Sunday, January 27, 2008


We have a great bunch of teenagers at our church. Although I don't work with the youth groups, several of our youth do work with our children's department. But they also have a thriving, dynamic ministry of their own that reaches beyond the four walls of our church.

The high school group also goes on a couple of big retreats each year. The first one is in January in snowy Sun River. Teens get saved and baptized. They re-dedicate their lives to the Lord. And, yes, they have some good natured, creative fun.

The following is a video that someone took at last week's Sun River retreat where a few of our young men had some musical fun between sessions. It got posted on YouTube (and I confess to never having embedded a YouTube video in my blog, so here goes nothing!) Enjoy


So far, winter has been a big tease.

Oh sure, we've gotten some winter weather. Snow. Freezing slush. Frozen rain. We even .got a white Christmas afternoon. But aside from it being cold and wet, our area hasn't gotten a whole lot of what one could call a "snow event." Our neighbors to the north and south and east have gotten slammed pretty hard. And a big hats off to my friends in the Chicago region, who are getting frozen to a degree unheard of here lately (no pun intended).

But for us...ehhh, some exciting moments, but moments none the less.

Until today. It was slightly rainy when I arrived at church, but nothing bad. Yes, it started as rain. Following the morning service, as our church's annual business meeting commenced, we noticed the rain. And more rain. And more rain. Boy, was it wet. And then we noticed some snow mixed in with the rain. And then a little more. And then a lot more. And then all we noticed was the snow. Motions and amendments and new elders being voted on began to dim as I kept glancing out the window to see the parking lot grow white. After the meeting, I drove home slowly. And the rest of the afternoon was history.

I put the trash barrel out for pickup and noticed how wonderful the snow looked at night. I also noticed how it had accumulated. After lo these many weeks, we finally had a genuine bona fide snow event. Our next door neighbors built a snow man. A couple of guys decided to do "donuts" in our cul de sac. But mostly, it was quiet.

A tangle of tree branches

My daughter's car is not going anywhere
Anybody care for a swim?
The dog trying to get a handle on this white, wet, fluffy stuff

Sunday, January 06, 2008

WORKING PAPERS 1: The Sunday Morning Experience

Happy New Year!

For the last couple of months, I've been spending some time in thought and prayer, yellow legal pad and pen in hand, to put down some of my heart beliefs regarding children's ministry at our church. Many of the principles are not really new; after all, our folks have seen some of these things expressed in policy manuals, memos, and meetings. This is merely my attempt to systematically define where I'm at.

These things are not the final, authoritative word on children's ministry. Even after all this time, I am still first and foremost a student--learning, stumbling, making mistakes, trying and failing, and ever so often trying and succeeding. I get my "stuff" from the same places many of you get yours. Some things apply to our local ministry, but if you see something that "fits" and you can use it, feel free. These are "working papers" which could possibly change over time.

Today's feature is "The Sunday Morning Experience."
Fun: ensuring the room and activities are "functionally cool" and fostering an atmosphere of "edutainment" (educational entertainment).
Friendly: striving to make each child feel welcome and loved, and each parent to feel confident about leaving his or her child with us.
Fearless: provifing a safe and secure atmosphere physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually through regular maintenance, adequate supervision, and screening of volunteers

Kids with one another
Kids with safe and caring adults
Kids with the Lord Jesus Christ

Procedures and programs (every volunteer should be able to answer basic questions about the Children's Ministries Department)
Lessons and learners (every teacher should be a dedicated student of the Scriptures as well as a sutdent of children and how they learn best)
In their faith each and every day
In their skills as a teacher
Connection to kids, the ultimate mission field

The Lord Jesus Christ
Our Salvation
The Word of God
Our Fellowship