Thursday, May 10, 2012

HungerFree: 10 surprising facts about hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG

These staggering facts about global hunger speak for themselves. Read more at HungerFree: 10 surprising facts about hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG to begin the countdown to a HungerFree world.

Going the Extra Miles | Samaritan's Purse

Look around in devotions any morning at the Samaritan's Purse international headquarters in Boone, N.C., and you’ll see a pretty diverse group. Men, women, young, old. Some came from a long way—Kenya, Ireland, Alaska, Texas, Minnesota. Others are North Carolina natives.

But we all have something in common. We felt God calling us to this ministry because we wanted to play some small part in helping meet needs around the world, and we wanted to work for an organization committed to telling people about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Read more @ Going the Extra Miles | Samaritan's Purse

Feedback Is Scary—But You Need It | The Resurgence

Leaders, you need feedback. But most of us aren't getting it. Why? Because feedback is scary.

Read more @ Feedback Is Scary—But You Need It | The Resurgence

8 Principles for Churches That Want to Grow | The Resurgence

When it comes to numbers, churches tend to err in one of two ways: they either discount them as unimportant or they put too much emphasis on them.

Read more @ 8 Principles for Churches That Want to Grow | The Resurgence

About the Children's Department: Dream a Little - Part Two - Get Others In On the Dreaming!

In my earlier post, Dream a Little!, I encouraged you to dream about what you'd like to do in and with your ministry if money, time, space and volunteers were not an issue. I'd like to take this thought a little farther and encourage you to dream, but when you do, let others in on the "dreaming" with you!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Dream a Little - Part Two - Get Others In On the Dreaming!

About the Children's Department: Let's Plan a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner!

We've looked at supporting your volunteers with prayer and encouraging them by remembering birthdays, sending emails and notes and "adopting" your volunteers. All of these are fairly easy to put in place; just takes a bit of organizing.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Let's Plan a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner!

About the Children's Department: Anything - Love = Nothing (re-run)

Do you ever listen to sermons from pastors at churches you do not attend? I like to listen to sermons from the pastors at Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, MI . . . especially when the weather gets cold and I'm stuck at home on Sundays. Recently, I listened to a sermon by Dr. Jim Samra on I Corinthians 13 - Think. Love. Live. Love Never Ends. Take 33 minutes and seven seconds to listen to this sermon . . . you will be so glad you did!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Anything - Love = Nothing (re-run)

About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry - Let's Take Another Look at VBS!

Okay, so after we consider refocusing our Sunday school to focus on being "Summer outreach ready" what else might already be a part of our children's ministry? Well, in many, if not most, churches in this country Vacation Bible School is the main, if not only, outreach on the church calendar year.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry - Let's Take Another Look at VBS!

About the Children's Department: Dream a Little!

It can be easy to get so involved with all we have to do with children's ministry . . . recruiting, training, teaching, etc . . . we find ourselves focusing on those things and don't ever take a moment to dream.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Dream a Little!

About the Children's Department: Remember Birthdays, Send E-Mails and "Adopt" Those Volunteers!

Last week we looked at how to begin a ministry of support and encouragement for your volunteers and considered how a prayer ministry is the first place to start. Today we are going to look at two simple ways to kick off encouraging volunteers and one idea which has the potential to invigorate your volunteers and church like nothing else!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Remember Birthdays, Send E-Mails and "Adopt" Those Volunteers!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

About the Children's Department: Put Feet to Their Faith - Summer Lunches

According to Feeding America, "Research has shown food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children's health, growth and development. The nation's economic growth depends on the well-being of our children. As such, the existence of childhood hunger in the United States threatens future American Prosperity." Do you have hungry children in your community? Chances are you do. As I posted last week, 20 million children are able to receive a meal each school day through the National School Lunch Program, but during the summer when most children are not in school, where will these children turn to receive a meal?

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Put Feet to Their Faith - Summer Lunches

Should Your Church Be in Social Media? | Ron Edmondson

Should your church be involved with social media? I get asked that question frequently. I was recently in a church that didn’t have a website. I scolded them for that. Seriously, I don’t see how a church can expect to meet new people without a website. The majority of people these days will check out a church’s website before they ever visit the church. If there is no website…no visit.  (That speaks to the quality of the website also.)

I’m not sure I can answer that question of social media for every church though, so I will try to guide you towards a decision that’s right for your church.

Read more @ Should Your Church Be in Social Media? | Ron Edmondson

A Son Preaches His Dad's Funeral - ThomRainer.com

Pastor, Mike Glenn, said a temporary good bye to his dad this past week. I was moved by his message. It demonstrates the powerful bond and love the two men had for each other. The message reminds me how brief this life really is, and how we are to make the most of it. And it reminds me that the most important parts of our lives are the relationships we have.

Read more @ A Son Preaches His Dad's Funeral - ThomRainer.com

Church4EveryChild | Building bridges between churches and families of kids with "issues"

My guess is that most of our readers have purchased a local Entertainment book at least once. My wife and I are foodies…our usual date night is spent going out to eat. Before we had kids we’d frequent a local Italian restaurant in the Entertainment book that allowed patrons unlimited use of the card for the “buy one, get one free” dinner special. We stopped buying the book when the restaurant discontinued this very generous policy because there were no more restaurants in the book we wanted to check out. Our favorite places generally aren’t in the book. They have great food, their tables are filled and they don’t need to offer a big discount to get folks to come in.

Let’s examine how your health insurance card is designed to work like the card from the Entertainment book, and the consequences of that arrangement for families needing mental health care.

Read more @ Church4EveryChild | Building bridges between churches and families of kids with "issues"

Why Every Church Leader Needs the Gospel | The Resurgence

In a 2010 feature, “Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work,” the New York Times reported that, “members of the clergy suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans.” Additionally, “their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen” and “many would change jobs if they could.”

As a pastor to pastors, this bothers me greatly.

Read more @ Why Every Church Leader Needs the Gospel | The Resurgence

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Five of the Most Difficult Challenges for Pastors - ThomRainer.com

It may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Indeed, it may be an impossible job to do in our own strength.

I know. Before I was LifeWay’s president or a seminary dean, I served as pastor of four churches.

I know. I have heard from countless pastors in countless churches. Their stories are similar to mine. So I asked the question: What specific part of being a pastor is the most difficult for you? In the weeks ahead, I will share a more exhaustive list. For now, let’s look at five tough challenges for pastors.

Read more @ Five of the Most Difficult Challenges for Pastors - ThomRainer.com

5 Ways to Truly Embrace Forgiveness | Ron Edmondson

Biblical forgiveness is hard. I’ve wrestled through this issue personally and with dozens of others over the years. The deeper the wound the harder it is to forgive. Those of us who have been forgiven, however, must learn to forgive. My guess is that includes you!

Read more @ 5 Ways to Truly Embrace Forgiveness | Ron Edmondson

A gift and a greater gift « The Works of God

George Will offered a great gift to families like ours when he wrote about his son with Down syndrome this past week:
He, however, with an underdeveloped entitlement mentality, has been equable about life’s sometimes careless allocation of equity. Perhaps this is partly because, given the nature of Down syndrome, neither he nor his parents have any tormenting sense of what might have been. Down syndrome did not alter the trajectory of his life; Jon was Jon from conception on.

Read more @ A gift and a greater gift « The Works of God

Prayer . . . a Wide Road and a Narrow Road Approach in Kidmin – Part 3 | Children's Ministry, Family Ministry, and Youth Ministry, and Kidmin Resources

I’ve been writing about prayer – the wide and narrow road approaches. I’ve said, “When it comes to our children’s ministries, we all know we need to pray, but there is a ‘wide road approach’ which leads to a shallow walk and a ‘narrow road approach’ which leads us to a deeper walk with God.” Today I want to consider a few ways you can help the kids in your ministry develop a narrow road type of prayer.

Read more @ Prayer . . . a Wide Road and a Narrow Road Approach in Kidmin – Part 3 | Children's Ministry, Family Ministry, and Youth Ministry, and Kidmin Resources

About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Summer Super Servers"!

I'm really "big" on "Putting Feet to Their Faith" and intentionally engaging our kids in opportunities to live what they believe! If we really want our kids to be serious about their faith and grow in their walk with Jesus, then we have to both model to and involve them in living their faith by serving others. The Summer is the perfect time to do this with older elementary age children . . . and with teams of families!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Summer Super Servers"!

Friday, May 4, 2012

About the Children's Department: What Inspired You to Become Involved in Children's Ministry? What Inspires You to Continue in Children's Ministry? (re-run)

On CM Connect I saw a question posted by a man named David  - he said he was being given the opportunity in an upcoming service to speak on behalf of the children's ministry. He asked fellow kidmins to "inspire" him. This got me to thinking about what inspired me to be involved in childrens' ministry in the first place and what inspires me to continue to do so.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: What Inspired You to Become Involved in Children's Ministry? What Inspires You to Continue in Children's Ministry? (re-run)

About the Children's Department: Planning a Ministry of Volunteer Support and Encouragement - Begin with Prayer!

This month we will spend some time looking at how to develop a ministry of support and encouragement for your volunteers. As I said,  your church and my church have each been gifted with volunteers who faithfully serve in the various areas of our ministries. While these people certainly do not serve for our thanks, it absolutely is appropriate to take the time to thank them!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Planning a Ministry of Volunteer Support and Encouragement - Begin with Prayer!

4 Things I Need from a Mentor | Ron Edmondson

One question about mentoring I am consistently asked is, “What should a mentor do?” That’s an obvious question. What do you do when you have been asked to be a mentor or you decide to intentionally recruit someone to mentor you? What role should the mentor play in the mentee’s life?

Read more @ 4 Things I Need from a Mentor | Ron Edmondson

3 Crucial Conversations to have with your preteen | JCISONLINE

As a pastor to preteens, I often see parents worried and anxious about having certain conversations with their child. It’s so important to make the most of these moments. These are conversations that every parent needs to have and every child wants to have with their parents. No matter how much these kids whine, complain, and try to run (in some cases) you must push thru to have those conversations.

So here are 3 talks that you should be thinking about having with your children very, very soon.

Read more @ 3 Crucial Conversations to have with your preteen | JCISONLINE

Over-Parenting Vs. Missional Parenting | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m an overprotective parent. I have a tendency to overdo it and obsess over the little things that don’t really matter. I guess that’s why I was intrigued by TIME magazine’s cover story a couple of years ago, “The Case Against Over-Parenting: Why Mom and Dad Need to Cut the Strings.”

Nancy Gibbs begins her article with these provocative words: “The insanity crept up on us slowly: we just wanted the best for our kids.”

Ironically, a good desire has led many parents to become obsessed with their kids’ safety and success. Gibbs calls them “helicopter parents” as they hover over their children’s lives from the classroom to the ball field protecting them and pushing them to succeed.

Read more @ Over-Parenting Vs. Missional Parenting | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

Top Ten Temptations That Leaders Face :: Perry Noble | Leadership, Vision & Creativity

#4 – Believing the lie that “if I take care of the church that God will take care of my family” and neglecting the bride that God has given me because I am having an affair with HIS Bride!

Read more @ Top Ten Temptations That Leaders Face :: Perry Noble | Leadership, Vision & Creativity

A cooperative Congress can save lives | WORLD VISION BLOG

Most will agree that Congress does not have a sterling reputation these days — in fact, it bears the worst public perception of any of our branches of government. Some words you may hear used to describe the deliberating body: dysfunctional, divided, self-serving, broken.

The most recent approval rating for Congress (as of the publication of this post) is a dismal 14 percent. Has it always been this way? Does it have to be this way now?

Read more @ A cooperative Congress can save lives | WORLD VISION BLOG

Finance Fridays: An Offering or Something More? - churchthought.com

Every Sunday morning churches across the country take part in the weekly tradition of passing the plate.  Typically there is something said about the ushers collecting tithes and offerings, many times this is followed up with a prayer. I sometimes wonder if we are missing out on something more. As we tiptoe around the prospect of offending someone by talking about money, in our attempts to “not be that kind of church”, and as we combat the sense that “it’s all about the money”, what if we are missing out on the chance to do something deeper?

Read more @ Finance Fridays: An Offering or Something More? - churchthought.com

A VISIT TO THE DRC | Samaritan's Purse

I have visited 13 countries over the past eight months. It has been an awesome privilege. The final country team on my list to be trained was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They have a number of new projects that we just started, so we delayed the training until now so that it could benefit the new staff as well.

A VISIT TO THE DRC | Samaritan's Purse

RELEVANT Magazine - (Don't) Grow Up

I have a friend named Lillian. Even though sheʼs in her seventies, sheʼs younger than me. She is so alive, and she always seems to be laughing out loud. Every time I talk with her, sheʼs brightly attentive and exudes this wonderfully genuine sense of joie de vivre. She refuses to act her age. When I see her this way, she reminds me of God.

Read more @ RELEVANT Magazine - (Don't) Grow Up

Thursday, May 3, 2012

About the Children's Department: Book Review - Rescue Me! - I'm Giving One Away!

I recently had the opportunity to review the book, Rescue Me! and am happy to let you know in addition to reviewing it, I will be having a drawing on May 11th to give one away!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Book Review - Rescue Me! - I'm Giving One Away!

About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "The Center of Community Life"!

Churches used to be the center of community life - families went to church on Sunday, children went to church for school all week and the community used the church for gatherings and special events. In far too many cases, today our churches are viewed as places for "church people", not places for the community.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "The Center of Community Life"!

To the guy who tries to "fix" everybody during prayer request time | Life and Theology

To the guy who tries to "fix" everybody during prayer request time | Life and Theology

How Money Influences Children’s Mental Health Care…The 15 Minute Medication Visit | Church4EveryChild

Parents and families are appropriately concerned when they have reason to believe that treatment recommendations they receive from mental health  professionals are influenced by anything other than the best interests of their child. An important component of the professionalism we’re expected to demonstrate as physicians is “a responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that supersedes self-interest.”

Read more @ How Money Influences Children’s Mental Health Care…The 15 Minute Medication Visit | Church4EveryChild

Let us stand like this man « The Works of God

I had the pleasure of joining a group of people on Friday that included a Christian man from Ghana.  He loves Jesus and he holds tightly to the promises of God in ways that are beautiful and humbling.  He has been evangelizing, mentoring and teaching for years in Western Africa, including in some very dangerous places.

Last year he lost his daughter to an illness of some kind, a beautiful 21-year-old young woman about to finish college.  He and his wife suffered greatly.

Read more @ Let us stand like this man « The Works of God

RELEVANT Magazine - The Truth About Lies

I’ve only had two friends (that I know about) who’ve looked me in the eye and told me lies. Both of them were trying to cover up mistakes. I certainly had grace for their mistakes, but I’ve wondered looking back if I didn’t have grace for their lies. Neither of these two friends are in contact with me anymore. We don’t talk.

Read more @ RELEVANT Magazine - The Truth About Lies

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Helping my homeland: Why I sponsor a child in India | WORLD VISION BLOG

I grew up in Calcutta, a crowded metropolis in eastern India that prides itself on its literary and cultural values. I was lucky to attend a school that taught the value of teaching, compassion, and contributing toward one’s society.

Read moew @ Helping my homeland: Why I sponsor a child in India | WORLD VISION BLOG

A RARE HEART TO FIND | Samaritan's Purse

By Teesa Klear

Our son Sam had two seizures caused by high fever when he was an infant. We learned he has Brugada Syndrome, a rare heart arrhythmia that causes his heart to race dangerously at times. At almost 10 months old, he was one of the youngest boys in the world to receive an internal defibrillator. This defibrillator has already shocked his heart over 40 times, bringing it back to a normal rhythm.

Read more @ A RARE HEART TO FIND | Samaritan's Purse

Hot Topics: Why is effective mental health care for kids so hard to find? | Church4EveryChild

Shortly after launching this blog, I wrote a post entitled Church, We’ve Got a Problem following the publication of a government-funded study reporting that 22% of children entering first grade met criteria for at least one mental health disorder. Serving kids with mental health issues and their families wouldn’t be such a big problem for churches if more kids were receiving more effective treatment. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Read more @ Hot Topics: Why is effective mental health care for kids so hard to find? | Church4EveryChild

Will God Be Faithful? | The Resurgence

Psalm 22 contains some of the most heart-wrenching cries to God recorded in all of the Psalms. God himself is on trial and David asks, “Will God remain faithful?”

Read more @ Will God Be Faithful? | The Resurgence

About the Children's Department: Absolutely More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys . . . Encouraging & Supporting Our Volunteers!

All this month I'll be talking about Summer Ministry to children and families in your church and community, but in addition to this I'm also talking about encouraging and supporting your volunteers! Volunteer encouragement and support are two of my favorite parts of children's ministry!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Absolutely More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys . . . Encouraging & Supporting Our Volunteers!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

UNDERSTANDING SACRIFICE | Samaritan's Purse

I have been thinking a lot lately about the sacrifices made by Christians in the past generations. It lead me to do some research on the early Christians in Japan while I’ve been working for Samaritans Purse.

Read more @ UNDERSTANDING SACRIFICE | Samaritan's Purse

Building a HungerFree world | WORLD VISION BLOG

Every day, people without enough to eat are consumed by the task of survival. Broken political systems, environmental challenges, natural disasters, and the cycle of poverty entrench the poor in a constant search for their next meal.

Read more @ Building a HungerFree world | WORLD VISION BLOG

A Story Of Gospel Community | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

We moved into our housing development 7 1/2 years ago, and for the first 6 years, we didn’t know anyone who didn’t live next to us. I’m serious. I didn’t know the guy across the street. By the way, his name is Trevor, and he’s getting baptized in my backyard. But, for the first 6 years, the extent of our reaching-out to our neighbors was leading a youth group and handing out bibles door-to-door and singing Christmas carols in the dark because people shut off their lights on us. Sometime while standing in the cold singing “O Come All Ye Faithful,” I started to think, “Maybe we need a different modus operandi for bringing the gospel to my neighbors.”

Read more @ A Story Of Gospel Community | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

michaelbayne.net: I'm HURT...and it's my fault

Sunday after church my youngest daughter was headed out the door to go play. That's pretty normal because both my girls love to play outside. What was different Sunday was that when she closed the door she did not use the door knob and the door closed on her hand! It closed hard, she screamed loud, and her had was pretty banged up. She was hurt and it was her fault.

Read more @ michaelbayne.net: I'm HURT...and it's my fault

About the Children's Department: Book Review - MOMumental

I've had the opportunity - and it has been a delight - to review a new book, MOMumental. I would have benefited from this book in so many ways if I had been able to read it 30 years ago before I became a mom . . . but, sadly for me, it had not yet been written. It is however; available now and I can not recommend it strongly enough for all moms, moms-to-be and moms-who-hope-one-day-to be.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Book Review - MOMumental

About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Family Service Squads"!

Summer is the perfect time to minister to children and families, but don't forget . . . it is also the perfect time to involve children and families in serving others as well! As you plan your summer ministry opportunities, be sure to include some opportunities for serving others . . . you may find they will be the best part of your entire summer!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Family Service Squads"!

Monday, April 30, 2012

michaelbayne.net: The week after a conference...make a plan!

When we attend a conference we choose breakouts, set up meetings, and circle the main sessions we know we don't want to miss. We have a plan! You need a plan coming off a conference to make sure you are able to squeeze as much as possible out of the experience without letting what you learned push you off course or bring you discouragement because you can't implement things as fast as you want. Here are few ideas to help you move forward...

Read more @ michaelbayne.net: The week after a conference...make a plan!

Four Keys to Long-haul Leadership - ThomRainer.com

He was once regarded as one of the best business leaders in the world. At the end of his career, he was disgraced and, by some measures, considered one of the worst business leaders of all time.

Al Dunlap believed that the primary goal of a company was to make money for its shareholders. To that end, he would lead an organization to massive layoffs and plant closings. The short-term profits would soar, and so would the value of the company.

Read more @ Four Keys to Long-haul Leadership - ThomRainer.com

In South Sudan, a connection between conflict and hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG

Currently, conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is causing food shortages affecting millions, leaving children most vulnerable. While it is easy to see the role that a natural disaster or drought plays in hunger, the connection between conflict and hunger can be complicated.

Read more @ In South Sudan, a connection between conflict and hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG

Called to Volunteer | Samaritan's Purse

Karol Hunt has been volunteering with Samaritan's Purse since 2006. She brought a group of college students from Tabor College to work on our rebuilding project in Tuscaloosa. “I want to pass on some of the things I’ve been able to do and teach them about disasters and to help people who will never repay them,” she said.

Read more @ Samaritan's Purse

4 Things I Want to Know about My Staff | The Resurgence

People in ministry have a tendency to run until they collapse. It is important to take care of staff members individually so they are continually sustained in all areas of life.

Read more @ 4 Things I Want to Know about My Staff | The Resurgence

5 Keys to Building Healthy Volunteer Teams | TonyMorganLive.com

In my session last week, we talked about building healthy volunteer teams. You’d think in volunteer intensive ministries like we engage in churches, that there would be more written and talked about on this topic. Yet, Simply Strategic Volunteers is still one of the few books I’m aware of that’s focused on engaging volunteers in the Church.

Read more @ 5 Keys to Building Healthy Volunteer Teams | TonyMorganLive.com

Belonging: We Fight the System, Not Each Other | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

I used to fight for contemporary worship songs at the various churches I attended.

It was a stupid fight because it was also an unnecessary fight.

Read more @ Belonging: We Fight the System, Not Each Other | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Freshen Up" Your Vacation Bible School!

Okay, Vacation Bible School is almost a "given" for many, if not most, churches when they think about Summer Ministry Possibilities . . . but there is a very good reason for this! VBS is one of the most effective outreaches - and for many churches - their only outreach of the year, so as we consider Summer Ministry Possibilities, we need to first of all take a good look at Vacation Bible School.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Summer Ministry Possibilities - "Freshen Up" Your Vacation Bible School!

About the Children's Department: 2012 Best Buys Curriculum Side-By-Side Comparison Chart

For the past month I've been reviewing Sunday school curriculum and have posted a number of reviews along with side-by-side comparison charts. This past week I focused my reviews on those resources which are most affordable, making them my "best buys". Today I'm posting my third side-by-side comparison chart of the curriculum "Best Buys"; these are the curriculum resources which are Biblically sound and offer excellent "tools" to help you engage children so they remember, understand and live God's word and are affordable.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: 2012 Best Buys Curriculum Side-By-Side Comparison Chart

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Special Buddies from LifeWay!

Special Buddies is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from LifeWay which is designed to be a, "Sunday School curriculum resource for special kids with special needs." While you might think a specialty curriculum such as Special Buddies would be too expensive, it is, in reality, one of my "best buys" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Special Buddies from LifeWay!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Bible Teaching for Kids from LifeWay!

Bible Teaching for Kids is a Traditional Sunday School curriculum from LifeWay with a strong focus on "providing a balanced approach to central Bible concepts, essential Bible skills, and foundational Bible stories for babies through preteens" Bible Teaching for Kids is one of my "best buys" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Bible Teaching for Kids from LifeWay!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - HeartShaper from Standard Publishing!

HeartShaper is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Standard Publishing with a strong focus on "helping you shape young hearts to bring them closer to God!" HeartShaper is one of my "best buys" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - HeartShaper from Standard Publishing!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Rock Solid from Cokesbury!

Rock Solid is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Cokesbury with a strong focus on inviting children "from each age level on every Sunday to a faith experience"! Rock Solid is one of my "best buys" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Best Buys - Rock Solid from Cokesbury!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

BLESSINGS IN THE STORM | Samaritan's Purse

It’s been a year since the tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but many areas are still destroyed. In Sharon Delbridge’s neighborhood, no structure is standing except her new home.

On April, 27, 2011, Delbridge was napping on her couch. She woke up to see a tornado looming outside. She quickly grabbed a motorcycle helmet and took cover in the corner of her hallway. As insulation and bricks from her neighbor’s house flew around her, she prayed. Nothing hit her, and after a few minutes, she was able to stand up in the pile of debris.

Read more @ BLESSINGS IN THE STORM | Samaritan's Purse

Crossing Burning Coals on the Road to Salvation – The Gospel Coalition Blog

The road to Calvary is rarely straight. A host of detours, excursions, and u-turns often attend our steps before God brings us to the cross. Such unexpected twists fill conversion narratives with color and texture and bring the greatness of redemption into sharper focus.

Read more @ Crossing Burning Coals on the Road to Salvation – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Friday, April 27, 2012

All The Right Answers: Reasons It’s Difficult to Share Our Faith | Gospel Centered Discipleship

I’ve often heard people say the reason they find it difficult to share their faith is because they don’t have all the right answers. “What if someone suggests all paths lead to the same God, making Jesus irrelevant?” they say. Or “What if a co-worker claims she could never be a Christian because the Bible has too many errors?” These are serious questions that deserve thoughtful responses. As Christians, we should have reasons for our hope. However, I wonder if we often put our hope in having right answers instead of hoping in the reason for our faith? Let’s consider the role of “right answers” in the difficulty of sharing our faith.

Read more @ All The Right Answers: Reasons It’s Difficult to Share Our Faith | Gospel Centered Discipleship

30 Hour Famine: A crash course in global hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG

This year was the third time my husband and I led a Famine at our church. It has become our teens’ favorite event of the year. When people ask me why, I shrug and say, “Well, we lock them in the church for 30 hours with no food. We even take their cell phones…they love it!” I get a kick out of the reactions!

Read more @ 30 Hour Famine: A crash course in global hunger | WORLD VISION BLOG

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Most Intimidating Place to Lead | Refine Us

When Trisha and I separated in 2005 due to my affair, one of the first things I realized was how easy it was for me to lead a growing church and how intimidating it was for me to lead my family. Because being a spiritual leader at home was so intimidating, I just didn’t do it. At this point of my life, I had no church to lead and no people to pastor, but by God’s grace I received a second chance with my wife and kids. I was desperate to get it right and be the spiritual leader that God called me to be. But what did that look like?

Read more @ The Most Intimidating Place to Lead | Refine Us

Pastors: keep your "gray" areas to yourself | Life and Theology

I was visiting a church recently (which I encourage anyone on a church staff to do periodically…you’ll learn so much), and I got called out from stage.

I was minding my own business, when the theological hammer came crashing down on my head.

Read more @ Pastors: keep your "gray" areas to yourself | Life and Theology

When Collective Vision is Critical in a Crisis « Church Forward

One of the most difficult calls in leadership is deciding how many people to pull into important, timely decisions during a crisis. Decisive leaders tend to react swiftly, making unilateral decisions. Some leaders are made to guide people through emergencies, taking the bull by the horns (or the bull horn) and charging forward so everyone else can follow.

Read more @ When Collective Vision is Critical in a Crisis « Church Forward

Building the best shelter for the displaced | WORLD VISION BLOG

As a part of the World Vision team that responds to emergency situations, I have firsthand knowledge of the importance of temporary shelters and was called upon to judge the student’s designs.

Students were challenged to design a structure that would accommodate a family of four for at least a year. The structure design needed to be cost-effective (under $1,500 to produce) and lightweight, preferably under 330 pounds. Students were also judged on the structure’s ability to be set up quickly and easily, using only simple tools.

Read more @ Building the best shelter for the displaced | WORLD VISION BLOG

Developing a Welcoming Church Culture - churchthought.com

Several years ago, I was involved in a conversation where a local church was considering spending a significant amount of money on television commercials.  As the conversation went on, the question was asked about the prudence of making that kind of investment in advertising when members of the congregation were reluctant to invite their friends and neighbors to the church.  The church ultimately decided to move forward with the purchase, and little changed.

Read more @ Developing a Welcoming Church Culture - churchthought.com

Ed Stetzer - Halim Suh - Thursday is for Thinkers

Head, Heart, & Hands

When Man fell in the garden, all the faculties of man fell. Simply put: our head, heart, and hands fell. Our minds, instead of being fixated on the wisdom and knowledge of God, now reject it and embrace our own ability to think and reason. Our hearts, instead of being captivated by the goodness and beauty of God, now doubt His goodness and seek to find beauty in creation rather than the Creator. Our hands, instead of working to serve and achieve God's calling on our lives, now works desperately to build our own kingdoms and accomplish our own agendas. The work of the Cross restores our fallen faculties to love God once again. The Cross of Jesus enables us to obey the Greatest Commandment, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength.

Read more @ Ed Stetzer - Halim Suh - Thursday is for Thinkers

The Strength of Meekness | The Resurgence

Sadly, weakness and meekness are largely misunderstood ideas and are often associated with “needy,” “fearful,” and “cowardly.” Even for me, I have filed these words under the “what I don’t want to be like” category.

Aspiring to either seems strange, yet the Bible speaks to both meekness and weakness as admirable qualities. For the Christian to accept weakness reveals a heart that has acknowledged both human frailty and the need to be saved from sin by ultimately relying on Christ’s power.

Read more @ The Strength of Meekness | The Resurgence

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Adventure Kids and Explorers from D6!

Adventure Kids and Explorers are Traditional Sunday School curriculum resources from D6 - Randall House Publishers and are "best buys" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Adventure Kids and Explorers from D6!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Bible in Life from David C. Cook!

Bible in Life is a Traditional Sunday School curriculum from David C. Cook with, as they put it, "sound, easy-to-teach lessons designed to impact every student entrusted to your care-from the littlest ones to the most mature!"  Bible in Life is a "best buy" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Bible in Life from David C. Cook!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Regular Baptist Press!

Regular Baptist Press is a Traditional Sunday School curriculum which has long been know to provide Biblically solid resources with a strong focus on teaching God's Word and is a "best buy" for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Regular Baptist Press!

Malaria: Battling the plague of the poor | WORLD VISION BLOG

A few years ago, I traveled to Mozambique to gather stories of lives that have been deeply affected by malaria. It wasn’t hard to find people there who have had malaria. They’re everywhere — including among World Vision staff.

Read more @ Malaria: Battling the plague of the poor | WORLD VISION BLOG

Belonging: Hate the System, Love the People | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

Some of the most important people in my life have been my pastors. They have provided timely wisdom and guidance that has changed my life. However, some of my deepest wounds have also originated from pastors.

Read more @ Belonging: Hate the System, Love the People | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

How Grace Motivates | The Resurgence

Many leaders have it all wrong. Rather than trying to motivate the people they lead, they just need to stop demotivating them.

Read more @ How Grace Motivates | The Resurgence

May Series…Hot Topics in Children’s Mental Health | Church4EveryChild

If kids and teens affected by mental illness and their families are to be successfully welcomed and fully included in our churches, the church will need to make great strides in its’ understanding of mental illness. That’s where I hope we can help.

Read more @ May Series…Hot Topics in Children’s Mental Health | Church4EveryChild

Ed Stetzer - The Exiles of Israel: A Closer Look

We are continuing through our series from the HCSB Study Bible. It is often missed that, to understand the Bible well, you do have to understand the people, context, and story. A big part of that story is The Exiles of Israel.

Read more @ Ed Stetzer - The Exiles of Israel: A Closer Look

Messy Discipleship | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

In our house, we used to have a beautiful set of drinking glasses that were made of translucent artsy green glass. Notice I said we “used to”…

A few weeks ago our house was full of the life, laughter, and mess of sharing our home and table with our community; after everyone left and my wife and I were cleaning up, we noticed one of our beautiful green glasses had a huge chip off the top. We now officially have only three of these nice glasses. They’ve moved from the threatened dishes list to the full-fledged endangered dishes list. I don’t have much hope for their survival either as they have yet to breed.

Read more @ Messy Discipleship | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - elements kids worship From D6!

As we look at the "Best Buys" for curriculum, once again I'm delighted to share with you elements kids worship!
elements kids worship curriculum is a Large Group/Small Group curriculum from D6 and is a best buy for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - elements kids worship From D6!

Church Staff – a Totem Pole or Bicycle Wheel? | Ron Edmondson

Guest post by Linda Gillis.

In doing research for my new book, Preachin’ to the Pastor … and anyone else who will listen, I am interviewing church support staff around the United States. My first interview began with Pam (name changed to protect her position), a seasoned secretary in a mid-size congregation in an upper-middle class community. She serves alone in the office as the office manager/secretary and support to two pastors, a music director, financial secretary, and a part-time janitor.

Read more @ Church Staff – a Totem Pole or Bicycle Wheel? | Ron Edmondson

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Live B.I.G. from Cokesbury!

As we look at the "Best Buys" for curriculum, once again I'm delighted to share with you Live B.I.G. from Cokesbury! Live B.I.G. is a large group/small group curriculum and is a best buy for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - Live B.I.G. from Cokesbury!

Leadership and Entitlement - ThomRainer.com

Frankly, I am embarrassed to admit that I have yielded to the temptation of entitlement myself. I am president of a large organization with thousands of employees under my leadership. Without going into detail, I admit that I have caught myself thinking that I deserve a benefit or a perk just because I have this position. I have to remind myself that the leadership given to me is a gift for which I have a huge stewardship responsibility. I should be giving and not expecting. I am stupid when I think I deserve something because of my position.

Read more @ Leadership and Entitlement - ThomRainer.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - KidTrek!

As we look at the "Best Buys" for curriculum, once again I'm delighted to share with you a curriculum, written by Wanda Parker. KidTrek - Sunday Plus is a best buy for the following reasons -

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - KidTrek!

10 Words to RECOVER from a Broken Dream | Ron Edmondson

Have you ever lost your way?  Are there any dreams you’ve given up on? Would you like to begin again?

Here are 10 words of hope to help you recover from a broken dream:

Read more @ 10 Words to RECOVER from a Broken Dream | Ron Edmondson

Forward Progress » Blog Archive » Dad, You’re a Dead Man Walking

“Behind every fruitful church is a dying pastor.”
He made this statement while preaching on 2 Corinthians 4, a chapter in which Paul exhorted his readers to not lose heart. The idea behind the statement is one that is pervasive in lots of other texts as well:
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).
Something has to die in order for something else to live.

Read more @ Forward Progress » Blog Archive » Dad, You’re a Dead Man Walking

Extreme Leadership | The Resurgence

Popular evangelical literature on leadership tends to fall into one of two extremes. The first extreme focuses on those who lead the church positionally (elders and deacons). The second extreme focuses on leadership from a business or personality model.

Both extremes fall short of how Scripture speaks of leadership. Both extremes, when they become the primary lens for defining and implementing leadership, have severe adverse effects on the local church.

Read more @ Extreme Leadership | The Resurgence

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - kidz Connection!

This week I'm closing my 2012 Curriculum Reviews with a look at curriculum resources which are both excellent and easy on the budget! I will focus on a couple curriculum lines each day and then I'll release my Best Buys Curriculum Side-by-Side Comparison Chart. There are some really well designed curriculum resources available, but they are expensive. I understand the need for companies to make a profit so they are able to stay in business, however; what good is it if you have a truly excellent curriculum, but churches aren't able to afford it? I once had someone from a curriculum company tell me, "If churches really cared about the children in their ministry, they would be willing to pay whatever it cost to have the best curriculum available." I disagree.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Reviews - Best Buys - kidz Connection!

About the Children's Department: Best Buys Curriculum Reviews!

All month I've been posting my reviews of Large Group/Small Group, Traditional, Bridge, Non-Traditional and Special Needs Sunday school curriculum along with Side-by-Side comparison charts. This coming week I'll be sharing posts about those curriculum resources which are excellent and affordable and then will release my third and final Sunday School Curriculum Side-by-Side Comparison Chart. In this economy cost really does matter for many, if not most, churches.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Best Buys Curriculum Reviews!

Helping Up-and-Outers Take Their Next Steps in the Church | TonyMorganLive.com

Recently I had the opportunity to connect with a group of marketplace leaders. These guys have been successful climbing the corporate ladder. Now, they’re reaping both the leadership and financial rewards of years of hard work.

Read more @ Helping Up-and-Outers Take Their Next Steps in the Church | TonyMorganLive.com

What Makes A Welcoming Church? - churchthought.com

In the church world we spend a great deal of time talking about being “welcoming”.  Every Sunday morning we try our hardest to put our best foot forward in order to present an image of our churches that makes visitors, and regular attenders, feel at ease. Over the last couple of decades there have been too many conferences, books, and seminars to count on this topic… yet churches are still struggling to do this well.

Read more @ What Makes A Welcoming Church? - churchthought.com

Monday, April 23, 2012

Strength in God - Samson | Devotions for the Youth Workers Soul | Life In Student Ministry

When I was in middle school, I was in my Metallica/Black Sabbath phase and really wanted long hair. My mother always threatened that she would cut it off in the middle of the night if I tried, so it really never happened. When I started going to church in high school, and I heard that there was a guy who got his strength from his hair, I was pretty much hooked. That was the Bible guy for me.

Read more @ Strength in God - Samson | Devotions for the Youth Workers Soul | Life In Student Ministry

michaelbayne.net: Relationships or Information

All small group leaders sign up to lead with one goal and that is to help their group become more like Christ. We sign up and have dreams of our kids or teens sitting around listening to us talk about the great truths of the Bible, asking deep questions, and walking out every week telling their parents how incredible their group leader is. That lasts until that first week we meet as a group and we wonder where these creatures came from.

Read more @ michaelbayne.net: Relationships or Information

Stop Holding Capital Stewardship Campaigns » The Charis Group

I recently told a client that my goal for them as they entered the second year of their capital stewardship campaign was to get them out of capital stewardship campaigns.  That got their attention and their interest.  They have had multiple campaigns and not only are they tired of them their members are tired too.  You might be thinking that I have either lost my mind or like many stewardship firms I am talking sales talk.  I am not simply giving a sales talk  and I am pretty sure that I have not lost my mind.  I simply believe that most churches only have one good capital stewardship campaign in them a decade.

Read more @ Stop Holding Capital Stewardship Campaigns » The Charis Group

Who Killed Ahithophel? | The Resurgence

Ahithophel was an adviser to King David, whose life took a horrific turn.

It’s a tragic story, but that teaches us that, while offering forgiveness in life in general and marriage in particular is not complicated, it is seldom easy for at least three reasons:

Read more @ Who Killed Ahithophel? | The Resurgence

Does Belonging Also Mean Serving? | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

As our church in Connecticut sorted out its future, one of the church’s new leaders started to share her vision that children needed to become a higher priority in our community. As a church in a college town, it was easy to overlook the 5-6 kids who showed up each week. However, she was absolutely right. Part of our calling as a community was to support the spiritual growth of our children.

Read more @ Does Belonging Also Mean Serving? | :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly ::

The Five Cs of a Healthy Vision Statement - ThomRainer.com

There is no shortage of literature about leadership. Similarly, there is a plethora of material of why leaders must have a vision. It is with some reticence, then, that I offer any attempt to add a meaningful contribution to the discussion. What I am offering is more of an abbreviated synthesis of the existing literature plus a modest dose of my own experience. We know the critical importance of vision to the health of an organization, and it is possible to look at the components that comprise a healthy vision. For simplicity, I have noted five components that begin with the letter "C."

Read more @ The Five Cs of a Healthy Vision Statement - ThomRainer.com

About the Children's Department: Special Needs Children and Making Your Curriculum Work!

For the past month I've been posting reviews of Sunday School curriculum - check this link to find my reviews and Side-by-Side Comparison Charts. While I included a review of Special Buddies from LifeWay - there are very few curriculum resources available specifically for children with special needs. I'm very happy to say Special Buddies is well written and an excellent tool well worth taking a look at, but if your church does not have a specific class for children with special needs, allow me to give you a few ideas on how you might use the materials you have chosen for your children's ministry and "tweek" them to be a great "fit" for the special needs children in your ministry.

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Special Needs Children and Making Your Curriculum Work!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Special Needs - Special Buddies from LifeWay!

Special Buddies is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from LifeWay which is designed to be a, "Sunday School curriculum resource for special kids with special needs." Allow me to share with you some information about Special Buddies!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Special Needs - Special Buddies from LifeWay!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Song that Can Change Your Marriage | Ron Edmondson

I was listening to “She Believes in Me” written by Steve Gibb and sung by Kenny Rogers the other day. I was on the treadmill, had my iPod on shuffle, and it was the song that played. Years ago I used to share that song on marriage retreats I led. Contained within it is one secret…one principle…that can dramatically change, maybe even save, a marriage.

I know, one song right?  But, I’m fully convinced it can.

Read more @ One Song that Can Change Your Marriage | Ron Edmondson

RELEVANT Magazine - "Do You Want to Be Healed?"

We've all heard it said, "There's no such thing as a dumb question."

I'm not so sure that's really the case. I have heard some dumb questions in my 28 years so far. (For example, "Do you know you're short?" I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard that one growing up.)

Read more @ RELEVANT Magazine - "Do You Want to Be Healed?"

Caring for God’s creation on Earth Day | WORLD VISION BLOG

Today is Earth Day, an opportunity to step back and appreciate the care and detail God put into creating our universe. God is an amazing artist, and He has set creation before us to show us His glory and remind us of His love.

Psalm 95:3-5 tells us: “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”

Read more @ Caring for God’s creation on Earth Day | WORLD VISION BLOG

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional PreTeen - Flyte from LifeWay!

Flyte is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from LifeWay which is designed for preteens specifically to be, "all theirs, one which speaks to what they're dealing with right now - not what's past or in their future." Allow me to share with you some information about Flyte!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional PreTeen - Flyte from LifeWay!

Strategies For Promoting Spiritual Growth in Kids With Asperger’s Disorder | Church4EveryChild

If a parent of one of my patients with Asperger’s were to ask me about what they could do to promote their child’s faith development, aside from the activities that influence spiritual growth among kids in general, some of the ideas I’d share would include:

Read more @ Strategies For Promoting Spiritual Growth in Kids With Asperger’s Disorder | Church4EveryChild

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional PreTeen - SuperStart from Christ in Youth and Standard Publishing!

SuperStart is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum especially for Preteens from Christ in Youth and Standard Publishing! SuperStart is designed to help preteens "get a super start living the rest of their lives for Jesus." Allow me to share with you some information about SuperStart!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional PreTeen - SuperStart from Christ in Youth and Standard Publishing!

The Words We Use Matter | Church4EveryChild

Most parents of a child with a mental health condition wouldn’t conclude a church had anything to offer their family if they were to see a wheelchair symbol on a church website or find a link offering “special needs ministry.” In my experience, the kids who come to a practice like ours desperately want to be seen as normal.

Read more @ The Words We Use Matter | Church4EveryChild

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - FaithWeaver from Group Publishing!

FaithWeaver is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Group Publishing with a strong focus on " encouraging family development with a unified scope and sequence." Allow me to share with you some information about FaithWeaver!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - FaithWeaver from Group Publishing!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Buzz from Group Publishing!

Buzz is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Group Publishing with a strong focus on intentionally engaging children from the time they walk in the doors on Sunday morning! Allow me to share with you some information about Buzz!

Read more @  About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Buzz from Group Publishing!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Christianity the Only Means of Eternal Life? Some Pastors Disagree

A recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research found that while a majority of Protestant pastors believe Christianity is the only way to obtain eternal life, there is a small percentage who strongly feel other religions offer eternal salvation as well.

Read more @ Christianity the Only Means of Eternal Life? Some Pastors Disagree

The Faces of Tuscaloosa | Samaritan's Purse

April 27 is the one-year anniversary of the day a massive tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Samaritan's Purse responded in the immediate aftermath of the storm. We are still there, rebuilding or repairing homes for tornado victims. Watch the video below to see some of the people impacted by the storm, and how Samaritan's Purse has helped.

Read more @ The Faces of Tuscaloosa | Samaritan's Purse

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Hands-On Bible from Group Publishing!

Hands-On Bible is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Group Publishing with a strong focus on " teaching as Jesus taught"! Allow me to share with you some information about Hands-On Bible!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Hands-On Bible from Group Publishing!

RELEVANT Magazine - God's Ugly, Broken, Beautiful Church

Being a mid-twenties, lifelong Christian is a funny thing. We’ve waded through the weak theology and emotional highs of youth groups. We’ve forged and fought our way through college, which stretched and tested and renewed our faith in both spiritual and academic ways.

Read more @ RELEVANT Magazine - God's Ugly, Broken, Beautiful Church

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - HeartShaper from Standard Publishing!

HeartShaper is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Standard Publishing with a strong focus on "helping you shape young hearts to bring them closer to God!" Allow me to share with you some information about HeartShaper!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - HeartShaper from Standard Publishing!

Make Giving Easy and Fun » The Charis Group

How do you increase giving to your church?  Two key ways, make it easy to give to your church and above all make it fun.

Read more @ Make Giving Easy and Fun » The Charis Group

Finance Fridays: Best Practices in the Church - churchthought.com

Regardless of where your church is geographically, culturally, or theologically; whether you’ve been in the community for a hundred years or are a brand new church plant, 50 people or 5000, EVERY church is looking for ways to increase giving.

Read more @ Finance Fridays: Best Practices in the Church - churchthought.com

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What KidMin Wish There Lead Pastors Knew | The Blitz Way

There is some stuff about children’s ministry that Lead Pastors often don’t understand. Here are some examples.

Read more @ What KidMin Wish There Lead Pastors Knew | The Blitz Way

RELEVANT Magazine - Did Jesus Really Go to Hell?

A few years ago, some friends of mine and I were mulling over the death of Jesus. We talked for what seemed like hours about the agony He had experienced in his flesh: the beatings He took, the slaps and spits to the face He received and His thorny crown. We all remembered movies we had seen depicting the humble teacher’s abuse and public murder, but we wanted to talk about more than a good man suffering—we wanted to talk about the mental and spiritual agony of the God-Man from the garden of Gethsemane to His garden-tomb resurrection. We were talking in circles, trying to get to the point.

Read more @ RELEVANT Magazine - Did Jesus Really Go to Hell?

AN ORPHAN'S PLAYGROUND | Samaritan's Purse

The joyful laughter of children greeted us as we walked up to the orphanage gate. We were visiting the Lai Chau Orphanage in Vietnam where we had funded the construction of a new playground for the 100 boys and girls who live there.

The children ran over to greet us saying, “Hello...hello...how are you!”

Read more @ AN ORPHAN'S PLAYGROUND | Samaritan's Purse

Forward Progress » Blog Archive » A Challenge for Dads on the Way Home Today

20 minutes. Maybe less, maybe more, but that seems like a reasonable estimation of the amount of time an average dad has between the time when he leaves work and arrives at home. There’s a myriad of different ways you might spend that time, some more profitable than others. You can break the law and text. You can listen to the radio or a podcast. You could continue to work and make phone calls until the very moment your feet cross the threshold of your home.
But let me, if I could, challenge you to try something else with your 20 minutes:

Read more @ Forward Progress » Blog Archive » A Challenge for Dads on the Way Home Today

7 Dangers of the Proud Leader | Ron Edmondson

I kept thinking about places I see pride creep into leadership; even my own leadership. If we are not careful, our attempt at good leadership will be derailed by the pride of our hearts.

Remember, “Pride goes before destruction”. (Proverbs 16:18)

Have you ever known (or been) a proud leader?

Read more @ 7 Dangers of the Proud Leader | Ron Edmondson

Uganda: Visible progress for children | WORLD VISION BLOG

Uganda is one of 16 poor countries that are considered “trailblazers” for the progress they’ve made toward eliminating poverty and improving health. The nation is on track to meet at least half of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Progress is hard-won, but encouraging. Here are some accomplishments to celebrate.

Read more @ Uganda: Visible progress for children | WORLD VISION BLOG

Two essential questions to ask when using technology in ministry | Life In Student Ministry

Earlier this week I posted a video on the Life In Student Ministry YouTube Channel for a fellow youth pastor’s ministry network meeting. He asked me to shoot a quick video for them talking about technology in youth ministry. I encouraged youth workers to remember that technology is literally a tool and not just a “cool factor” for ministry. I also offered a couple questions we should ask in evaluating the technology tools we use in ministry.

Read more @ Two essential questions to ask when using technology in ministry | Life In Student Ministry

Guest Post: A Parable for Church Leaders - churchthought.com

I remember the first time I joined a health club. It was a “health club” not a “gym,” because depending on the water temperature on any given day, it had either a small swimming pool or a large hot tub adjacent to the locker room.

They gave me the MVP treatment the day I signed up. I was single and convinced that the mesmerizingly fit young woman showing me around the facility was going to give me her number at the end of the tour. Instead she asked for mine; my credit card number that is. She said it was the most convenient way to handle monthly billing.

Read more @ Guest Post: A Parable for Church Leaders - churchthought.com

Prayer . . . a Wide Road and a Narrow Road Approach in Kidmin | Children's Ministry, Family Ministry, and Youth Ministry, and Kidmin Resources

When it comes to our children’s ministries, we all know we need to pray, but there is a “wide road approach” which leads to a shallow walk and a “narrow road approach” which leads us to a deeper walk with God. This week I’ll look at the wide road approach and “post” a couple “warning signs” for us to consider and then next week I’ll look at the narrow road approach and post a few “mile marker” signs for us to consider.

Read more @ Prayer . . . a Wide Road and a Narrow Road Approach in Kidmin | Children's Ministry, Family Ministry, and Youth Ministry, and Kidmin Resources

Mike Woods: Giving Unconditional Worth to Children on the Autism Spectrum | Church4EveryChild

Unconditional worth refers to any action on the part of the special needs staff/volunteer that recognizes and expresses the dignity, worth, and value of the child.

Read more @Mike Woods: Giving Unconditional Worth to Children on the Autism Spectrum | Church4EveryChild

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Give Me Jesus from Gospel Light!

Give Me Jesus is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Gospel Light with a strong focus on "helping your kids grow closer to Jesus and discover how to love their world as Jesus did"! Allow me to share with you some information about Give Me Jesus!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Give Me Jesus from Gospel Light!

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Rock Solid from Cokesbury!

Rock Solid is a Non-Traditional Sunday School curriculum from Cokesbury with a strong focus on inviting children "from each age level on every Sunday to a faith experience. It is during this time that they can come to a better understanding of God and what God calls them to do and be"! Allow me to share with you some information about Rock Solid!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Non-Traditional - Rock Solid from Cokesbury!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reservoir Project Gains Speed | Samaritan's Purse

Approximately 8,000 gallons of water is needed daily to provide water to Egbe Hospital, the Nurses Training School, Midwifery School and the George Campion Academy.

Read more @ Reservoir Project Gains Speed | Samaritan's Purse

Seven Common Traits of Breakout Churches - ThomRainer.com

I have been a student of American churches for thirty years. That statement really means two things: I’m old, and I’m a slow learner.

Read more @ Seven Common Traits of Breakout Churches - ThomRainer.com

michaelbayne.net: Do you really empower teens?

Empowering a teen means we get behind them. We empower teens when we give opportunities but also when we push their ideas and help make them a reality. We empower when we lead them to significant leadership roles but also allow them to lead us to creative ideas. When a group of teens have a idea here is what we try to do...

Read more @ michaelbayne.net: Do you really empower teens?

3 Reasons You Should Mentor Others | TonyMorganLive.com

If you’re a ministry leader, you’re a mentor. If people are under your charge then you are charged with mentoring them. In the church world, this is typically called “leadership development” and the words are usually translated as “send people to conferences when they ask to go.” This is not really mentoring.

Read more @ 3 Reasons You Should Mentor Others | TonyMorganLive.com

About the Children's Department: Check My Fun Give-Aways . . .

In addition to writing About the Children's Department, I also write another blog, grandma's cookie jar. The month of May I'll be celebrating grandma's cookie jar's first year with great give-aways all month long! I'm giving away the following things . . . so far (more give-aways to come!) . . .

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Check My Fun Give-Aways . . .

Guest Post: 6 Ways To Survive Shifting Theology - churchthought.com

In 2005, while pastoring my first church, I collided with a wall theologically and/or doctrinally. I mean, I hit it hard. I began questioning aspects of what I held as my sacred foundation of Christ. These fundamentals were so connected to my salvation that the mere idea that I would dare to question such foundational pieces was to admit that I might be “backsliding”. What’s more, I could possibly be walking toward the eternal fiery abyss.

Read more @ Guest Post: 6 Ways To Survive Shifting Theology - churchthought.com

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Bridge Curriculum - Gospel Light!

Gospel Light offers a Bridge Sunday School curriculum for Preschool and Preteens (they have their Give Me Jesus and More Jesus resources for Elementary age children) which is known for featuring solid resources with a strong focus on helping "you confidently teach the Bible in relevant and creative ways which engage the imagination of children, lead them to Jesus, transform their lives and ultimately change the world for the better." Allow me to share with you some information about Gospel Light!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Bridge Curriculum - Gospel Light!

Review: The Eric Trap…A Leadership Fable | Church4EveryChild

I’m honored to have been invited to review “The Eric Trap”…A Leadership Fable… written by three of the heaviest hitters in the world of Children’s Ministry…Jim Wideman, Sam Luce and Kenny Conley. All three are well-known bloggers and conference speakers.

Read more @ Review: The Eric Trap…A Leadership Fable | Church4EveryChild

About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Bridge Curriculum - Rio from Cook!

Rio is a Bridge Sunday School curriculum from David C. Cook. Rio features solid resources with a strong focus on teaching God's Word - they say they want to " help kids see the Bible isn't just a collection of cool stories—it's a cohesive story of God's plan for them." Allow me to share with you some information about Rio!

Read more @ About the Children's Department: Curriculum Review - Bridge Curriculum - Rio from Cook!

Youth Ministry’s Tendency Toward Legalism – The Gospel Coalition Blog

I have walked for ten years with Allen, who was my closest Christian friend in high school. During our senior year we were "on fire" for God and set out to walk with Christ throughout college. After our freshman year, I watched my poor friend weep often about why he did not experience Christ in a real way. His youth ministry had sold him a message that faithful obedience before God would yield an experiential intimacy and spiritual euphoria, which he failed to encounter. In spite of tireless religious striving, Allen felt as if his pursuits resulted in a tumbling spiral into a deep, dark void.

Read more @ Youth Ministry’s Tendency Toward Legalism – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ed Stetzer - How to Know Whether Your Church's Leadership Team Is a True Team

It seems like every church has caught onto the idea that church leadership works best through teams rather than solo players. According to Dr. Ryan T. Hartwig, a practical academic and researcher at Azusa Pacific University, a senior leadership team is:

Read more @ Ed Stetzer - How to Know Whether Your Church's Leadership Team Is a True Team