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Archive - June, 2010

The Great Zonio Moving Adventure Days 4 & 5

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by Knight Photo)

In high school and university, I swam competitively. I wish I could say that I was Olympic caliber, but I was far from it! I was OK for competitive swimming. The most nerve-wracking part of swim team was tryouts. Because I wasn’t at the top of the roster, it was never a sure thing I’d make the team. It was hard to know if I’d trained hard enough and gotten my times down enough to make the cut.

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The Great Zonio Moving Adventure Day 3


June 27, 2010 – Sunday

This is the first Sunday in 10 years where I don’t have to worry about what’s going on at church. It’s not that I didn’t like being on a church staff as a children’s pastor. I loved it. In the past couple of years, though, I’ve felt a greater passion to be a more global influence on the world of children’s ministry. I’ve loved my time working with a local church, and I still think that is important. For me, though, I had to make a choice: either devote myself more to the church I was serving in and give up much of the networking and research and writing I’ve been doing or take a leap and devote myself more to learning more about culture and theology and how it all relates to how the Church reaches out to children and families. It’s not that I had to choose which one was “better.” I had to choose where I was going to focus my passions. As we continue on this crazy move, I sometimes wonder why I’ve chosen the latter.

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The Great Zonio Moving Adventure Day 2

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Dystopos)

June 26, 2010 – Saturday

Today was our LONG day… 10 hour drive! We survived, though. Our children are awesome… and so is our dog. My arms did go numb, though, from driving the moving truck for that long.

Day 2 was the day for tears from both Erin and I.

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The Great Zonio Moving Adventure Day 1

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by _Nathan_W_)

I’ve been blown away by how many people I do not know personally who are praying for us and working their connections to help us on this next chapter of our lives. Thanks to all of you in the Elemental CM community. You are a blessing and encouragement to us as we take this crazy faith journey.

I thought I’d blog a bit about our 6 day trek from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Northern California.

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A Prayer Request

(photo uploaded to Flickr by gerlos)

For those of you who might not already know, my family is taking a huge step of faith and leaving Thunder Bay, ON for California. You can read more about that move here.

We are leaving Canada this Friday, June 25 and planning on arriving in California on June 30. We thought we had secured housing. We were simply waiting for a lease agreement to sign. This morning, I received a phone call from the landlord stating that his wife no longer wants to rent the house out… Yep, you read that correctly… no house… I’d like to type some choice words, but this is a children’s ministry blog…

Anyway, I’m asking for those of you in the Elemental CM community to please pray for our family. This move, alone, is stressful. Now with this rental falling through after talking with the landlord for a week, our stress is multiplied. Please pray that we find someplace to rent and soon. Please pray that we have peace in the midst of this.

If any of you have any connection in the San Francisco East Bay (preferably the Concord area) or know of anyone who might have connections, please email me at henry(at)zonios(dot)org.

We rest in the fact that we know this move IS what God wants. It’s the “adventures” on this Wild Goose Chase that are challenging! Thanks for your prayers.


Free Coaching Sessions!

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by IndiepoprockJesse)

I am in the midst of completing my hours to become a certified coach through Church Planting Canada. As part of my practicum, I am offering 5 free coaching sessions to three people (a $300 value).

Coaching is not the same as consulting, mentoring or counselling. Here’s quote from Dr. Phil Newell about coaching taken from Glen Woods’ blog:

Coaching… looks to the PBC (person being coached) for solutions, and the expertise the coach brings is in helping the PBC discover new options and uncover possible strategies.

In other words, coaching is putting the controls in the hands of the client asking questions that help the client discover and commit to steps of action that move them forward when faced with a roadblock be it a personal or professional obstacle. For more another great explanation on coaching, take a look at this other post also on Glen Woods’ blog.

If you are interested in taking advantage of these opportunities to receive coaching, please leave a comment stating your interest. I will email all those interested a questionnaire that will help me in choosing who will receive the free sessions.


Prepackaged Goodness!

(picture taken from NakedPastor.com)

I don’t know about you, but I’m really not into Hamburger Helper. It’s just plain nasty! I’m sure there are many out there who can’t think of anything better then digging into all that prepackaged goodness… more power to ya! (and a good cardiologist)

Anyway, I came across this cartoon and it got me thinking… How many times do we do this in children’s ministry? I see so many tweets and blogs and Facebook statuses talking about being Biblical. It’s almost as if there’s a competition out there to be the most Biblical. “Our curriculum is more Biblical than yours!” OK, maybe that isn’t explicitly what is said, but it’s pretty easy to read between the lines of all the not-so-subtle digs at other curriculums. Who’s to say that what you use or create for children is more Biblical than what someone else is doing or creating? C’mon!

We can become so arrogant about our understanding of the Bible that we forget that God is WAY bigger than the boxes we try and package him in. I’m not saying that being Biblical isn’t important. What I am saying is that our idea of “Biblical” isn’t the end all.

I can already hear it, “Well, it’s easy. You just teach from the Bible! What’s more Biblical than that?” If it were that simple then I would challenge you that your idea of God and understanding of Biblical is too small. God is infinite. To think that we can corner the market on Biblical interpretation is arrogant at the least and dangerously unorthodox at it’s worst.

If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that we pick and choose what we focus on in the Bible. Some of us put more emphasis on free will while others of us focus more on God’s sovereignty. Some of us thrive on more contemporary forms of worship while others of us connect more fully to God in the midst of creeds and ritual. The list can go on.

I’m not saying we throw out the Bible. What I am saying is that we give our kids space to encounter the Bible with the Holy Spirit guiding them. We shouldn’t be so quick to interpret everything for them and systematize how they are “supposed” to understand the Bible in order to fit within your denominational distinctives. We need to help children see the Bible as a comprehensive story of who God is, how much he loves us, how we can follow him to have the most amazing life ever and how we can be a part of the redemptive and transformative work God is doing in the world around us.

If you haven’t already read it, I suggest that you pick up Scot McKnight’s book the Blue Parakeet. It’s a great resource on how to read the Bible in light of it being a comprehensive story of God’s desire to restore creation to what he intended for it.

  • What are some ways that you are prepackaging God for kids? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  • What are some ways you help children discover God?
  • How can we become more like facilitators and cultivators of spiritual formation rather than simply being conduits of information?


More Than Just Making God Happy

(Image taken from Indexed)

I’ve started reading N.T. Wright’s most recent book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. In it, one of the things Wright challenges is the view that morality and character are mere rules that we follow out of guilt or a sense of obligation until we reach the “real” prize of heaven. It’s begun to make me think of the context in which we teach character to children. I think we are good at teaching kids how to “make God happy/proud” with how we live, but is that the point of character? Or is character about something more? What we do… what kids do… in that time between conversion and eternity has got to be about more than putting a smile on God’s face. It’s got to be about ruthlessly reflecting God to our world and being a part of bringing redemptive transformation to our world now.

What are the implications for your children’s ministry when approaching character this way?

How do you equip families to pass on this kind of view of virtues and character and morality?

How is this way of thinking different than how you’ve approached character? Is it different?