Monthly Archives: May 2011

New Children’s Ministry Venture

I didn’t want to share this publicly until it was officially announced, but as of today, it is.

Along with my current job assignment (children’s pastor @ Hayward Wesleyan), I will be joining the Spiritual Formation Department of The Wesleyan Church on their Children’s Ministry Leadership Team. Rev. Colleen Derr (former Children’s Ministry Director @ SFD) just recently accepted a teaching position @ Wesley Seminary and resigned leaving a vacancy that was filled with a field staff rather than a full time person (for the next year).

You can view the bios here, but I’ve stepped in as the Connections Coordinator and Team Leader, along with two other really neat people who serve as Resource and Training Coordinators. I’ll know more this weekend as I head to Indianapolis, IN to meet with the other staff more specifically what this new venture entails. I’m really intrigued and delighted to serve, resource and advance children’s ministry as an important means of discipleship in our churches and in the kingdom of God.

This looks to be a fun ride!

WesleyanKids.org

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What an iPad Was Made For!


HT ChurchMag

You Hurt Your Foot?!

Does this ever happen to you?

Sari hurt her foot the other day. I don’t remember exactly how, but it seems like she is always running in to stuff!

Anyway, when she hurt her foot she screams bloody murder! Life is over! I know, I know… kids respond to pain in a variety of ways and my daughter is just expressing herself, right? Okay. I’m learning how this goes. There’s no manual for parenting. Anyway, we gave her some ice, elevated her foot, and laid her on the couch to recover.

Then Amanda and I turned our attention elsewhere. We moved on to other things. About ten minutes later we noticed Sari running around the living room with her sister, Macie, playing. I made a comment: “Sari, your foot must feel better?”

As soon as I said this, she fell to the ground and started to caress the foot again like she had temporarily forgot her injury and began to wimper.

Amanda and I started laughing at this sudden miracle, then Sari smiled, giggled, then went on her merry way.

Boy… they learn manipulation early!

Wisdom? (sermon)


This past Wednesday, May 25, 2011, I spoke at Hayward High School’s Baccalaureate Service. The theme was “Wisdom?” and it was on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

During the talk, I used an object lesson with a rope, which just happened to be the school colors! (actually it was an extra yellow rope from our playground system we recently got at the church, with some black duct tape on the ends to keep it from fraying!).

Wisdom? (44.71kb, pdf)

Mercy Ships (video)

Mercy Ships is a missions organization that we support @ Hayward Wesleyan. In particular, the children support Mercy Ships through our boy vs. girl change offering @ VBS. Over the years the kids have raised thousands of dollars that go directly to surgeries and care for people, like those illustrated in the video above. Incredible!

via YouTube

Rites of Passage Project


This is fascinating… I wonder what kind of conversation this would spark, not only in the family unit between father and son, mother and daughter, but also in the faith community as a whole as we try to “intentionally” pass on faith (and wisdom) to the next generation…

As the parent of a teenager, you invest a lot of time, money, and energy into academic and athletic training into your student’s middle and high school years. As a believer, you know the importance of investing as much or more energy into their spiritual training; equipping them to become more like Christ as they cross over into adulthood.

The Rites of Passage Project is a strategic approach that helps parents acknowledge and celebrate key physical and spiritual growth stages with meaningful life-markers that their students will never forget.

Take 15 minutes to watch the WHY and HOW videos for your student’s grade level and then pray about how God wants you to lead them on the journey of a lifetime.

6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

Discipline in Ministry


I am really passionate about “discipline” in ministry. To me (and I think to God), discipline (especially to children and youth) is essential to their spiritual formation. When a student is in trouble, I think their heart is ripe and fertile soil for a “teachable moment.” In other words, discipline equals discipleship.

In a ministry setting, do all the children and youth ministry volunteers have this same perspective? This blog post does a great job consolidating my thoughts:

One of the first things we share with a new volunteerin our Children’s Ministry is our philosophy on discipline in the classroom. It’s really very simple: “We believe that every child has the right to hear the Gospel uninterrupted.” What do we mean by that? Well, first of all we believe that what we are sharing and teaching is incredibly important. Second, we want every child to hear the message. That means we cannot allow one child to prevent others from receiving the message.

Each Sunday morning when I stand before our kids in our large group meeting time I share the same statement: “We have only three rules in Kid’s View and we want you to know all three rules:

Rule Number 1 – Remember why we are here. We are here to meet with others and meet with God.

Rule Number 2 – When someone on stage is speaking you are to be listening. Which means you would not be talking.

Rule Number 3 – Have Fun! If we remember Rule #1 and we practice Rule #2 we will have a great time together.”

Again, I make these same statements every Sunday as a reminder to our kids. They know them so well that they shout the last word of each statement as I say it. Our desire is for every child to hear the message and enjoy their time in Kid’s View. The three simple rules go a long way to help that goal be accomplished.

We also have the Three R’s as our steps for correction when a child does choose to misbehave:

R – Request the behavior stop.

R – Reseat the child in a different area if the behavior continues.

R – Remove the child from the classroom after the first two steps if necessary.

If a child has to be removed the parent is called to the classroom. Rarely does the third R become necessary. Our goal is for every child to hear the Gospel uninterrupted and for them to enjoy their time in Kid’s View!

via CM Buzz

Speaking Life into Your Kids


This is another great blog post from epicparent.tv about speaking life into your kids:

I believe that parents hold the greatest, most powerful and life altering tool in our possession…

THE TONGUE

Not sure if you read the Bible much, but here is what is says about the tongue…

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  Proverbs 18:21

10 COMMANDMENTS OF SPEAKING LIFE TO YOUR KIDS:

  • SAY YES:  I say “NO” to my kids because it is the easy, simple and if I am totally honest, “NO” just requires less of me. Speak life to your kids by saying “YES” this week.  Try it; say “YES” to every reasonable & most unreasonable requests.
  • ASK HOW YOU CAN SERVE THEM: Try this with your most challenging kiddo, it will transform the relationship.
  • PRAY: Every day this week pray over your kid’s right before they leave for school.
  • LISTEN: God could be trying to get your attention or send a message to you through your kids.  Stop what you are doing, sit down and really listen.
  • ADMIT YOUR MISTAKE: I blew it big time this weekend by taking my kids to a movie that they just should not have seen.  As soon as we walked in the house I gathered Team Sprad together and admitted my mistake.  Parents, you will blow it…its okay be real w/ your kiddos and let them know.
  • DISCIPLINE THEM IN LOVE: I get a ton of things wrong in parenting, but this is one I get right.  I take a considerable amount of time in the discipline process to love and protect their hearts.
  • WRITE THEM A LETTER: The picture above is a copy of the letter I wrote my daughter for Christmas.
  • BE SOFT: Lower your tone and use life giving words.
  • IRRATIONAL GRACE: Cole came home last month trying to explain why he made a bad grade in Science.  I simply wrapped my arms around him, looked him in the eye and said “if you brought home a 100 I wouldn’t love you anymore.”  When you kids expect discipline, try love and grace.
  • I BELIEVE IN YOU: Your kids have to hear this from you weekly.  I believe in you because you’re a person of your word.  I believe in you because…

Shine Like Stars (sermon)


This past Sunday, May 22, 2011, I was given the opportunity to preach @ Hayward Wesleyan. Our small group had been studying Philippians this past year and we ended our year with reviewing what we learned and wanted to consolidate our thoughts into a letter. I was tasked to write the letter and I ended up combining it with the sermon this past Sunday, entitled: “Shine Like Stars.”

“Shine Like Stars” manuscript (76.3kb, pdf)
“Shine Like Stars” audio (8.11mb, mp3)
“To Live is Christ” by Trip Lee | Rap on Philippians
Best Buy | Buy Back Program – “Outdated World”
Survivor | Mike Chiesl’s Selfless Act

Bible Verses @ Followers | 2010-2011

Helping Children Deal with Death


Sometimes other people have said things (and organized their thoughts) better than I could do, especially regarding dealing and coping with the topic of death.

There’s no way to avoid this simple fact: death happens

And, when it does, we often struggle with how to approach talking to our kids about the subject.

Recently, in our community, a young mom passed away suddenly – leaving behind her husband and two children, a 1st and a 5th grader. In other parts of the country, recent tornadoes have devastated communities and left hundreds of families grieving the loss of loved ones. Across an ocean from us, Japan is still reeling from one of the largest earthquake/tsunami combinations many of us will see in our lifetime – with a death toll that has surpassed 10,000 lives lost.

In the midst of dealing with death, our children often approach us looking for answers. At the same time, we’re faced with the daunting task of balancing our own grief with guiding our kids through the process. Here are some thoughts that I keep in mind as I guide families tackling important questions surrounding death and mourning.

The question I’ve been asked the most in my years of ministering to families and communities who are grieving is whether or not a child should attend the funeral of someone outside of the family. When answering this question, it’s good to think about where a child is developmentally. As parents, we often project our emotions and desires on our children – for better or for worse. If one of my closest friends lost a family member, I would want to be there for that person to provide a sense of community in mourning. My four year old son, however, wouldn’t provide that same sense of community for a peer – children’s friendships are different than adult friendships and parents often lose sight of that during times of emotional crisis.

I encourage families to talk openly about the grieving process, but forcing a young child to attend a memorial service might cause more harm than good. However, if a child wants to attend a service with their parents, I see that as an opportunity for a family to share the grieving process together. I discourage families from having their younger children sit amongst peers – again, they aren’t looking to each other for support – adults are most often viewed as their protectors/comfort. Peers rarely operate in this role for young children.

The most important thing I try to tell families during the grieving process is that children need to know that they aren’t alone. Parents don’t have to have everything “figured out” in order to give children a sense of safety and comfort.

I have found the following online articles helpful in shaping my conversations with parents talking to their children about death:

One of the best articles I’ve read on natural disasters and our response as Christians was written by my Senior Pastor and friend, Jim Miller

http://pastorjamesmiller.com/2011/03/14/religion-disaster-and-japan/

Children’s Ministry magazine provides more than just information on the subject, they actually provide suggestions for how to talk with kids about death

http://www.childrensministry.com/articles/helping-children-deal-with-death

http://www.childrensministry.com/articles/helping-children-grieve

iVillage gives an in depth answer to the question “Should my child attend a funeral?”

http://www.ivillage.com/should-your-child-attend-funeral/6-n-146437

The most useful article I’ve ever read on the subject is from hospicenet.org

http://www.hospicenet.org/html/talking.html

If you don’t want to click through right now because you don’t have time, I encourage you to at least read their summary of how children mourn, based on age and developmental stage. (below)

Characteristics of Age Groups (to be used only as a general guide)

Infants – 2 Years Old:

  • Will sense a loss
  • Will pick up on grief of a parent or caretaker
  • May change eating, sleeping, toilet habits.

2-6 Years Old:

  • Family is center of child’s world
  • Confident family will care for her needs
  • Plays grown-ups, imitates adults.
  • Functions on a day-to-day basis.
  • No understanding of time or death
  • Cannot imagine life without mum or dad
  • Picks up on nonverbal communication.
  • Thinks dead people continue to do things (eat, drink, go to the bathroom), but only in the sky.
  • Thinks if you walk on the grave the person feels it.
  • Magical thinking
  • you wish it, it happens (bring the dead back or wishing someone was dead)
  • Death brings confusion, guilt [magically thought someone dead]
  • Tendency to connect things which are not related.

6-9 Years Old:

  • Personifies death: A person, monster who takes you away
  • Sometimes a violent thing.
  • Still has magical thinking, yet begins to see death as final, but outside the realm of the child’s realistic mind.
  • Fails to accept that death will happen to them – or to anyone (although begins to suspect that it will).
  • Fears that death is something contagious.
  • Confusion of wording [soul/sole, dead body, live soul].
  • Develops an interest in the causes of death (violence, old age, sickness).

9-12 Year Old:

  • May see death as punishment for poor behavior.
  • Develops morality – strong sense of good and bad behavior.
  • Still some magical thinking.
  • Needs reassurance that wishes do not kill.
  • Begins an interest in biological factors of death.
  • Theorizes: People die to make room for new people.
  • Asks more about “what happened”
  • Concerns about ritual, burying
  • Questions relationship changes caused by death, life changes.
  • Worries about who provides and cares for them.
  • May regress to an earlier stage
  • Interested in spiritual aspects of death.

Teenagers:

  • Views death as inevitable, universal, irreversible.
  • Cognitive skills developed
  • Thinks like an adult
  • Questions meaning of life if it ends in death
  • Sees aging process leading to death
  • Sees self as invincible – it will not happen to me.
  • Sees death as a natural enemy
  • Need for adult guidance (grief process, coping skills).
  • Needs someone to listen; to talk with.
  • May feel guilt, anger, even some responsibility for death that occurred.
  • Not sure how to handle own emotions [public and private].

via West Coast CM

Rebuilding the Temple (story, video & audio)

God’s people the Israelites are allowed, by decree of King Cyrus of Persia, to return to their homeland. Upon arrival they realize the extent of the devastation the exile had on the city of Jerusalem. They begin work on the Temple, slowly rebuilding it.

Video link (vimeo.com)
Audio file (3.76mb, mp3)
Story lesson (396.85kb, pdf)

Commenting on the Internet

I’m not a frequent commenter on blog posts. I read a lot of blogs, but I don’t normally comment. I know bloggers get frustrated at the lack of comments when they know that hundreds (or thousands) of people are reading their posts, but if I don’t have something to say, I don’t. If I have an opinion I might think about sharing it, but typically, someone has already voiced my so I move on.

via thedoghousediaries.com

Alternate Reality

45% of kids say they feel more comfortable online than offline. The reason? “It’s easier to be who you want to be, because nobody knows you and if you don’t like the situation, you can just exit and it’s over.”

Children's Ministry Magazine May/June 2011 pg. 20 Group Publishing

It’s a Book! (video)

Funny. I don’t think we are quite in danger of losing books, yet. However, the more our children interact with “screens” rather than “paper”, I wonder if this will be more applicable in the coming future?

In Hayward, WI, each middle and high school student is getting either an iPad or a MacBook laptop computer this next school year. Emerging technology is cool (the students are really excited), but I see the students using these devices more for personal use (i.e. Facebook and YouTube video watching) than for educational reasons. I could be wrong. In fact, I would be pleased if I were wrong. I’ll let you know!

via iblogo
source YouTube