Tonight was the night for our annual family pumpkin carving. Which means, I carve two pumpkins and Sara carves out hers. (I’m not letting Luke handle a sharp knife just yet!) But we did let him design his pumpkin on paper first.
It was fun looking at pumpkin designs online first – and boy oh boy are there some amazing pumpkin designs out there! So much potential in a simple pumpkin! You start with this plain ol’ pumpkin, and yet it can become anything you want it to be. It all depends on how creative you are willing to be, how patient you are willing to be, how careful you are willing to cut away at it, how much time you willing to spend on it, and how unique you want it to be. You can settle for something like everyone else – or you can decide to be different and unique. And of course, practice helps you improve over time. My least favorite part is cleaning out the insides – but it is a necessary evil if you want the light inside to shine out!
It kind of reminds me of how we build our ministries. There is so much potential! And how effective we are all depends on the same factors. Are we willing to look at others to see what they have done? There is lots of help online available too! From Kidology.org and other great websites. And if you are willing to be creative, patient, and carefully cut away at it, and put time and effort into it – you can build a pretty amazing ministry! Are you just going to build a basic one like every other church? Or do something unique and different that will draw kids and families? And of course, practice will help you improve over time. And don’t forget, if you really want God’s Light to shine through you and your ministry, you must be willing to get rid of the junk that that distracts. The good news is – inside that junk, are seeds that can result in spiritual growth!
So how did our pumpkin carving go?
I went with a SCARY pumpkin!
Sara was much more creative and artistic with hers….
Luke made his throwing up…. (totally his idea!)
If we were having a contest, I think Sara won!!
Pumpkins won’t last… but your ministry will have eternal results! If we can put this much time and energy and fun into something so fleeting… what are you doing to make your ministry creative and lasting?
It’s not a contest… but it does matter! BE CREATIVE!
How are you handling Halloween? Kids are seeing a lot of scary images. Our culture is obsessed with evil. As you probably know, I wrote a Halloween Series this year. I just got this e-mail in from someone who just finished it:
We just finished up our final Spooky Lessons of the Bible last night. The kids LOVED it! Great lesson series Pastor Karl.
The kids really enjoyed the gross guessing game. We used peeled grapes for eyeballs, a loofah sponge and jello for a brain, REAL pigs feet from the meat section of the grocery and for the final night, we used pickles and pistachio nuts for gorilla fingers.
But most important, our kids better understand that they don’t have to fear death if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The most powerful story in the series was the final night – the lesson of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Again, thank you for this fun and powerful series. I look forward to seeing what else you have in store for us!
Gainesville Church of God, Florida
Lori mentions the last lesson. Well, I have taken that last lesson, and made it available as a SINGLE LESSON DOWNLOAD you can teach THIS SUNDAY!
The theme of this lesson is based on 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57: “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The focus is on the Resurrection of Jesus and its centrality to the Christian Faith. By teaching this lesson, you’ll be able to redeem the season in a way you’ve never seen before, all while allowing your children to enjoy the season in a wholesome and fun manner.
1 Complete Bible-Based Lesson Plan loaded with Scripture
“Spooky” Bible story
Glow-in-the-Dark Game Ideas
Optional “Gross Guessing Game”
Fun “Scream Theme” main lesson point
Small Group discussion questions
Practical application ideas
A fun, short, (non-scary!) “Mr. Bones” video segment
Editable letter/e-mail to send parents
Let me encourage you to use this opportunity to help kids overcome any fears or concerns they have about Death that come with this season.
The kids loved it! They looked forward to Mr. Bones each week! We did our stories in the dark, around a flashlight and it was amazing at how quiet the kids would get…..and then suddenly….they were screaming. It was the best of both worlds. I don’t know why kids are attracted to things like that, but they are and it was great to be able to offer it to them via a Christian perspective. Thanks, Karl, for a great series.
And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Children are free from so much.
Unlike adults, their default is play not work, imagination not reality, exploration not explanation, curiosity not cautiousness, and best of all they worry about nothing other than their immediate needs and loved ones.
No thoughts are weighed down by the future or world affairs.
They can swing for an hour with no thought to the things still undone on a task list.
They accept complete dependance on those who care for them without question.
Perhaps these are a few of the reasons Jesus asked us to come to Him as children.
As I reflect on the upcoming 6th annualYosemite Summit, I am amazed at all that God has done in my life and in the lives of so many men who have traveled with me to this amazing place over the past five years.
Many have asked me, “How long will you keep doing this?” I usually answer, “at least until next year,” because I don’t ever want to assume to plan ahead of the Lord (James 4:13-15).
But I know this: I need this time away, and I have seen the incredible impact it has had on other men.
Let me just share a few of the things the guys last year shared with me:
The greatest impact was hearing God’s voice and calling me to a personal mountain top experience. This experience allowed God to change my life there at that moment. He drew me close to Him, and there He freed me from the bondage that filled my soul. This spiritual impact has allowed me to continue on a journey daily to be in complete oneness with God.
The biggest “take away” is there are 7 guys that love me for who I am. We all came with different things going on in our lives personally and spiritually. God changed us together and because of that has made each of us stronger and what I would call a “band of Christian brothers” forever.
My highlight was the morning at North Olmstead Point when I heard God’s voice calling me to the top of a mountain. It was a place that God brought me as close to Him as possible and broke me. He drew me to this highest point to share His love with me and then freed me from all the bondage that was weighing me down and quenching my Spirit.
I really needed this Summit. I came home with a greater sense of peace and hope than I’d ever had before. I have a greater sense of who I am as a follower of Christ and what my personal mission is. I realize that the “trail” I’m on is one that God has designed for me and I need to continue to learn and enjoy it. (Even the hard stuff) He opened my eyes to some things right before me that I need to focus on in a better way.
To those considering Yosemite Summit, one guy wrote:
You need this time more than you’ll ever know. Taking time to unplug and get away with a group of guys that God brings together is priceless. Experiencing the beauty of God’s creation, spending time in his Word are times that prepare you for eternity. I believe in Yosemite Summit and it’s opportunity to really re-create someone and allow them a fresh start in life and ministry.
Since I started Yosemite Summit in 2008, men who hiked with me have gone on to create their own Summits, inviting other men to join them on similar retreats. Two of them do a similar retreat in Yosemite, in lodges right near “mine” during the same month. This Summit is reproducing itself.
WHY? Because those who come are changed, and they want others to experience it as well.
YosemiteSummit.org is filled with REPORTS linked at the top of the site from 2008 to 2012 with pictures and a highlight video. If you go through the blog, hitting “Previous Posts” at the bottom, you can travel back through time and read stories of guys whose lives have been changed, why they went, and other encouraging posts.
This is a small “band of brothers” – I only take five guys, and one spot is already taken, so that leaves only four spots left.
There are many amazing conferences that fill banquet rooms and auditoriums with hundreds, some thousands, of children’s ministry leaders singing, listening, learning, and enjoying wonderful fellowship – there is a place for that.
But imagine spending a week with just five other guys, hiking, sitting under some of the highest granite cliffs in the world, at the foot of the tallest water falls in the world, seeing the sun rise and a vista appear that literally takes your breath away, live animals – we’ve seen a bear every year! (and let me mention GOOD home cooked food, including NY Strip Steak!) and through it all experiencing God through prayer, some manly hymn singing, and awesome fellowship in a trusting setting like you may have never experienced before.
Just had to share this YouTube video that my sister made. She may not be a children’s pastor – but she has to be one of THE most awesome volunteers in kids ministry I have ever known. (And, of course, we both had the same mom!) Every church she is at, is blessed to have her, as are the kids she always pours into. While she may never have a kidmin website or blog – she is living out what I write about on Kidology and my blog with her life. And not always in a church setting, she invests in the kids in her community and in the families of those she knows, raising funds for a bike for a kid that got beat up and his bike stolen, to countless other stories.
And so I just wanted to brag on my little sister a bit and show you the Pastor Appreciation video she made for her pastor with the kids in her Sunday School Class. It made my day!
If you enjoyed it, post a comment her that she can read, or comment on the video on YouTube!