Archive for February, 2009

I want to be a ninja

Posted on 28. Feb, 2009 by .

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ninjaI’ve been following a lot of people on twitter lately. I do follow people intentionally. I read profiles and decide whether to follow. Sometimes I’ll sit down and follow 100 or more people in one sitting. Yeah, it’s a lot of profiles to read in a sitting.

However, I noticed that many people are taking on the title of “ninja.” Like, “I’m a blogging ninja. Or they’ll just claim the title of ninja. I think it was funny the first few times I read it, but now I’m finding that there are a lot of ninjas out there. That’s not nearly as cool as I thought it was. Unfortunately, I really want to be a ninja. Come on, what guy doesn’t?

So, that brings me to a couple of questions. Can one really claim the title of ninja? I really don’t think so. Just becasue you think you’re really good at something doesn’t mean you can just claim the title. I think I’m a pretty good leader and I have a lot of good ideas, but I’m not going to claim the title of “president.” I think there are a lot fewer ninjas and a lot more ninja wannabees. Personally, I feel that someone has to observe you in your awesomeness and say something like, “Dude, I watched you mow that lawn and you’re like a mowing ninja.” Then I think you get to claim the title of “mowing ninja.” If I read your profile and you claim the title ninja, I expect to see some throwing starts and some kick-butt roundhouse kicks.

So, like I said, I’d really like to be a ninja. I don’t really care what kind of ninja… any kind will be fine. Is there anyone out there that would like to nominate me for a ninja title?… Read the rest

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Persepctive

Posted on 27. Feb, 2009 by .

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I ran across this video several months ago and someone sent it to me again this week. So funny, but so true. We all lose sight sometimes! Enjoy.

Watch more SpikedHumor videos on AOL Video

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Intentional Theology: Scope and Sequence

Posted on 26. Feb, 2009 by .

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This week I wrote a couple of posts about doctrine and theology in children’s ministry. Honestly, I think these posts generated the most interesting discussions and interaction I’ve had here at chidlren’s ministry online. So, if you participated in the discussion, thanks for adding value. For those of you who just read, I hope it sparked some thoughts. Feel free to continue to add to the conversation.

If I had to wrap up this idea, I think I’d say that thoughts on doctrine and theology are somewhat divided. I didn’t hear anyone say they weren’t important, but some were concerned about implementation. I think that is key. If it’s this race to fill a child’s head with knowledge, then that’s not success. It’s like knowledge without life. Think of the pharisees for Chirst’s time. They knew the Law better than anyone, but their hearts haden’t been transformed. There is a very high value on life transformation. Personally I believe that these two walk hand in hand, one without the other is dangerous.

If anything, I feel that some of our churches and ministries today are not as intentional about the theology and doctrine part… but focusing primarily on life transformation. Yes, doctrine is in our curriculum, but are we relying too much on our curriculum to tell us what we need to teach our kids? Do we have an intentional plan of teaching our kids theological concepts from birth to college? To be honest, many curriculum publishers do put thougth into this and plan this into their scope and sequence. However, I know Children’s Pastors. I’ve been one for 11 years. Most of us don’t stick with any one curriculum for more than a few years. Something new comes along, so we switch or even some of us write curriculum ourselves (that’s fodder for another post).… Read the rest

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I’ve got an orange on my head!

Posted on 26. Feb, 2009 by .

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kennyorange You’re probably asking, “now, why do you have an Orange on your head?”

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time or if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the Orange Philosophy of ministry. I started learning about Orange a year ago and everything culminated when I attended the Orange Conference. When it comes to ministry, it’s changed the way I think about everything.

So, that didn’t really answer the question. Yes, I love the ReThink Group, their curriculum and resources. I’m very excited to attend the Orange Conference again in a months. However, I believe in what they’re doing and I want to spread the word. If you’re an Orange newbie, you owe it to yourself to learn more about Orange. Search “Orange” on this blog and you’ll find dozens of posts about Orange, resources and my notes from the conference. If you’re on Twitter, you should follow the Orange Conference. They’re pumping out all kind of information and hype about what is coming.

Actually, the Orange Conference is trying to build it’s followers base. In the next week, they want to have 1000 followers. If they can do that, they’re going to run a 1 day $50 off sale to Orange. That’s free money in your pocket! So, go here and follow the Orange Conference. Not on twitter? Go here and sign up. Then go here and follow the Orange Conference.

So, I’ve put an orange on my head on my twitter account and have an obnoxious background coverered in oranges. Check it out here. When the Orange Conference amasses 1000+ followers, I’ll take this silly orange off my face… maybe.… Read the rest

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Intentional theology

Posted on 24. Feb, 2009 by .

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I feel like I’m opening a can of worms here. Some good discussion has taken place around my last post, but I feel the need to unpack this a little more.

I guess I want to talk more about our intentionality concerning theology. There’s no doubt, we’re teaching theology every week. It’s in our curriculum. However, how often are we just teaching it when it comes up as opposed to having a plan and purpose for teaching good theology.

This has been something I know a lot of Chidlren’s Pastors have discussed, especially if you’ve come from an education background. In school, 4th graders don’t move to the 5th grade until they’ve mastered a set of standards. It’s universal, so when a child moves from Texas to Utah, a 5th grader should know what a 5th grader should know. I know, there are inherent issues with standards, but generally it’s working.

Where is this kind of stuff in the church? We’re not a government funded or regulated entity (thank Jesus), but where is this happening even in our own local churches? What “standards” do you want every 5th grader to know/believe before moving on the Middle School? What “standards” do you want every 5 year old to know before they move into elementary? It will never be perfect, but where is the intentionality?

I’ll be really frank… and I’m pointing a finger to myself as well. Our teenagers are walking away from the faith at an alarming rate. Many of these are the same teenagers that grew up in our Children’s Ministries. Yes, I know there are so many elements that may lead to this such as family, community and influences, but how could laying a foundation of solid doctrine or theology help? Am I just grasping at straws? I just see that this is really important but rarely intentional in execution.… Read the rest

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Where’s the theology?

Posted on 24. Feb, 2009 by .

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This is actually a question that’s been a burden on my heart for a long time. This article recently brought it back to the forefront of my mind. I’ve wrestled with this for close to five years. One day at church one of my volunteers brought me a book that she was using with her kids. It was Catechism. Huh? Yeah, I didn’t know what it was either. If you’re from a catholic background, you’re probably rolling your eyes.

Catechism is a painful ritual and procedure for most devout young Catholics. It’s a list of well over a hundred questions. Each question had an answer and a verse or two to support the answer. Good catholic boys and girls memorized all these answers and sometimes the verses as well. For most, it’s a lifeless ritual, a shell of religiosity.

However, when I saw this, my spirit starting doing back flips. What I saw was good and solid theology. In many ways, catechism is the basics of the faith, theology boiled down to the key components. I started asking myself, “how can in incorporate this into my ministry? How can I get this into the hearts of the kids?” I see so many kids who know a lot of the Bible stories, but they don’t have a healthy and holistic understanding of good doctrine. Yes, a relationship with Jesus is vital. However, so is good theology. When life get’s messy, understanding God’s nature will go a long way in keeping that friendship strong.

Yeah, theology is taught all through our curriculum, but it’s rarely intentional.

Is this ever a concern for you? How do you incorporate good doctrine and theology into your ministry?

By the way, catholics are not the only ones with catechism. Several denominatons have their own. Here is the Baptist Catechism from the year 1813.… Read the rest

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A little help with my categories, please…

Posted on 23. Feb, 2009 by .

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Hindsight is always 20/20. If I had know what I know now, I woudn’t have gone nuts over categoires.

The other day I read that in SEO terms, less categories are better than too many. I’ve got way too many. The secret is to use less categories and let tags better describe the actual content. I was talking to Human3rror and I suggested I try to get down ot 8 containers. Human3rror then suggested that I go for 6 even. So, we’ll see where I get. Bellow are all my categories. After looking at all of these categories, what 6-8 categories should I keep (or add)?

Administration
Design
Early Childhood
Elementary
Events
Family
Fresh Ideas
High School
Humor
Leadership
Middle School
Missions
Multi-site
Orange
Parents
Personal
Philosophy
Random
Resources
Reviews
Technology
Training
Un-categorized

Which ones should I get rid of first… or better yet, which ones should I keep?… Read the rest

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www.childrensministryonline.com is getting an overhaul

Posted on 23. Feb, 2009 by .

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I’ve been putting this of for quite a while, but it’s long overdue. I have really like my blog theme, but I feel it’s time for a new look. In addition, setting up a new template for my church blog really inspired me. So, I’ve already got the new template (yes, it is a “premium” template). However, in addition to the new look, I’m doing quite a bit of maintenance.

  1. I’m moving my blog into my root directory. In case you don’t speak geek, I’ll explain. Right now the address to my blog is www.childrensministryonline.com/blog. I always thought I might have another set of pages at the root location, www.childrensoministryonline.com. However, now days the blogs are much more flexible with static pages, so I want to use these built in stateic pages in the root directory. So, that means I’ll move the entire site down one folder. I’ve got well over 400 posts, so there are a lot of     links.
  2. SEO. Again, for you non-geek speakers, that stands for Search Engine Optimization. Turns out that even though WordPress asks for tags, post title and such, it doesn’t post this to the meta data. Do, I have a plug in where I can type these things and they are added to the sites actual meta data. This means it’s easier to find in a search engine. So, I’m going backwards and re typing comments, post titles and descriptions for all 400+ posts. It’s going to take a while, but I feel it needs to happen.
  3. Re-categorize. This summer when I was trying to “fix” my website, I wrecked havoc on categories. I’m still trying to clean them up. I have about 20 categories that are blank, yet many of my posts are in this category.

Well, all these thigns are going to take some time.… Read the rest

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Nothing quite like a fresh new template

Posted on 22. Feb, 2009 by .

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A few days ago I rebuilt my church’s Chidlren’s Minsitry blog. Boy did it need it. It was uuuuuugly!

picture-65

Now it looks like the site I intended for it to be.

Check it out here.

I spent two to three days looking for a new template, I was looking for something very specific. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of free Worpress templates out there, but I couldn’t find a single one that worked. So I decided to look into a template to purchase. Within twenty minutes, I had my new template. The lesson I’ve learned: You get what you pay for.

So, what was I looking for and how did a “premium” template solve my problems? Well, let me tell you what my issues were.

  1. First of all, I felt the site was ugly. Now I could have found another free site to improve this part, but it was a factor.
  2. Second, I needed a page menu with drop down navigation. There were very few free templates that did this. I needed a place where I could keep multiple pages of related static information in an easy to navigate orientation. It was the 3-5 phone calls and emails about child dedication I was getting a week that was driving this issue.
  3. Last of all, I needed a way to effectively communicate to two audiences through one blog feed.

So, I purchased a template that solved all of these issues.

  1. First of all, I bought a theme that is much cleaner than what I had previously. It even comes with 8 or 9 other color/design options in case I get bored.
  2. This “premium” template allows for drop down navigation for both pages and categories. This helps me keep a cleaner menu but with the options to expand as much as I need.
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Three more great new ministry sites

Posted on 21. Feb, 2009 by .

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A few days ago I wrote about two new ministry sites to the blogosphere. Apparently, there are now three more.

Now welcome the follow three sites:

www.almostexcellent.com
www.almostspecial.com
www.goodenoughfor.me

Seriously, this is some funny stuff. I’m not exactly sure where all of this came from, I’m just reporting what’s been leaked to me.

With friends like these, who needs enemies. :)Read the rest

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