Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for September, 2010
Michael n Karl, er, Karl n Micheal!
Now there is an easy and uniquely visual way for you to connect with others in children’s ministry who live near you. You’ve long been able to interact with your “kidmin” peers in the free Kidology.org Forums or on sites like CM Connect, but a discussion forum doesn’t easily help you know where people live – and more importantly, who lives near YOU!
But now, Micheal Chanley, the same mega-networker and innovator who created CM Connect has done it again, this time creating IMAKIDMIN.com, a site specifically designed to help those in children’s ministry find who lives near them. And like CM Connect, it is completely free to the users.
You can list yourself on the main map page, but also on the blog page, twitter page and facebook page too. Eventually there will be individual maps for each state as the population of the site grows, a few states have already been launched.
HOWEVER – I’m most excited to announce an IMAKIDMIN KIDOLOGY PAGE where Kidology Members can list themselves so that Kidology Folks can network and find out where each other live as well.
Here is a cool historical image of what the Kidology Imakidmin Map looked like blank, as it is already filling in! We even have a global map below this USA Map since we have members all over the world.
So visit: www.kidology.org/imakidmin and sign up and find out what other Kidology Members live near you! And if they aren’t too far, plan a get together to visit each others churches and network and share ideas and encourage each other. After all, that is the ultimate purpose of this site, that we get off the web and get together in person. I can’t wait for my first IN PERSON MEETING that came about as a result of IMAKIDMIN.com
Yosemite Summit was first a dream – a weak sliver of a dream in the mind of a frail and broken man who was issued a challenge by his pastor to dare to intentionally build re-creation into his life.
I have written the story in detail in the post, “Thank You Pastor Jeff Griffin.”
It took another two years for that dream to become a reality. First, I needed to heal the wounds of my own brokenness – and the consequences of overextended ministry passion. My marriage, my soul and many relationships needed focused repentance, repair and restoration.
Only then was I ready invite others to join me on a retreat in Yosemite for a week of hiking, reflection, and connecting with God in a way I had never done before.
At first I was going to go alone. Then with just one friend. And then I realized – I can’t be the only children’s pastor who needs this. So I created Yosemite Summit – an annual event where I CHECK OUT of ministry and CHECK IN with God and make sure I never again get going so fast, I out-pace God.
I’ve now done this event three times and every year has bee so unique, I can’t wait to see what God does in 2011 to make the fourth Summit special.
The event isn’t cheap – it costs me over $5000 to pull off this event, regardless of whether 3 or 8 guys come. The cost is basically the same, for the lodge, the van, the fuel, and all the food. If I can fill the lodge, it averages out to about $600 each. So that is what I charge, I actually lose money every year. But I don’t do this to make money – I do it because I need it. And because I know other men need it too.
However, I know that there are guys who need this event, but can’t afford to pay that much – plus the airfare to get to Sacramento. So this year, I’m taking a step of faith, and instead of offering a few scholarships, like I did last year – to help a few guys come for free – instead, I am going to offer the option of allowing guys to optionally pay less – on their honor – if they need to.
Hear me out, if a guy’s church can afford the full $625 plus the Sacramento lodging (that’s an extra $100 that everyone pays) then I expect ‘em to pay. BUT if they need to pay less, I’m giving that option, between them and God.
One year, I had a guy from a big church who picked up the gasoline on the 15 passenger gas a few times to help me out. I’ve had others who have donated. I’m gonna trust God to honor this, because I have a sense there are a few guys who NEED this trip, and I want them on it…
There are only a few openings available. My only concern with this is, I don’t want to scare off guys who CAN afford it. This retreat is open and available to anyone who needs it. Big church, little church – doesn’t matter. There are guys at big churches who can easily afford it – and they need it! They are crazy busy, and NEED to get away and disconnect and hike and commune with God.
But I just want to also make sure that guys who look at that $625 price tag and say, “I could never go to Yosemite Summit” to know that they CAN come… I’m willing to work with them and they can opt to pay several hundred dollars less.
Details are on the COST page of the Yosemite Summit site.
Please pray with me that God would bring together, again, just the right group of guys for Yosemite Summit 2011.
Help Spread the Word: http://tinyurl.com/YS11reg
One of my “Kidologist Secrets” of relating to kids is to have fun games or “inside jokes” with the kids who I love. It makes them feel special – and let’s them know they are more than just another kid to me. They are unique. They are one of my favorites. I’ve always had a running joke that I was my Grammy’s favorite of her nine grandchildren. Of course, I assumed every grandchild believed that! But it was a theory I loved to humorously defend. In fact, at my grammy’s wake last week, in one of the photo albums featuring full sized photos of her grandkids, when I discovered I was on page one, I proudly declared, “See!? I was her favorite!” and was greeted with groans and rolled eyes.
Imagine my surprise when during the memorial service my father read a note written by my Grammy where she wrote, “To set the matter straight as to my favorite grandchild, not withstanding Karl’s claims to whit – I loved all my grandchildren the same.” Everybody laughed. I had no idea my claimed to favoritehood had gained Grammy’s attention to the point she decided to set the record the straight in her service! It was all in good spirit, and the teasing I got afterward was well deserved!
But there was a reason I felt extra special I can now reveal that I shared during the service that began some thirty years ago, and that applied to children’s ministry and what I mentioned as I began… the power of secret game that makes a child feel extra special, even for thirty years!
When I was ten years old I saved up my money and bought my own ticket to fly from California to Indiana to spend a summer living with my grand parents. (I did this several times actually.) During the first visit they set up a room for me in the basement that became my home-away-from-home. And I loved these stays with Grammy and Grandpa!
I went to Cubs games with Grampa and learned to sew from Grammy. (That Garfield puppet was the beginnings of making puppet costumes, though Grampa didn’t really approve of that.) I went downtown Chicago on the train with Grammy often and in the evenings watched Columbo and played Rummy – a card game. However, one of my ways of entertaining myself was to toss tennis balls at the stairs in the basement like a pitch back and one time I left them on the stairs and later, Grammy gave me a very gentle scolding not to leave them on the stairs lest she step on one and fall down the stairs. But the next day, I accidentally left all four on tennis balls on the stairs again. Instead of just scolding me, she instead humorously reminded me by saying that she thought my tennis balls were out to get her as they looked like they were coming to get her, because they were higher up the stairs this time, each on a separate stair, and I’d better lock them up, because obviously, I couldn’t have left them there, since she told me yesterday to put them away after I played with them. I played along and said I had put them away and that they must be alive. (I said it in a way that she knew I wasn’t lying, I was playing along.)
The next day, to keep the joke going, after I played with the four tennis balls, I remembered the kind way she had reminded me, but instead of putting them away, I put them in the kitchen, at the top of the stairs, four in a row, across the kitchen, as though they were “alive” and heading toward her room. Instead of her making a joke about it, she simply moved them later, placing them four in row in the basement heading toward my room.
This began an unspoken joke, that lasted thirty years. All that summer, the tennis balls continued to be placed, when the other wasn’t around, four in row closer and closer to the others room, until they were in each other’s bed. Then in our clothes, and then finally just being hidden in places we were sure to find. When I finally flew home, I found the tennis balls packed in my luggage. Grammy assumed the game was over. Little did she know!
When I returned the next summer, the tennis balls returned with me! Any time I came to visit as a young college man, a tennis ball was hidden in her home. I once lived with her for a summer in college and the tennis ball war was resumed though we never spoke a word of it! When she came to visit me, as a young married man, soon after, I would find a tennis ball somewhere in my house. Even as she lived in different states around the country, and me too, the tennis ball war continued, often with years between the secret placement, though over the years, it had at some point gone from the original four to just one strategically placed tennis ball. Many times we simply had to just buy a new one. It didn’t matter. It was more about leaving a tennis ball behind. It was our way of saying, “I love you, you’re special.” It was Grammy’s way of saying to me, “You’re still that little playful boy to me, and you always will be.”
I’ll look at tennis balls and cry sometimes now and people will think I’m nuts. But you will understand. A silly yellow ball holds a lot of love for me. All because my Grammy decided to be playful with a child, and then just decided never to stop. And people wonder why I thought I was her favorite. I’m O.K. with all her grand kids thinking they were her favorite. They all were, in different ways.
The same can be true in your kids ministry. You can have favorites. EVERY kid can be convinced that they are your favorite. And they can all be right!
People ask me all the time what’s the secret to connecting with kids. Have you figured it out yet? YOU are the secret.
Imagine getting a brochure in the mail: Salvation Conference – O’Hare Hyatt – Jesus, God’s Son, lecturing on God’s Eternal Plan for the Salvation of Mankind. Admission Free. Come ready to study the prophetic Old Testament Scriptures and the Types of Christ that point to the Soteriological Position and Role of Jesus.
Not many people would be drawn to a training seminar on Semitic salvation – and that is why Jesus didn’t come and undertake an educational ministry, but rather a relational ministry! Jesus came to this earth, born as a child, grew up within the culture, ministered to felt needs, and made friends who He made into disciples to carry on the ministry after His redeeming work on the cross.
And yet, so often we try to minister to children through a primarily educational ministry instead of a relational ministry! Yes, Jesus had a message to communicate and did a great deal of teaching – but He delivered His eternal message within the culture and within a relational context. In Children’s Ministry we must do the same!
Jesus ministered within the culture.
Jesus could have made a ‘grand entrance’ as an adult – much in the same style as when He left for heaven. From one perspective, some might say this may have helped his reception as the Messiah, but instead, He chose to come as a child. Jesus chose to grow up within the culture. No one could say of Jesus that He didn’t ‘understand’ or had never ‘walked in our shoes.’ The book of Hebrews teaches us that He suffered and was tempted in all ways as we are. He knew whom He was ministering to, not only as their Creator, but as One who had experienced it first hand as well. Perhaps this made His ministry more difficult, but it certainly made it more effective. Ministry to children is not much different! We need to be willing to get into the culture of children and minister to them from within that culture. Yes, this will make ministry more difficult! Some will even misunderstand and accuse you of untrue things (being immature, childish, a clown, etc.), BUT your ministry WILL be more effective!
Jesus ministered to felt needs.
The multitudes that Jesus was ministering to were in desperate need of spiritual salvation and freedom from the bondage of superficial religion and the eternal consequences of trying to work themselves into God’s favor. However, their focus was more on their temporal aches and pains and political struggles. Jesus could have rebuked them for worrying about the wrong things and tried to redirect them toward the things that truly mattered in the scope of eternity. But instead, He graciously and patiently chose to attend to those temporal concerns, all the while drawing them to the things they should be thinking about. The same is true in a children’s ministry! Are kids thinking often about spiritual things? Their eternal destiny? How they can please God in day-to-day life? The salvation of their friends? Probably not. It’s more likely they are thinking about toys, television, the next time they will get to play outside or some other activity that is fun and certainly eternally irrelevant! That’s O.K. (Adults are not much different!) It is the children’s minister’s job to accept those ‘less than spiritual’ concerns and while addressing them, be continually drawing them up to the more important eternal concepts they should be thinking about. That is why church needs to be fun – but a strategic fun with a purpose. Not merely entertaining, but engaging the kids so as to lead them on to more essential concepts.
Jesus made disciples who would carry on the work after He left.
While Jesus certainly ministered to the multitudes, He focused the majority of His time on a few men we know as the disciples. It was these twelve men and those they in turn trained, that turned the world up side down for the rest of history. Without the development of the disciples, Jesus’ ministry would have only been a great show for three years. Instead, His ministry was the stone that was dropped to start a tidal wave of ministry that has only grown larger over time! Yet all too often in ministry, you see people who put on a great show for awhile – some fantastic kid’s program, for example – and then when they are gone, all that is left are great memories of a wonderful time, instead of a lasting memory. This need not be! In children’s ministry, it is essential that we continually build a team that will outlast us – not only in our particular church – but outlive us in life. This means not only training fellow adults – but also enlisting and equipping children to serve as well!
This is why later, we will address in detail how to start a “Kids Church Crew” of children who can learn to plan, organize, lead and minister in the Kid’s Church program!
A PRINCIPLE-DRIVEN MINISTRY
- Jesus ministered within the culture.
- Jesus ministered to felt needs.
- Jesus made disciples who would carry on the work after He left.
THEREFORE CHILDREN’S CHURCH MUST ….
- Be kid-centered. Minister from within the “Kid Culture.”
- Be aimed at kids’ interests and contemporary needs.
- Be disciple – driven. Equip kids for ministry after you are gone.
- Is your Kid’s Church service kid-centered? Does it minister from within the “Kid Culture?”
- Is it aimed at kids’ interests and contemporary needs?
- Is it developing disciples? Are there kids being equipped for ministry after you are gone?
This is an excerpt from Part One of The Kids Church Cookbook
, Called to be a Chef of God’s Word.
Next entries »
I am sad to report that my 94 year old grammy passed away just weeks before her 95th birthday after going into the hospital on what would have been my grandpa’s 101st birthday. She passed quietly and peacefully while listening to Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer.
Me and My Grammy Maggie Just One Year Ago at Navy Pier
I was supposed to be traveling to speak at a family ministry conference, but when she got ill, family suddenly was more important than a “family ministry conference” – so I called and asked if I could back out last minute. They were very gracious and understanding. So instead of speaking at this national conference I had been looking forward to for two years, I was at my Grammy’s funeral.
My Grammy with Her Favorite Grandchild ;)
In love with Downtown Chicago, last year I had the honor of taking her on a “date” downtown with my wife and four year old for what we knew would probably be her last excursion downtown, as it was getting harder and harder for her to venture out. This was an annual dinner cruise my wife and I did to celebrate our first date as Moody Bible students, and since we were moving to Colorado last October, we knew this 20th occasion would conclude our tradition and she was so honored to be invited – though it did take some arm twisting to get her to go through with it, even after I’d bought the tickets. But oh how she loved the outing, and she has thanked me probably a hundred times over the past year for “making her” go. Later I will post more pictures from that special day.
This amazing lady lived on her own even thought she never got a drivers license. She always remembered your birthday and anniversary and believed in hand written cards and letters, even though she did pick up e-mail over ten years ago knowing it was the only way she’d get us to write to her.
Teachin’ an Old Lady New Tricks
I did try to teach her the way of the Mac – but in the end, she decided to stick with her text only e-mail machine, even though she couldn’t get pictures. The laptop had too many buttons and the things on the screen to click was a little much!
Gonna Miss That Smile a LOT
It was really fun the time I was “borrowing” a wireless Internet connection from a neighbor upstairs by holding my laptop up to the ceiling to get some e-mail, and was trying to explain why I was holding my laptop to the ceiling because her upstairs neighbor had an unsecured wireless network and I could borrow their Internet and get my e-mail…. she just laughed and said, “what will they come up with next?” But after asking several thoughtful questions – I think she actually got it!
I have the joy of putting together a photo video for her memorial service, and am actually posting this via broadband card as we drive across the country. I’ll post the video once it is done and the service is over.
Good Bye Grammy… I’ll Walk With You Again Someday.