My favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Carol. by Charles Dickens. But not just any telling of it. It has to be the The Muppet’s version. (1992)
It is truly the best version ever made. If you have not seen it, you must. Even if you aren’t in kid’s ministry and yes, even if you typically don’t like puppets. It is as touching as it is funny. And Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat, as narrators make the movie. They are simply hysterical. Micheal Caine does a great job as the Scrooge as well. Of course, Kermit and the Gang all do great filling in the rest of the cast.
So, in 2004, I created my own parody of the movie in ToyBox Tales fashion. If you are not familiar with ToyBox Tales – for several years I performed stories with action figures on a set in front of a live audience of kids at my church as a way to introduce lessons or re-introduce familiar stories in a new and fun way. (From 2001-2005) Long before the phrase “going viral” existed, the videos I made “went viral” and as people found them on my church website and I was forced to start a website called toyboxtales.com to share them. YouTube.com did not exist at the time! So they were converted to flash and hosted on my own site. They are there still!
But as a Christmas gift this year, I decided to take my favorite Christmas movie and upload them to my YouTube channel and share them here on my blog for your enjoyment.
I’m always on the look out for ministry tools in the most unusal of places… as I explain in the Kids Church Cookbook, you can’t wait until you NEED a ministry tool to looking for it, you must already have it when you think, “I wish I had a… oh! I do!” Because you are a collector of odd ball #kidmin things!
Well, on vacation I went to an antique outlet mall and saw this action figure from the semi-recent Disney release Prince of Persia (which was a pretty cool movie, by the way, if you didn’t see it.)
Now, if you’ve been a fan of ToyBoxTales.com you know I’m a collector of action figures and have a wall of them labeled by their usefulness in teaching videos. (The site now features Object Talks on the home page, the videos featured in DiscipleTown, the kids church curriculum I write, so search the archives for nearly 100 videos with action figures!)
I picked up this dude because I think he looks like he could be a Bible Character!
MY QUESTION TO YOU: Which Bible Character do YOU think Prince Dastan could play in a ToyBox Tale? And why? Who does he look like, biblically speaking?
It seems like just yesterday I was blogging about how I hoped 2009 would be better. And here it is 2010! Aren’t we supposed to riding around on hover boards and beaming from place to place by now? I read that post, and instead of writing a post about my New Year’s Resolutions, I think I can just say “ditto” to that post!
But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that an entire year has passed by when I reflect on all that I accomplished in 2009 – it’s actually quite an astonishing list – no wonder I am so exhausted!
And I wonder why I’m feeling exhausted?! No wonder I wasn’t ready for 2010 to arrive! I usually spend the last week of the year doing evaluation of the year just past and planning for the year to come, but I had some projects culminating and family visiting and am writing at CPC in Nashville (which I really don’t like being right after the new year) so I missed out on my week of margin for reflection and I can really feel it. Just reviewing my blog and making that list above has been very encouraging and eye-opening. For now – I need to survive this week at CPC – finish a few deadlines that still loom over me, and then do the planning and reflecting I wanted to do last week.
I’m excited that 2009 is behind me, and have NO desire to see 2010 “top” last year. In fact, you know what I am MOST excited about in 2010? Starting a guys hiking group here in Colorado for children’s pastors! Yup, I’m calling it “The Fellowship of the King.” (I know it’s corny, but I do like to hike to LOTR music.) I’ve been collecting a list of guys in Colorado, friends and soon-to-be friends via facebook ad twitter, and I’m going to be inviting them to join me hiking around this beautiful state to spend time away from ministry and with God. One thing I learned from Yosemite Summit was that once a year just isn’t often enough to disconnect from normal life and connect with God out in nature with others who share your passions in life. Most of them already know about this and are just waiting for info on the first hike – if you live in Colorado and are a guy – let me know, and I will add you to the list! (No, you do not have to be a children’s pastor or even in ministry to be included. But you may have to endure some worship music, prayer and spiritual conversation if you are not a Christian.)
You can now watch ALL the 101 ToyBox Tales instantly via embedded flash, no more need to download first. And for those who want the downloads for showing at church, they are now all available on one page. Free for Kidology.org members or directly on www.ToyBoxTales.com for a very nominal once-in-a-lifetime fee.
So jump over and check out the ALL NEWwww.ToyBoxTales.com and enjoy some Bible stories like you’ve never seen them before!
Here are some of the most popular videos on the site:
This is the one that started it all. Karl did this at camp in 2001 and the following summer the kids were still talking about it and asking him to do more “action figure Bible stories” – discovering that it was a powerful method for teaching, and since he already owned hundreds of action figures, ToyBox Tales was born!
This is the #1 requested video Karl is asked to show at conferences when he offers to show a ToyBox Tale before a workshop. And no, the hamster is not trained or remote controlled, he is just a natural.
This is Karl’s favorite. It doesn’t mean its the best one – just that if you are a Star Wars fan, you’ll probably enjoy it the most. (There are at least 20 Star Wars themed Tales, depending on how you count them.)
There are several series on the site that are best viewed or shown to kids in order:
This was the first series Karl did and there are high school kids that still quote lines from it! “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, Who Stole My Bubble Gum!” This series is a powerful parable explaining the background to the Gospel. Not just what Jesus did, but why He had to die for our salvation.
These can be shown independantly, but were done three weeks in a row. Each has a unique and important message to kids: Choosing Jesus as your hero, Choosing your words carefully, and your destination (salvation).
While Kermit introduces the vast majority of the ToyBox Tales, this is the only series that was not filmed live in front of children’s church. They are fully edited videos that therefore feature sound fx and other effects not possible in a live presentation. Probably the most difficult was filming live at local McDonald’s with a crowd of people watching the entire time!
Planning for Thanksgiving themed after school club session yesterday, I was reminded of a ToyBox Tale I did in 2004 called “The Dude of Gratitude.” The kids enjoyed it so much I thought I’d remind my readers in case they need something fun for this Thanksgiving holiday.
Got some encouraging feedback on over the years:
“This is your best yet. I showed this episode to my class this past Sunday and they loved it. It had us all laughing. I especially like the ending when Dude flies off and forgets his baby the 1st time and then the 2nd time and finally remembers to take the baby the last time.”
Frank Torres, CA
The kids enjoy you, but we youth workers do too! I almost wish we had a Sunday Night Live telecast for the high school and college groups featuring, of course, Toybox Tales. Thanks for allowing God to use you in such a creative and wonderful way. My favorite is the Dude of Grattitude, with take your baby to work day attached–of course.
Lynne M. Thompson, Modesto, CA
So, enjoy this FLASH BACK: The Dude of Gratitude
If you want to download it to show in children’s church, be sure to visit the original post page. If you use it, let me know, it’s always encouraging!