Discover the Power of “Imaginative Conversation”

Years ago when I was invited to speak at a church to train volunteers, I got picked up by a pastor who brought along his two boys who wanted to meet the man behind Toybox Tales. (ToyboxTales.com) The airport was several hours from the church, so we had lots of time to chat on the drive. At one point, we saw along the side of the road a Target store that was still under construction. The odd thing was, while the parking lot was complete with stripes and lights, and the store’s sign was up and brightly lit, the building itself still had no roof, and through the holes where windows and doors would go, we could see the floor was still dirt! These boys and I enjoyed a fun-filled conversation imagining what would happen if they stocked the store and opened but forget to put a floor down or a roof on. Space here does not allow the hysterical scenarios we described! The next day, after the training was done, the pastor told me that he owed me an apology. I was surprised. He explained that during our long conversation about the roof-less Target store he was frustrated and…

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The post that bugs me the most.

There is only one post on social media that annoys me every time I see it. I’m taking a risk telling you, as I fear one of my readers may have posted it! If so, I hope your toes will recover – my intention isn’t to step on them, but to encourage you. But you aren’t alone. I see the same post from different people, regularly, every few months. If you have posted this, take comfort in knowing I have no memory of who it was, so you remain anonymous to me. OK, here it goes. The post is something to this effect: “What are some of your best/favorite time-fillers for when the service goes over?” Why does this bug me? Mostly because it suggests that a service going over is a negative thing and/or that extra time is a crisis rather than an opportunity. Boy, oh Boy! I LOVE when the service goes over. If I could BRIBE my pastor to go over every Sunday, I would! There is a little sadness in my heart the moment the first parents show up. I love every moment I get to pour into the kids entrusted to me and my team.…

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Ikinagagalak akong makillala kayo! HUH!?

What if I said to you “Ikinagagalak akong makillala kayo! Would you know what I meant? Likely not! What if I said it more slowly, enunciating each syllable clearly? Or perhaps more loudly? Or I could have some dancing armless vegetables sing it to you in a clever rhyming song? No matter what I did, unless you were Filipino and spoke Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines, you’d have no idea that I just said, “Nice to meet you.” It wouldn’t be your fault. It would just be that I wasn’t speaking your language. I’ve been to Manila, Philippines a few times. In fact, it’s where I met my wife. She grew up there as a missionary kid. While I was there, I quickly discovered I had to adapt my American ways. Luckily for me, they spoke English, so I only learned a few phrases in Tagalog for fun, but I did have to learn some things about the culture in order to more effectively minister to the kids there. I had to change my humor because my jokes fell flat. I had to adjust my stories so they could relate to them. I had to eat some things that…

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An Awesome Adventure with Parents

How do you make sure your kids know the BASICS of the Christian Faith? At our church, we offer a course for kids to take with a parent. It’s called the Awesome Adventure Small Group and it’s for 4-6th graders but they must attend with a parent. It’s a twelve week class because there are 12 lessons in the Awesome Adventure Guide that my wife and I wrote. It covers topics from Salvation through how to read your Bible and Pray through how to discover your Spiritual Gifts. Kids memorize Scripture each week and quiz each other (tested by a non-family member!) and earn points for attendance, bringing their Bible, knowing the verse and get BONUS POINTS when mom and/or dad know the verse too! But it’s not all hard work – they play some games too because forming and growing relationships is also a part of discipleship. Like this game where they were dropping gold fish crackers into their parents mouths! In our busy world, we need to help families carve out time to discuss spiritual things. That why I create Family Table Talkers every month to help families be more strategic at their meal times. I also try…

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The Laughing Classroom is the Learning Classroom

I once saw on a teacher’s bulletin board a poster that said, “The laughing classroom is the learning classroom.” That truism has always stuck with me, and I’ve aspired to make it true of my classroom ever since. It’s true! Kids who are laughing are learning. This sounds counter-intuitive. We think that if kids are laughing, they aren’t listening, but the opposite is true. They are engaged at the deepest level. How can this be? I remember, in my literature class in Bible college, my professor told the class we will learn more from our television viewing and leisure reading than we will from her class. I was stunned she would say such a thing, especially about her own class! She went on to explain that when we are taught something in a formal setting, we listen, but we evaluate. New information is passed through several grids where we decide whether we agree with the information. We evaluate the data against other information we have received, past experiences, and other sources, and a collective conclusion is made where we determine what we accept, and what we reject. It’s a healthy process, just as you are reading this and deciding whether…

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