Month: June 2007

The day my life changed forever…

I’ve been a children’s pastor now for over 11 years, 7 of those full time. Yeah, I was only 18 when I started pastoring 8 kids in a back building in Jenks, Oklahoma. It didn’t take me long to realize two very important points. Yes I had an opportunity to make a significant impact on the life of a child spiritually. Making a significant impact is going to be a lot harder than I would like it to be. Personally, I am who I am today largely as the result of a children’s pastor who made a significant impact on my life. I have a great family and even attended a Christian school when younger, but it was my children’s pastor who shook me spiritually. But I know that there were many other kids just like me, sitting right next to me who didn’t end up like me. I can’t testify to anyone’s spiritual condition, but all I know is what happened to me and the few people I still keep up with. However, I quickly learned that my opportunity to make a significant spiritual impact on my kids was a lot smaller than I expected it… or wanted it to be. For the kids who attended every week, that was 4 hours a month. Those that came on Wednesday nights too, that was 8 hours a month. But in...

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New birth… literally!

It may be quite around here on the Children’s Ministry Online Blog. My wife and I are in the hospital right now… looks like we may be having our first baby tonight. Tomorrow is his due date, so I can’t complain about his timing. We’re so excited. Keep us in your prayers and I’ll post again when we have a son!  Kenny I tagged this comment in the category “Productivity.” I figured that would be...

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What’s your VBS philosophy?

My post last week on reinventing VBS was quite popular with a handful of comments. It does sound as if those in the blogosphere are or have reinvented thier VBS… or ditched it all together. Now, I know that many of you would agree that the methods of VBS is a little “old school.” If’ you’re reading this blog, chances are good that you’ve moved beyond flannel boards in Sunday school. So, my posting an inquery on a blog about reinventing VBS probably doesn’t reach every demographic. But, it was good to hear what you guys are doing as well as churches in your area. It seems a common thread among rants about VBS (including some I’ve heard from staff at my church) is something like this: “Why would we invest the time and the money into something that is little more than baby sitting for our kids and the kids of our neighbor churches?” Absolutely true. I know that this is the main reason why most churches ditch VBS and a major concern the leadership at my church had about my desire to run a “VBS type” program. Ultimately, it all comes down to your VBS philosophy. If you don’t have one, then you’ll probably be baby sitting your kids this summer. Maybe philosophy isn’t the best word… let’s use intention. What is your intention for VBS. Some design VBS...

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My Mid-Week ambitions

Recently I’ve posted in in various forms/blogs about my Wednesday night experiences. I created an elective based program in my early years of ministry… which it just about killed this idealist. Several years later (and hopefully a little smarter) I began creating a new small group curriculum. I just finished my first year (of three) which includes separate material for K-2nd grade as well as 3rd-5th grade. It’s written specifically to cover the basics of our Christian faith as well as link kids in small groups. We’ve had great success with this program over the past year and have actually had to maintain a waiting list. I’ll write more about how third curriculum was developed and what it will cover these next two years in a future post. I spent several hours tonight gathering all the materials I still had that went along with the elective based program and have posted them here. Hopefully there is something here that might help someone who is developing something like this. No need to reinvent the wheel here; however, I know how your minds work… why do you think I’m writing my own! Ha! Also attached to this page are the leader guides for both the K-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade Spring 2007 Small Groups for Kids Books. Feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. I’ve...

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Reinventing VBS

Are these isolated occurrences or the beginning of a new trend? Several years ago, leading churches like Fellowship Church and Saddleback church ditched VBS as we knew it. Their replacements? Shiney new events like Adventure Week and Summer Spectacular! They’re still pretty much VBS, just with a fresh and new approach. I’m curious. Are there many others in your area doing this? We did. For many years I used LifeWay’s VBS curriculum as I loved the great themes. Then one year there was a theme where I wasn’t wild about the name… so I tweaked it. Now we still used the theme, curriculum and everything else, we just had a slightly different name. It helped a little since down our road it seemed that every church was doing the same theme, our stuck out a little more. I did this for a few years until I relocated. At my new church I was feeling brave, so I decided to ditch the name VBS. I know, this may be your church’s “sacred cow.” I think my grandma did VBS… she’d be horrified to know that I wasn’t doing it. Actually, there are definite pros and cons to changing the name. The pros are that many people in your community know VBS, they understand it and it takes nothing to explain what it is. It’s an iconic event that nearly promotes itself. However,...

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Web Tools (Part 3):

Just a quick followup on the posts I did last week titled “Web Tools (Part One and Part Two). I got some feedback to readers and I thought I would post links to a few websites of our contemporaries who are really hitting it out of the park in this respect. Some are just a really great design and layout, some have fresh (ever-changing content) and some have great tools to respond to the Children’s Ministry. Here’s a list in no particular order: Take Two Ministries Fl!p Kids Granger Fellowship Feel free to add others, these were just a few that I come across on a regular basis. I’m not even putting my church on there… we aren’t there yet (but will be soon). Adding a blog to our front page and adding an entry portal (ctkids.tv) which will make it easy for people to get to “anything kids” on any campus very...

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Phil Joel: A “Boom-Chaka-Laka” Rockin Good Time!

I found out about Phil Joel’s new CD, “DeliberateKids” from someone last night… I just can’t remember who. I finally sat down and listened to the samples on the website! Subsequently I went to itunes and bought a copy. I haven’t listened to it enough yet to decide what age group will get the most out of it. I think there are a few songs that the 3-5th graders will like, but definitely some K-2nd grader songs. Okay, here’s the bottom line. I really like Phil Joel. He’s truly a professional and has been for many years both as a solo artist and as part of the Newsboys. He’s definitely taken his gifts and talents and created an album for the kids. Could you imagine if more mainstream artists did this… like SuperChic, Toby Mac, Reliant K and others (okay, some of these did Veggie Rocks… which was very fun). Anyway, the songs are great, the quality is great; I totally recommend a copy for your ministry. As a bonus, this guy is really serious about his audiences’ faith. Newsboys promoted “big time” the purple book, which I think they gave out free copies at their concerts (it was a great discipleship tool). Phil Joel talks about his passion to help people develop their faith in videos on this DeliberatePeople website. He’s so serious about people having daily time...

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Ikea: One little word, One HUGE contradiction (In Texas at least)!

I went to Ikea yesterday. Since my church office flooded last month, a lot of our furniture needed to be replaced. My office is not big enough for the desk, credenza and bookshelf setup if I want to have a place to meet with people as well. So, I decided to follow the Cross Timbers’ way and set up my office like a living room. I figured Ikea was the best place to find furniture that would work with my limited space. What a cool strore. This was my second time to visit Ikea. They have three here in Texas. One in Frisco (north of Dallas) and one in Round Rock (near Austin) and one in Houston. I noticed something interesting the first time I visited the store, but it really got me laughing this time. The trademark of Ikea is that they sell stylish and inexpensive furniture to maximize space. If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ll notice that city living means cramped living. It’s very fun to sit in the display environments at Ikea and imagine what it would be like to live in 250 square feet. On our first visit, my wife and I sat in that display and evaluated whether we would have to get rid of Francie (our 65 pound chocolate lab). What cracks me up about Ikea is that Texas is the last...

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