It is always a fun and unpredictable time when those who work with children get together! And the highlights of a Children’s Pastors Conference are often from around a table sharing a meal, rather than a workshop or general session – as wonderful and inspiring as they may, in fact, be for helping with one’s ministry. But I’ve long made by Mission one of “Equipping and Encouraging” because I know that laughter is often as needed as another great idea or resource.
In that spirit, one of the highlights of CPC this year, happened not at the conference at all, but as Tom and John and I, joined by some new friends from the shuttle, Darcie and Rebecca, where hanging out at my favorite restaurant in Downtown Disney, The Earl of Sandwhich. When I suggested this location for our pre-conference meal I explained that it was named after the inventor of the sandwich! Which is explained the cups you get your drinks out of:
The History of the Earl of Sandwich
As a bit of fun, I invited each person at the table to read the cup in their own dramatic fashion, as they would if it were a movie trailer, or as they might for a kids church drama. Then, as it turned out, Josh Baker, one of the children’s pastors at the table, informed us that he actually produces full scale dramatic productions every week at his church. He said he doesn’t do voices, but he could rather, approach the subject matter as he would his weekly topics, as a writer/director. “THEN!” said I, “you must create for us the screen play for the Pastor of Sandwich! What is the children’s pastor’s version of the classic story? How might this simple historical event be seem through the eyes of a children’s pastor? What are we missing? And how might it be presented properly?”
On the spot, Josh amazed us by creating a scene, describing the set, the characters, the situations, and unfolding a story, changing it as he went, adapting to our collaborative input as we contributed to the story as it unfolded. In the end, we figured out that the Earl of Sandwich, must have been a children’s pastor who was too busy getting ready for Sunday to stop for lunch and made the sandwich from left-overs in the church kitchen.
I challenged Josh to finish the manuscript and submit it to me later. Here is the finished work. Soon to be a major motion picture from Walden Media and DreamWorks Productions and Disney as soon as funding is secured.
See what creativity can be inspired and spurred when children’s pastors get together and share a sandwich? Creative fellowship is the best fellowship!
THE PASTOR OF SANDWICH
By: Pastor Josh Baker
Capital Baptist Church, Annadale VA
Dedicated to the work of Kidology.org
and the shared fellowship of friends over what else? A sandwich.
Pastor: P (dressed in vintage “Dickens era” clothing if available)
Props: desk, chair, desk lamp, books, pencil or feathered quill (older looking on first five items the better to set the proper time period) paper, trash can, bread, chicken leg, bread knife
[scene opens with P sitting behind a big old desk that is littered with papers, open and closed books, a dimly-lit desk lamp, and an overflowing wastepaper basket near the desk on the floor. P has got his head down looking over his work, head is leaning on left hand, with his fingers spread through his messy, unkempt hair. His right hand nervously taps a well-worn pencil now lacking an eraser.]
Lighting: very dim with just a soft glow, almost candlelight, over the desk.
Music: if available, some instrumental medieval time period or classical Dickens style music could be played softly in the background
(N speaks from a microphone off stage and out of sight)
N: Our scene opens in the English land of Sandwich, Kent, a historic town in southeast England. It was late at night on a Saturday evening in the dead of winter back in the seventeen hundreds…
N: In a scene that would remind one of the classics like Dickens and Scrooge, we find a haggardly looking pastor of children burning the midnight oil seeking inspiration for his message needing to be done for morning worship at his church in Sandwich just a few hours away…
N: Unfortunately, for those of you who write or are thusly employed to provide inspiration to those who seemingly have none, you would know that often when inspiration must be rushed due to deadlines, it is in this time, that inspiration often fails oneself.
N: Thus the night becomes long as one struggles to force a story from one’s brain, all the while praying to God that He would provide where you have found yourself lacking.
N: It was in such a state of mind we find poor Master Montagu, a tireless worker of the church. It is likely that had there not been a hearth and pantry at the church, Montagu would have starved to death many a time over as these late nights were a common practice. But as it was, the church pantry was often found littered with remnants of feasts and celebrations gone by to which Montagu survived his late night writings.
[P exits his desk and goes backstage. He then returns eating a chicken leg and a loaf of bread.]
N: In this time, long before pizza delivery and Chinese take-out, Montagu often relied on appetizer remnants of fruits and vegetables. When he found himself particularly blessed, he would find leftover meat and bread.
P: Tis blessed I am this night! For I have meat and bread! (sitting back down at his desk, he realizes both his hands are full and he can not write)
P: Tis good food, but alas! For I can not work and eat at the same time in such a manner as this! Cursed be I! (pausing to survey the situation deeper and think about what he should do) Wait! Cursed be not I! For I have been blessed with an idea! If I were to take my bread and cut it in two and then place my meat between it, then I could have a free hand in which to write and I also would not get so messy!
[P goes about cutting the bread in two and putting the chicken leg in between and then holding up his creation proudly for all to see.]
P: I do believe I have something here! I believe others will soon be asking to have what I have here in my church of Sandwich- they will be calling to have “the same as Sandwich!”
[P begins to munch on his creation while he puts his head back down to his studies and returns to thinking.]
P (thinking out loud sadly): If only I could be as inspired by God’s Word as I am with this meat and bread tonight! (momentary pause as he thinks) Wait! I do believe I have it!
P (turning to his paper, he begins to scribble quickly and excitedly with his pencil in one hand and the sandwich in his other):
There once was a group of people, quite large indeed you see, that sought the words and inspiration of a Man, calling to them to follow…and yet they were hungry, distracted from his Words. And so the man called out to his disciples and ask them to seek out bread and meat in which to serve the people, but his disciples said unto him, Master! There are too many of them! We shall surely not feed them all!
Despite their disbelief, they sought out amongst the crowd anyone who could provide a creative solution to their problem. Found among the masses was just one small boy with nothing more then a few pieces of bread and a couple fish, mere leftovers most likely from the home pantry and a feast of the night before.
But what inspiration and solution it would provide to the Master! For the humble offering was combined together and miraculously multiplied and the masses were fed while the Master continued to speak!
Boys and girls, if we humbly seek to take what is available to us that the Lord provides and then use our Lord as the source of inspiration towards its use, it can become a blessing to many!
[P setting his pencil down and looking at his sandwich for a moment and then lifting his eyes to heaven:]
P: Thank you God for taking a humble leftover and an ordinary Pastor and combining the two to show the kids how you can combine what others have left behind and a searching soul to bring about a message of blessing!
Lighting: fades out as the P gets up from his desk, turns off his desk lamp and quietly leaves, eating his sandwich.
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!
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!
At middle school tonight, Pastor Michael, our middle school pastor made a HUGE MESS at church!
In case you are wondering… those are feathers!
Hundreds… no. Make that, thousands of feathers!
HOW did these feathers get everywhere, you ask?
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO FIND OUT:
As you heard in the video, the lesson was on Gossip, and Pastor Michael told an old story about a student of a rabbi who was confronted about gossiping about the teacher and he broke open a pillow and asked the student to collect all the feathers. When the student said the request was impossible, the teacher replied that is what gossip is like. You can apologize and be forgiven, but the consequences still blow around and can’t be recovered.
That “spreading of the gossip” was certainly true with the feathers as they spread all over the church building!
The kids tracked the mess all the way out to the lobby! LOL Oh, the stories I could add of lessons I’ve done that made huge messes, but I’ll save those for another time.
What a GREAT WAY to make lesson’s memorable for kids! These students will long remember that when you gossip, you make a mess of things, and you can’t easily get back the words you carelessly tossed about!
Even if it IS a BIG JOB to clean up after the lesson.
A few weeks ago, I took my family to the Monster Truck Rally at the Colorado State Fair, and my little boy LOVED IT! (of course) I enjoyed taking pictures with my zoom lens, and finally got around to making a highlight video… ENJOY:
What IS it about Monster Trucks that makes them so exciting?
Is there a lesson for KIDMIN? I think there is. Do you know the history of Monster Trucks? I’ve learned quite a bit about them as a dad with a boy who is in love with them.
It all began in the mid-1970s, when Bob Chandler, then a St. Louis, MO. construction contractor, owned an F-250 4×4 pickup truck. Chandler used his truck on the job and for off-road family fun on the weekends. But he found ways to break even the toughest of trucks, and that led to the discovery that there was no place in the Midwest to get 4×4 parts and service. Recognizing a potential market, Bob, Marilyn, and Jim Kramer started Midwest Four Wheel Drive & Performance Center.
They still used their 4×4 as a work truck, and partly as a promotional tool for their business. They tried out new parts on the truck, and kept making it bigger and better, always a step (or two) ahead of everyone else. Soon the truck itself became an attraction – especially once he put GIANT WHEELS on it. In 1979, it did its first paid event, a Denver car show. Truck pulls in arenas and stadiums soon followed.
Then, in 1981, Chandler tried something that forever changed the monster truck concept. It fueled an explosion of fan interest and led to a legion of imitators. He decided, just for fun, to see if he could drive BIGFOOT over a couple of junk cars.
The first car crush ever in 1981. A few months later, he duplicated the stunt in a stadium show. The rest is history. In 1983, BIGFOOT began a sponsorship association with Ford Motor Company. In that time, the BIGFOOT fleet has had 16 monster machines and the F-Series pickup has become the world’s best selling vehicle.
Quite simply, MONSTER TRUCKS are just regular trucks – made BIGGER and doing BIGGER things. But people love it. Bob continued to ask, “What will make it more fun?” But he also continued to ask, “What will make it safer?”
Today, drivers are safer than ever with suspension harnesses that keep drivers bouncing in their trucks as they do huge jumps, and their trucks can be remotely turned off by up to three different people outside the truck at the push of a button in case the driver loses control and the truck goes racing toward the stands full of spectators!
What can Kidmin Leaders learn from Monster Trucks?
If you want to draw kids and families to church – ask yourself the same questions Bob did. What needs are there in your community that no one is meeting? Meet them! And you will draw people to your church. Then ask, how can we do church BIGGER and BETTER than ever before? But don’t neglect asking as well, how can we do it safer as well?
When you read about a game or object lesson or skit or other children’s ministry idea – BLOW IT UP! Make it BIGGER AND BETTER. Any idea can be done HUGER!
Whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “What would GIANT TIRES look like in this situation?” Be ahead of the pack and GO FOR IT! You just might stumble onto something that will fill your church with new folks who you can then share the Gospel with. OR, you may just end up with an object lesson or game that is ten times more impactful or memorable.
Turn ordinary ideas into MONSTER IDEAS by blowing them up!
Here’s a “Blast from the Past!” I recently had thousands of pictures scanned by ScanMyPhotos.com and am discovering some fun pictures from over twenty years of ministry as a children’s pastor (as well as lots of fun family pics).
Several of these kids I still know and some I am friends with now on Facebook, even though this was 1993 at the Village Church of Lincolshire, IL. (Pictured here are David and Hannah Shaw, Tina Myers, Athena (Rebecca) Stephens, Tyler and Kelsey Hagen, Matt, Sam and Gab Fuqua, Jennelle, Jenene and Jenna Stanonik, Gina Geavaras, Amy Lane, and others I only remember first names. I am getting old!)
Here is a fun game event I did in my Rookie Year as a full time children’s pastor that I called Sumu Kids:
First, the TEAM PHOTOS:
We did this at a “Sack Lunch Sunday.” Every first Sunday of the month, I let all the grade school kids stay at church for a themed afternoon of fun and games. Its purpose was simply to deepen my relationship with the kids as well as to give parents a nice Sunday afternoon off. (Parent Points!) There was always some spiritual teaching, yes, but that wasn’t the main emphasis. Building relationship was, as it made my teaching more effective during church. (Remembering all these names some 19 years later is proof that Relational Ministry works!)
Here are the kids getting their Sumu Fighter ready:
Gina Geavaras getting in one of the white suits I got from Abbot Laboratories
Abbot Laboratories was located near our church, and I asked volunteer at our church (Byron Wingerd – thanks!) for a few of these awesome zip up lab body suits and he gave me a bunch. (I still have some!) And then the kids stuffed them with toilet paper!
Then….. THE BATTLE!
Of course, the goal was to knock the other person (not over) but out of the circle! The Sumu Kids had to keep their hands either on their hips or just out in the air and could only use their belly to fight. It was hysterical! The kids loved it of course.
Oh, and did I mention they were BLINDFOLDED? Their teammates had to coach them on where to go by yelling instructions! But it was hard to tell which yelling kids were your team, so it took concentration.
The spiritual application?
1) You have to listen carefully to which voices in life you listen to.
2) There are enemies out there who seek to knock you over!
3) We need to work hard to not fall down!
SCRIPTURES I MIGHT HAVE USED: (I don’t actually know, but I know myself and how I think, so I would have used verses like this. NOT ALL of them, but I’m just showing you that after a FUN game the Bible has a LOT to say about standing firm and NOT FALLING DOWN!)
See how the evildoers liefallen— thrown down, not able to rise!
The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Luke 21:19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Have FUN playing games – make it count by incorporating some spiritual teaching – but at the end of the day, we aren’t in ministry to have fun, and we aren’t even in ministry simply to teach. I’m not sure if many of these remember the lesson I taught that day. (Though a well taught lesson becomes part of who they are.) But the relationship impacts deeper than a lesson, and in two directions. I miss these kids very much. Some I’m still in touch with. Others, I cross paths with from time to time, others I know I won’t see again until the New Heaven and Earth – and what a Day that will be!
I think I’ll challenge them to a Sumu Match on the shore of the Crystal Sea!
You may remember awhile back, I did a post called Kidmin Toolkit, and it got WAY over 50 comments and a lot of interaction! It was a lot of fun!
Well, it took awhile to compile all the responses and pick a WINNER – but that original post has been UPDATED with both the winner and PDFs and WORD documents with all the submissions in a list, so you can compile your very own Kidmin Toolkit and BE READY for the next time you suddenly get called to go teach or serve and have no time to plan or pack or prepare – just grab your Kidmin Toolkit and GO!
GO THERE NOW – to see WHO WON, and download the TOOLKIT LISTS!
Leave your NEW COMMENTS HERE, rather then there. I’m especially interested in whether anyone actually creates their Kidmin Toolkit. If you do, send me a picture and I will post it here in this thread! E-mail to karl at kidmintalk.com as I will probably end up talking about this on KidminTalk soon!
Writing the Kid’s Church Cookbook was one of the biggest undertakings I’ve ever done. It was bigger than the Order of the Ancient novel, since it required design work and layout involvement that was much more intense, and bigger than the Kidology Handbook since not only is it over 100 pages longer, but it involved me filming seven complete training videos in a custom kitchen studio all while it was closed over a Christmas break… it was an insane time. I won’t even bother typing all that involved, crazy story best saved for telling in person. While it took over two years to get the editing done, the filming was all done in just 3-4 days almost non-stop without sleep!
This post was inspired by some encouraging words I just got from a Kidology member named Martin Maynard, which I thought I’d share, in case you’ve been considering picking it up: (I edited to shorten and leave some stuff out.)
Karl, the reason I am writing is your Kids Church Cookbook is the best training I have ever come across in my years of reading and studying. I appreciate what you are doing through Kidology, what an amazing site. I wish more folks would grab a hold of what you are doing. I sincerely think your material is just awesome and it is just what we need.
I just read your chapter on Object Lessons and how you describe how to take an object and just start describing it slowly, giving time for the connection to be made between the abstract and the concrete. Truly amazing. I truly have read tons of books and there are some great leadership books out there, but none really touch on creativeness. Man you tackle creativeness head on and make it not so intimidating. I just think this material is just that good. I feel so blessed to have stumbled on your site and to have come across the material. I feel God lead me to it. Thanks for your work at raising up youth to be disciples.
- Martin Maynard
The Cookbook took several years to write and to produce the training videos that go along with it – and it is so encouraging when people take the time to send a note of encouragement. I have never seen an exhaustive work on Kids Church, and during this season of life when I’m not in weekly church ministry, I felt God telling me to use this time to write “everything I know about children’s church” from having written and led over 1000 kids church services for over fifteen years of ministry. It was hard work, but oh so fun to do it in such a creative manner. (With the Chef theme that really played out nicely as it unfolded.) I tried to cover a wide spectrum of topics from lesson preparation to recruiting to room decorating to advance planning and so much more. It’s kinda the definitive work on Kid’s Church! Like I said, no one else has ever even tackled the topic on this scope or breath before. And with the addition of seven training videos, it really became a hefty project!
But in the end, I think it’s quite a helpful tool that should serve those who teach kids and lead Kids Church for years to come.
Thanks Martin for your encouragement! I’m glad it is helping your kids church team, and I hope it will help many others to cook up lessons that kids are gonna love and provide the tools to assist in preparing more spiritually nourishing lessons wherever the Cookbook is used!
Let’s suppose you had to pack for a week of teaching and ministry and all you could pack was a small “Kidmin Toolkit” – what would you pack into YOUR travel kit?
A Bible? Naturally. An iPad? Perhaps. A yo-yo? A small puppet? I’d pack a bag of jolly ranchers and a sling shot! Some action figures? Remember, this is ALL you will have for a WEEK of ministry. What will you need?
I’m gonna mail the best responses in COMMENTS a prize and then I’ll post what I’d put in MY Kidmin Toolkit – and then I’d encourage you to PACK YOUR OWN Kidmin Toolkit and have it READY TO GO, because you never know when you might just need it!
UPDATE:THE $50 PRIZE PACK Very soon… someone in comments, is going to WIN this prize pack I’ve assembled:
(Note: It all packs flat to fit in your Kidmin Toolkit!)
UPDATE: I was overwhelmed by the response to this blog post. Everyone submitted Great Ideas! However, I could pick but ONE winner, and the Kidmin Toolkit Winner is: Joan Eppehimer
SEE ALL THE RESPONSES & COMPILE YOUR OWN KIT!
We have compiled ALL THE RESPONSES into a single list so you can create your own Kidmin Toolkit! Download as a PDF or Word Doc:
What do you do when you are out with your convertible, enjoying a beautiful day with the top down, and it starts to rain, and THEN you discover that the the automatic top is broken?
I’ve been on the road (well, technically, in the air!) for weeks – speaking at Camp Hartland and Camp Timber-lee, and all the while my convertible has been in the garage with the top down while I’ve been filming in my car DiscipleTown videos for the next series. (How to Navigate the Old Testament, due out Aug. 20th)
So when I pulled out today, I had no idea the top was broken, its been down for a month! I discovered when I was out on a conference call with DiscipleLand after lunch with the family at the mall. I was then meeting at Speed Stacks HQ getting the low-down on some new products (BTW, I am the VERY FIRST non-employee to get a prototype on something I’ll blog about later!) when it started to rain!
What to do? Go home and cut out of an important meeting? Park under a tree? Then the innovative team at Speed Stacks discovered that the back double doors of their building might provide shelter!
Only problem – the door width was 70 inches and my car only fit halfway in the building, it was 75 inches mirror to mirror!
The view from outside
The view from inside
The car only fit in (with LESS than an inch on each side) up to the mirrors, and then we had to put cardboard over the front seat to keep the rain out! But we saved the rest from the rain.
Sometimes in life, you just have to be creative!
If you are an optimist, the car was halfinside!
If you are a pessimist, the car was half out in the rain!
I only suffered a slight scratch when pulling out, but like I told Bob Fox, great memories in life come with a slight price tag!
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey