I’ve recently come across two killer apps that I absolutely LOVE. I’ll share the first one with you today and the other one tomorrow. The first one is Simplify Media. It adds great new functionality to your iTunes. Unless you have multiple computers at home running iTunes or you work in an office setting where you would be with many other users who may have iTunes running, you may have noticed that you can see other people’s iTunes library. In the preferences, you can set up music sharing for yourself and tell your iTunes to look for others as well. You can also tell iTunes what folders you are willing to share. (Unfortunately, you cannot listen to someone’s music if they bought it from iTunes, thanks to DRM. However, if they put the music on their computer by ripping it off a CD, happened to buy non-DRM music or if they have actually activated your computer to listen to their music… by entering their user name and password… then you can enjoy their music) The downside has been the iTunes only lets you share music over a local network. We use VPN all the time at Cross Timbers. I can be home and VPN connect to the office and to everyone else in the office, I appear to be in the office as well. All our campus sites are...Read More
I religiously listen to the daily Podcast Buzz Out Loud (from CNET). It’s a fun and informative Podcast on anything technical. I’ve been listening for over a year now and it’s usually my source for new information for things on the web, market and and everything else. So, I just heard in my Podcast yesterday of a brand new term (keep in mind that I’m currently a week behind in my Podcasts, so this information is not “breaking news”) coming to the technology world and may soon infiltrate the life of everyone who has an email address. The word? Bacn.Ã‚Â Bacn is the word being used to describe the email that fills our inboxes that isn’t spam, but also isn’t email from people. Your daily email from your favorite website, your electronic bills, your notifications from myspace or facebook, your alerts and everything that broadly fits into this category. This is Bacn. It’s better than spam. The spelling is a nod to web 2.0 influence and the name is in reference to spam. Ultimately, it may soon be a term you use on a regular basis. So, remember where you heard it first… bacn. Now I’m a little hungry. A story on bacn Ground Zero for...Read More
I can’t believe how hard it has been to get back into this. I really felt the Lord leading me to start blogging back in the Spring and have had so much fun doing it. Then when the summer hit with a packed out schedule and a new baby to arrive… I fell of the face of the blogging earth! For the past several weeks I’ve had thoughts and ideas pop into my head and I’d say, “Hmm, I should blog that.” However, getting back into the routine has been so hard. My wonderful wife really encouraged me last week to make a greater effort to jump back in, so here I am. I have a few starter posts that I plan to post today and tomorrow, just to get the juices flowing again. I also hope to play a little catch up. This summer has been absolutely amazing. We had an amazing Venture Quest with a record number of kids, SURGE (our mission trip to Mexico) was mind-blowing and Camp X-Treme (our camp for 3-5th graders) was unreal. I hope to share these experiences with the blogosphere, especially since I was sharing a lot about this before it happened and then dropped it completely. I also experienced some unique challenges this summer that I’d like to share to get feedback and possibly encourage others who might face the...Read More
Well, I’m going to be easing back into blogging regularly. In many ways I’m dissapointed that I haven’t been able to keep up the blog… even if it was just once a week. However, it has been a busy summer (it’s not over yet either) and I had a son only 5 weeks ago. So, I don’t feel so bad about taking 5 weeks off. In actuality, I’ve been keeping up my family blog as well as a new blog on our church website for parents, it’s just been this blog that I’ve neglected. So, I’ve got many posts coming soon. We had our best Venture Quest ever, I just got back from our first kid’s missions trip (phenominal) and I’m about 10 days away from summer camp. I’ll recap each of our summer events as well as some others I’ve been saving up. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the...Read More
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 pastoringÃ‚Â 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...Read More
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! Ã‚Â Kenny I tagged this comment in the category “Productivity.” I figured that would be...Read More
My post last week on reinventing VBS was quite popular with a handful of comments. It doesÃ‚Â 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. SomeÃ‚Â design VBS...Read More
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...Read More
AreÃ‚Â 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.Ã‚Â 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,...Read More
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...Read More
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