Church with a Toddler


I have a toddler and we go to church. Church comes every week so it shouldn't be a surprise and yet... I was always struggling to gather up all of the things that I would need. I've finally come up with a plan that mostly works. It isn't for everyone but hopefully, it may help you a bit. I'd love to hear your suggestions too...

1. Bag - Have a bag that is specifically for church only- include all of the items that you'll need. I re-fill it when I return from church. My items include:

2. Getting your child ready

  • Bathe the night before if possible.
  • Have clothes laid out and ready.
  • Don't dress your child until they've had breakfast.
  • Distraction- I save Veggie Tales for Sabbath. My daughter is allowed to watch an episode while I work on getting myself ready

3. Getting yourself ready

  • Get up early enough - my mom told me that she kept getting up earlier by 30-minute increments (7:00,6:30,6:00, etc.) until we could have a good morning. You are responsible for the tone of the day, set yourself up for joy.
  • Pre-plan your outfit- I literally lay out everything that I'll be using- it keeps me sane.
  • Don't skip breakfast- you'll need the energy to wrangle your toddler.

I'm doing my best to make morning pleasant- I want Sabbath to be happy rather than filled with frustration and hurrying. I'd love to hear your ideas for things that make your church mornings successful.

About the author: Summer Porter is the interim editorial assistant for GC Family Ministries. She's a working wife and mom who is very human and struggles daily with balance. She's spouse to David and mom to Brooklyn Dawn (age 3) and Breelyn Elizabeth (died of SIDS- age 4 months June 2016). Summer has a blog where she shares her thoughts about life and losing a child.

Family Evangelism in Taipei


The Xin Dian Church located in Taipei opened its doors to friends and neighbors as well as church members for a family evangelistic series which began on Sunday, November 11 and ended on Sabbath, November 17, 2012. The speakers were Drs. Sally and Chek-Yat Phoon, Northern Asia-Pacific Division's Family Ministries Director and its Resource Personnel respectively. Church members with their PMM (Pioneer Mission Movement) pastor, Kim Seok Woon, have been laying the groundwork for months, visiting interests, conducting Bible studies and above all, fasting and praying for the success of this effort.

Interwoven with the gospel message of hope and salvation were family topics on how to have a close-knit and strong family which has God as its center. The first night's message was clear--In the beginning, there was love because in the beginning was God. If we want to have love in our homes, then we need to invite God to be in our hearts and our homes because where God is, there is always love--love of the right kind... The series included the story of the fall and its effects, particularly on the family. This has seriously impacted the husband and wife relationship, an issue that will be addressed so that there will be better understanding between the sexes.

When God's Plan A went awry because of the choices made by Adam and Eve, God immediately implemented Plan B by sending His only Son to show this sinful world how to love. The salvation story which features God's unconditional love for a dying world will be applied to the family setting, and participants will discover their individual love languages and learn how to love each other unconditionally and more effectively. God also crafted the Sabbath when He created the weekly cycle, a day to focus on Him and also on our families. Today, the greatest need in the family is time. Participants were reminded of the importance of spending time with God and with family members. The skill most lacking in families today was shared; all who attended practiced writing a note of encouragement to a family member or a friend. While we struggle with the attacks of Satan on our homes, we can surely trust that if we believe in Him, God will lead us to the ideal home of all homes--the new heaven and new earth.

These topics were well received as the approach to evangelism was new to them. The Xin Dian Church was fully mobilized as young and old worked together to visit and invite their friends, distributing flyers to the neighboring areas while a team of dedicated cooks prepared meals for the singing group from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, the Golden Angels, who enhanced the meetings with their lively music. The highlight came on Sabbath when four people who had studied with the pastor, were baptized. Our prayer is that this evangelism has strengthened our families in Xin Dian to become living sermons to their new-found friends and contacts.

To read more about what is happening in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division visit:

Rare Kids; Well Done - Book Review

Rare Kids; Well Done

By Don Jacobsen
Hiawassee, GA: HighWalk Productions, Inc., 2011.
143 pages.

Reviewed by Willie and Elaine Oliver

All children are unique and all parents want to look back at their children and be able to say "well done". Hence the title: Rare Kids; Well Done, the author, Don Jacobsen, has intentionally given to this insightful book on parenting. This book emerges from the author's heart with years of experience as a parent and parenting educator merged with extensive knowledge of biblical studies.

Dr. Don, as the author is referred to throughout the book, builds Rare Kids; Well Done around the premise of three desirable characteristics parents need to instill in their children: to be respectful, responsible and obedient. He uses humor, heart-warming stories, past and present data, personal experiences and a tone that is unapologetic and at times very direct as he sensibly outlines effective principles for raising children with moral values in contemporary times.

"Our world needs your kids." The author posits to parents that having children was the most important decision they made; thus imploring parents to consider the opportunity they have to help their children find their purpose on earth and become change agents in their world. In essence, parents are tasked with leaving a legacy of strong character and values to their children and their children's children for generations to come.

Rare Kids; Well Done is filled with charming vignettes and some seemingly trivial facts which Dr. Don uses to describe parenting styles in layperson's terms. For example, he talks about Kudzu, which is a vine that ravages anything it grows on, to describe parents who micromanage their kids. Dr. Don also shares wonderful examples of how parents can fill their homes with joy and laughter and learn to "lighten up". He encourages parents to laugh off mistakes and learn to distinguish between an accident and a rebellious act. He includes a chapter of five reasons why parents should never argue with their children, but you will have to read the book to find out those reasons.

So often parents think about what their children can't do. Dr. Don encourages parents to think of themselves as "coaches" whose task it is to help their children envision all the things they can do. Imagine how differently we might parent if we remember that our children today will emerge as the leaders of tomorrow and quite possibly discover the cure for currently incurable diseases! Most importantly, imagine our most important task as parents is to prepare our children to be disciples of Christ on this earth and for life in the earth made new.

Rare Kids; Well Done is well written and very easy to read; its message is encouraging, inspiring, and insightful - straight forward but non-judgmental. It is biblically, psychologically, and developmentally sound, and could easily become the parenting guide parents keep on their nightstands as a quick reference guide for parenting from birth to young adulthood and beyond.

Family Ministries leaders will find it a very useful ministry resource for empowering families in their journey of parenting. See for more information on this resource.
Willie Oliver, PhD, and Elaine Oliver, MA, are directors of the Department
of Family Ministries at the General Conference of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church

Mission to the Families in the Cities: Family to Family

The Family To Family guides for Church and Family are available now for download here!

Reaching Families for
Jesus: Growing Disciples

The 2017 Family Ministries Planbook - World Edition is available now for download!


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