Archive for March, 2009

Christian fiction recommendation

Posted on 27. Mar, 2009 by .

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Some of my favorite books of all time include the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien and Chronicles of Narnia series by Lewis. I’m a big fan of the fantasy genre.

Michael Warden is an accomplished author and happens to be on staff at Gateway. Actually he works part time at Gateway (he develops leaders and leadership material for other leaders. He is also a life coach. In addition to all of this, he’s an author of several books. One of his books just won a spot in the top ten of 2008 from the Christian Fiction Review earning it one of the “Best of 2008. It was one of only eight books to get a 10/10 review. It’s the book “Waymaker,” the second book in his series called The Pearlsong Refounding.

If you’re interested in some good reading, click on the links below to pick up your own copies of “Waymaker” or “Gideon’s Dawn.”

gideonsdawnwaymakerRead the rest

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Blog maitenance: kill me now!

Posted on 26. Mar, 2009 by .

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For the last few months I’ve been cleaning up my blog. I found some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools that are amazing, however it has required me to go back and update every post. In additon, I didn’t start tagging my posts unitl about five months ago. So, I’ve been going back and creatining tags for past blog posts. Yes, this is taking a very long time. I just updated two pages of post on my admin screen. That’s 30 separate posts. It took two hours.

I have 14 pages left, or 210 inidvidual blog posts. Yeah, about 14 more hours of cleanup. Once I’m done with this clean up, I’ll be updating my categories and moving my blog to the root directory. That shouldn’t really take very long. Once all this junk is done, I’ll relaunch with my pretty new blog theme I purchased six weeks ago. I can’t wait. Again, I’m planning to have this all done a few weeks before Orange, so I’ll keep at it.… Read the rest

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Things our grandkids will never understand

Posted on 22. Mar, 2009 by .

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I don’t even remember how I found this page. However, it made me laugh.

more_grandkids_dont_understand

Seriously, do I even need to make a connection to Children’s Ministry? If you were using a tool 5-10 years ago, are kids still identifying with it today.… Read the rest

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Unleash your blogging potential

Posted on 21. Mar, 2009 by .

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Okay, don’t laugh at me. This post was inspired from Tony Morgan’s breakout at the 2008 Unleash. Yeah, the 2008 conference. Yes the 2009 conference was last week… I’m just a little behind. No, I didn’t go, but I read Rich Butler’s notes from the breakout a year ago and I saved this as a draft and have been putting off writing this post. I’m not really sure why, but I’m glad I did.

Here are the main points:

1. Determine your primary audience.
2. Post regularly.
3. Keep your post short.
4. Don’t sell yourself.
5. Use Humor
6. Stop Attacking other people and ministries on your blog. (Hurt people, hurt people!)
7. Remember blogging isn’t private.
8. Be a thought leader.
9. Don’t listen to your critiques until you know their heart and motivation.
10. Reveal the real you.

In the last year I’ve seen the audience to this blog triple. I’m no expert at all, but I’ve seen these things work. Here’s my take on Tony’s notes:

1. Determine your primary audience. He’s right. Seth Godin talks about this a lot on his blog. Find your niche. Honestly, there aren’t that many Children’s Pastors out there blogging (more now than ever, but the market isn’t saturated).
2. Post regularly. This is a big one. I see my audience grow most when I’m posting at least 5-7 times a week. Oddly enough, I see a huge surged when I take a week or two off and then slam out 2-3 weeks of 1-2 posts a day. Although, I think the better pace to to post ahead of time and not take any breaks in blogging.
3. Keep your post short. I suck at this. My wife is a skimmer and I know there are a lot of skimmers out there.Read the rest

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When God works in spite of you

Posted on 19. Mar, 2009 by .

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I love a good plan. Strategy and tactics, they get the blood pumping. I think that careful planning brings honor to God, but sometimes he like to mess with us and work outside of our plans. If anything, he likes to keep it interesting.

This last Sunday was an exciting day. I found out only three weeks ago that we were having a baptism on April 5th. I immediately booked our only available meeting space on Sunday morning for a baptism class. Unfortunately, I only had 10 days to promote the class. By the time Sunday rolled around, we had about eight kids registered for the 9:30 class and three for the 1:00 class. Recently I modified the format of the baptism class where I allow parents to take the lead. After I spend twenty minutes clearly explaining how one chooses to follow Christ, I leave the room and let the parents review the information and if possibly, lead their children to a decision.

I discovered after the 9:30 class that one mom led two of her children to faith and another mom led her son to faith. Amazing! At the 1:00 service, a mom had me stay after and lead her two daughters to faith. It was a beautiful day. However, it would only get more interesting.

On Sunday the 252 Basics curriculum was setting up for an invitation. Basically on Sunday the verse was, “For the Wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” We clearly explained what this verse means. Then after the large group time, small group leaders further described how this verse impacted their lives as they shared their testimony of faith. Essentially, this week was setting us up for an invitation next Sunday.

Well, on Sunday night I ended up subbing in as a boys small group leader.… Read the rest

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Don’t get too attached to twitter

Posted on 18. Mar, 2009 by .

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I recenly had a conversation with someone who was frustrated that as soon as they got connected on Myspace, everyone started leaving for Facebook. To be honest, social media may not be for those who can’t handle rapid change.

I just read a fascinating article by Steve Rubel titled “Twitter is Peaking.” This guy is an authority in this kind of stuff and he offers some great insight into twitter’s life cycle. One of the things he said is

“As I have written before, no community has ever had staying power. Twitter right now is poised to fall victim to the same trend.”

I love Twitter and would hate to see it go, but serioulsy, something better is right around the corner. Are you ready to change?… Read the rest

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Child Dedicaiton: Conclusion

Posted on 18. Mar, 2009 by .

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Either I was really thorough or I beat a dead horse. I’ll let you decide, just don’t tell me. :)

So, I’ve been very specific on how we’ve morphed our Child Dedication and all of its components. What we did last week was by far the best dedication I’ve been a part of, but there is still room to tweak. So, here are things I’m considering for the dedication we’re doing in May.

  • Registration will stay the same. Parents will register online to attend the class and after the class, they’ll need to register the children. To make things easier, I’ll log a computer into Fellowship One and allow families to register their children that night.
  • I’m thinking of creating a closer connection with the pastors/leaders and the families they pray for. I’m thinking of having them come to the child dedication class and be a table leader and guide the discussion. Then at the dedication, they’ll pray over the families making the dedication much more personal. Last of all, I’d like this pastor/leader to follow-up in some way with the family 2-3 times in the months following dedication (or at least hand them off to a small group leader).
  • Since I do preregister for the Prep for Child Dedication class, I’ll assign seats and put families with similar aged kids or families who live in closer proximity to each other at the same tables.
  • For the dedication we’ll double the number of pastors/leaders to pray over their children so that the prayer time will last 15-20 minutes max instead of 30-40.
  • Rather than have all the families hang around after the prayer time, we’ll let the families go out to the lobby to have their pictures taken by one of our photographers and receive their certificate and Bible.
  • Currently we give out a cheap gift Bible and I’m not really impressed with it at all.
Read the rest

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Child Dedication: Feedback

Posted on 17. Mar, 2009 by .

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I feel the best way to grow and learn is to ask people their opinion. As much as I can, I like to build in a review process to events, classes and experiences. Since we made so many changes to the Child Dedication this time around, I really craved feedback. Below are the questions I asked:

Tell me about your Prep for Child Dedication Class experience.
What did you like? What didn’t you like?
What do I need to keep the same and what do I need to change?
Was the information in the class helpful?
Did the material inspire further questions following the class?

Tell me about the dedication experience.
What did you like?
What didn’t you like?
What do I need to keep the same and what do I need to change?
Did you feel that the experience was personable?
How did it meet or fail to meet or exceed expectations?

Tell me about the pre-dedication experience.
How did you find out that we had a dedication coming up? Was it from one of my emails or the church program/slide?
What it difficult/inconvenient to register for the class and/or dedication?

Here are some of the answers we got back:

Tell me about your Prep for Child Dedication Class experience.

What did you like? What didn’t you like?

  • I loved the table communication.
  • It was all great, I especially liked the discussion questions – I realized that my situation or upbringing is not that different. I liked the fact you had childcare as well.
  • We liked everything except the time frame.  It cut into little one’s bed times so that made it a bit hectic and antsy toward the end.
  • I really enjoyed talking to the other couples so the group discussion was really great. It’s always nice to hear other christian couples opinion on child rearing.
Read the rest

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REGISTER FOR ORANGE TODAY!

Posted on 17. Mar, 2009 by .

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Have you been thinking about registering for Orange? You might want to do so today. ReThink is offering a St. Patrick’s Day special today. 2909 people have already registered and the goal is to get to 3,000 today.

Here’s what’s happening:

If we get up to 3,000 today, then I’ll give the church that registers  person number 3,000 four free registrations to the conference AND preconference.  I’ll either refund them the cost of 4 people or give them passes for 4 additional people.  It’ll be their lucky day. :)

There is nothing people need to do to participate…I’ll be watching the numbers and if we get to that number today, then I’ll post the winner on the Orange website news feed tomorrow.  But this is only good if we hit that number today!

If only 4-leaf clovers were Orange….dang it!

So, stop procrastinating. Register today!… Read the rest

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Buzz around “End of Evangelicalism”

Posted on 16. Mar, 2009 by .

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That’s a really long word and sometimes tricky to say.

Last week this article created quite a buzz around the blogosphere. If you haven’t read it or heard about it, crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under and give it a read.

Sam Luce published a great post about it the other day.
Sam, Henry, Michael and I recorded a new podcast specifically talking about this article and it’s impact on Children’s Ministry.

Here are several other articles that were published in reaction to this information (these were provided to me by Henry Zonio):

Study results that original article was based on.
USAToday’s take on the study
Ed Stetzer Post #1
Ed Stetzer Post #2
Ed Stetzer Post #3
Article from the George Barna Group
Christianity Today Article

Just being honest here. After reading this stuff, it causes me to give more thought to the short series I wrote about doctrine a few weeks ago. One of the causes for so many leaving the faith is that they aren’t ever really getting it. I stand my by thought that intentional theology is certainly needed.… Read the rest

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