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Missional Church Simplified

Take a look at the above video on missional church. It’s only 2 minutes long, and it is a pretty good simplified understanding of what is at the core of missional church.

I like the following points made in the video:

Missional church…

  • empowers its members to be the church in the community
  • sends out its members to live among people unfamiliar with church customs, songs and what it holds sacred just like a foreign missionary
  • recognizes that every believer embodies the life of the church in their neighborhood, in their school, or at their place of work each one telling God’s story in the context of compassionate and genuine relationship

What do you think? What are your thoughts on missional church? What would you add or take away from this video description? What would this look like in a kidmin context?

You Can Polish Kidmin Turd!

Image taken from

One of my all-time favorite Mythbusters episodes is when Adam and Jamie attempt to polish poop. Apparently you can! Not that I’d try… ummm…. moving on!


The Future of Children’s Ministry

A little while back, I was asked by Greg Baird to be a part of a project he was organizing. He asked some of us in Kidmin world to write an essay about The Future of Children’s Ministry. I love thinking about the future, especially the future of ministry to children and families, so I was excited to take part.

If you haven’t already checked out the some of the other articles, you need to! Because these essays are about what we see as the future, the articles don’t all agree… and that, I think, is the beauty of this project. In addition to the essays, you can enter into discussions about each essay on Kidology. You don’t have to have a membership to be part of the discussions.

Now that you’ve made your way to the bottom of this post, jump on over to Kidmin 360 and read my article. I’d also love to talk with you about your thoughts over at Kidology!

Belonging Before Believing

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

If you were to take Eric’s message to heart, what would that look like in your church? In your children’s ministry?

How do we teach kids to have this mindset?

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?

Repost: Children’s Ministry in a Missional Paradigm: Values

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by sean drellinger)

I am reposting this as part of a multi-blog conversation surrounding a missional approach to children’s ministry. A little while back, Glen Woods wondered if anyone was interested in conversing via blogging about a missional approach to children’s ministry. Since this is something that I have been researching, thinking, and blogging about for a while, I agreed to be a part of the conversation. In addition to Glen Woods, there are two others participating in this: Anthony Prince and Shauna Morgan. I encourage you to check out and interact with the posts on these blogs as well. I will be attempting to interact on them as well.

For this first post, Glen asked each of us to give a brief overview of our philosophy of a missional approach to children’s ministry. I chose to repost this from a series I had run a little while back. This post focuses on some values that I think are consistent with a missional approach to children’s ministry. How these values get implemented will look different from context to context (which is a key characteristic of missional values).

Just as a sidenote… Glen had asked us to give examples of how our philosophy expresses itself in our ministries. It’s difficult for me to do that because everything we do is run through the filter of the values stated below. We don’t necessarily have programs that are more “missional” than others.

Here is the original post:

As I continue to explore children’s ministry in a missional paradigm, I wanted to throw out one more thing before fleshing out some of the ideas I’ve put out in this series.

As I’ve read and talked with and seen different incarnations of what emerging missional ministry might look like in a local church context, I’ve discovered some common values that would be important in children’s ministry. Now these values do show up all over the place whether “missional” or not. But I think these four values are key to a missional praxis of children’s ministry, which I will finally be fleshing out in future posts in this series.

The values are:

  • Discovery Help children to discover who God is and how to best follow Jesus.
  • Experience Help children to experience God’s love for them by connecting them to a dynamic relation with him.
  • Action-Oriented Help children to live out what it means to love your neighbor as yourself missionally by providing a variety of ways they can change their community, country and world now. This includes reaching out in issues of justice and poverty locally and globally (I hate using the word glocal :) )
  • Community Help children to find where and how they connect into their community of faith and the greater Church community.

Again, these aren’t values exclusive to a missional paradigm but ones I think are important to a third culture way of approaching children’s ministry.

What are your thoughts on these values as related to a missional paradigm of children’s ministry?

What would you subsititue, change or add to the list?

How would you “flesh out” these values to reflect a missional mindset?

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!

Formational Apologetics

Back in December I was asked by Children’s Ministry Magazine to write an article about what apologetics might look like for kids today. This was a topic I was excited to tackle. For a while, I’ve been bothered by premise behind traditional apologetics that takes the standpoint that our faith needs some sort of defense so we guard ourselves and our children by arming them with “the truth.” We adopt a view that if we simply have enough information and can convince people that our information is truer than any other information out there then they will see the errors of their ways and enter into relationship with God. We live in a era where that no longer happens. In fact, the opposite is more true. People want a relationship first. They want to belong. Then if that relationship seems real and consistent and beneficial, they are open to belief. We handicap our children when we simply try to arm them with knowledge.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When we unintentionally give children the message that their faith in God needs to be defended, we imply a faith that’s wimpy at best and devoid of truth or power at worst. Yes, we’re called to equip and empower children to stand firm in their faith, but the strength and confidence they need comes from a source more powerful than information and knowledge. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

You can check out the full article here.

If you don’t already do so, be sure to check out Children’s Ministry Magazine. It’s an amazing resource for those in ministry to children! And I’m not saying that because I have an article in there. It wouldn’t hurt, though, to buy multiple copies of the March/April issue and distribute it freely to friends, neighbors, and strangers you pass on the street :)

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