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Selling Practicality

It’s the practical stuff in children’s ministry that sells. It sells because it’s what works.

Just because it works doesn’t mean it’s what we need.

Blast from the Past Repost: What About Theology?

I was looking through my archives for a graphic image for the What’s in the Bible Curriculum launch I was a part of last week and ran across this post from August 2010. A year later, pursuing a crazy God thing, and I’m still as passionate about what this post talks about as I was then. A bit of a warning: the post is a tad longer, but I hope you read through it and share your comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts! (BTW, if you’re interested, here are the comments from when I originally posted this.)

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(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Joe Thorn)

I’ve been wondering, lately, whether we in church world (especially in children’s ministry) are overemphasizing a culture that is centered around leadership. There are countless books, articles, blogs (mine included), and conferences/workshops that focus on leadership issues. How can I be a better leader? How do I manage volunteers? How do I recruit volunteers? How do I lead up, down, all around, touch your toes, do the hokey pokey…?

Take a look at your bookshelf. I’m assuming you have one. How many books there are “leadership” books?

OK… how many are in the “how to do ministry” category?

Done? Alright, now how many books on your shelf deal with theological issues?

(more…)

Has It Been a Month?!?

(image originally uploaded to Flickr by Lili Vieira de Carvalho)

Wow! I never expected transition to take this long. I mean you hear about it, you see others go through it, but you never expect change to take this long… maybe transition in child birth feeling like a month (not that I’d know since I am a lowly man who would never dare compare his life transitions with childbirth).

As I look back over the past months and begin taking stock of all that has happened, I have that puckering feeling you get when you stand at the edge of a tall mountain or building. You can read about some of what has been happening since we landed in California over at my wife’s blog. She does a way better job of telling the story than I ever could hope to, so I’m not going to even try. Hop on over and read her post.

The only thing to add to that while Erin is at work, I’m the one who is staying at home with the kids… Yup, I’m a stay-at-home dad. It’s the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done in my life! And if you don’t think we’re crazy already, we’re homeschooling the kids this year, and I’m the main teacher. Let me just tell you that juggling the attentions of 100+ kids from 4 years old through Grade 5 is cake compared to this! All in all, though, we know that we are in the center of the story God has for our family right now.

All that to say, I am beginning to get to a point where I’m not breathing through a straw while waves are crashing in over my head. I’m ready to jump back into blogging more regularly and sharing my thoughts on children’s ministry, theology and culture. I also am planning on reviving CM Edge, a podcast of children’s ministry people talking about children’s ministry.

There are some other exciting projects and ventures that I am chomping at the bit to tell you about, but you’ll just have to wait and see.


Up In The Air

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by Dave Keeshan)

I’m so sorry that I have been so lax in blogging lately. I thought I’d be able to keep up with blogging while we’ve been in our transition time, but I’m realizing that I have a lot less time than I realize! We are still trying to find a place to live. While I appreciate the graciousness of my parents and my in-laws over the past month, we really need our own place. Would you please pray for us. We are looking for a place that is close to where my wife works, which is in Santa Clara, CA. We’ve been looking in Fremont and Newark but are open to other cities… those two have seemed the more affordable ones and are in close proximity to public transportation to get Erin to work. We’ll be staying closer to those areas this week in an extended stay hotel so we’re hoping to find something this week. With that in mind, also pray that the six of us don’t go crazy living out of a hotel for 7 days :)

Once we get more settled, we can establish a new rhythm, which includes me finding time for blogging!

BTW, thank you all for your support and prayers through this crazy leap of faith. I’m in awe of this community. I’ve heard from some of you who I’ve never met, and I know there are more of you who I haven’t heard from. It’s humbling to know there are people all over the place praying for us.


He Is Risen!

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55.

May God bless you as you celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. May you help children and families discover the awesome transformative power of the resurrection that is available to those who put their faith in Christ. Praise be to God! He is risen!


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.


Lent Starts Today. What Are You Doing?

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by akahodag)

I’m usually on the ball with Lent. This year, though, there’s been a lot of things going on and it snuck up on me!

In previous years I’ve given up things like TV or pop (or for those of you who say it wrong… soda, coke, or soft drinks). Since Lent appeared out of nowhere for me, I haven’t really had time to reflect on what would be something meaningful that I could give up as a physical way of being reminded to prepare myself to identify with Christ’s suffering come Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). I’m also at a loss of what to do to inspire kids and families to observe Lent…

What are you all doing? Personally? In your ministries?

I’m will be going through 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight with my family. I’m just not sure what to “give up” for Lent.


Got It All Figured Out

(image taken from ASBO Jesus)

So, who’s right? Does it matter? Can both be right? I’ve been reading a wonderful book entitled Manifold Witness by John Franke that explores the theology of the plurality of truth. I’m almost done. It’s not a long book, but boy has it got my brain doing back handsprings and other things that exhaust it. I look forward to discussing it here at Elemental Children’s Ministry when I’m done!

For now, what are your thoughts on the image above?


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