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!
I found this video fascinating for a couple of reasons:
- I’m used to reading statistics in black and white numbers and percentages. Sometimes they are given in a graph or a chart. But never like this!
- We live in an interesting time where population growth is unprecedented (meaning: the world has never had this many people living on it at one time!). Coupled with staggering growth in population is that people are living longer, but not necessarily making more money. The disparity between the two – life expectancy/population growth and money is interesting to me. As a kingdom person, someone who is interested in what God wants to do in this world (redeem/fix/restore, etc), I’m intrigued with what role God’s people have to play in it all…
On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, we continued our “Minute to Win It” challenges @ msy YOUTH.
The challenge was to put BACK together a cereal box that had been cut up into several pieces. Our intern, Sarah, put magnets on the back of these pieces and set up a piece of metal on an easel so everyone could see. The goal, obviously, was to complete this task in 1 minutes or less. I think we had 5 students attempt this challenge and NOT a single one accomplished it. A couple came close.
So we had Sarah come up and attempt the game she facilitated (just to see if it was possible). And it was. She completed easily and with time to spare!
Will it float? @ msy YOUTH We filled a small aquarium of water and attempted to submerse various objects into the water. The game is in choosing whether the object will sink or float. It’s fun to find objects that we think MIGHT float or sink, but actually do the opposite of what we think.
This was our second CORE retreat, and we have found that the simple act of “retreating” and devoting some time to reflect on our Christian life and spirituality is precious and necessary. This isn’t an outreach event. It’s an internal reflective and contemplative event. Loretta had 4 high school students attend, and I had 4 middle school students attend. The 10 of us made our way to The Wilderness Fellowship Ministries, which is a little over an hour away from Hayward. This place does not have electricity. Only the bath house does (so that is where we made our coffee!). The fridge and the stove are propane powered and the water is from a hand-pump. It was rustic. No lights at night, either!
Loretta and I had two important sessions we wanted to engage the students with, one on Friday and one on Saturday. The first was for the students to ask the question: “Where is my relationship at with Jesus?” They had an hour or so of silence and solitude to think and ponder that question. Then we shared our thoughts around the campfire.
For the second session we asked the students to answer the question: “What do I want my relationship with Jesus to look like at the end of the school year?” Their task was to return to silence and solitude, and draw a picture of what the answer to that question looked like as they picked out a Psalm that illustrated where they wanted to be.
Again, this was the second year we did these same exact exercises, and they continued to prove to be effective thought provoking questions that engaged the students in self-reflection.
Plus we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs! But that goes (almost) without saying when you’re hanging out with students minus electricity and no electronic gadgets!
This past weekend we had our first Followers Adventure Outing here at the church. Angie Lundsten and her husband, Tigger, came up with some amazingly messy and creative “activities” to play. One activity was a bowlful of chocolate-soaked, maple-syrup-dipped, rubber bands and a subsequent rubber band fight! It was very sticky!
Another station was spray painting a junked minivan. Tigger runs a junkyard and provided a minivan for the students to spray paint to their hearts content. It was awesome! The children were jaw-dropped that they were “allowed” to do this! Their parents said, “Now you’re going to tell them that they can’t normally do this, right?”
I don’t know if we would ever do this again, what with the haze of spray paint all around as the students COVERED this vehicle. I don’t think it was incredibly safe. But it was really fun, and the students (and their parents)(AND ME) had a blast doing it!
This past Sunday, September 12, 2010 in Main Street, we continued our storying through the Bible in the book of Joshua. the Israelites were on the cusp of entering the promised and are poised at the Jordan River. They had already spied out the land and are ready to enter it.
The LORD guided the Israelites across the Jordan River much the same way He did for the Israelites a generation earlier with Moses through the Red Sea. The Jordan River parted and they walked through on dry ground. Joshua had one leader from each of the 12 tribes grab a stone from the river bed and made a memorial as a reminder.
Along the way, the Angel of the LORD met Joshua and gave him instructions on what to do when they reached Jericho (the first city in the land of Canaan that they would have to conquer).
At Jericho, Joshua gather the Israelites and told them to march around the city once that day. Then again once the next day. They did this for six days, each day marching around the city once and then going back to camp. The people in Jericho were really afraid of the Israelites because of what they had heard about them (that the LORD God of heaven and earth was fighting for them). On the seventh day, the Israelites marched around the city seven times, and at the end of the seventh march, the shofar horn was to blow and the people were to shout. When they did this the walls of Jericho came tumbling down! The LORD God was fighting for them. All God’s people had to do was listen and obey.
Jericho was destroyed and burned, all except for Rahab and her family who were saved because of the promise of the 2 spies.
Main Street | Sunday, September 12, 2010 | Year 2 – Week 2 | Fall of Jericho
This past Sunday in Main Street (grades 1-6), the story was covering the second half of Exodus: Israelite complaining, receiving the Law (10 Commandments) and their charter as a nation, etc. Kathy Baker talked the students through the various stories quite well. Then we put the 10 Commandments up on the screen and had the students write them down on a piece of paper.
Our goal was for the students to memorize the 10 Commandments. I come across students all the time that think they know what the 10 Commandments are, but actually don’t really know them. But when working with kids on a Sunday morning, how do you get them motivated to learn/memorize 10 Commandments? Prizes.
In our storage room, I’ve got two large Rubbermaid containers filled with “prizes”, more like junk to me, but to kids, unspeakable treasures. I dumped those containers of prizes on the stage and spread them out while I watched their eyes go wide and their mouths drop. “If you can recite the 10 Commandments from memory to another leader this morning before Main Street is over,” I told them, “You can pick a prize off the stage.” Their reaction was like winning the lottery! It really motivated them to memorize the 10 Commandments!
I was working with about 3 incoming 1st graders. These kids are young, but they did it! They wanted the prizes so bad that they struggled to do it and they did! It was fun to see the students having fun while they were tackling something that is difficult to do.
“God is always BETTER than you thought. The love of Jesus is DEEPER than you know. And the Spirit is EVERYWHERE working the wonders of mercy.” This is the tag line off of the website of The Sanctuary Downtown.
Peter Hiett is the pastor of this church and is an incredibly gifted communicator of the Word of God. Every time I am done listening to one of his sermons, I just want to love God, know Jesus and embrace the Holy Spirit. They make me think. They make me wrestle with not only the theological mysteries of God, but practical day-to-day kingdom/Jesus kind of living. They not only have audio/podcast sermons available for download, the church video tapes their services so you can watch them as well (videos on vimeo).
I was trying to think of a way to end the school year in Main Street. Nothing sounded good the preceding weeks nor even the week before. It was Sunday morning, and I still didn’t know how I was going to end the curriculum year where we had storied through Genesis, Exodus (Leviticus) and Numbers. Deuteronomy was the last story of the year. How could I bring this particularly profound book home to these 1st-6th graders?
It was in the shower that Sunday morning that I got the idea to do a monologue of Moses, reviewing with the students why he wrote the Torah, and what he thought they really needed to know as they were poised to enter the Promised Land. It was fun!
This idea also led me to do Moses when I preached in the sanctuary on June 6 when I was tasked to communicate the story of the Exodus. That was fun, too!
LifeChurch out of Oklahoma City, provides almost all of its resources for free! That includes cutting edge children’s ministry and youth ministry resources. Once you set up an account with them you are able to download video lessons, supplemental lesson pages, even burnable DVDs. The lessons come in various “series”.
Take note: the files you download tend to be quite large and take a long time to download (depending on your internet speed).
LifeKids series – 6-11 year olds
The Loop – middle school (10-12 year olds)
Switch – high school (13-18 year olds)
You can find all these resources and more by going to: open.lifechurch.tv