The Kidologist Top Ten of CM

I got an e-mail yesterday with a request from a senior pastor who will soon be speaking to a gathering of children’s pastors from around the country. He asked me:

If you were a denominational Christian Education Director who oversaw the children’s ministry for all the  churches in a given state or region:
1. What 10 recent books would you read or tell other directors about?
2. What 10 web-sites would you share with other directors?
3. What 10 experiences, conferences or resources would you tell other directors about?

My response, “Sounds like a great blog post!” So here it is:

The Kidologist’s Top Ten Books for CM

  1. Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions by George Barna
    This is a must read for senior pastors as well as children’s pastors. Barna finally supports with research what children’s ministry leaders have known for decades.
  2. Rock Solid Kids by Larry Fowler
    The best biblical case made for church to prioritize ministry to children and to engage parents in the process rather than trying to do it for them.
  3. Raising a Modern Day Joseph by Larry Fowler
    Just released, this follow up to Rock Solid lays out a very doable strategy for the entire church to intentionally focus on raising up kids who stand strong against the culture.
  4. Parenting is Heart Work by Scott Turansky & JoAnne Miller
    The parenting book that finally address the heart, not behavior. For too long have books and seminars focused on helping kids behave, rather than shaping hearts. Applicable to the church as much as the home.
  5. Building Faith at Home by Mark Holmen
    One of three books by Holman that lay out a strategy for engaging parents to take the lead in raising up children in the Christian faith.
  6. Lead the Way God Made You by Larry Shallenberger
    Instead of modeling your life after a leader you admire, Larry will show you how to lead the way you were meant to lead. Larry profiles me in one chapter exposing my weaknesses to the world!
  7. The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School by Aaron Reynolds
    While “reinvention” may be an overstatement, it IS a fresh presentation of creative teaching that will make a difference in kids lives. Challenges thinking and is loaded with tips and examples.
  8. Grow, Minister and Lead by Bill Allison
    Everything from Cadre Ministries is concise, on target, and loaded with practical advice and encouragement that builds the leader as much as his leadership.
  9. The Kidology Handbook by Karl Bastian
    Called by many their manual for ministry, this PDF book is a blueprint for relational ministry, creative teaching and can serve as a teacher training resource as well.
  10. Running on Empty by Fil Anderson
    While not directly a children’s ministry book, it is one I wish I’d read years sooner and that many other overachieving children’s pastors may find pivotal in how they approach life as well as ministry.

The Kidologist’s Top Ten Websites for CM

    Since 1994 the leading children’s ministry website with more features than can be listed in a single sentence. If you could only have one site, this would be it. However, since you can have more:
    The newest CM site, like Facebook for Children’s Ministery leaders.
  3. Children’s Ministry University Online
    Earn a children’s ministry degree online. Excellent courses!
    Primarily articles but offers some affordable training tools as well.
    The best place for resources for equipping and supporting parents in the church. Fantastic e-mail newsletter with parenting tips you can pass on in your own communication.
  6. – Children’s Ministry Magazine
    The standard bearer of children’s ministry with a battalion of resources from its standard magazine, professional edition, books, resources, curriculum and conferences.
  7. & K! Magazine
    Creative media teaching resources and the new K! Magazine provides a fresh perspective from many new voices.
  8. for books, curriculum & more
    The trusted source for discounted children’s curriculum from all major publishers plus nearly any book you may be looking for. Known for the personal attention they give their customers.
  9. &
    The latest online video channel from Phil Vischer (Creator of VeggieTales) and a place where you can purchase videos to use in your own ministry.
  10. Toys Teaching Biblical Truths
    Karl never imagined this teaching tool he created for the kids of his own church would gain a cult following and end up having videos being shown in hundreds of churches across America.

HONORABLE MENTION: There has been an explosion in recent years in children’s ministry related blogs, there is simply no way to list them all, or choose just one, to put in a “Top Ten” list. (Visit mine!) Rather than merely being a place for helpful content, the Internet is now interactive as children’s ministry leaders connect and share information peer to peer. Facebook is rapidly growing as is were you can network in real time with others who share your passion for children’s ministry. (I’m on both!)

The Kidologist’s Top Ten Experiences for CM

  1. Sunday Worship (See your church website for details)
    There is no substitute for regular weekly worship with your local Body of Christ. You are a Christian before you are a leader. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…” (O.K., getting off the soap box!)
  2. Children’s Pastors Conference
    The #1 children’s ministry conference. Often imitated, never duplicated. CPC is the first major conference any children’s ministr leader should attend. No other conference offers an Exhibit Hall packed with resources like CPC.
  3. Conspire Conference (Willow Creek)
    Amazing corporate worship, “big name” speakers, and a wide variety of breakouts. Plus, it’s in Chicago!
  4. Orange Conference
    The conference with the most “buzz” due to speaker line-up and a unified message and challenge to creatively adapt ministry to a new era. Strong focus on partnering with parents.
  5. D6 Conference (NEW!)
    A brand new conference from championing a comprehensive approach to children and family ministry inspired by Deuteronomy chapter six.
  6. How 2 Conference (NEW)
    Group’s regional conferencing promising to help children’s ministry leaders get organized and then be prepared to train their own leaders back at their home church.
  7. One Way Street Conferences
    Puppet Festivals and creative art conferences around the country and as entertaining as they are practical.
  8. Kidology Coaching
    If you can’t travel to a conference, a seasoned personal coach can guide you through helpful materials customized to your ministry at your own pace while responding your current needs and struggles.
  9. Online Training
    Leadership Development right on your computer that also equips you to turn around and train your own leaders and volunteers. Conferences are great, but when they aren’t possible, focused training is still possible.
  10. Yosemite Summit
    The UNconference for children’s ministry leaders. No workshops – Just worship; No resources – just relationships; No networking – just God working. Spend four exhilarating days hiking in the spectacular Yosemite Valley with other children’s pastors. It may be that the best thing for your ministry, is to disconnect from ministry, and reconnect with God.

Forgive me for including some of my own resources/events, but hey, it’s my blog and I think they are in the top ten, even if I am a little biased. Of course, anytime you make a list – you can’t include everything – and nothing negative is inferred by the absence of any resource, ministry or event not included. It was difficult to keep it at ten.

However, my list need not be final! PLEASE use the comments to let me know of any books, websites or events/resources not listed above that you would include in YOUR “Top Ten” list!

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  1. Hi Pastor Karl,
    Great list, I am soooo glad that I’ve read most of the books (ordering “Running on Empty”- oh yeah), regularly visit all of the websites, and hope to attend at least ONE of those conferences! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Larry Shallenberger

    I protest, Karl. I think i exposed a hidden strength of yours! I walked away from that interview and worked on rebuilding my coaching-style.

  3. Thanks for the compliment! And I was just messin’ with you! (How do you humbly say you are profiled in a leadership book? So I teased that you wrote about my weaknesses as well as my strengths.) I really appreciated being in your book, and learned a LOT about myself from your “drama coach” description of my style. After reading your book I FINALLY understood my own style of leadership! Just last night in a meeting with the leadership at my new church were I am now a volunteer under the CM director, I referred to your book when I was asked how I function working under someone who is less skilled, experienced and educated than I am – and I pointed to your book as proof that I thrive in that role! I prefer to be in that role! That the drama coach is the leader who has the talent to be the star of the show but is more content and fulfilled when he can coach someone else to be the star of the show and watch from the side stage and hear their student get the applause and have no one know their role. That is what is all about. I’m am happiest when others succeed as a result of my hard work. I comfortable in the spotlight, but its not were I prefer to be. I prefer to help others shine. Thanks for helping me understand how God designed me. It has shaped Kidology and my leadership.

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