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Archive - March, 2010

Beware the Bait and Switch

(image taken from ABSO Jesus)

How many times are we guilty of this? Why do we do the things we do in church? Are we being “ineffective” if we don’t explicitly invite people to church or explicitly tell them about Jesus?

I’m not saying that you are wrong if you have some sort of presentation at events. What I am saying is that if you do, then be clear that you are doing that. Sometimes we inadvertently trick people into listening to an invitation, devotional or mini-sermon. If that is one of the goals of your event, please be explicit about it, otherwise you might just come off as pulling off that bait and switch.

On a personal not, I think it is OK to have events that are simply about building relationships and having fun with no invitation or mini-sermon or call to salvation. Jonathan Cliff contributes a chapter in Collaborate about this issue. If you haven’t already pre-ordered Collaborate, what are you waiting for? The book is officially release on April 26th.


Video Review: “What’s In the Bible” Volumes 1 and 2 by Phil Vischer

Phil Vischer, the man who taught children biblical truths using bouncing vegetables, has partnered with Tyndale House on an ambitious project to cover the entire Bible in a 13-volume series called “What’s in the Bible.” Take a look at the video below to hear a Vischer’s passion behind this video series.

The first two volumes, In The Beginning and Let My People Go, are currently available. They cover the first two books of the Bible: Genesis and Exodus. In addition to highlighting these books of the Bible, such topics as who wrote the Bible, where did it come from and the differences between the Protestant, Catholic, and Greek Orthodox bibles.

If you’ve checked out Visher’s newest media project, Jelly Telly, then you will be familiar with the cast of characters in What’s in the Bible. If you haven’t, you are in for a treat. While the characters are puppets rather than animated, these are puppets brought to life by the creative voices of Phil Vischer! Even the Grade 6 boys who are too cool to do the actions to the songs and like to make farting noises in the middle of those serious moments at church liked these puppets. My favorite puppet is Michael who is a Kindergartener who loves to give commentary while riding in the backseat of his family’s mini-van. While not a part of WITB, check out Michael’s 10 Best Films of All-Time!

I think these videos belong on every family’s and church’s shelves. They are a great way for children (and adults) to bulk up on their biblical literacy. While there is a lot packed into these hour-long videos, they aren’t meant to teach you everything in one sitting. These enjoyable videos are sure to be watched over and over again, and children will learn something new each time they watch it. Younger children will enjoy the characters and learn many of the Bible stories while older children will gain a greater appreciation of what the Bible is and why it’s such an influential book.

If the videos aren’t enough, Tyndale announced the arrival of companion curriculum to WITB! Check out the announcement on the WITB blog.

Well, what are you waiting for? You can order the first two volumes from Christianbook.com or pick them up at a local Christian bookstore. To get two lucky readers of Elemental Children’s Ministry started on their WITB collection, I am giving away two gift certificates compliments of Tyndale House. One is for “Volume 1: In the Beginning” and one is for “Volume 2: Let My People Go.” In order to be entered into the drawing simply follow me on Twitter and tweet the following:

@henryjz is giving away 2 free copies of What’s In The Bible over at #ElementalCM http://bit.ly/d1wCCQ #kidmin #witb #kidology #cmconnect

or if you don’t have a Twitter acccount (get one! they’re free) or leave a comment with your favorite VeggieTales quote. In the meantime, you can download some coloring pages featuring some of the characters in What’s in the Bible.

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of Vols. 1 and 2 or What’s in the Bible from the generous people at Tyndale House Publishing. This, in no way, positively or negatively skewed my review. I also received 2 certificates for a free copy of WITB to give away on my blog.

Looking For A Job? Mine’s Up For Grabs!

For those of you who might have missed it, our family will be making a huge move at the end of June. You can read about it here.

To make a long story short, we are taking a huge step of faith and moving to Northern California. We plan on moving to the SF East Bay area. We’re not all sure what God is up to, but we do know that he is calling us to move. Read the whole story.

With me leaving Redwood, that means there is a position here for a new Pastor of Children’s and Family Ministries. You can take a look at the posting on our website if you are interested.

If you’re looking for your typical evangelical church with a position where you can settle in and coast, then Redwood is definitely not the place for you.

If you are adventurous, independent and wanting to be in a missional atmosphere where you will be dealing with many families who have no prior evangelical background, then Redwood is ideal. Strong administrative skills as well as a passion to build volunteer leadership teams is also a major plus as Redwood is aiming to double from approximately 850 attendees weekly to 1700. You would be working with a great staff team in an atmosphere where you can grow as a leader.

If you or someone you know would fit the bill, then check out the position. If you have any questions about Redwood or the ministry position, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.


Family Readings for Holy Week

A huge HT (hat tip) to Jared Kennedy for this resource for families!

The resource is called Let Your Kingdom Come: Preparing Your Hears for the King by Carri Garvey. It is a devotional guide for families to do during Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday. There are daily readings and reflections as well as using the idea of the Advent Wreath and putting a little twist on it so that it becomes a Lenten Wreath. In addition to the readings, there are some suggestions on how you can learn and reflect as a family during all of Holy Week.

Jared found this resource from another site called Passionate Homemaking.

I’m definitely going to try this with my family as well as offering the resource to the families at our church.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the guide is FREE! Yes! So go ahead and download it and tell parents you know about it!


Run Forrest! Run!

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Ben Sutherland)

I was not born with inherent time management skills. My wife, on the other hand, gets more done in a couple of hours than I think any normal human being can get done in 48 hours.

I already know what some of you are thinking: Time management is something you can learn. It only takes discipline. It’s not so much time management as it is time stewardship. If you were to only read this book or follow these easy steps…

I’ve done all of that. I’ve read the books, I’ve tried the strategies, I’ve downloaded the programs… Most of the time I still feel like I’m continually running.

Lest you either feel sorry for me or want to give me a quick boot in the rear, let me say that I have come to a conclusion of my own: I don’t have to be ultra efficient. I wasn’t meant to be.

This morning I read a post by Don Miller that sums it up more beautifully than I could. Hop on over to his blog and read the post. It’s entitled “If It Were’nt For God You’d Be More Efficient.” It’s short! Here’s a clip from it:

We buy billions of dollars in books that help us be more efficient, we praise the profit margin, and all the while, God is trying to slow us down, trying to remind us of what matters and what doesn’t, trying to stop our human progress, stop our creation of false Gods.

I’m not saying time management is bad. But being the perfect time manager is not the ultimate goal. Yes, we need to steward our time wisely, but we don’t always have to get more done.

What are ways that you’ve built into your life to allow the Holy Spirit to jump in and interrupt your efficiency?


March Madness Hits Kidmin Blogs!


Tony Kummer of Ministry-to-Children.com has started a fun competition a la NCAA Basketball’s March Madness. He’s taken 64 children’s ministry blogs and put them into four divisions based on geographical location, and has asked people to vote for the top four in each division.

I’m not so sure about his geographical designations because both Canada and Australia are mysteriously annexed into the US. Elemental Children’s Ministry (which is my blog and should be voted for because I have a degree in Chemistry and Biology… that should count for something shouldn’t it?) currently based in Canada was put into the Midwest Division, and David Wakerly and Rob Bradbury ended up in the West Division. I think Tony is secretly trying to have the US take over the world…

All kidding aside, you really should check it out. There are some blogs there that I hadn’t heard of before and now am following! If you don’t feel right about voting, you don’t have to (but you can alway vote for mine… I won’t tell).

Thanks to Tony for putting this fun post up as a way of letting us know about some other blogs that some of us may have never heard about otherwise!


Winner of Formational Children’s Ministry Book!

I almost forgot about announcing the winner of a copy of Formational Children’s Ministry!

And the winner is… after assigning numbers to each of the entries and going on Random.org for a random number… is….

Stephanie Boyles! She entered via Twitter. I’ll be sending Stephanie a direct message via Twitter to get her info and send her book along! Congrats!


Kids, Social Justice and Glenn Beck

Yesterday, I came across this tweet from Larry Shallenberger:

I’m allergic to political commentators. It doesn’t matter if they’re conservative or liberal, I break out in a rash and begin to go into analpylactic shock with my airway closing up. So, I had no idea who this Glenn Beck person was whom Larry was talking about, and I didn’t bother checking. Over the next few hours, my Bloglines became populated with posts about Glenn Beck. When I read the posts, I got that itchy feeling and couldn’t breathe well…

In all seriousness, if you don’t know who Glenn Beck is, here is the Wikipedia page on him. In short, he’s a conservative political commentator with a show on Fox News.

You can listen to what he said on his radio show. Here is a transcript of what he said that is causing all the fuss:

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

You can see similar comments where he links social justice to Communism and Nazis in the video below. (Apparently, Beck doesn’t care or know about Godwin’s Law.)

I don’t have anything else to add to what has already been said by people like Scot McKnight, Eugene Cho and Bob Robinson. What I wanted to do here on Elemental Children’s Ministry was throw out Beck’s comments and get your reactions. You have to admit that helping children love God and love others by reaching out to the under resourced, marginalized and outcast has gained momentum, which I think is a good thing. Do you agree? Disagree? What do you have to say about Beck’s comments? Don’t be shy!


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