Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It's a big green tree. It sits in our front yard. It is badly in need of pruning. But as autumn arrives, a startling metamorphisis occurs.
We open the door as the sun bathes the front yard. We are greeted by a brilliant yellow/orange glow as the rays strike and reflect our tree.
Just as rapidly as the green leaves transform to an incredible portrait of brilliant color, they will plummet to the ground, covering my lawn with reminders of how God never changes, even though the seasons might.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I just returned from the Rogue Valley Children's Ministries Conference, put on by (who else) the Rogue Valley Children's Ministries Network. While I have been blessed to attend the BIG conference (CPC in sunny San Diego), I always make it a priority to attend our local annual conference. This year, it was a little further from home (approximately 30-40 minute drive), but the highway gave us a chance to admire God's creation.The event was held at Parkway Christian Center in Grants Pass with the host children's pastor Bryan Reeder.We had a small group (my oldest daughter snapped the picture. My younger daughter had to stay home with a nasty bug!). But there were smiles all around throughout the conference.The keynote speaker was Jason Noble, director of CMA (Children's Ministries Agency) in the Assemblies of God. In the course of our conversation between sessions, I found out that he and his wife have family in Eagle Point (our home town)! The theme for the conferecne was INVEST, INCLUDE, IMAGINE. Mr. Noble developed the theme in three general "gatherings". During the second gathering, he invited us (ordered us?) to move to another table and answer some questions with people we've never met before (Hi there, Jan and Heidi!). One of the most provocative statements Jason made was that burnout is not the result of too much work, but rather the result of "dream deficit." He ended the day by challenging us to regain and refresh the dream and vision God had for our children's ministries.
There were workshops covering a variety of subjects. Since our children's ministry is starting to explore how best to meet the challenge of special needs kids, the first workshop I attended was on special needs. It was encouraging and thought-provoking. I also attended workshops on teaching the Bible and tips and techniques for teaching using powerpoint.
Before we knew it, the conference was over and we got loaded in the van to start the trip back. We shared some of our insights, compared notes on workshops, and thought of ways to implement what we learned.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I love Sunday Morning Celebration. If I have a failing, it's in the fact that ideas and inovations come to me sometimes at the last moment. The KidServants who minister with me are some of the most loving, most flexible, most adaptable people in the world...and they have to be, since I often end up coming up with something totally off the proverbial wall the night before or sometimes the morning of! I'm sure more than one of them has shaken their head and wondered when I'm going to have a typed up master plan for Sunday morning submitted in triplicate the week before (and if you are reading this and you used to be in our department and I've driven you away by my "seat of the pants" approach, please forgive me).
I actually am really organized and yes, there is a plan. It's just that, well, sometimes I find another way of doing things or I come across an idea for a game or skit or object lesson that might work out better. You're right...I do need to nail down the plans a little better, if for no other reason than to keep our gaggle waddling in the same direction!
Case in point: the tabernacle. That's a tough one for kids (even adult eyes start glazing over at how much gold, silver, bronze, badger skins, and fasteners were needed). Then it hit me: let's build a tabernacle! My mind raced with images of yards of fabric held up with duct tape on pvc pipe, cardboard boxes shaped like incense altars, and a wooden altar, complete with the electric fire effect.
Sadly, my ambition was offset by a lack of time and resources. So I had to settle for a tabernacle layout. With Awana game lines crisscrossing on the "desert" floor, we laid out our 1/10 scale tabernacle on the floor (okay, the perimeter was 1/10, the rest was a guess). We had an altar, a basin, the holy place and the holy of holies in more or less the correct positions. Then we gathered the kids and had them stand by classes around the "tabernacle", where we talked about one way to God and accessing God's holiness. One of the kids raised her hand and asked, "why did an animal have to die?" Wow...either she was looking at my outline, or the Holy Spirit prompted her! So even though it wasn't the spectacular, interactive scale model, the kids understood.
An idea I received from Children's Ministries in the 21st Century had to do with prayer. We set up prayer stations along the wall, each one with an activity that corresponded to the Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication elements of prayer. The Supplication station invited kids to think of the name of a person they are praying for and write it on a bandaid. It was somewhat emotional, as I know the situations for some of the kids and who they put on that bandaid. Others I did not know, but I knew the kids had someone on their heart to intercede for. Today, a little girl wanted to show me her "Thank you" card. It listed the items one would expect from a child..."mommy" and "daddy" and "puppies" and "toys". But one item that really blessed me was "Church music." She was thankful for church music...specifically the music we do at Sunday Morning Celebration. And then, underneath, she wrote: "LOUD church music!"
I love it!
There's a bumper sticker that say, "Lord, help me be the kind of man my dog thinks I am." I'd like to change that to: "Lord, help me be the kind of KidServant the children and their parents and my volunteers think I the praise of Your glory!"
(and yes, I'll try to write this stuff down ahead of time!)