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1 reason to visit Columbus Ohio

As you travel the world, one destination towers over the rest in the search for international prominence.

Columbus.

It screams out from brochures, demanding your attention as you forget about Paris, London and New York. Drowning out your reservations with “We have a replica of Christopher Columbus’ historic ship the Santa Maria“. 

So I am sure there are lots of reasons to visit Columbus Ohio, but to be fair, there is only one reason I am here.

It’s the KidMin Conference by Group Publishing and Children’s Ministry Magazine.

I had a walk around the city this morning, grabbed great bacon omelette (international travel rules dictate, in the US? eat bacon) breakfast from a tiny little place around the corner from the hotel suggested by this great blog Breakfast with Nick. And then had a stroll around the rather massive count of high-rise buildings in the downtown area.

Seriously, there is a lot of tall buildings for 800,000 people (Apparently lots of state government departments are here).

But let me get serious for a moment. I am quietly excited about this conference. I have never been a part of an event run by Group before so I will be learning all I can, about how they do what they do. There are friends here and new friends to be met. If you are at the conf. come by the Hillsong Kids stand and check out some new resources!

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Why do you put the chairs out?

So I have seen a few children’s ministry tour/remodelling pictures where there are seemingly amazing facilities filled with beautiful stages, incredible murals on the wall and spectacular entrances and their sitting in the middle of the picture are chairs.

Now first of all I get over the pangs of jealousy generated by the permanent facilities and I realise that of course the room is set up for a photo shoot.

But I have seen it a number of times in photos and videos of weekend services with kids spread all over the room – In the back of the room, in the sides… holes and spaces throughout the crowd.

There is only one reason for this – the chairs are set up before the kids arrive in the room.

Huh?

You mission in life is to help these kids connect with God and with each other and you take one of your tools – seating – and leave it to chance?

Here are three rules of seating I just made up:

  1. Have the same amount of seats as kids
  2. Never have seats set out during praise and worship times
  3. Teach your kids the seating system/plan/fun way of making this tool work for you
Another great tool is bench seating especially for preteens and beanbags etc. etc.
One of the first things I did as a children’s pastor was change the way we setup chairs in our services… there were probably more important things but it’s what I did okay :)

Why do you put the chairs out?

 

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Simply Said

Every weekend as I get up to preach/speak/explain a concept/teach etc. to our kids it all comes back to Einstein.

Strip back what you are trying to say to its most simple fundamentals, that’s the most effective way to teach.

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7 Billion

What kind of world will our children inherit?

 

7 Billion, National Geographic

With the worldwide population expected to exceed seven billion in 2011, National Geographic magazine offers a 7-part series examining specific challenges and solutions to the issues we face. The magazine introduces the series with its January cover story “7 Billion,” offering a broad overview of demographic trends that got us to today and will impact us all tomorrow. The first in-depth story will appear in the March issue, focusing on humans’ impact on the planet’s geology. Other stories will follow throughout 2011.

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V is for Visual

I have given myself a challenge for the next 26 days – post the complete A-Z of Ministry to Children.

V… Vision, vexed, virtuous, vectitation…

V is for Visual - It would be hard to imagine a technology that had more impact on 20th century life than photography. Imagine a world without school photos, travel pictures, without pictures of sports, wars, and disasters; and you have no way to document the birth of your children.

Images convey emotion brilliantly. I could write pages here on the facts of the recent Haiti earthquake; how many homes were ruined, how many people are homeless, what effect it will have on the country.

Or I could simply show images like this:

In an image saturated culture, pictures really do say a thousand words.

There is SO much that could be said about the power of image, so many questions to explore… Are Christians meant to be people of the word? Should we use images in this way to provoke emotion? What about pictures of Jesus? Where does it become idolatry? Are images a good thing or a negative thing?

The point of this post is to highlight the power that images have. If we are aware of the power, and we bring it into the light then it stops having power over us. Pornography (one of the most powerful type of image) has no power when it is ‘accountable’, when it is out of darkness… but when it is hidden, it has the power to destroy a life.

And one way to have power over a thing is to engage it, use it.

If an image helps you convey a truth, then use it!

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T is for Teaching

I have given myself a challenge for the next 26 days – post the complete A-Z of Ministry to Children.

T… telephone, tiger, Tachydidaxy…

T is for Teaching – I belive the Church can lead a revolution.

“A good teacher knows how to read a story, and that each and every student arrives at our classroom door with a unique and intriguing yet incomplete story. The really good teachers know how to read a child’s story and recognize the remarkable opportunity to help author the story. The really good teachers want to script confidence and success onto the blank pages; they want to edit the mistakes; and they want to help write a happy ending.”
~ Anthony J. Mullen, 2009 NEA National Teacher of the Year

“My rewards don’t come from grades students get on a test, but from students coming back years after graduation to visit me and tell me about their experiences traveling the world and becoming passionate about learning.”
~ Craig Divis, 2010 Vermont Teacher of the Year

There is a movement developing regarding the teaching of children in schools all over the world. People like Ken Robinson in the UK are spearheading efforts to re-imagine teaching and schooling. BUT of course the resistance is institutional. It’s government there are (rightly so) laws and regulations set up to ensure high standards of learning and education.

2006 college graduates: U.S. – 1.3 million, India – 3.1 million, China – 3.3 million

In 10 years it is predicted that the number on English speaking country in the world will be China. (Did You Know 2.0)

Can hear the winds of change? I believe the Church lead this revolution.

The Church has no such regulations, we can turn in a moment and change, we can shift focus and begin to lead the world in the education of children, in the most important learning of all, the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Investigate new educational models and USE ‘em. You don’t need permission from your local council, your education board, your elected officials, all you need is permission from your senior/lead/whatever pastor!

To change the school system you need a revolution, to change your ministry system you probably just need a decision. Which I think you will agree, is much simpler.

Quotes from: Encouraging Lessons from America’s Top Educators

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Makin’ it easier

Google Reader changed the way I interact with information quite a few years ago. I use RSS feeds for probably 70% of my online time. If you don’t know whatthat last sentence means just watch this video:

Google Reader in Plain English

Now I know you want to take this step in your life, so if you would just say this prayer after me…

But really here it is:

1. Visit Google Reader

2. Signup for a google account, if you use gmail or something else you probably already have one.

3. Watch the video again and start adding your favourite websites!

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Too Short

Life is too short to entertain bad leadership.

I have been reminded today of just how blessed I am to be in a Church leadership environment that has no room for red tape or bureaucracy. Our mission and vision is too important, our time too short to waste time and effort.

I prefer to think of leadership as a positive attribute — that is… bad leadership is not leadership at all it is simply… not leadership.

I am not talking about fresh faced eager leaders making mistakes, but leaders who have given up learning, growing and living in faith, not seeing the potential around them and therefore slowly quenching those they lead.

Watching the excellent Exit Interviews DVD which can be found at the reThink Group store (although seriously majorly pricey), I watched four ministry veterans (= code for Old Fart – Thanks Jim) talk about some of the times in ministry they had to really watch their hearts as they dealt with leadership decisions and attitude diovan generic manufacturers that we can probably all relate to.

You cannot control others opinions and attitudes but you CAN control your reaction, AND your heart. Sticks and stones will break your bones AND names will seriously hurt you. Do NOT develop a wounded spirit, do NOT let hurt develop into bitterness, we all have the wonderful opportunity to get offended in ministry — that is an opportunity you never want to take. Whatever you have had to face, someone has faced worse, don’t throw a pity party, you’ll probably be the only one there.

More than any time in history the impact of the individual can be felt all across society and culture! Be part of something that excites and terrifies you every morning with it’s quivering, bone-melting potential!

I am pretty much completely mind-numbingly staggered with what is possible in my Church community – I hope you can say that too… you deserve it.

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Believe This

Our 2008 Hillsong Kids album is called Follow You.

It takes Jesus out of an abstract belief and makes it concrete, a cultural shift from diflucan sale faith being a set of propositions you put your trust in.

A generation ago that album could have been called ‘Believe This’.

Witness the rise of social justice in the Church which (hopefully) gives equal footing to worship and justice in our faith.

Justice takes our abstract doctrine and makes it concrete… we are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet.

Amen.