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Have more babies!

Finally a reason for the decline of baptists :)

David Key, director of Baptist studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, attributes the declining numbers on Baptist parents having fewer children than in years past, and believes Baptist leaders haven’t been aggressive enough in attracting nonwhite members.

“It’s not just about parents not having enough children, but we also haven’t adjusted our youth programs to target multicultural youth,” he said. “It’s still a very white Southern experience as opposed to incorporating African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians.”

Full Article.

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Dovey’s

GMA Dove Awards has gone and passed.

The Veggies win for Kids Album of the Year. Here is complete list of winners.

Children’s Music Album of the Year
VeggieTales Christian Hit Music; VeggieTales; Christopher Davis; Big Idea Records

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A little night theology

Okay, so as you may be aware we are working at this moment on our first Hillsong Kids Curriculum. So that has me up late writing content and messages and scripts and stuff.

The one site I visit regularly is Desiring God which is the teaching ministry of John Piper whenever I need a shot of Theology. He pretty much has everything he has ever written, thought about writing, or even thought about thought about writing online which makes it a fantastic resource to check out some theology points. Another I will check is Koinonia House (Chuck and Nancy Missler).

So I was over there searching Desiring God for some insight on Adam and Eve. Trying to figure out how to express what happened in the garden to kids.

And I came across quite simply a mind expanding little article that has given me a perspective on what we are doing for our kids as we seek to raise them to follow Jesus.

Preaching As Concept Creation, Not Just Contextualization

As we think seriously about contextualizing the message of the Bible, let’s remember that we must also labor to bring about, in the minds of our listeners, conceptual categories that may be missing from their mental framework. If we only use the thought structures they already have, some crucial biblical truths will remain unintelligible, no matter how much contextualizing we do. This work of concept creation is harder than contextualization, but just as important.

We must pray and preach so that a new mental framework is created for seeing the world. Ultimately, this is not our doing. God must do it. The categories that make the biblical message look foolish are deeply rooted in sinful human nature. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1Corinthians 2:14)….

That uses some serious big word with many syllables, but here’s what I got from it.

I strive to present everything to kids in context… like explaining how life differs from the time of Jesus, who would be a modern day tax collector, stuff like that. But what Piper suggests is that (if you read the entire article), is that we need to create structure in the minds of our kids to support that context.

The cool thing is we get to work with kids, the easiest humans on earth to create new paradigms simply because they don’t have to unlearn anything, they are completely open to new ideas.

Piper goes on to say that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, which is also a good thing because I wouldn’t have a clue how to start.

If you haven’t fallen asleep reading this post yet :) you might just be wired like me! So go read the article and if you’re brave, post a comment below with an example of concepts our kids need to know!

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Five Posts of Random Brilliance

Here are a few posts that I have ‘starred’ in Google reader.

They either caught my eye, or my massive nerdy tendencies.

From various blogs all over this earth:

Creating a Healthy Volunteer Environment -Part 2
Yesterday we talked about what an unhealthy volunteer looks like. It’s not as easy as just firing all those who bring a spirit of unhealthiness to our ministries or arena’s; but I can begin to change the environment that all my volunteer exist within.
I present my Top 6 things to Never do or say to a Volunteer

The Elephant Song
If you have young children, or if you’re young at heart, this is the song for you: The Elephant Song by Eric Herman (video created by Eric’s wife Roseann with the help of their 3-year-old daughter Becca. The little girl in the song is Meghan, who was 6 at the time).

Special Needs Ministry for Autistic Children
By its very nature, children’s ministry is challenging, but special needs ministry takes the challenge to a whole new level. Any children’s pastor familiar with teaching special needs children understands the importance of developing a unique approach and relationship with each child. It takes a great deal of effort, but it is well worth it when you can effectively connect and minister to a special needs child.

Ten Questions: Introspection

  1. In what area of life have I lost my passion? (What can I do to get it back?)
  2. If the enemy were going to ‘take me out’, what are my three most vulnerable points?
  3. What new burden has God given me in the last year?
  4. What have I unlearned that has made me closer to God?
  5. What new discipline is God calling me to do?
  6. What has God asked me to do that I haven’t yet done?
  7. Is there something that I think about more than I think about pleasing God? (Money, possessions, ministry, family, recreation, something else.)
  8. Do I have an increasing joy in serving Christ?
  9. Am I handling the pain of ministry with integrity?
  10. Am I still being persecuted for my faith in Christ?

Putting Strength To Work
As always with these meetings, we learned about the child’s performance that has both good and bad. We ended up discussing about the poor results, carelessness, concerns and how to fix them. What Marcus Buckingham shares in this video resonate with us

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High Schools and Ice Skating

Friday afternoon, 3pm in a corporate suite in the Acer Arena Sydney (it’s not what you know, but who!)

High School Musical: The Ice Tour

School holidays were on, so stadium packed with mum’s and kids!

Review: Show is basically movie 1 and 2 in two halves. From where I was sitting all the skaters looked like their movie counterparts. I don’t think that many kids would have realised they weren’t from the movie, unless you had front row seats.

High School Musical: On Ice (1)
Ice rink/East High School.

High School Musical: On Ice (2)
Crowd at the Acer Arena

High School Musical: On Ice (3)
Mirjam, Esther and Beci in our suite.

High School Musical: The Stage again

So a fun afternoon hanging with Troy and Gabriella… what can I apply to ministry?

Well thousands of kids are much easier to manage with their parents sitting with them!

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Kidsong World

The conference website is up! Check it at kidsongworld.com

It is almost time for our annual Hillsong Conference, July 7-11 2008.

If you are a children’s pastor or leader you NEED to be at our:

CHILDREN’S PASTORS & LEADERS ELECTIVE
What a privilege it is to be serving this stunning generation of children! Come and join us as we are inspired to disciple children to do greater things for Jesus and His church than any other previous generation has done! Experience praise and worship that captures the hearts of children to unashamedly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. Gain insights from the Hillsong Kids team on the practicalities of ministering to children. Learn about the latest in curriculum for children. Discover how you can grow your outrageously faithful leaders and volunteers to take your children’s ministry forward.

(That would be the blurb from the website)

So for your kids they will experience being with a couple thousand other kids following Jesus, and for you as an adult (I can only suppose), our elective stream.

The team is planning some fantastic sessions this year, we will be talking about our new curriculum and curriculum in general, answering any questions… it will be a blessing to you and your team. We really want to see you reach more kids and impact your community, so do us the honour of hosting you!!!

Rego link is here

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Give it up for the volunteer

One of my favourite books is Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels. And my favourite section in the books talks about the fact that Bill’s key team/close ministry friends who have worked side by side him for years all have houses in the same area. They are growing old together near each other.

When longtime friend T. W. Wilson accepted the invitation to be Billy Graham’s personal assistant, he had no idea how God would use him. But as he followed God’s call, T. W. became the right-hand man whose wise counsel and dedicated service allowed Billy Graham’s ministry to flourish.

At our last Worship and Creative Art’s Team ‘Elevate’ night, the volunteer of the month was a long serving member of the choir from our Hills Campus. It was a very moving tribute and appreciation of her faithfulness

Why do these stories resonate with us powerfully?

They represent proof that longevity and integrity can be attained.

I want to be the kind of leader that develops relationship that grow old not tired, that go the distance. Pr 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

One of the biggest keys to success is simply keep turning up.

A long serving staff member is one thing, but a long serving volunteer is a blessing like no other!!!!  They really are living proof of a life given to the kingdom of God!!

So give it up for the volunteer!

Shout out to Mike V, Louisa K, Taryn M, Sarah P the front line of our primary team in the city campus! – Amazing volunteers committed to the children of Sydney and the world. (Taryn… not officially a volunteer, but her amazing heart and capacity qualifies her!)

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Idol’s Shout

Cool.

American idol sing ‘Shout to the Lord’ in the finale of their ‘Idol gives back show’. Although removing Jesus from the song. But hey, still a great way to include evangelical USA.

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<140 Posts

I follow a 100 or so blogs right now (far too many, and I am estimating because it’s midnight and changing tabs on my internet browsers seems like a big deal right now). But every time I open Google Reader I am confronted with 800 or so unread posts!

And over 140 unread Childrens Ministry related posts… which would ordinarily make me a little anxious to catch up with all the posted goodness — but a second emotion flooded my mind which was ‘Yay’… (not really an emotion).

The blogosphere is slowly but surely filling up with more and more blogs relating to the bringing of children to Jesus, the discipling, reaching out to and general focus of the ministry of children… that is why I say ‘Yay’.

So bring it on… the more unread posts the better.

Incidentally, Pudge is running a poll about blogging, so head on over there.

P.S. Blogging is slow here at the moment owing to the momentus effort being rendered to complete our brand new curriculum hillsongkidsbig.com)