From Facebook to Sierra Madre

Just when I wonder if I spend too much time on Twitter or Facebook, I have an experience that makes me glad that I stay connected and accessible via the Internet. Case in point: Recently I traveled to California to speak at a Spanish conference and so I took the family along so we could introduce our son to Mickey Mouse in person while I was there. As I often do, I was posting my adventures (including my lost luggage!) via Twitter which auto-matically updates my Facebook status. Next thing I know, I hear from a Kidology user, Kristy, who’ve I met at CPC Kidology Gatherings:

Turns out, I am available on the 9th – and so got the privilege of heading up to beautiful Sierra Madre for an afternoon of teacher encouraging! Good thing I have good prayer support, as you can see, I was really suffering for Jesus that afternoon.

Notice the turtleneck! Funny thing was, it was in the 60’s and I was enjoying what I thought was a beautiful warm California day and yet the kids and some adults were commenting on how “cold it was.” Ha. These poor people don’t know what cold is!

The church has several building right in a nice downtown area with the community park across the street. I learned that the “Old North Church” is called old, because across the street is the “New South Church.”

It’s “new” because it was only built 100 years ago! Across the street next to the “old” church is a new children’s ministry building. Really, truly, it is new. In fact, they had only been in it for six weeks the Sunday I visited. Now what are they going to call the “New South Church?” The “Not As New, But Still Newer Than the Really Old Church.”

After seeing the view, I immediately wondered if Kristy should consider retiring and giving me her job! Such a beautiful area, and, oh yeah, so “cold.”

Inside the “Really New, Really” building, they had Easy Risers for their seating. (I love those!) and the rooms were all creatively decorated and kid-friendly. While they are new in the building, I like a clean, neat, attractive simple look that simply communicates that this area is for children.

One of the perks of being in “cold” California, you can meet outside in the frigid weather for class!

I love visiting churches and seeing what creative things different children’s pastors have come up with. And I LOVED this idea! All the students have a personal folder that they bring every week to church. Here is a close up:

They keep their notes inside, and on the outside they go home with the verse and a challenge. (These pockets are empty because this was taken before class.) They also earn “tallents” for various things, including bringinfg their folder back, which can be spent in the store that opens monthly, which happened to be the week I was visiting.

Some things never change – “stores” are a great incentive for kids to be engaged and work toward goals so they get some tangible benefit for thier hard work. While there is a popular trend agaist extrinsic motivators, until I meet an adult that is completely intrinsicly motivated, I think there is a place for rewarding children for hard work. And I’ve seen it work in both the long and the short term. Kids form habits while they are young that remain long after they outgrow the “store” or need for the simple toys and prizes.

Here is Jordan finding out how much he has to spend in the store. He was there early and ran to the store when it was time. After hanging out with him for awhile before church, I found myself thinking ee was one of those kids you say, “I hope my son turns out like him!”

Kristy has a lot of energy and does a great job not only relating to the kids, but equipping and encouraging her volunteers too. I lost track of how many times she said something postivie about a volunteer or expressed the potential in a young helper. They’ve be blessed to have her for eight years, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting her job anytime soon. Besides, it’s too “cold” there!

Besides being a wonderful CP, she is teachable and committed to encouraging and equipping her volunteers. She asked me to do my favorite workshop, “Kidology 101” and I as she introduced me I got to hear a wonderful story of how it impacted her eight years ago at her first CPC when she was a brand new children’s pastor. That’s what it’s all about. You never know who you are impacting, and sometimes you don’t find out for years. Many times, you never find out. And that’s O.K. But thanks to Facebook, I got to find out this story, and minister to some kids in children’s church and volunteers over lunch. It was a great day!

And she wasn’t “late” with the Mountain Dew, but I was looking for some caffeine to combat the frigid temperatures! A Dew in need, is a Dew indeed!

Thanks, Kristy, for the update, for connecting with others who love kids, and for a great opportunity to minister to your kids and volunteers, it was a great day. (Oh, and for the Dew too!)

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  1. That’s a great story. I’ve had something similar. While driving through a God-Forsaken part of Texas I twittered about it. Turns out that my team leader from a mission trip over 10 years ago lived there (bless his poor soul) and he saw my facebook update. We connected for breakfast and it was amazing. I’m a big believer in connectivity… I just need to set some healthier boundaries for how much time I work on being connected. ;)

  2. Great post…. it was very encouraging to me and a SUPER example of social networking!

  3. Thank you sooo much for all the kuddos and the cheap shots about us Californians being weather wimps!

    All kidding aside, I really did appreciate what you wrote about our ministry here. I really am blessed to work in such a beautiful location and with such amazing people. If (and that’s a REALLY big if), I ever entertain the thought of leaving, I’ll let you know! ;o)

    Kristy ;o)

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