Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free Resurrection Sunday Lesson!

By Lynda Freeman

I originally posted this lesson last year . . . but, thought since you all may be looking for ideas for Resurrection Sunday 2012, I'd share it with you again! April 8, 2012 is Resurrection Sunday . . . the most important day in the history of man! If Jesus didn't rise from the dead then our faith would be in vain. But He did rise from the dead! This is one of the things which sets Him apart from all the other religious leaders throughout time! I Corinthians 1512-22 . . . "We have preached that Christ has been raised from the dead. So how can some of you say that no one rises from the dead? If no one rises from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, what we preach doesn't mean anything. Your faith doesn't mean anything either. More than that, we would be lying about God. We have given witness that God raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead are not raised. If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith doesn't mean anything. Your sins have not been forgiven. Those who have died believing in Christ are also lost. Do we have hope in Christ only for this life? Then people should pity us more than anyone else.But Christ really has been raised from the dead. He is the first of all those who will rise. Death came because of what a man did. Rising from the dead also comes because of what a man did. Because of Adam, all people die. So because of Christ, all will be made alive." (NIrV)

Same Lake, Different Boat

Interview by C4EC with Steph Hubach

When we approach someone who is dealing with circumstances different than our own—for example, a disability—I think we have a tendency to head toward one of two extremes. On the one hand, we may adhere to the American melting pot idea—that “we’re all in the same boat”—and by focusing exclusively on what we have in common, we fail to acknowledge the genuine differences between our life experiences. Or, we may follow the postmodern concept that real understanding of others is not truly possible, and we exaggerate the differences as if “we’re indifferent lakes entirely.” But as Christians, we need to practice identification that is like God’s example to us: one that’s not based solely on what we have in common, or exclusively on how we’re different, but identification that’s intentional. That’s the idea behind Same Lake, Different Boat. This approach recognizes that as human beings, we’re essentially the same but experientially different. So identifying with each other is a choice—a choice that can have tremendous blessings.

Read More @ Church4EveryChild: Same Lake, Different Boat: Guest Blogger Steph Hubach

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Church Planting: Exegeting Your Community

By Matt Steen -

When we were preparing to plant The Garden Community, we were pretty certain that we knew what we were doing, and who we would be serving. As we moved into Baltimore, and began to better understand our surroundings, we began to tweak our understanding of what we were up to and who we would be intentionally investing in. We came to a realization that we would most likely NOT be made up primarily of artists, but would be more intentional about bridging two neighborhoods, and cultures.

Read more @ Church Planting: Exegeting Your Community -

Parent Resources . . . Parenting Point - Courage

By Lynda Freeman
I thought I'd share one more Character Matters video clip with you today . . . this one is on courage - helping our children learn, "it takes courage to say no to ourselves and mean it!" Follow Dr Scheibner's advice and share with children the example of Esther and how she showed courage - even when her actions did not benefit her directly! It does take courage to really live as a Christian in this day and age. We need to equip parents so they are able to help their children learn to be courageous.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Parenting Resource - Character Matters . . . Consideration!

By Lynda Freeman

I really like the website Character Health as a resource for parents. Consider highlighting one of their "Character Points" each week - or at least each month - in your church and involve parents, children - and everyone - in learning to live Christlike lives! If everyone in your church learned about - and focused on showing - these traits, just imagine what your families and church would be like!
When we are able to point the parents in our ministries to resources to help them think though their parenting and how to be more intentional, we are serving not only the parents, but their children as well!

Put Feet to Their Faith . . . Operation Baby Rescue from WorldHelp

By Lynda Freeman

In the country of Guatemala, half of the children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. "In rural areas, 80 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Most malnutrition is caused by water-borne illnesses.
Operation Baby Rescue is an initiative which provides life-saving treatment to thousands of children battling the effects of malnutrition in impoverished communities. Oftentimes the children are brought directly to the Baby Rescue Center where they are treated for malnutrition, parasites, or other life-threatening illnesses. In some cases, the need is so severe the child must be rushed to a nearby medical facility for extensive care. Over 4,000 children have been restored to full health through Operation Baby Rescue."

Watch the video and then come up with a project to put feet to their faith and involve the children - and families - in your ministry in joining together to save the lives of babies and children in Guatemala. It is very simple, first, set up your own fundraising page and spread the word - it is very easy, even I was able to do this! :^) (I set up a Grandma's Cookie Jar page for my other blog, grandma's cookie jar) - and involve the children and families in your ministry in raising money for your project! You could have them make photo frames to sell and then donate the money they raised to your project - after all, parents and grandparents do buy photo frames! You could raise money by having an "art show" - have children/families create their own masterpieces and then auction them off to raise money for your project!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Resource for Parents . . . Character Matters - Geneorsity

By Lynda Freeman

I'm delighted to share another resource with you which you could use with the parents in your ministry . . . Character Health! As they say on their website, "Character health is what Christlikeness looks like in practice! Stated simply, character health is the balance which characterizes Christlike believers as they consistently elevate virtues above feelings when faced with a moral dilemma. Character healthy people put God's Word first. Character health (Christlikeness) should be what we are seeking when we look for happiness or satisfaction. The reason most of us do not live character healthy lives is because we are taught to approach character as a means to an end, rather than a Biblically and morally satisfying end in itself."

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Summer Minute to Win It!

By Lynda Freeman

I love Lindsey Whitney's ideas for "Minute to Win It" for church and her Summer Edition gives even more ideas to help you hold your own "Minute to Win It" at your church! Thank you Lindsey for allowing me to re-post these articles from your site - Growing Kids Ministry. Please be sure to take a minute to check her site for more excellent ideas for your ministry!

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - More Minute to Win It!

By Lynda Freeman

Again, I'd like to thank Lindsey Whitney for allowing me to re-post her "Minute to Win It" articles from her site - Growing Kids Ministry. This post goes on to build on the first with more ideas for games!

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Minute to Win It!

By Lynda Freeman

First of all I want to thank Lindsey Whitney for graciously allowing me to re-post her article on "Minute to Win It for Church!" Lindsey writes Growing Kids Ministry - be sure to take a minute to check her site for all the great ideas, articles and resources you will find there! As you think about the ministry opportunities you want to offer the children and families from your church and community, think about having your own "Minute to Win It!"

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - We Have Talent!

By Lynda Freeman
All this week I've been talking about some family ministry possibilities you could offer the children and families in your church . . . all on a shoe-string! I have one more idea for you . . . you could plan a "(your church's name) got talent" show and involve children and families in sharing their "talents" . . . you could even do this in conjunction with your picnic in the park for "entertainment" at your picnic! 

Finance Fridays: Taxes and the Housing Allowance -

It is sometimes viewed as a badge of honor.

After years of study, much heartache, and a life-changing commitment to Jesus, a clergyman finally reaches a Pastoral milestone – your church board declares that you are awarded a Housing Allowance as part of your compensation. Praise God!

Well, maybe…

Read more @ Finance Fridays: Taxes and the Housing Allowance -

Sunday Morning Commercials -

Our new Lead Pastor and a complete stranger both shared the same observation.. and it wasn’t good.

Read more @ Sunday Morning Commercials -

Special Needs and Divorce: What Does the Data Say?

By Dr. Grcevich 
It’s not unusual to attend presentations at disability ministry conferences where statistics on the impact of specific disabilities are quoted or repeated and accepted as fact, without citing the original source of the research. I’ve been guilty myself of citing or repeating statistics I’ve heard at conferences without verifying the primary source…I’d NEVER be able to get away with spouting statistics without references if I was presenting at a major medical conference.

Discipline and Children

By Lynda Freeman

Child discipline can be such a difficult topic . . . there are those who believe in spanking and those who do not. I think there are a great many who are just confused and not sure what the best "plan of action" is when it comes to child discipline. If we are serious about equipping the parents in our ministries so they are able to confidently raise their children to know, love and walk with God, then we need to address the area of child discipline. Certainly we all want our children and grandchildren to grow up as people who are able to show self-control and make wise decisions, but how do we best accomplish this. And what does the Bible teach about it?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Discipline with the Gospel in View

Guest Post by Nate Wagner
I recently asked Nate Wagner, the pastor at Sparta Baptist Church, to write a guest post for me about parenting and discipline and am delighted for the opportunity to share it with you . . . 

Parenting is a lot like fishing for a big fish with a very small rod.  The goal is to get the fish into your boat without breaking the string.  The boat represents an authentic Christian life and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading in their lives, your child the fish, string the relationship, and the rod discipline.  If you misuse or overuse the rod you will break the string, and with it, the primary means of getting the fish into the boat.

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Family Picnics in the Park!

By Lynda Freeman

If you are looking for something you could do to engage children and families in your church and reach out to your community at the same time . . . all on a shoe-string budget, think about offering Family Picnics in the Park! Think about the following - 

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Family Service Squads!

By Lynda Freeman

When we think about family ministry we most often tend to think about providing ministry opportunities for the children and families in our church and community, and while we certainly want to do this, family ministry can also - and should also - include opportunities for our children and families to serve others! We can serve others "on a shoe-string" . . . consider the following ideas -

Family Ministry on a Shoestring - Family Amazing Race!

By Lynda Freeman

Last year I asked people on CM Connect what they were planning to do during the summer with the families in their church and community. Derek Weaver is the Kid's Pastor at Remedy Church in Delmar, MD and he mentioned they held their own version of "The Amazing Race" for their children and families. I told him I'd love to hear the specifics and asked if he would be interested in writing a guest post for my blog . . . he was kind enough to do so! I'm going to share Derek's guest post with you again, with some ideas on how to do an event like this - on a shoe-string!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Free Family Parenting Resource . . . Freedom Parents!

By Lynda Freeman

Last month I asked the question on CM Connect, "What resources do you provide for parents and grandparents in your ministry?" and Ben Fowlkes replied with a link to an amazing resource, which I have to share with you! Ben said, "We find that resourcing parents is very important. Sometimes they have the desire to raise their children the right way they just don't know where to start. So we came up with a resource website which has been very successful." He shared the link to freedom parents and I can not recommend it highly enough!

Family Ministry on a Shoestring - VBS!

By Lynda Freeman
So . . . I've been posting all month about family ministry; this week I want to focus on ideas for family ministry events/activities . . . all on a shoestring - so any church can do these things! Do you plan family ministry events/activities? While there are some which can be very expensive, there are also lots of ideas which are very affordable . . . just may take some planning. With Summer just a few months away and kids out of school, it is the ideal time to kick your children's and family ministry into high gear! Add to this the rising gas prices . . . and rising everything prices . . . and you are likely to have children and families looking for things to do on a very limited budget. This gives you additional opportunity to reach out to children and families, so all this week I'll look at some ideas for children's and family ministry you could do on a shoe-string!

Leadership Non-Negotiables -

An article by Matt Steen

In one of the coaching cohorts that I am helping to facilitate we have been talking about our leadership histories. As the conversation went on, the group pushed me to share with them a list of what I value in the leadership culture of a church, and the ministries that I lead. Now, the understanding here is that orthodoxy is not at question… 

Read more @ Leadership Non-Negotiables -

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Put Feet to Their Faith with Children's Heart Project . . .

By Lynda Freeman
I've been sharing all month with your about Samaritan's Purse's Children's Heart Project and am delighted to let you know they have produced a movie about how Children's Heart Project helped three children from Mongolia . . . and I am going to give one Three Hearts dvd away! In this DVD Children's Heart Project shares how "graduating college senior, Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham, takes on an internship at Samaritan’s Purse working with the Children’s Heart Project. This project is dedicated to saving the lives of children by providing medical procedures which are not available in many countries. Cissie is charged with supervising the arrival and surgeries of three Mongolian children suffering from fatal congenital heart defects. But the task is not easy and filled with unexpected challenges.  Cissie balances responsibilities as a newly married wife to a professional football player and her tasks with the internship.  Meanwhile the Children’s Heart team turns to a Texas family who travels to Mongolia for the adventure of a lifetime to help bring the children to San Antonio for their surgeries.  In Texas, two host families make sacrifices to care for these children and their mothers, while a team of doctors and nurses volunteer their time only to stare directly into the face of life and death. How far would you go to save a life? It’s a fight for survival, a fight of faith, and a fight for a new life for these three hearts."

Bible Review . . . my first Hands-On Bible!

By Lynda Freeman

I have had the opportunity over the years to review quite a number of Bibles for children. I'm happy today to share with you a new Bible for preschoolers . . .

My First Hands-On Bible 
Publisher - Group/Tyndale
Ages 3+

A Prayer For Your Ministry - Pray For the Most Important Thing!

By Lynda Freeman
There are certainly many things for us to pray about when it comes to praying for the children, families and volunteers in our ministry, but I think we can take a cue from Jesus as to the most important thing for us to pray about. In Matthew 22:37-40 someone asked Jesus which command was the most important; He said, "‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

VeggieTales Robin Good and His Not-So Merry Men . . . I'm Giving One Away

By Lynda Freeman

This new Veggie DVD, Robin Good & His Not So Merry Men, releases on March 3rd and is one children and families in your ministry are sure to love . . . and you will love the way it gives you so many opportunities to talk with them about important lessons!

It all begins with the short - Lenny and the Lost Birthday, in which Lenny thinks everyone has forgotten his birthday. He doesn't know about Leap Year and how it pushed his birthday back one day and ends up feeling like he is not special to anyone. "Of all of my days, mom, this was the worst. My family, my teacher my friends all agree. There's nothing at all that's special about me." His mom sings, "But this is the day the Lord has made. You're special to me and you'll be okay. Tomorrow will dawn and I'll love you still. Things will get better, I promise they will! When your days been a mess and you feel it intensely, don't forget Whose you are and Who loves you immensely! God made you His child and you're treasured as such. You're precious, you're treasured, He loves you so much! And this is the day the Lord has made. You're special to Him, you'll be okay! Tomorrow will dawn and He'll love you still! Things will get better, I promise they will!"

Free Family Event . . . My Bible Journey - Trusting God Journey!

By Lynda Freeman

One reason we do not offer family ministry opportunities, is because we do not stop and think to plan ahead. We are so busy with the day-to-day ins and outs of our ministry, we don't take the time to plan ahead for a special event. So, today I'm delighted to give you a back-to-school family event . . . My Bible Journey - Trusting God Journey! As children return to school they often feel apprehensive and even afraid - what will their new classes be like? What will their new teachers be like? Will they have friends? There are so many questions . . . potentially so many things to be concerned about. Parents also have many concerns . . . will they make the right decisions when it comes to raising their children? Will they be able to keep their jobs? If they do not have a job, will they be able to find a job? Will they be able to make their house payment? What will they do if gas gets even more expensive? So many potential things to be concerned about.

Don't Forget . . . Two FREE Resources for the Parents & Grandparents in Your Church!

By Lynda Freeman

If we are serious about equipping parents so they are able to be the primary teachers, leaders and disciplers of their children, then we need to be "sharers of resources"! Let your parents - and grandparents - know of resources which provide information, ideas and tools which they might take advantage of as they strive to lead their children. So, today I have two free resources you could let the parents and grandparents in your ministry know about!

How Do I "Shift" My Church's "Resource Base" to "Change the World"?

By Lynda Freeman

I found a video clip of George Barna asking an important question - "Do you need to shift your "resource base" from "maintenance" to "changing the world in ways you've never seen in your lifetime"? This is a question we all need to give serious consideration to. So . . . how can you tell if you need to shift your resources in your church, what does it mean to shift your resource base and how might you do this? Consider the following -

First of all, does your church need to shift it's resources?

  • If the children's ministry is mostly "out of sight" of the church, you may very well need to "shift" your resources.
  • If the people in your church - including church leaders - are not able to share with others the vision for your children's ministry, you may very well need to "shift" your resources.
  • If your children's ministry is not a place where children want to be, you may very well need to "shift" your resources.
  • If you family ministry is pretty much non-existent, you may need to "shift" your resources.

Show Your Community You Care . . . Offer Free Parenting Classes!

By Lynda Freeman

Have you ever "skipped" church to drive on the streets surrounding your church building to get an idea of how many people do not attend your church? Who are they? Where do they live? Are there children riding their bikes and playing in their yards? Clearly if they live on the streets around your church, they must know your church is there, so how do we show these families in our communities we really care about them?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Show Your Community You Care . . . Offer Free Family Fun Events!

By Lynda Freeman
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. Times have certainly changed. In far too many cases, today our churches are viewed as places for "church people", not places for the community. Let's think about how we can "throw open the doors of our churches" this Fall, welcome our community in and see if we can re-establish our churches as the place where everyone goes and finds the center of their community life!

What Do I Need to "See"?

By Lynda Freeman

In our children's and family ministries "imparting information" is important, but it is infinitely most important for us to pray for "eyes to be opened". In our ministries we "impart" a lot of "information". We teach Bible lessons, we train volunteers, we encourage parents . . . we "impart" a lot of "information". But, do we focus on asking God to "open eyes"? What are some things we need to have our eyes . . . and the eyes of children, parents and volunteers . . . opened? Consider the following . . . 

Make Prayer THE Priority

By Lynda Freeman

I recently heard a sermon from Dr. Jim Samra about the most important thing we can do . . . Pray! (You can check this link to hear the sermon - it just takes 26 minutes and 48 seconds to do so . . . you'll be glad you did!)

So, Dr. Samra said we need to do the most important thing . . . pray. Yes, teaching the Bible - giving information - is important, but the first thing we need to do is pray. Do you pray, really pray, before you do anything else in your ministry? It can be far too easy to just go about the work of the ministry and plan, organize, train, prepare, teach . . . all without really spending time in prayer.

How Does Your Children's Ministry Support Parents With Special Needs Children?

By Lynda Freeman

I've been posting all month about family ministry and how to be intentional and effective in your family ministry, but what about your ministry to families where they have a child with special needs? Does your children's ministry provide the support and encouragement these parents need? Loretta Baughan wrote a powerful and thought provoking post on Modern Day Eugenics on her blog, STRAIGHT4ward with Loretta Baughan. Please take a moment to read this post and then consider the following . . .

Church Planting: The People You Meet (part one) -

By Matt Steen

One of the coolest parts of planting a church is how many people you get to meet and connect with. One of the most challenging parts of planting a church are the people you meet and connect with. I realize that these statements are true of any ministry opportunity, yet something about church planting seems to crank up the intensity of these statements a notch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Church Planting: Before You Start (part two) -

By Matt Steen

Last Tuesday I started a series sharing some of what I learned while planting a church. My top secret plan in all this is to turn the comments section of these posts into a powerful resource for planters, and potential planters… so please, share your wisdom, insight, and experiences and let’s walk through this together. 
Read more @ Church Planting: Before You Start (part two) -

What is Real Worship and How Do We Help The Children in Our Churches Understand It?

By Lynda Freeman

What is worship? In many churches singing on Sunday morning is what we do for worship; but is this real worship? Certainly there’s Biblical precedent for worshipping God with songs and music focused on Who God/Jesus is. John 4:24 instructs us to worship in spirit and truth – focused on the truth of Who God is. Singing/music is a legitimate and important part of worshipping God, but isn’t the only component of or way to worship God. If worship is more than singing on a Sunday morning how can worship leaders/teachers lead children . . . and adults, into a fuller understanding of worship both in their class and in the church service?

A Must-Have Resource for Parents . . . The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make

By Lynda Freeman

Part of having a children's ministry is focusing on ministry to their parents as well because if you want to be genuinely effective at reaching and discipling children, you have to come alongside their parents so you workwith their parents to accomplish this goal. There are many things you can do to come alongside parents, but one very simple one is to recommend resources for parents. Consider finding and selecting one book/resource each month and then recommend it to the parents in your ministry.

Another Resource for Families - 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking - I'm Giving One Away!

By Lynda Freeman

I'm delighted for the opportunity to share another resource you could recommend to the parents in your church . . . and I will be giving one away!

150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking  
Author - Mary E. DeMuth
Publisher - Harvest House