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CPC San Diego

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). 🙂

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Fire Bible for Kids

The Jesus Story Book bible – CHECK, The Toddlers Bible – CHECK, Baby’s first Bible – CHECK, The picture book bible for little ones who are incredibly advanced for their age based on parental opinion – CHECK.

I’ve read ’em, I’ve got ’em, but for 6 year old Brooklyn it was time to move on to his first ‘real bible’.

So I researched and found what looked like to be a great Bible just recently published. The Fire Bible for Kids.

FROM THEIR SITE:

Q. What is a Fire Bible® For Kids?

A. In the Bible, fire is often a symbol of God’s presence and power. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. And God guided His people through the wilderness in the form of a pillar of fire.

Before Jesus left the earth following His resurrection, He told His followers that He would send the Holy Spirit to give them the power to serve Him. That promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the room where they were with the sound of a might wind. People began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The notes in this Bible are based on a firm belief that children who believe in the God today can experience the same presence of His Holy Spirit that first came on the Day of Pentecost. We call these children God’s POWER KIDS. They live to serve Him and to love Him. His might and power changes them from ordinary kids into POWER KIDS. Our goal in creating this Bible is to provide tools that will help children be filled with the presence of God’s might and power burning in their hearts. May every kid who reads this Bible become a POWER KID!

While I was in the US at CPC I noticed there was a stand from the publishers all about it! So with my boy Brooklyn with me and after seeing some cool stuff coming soon involving an iphone (it’s awesome), I got him his first ever Bible… okay one of their team graciously gave me a copy!

It’s definitely out of his reading level, but like a pair of jeans on sale, he’ll grow into it 🙂

I started reading with him through one of the features which is: GOD’S PROMISES: Key verses about God’s promises.

Review: Highly Recommended!

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Story = Danger?

It’s time.

Time for something serious.

I don’t do too many posts like this, but I hope this opens up some serious discussion in the comments, because controversy is what gets lots of comments in the blog world and I am unlikely to write something truly controversial like… suggesting that we produce a VBS based on the twilight series of books.

So we are in the middle of creating our next children’s ministry curriculumHillsong Kids Big: Supernatural. I have been writing scripts like a madman and one of the weeks includes the story of Jericho. I send the scripts off for a little theology inspection (as usual) to one of our lecturers in our Bible College, Duncan Corby… it comes back pretty good, a few tweaks here and there, but I haven’t yet become a heretic. Yay.

But we start a discussion about something I hadn’t really expected, here is the question:

Should we be teaching/telling our kids the ultra-violent stories found in the Old Testament?

When you get to the end of Joshua’s army walking around Jericho, the walls have fallen, they then proceed to kill every single man, woman and child in the city and burn it to the ground. This is all apparently sanctioned and encouraged by God (rinse and repeat for many other OT stories).

Now he was really thinking out loud and not endorsing the idea, but I need to (even if for my own sake) investigate this idea.

Let me present two perspectives as precisely as I can, because I don’t want this to be an essay.

YES: We should be teaching the whole counsel of God, and we can teach these stories in an age appropriate way. As children grow in understanding they can then begin to explore these issues further. We have to present the Bible as a narrative, the story of God dealing with his people over thousands of years so that our children grasp the big picture of faith. After all the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

NO: Exposing our kids to these stories has aided in creating our violent culture. Where Christians quite happily support capital punishment and can justify war in a heart beat. In much the same way that it is said that Jewish young men would not be allowed to read the Song of Songs until they were 30 years old our kids should focus on the life of Jesus, who was non-violent figure, until they are able to reconcile a jealous God in their hearts and minds.

I would love for you to post a pro/con thought in the comments, keep it short, focused and don’t try to present dozens of ideas in one go. Especially if you can point me in the direction of some resources/books that cover this thought.

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Y is for Yahweh

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

Y… young, yearn, yesterday…

Y is for Yahweh – So there it is. I didn’t choose J for Jesus, but put Y for Yahweh. The bottom line is that God came into His creation to reveal His plan to humanity and you and I and the children we lead all have a place in the grand story.

Jesus told His disciples “Let the little children come to me”. You and I are called to do just that.

Amen.

*Hey, I am at Kidshaper conference this week. Welcome any new readers, make sure you suscribe in the top right.

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X is for Xenagogue

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

X… xylophone, xenophobia, xerography…

X is for Xenagogue – From Greek, to lead, leading; bring, take; plus a “guest” or stranger. A reference to someone who conducts strangers or foreigners; a tour guide.

The tour guide is a brilliant description of your mission as a minister to children. Your job is to give them a tour of the Kingdom of God, show them the sights, the sounds and the places that make up this diverse and mysterious universe. A world that is often opposite to what we know. Where up is down, the first are last, and when you give you receive.

But unlike the all knowing New York local on the top of a red double decker bus, you are here to learn as well. In fact, sometimes will be operating as a reverse tour guide, learning more than teaching and experiencing more than describing, because if we are not like little children we cannot inherit the very thing we are showing.

So go forth you Xenagogue and I will see you later, the tour will stop for a manna lunch in the wilderness.

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U is for Unexpected

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

U… undies, uniform, uncle, Umbratious…

U is for Unexpected – Give them half a chance and I bet the kids in your ministry would surprise you. I have lost count of the times that I have heard something about a child, or see them do something that is surprising… unexpected.

Sometimes negative like one of our regular boys who returned to me (Mum right behind him) a number of air hockey pucks he had stolen over a number of weeks.

But usually positive.

  • The 6 year old girl who exhibits her art
  • The 9 year old violinist getting a major scholarship
  • A 7 year old in the lead role in a major touring show

All surprising.

Some of the biggest surprises are when I see the resilience of children going through major life situations.

So don’t be surprised when you get surprised by a child. In fact, the more surprises you get, I believe the better you are in connecting with kids and families.

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R is for Respect

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

R… radical, repossession, remoulade, road…

R is for Respect – Now I don’t want to go on a rant here about how the ‘young’ people of today have no respect for their elders. I’m sure your great great Grandfather faced the same problem.

I want to talk about the respect you should have for your kids.

Paul said it straight to Timothy… let no man despise your youth (I Timothy 4:12). Children are capable of a lot more than we expect, I am reminded about this when watching videos on YouTube like the one below.

Expectation is a huge spiritual principle… Jesus when healing a lame man asked if he wanted to be healed… what a question! But He knew that not every person in pain wants it to go away, because then they also lose the attention it brings.

So expect much of your kids.

  1. Expect them to enter into praise and worship
  2. Expect them to serve
  3. Expect them to show compassion, to care about the world
  4. Expect them to give generously
  5. Expect them to listen and learn
  6. Expect them to surprise you with their gifts and talents.

Enough of them not showing enough respect, grant every child in your ministry YOUR respect!

Jackie Evancho

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P is for Paradigm

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

P… Passion, people, pimples, palladiumizing…

P is for Paradigm – Here’s what you need, a shift in your paradigms. I hear you protest – “But I just had my paradigms rotated last month”, “these paradigms were meant to be good for at least 3,000 miles”.

I love the old school. But only when it is truly recognised as old school.

In fact if you are still rockin’ old school like it’s new school then you are not old school at all you are instead a roadblock to the purpose of God.

A little strong Dave?

– Tell that to Peter and his paradigm shifting food experience which paved the way for the salvation of Gentiles (Acts 10:9-23)

– Tell that to the children of Israel who walked the desert for a few years longer than they had to because they couldn’t quite get their heads around this God who provided for them everything they needed.

– Tell that to your senior Pastor when you suddenly become a pain in the butt, dragging your inability to change around like a wet blanket when a change in direction calls for all leaders to stand up and say, “Ah, we’re going this way… let’s go!”

Some of the questions, some of the methods, some of the answers that were relevant in your old paradigm are completely irrelevant now.

Deal with it, or get out of the way for someone who can.

P.S. Working with children and young people takes the MOST flexible leadership in the Church. Hope it’s you 🙂

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J is for Journey

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

J… Jokes, Jiminy Cricket, juice, Jesus, jiraffes?…

J is for Journey – (Yes I know Jesus starts with J) Our kids have a lifetime of faith to discover. Salvation is not a one-time event but rather a lifetime journey. Sure we make a big deal about the ‘event’ of making a choice to receive salvation and redemption, but there is so much more to it than that.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18)

I think with children, one of the the important things to remember it that phrase ‘being saved‘, we have been saved, are being saved and will be saved.

Jesus has of course accomplished salvation on the cross (2 Timothy 1:9), and we will eventually be saved from the presence of sin (1 Peter 1:5), but there is a long time in between that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

I used to get pretty frustrated with kids who just didn’t cope well in our programs, you know the ones who perhaps should be on a slightly higher dosage of medication. But as I have aged and mellowed out :), I have realised that we need to take a long view of a child’s life.

I met last weekend a 14 year old I hadn’t seen for about 2-3 years when he was in our programs. He admitted to me that he was a ‘bit of a punk‘ when he was in Hillsong Kids, which I did seem to recall. But this is a young man who is still ‘being saved’, and I am looking forward to see him start serving and helping in our pre-teen ministry.

I am taking a long term view of his life for sure.