Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for April, 2008
A while back I found the articles linked below on pastors.com and they were exactly what I needed at the time. I have since shared them with many men and I offer them here, not as something I think you might need, but as something I NEEDED that you just might too.
I recommend you read and digest just one at a time and actually DO the recommended assignment provided in each PDF download.
Confessions of a Driven Pastor I (Download Part One)
It’s no longer safe to assume that people in ministry have healthy souls and just need a little coaching in the leadership area. – Pastor Lance Witt
Confessions of a Driven Pastor II (Download Part Two)
For years I intuitively knew that I was violating my soul. In honest and quiet moments, I longed to get off the treadmill but didn’t know how. – Pastor Lance Witt
I pray that you will find these artilces as convicting and as helpful to you as I did.
Things you might not know if it were not for children’s ministry:
• In a room full of preschoolers, anything can happen when you close your eyes to pray.
• Prayer requests reveal a lot about parents.
• Helium tanks should be chained down tightly.
• Cheap glue adheres to skin.
• Kool Aid and song motions do not mix.
• Grand pianos are not as durable as you might think.
• Church maintenance men do not have a sense of humor.
• Offering money always rolls to the other side of the room when dropped.
• Hand-me-down sound systems can get loud when the adult service is taking communion.
• Ushers do not have a sense of humor.
• Parachute games should not be used in a room with a chandelier.
• Animal crackers can be sneezed out the nose.
• Girls are superior to boys.
• There are reasons why pastor’s kids have a bad reputation.
by Roger Fields
ADD YOUR OWN IN COMMENTS!
Someone sent me this picture and I just had to post it, it’s too funny:
DARTH VADER GETS AN UPGRADE:
and one more:
Now we know where we gets some of his evil ideas.
While I’ve been to fourteen different countries, and included Canada in that list, I had only been to Niagra Falls, and I’m not sure if that really counted. (Probably not) So I was excited to be invited to Sarnia, Ontario this past weekend for several days of ministry. My first surprise was that after flying to Flint, Michigan we drove straight East, rather than North, as I expected, as Canada juts down into the US quite a bit between Detroit, MI and Buffalo, NY.
(Click any images for larger view in new window)
Getting across the border proved a little challenging, “And why are you coming?” But most of the delay was us waiting in the wrong line. (oops) But once I dropped my brother name, we threw through like a Blue Jay. (Not sure that had anything to do with getting through, but hey, it was worth a try! “My brother covers the Blue Jays for MLB.com! You have to let me across!)It was a full but fulfilling weekend! I did a family program on Friday evening, a Kidology To Go on Saturday, and spoke on Sunday as well before heaing back to the good ‘ol US of A. And fortunately, the US immigration let me back!While it was fun to learn some Canadian lingo, eh, and that one dollar coins are called Looneys and two dollars coins are Tooneys, there really wasn’t much different. (Granted, this was a “border city.”) But one of the cool things unique to Sarnia are Fry Trucks along the shore:
There is me and Steve Bourque before ordering some very unhealthy but delicious fries to enjoy on a windy but clear day in Canada.Steve has only been a full time children’s pastor for a year, but at the church for four years, with his hours gradually increasing to full time. (My first ministry went 12, to 20 to 30 to full time – notice they just call it “full time” when in reality the number goes higher than 40!)He’s already got a great foundation laid and is building a solid ministry. The name of the ministry is LEDGE, based loosely on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven PrinciplesL: Love God (worship)E: Encourage Others (fellowship)D: Devote to Jesus (grow)G: Give (service)E: Express Jesus Love (missions)(Steve, let me know if I got these wrong, I didn’t write them down, and I will edit this post!)Of course, I was very pleased to see that they use Awesome Adventure to disciple their kids:
The logo for the children’s ministry is pretty cool, here is a close up:
And the theme is followed through on the names of each class room:
Nursery is “Base Camp” and then once they can walk up to two years old is “Explorers.”(How perfect!)
Then its up to the “Scrambers” for 3 and 4′s, followed by:
“Back Packers” for Kindergarten and Grade 1, and finally…
“Cliff Hangers” for the oldest kids. Notice the simple but effective decoration too.
Their Sunday format is two identical service, so they start with some free time where kids can play and set out a bunch of fun stuff to encourage early and on-time attendance, and then they open in worship, followed by a lesson and small groups.They are currently using G-Force from LifeWay and are trying a cool experiment. (Not sure if this is recommended in the curriculum or not), but they are inviting parents to come for the last ten minutes of the children’s service to experience the conclusion with their kids.
I’m curious how that goes, I think it is a fantastic idea.Of course, all the ministry stuff aside, the highlight for me is always the children – I am still a children’s pastor at heart after all!
Our hosts daughter took to me (and my props) right away.
Being just under Luke’s age, she was much needed medicine for this home-sick dad! She even learned my name by the end of the three days and just before leaving for the airport fell asleep in my arms. (You can say it, “awwwwwww”)
She took to Gus too! She was such a sweet and pleasant girl, but then, of course, her name means “a pleasant sound.” (Can you guess her name?)
I tried to wrap this sweet girl up (and her doll) to take home as a souenir from Canada.
I thought of just adopting this whole family – each of them gave me the sweetest good-bye cards with their pictures… it’s amazing how you can connect with children in such a short time if you take the time to let them in. Duncan, their oldest was an assistant during my magic show and even came to part of the Saturday seminar, and I see a lot of myself as a boy in him, crazy creative energy and an eagerness to serve the Lord. The makings of a future children’ s pastor no doubt! (Seems creativity runs in the family, their dad is a published improv comic, link coming when I get it!)
The only rough part of the weekend came when after telling a story about a sword in my message, a member of the church brought in her fencing gear! (Yes, a girl!)
Suddenly Steve, thinking his kids were in danger, attacked the stranger, apparently not realizing it was ME!
Using my vast Jedi fighting skills I was able to subdue him and pin him to the ground in self defense…
but not before he lunged his sword into me and ran away! No worries, I am healing up fine. What a fantastic weekend! Eh?
Several years ago (before I blogged on an official “blog”) I created a page that showed me and my friend Ryan Yoder assembling my Lego Star Destroyer, which at the time, was the largest Lego kit that Lego had ever created up to that point.
I often am telling kids about it (as I was this weekend in Canada) and wishing it was posted on my blog, so I am posting a post about the post where I posted about it: For all the pictures step by step (and cool star background) SEE THE ORIGINAL LEGO STAR DESTROYER POST.
It took us two full days to assemble the 3000+ pieces of this Lego work of art! So now it is linked and searchable on my blog so I can just tell kids, search my blog for Lego Star Destroyer and you’ll find a link to it!
CHECK IT OUT THE COMPLETE PICTURES HERE.
Here they are years ago… before anyone had any idea the damage they would do to our country:
And now, could it be? They might get another chance?
There is a reason Hillary doesn’t use her last name campaigning. but make no mistake, a vote for Hillary is a vote for lies and corruption even bolder than before. Let’s hope the People wise up before it is too late! Obama is the master at saying nothing very well, but Hillary knows exactly what she wants to do and that is what scares me.
But I don’t hate liberals. I feel sorry for them. For hope is in government, that is their flaw. They think, er, let me rephrase that, they feel that government and money can solve human social issues – even though no government program has ever solved ONE human social issue, and in fact, have only made things worse in the effort to help. Government does best what it was designed to do – protect citizens, defend the nation, prosecute criminals, preserve wilderness and build infrastructure. I applaud government whenever it does what it was created to do – but whenever it attempts to “fix” issues that stem from the flaws of the nature of man – look out, those very flaws corupt the very ones attempting to do the fixing and things only get worse.
As a conservative I believe in limited government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, a strong military and the sanctity of human life. I always fine it fascinating when I talk to a liberal friend (or foe) and ask what they stand for, and all they can tell me is what they are against. I say, “OK, I get you hate our President, but what are you FOR?” And I never have gotten a coherant answer. Either don’t know that liberals for for massive government, higher taxes, victim mentality mixed with a right to have what someone else earned, a weak military, the disposal of human life - or they don’t want to admit it. Instead, they tell me what they feel.
I feel too, but I allow my feelings to be tempered by thought. Not the other way around. Every person I’ve heard asked why they like Obama or H. Clinton who answer because they want “change” or because they feel they can do a “better job” when asked what they will actually DO always answer they don’t know. And that, my friend, is downright scary. Change is not automatically better. Change can be far worse. Especially ignorant change.
Please don’t get mad at me if you are a liberal and send me insulting e-mails – that will only prove my case. Instead, give me a calm reasoned argument for what liberals are FOR and my respect will grow up a notch from its current low position. You can be passionate without being insulting. But tell m, please, what liberals like Obama and H. Clinton are FOR without general platudes or adjectives that could mean anything. I dare you. If you can, you should run for President because the two leading Democrat candidates are apparently incapable of doing so.
Here is a SNEAK PEEK at the next Kidology Online Training Leadership Lab which is titled, “Partnering with Parents.”
There are two battles raging today in children’ ministry. The first battle is for the hearts and minds of our children. It is a battle that we are losing on many fronts. While in many places children’s ministry has “arrived” with it’s kid-friendly facilities and multi-media “edutainment” style of teaching, there is little evidence that all this “fun” and “excitement” is automatically translating into young, fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. This is a battle that we are all aware of for the most part, and are trying our best to engage and win.
However, there is a second battle I see raging in the Church that I’m not sure many recognize. It is a battle of the “Blame Game.” As parents and church leaders are waking up to the fact that, despite all the high-tech gadgets and endless resources, we are losing the first battle, they shift to this second one, turning on each other. Parents, who feel they are doing their best, are looking to the church for help and answers, and are feeling they aren’t getting enough. And the church, sensing the finger of blame pointing toward them, is trying to turn the finger back at parents. When I talk to children’s ministry leaders about the critical issues facing our children today, the word “parents” is often uttered with frustration or even disgust. Recently, at a national children’s pastor’s conference, a ballroom filled with hundreds of children’s ministry leaders cheered when a speaker spoke negatively about parents. As a father, daily doing my best for my own son, the laughter hurt. We, as children’s ministry leaders, are supposed to be supporting and encouraging parents, not blaming them or looking down on them as though they are somehow at fault for the negative stats we keep reading. The mantra is ringing loud and clear in churches around our country, “It’s the parents responsibility to raise and nurture children in the Lord,” as though that gets the church off the hook. And yet, while we toss the responsibility squarely at them, we still insist they bring their kids to church for us to take the lead in the spiritual input in their lives. We ask for Sunday School, Kids Church and often weekday clubs and other special events and teams. If it was truly all the parents’ job, then cancel the children’s ministry! No, it IS OUR JOB TOO.
While children’s ministry leaders can rattle off all the biblical passages that “prove” it is the parents’ job – that is too easy. I’m in agreement with all those passages and the primary role of parents, but a core component of the spiritual education of Jewish children was learning in the synagogue in the Old and New Testament. And don’t forget, Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” was not given exclusively to parents – it was given to the Church, to every believer whether they are a parent or not.
Yes, parents need to do a better job of owning up to their God-given responsibility to be intentional and strategic in the spiritual formation of their children, but we as church leaders need to own up to ours as well. We have in large part taken the job from parents, and then turned around and blamed them for not doing it. While we can be very pleased at the many advances in ministry tools and techniques, it is healthy to be reminded (or informed if you didn’t know) that the birth of the Sunday School movement, the predecessor of “children’s ministry,” had as one of it’s purposes to take from parents the primary role of the spiritual education of children because it was believed that the church could do a better job.
Note this quote from a leaflet published in 1818, titled Circular letter regarding the establishing of Sunday Schools:
“All parents are not qualified to instruct; and if they were, still the emulation excited by the organization of the respective classes, and by the rewards bestowed on merit, have animated children to commit to memory larger portions of scripture and a greater number of hymns, and also induced them to regard with more attention the instructions of the pious teachers than those of their parents (however capable) in private.”1
(Click image for larger viewing)
Granted, 1818 is a while ago! But how often do we quickly assume the roles that truly belong to parents? Pastor Kenny Conley wrote on his blog about how many times parents would come to him and say, “My child would like to accept Christ, would you pray with him?” Kenny admits that often he would, until he realized that instead he ought to simple coach the parent how to lead his or her own child through that important decision. I’m guilty too! For years in our “kids bulletin” I had a contest designed to help kids pay attention during the sermon during the summer when we took a break from children’s church. It was called the “Key Word Contest.” Quite simply, as kids listened to the sermon, they were to choose ten words that they thought were the “key words” of the message. I did the same. When the kids turned in the bulletins, I graded them and awarded points for a variety of the activities, but bonus points for any of their key words that matched mine. After doing this for several years I heard a challenge from a speaker somewhere: “What are you doing that parents should be, or could be, doing if you weren’t doing it for them?” (Ouch!) The next summer I added a box in the adult’s bulletin asking parents to write down ten key words from the sermon and then, over lunch, to compare theirs to their children’s and discuss them and reward them somehow for words that match. Not only did I not have to grade a hundred kids bulletins every week, but also parent after parent came to me and thanked me for helping create a Sunday afternoon discussion of the sermon. I got one of my first tastes of what it meant to partner with parents.
It has been reported by some researchers that in the very best case scenarios, most of our kids will spend a maximum of 40 hours at church each year. (They’ll spend over 400 playing video games alone.) Responding to the statistic, Kenny Conley notes, “Churches (Children’s Ministries) typically spend 100% (or close to it) of their time and resources on the 40 hours we’ll have with these kids. Wouldn’t it make sense to invest more time in the people who are truly influencing these kids? We won’t always be their pastors, but these adults will always be their parents. It’s just too simple, really.”
I sense that both sides know they need each other. Both parents and church leaders know they can’t do it alone. Both sides even know they shouldn’t feel like they are on opposing “sides.” They should be on the same side! But they’re not sure how to do it. They want to be partners, but right now it feels too contentious. They both want the same thing, and are desperate for answers – quickly! But they also don’t want to be blamed for the poor results so far. The church is desperate for parents to wake up and realize they are losing the battle – and parents are desperate for help, not blame.
In the next Kidology Online Training Leadership Lab, the topic is Partnering with Parents. While there have been many great books to come out in recent years on the topic, I believe there is a critical oversight that may just transform the way you do ministry to parents and families. I’m not talking about another program or special event. I’m not suggesting another resource to buy or technique to attempt. I will be presenting a radical new approach to partnering with parents that once you read it will make perfect sense – though it may be something you’ve never even considered before!
It’s time to stop “business as usual,” and it’s time to stop blaming parents for the alarming results we are seeing in the children who out-grow Christianity as soon as they out-grow church. There IS a way to partner with parents that may just turn your children’ ministry upside down. Begin praying now for God to open your mind and heart to a new way to partner with parents – and keep an eye out for a thought-provoking Leadership Lab, due out in just weeks.
Discussion of this article available on Kidology.org
1Circular letter regarding the establishing of Sunday Schools. Leaflet. Printed Epherma Collection, Portfolio 52, Folder 4. Boston, 1818. [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/rbpe.05200400] Much thanks to Lois Darboone for the research help.
This past weekend I was honored to be invited as they keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Spiritual Formation Ministry of the Wesleyan Church. (see www.wesleyankids.org) It was called The Huddle, and while there was several these Huddles around the country, I was at the Shenandoah district hosted by Parkway Wesleyan Church in Roanoke, Virginia.
Marty Martin, a Kidology CP Team member, invited me over a year ago and knew to lure me with pictures of the mountains that surround the church. I highly recommend installing mountains around your church!
The church is located on the top of it’s own mountain with a beautiful winding road leading up to it and has a spectacular view of the entire city.
Marty and his wife Patsy posing in a brisk cold wind in front of the church. They are an awesome team. Patsy leads the children’s worship as well helps with many other behind-the-scenes things. There joy of serving the Lord together was so evident.
It was obvious right away that this was a church that understands children. From the wind tunnel dude greeting visitors to the playground, granted, it was too cold to be filled wit children on Sunday!
Parkview has done a lot to communicate to parents that the church values children, and to make kids feel right at home.
When I got to the sign in desk there was a mom working with two adorable girls. As soon as I got my camera out and asked them to pose for a picture they vanished! (Oh, well) But they had a great security system. Every parents checks in and a two part tag is taken for each child with one half going to the child and the other to the parent to pick them up at the end. No one is allowed in the children’s ministry areas without either a Volunteer Badge (I know, I got stopped!) or a Parent Tag. And before an adult can leave with a child the two tags must be matched. There was a volunteer stationed at every door to the children’s ministry areas serving as a security guard. What a way to let parents know that the church takes the safety of their children very seriously. But seriousness if for adults, the kids are looking for FUN!
And a FUN children’s ministry it is! It is known as “The Kove,” and has a beach and underwater theme.
Aside from fun signs, surf boards, and fish nets, the rooms are amazingly decorated.
The preschool worship center is an underwater theme with an island for teaching, complete with a fountain with real water pouring:
And for the walls, instead of just painting fish, they had the children make hand prints on the walls that they then painted to make into fish, here are just just a few samples:
They let me know that they aren’t done yet, and still have some more to do, but I was impressed with what I saw!
The preschoolers each have their own rooms by age, but came together for a very lively and interactive time of singing and a group activity. This week they hunted the Kove for “lost sheep.” (cleverly disguised as cotton balls)
Marty contemplating the deeper mysteries of children’s ministry with the talking tree in the hallway. The building is filled with fun activities for children:
The games are all available for the kids who come early, as well as for a 10-15 minute segment during Sunday School. For the younger children (1st and 2nd grade), they get a play break in the middle of the Sunday School hour while the older kids have their play time either at the beginning or end. It provides a nice break for them and, of course, provides another reason for kids to want to come to church. However, Parkway offers a special class for combined 2-5th grade for students who want to go deeper into Bible study. This is provided for the more solidly grounded kids from strong Christian homes. I dropped in as they were doing a study through the book of Genesis. I like the option that is offered to parents.
I especially liked that despite the busyness of a Sunday morning, Marty still had time to meet with a boy and his parents who had accepted Christ and to give him a special book to remember the occasion. (It was a neat book where the child puts a picture of themself in the back and then their face is in the story on every page because of a cut out. He gave me a copy for my little boy.)
Finally, it was time for Kid’s Church, my favorite part of Sunday!
I love how much they use kids to serve! Above you see the Judah Dancers (who performed at the conference on Saturday) who performed a special number for Kid’s Church.
Marty has put the “Kids” back in “Kids Church!” There were kids leading worship, running the tech booth, and serving as ushers. The kids sign up in the hallway for weeks ahead of time and then each week it is posted who is serving where this week.
And even aside from advance serving positions, throughout the service, if there was anything a kid could do, a kid did do!
Here is a girl working the prize store that opens after church where the kids can spend the paper money they can earn during the service by answering questions, being well behaved, etc.
But the service wasn’t only about fun and decor – there was a great message for kids too! Here is Marty dressed in one of their many regular characters that visit. Their current unit is “Dirty Jobs of the Bible” and the topic was Fishing, so a hilly billy guy (I forgot his name!) came out and talked about how dirty fishing is. Marty also had a video of him going to a fish market and learning to gut a fish. Yes! He showed a fish getting de-capitated and gutted in children’s church! The kids loved it, especially when he broke open a clam and ate the raw meat inside. (Yuck!)
It’s obvious that Marty knows the power of humor, drama and story telling to capture the attention and then the hearts and minds of kids!
Then he went through several facts about fishing and how they relate to our Christian life. It was a great lesson and all the different creative elements came together so appropriately for the lesson. It was fun, but it was fun with a defined purpose in focus.
Marty asked me to come on Sunday as a consultant to provide some evaluation and input on ways they can improve as a ministry, and while I was able to come up with a few ideas and suggestions, it was almost a stretch. They have a few things they can improve (don’t we all) but overall, they are dong a FANTASTIC job at Parkway Wesleyan Church.
I didn’t want to post pictures of everything they have done, but I thought it was a great idea to have these classic funny mirrors in the hallway for the kids. I even had some fun with them:
I think what I liked best about the children’s ministry at Pastor Marty’s church can’t be captured in pictures. When I visit churches there are always lots of pictures to take and post and the unintended message can be that facilities are what is most important or was the highlight. Far from it. As addressed head on in the Kidology Online Training Lab Kid-Focused Ministry Foundations, fun is important, but only as a means to an end, not as the end itself.
What I loved the most at Parkway is hard to describe, but the easiest way to say it is that kids are allowed to be kids. There was no attempt to get kids to somehow act like well behaved mini-adults. They were allowed to play, to laugh, to wiggle, and to be more than just a little noisy at times. They were never out of control, but they were never completely under control either – the way I like it – the way it should be when dealing with a large group of children. There was a healthy release from trying to manage and control every child. They were in a secure environment, and had a focus and purpose for why they were there, but within the safe area and collective purpose, they were allowed to be wired as God wired them, and that isn’t to sit still and listen the entire time. They got to laugh and play and watch and listen and respond and sing and at times, not even pay attention – but they learned and engaged. It was a masterfully orchestrated service that understood how kids are made. I was very impressed.
One of the things I liked the best is what they call their helpers who are out among the children during the service, they are called the Love Patrol. I love that! Patsy, Marty’s wife, explained why she calls them that when I asked later. “Our first job is to love the kids, so that is why the helpers are there. But the kids do need some patroling too, so we call them Love Patrol so they don’t forget that their #1 job is to love on the kids, even as they correct behavior or guide them back toward the stage.” (not an exact quote, my summary!)
But the secret to their ability to love on and teach kids without feeling like they have to be in constant absolute strict control every momment probably stems from the fact that their home is filled with five boys!
It was pretty obvious that the secret to Pastor Marty’s success as a children’s pastor lies in his success as a dad of two boys, two adopted boys and a being a foster parent as well. (And his home partner is his ministry partner as well!) Marty and Patsy have a children’s ministry at church and at home. When Jesus said, “If you love me, feed my sheep” the Martins took that quite literally! (I know, I had spaghetti dinner at their house!)
See more pictures from the trip in my online gallery:
BONUS: See me eating a snake on Marty’s blog!
Next entries »
Sometimes you can’t decide which picture you like the best! I’m about to blog about my trip to Virginia this past weekend, but I wanted to post a picture of my “welcome home” dinner at Chili’s. My little boy is so cute, I couldn’t decide which picture I liked the best. Children have so many expressions it is impossible to capture them all, so here is simple a book mark I made myself with all four. Humor me and tell me how adorable he is!
It’s nice to be home! I am so blessed to have in my home the sweetest, nicest, most lovable little by on the earth. I can hear him yelling “Daddy” even before I get to the front door when I come home each day. I want every day to go by as slowly as possible. His hugs and kisses and smiles and teachable spirit is such a joy. Watching his personality and humor develop is incredible. I’ve always heard about “terrible two’s” but at almost 28 months this little boy is nothing but “terrific two!” That doesn’t mean there isn’t training going on, but with loving, gentle, yet firm and consistent correction, he is responding so well. He is learning so much, and the joy of teaching him about life is incredible.
To all the dads out there – don’t miss a day – soak it up - it’s a limited window of time and opportunity. Don’t let anything else become more important than loving, teaching and training your children and spending TIME with them each and every day possible.