Inspire your volunteers with these thought-provoking, heartfelt devotions that renew their focus on God.
Looking for a great way to strengthen relationships and encourage your amazing volunteers? We’ve got four heartfelt devotions designed to inspire your team, deepen their bonds, and refresh their hearts.
4 Heartfelt Devotions for Your Children’s Ministry Team
Heartfelt Devotion #1: Together We’re Better
This devotion is designed to help volunteers think through the strengths and uniqueness they bring to your team.
- colored pencils,
- blank paper,
- tape, and
You’ll also need:
- images of the logos for Target, Southwest Airlines, and McDonald’s;
- a flip chart;
- a marker; and
- a large sheet of paper.
Begin by showing your team members the logos.
- What do you think of when you see these logos?
- What feelings and emotions do you associate with each one?
Explain that we use logos to communicate. Logos tell us a company’s name and create a visual symbol representing it. Some logos create a powerful symbolic association to the company that embeds in people’s memories, like Apple’s logo.
Set out the drawing supplies.
Say: You’re going to make a logo that’s a unique symbol for yourself as a member of this team.
Begin your development process by sketching several ideas. Be playful—these are drafts. Push yourself to develop about six ideas.
Once you’ve finished all your sketches, choose your favorite and re-create it on a fresh piece of paper. Refine lines, color it, or erase any areas you don’t want to keep. Try to cover most of the page with your logo.
Allow time to sketch and draw. Then have team members share their logos and what they represent. Once everyone has shared, set the large sheet of paper in front of the group, and have your team create a large work of art with each person’s logo by overlapping, connecting, or repeating the symbols. Ensure that all team members contribute to the process.
Have your team come up with words to describe their new creation. Write the words on the flip chart.
- How do these words describe our team?
Say: Together we’re better.
Digging Into the Bible
Form three groups. Assign one of the following Scripture passages to each group. Have each group read its passage and compare it to the team’s logo.
- “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
- “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16).
- “Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).
- How does our team logo bring these passages to life?
- Why is both individuality and unity important on a team?
Say: Our teamwork produces great fruit. Each of us uses our gifts and uniqueness to serve Jesus. We’re connected to one another through our relationship with God and the ministry we serve. Together we’re better.
Close with prayer, thanking the group for the unique qualities each person brings to the team.
Place the logo in a common area where your team will see it often. Let it be a reminder of their connection to one another and God.
Heartfelt Devotion #2: As God Sees Us
This devotion reminds your team members to view themselves through God’s eyes.
- lined index cards,
- pens, and
- a handheld mirror for each person.
Say: Albert Einstein wrote, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
- What do you think Einstein is saying?
- What does it mean to you to look deep?
Say: Our ideas of looking deep are unique, and so are our ways of seeing.
Give everyone an index card and a pen.
Have team members write the phrase “I see” five times on their cards. They should leave a few lines between each phrase.
Invite people to go outside on a five-minute nature walk and take the cards and pens with them. As they walk, have them write down five things they see. Each thing they see will complete one of the five “I see” phrases.
When people have finished, have them return to your meeting space. Ask them to form pairs and read their “I see” sentences to each other. The sentences will form a kind of poem.
Once pairs have finished, have them replace “see” in each sentence with “am.”
Have pairs read their poems again.
- What feeling does your poem evoke?
- How does what you see connect or not connect to who you are?
Say: What we see outside ourselves can often be a mirror for what we see inside our- selves. These observations can be positive or negative, detrimental or helpful.
Digging Into the Bible
Give each person a handheld mirror.
Say: Look at yourself in the mirror, and listen to what God says about who you are.
Allow time; then read the following verses aloud.
- “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us’ ” (Genesis 1:26a).
- “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
- “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
- “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14).
- How do these verses inform who you are?
Say: God’s Word is true. It’s the closest, most reliable mirror we have to see our true selves and who we are.
- What challenges do you experience when it comes to seeing yourself as God sees you?
- What can you do in the next few weeks to intentionally see yourself as God does?
Say: Write the phrase “I can” five times on the back of your index card. Complete the “I can” phrases with ways you can see yourself the way God sees you. When you’ve finished, hold up the mirror and recite your “I can” poem. Use your recitation as a prayer to God.
Put your card on a mirror at home. Read, rewrite, and recite as necessary to keep focused on how God sees you.
Heartfelt Devotion #3: Make Room For God’s New Thing
Team members will gain a new understanding of how important it is for us to let go of old things and thinking to make way for the new things God is bringing.
- sticky notes, and
- a timer.
Say: Turn to a partner and tell about a time you held on to something and didn’t let go. You might have held a rope for someone who was rappelling, or maybe you held a friend or child’s hand when they were getting an immunization. You might have held on to hope or faith in a situation. Or perhaps you may have held on to a grudge or resentment toward someone.
Be prepared with your own personal example, and share it first. Then invite pairs to talk. Allow a few minutes for discussion.
- What kept you from letting go?
Say: We don’t let go because we love the person or thing we’re holding on to. We hold on to certain things because of our beliefs. We hold on to grudges because we may struggle to forgive. Letting go is harder than we think.
Form new pairs.
Challenge pairs to have five-minute conversations without using the letter “S.” The conversations can’t have any long pauses. Set a timer, and have people begin.
Afterward, say: Describe how you felt during the conversation. Some of us felt stressed, frustrated, hindered, or maybe even confused. Maybe a little exhausted, too!
Compare these emotions to your feelings when you need to let go of something.
Allow time for pairs to talk.
Say: Letting go of something stirs up many emotions. When I have to let go of something or someone, I feel [insert how you feel and why].
- What makes it hard for you to let go?
Say: Fear, uncertainty, memories, and our humanness may make it hard for us to let go.
Digging Into the Bible
Listen to God’s Word in Isaiah 43:18-19:
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
God’s Word promises that he’ll do new things. But to receive and experience them, we must first let go.
- What’s something you need to let go of to receive the new thing that God’s doing?
Distribute a sticky note to each person. Say: Write a sentence about the new thing God’s doing, but don’t use the letter “S” in your sentence. Allow time.
- Look at what you’ve written. What strategies did you use to let go of the letter “S”?
- How might you use some of those same techniques to help you let go?
Say: You might focus intentionally each day to let go of something you’re holding on to. Maybe you’ll let go by simply eliminating what you need to let go. Maybe you could ask a friend to help you. Think of the thing you need to let go of, and hand your sticky note to your partner. Imagine you’re letting it go. Allow time. Let’s pray together.
God, help us remember not to hold on to the things of old. Open our eyes to see the new thing you’re doing. Guide us along the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
You’re now holding on to something that your partner needs to let go. Pray for your partner by name in the coming week, asking God to help your partner be bold and strong to let go.
Heartfelt Devotion #4: A New Name
This devotion helps team members remember that God inspires us to change others’ lives.
- name tags,
- a marker,
- a paper lunch bag, and
- a ball.
Write fake names on the name tags. Use funny or catchy names like Fuzzy Smartson, Victoria Omens, Ace Slanter, Fitzgerald French, and Georgia Baker. Some of the names can imply professional credibility, and others can suggest eccentric personalities. Put the name tags in the paper lunch bag.
- What was the source of inspiration for your name?
Share your name and the source of inspiration for your name first. Then have team members share their full names and any nicknames they have.
Say: Inspiration for our names can come from a variety of sources like famous people, our family heritage, generational popularity—just about anything. Let’s play a quick name game to dig into inspiration.
Have each person reach into the bag, draw out a name tag, and put it on.
Gather the team in a circle, and toss the ball. The person who catches the ball introduces himself or herself using the new name and then tells a short story about how the name was acquired as a child.
After the self-introduction, the person tosses the ball to someone else until all team members have had a chance to share their new names and stories.
Afterward, have everyone turn to a partner.
- How were you inspired for your story about your new name?
The Source of Inspiration
Say: Inspiration can come from internal and external sources. We can find inspiration in our environment or through people, books, and movies. We can also find inspiration in our relationship with God. Listen to these words from Job 33:4:
“For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
A truly inspired person is someone who has life breathed into them. God gives us true inspiration to do what matters most. And often his inspiration to us is focused on others.
Turn back to your partner and share a time you felt inspired by God. Allow time.
God doesn’t inspire us simply to make us happy or make our lives easier; he’s always seeking to implant seeds of inspiration to change the lives of others. Take a new name tag and write your name on it. Hold it in your hands and look at it as you pray, listen- ing for God-breathed inspiration. Allow a few minutes.
- What is God inspiring you to do?
Say: Write a few words on your name tag. If you don’t know, write “What is God inspiring me to do?”
Once you’ve finished, share with your partner what God is inspiring you to do. Then pray for each other, saying the person’s name and what he or she has written on the name tag. If someone has written the question, ask God to reveal his inspiration to the person.
Keep your name tag as a reminder of your God-breathed inspiration.
Patty Smith is a speaker for national and international training events. She’s an author and has served as the director of children and family ministries for the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church.
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