I’m sure you have had kids in your Church who don’t really enjoy themselves from time to time, well it probably didn’t get this bad.
TurboDally posted this news report over the weekend about a seven year who hated church so much, he did just that, stealing his dad’s Dodge. Police were called when a witness saw the kid driving through a stop sign.
For the second year in a row I made a quick visit to ole U.S.America to be a part of the CPC conference in San Diego.
We even took a stand along for our Hillsong Kids BiG Curriculum – which has now got a full year of School age material! (hillsongmusic.com)
It was awesome to hang out with Mike Vogel from Hillsong NYC and catch up with a bunch of people from the land of the free.
There is a lot to say about the conference, Michael Chanley is leading this in exciting and promising directions, and I can already see the impact here in Australia of their efforts to support the international efforts of children’s ministry!
So, check out incm.org to find out more, and for now you will have to watch the Orlando highlights video because the San Diego highlights does not seem to have made its way to the internets (Channers let’s get on it).
A little fun for a Sunday Evening, we made a quick Goat edition of one of our Hillsong Kids songs – Get up and dance.
To fully understand the meme, then check out yelling goat
There were a bunch of videos getting uploaded online featuring goats singing along with songs, so because I kinda think we missed the Harlem Shake boat I thought we could get in a quick yelling goat song!
HT to viralviralvideos
Jeffrey Wright is a high school physics teacher in Louisville, Kentucky. But these days, it takes a lot more than just teaching formulas and grading papers to be a real teacher.
Students are faced with obstacles and challenges Mr. Wright couldn’t even dream up as child, so he realizes how important his jobs really is. He does more than just teach. But the testimony about his family is the most moving part of all.
Read more about Wright’s Law on NewYorkTimes.
So here’s what happened. – Christmas at our Church.
Here’s what didn’t happen – posting at this blog.
But I haven’t been entirely silent – I have written a couple of posts for Hillsong Collected which highlight the behind the scenes of our Kidsong Conference.
If you have a big event coming up for Kids soon, check it out it might just spark something off in your brain area!
There are some cool things happening online right now:
- cmconnect.org has had a facelift and it looks fresh!
- I kicked off a little community on Google+ for kidmin people, not sure what it will turn into but I just really like Google+
- Have a look at our Churches strategy for Summer Camps, it’s awesome and very cohesive. Instead of multiple pages its just one with all the info!
It was a blast creating this moment with Dan and took a little time to rehearse, but it was totally worth it to bring something special to every single person serving the kids of their Church!
Thanks to Andy Kirk at Kids R Us who put this up on their YouTube account you can enjoy the fruits of our labour! I hope it blesses you, I think you will be surprised at the end
CONVERSATIONS IN KIDS MINISTRY
So a little while ago I thought it would be great to create a video to inspire our Hillsong Kids Volunteer team.
As I was trying to write down in a poetic manner befitting a short inspirational piece to help our own team I remembered something that Roger Fields had written named “The Calling“. So I totally
ripped it off borrowed some of the profound and brilliant lines to create a version for our leaders.
Roger, thanks for your leadership and inspiration!
Here it is!
THIS IS WHAT THE TEE SHIRT MEANS.
And this is what it means.
Pastor Brian and Bobbie have entrusted the children of our Church community to me.
It means that I have a mission, I have a vision.
It means I have a Holy calling, an influence that is eternal.
I don’t take it lightly, it’s too vital to be ignored.
A Church without children disappears in a generation.
So I take hold of that which God so I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
This means I have put my hand up to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
It means that I have committed myself to see a generation grow the the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ
It means that I am part of a team that the families or our Church put their trust in.
They trust us to reinforce and underpin the message of the Gospel of Christ to their kids.
I make Church a safe place
I make Church meaningful
I make Church fun
Because if our kids aren’t having fun they aren’t learning
I create they space for every child to experience God and participate in His kingdom
My goal is to give away this opportunity to serve and see kids doing the work of the ministry
There is no ‘kids Church’ there is only Church
We are not a school, a club or an institution
We are the family of God
We are one body under Christ and my part is too significant to be trivialized
I refuse to be discouraged or distracted
I don’t give in to small thinking and ordinary ideas
I will not give up, give in or get tired.
I am not looking for prominence but significance.
Let the Church get the blessing and God get the glory.
And maybe every now and then, I might get a few of these:
I am a minister. I minister to the largest mission field in the world. I minister to children.
And that’s what the tee shirt means.
Natalie Miller is the reason Hillsong Kids doesn’t really do puppets.
Alongside Kermit the frog Natalie is one of the big reasons we don’t even try to use puppets in our programs. They do make an appearance occasionally in our Big Curriculums (Curricula?), but even then it’s very limited and often average…
You see, after getting her to perform in Hillsong Kids years ago I have seen how puppets should be done. Kermit the frog and his friends also feature heavily among the reasons we don’t use the furry critters, they have set the bar to high.
Now I’m not saying we won’t ever use puppets, its just that I don’t think we are good enough at it.
One key principle for any ministry or Church is to stay laser focussed on what you are good at.
From Natalie’s website:
For the 2013 Aussie winter, we will be fleeing the cold and heading over to the beautiful summer in the USA for a few months!
Here’s the deal, I know that USAmerican type people read this blog and some of you should get Natalie to come and get all your children saved. She really is the best that Australia has to offer, so don’t disappoint us, we have very little else to send.
God gives us marriage to experience love, celebration to experience joy, forests so we can experience peace, a boss so we can experience longsuffering, grandparents to experience kindness, coffee to experience goodness, dogs to experience faithfulness, kittens to experience gentleness, donuts so we can experience self-control and he gives us children so that we experience every single one. - David Wakerley
Now all I need is someone to take a photo of this post with Instagram, make it all grainy, I’ll join a book club and before you know it – best selling poet.
You should be watching this creative video YouTube series right now.
And you should also be watching the metamorphosis that YouTube is taking. There are individuals in every corner of the video sharing monolith making their full time incomes from making short creative videos online… what would have taken a production crew and a massive budget, now can take a couple of friends, camera and a laptop.
I love this creative idea – imagine kids stories in animation or live action and create brilliant creative video content.
It doesn’t take too much brainstorming to see how you could do this in your ministry, as always my advice when you are filming is to make sure you get great audio and sound. Don’t even bother making a video if you can’t capture great audio – it’s 50% of any video. In fact if you own a iPhone 4 or 4S you have all the video capabilities you need and I would recommend buying an audio recorder like the Zoom H4N
Create an account on YouTube and take the time to subscribe to some of these great series. You will then be able to get an email every time a new episode is put up online!
I’m sure you could do this in your next creative video for your kids ministry!
One of the most important attributes for you as a leader of a ministry, especially one involving children (aside from an absolute commitment to safety and protection), is the ability to assess what you are doing. To be able to step back and take a big picture view of your work.
Because – and this is important… you are an immigrant, a missionary into another culture.
You are not ministering to peers here. You are trying to relate to an alien race, they are called kids and they think very different to you.
Other ministries in the Church are dealing, to a certain extent peer groups (worship, preaching etc.). There is a level of rapport and understanding already created. For example, I could talk about Macgyver with most 30 somethings. But could I even begin to list all 150 pokemon with a 7 year old? Nope, not even close.
SO. Here’s why I wrote the last two posts.
MINISTRY CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
There is a history of doing things they way we do things because that’s the way they have always been done in children’s ministry and it needs to stop!
We need a brutal sense of clarity and a ruthless sense of effectiveness when we look at all the activities and the way we are doing them in our Churches – change should be expected.
So if you do a kids choir in your Church, if you stop ministry over the summer, if there are puppets, videos, flannel graph, a nursery, parents rooms, diapers or pretty much anything child related… then have the decency to back up it’s existance with a reason.
After all, most Churches are supported by the generous support of the people of the Church. If it was solely your money you were spending in your budget, would you spend it the same way?
Missionaries study the culture they are in and spend their lives learning about how to effectively reach people in that culture – this also just happens to be your calling too.
In my last post I ranted about being innovative at a very basic level… your language and terminology and there are much bigger fish to fry in the long run. But it started out as a commentary on a strange practice in a number of Churches I observe. The idea that we ‘close down’ our children’s ministries over summer/holidays etc.
As children’s ministries one of the biggest issues we face is that we are somewhat unseen in our work with our leadership. They are simply not in the room when we do our thing (unlike the worship leader or preacher). So you need to establish yourself as the resident kids expert. This means that the opinion of your leadership is that no one else in your Church knows how to raise up a generation to follow God more than you do.
So as years progress and seasons change we try to communicate just how important ministry to children is and impress upon our leaders to take certain directions in the ministry to children.
All of this work can by completely undermined by certain decisions, one of the most dumbfounding is this: “Lets take a break during summer”.
Now on the surface it seems like a perfectly reasonable idea. It gives leaders a chance to rest and renew, a chance to sit back and reflect and plan for the future.
But scrape away the veneer of rhetoric and I think that is may be saying something unconsciously to our Church:
1. What we are doing in our program is unsustainable over the long term
2. We are asking too much from our volunteers
3. The way we do Church is not the best way to do Church for Children
4. The school system is a great example for running a Church
5. This is how we do ministry because it’s the way we have always done it
6. I’m doing too much — and need a break (oh yes, and that’s on top of my annual leave entitlements)
7. This is a seventh reason because it seems more Biblical to have seven.
If you are committed to a way of operating as a Church community, then actually commit to it. You will be saying to your leadership that what we are doing is the most effective, efficient, fruit-bearing forms of ministry you can imagine and it’s simply untenable to imagine doing it any other way.
Am I telling you to work yourself into the ground for the sake of an ideal?
Nope. Just change the ideal.
(Now this applies to a model of ministry that involves separate age grouped ministry during Church services, you might be operating in a very different paradigm).
There is a reason behind these last two posts I will explain next time so stay tuned.
To be continued…
Around this time of year I see a lot of questions and ideas floating round the interwebs regarding Sunday School/Children’s Ministry kicking off for the term.
Firstly, if you are using the term ‘school’ in your ministry in any area there is a brilliant way to guarantee some of your kids will have intense feelings of unease and fear before they have even experienced what you have to provide.
We live in a post-Christian, cultural melting pot where the models and terminology of the past may have worked when you were a child, but you have the opportunity to create a brilliant, ingenious, life-giving, relevant and fun program that reaches your kids and we choose to name it after an institution that needs a massive revolution.
Do your kids, after being at school for five days want another one?
NOTE: Robert Raikes who created the first Sunday Schools in London in the late 18th Century would agree I think. The kids he reached out to didn’t go to school…
School may be a convenient model to use for ministry, but it falls desperately short of any sense of relevancy to Church life.
To be continued…