters who lead the children from the front. Once leaders are scheduled, approximately two weeks out, I create the customized lesson utilizing the Curiosity and Belief sections; this is emailed to the presenter.

The Curiosity opener is essential as it shepherds the children’s opportunity to wonder by encouraging questions.

Initially, I would ask if the leader needed all the suggested supplies; however, as my instructors became familiar with the curriculum, they typically chose to teach directly from the lesson, utilizing the creative visuals and experiences provided. Our Kids’ Church time concludes with space for worship response, typically individual prayer. 

Though every church is unique, the foundational principles of Scripture are enduring. I love that Wonder Ink is pointing children to who they are created to be and guides them in how to journey with God through life. The fact that I no longer needed to rewrite curriculum became the changer we sought the Lord for!