Friday, March 28, 2008


Just a few quick items...

+It snowed today. Or, more accurately, it spat snow flakes. A lot of snow flakes. But not enough to stick to our valley floor. March better get its act together this weekend if it's going to go out like a lamb. Although, from what I hear, when I was in San Diego, March came in like a lamb. I think March is confused. I'm sure glad God knows what He's doing!

+One of my four year old kids in the preschool gave me a big hug today. He said I was the best teacher because I knew letters even better than he did. I'm going to use him as a reference if I get a new job.

+New link: Glen Woods. His blog is full of inspiration, information, and insights about the world of children's ministry. Well worth the read.

+After many moons of blogging, I finally decided to add a picture to my profile. I've had one on my MySpace page for a while, but since I don't update my MySpace page that much, I figured I ought to add one on Blogger. Check it out to the right.

+Another new link: Thoughts by Christina. This is funny, slice of life, stream of whatever consciousness thoughts that ooze from this girl's brain. Okay, she's a woman, but I'm her father, so she'll always be my little girl. It's actually quite funny. The only drawback is that she doesn't update her blog as much as her MySpace page (hint, hint).

Monday, March 24, 2008


It's like it was yesterday...and yet so long ago. The truth is, it has been a little over two weeks since the Children's Pastors Conference in San Diego. As in years past, I am still letting concepts, principles, ideas, and inspirations settle in. Some things will hit me months from now. I still look back at notes from 2003 for an idea or to refresh my memory on something I heard. This is no different. I have fun, fond memories of my time in San Diego...the worship, the workshops, the meeting new friends at the Kidology gathering (made even more significant and somewhat bittersweet by the passing of Dan Rase, with whom I shared a meal at the CPC's "Dinner on the Town" function. You can read a touching article about Dan here). I got to put faces and names together of fellow bloggers and ministers I've only known by screen names, icons, or book titles. As I've posted before, it was a wonderful experience.

But interestingly enough, one of the most significant concepts I brought back from San Diego did not occur at a workshop or a general session or a gathering or from the myriad of resources I obtained. No, this concept hit me in the quiet of my hotel room, the night before the conference officially began, as I was thinking and praying about what was in store for me that first week of March and what would make an impact in the lives of the children on Sunday morning.

I began thinking about our setup on Sunday mornings. Because we hold our Large Group gathering in the fellowship hall, everything has to be moved into position. So on Saturday night, I am down at the church hauling tables, chairs, moving sound equipment, setting up projectors, and getting the area ready for the kids. Some nights, I am joined by others, some nights I do it alone, but I get caught up in the excitement of getting ready!

But on Sunday morning, as the hour ends and parents start filtering in to pick up their kids, the process is reversed. Chairs get stacked, equipment gets moved, tables are put up, props and dvds put away, etc. and so on. Our young helpers help, our team helps, and, if we are speedy enough, we don't have to stay too long after the service.

But then it hit me, in one of those obvious, "duhhh" ways that God sometimes uses to get my attention. You see, the elders have said that they want to see me in the main service periodically so that parents can know who it is that teaches their kids (Of course, unless I'm pointed out as the one who teaches their kids, they aren't going to know who I am. And if I am pointed out, it begs the question, "if you're up here, who's back there teaching my kids now?"). At any rate, I do miss the connection with the kids and their parents. I have four little blond haired girls from two different families whose names I still get mixed up to this day! I don't always get to see the parents who picks up the little guy in his Sunday best, or the single mom of the new kid who was too shy to sing. I don't always get the chance to joke around with the kids or shake the hands of their folks because all the stuff has to get put away and cleaned up before I go.

(Slap upside the head)! Like the proverbial ton of bricks, it hit me. The stuff that has to be put away will still be there. I claim to want to build relationships with children and their families. I'm missing a prime connecting point right after the service. So, there in my hotel room far from my southern Oregon home, I resolved not to put anything away, not to help clean up, not to lift a single chair or piece of equipment until the kids were gone. Hey, our teen helpers can start if they want...that's fine. But for that golden time following the service, I want to be talking to children and greeting the parents. I want to make those connections. I told my wife about it, since any after-church plans could be affected. She understood and was all in favor. My pastor is thrilled. My team sometimes can stay later, sometimes can't, but they are all supportive.

Yes, I took a lot from CPC. But this little lesson on not cleaning up before the last child walks out the door was by far the most valuable.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I'm often asked why I enjoy the Children's Pastor's Conference so much. Unless you are in this grand adventure called "children's ministry" and unless you've been to a CPC, it's kind of hard to explain. The typical expression about drinking out of the proverbial fire hydrant is close to the truth, but even that fails to account for what I take away from CPC each year I go. The workshops, the general sessions with the overwhelming worship and great speakers, and the opportunity to meet and fellowship with others who share a passion for children's ministry makes it all worth it.

Up high, looking down on the courtyard where we are welcomed to CPC

The resource center, where we can meet, greet, get information, buy stuff, and even get a freebie or two (or dozen)

Preschool favorite Miss Patty Cake!

The high adventure superhero known as Bibleman (Bibleman is the one on the right, just in case you were having trouble telling the difference).

On Tuesday night, I was honored to be a part of an informal Kidology gathering at one of the resteraunts here at the convention center. Kidology is an online resource network that is packed with helpful articles, ideas, and a discussion forum. Several Kidology members were at the CPC and so we got together for some soft drinks and discussion. It was great to finally put names and flesh-n-blood faces together with men and women I've interacted with on the computer. If any Kidology members are reading this, it was great to meet you all!

Karl Bastian, the Kidologist

And one final picture...

This picture is for the benefit of my co-workers and co-laborers back home at EPCBC. They think they know me sooooooo well as to know whether I ate this or not. Yeah...they think they know me soooooooo well. Sooooooooo well. Uh-huh!

Okay, I didn't eat it....but you think you know me sooooooooo well! Huh? I'm going to bed!

Monday, March 03, 2008


What do a shopping center, a 100 year old building, and a state of the art multi-acre complex have in common? Answer: they were all stops on the annual CPC Pre-Conference Church Tour. The church tour is one of my favorite parts of CPC, because I can get ideas about environments and "theme-ing out" rooms and areas. And though many of the churches I have visited over the years have a budget that outscales ours, some of their decorating leans more toward creativity than purchase-power.

Our first stop was local: North Coast Church in Vista. This church acquired a good chunk of a shopping center and turned it into a multi-building, multi-venue campus. I was impressed by their organization and creativity (I don't have all my pics to share in this post, but I have to say that the Narnia room was incredible!)

Entrance to the children's section, with canopied check-ins

One of the large group gathering areas.

First Christian Church of Huntington Beach seemed a long way from San Diego, but the ride actually took me within a short hop of where my wife and I used to live when we resided in the Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach area. This is a very old building which has gone through a lot of changes and transitions in the area of children's ministry. The church is going to be building a new facility soon, but in the meantime, they get points for creatively using resources to effect a theme.

The section where the children's ministries are held

The treehouse room...what if a kid designed and built it? That's the idea!

The tek room for the older kids. Amazing what some donated tvs and some tubing can help create.

The last stop on the tour was Mariner's Church in Irvine. Oh my! If there was an epitome of the word "mega-church", it would be this sprawling campus. The kids building looks like a corporate headquarters of a major business. Inside, of course, is the most important business of all: kids. Still, I saw evidences of decidedly low-tech, low-budget touches in this incredibly sophisticated building.

All I can say is "wow"

Early childhood staging area

4th and 5th grade staging area. Notice the gift-wrapped boxes in the back...hey! I can do that!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

CPC 08: ARRIVAL (aka "Of Teeth and Tim")

I'm here!

"Here" is San Diego, California for the annual International Network of Children's Ministries' Children's Pastors Conference. Getting here was a testimony to God's spectacular mercies. You see, I had some pretty serious dental issues going into last weekend. I won't rehash the details of pain, the inability to sleep or eat, the cheek that looked like a "crazed chipmunk on steroids" (I liked that description). But everything I was told was that air travel in a pressurized cabin intensifies dental pain...and, in spite of a procedure earlier in the week, I was still not totally back to normal.

But glory be to God: no problems! I felt a little pressure and a non-painful twinge or two, but nothing even close to the pain I experienced the weekend before. So for all of you who were praying for me, I just want to say thank you and let you know that.....I'M HERE!

Grab a notebook and let the adventure begin!

P.S. For a slightly different perspective on CPC 08, check out the site I set up just for my preschoolers.