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I grew up a church kid. I went to Sunday School every week, memorized my Bible verses, was youth group president, went on mission trips – the whole nine yards.
My husband was raised on the opposite side of the country, and grew up in a different denomination. (I grew up Baptist. He grew up Wesleyan.) Thousands of miles apart in churches with different styles, we both experienced many of the same things…and I have a hunch that no matter where you went to church, you did too.
And yet, in spite of all of these wonderfully cheesy things, I remain a person who clings to her faith, loves Jesus, and loves her church. While I hope we’ve made some strides towards cultural relevance, I’m positive that in 20 years, my own four “church kids” will be able to make such a list. (Hey- if you can’t poke fun at yourself, what can ya do?)
So, sit back, pop in some Steven Curtis Chapman or Geoff Moore and the Distance, throw some cocoa in your dad’s Promise Keeper’s mug, and enjoy this trip down memory lane.
1. You know who Psalty is. *Bonus points if you can sing Bullfrongs and Butterflies and/or the “Arky Arky” song!
And now I’m singing, “The Lord told Noah, there’s gonna be a floody floody….get those animals out of the muddy muddy.”
2. You know what a sword drill is. (And that it has nothing to do with swords….or drills…)
Straight up – I challenge anyone – any day – anywhere. I was the master of sword drills. =)
3. You had a WWJD bracelet….or two….or ten.
4. You participated in a youth group “lock-in.”
5. You had a Precious Moments Bible. (Why must those children look so sad?)
6. You probably carried said Bible around in one of these…
7. You got excited when your Sunday School teacher put on a movie like this…
or this….McGee and Me!
8. You re-dedicated your life to Christ around a campfire at summer camp.
*Bonus points – You sang worship songs “in a round” around said campfire.
*Bonus bonus points – One of those songs was “Father I adore You” or “I Love You Lord”
9. There is a box in your house somewhere filled with cd’s by…
DC Talk (And now I’m singing, “God is Doing a Nu Thang“)
*Bonus points – Their song “In the Light” was likely life-changing for you and/or you proudly told people you were a “Jesus Freak.”
Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, and Michael W. Smith.
*Bonus points if you ever rocked out to “Flood” in a Christian mosh-pit, thought Will of Audio Adrenaline was hot, tried desperately to learn all the words to “Shine” by the Newsboys, and could full-on belt out “Friends are Friends Forever” by MWS this very minute.
(Cuz you know they are….if the Lord’s the Lord of them…..and a friend will not say never….’cuz the welcome will not end…)
(It’s totally hard not to type all those lyrics…)
10. Your mom just might have a little red vest or an ugly gray button up shirt hanging in a guest-room closet somewhere.
11. When I say, “Spring up oh well,” you automatically leap from your chair and yell, “Splish! Splash!”
12. Speaking of automatic responses…..When I say, “Hallelu – Hallelu- Hallelu- Hallelujah”, you say, “Praise Ye the Lord!”
*Bonus points if this involved some type of stand up/sit down/stand up game or some type of “which side is loudest?” contest.
13. In your mind, Jesus had feathered(ish) long brown hair, and was always wearing a white robe with a blue sash.
(I seriously just asked my husband (out of nowhere), “Quick – what color was Jesus’ sash?” His response (w/o missing a beat -“blue.” in almost a “duh” tone of voice.) =)
14. You quickly learned which church ladies made the good food, and which casseroles were to be avoided at church potlucks.
(And you always prayed someone brought macaroni and cheese.)
15. You can tell someone about your faith using jellybeans, “the wordless book”, or one of these….
16. Someone you know had a framed copy of “Footprints” somewhere in their home.
17. One word – flannelgraph.
18. You played some type of renegade night game, some type of game requiring you to spin around a broom and then run, and/or some type of “eat this nasty food as fast as you can” game at youth group or summer camp.
(*Bonus points if you packed special camo and/or clothes for night games when you went to camp, one of the foods you had to eat quickly was a Big Hunk or Charleston Chew, and/or you know the best youth group game ever….Four on a Couch.)
19. You proudly went to “See You at the Pole.”
(*Bonus points if you later prayed for the kids who mockingly played Duck Duck Goose while you were praying.)
20.You know all the hand-motions to “Our God is an Awesome God.”
And because I’m feeling like handing out more bonus points…(and because I thought of more than 20 things….)
*Bonus points if you ever went to a Billy Graham Crusade (Portland-’92 baby!), attended a 5 Day Club or VBS, know all the verses to “Jesus Loves Me”, ever declared you were “on fire” for God, kissed dating goodbye, and/or if your mom or grandma had a verse cross-stitched on something in your home.
And I’m still singing that song….”Yo! Who’s doin’ it?”
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Like this post? Check out my 20 Signs You Grew Up a Church Kid: Christmas Edition!
*This post was written from the perspective of a 32 year old baby of the ’80’s. Hopefully those in the generations before and after me will be able to relate to some of these things too. =)
*Please read through the comments, as many people have chimed in with their own favorite things – Some were simply not a part of my childhood (ie-Adventures in Odyssey and The Donut Man) or are just outside of my generation (ie- things like Sandi Patty and Veggie Tales.)
* I am LOVING all of your comments! Connecting with all of you and remembering alongside you has been such a fun journey for me. I never expected this post to resonate with so many. Thanks for stopping by and reminiscing with me.
Confessions of a church kids’ mom-I was the mom of you church kids (although my girls are in their early 20’s-so Adventures of Odyssey would rank high on their list)! I LOVED Psalty, Steve Green’s Bible memory songs, The Donut Man and many other cheesy songs that helped my kids hide God’s Word in their hearts. My girls learned so many verses in song that they can still sing today! Classics…So,since I still have young kids at home I search for music to help my guys hide God’s Word, and wish like crazy that I could find The Donut Man on cd (because of course he was on cassette tape!) Thanks for the trip down memory lane! 🙂
If you still have your old cassettes you can transfer them to CD yourself. ROXIO is the best quality software that I’m familiar with, however there might be less expensive high quality software to do the same thing out there. Roxio will also transfer VHS to DVD & vinyl albums to CD or mp3 depending on which .level of software you get.
Guilty as charged. I loved this list… although I went to public school, Michael W Smith’s “Friends” was our 8th grade graduation song. Psalty was a HUGE favorite and I always start singing “Welcome to the Family” whenever Psalty is brought up (Kids Praise 3). I was in Pioneer Girls, and my first concert was Petra Beat the System tour – My family attended the Billy Graham “last crusade” in LA a few years back…I have shared Bullfrogs and Butterflies with my children as well as Music Machine.
The Gospel Bill Show? Fire by Nite(“Freeze, Muskogee Vice!”)? The Music Machine? Commander Kellie and the Superkids? Playing “Chubby Bunny” in youth group. So many things are coming back to me now. This put a smile on my face in the middle of a long work day. Thanks 🙂
I grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) in the Lutheran Church (ALC). I went to VBS every year and church camp from the time I was in 3rd grade. You are the same age as a couple of my kids so I know of all those things you talked about. My kids also went to AWANNA several times with some of their friends. I do know Arky Arky and Awesome God (as well as all the motions) and Hallelu, Hallelu. Great camps songs. How about Kum Bah Ya. That I can still see the sparks from the campfire going up as we sang. Wonderful memories. Some people say that being raised as a PK must have been tough, but in the 50’s & 60’s it was my life. I have lasting friendships from that time in my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It prepared me for life itself. Thank you so much for sharing your list.
This is great! I grew up in the 80’s too and also went to see the Billy Graham Crusade in Portland Oregon in ’92! I listened to DC Talk and proudly called myself a Jesus Freak! I rocked out to that entire CD and yo this day have it memorized! I had a precious moments bible and one if those carriers for it and could describe my spirituality with thise bracelets! Thank you fir posting this; it’s great to see so many others can share the same memories, even when you don’t know them!
Don’t forget Carmen! “Who’s in the house?”
haha yes! I still break out Champion every once in a while
I seriously downloaded this from iTunes for my kids to listen to after reminiscing with some ladies in our Bible study. Our kids LOVE his songs. My four year old asks for Carman everytime we get into the car. Especially The Champion!
SO GUILTY, my husband and I have taught so many with all this. Plus we had a blast and still ministering to children. Love it.. I Am A C H R I S T I A n
That is my favorite song from children’s church! I am 17 now, and I STILL sing it, like all the time!
But can you do it in double Chinese? I am a Cong, I am a Cong Hong, I am a Cong Hong Rong I Song Tong I A Nong!
I can! 35 years old now and I can still sing it!
And the extra challenge is the double syllable. “I am a cittle. I am a cittle hittle. I am a cittle hittle rittle i sittle tittle i a nittle.”
and I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T! and I will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y! 🙂
Youth rally’s. But most importantly Dawson McAllister conferences.
All of this brought back great memories! Plus….Carmen. CHRISTIAN. Dawson McAllister. Josh McDowell. I could keep going.
I am 52 and this brought back great memories. Awesome!
And don’t forget the “Jesus is my Homeboy” shirts!
Oh goodness…how could I forget?! =)
I had many of those products! Interesting stuff. I was at a thrift store a few years ago and found a Psalty cassette that I had as a youngin’. I bought it. I also found a Precious Moments devo that my mom gave me when I was about 7-8 at a Christian bookstore that was going out of business about two years ago.
McGee and me will always be
together forever for you see
Mcgee and me agree that
Gods the one we truly trust
Who always knows what’s best for us so now you see
McGee and Me!
I earned the bonus points on these too! Great Reminders!
I grew up in a Baptist church and totally grew up with all of these, too! Good memories. I’m also thinking about Keys for Kids, Steve Greens Hide ‘Em in Your Heart tapes, church roller skating nights, my subscrition to CCM :), and the Mandie and Christy Miller series in books. 🙂
As a mom, who has kids that can relate to your entire list… I’m thinking those things actually did what we prayed they would. They opened kids hearts to the Lord…kids who are parents now, and who are in the process of raising the next generation to have hearts open to the Lord! Give them strength, courage, and at least ‘twenty signs’ to help them encourage their kids in a strong and living faith!
If you know Psalty, you should know Charity Churchmouse! My two main tapes were about Charity and Minerva Mosquito and Psalty and the purple praise pipe organ. They still come to mind every now and then. That and Carmen’s voice going “Lazarus…Jesus? Lazarus! Hey, Jesus? LAZARUS!!” Did anyone attend a youth group conference where the game was “who will swallow a live goldfish?” Ugh.
I did. I swallowed one. Remember it to this day (I am 39). Since they had so many willing to do it, they increased points for kids who would chew it first…
Oh man, I got 18 out of 20, plus a few (all) bonuses…. And I also belted out Go West Young Man and Shout to The Lord…. No vest of little red shirt for me though. Gotta love church potluck a, my mom makes the best mac and cheese.
Hahahaha! Totally! I was sword drill champion! Loved roller skate nights at the church. We did Psalty musicals 2 years in a row. I lost count of how many “share your faith” bracelets I had. Had a Precious Moments Bible with a flowery case, too! Youth choir, Petra – my kids enjoy the song “We are Strangers, we are aliens, we are not of this world.”
Did anyone mention Steve Green’s “Hide Them in Your Heart”? “Rich Mullins”, and “Adventures in Odyssey”??
I loved adventures in Oddessy!(:
LOVE! Thanks so much for the list! 🙂
I can’t recall anything at all about #18. At camp, we played flag football – does that count?
I haven’t read ALL the comments, but here are what I also remembered:
Dottie Rambo (down by the creekbank), “Our God is an Awesome God,” puppets, Uncle Charlie, Mrs. G, The Gospel Bill Show, Music Machine (I’m always singing the ‘Have Patience’ song to my boys!), Jot! Patch the Pirate! Psalty’s lesser-known cousin Colby’s Clubhouse! Quigley’s Village!
What was the name of that gameshow, where they had a guy who reminded me of the voice of Uncle Charlie, then they an artist, a silly old guy with a scratchy voice…oh what was that called??
And just so everyone who has always loved Carman is aware, he is fighting cancer right now, and I know he would covet your prayers. Here’s his facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/CarmanLicciardello
Down by the creek bank! Ahhh!
“The B-I-B-L-E yes that’s the book for me I stand alone on the Word of God the B-I-B-L-E”
That is the first bit of sign language I ever learned, now I am going to take classes at college next year as well as teaching myself songs in ASL to possibly be a translator. I will NEVER forget that fond memory <3
You’re forgetting Acquire the Fire and Spirit West Coast (at least for those of us on the West Coast).
I LOVED ACQUIRE THE FIRE! The first conference I went to led to me going on a Global Expedition the next summer!
Hooray for Acquire the Fire! I was an intern for 2 years at Teen Mania and got to work at lots of ATF’s! I love hearing about people whose lives were impacted by them.
And Spirit West Coast . . . I’ll admit this is where I linked arms with my BFF at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert and teared up singing “Friends are Friends Forever.” BAHAHAHA!
Front Page of the San Diego Union Tribune For Billy Graham Crusade 2003!! Oh Yeah!!!
Thank you for bringing a little humor to my week. This is hilarious and I had that Awana shirt! I even got to be in the “Olympics.” I did not have the Precious Moments Bible, but I did have some figurines. And don’t get me started on flannelgraphs! Wow. Great post. P.S. Did you ever hear “People in a Box” by Farrel & Farrel?
Wow – I hadn’t thought of Farrell and Farrell in ages. I must have had four or five of their cassettes in the mid-80’s.
I people in a box! My dad and 2 sisters and I did a skit to this dance in the early 90s! It involved cutting cardboard boxes to look like TVA and putting them on our heads….
You should get bonus points if you grew up and then became a counselor at said summer youth camp!
I remember all of these and does anyone remember Fire By Night with Blaine Bartell?
Oh yeah- and when we were younger we had Gospel Bill!!
I was born in the 90s and I still got most of those! I really enjoyed this list! Thank you 🙂
Dr James Dobson anyone? My mom talked about what e said so much in our home that I thought he was our pediatrician long into adolescence. And anyone for some Adventures in Oddysey?
Haha! My mom referenced Dobson constantly while I was growing up! He was such an instrumental and consistent part of my childhood that 5 years ago when I saw him doing one of his last radio shows at Focus on the Family I literally teared up. It was liking seeing a long lost family more for the first time!
Love this list. I can related to pretty much all of – including all the comments!
YES!!! Adventures in Oddysey, still listen to it with my kids!
you know what’s really funny? I grew in Trinidad and Tobago, a two island state in the Caribbean, very close to Venezuela. Yet I was able to identify with almost every single item on this list, and most of the bonus points too 🙂
Veggie Tales seems to be missing… and Sugar Creek Gang, anyone? 🙂
How about “The Listening Post” and “Forest Fables”?
How about Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth in Christ, and “put Your Hand in the Man” t-shirts?!! (okay, I’m showing my age!). During the ’70’s we had Christian Coffee Shops with parachutes on the ceiling, Russian tea, whiskey barrell tables and open mikes of guitar players and folk singers melodious singing “If I had a Hammer.”. Those were the Jesus Movement Days
Extra bonus points if you knew that DC Talk’s version of “In the Light” was a cover and who the origional recording artist/author was.
Charlie Peacock? That name popped into my head… I liked both versions, but prefer DC Talk’s. 🙂
I was born in the late 80’s and grew up in an AG church from the 90’s-early 00’s. I can relate to all of these, except instead of a gray shirt, it was my Missionettes sash with all my badges sewn on it. I also worked at 2 Christian camps so I have taught some of those campfire songs and the “Arky Arky” song to them. Thanks for posting, I enjoyed taking a stroll down memory lane.
We are Missionettes for Jesus
Arm in arm we stand
Together as one
We are Missionettes for Jesus
Living now in purity
Walking in truth and love
I’m in college now and I still know that song by heart. Ringing any bells?
I myself grew up an AG kid. I had the teal misssonette sash & even became an honor star. What an awesome blast from the past!!!
Am I the only one who remembers the play “Heavens Gates/Hells Flames”???
We did that play 3 times at my Baptist church! I was a different character each time. Good times.
I *know* I am not the only one who went to Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts with Bill Gothard!
You poor thing. Hope you’ve healed and grown from that mess.
Oh my… And ATIA. Went to the basic and advanced seminars. We had the Character Sketches books and instrumental hymn tapes too.
Great list and comments. I had almost forgotten some of these things.
Did anyone else memorize the books of the Bible with a song?
Rhythm instruments. Christmas plays with bedsheet curtains. The Gaither’s I Am A Promise (we had the record and loved to change the turntable speed so they sounded like chipmunks- drove my mom crazy).
Went to Christian School too – A.C.E. anyone? 😀
Royal Rangers & Missionettes.
Carmen’s Satan, Bite The Dust!
Amy Grant. “If we all pull together, together, together, if we all pull together how happy we’ll be.”
“We will roll the ol’ chariot along…”
i have not seen anyone mention GA’s, ACTEENS, or RA’s.
I was in ACTEENS too! I also identified with all 20 and all the bonus points! You should give bonus bonus points if anyone got their Cotation Award in AWANA…which I did…to toot my own horn!
Down by the creekbank.
As a 5th grader, our girls Sunday School class did James Dobson’s Preparing for Adolescence. My Christian school did Colby and Psalty musicals and I can still remember the songs! How about the song with multiple verses including… “oh you can’t get to heaven, in a limousine.” Did anybody sing “it only takes a spark to get a fire going…” I grew up listening to Uncle Charlie’s Bible Hour on Saturday mornings and went to tons of Child Evangelism Fellowship Bible clubs. We also had a huge collection of Arch Bible story books at home. I’m so thankful for newly saved parents who did their best to point me to Christ even though they were new in their own Christian walk. Now I’m passing it on to my three kids.
Oh wow! I had forgotten about that song – “Oh you can’t get to heaven!” Classic….and now in my head! =)
What about knowing all the motions to song “Lord I lift your name on high” or “Lord’s Army” –> Yes, Sir!!!
Also youth trips in Church vans, show Flying house, red light/green light and heads up seven up.
anyone play underground church??
Veggie Tales….scavenger hunts…Kirk Franklin…F.R..O.G ~Fully Rely On God..dancing to the lawn mower song at camp…hay rides singing praise songs at the top of your lungs
Even before Pitch Perfect’s “Cups” song came out as the “cool thing” to do, we were doing it back in the day to Newsboys “Shine”. My youth kids think that is awesome! LOL
I can relate to 90% of the list and comments. Such great memories. Wanted to add “Father Abraham” had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord. Right arm, left arm, right foot……..
Swords up!!! Lol. Every time. Love DC talk…. ya know He’s doin it!!
Can’t get this perms grin to go away.
Thanks so much for sharing.
LOL I actually found a couple of McGee and Me DVD’s at a thrift store recently and bought them for nostalgia! They were my favorite as a kid! That and the audio series Adventures in Odyssey! I had to have every one! 🙂
1. I still have my Psalty tapes
2. I loved Sword drills
3. I still have my WWJD bracelets.
4. So many lock-ins
5. I didn’t have Precious Moments Bible, but I wanted one and I bought one for niece and nephew when they were little.
6. I still have and use a Bible cover. Mine were never as cute as the one pictured.
7. I loved Super book and I still watch McGee and Me sometimes when they are on my local Christian station.
9. I still have and listen to some of these C.D. and I still like all these groups.
11./12. yes and yes DUH!
13. Ok Jesus’s sash was a dark red (to represent his shed blood) in my world, not blue.
14. We didn’t do/go to a lot of potlucks as a kid.
15. I remeber my mom making us ‘wordless books’ and I had my Homeschool art kids make the bracelets.
16. I am the person with the framed Footprints poem.
17. B4 there was Powerpoint…Flannelgraphs. Let’s hear it for visual aids.
18. I thought all teens did this not just Christian ones. Some of these we did in Gym class at my secular high School.
19. Went and led. As long as it was student led prayer the administration couldn’t object. It was really great to see how many teachers came. No duck duck goose players thankfully.
20. We sang this song at least once a week in middle school music class. I vaguely remeber hand motions but I didn’t know them. Some of my classmates did. I went to a Christian school until 8th grade.
They have re-done Superbook and have included the classic versions http://us-en.superbook.cbn.com/
I just relived my childhood reading this article. I was sure there was going to be one thing on the list that didn’t apply, but you nailed it. You can add Jesus Northwest if you were from the Pacific Northwest or Creation if in the Midwest. I can’t remember the year exactly, but Jesus Northwest (’90 or ’91) with DC Talk (Free at Last release), Newsboys (Shine release), Stephen Curtis Chapman (Heaven in the Real World release) and Michael W. Smith (Go West Young Man release) all in a 3 day span (not the releases).
the 21st sign is that you have turned into an avid atheist. I mean, what reason other than these 20 do you need to notice how ridiculous this all is?
Hallelujah night instead of Halloween because Halloween was a holiday of devil worship.
Donnie Moore, anybody? Phone book ripping, brick breaking, gospel preaching!
Right there with you, Lyndsay!! 🙂
25 yrs old. Raised radical Pentecostal, but visited so many different denominations. Dad was our Youth Pastor.
Don’t forget Super Slope and “Baby Shark! Do-do-do-do!”. Or the Resurrection and Books of the Bible raps.
And what about Heavens Gates and Hells Flames.
There are so many more to name…
Dang auto-correct. Lol.