Reaching Children With the Love of Christ
About the Guest
Ready for a spot of tea? Thirty-five years ago, Bobbi Wolgemuth started reaching out to neighborhood kids by inviting them into her kitchen for a simple tea party. Today Bobbi shows women how they can follow in her footsteps by hosting short and sweet tea parties of their own. Bobbi shares some of her favorite tea party themes and tells just how easy it is to bless the children around you with the love of Christ. Joining Bobbi on the program is her husband, Robert.
Ready for a spot of tea?
Reaching Children With the Love of Christ
Bobbi: (speaking to a group of children) OK, now you give a good word to someone on your left.
Bob: On almost in any given afternoon in Bobbi Wolgemuth's neighborhood, you can find her having tea with children who have come to her house for a tea party.
Child 1: And my favorite thing that she makes is very good cookies.
Bobbi: (to child) How did that make you feel when I said you look so happy today? Did feel happy when I said that?
Child 2: I gargled. That was fun.
Bob: Bobbi's tea parties have a spiritual purpose.
Bobbi: There's a verse that says "What shall I render the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation." And for me, I lift up a tea party cup. That is the salvation I want to give to children. I always give them a smile, a hug, a bible lesson, and a prayer. A child comes to my house and they know they're going to feel the radiance of Jesus bestowed on that child.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, December 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We're going to talk today about tea parties with a purpose.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. I was thinking about all those tea parties that were held back in cities all across the country. It's a different type of tea party that we're going to talk about today.
Dennis: No, no, no... And by the way what she's about to talk about here in a minute, is really one of the more fascinating ways to touch the soul of a child.
Bob: But before we introduce Bobbi, and before we get to that topic. We're about half-way through the month of December and we want to say a word of thanks to those of you who have already contacted us.
Dennis: I am pounding the table, saying thank you to all of you who have called in and have given toward the December match.
Bob: Yes, we had some friends of the ministry who came to us back a few weeks ago; they know that year-end is a critical time for a ministry like ours. In fact, I think the number is about 40% of our giving comes in at year-end. Right?
Dennis: Close to that.
Bob: And so they said, we want to help, and we want to challenge others to help. They made a significant gesture.
Dennis: They sure did. In fact, after last year and the difficulty last year was, and the continued challenging economic times we're in, to have a family step up and say, "You know what? We so believe in what FamilyLife Today is doing, what the many outreaches of the Weekend to Remember, HomeBuilders, our internet site, our international outreach is doing, we want to empower it to continue.
We want to encourage other people to join in this ministry in giving. We want to give you a million dollars that can be matched here in the month of December." And Bob, this is the single largest matching gift we've ever had in the 34 year history of FamilyLife. Here in December to be matched, dollar for dollar to donors who'll step up.
Bob: Since they came and made that donation, we had other folks who came and said. "Well, we'd like to help out too." So, we started off the month of December being able to come to listeners and say, we've got a total of $1,250,000 available in matching gift funds.
If we're going to take full advantage of that amount of money, we need every listener. Everybody who's ever thought about giving, who's given before and can give again. We need everybody to do what they can do during the month of December, and make as generous a donation here at year end, as is possible for you.
Dennis: I want to speak to three groups. First of all Bob, one you mentioned, those who thought about giving a gift but perhaps have never given in the past, I want you to know it's time. If God leads, this would be a very timely gift to give to FamilyLife Today and enable us to--not only stay on this station, but to really to help a ton of families in 2010.
Another group is those who have given in the past. I want to say thank you to you, for doing that, but maybe this year is the year to stretch. Because of this matching gift that has been offered, you need to help us take full advantage of every dollar that has been offered to be matched.
And then to a third group, it's a group of people that, perhaps uniquely have the ability to give a large gift. We need you to write out a check. Just say, you know what, I want to make sure all of that matching gift is utilized for strengthening marriages and families in here in America.
Bob, I have to tell you, in all my years at FamilyLife, I've only seen a few times where there's been the electricity that there is right now in anticipation that God's up to something very significant. These are important days for us to finish strong in December and to begin 2010 with some of the best initiatives we have ever rolled out in the history of this ministry.
Bob: All donations, of course are tax deductible, and let me just mention that FamilyLife is a charter member of the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability—the watchdog group that looks over our shoulders and makes sure that what we say is happening is what actually happens with the money.
So, again, if you can help with a year-end donation go online to FamilyLifeToday.com. Make your donation online. Again it's FamilyLifeToday.com. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY. 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY. Make donation over the phone, and again your donations will be matched on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of one million 250 thousand dollars. So, we do hope to hear from you. Those of you who have already donated, thanks again for your support.
Dennis: Yes. Thank you
Bob: We appreciate you. Now we're going to talk about tea parties. I am secure in my masculinity. I am secure...
Dennis: You have a problem with today's broadcast Bob?
Bob: I'm just looking at this going, I am secure in my masculinity. I'm secure…
Dennis: Can a boy go to a tea party and still be secure in his masculinity?
Bob: We're going to have to ask the expert on tea parties because, I'm not thinking so, but she may tell me differently.
Dennis: I've got a hunch; she's going to correct you on this. Let me introduce our listeners to "Miss. Bobbi." Miss. Bobbi?
Bobbi: Actually, I started off only doing tea parties for little girls. And, a mother called me and said, "My son is here and he is crying, because he's not invited to the tea party." I said, "Well, you tell Cameron to come right over. He is invited to the tea party."
Bob: I'm just saying I've never personally been to a tea party.
Dennis: You will! You will!
Bob: The day will come?
Dennis: Yes! Well, let me introduce "Miss Bobbi" and her famous husband who are our guests here. Robert and Bobbi Wolgemuth join us on FamilyLife Today. They are no strangers to our listening audience. They're authors, they have written books that have sold over a million copies, they also represent authors to publishers and help them get their works published and out the door to Christian retailers around the countries.
Bob: And they're both graduates of Taylor University. I heard the greatest line about Taylor the other day. I think it was Chuck Colson who said that Taylor is fifty miles from the nearest sin. Have you heard that?
Robert: As a graduate I can tell you that is not true.
Dennis: Well, Bobbi has written a book called, Tea Parties With a Purpose. You actually sent this to Barbara and me several months ago. I really do like this. I didn't think what Bob was thinking that it wasn't for little boys as well.
Bob: But tell me the truth. You got this book; you took it straight home and gave it straight to Barbara before even opening it and looking at it at all.
Dennis: I did, I did. But I also thought about sending it to my granddaughter, and I'm going to get Bobbi, "Miss Bobbi" to sign this and send one to, probably Savannah, and Gabby and Caroline, and...
Bobbi: Don't leave out the boys. The boys like celebrations. This is all about celebrating. It is not just--actually we sort of just use the idea of a tea party as an excuse to get together. And for children to come and just visit and have, I call it "face time," where you're looking into a child's eyes. You're letting them know how special they are to you.
Really this is something that sort of happened out of my kitchen 35 years ago. It began when I had little precious neighbor children, and I had small children. I just wanted to invite them in. And so we'd say "Ok come on in. We'll have a tea party." Well there really was no tea; it was just cups and even water. Jesus said, just give a cup of cold water in my name and you'll not lose your reward.
And it all started that way. Kids just started understanding that there was a place where they could come and share some ideas. We had show-and-tell. We have books, we have art. The book just came about because I wanted to share with other moms and neighbors and aunts and grandmas what was going on.
Bob: So, the first "Miss Bobbi Tea Party" was a spontaneous event.
Bobbi: Yes, they all began just because I loved children, and I wanted to have a way to connect with them.
Bob: So, when the kids were there in the house and you said, "Let's have a tea party." You'd never done a tea party before right?
Bobbi: Well, it's so interesting, for a child, an idea gets bigger and bigger if you have a theme. So if you just say the word "tea party" and then you say OK we're going to have a—we always have a theme. An "Under the Sea" tea party or a "Teddy Bear" tea party or...
Dennis: Three Pigs tea party
Bobbi: Well, we can make them up. Sometimes I just say "Today we're having a tea party with the letter "B." You can bring something that starts with the letter "B" to the tea party. I've had boys bring their soccer balls, and a girl might bring her ballerina doll, another one would bring a bunny, and then we talk about ideas and things. And, of course always, I have the Bible.
That is my treasure, and I always share with the kids some bible story. Always, we hold hands, and we pray. I just thank the Lord for these friends, and this tea party and what a good time we're having. Just simple glimpses of God that they're getting from an adult sharing a little bit of time with them.
Dennis: I'm thinking about neighborhoods these days and all the fences that are up and the tendency of our culture in this high-tech, low-touch age is to retreat from our neighbors and as followers of Christ, not fulfill Matthew 5, which said, "Let your light shine in such a way that ultimately people see who God is." I think today, Bob, families really need to realize they're placed on a block and in a neighborhood with a divine purpose. Some of those neighbors that you think are odd may just be the people that God wants you to be a part of redeeming.
Bob: I'm sitting here thinking about—we have a lot of our listeners who, over the years have order the Resurrection Eggs—you're familiar with that resource? And they've used them with their kids, and they've shared the Easter story with their kids, but there have been some parents or some moms in particular who have said, I'm going to open this up to the neighborhood. I'm not just going to share this story with my kids. But I'm going to get the neighbor kids over. We'll have an Easter egg hunt, or we'll do something special.
There are moms, who have a missionary heart. A missionary mindset, and said, "This is where God's put me." Whether it's tea parties, or Easter egg events or whatever they do, they're thinking “How can I represent Jesus to these little ones?" And, how often Bobbi, in the Bible, does Jesus commend ministry to children?
Bobbi: He loves children. He speaks to children. He says, "Feed my lambs." One of my favorite times of year to share with Children is Christmas time. Because, we have a birthday party for Jesus, and we invite the children. One Christmas I had a mother-daughter, or grandmother-granddaughter tea, and it was a birthday party for Jesus. But, I disguised it as an "Angel party" because everybody loves angels at Christmas.
So, I sent out little invitations with an angel cookie-cutter on it, and said, bring your angel mom or grandma with you. So, all the children came and I had taught the children to sing "Angels We Have Heard On High"—taught about five little girls to sing "Angels We Have Heard On High" and it was so fun because we got to share, the grandmothers were there that were visiting for the holidays, and just having a time to stop and—it's amazing, the Christmas Carols tell the story. All you have to do is sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," and you get the entire plan of salvation. And so kids will listen to Christmas carols, and I try not to ever offend someone, so I ask the parents if it's OK if I read the Bible. Or I say "Make sure your mom, when she comes we'll ask her." Or "Make sure you mom says it's OK for you to come over, and we're going to have a tea party, and we're going to sing Christmas carols." I always ask before I have a child over.
Dennis: And you do tell the story and you use some common elements that don't cost a lot of money to do it.
Bobbi: That's right.
Dennis: I love the peanut nativity scene.
Bobbi: Yes. That is so fun. I take little--I give each of the children a peanut that's sort of big, and the next size down, and they draw a face on it and a little single peanut and that's the baby Jesus. They get to draw these faces, and I put them in rice. I actually have one for you all. I brought a set of peanuts for you all to draw faces on so you can have your own nativity.
Dennis: This could challenge our artistic ability.
Bob: I am secure in my masculinity; I am secure in my masculinity.
Robert: Tell Bob and Dennis about your pantry. Because, that's the place you bring the kids, when they want to have a tea party but can't decide what kind of tea party, tell them about your pantry.
Bobbi: Actually it's very easy for children to let their imaginations run wild. In my pantry I have little fish crackers and some Teddy Grahams maybe, and maybe rice cakes, so if we're doing a Japanese tea party they might choose the rice cakes. And we put something on them. If we're having a honey bee tea, we might choose a little bit of honey, and put it on something. Or—It's just very simple things. We always have something artistic like crayons. I always have crayons and paper.
And the other thing I always do is I give each child a nametag. Because, children—here's a little key that works with children all the time—everyone loves their own name. When they come over I always get down on my knees and I hug them, and then I always use their name and say something special about that child. Often I will tell the child "Could you just cup your hand?"—Dennis and Bob I want you to do this—just cup your hand a little bit. Do you see? Can you trace the "M" in there? Do you see the "M" in your palm?
Dennis: Mine's a "U"
Bobbi: Yours is an "M" too.
Dennis: Oh, it's an "M," there it is.
Bobbi: Everybody has an "M." Here's what I say. I say, "Bob, give me your hand" and I say "Look, there's a 'M', you're a miracle. God marked you as a miracle. Did you know that?"
Dennis: Bob has a bigger "M" than I mine.
Robert: He's a bigger miracle than you are.
Bobbi: And so, the kids look at that and they're like, "I'm a miracle!" And often—one of our tea parties is called "Hands and Feet tea." We just talk about how incredible it is that God made our hands and our feet and all the things we can do with our hands and feet to serve God.
Bob: Now, how often are you doing tea parties at the Wolgemuth house?
Bobbi: Well, it depends you know. I had to get to the point where I had to put a note on the door saying. "Yes you can ring the doorbell today." because Robert will say "Some of your friends are here." I'm not getting anything done. But it really has been such a joy almost any time. Especially after school, the kids will come over.
Dennis: You have five grandchildren now. You're still doing this.
Bobbi: I have five grandchildren. Oh yes, and the boys love it just as much as the girls.
Dennis: Did you hear that Bob?
Bob: I heard it I'm still...
Dennis: Just wanted to make sure it didn't go past you.
Bob: Still straining credibility a little bit but I heard it.
Dennis: Back to the "M" in the hand. I've never seen that before. That really is interesting. Can you share a miracle story of one of these children who came from your neighborhood? It's just a great story of how God just placed a little boy or a little girl right there.
Bobbi: I have lots of stories. My head is swirling right now. One is the little girl next door. Her name is Grace, and her mom was killed in a plane crash. So, she was without a mom. And her dad is a doctor. He got a nanny for them. But she was sort of needing somebody to talk to.
So she came over one day and brought her little friend and I said, "Your name is Grace!" I said "Did you know, besides being a miracle, the bible is all about grace." I said, "There's a song called 'Amazing Grace'." Well, I taught her "Amazing Grace" that day. And I taught her the Lord's Prayer. She didn't know the Lord's Prayer so I taught it to her. Every time I see her in the neighborhood I say, "Hi Grace. You're amazing!"
And she often would come over and tell me things. He dad has since remarried. But when she didn't have a mom, she would often come over. She would ring my doorbell and say "Miss Bobbi, I just feel like I need to talk to a lady about this." And she would tell me something.
A child is more hungry for attention and affection than they are for food. So it doesn't matter what you serve on the little tea party plates, or the little cups. What they want is, they want a glimpse of who they are. They want "You're a miracle! God made you; he has a plan for you." And just sharing that little bit of bible story and time with her. It was more exciting than the happiest place on earth because her heart was needing this nurture, this food, this spiritual glimpse of God.
Bob: It's really pretty simple. You're saying that if you've got love for kids, an availability and a little bit of creativity—and you provide the creativity in the book.
Bobbi: From start to finish, you don't have to be creative.
Bob: So you don't have to have a lot of that. But if you've got a heart for kids and an open door, you can have a profound ministry, an impact in your neighborhood.
Dennis: I actually got involved in a marriage and family ministry because I loved kids. I worked with high school students for five years nationwide, and both Barbara and I love kids. And we wanted to influence and impact the most number of children possible. The family is what creates children and what shapes them. The family can be used by God to reach out and impact them.
What you're really illustrating here through your love for children and opening your front door, and being willing to allow these little people to invade your privacy, is you're really fulfilling Matthew chapter 28:19-20 where Jesus commanded us to go.
In this case you're inviting them into your home, and you're teaching them about Jesus Christ, the gospel, about how they're made in the image of God in very practical ways. The cool thing about your book, and I am going to get a couple of copies to send to my granddaughters, I don't know if I'm going to send one to one of my grandsons or not yet.
Robert: Will you guys get over this? Please?
Dennis: Really. I'm concerned that my sons may get onto me for sending…
Robert: Well, the pictures in the book are probably more pictures of little boys at tea parties than there are little girls.
Dennis: I stand rebuked. There are ten simple and fun party ideas in here. There's a whole lot we didn't talk about. If you lack the creativity that Bobbi has, she's put it between two covers here and it'll be a great resource to your family.
Bob: And when it's time for the sequel: The "Root Beer Party Book for Boys." I'm telling you.
Bobbi: I was thinking about cowboys and cookies.
Dennis: There you go. We've got some ideas for boys. Oh yes.
Bob: We do have copies of the Tea Parties with a Purpose book. Ten simple and fun party ideas for kids of all ages. It's in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center and I want to encourage you to go to FamilyLifeToday.com and look this information over or maybe order a copy from us online. Again the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
And if you want to do a special tea party just before Christmas, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and get our What God Wants for Christmas® nativity scene. It's an interactive Nativity scene, designed for kids. You can invite the neighborhood kids into your house, serve them Christmas cookies, have a tea party with them, and break out What God Wants for Christmas® and teach them the real story of Christmas along with the surprising box number seven. Which, I'm not going to tell you about. You have to go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about What God Wants for Christmas® and box number 7.
Again our website is FamilyLifeToday.com; you can also call us toll-free, 1-800-FLTODAY. That’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY. When you get in touch with us we can answer any questions you have about the resources we've talked about here today, or make arrangements to have the ones you need sent to you.
Now before we wrap things up here today, take just a minute with me and think about what it was like to be a child at Christmas time. How excited you were about everything that was going on, about the gifts that were starting to appear underneath the tree. I want you to imagine that somebody had come to you and said, this year at Christmas, every gift you receive, somebody is going to give you a second Christmas gift, so you're going to get twice as many gifts this year as you did last year.
Obviously back when you were nine years old, you'd have gotten pretty excited about that. Well, we have had something like that happen here at FamilyLife. We've had some friends of the ministry who came to us during the month of December and said, "We want to encourage regular FamilyLife Today listeners to join with us in making a year-end contribution to FamilyLife Today." So, they have agreed that they will match every donation we receive during December on a dollar for dollar basis, up to a total of $1,250,000.
This is the largest year-end matching gift that we have ever received as a ministry. So, when you go online or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation, if you donate $50 dollars, we get $50 from this other group. It goes all the way up to 1.25 million dollars. We're hoping to take full advantage of this largest ever matching gift opportunity, but if that's going to happen, we need to hear from as many of you as possible with whatever donation you can make here at the end of the year.
Keep in mind your donations are tax-deductible, you can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation over the phone. We do hope to hear from you. We want you to know we appreciate you thinking of us here at the end of 2009.
And we want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow, when Bobbi Wolgemuth is going to be here again along with her husband Robert. We're going to have more ideas on how you can engage the children in your neighborhood or maybe even the children in your extended family in some fun evangelistic tea parties. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today, Hope for tomorrow.
We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you. However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?
Copyright © FamilyLife. All rights reserved.