Saturday, September 22, 2007


Some people love it. Some people hate it.

But my town has one.

I'm talking about the Wal-Mart Super Center. They opened the doors on Wednesday, September 19 (giving us a third reason to get excited, right behind the Kidologist's Birthday and National Talk Like a Pirate Day). Excitment and anticipation has been running high for the last three plus years. We've watched the construction from the highway go from agonizingly slow to "hey...they're done!" On Wednesday morning, a plane with a banner heralding the opening circled overhead. According to the news, there was a band, city and regional dignataries, and a bunch of people.

My wife and I ventured out to visit the place during lunch. It is quite impressive. For us (and for many folks in our region), the biggest draw of the new Wal-Mart is not having to drive a ways (no, it's not a long distance, but it adds up after awhile). Since it's a Super Center, we can get groceries, get the car fixed, and fill our prescriptions all by driving less than two miles! And given the fact that our city is one of the fastest growing communities in Oregon, it's nice to have some major businesses take root.

Side note: when we visited Wal-Mart, there were several "characters" there (like the Pillsberry Dough Boy and a giant Oreo cookie). There were also a lot of high school kids who were struttting around in the typical "I'm cool, I'm bad" posture. But when they saw the giant cookie, their eyes lit up. They waved, high-fived, and hugged the character. It was funny to watch, but it reminded me that there is a spark of child-likeness in everyone...a spark that is fascinated by that which is wondrous and fantastic. And if the big bad uber-cool teens respond to that, then our kids certainly can. What an opportunity!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Ahhhh, September. Children starting their march back to school. The Denver Broncos starting their march to the Super Bowl (hey...just you wait!). At our church DayCare where I work, it seems every child and their cousin has arrived just in time for the start of Preschool.

And then, there's CELEBRATION ROUNDUP.

Part pep rally, part family reunion, Roundup is the time of year when we kick off the new year, welcome all our kids back to our Sunday morning program (known as "Sunday Morning Celebration"), and just get the season started off with a bang. It's a lot of fun and this year was no exception. In fact, the buzz around the halls is that this is one of the best Roundups of all.

We brought out the inflatable jump house. We played some neat games. By "coincidence" (said with a nod and a wink because we all know that there is no such thing), a merchant in our region had a freezer full of ice cream bars that were nearing expiration. "It just so happened" that a man in our church, who works nearby, offered to take the bars and (can you imagine) offered them for our special treat on Roundup Sunday. I mean, who could have planned that? (I know Who!)

And, of course, the gospel was shared and the Word of God had free course. Were the kids a little loud and rowdy? OH yes. Were there problems? A few ice cream drips on the carpet and the dislodging of the jump house air feed which caused the jump house to deflate on some surprised jumpers. But we sang and played and laughed and yelled.

And the kids had fun too.
The Jump House

Catchin' air

Singing songs

Balloons in your pantaloons! (how many inflated balloons can you stuff in oversized joggers?)

A little song, a little dance, a little puppet on the stage (I know, it doesn't rhyme).

Sunday, September 02, 2007


The names "Charles Allen Bancroft" or "Rachel Renee' Currier" probably don't ring a bell with a lot of people. But together, they have been part of an answer to a question that has bothered me for over a decade:

"How does someone with an untrained singing voice succesfully lead praise and worship singing for a mixed age assembly of 5th grade and below with no awesome praise and worship band or instrumentalist?"
Enter Mr. Bancroft and Mrs. Currier. You may know them by their professional names: "Uncle Charlie and Rachel Sanchez." Uncle Charlie produces DVD videos with upbeat music, great graphics, and extreme singability. And their series of DVD's, along with other DVD series, have been a tremendous blessing in our ministry.

See, if you are blessed with a plethora of musical talent in your children's department, God bless you. For the rest of us, technology is available. And not just from Uncle Charlie. Group Publishing, God's Kids' Worship, Ronnie Caldwell....they all have DVD music available (there's probably more, but those are some that we use).

So if you are lacking in the musical graces, but you want a high energy musical program for your kids, I highly recommend DVD's to fill the proverbial gap. Of course, there are some important things to keep in mind...this is what we have learned (or are currently trying to learn):

1. Know the song lyrics. Looking at the kids while you're trying to lead them is important...but it is difficult when you have to turn and look at the screen. If you already know the songs, you don't have to do that.

2. Check your equipment often. Know its glitches and quirks and be ready for anything (e.g. do you have extra batteries for your remotes?)

3. If you can't carry a tune, at least lip synch. It's hard to motivate kids to sing if your own lips aren't moving.

4. If you have a group doing motions, practice first.

5. Don't block the screen.

6. If you can, plan your songs to flow from one song to another with a minimum of "changing time." Getting someone to quickly change DVD's while you're sharing a prayer or quick spiritual thought is great (God's Kids Worship actually has worship orders in which a handful of songs play one after another).

7. Don't be afraid to cut loose (within the limits of the song's mood of course). A little air guitar goes a long way.

8. Worship Jesus and have tons of fun!

If you use DVD's in your kids worship, let us know what you use and how you use it. After all these years, I'm still a student in this area. God bless you as you do His work!

And thanks Uncle Charlie and Rachel Sanchez!