Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Greatest Injustice of All | World Help

What is justice? What do you think of when you hear the word “justice”? We asked several people this question at the latest Justice Conference I attended in Portland, Oregon, and we received many different answers.
“Justice is serving the poor and broken.”
“Freedom for all. Dignity, security, and peace. Acceptance. Love.”
“Giving everyone a chance at hope.”
“Living my life for the welfare of others.”
“Doing without so others can have.”

Read more @ The Greatest Injustice of All | World Help

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Today -You're On Your Own . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
We've been looking at Dr. Seuss quotes for the past month and today is the last one. It has been fun to look at some of the many Dr. Seuss quotes and then to think about them in the light of God's Word. So . . . the final Dr. Seuss Quote for today is, 
"You're on your own. You know what you know. And you are the one who'll decide where to go . . . " 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pastoral Idolatry: 10 Common Forms of False Righteousness in Ministry | Pastoralized

Brothers, we are all idolaters. If Calvin was right when he said that our hearts are idol factories, and he was, then pastors are no exception. Which insufficient form of righteousness are you guilty of seeking from ministry? Or – if you are like me – which one are you not guilty of seeking?"

Read more @ Pastoral Idolatry: 10 Common Forms of False Righteousness in Ministry | Pastoralized

Food for work: Covering immediate and future needs in parched Niger | WORLD VISION BLOG

Food for work: Covering immediate and future needs in parched Niger by Amadou Baraze, World Vision Niger

As the drought and food crisis escalate across West Africa, how is World Vision responding both to urgent, immediate needs, as well as long-term recovery challenges? Here’s a closer look at what’s going on in villages across Niger.

*     *     *

Women of all ages — young and old — carry babies on their backs and dig in the hard soil under the hot sun. At this point, the depth of Niger’s food crisis becomes painfully clear. Communities agonizing over the ongoing drought are able to eat only because of relief efforts that World Vision has undertaken in partnership with the World Food Program.

Just how bad has it gotten? Ask a villager.

Read more @ Food for work: Covering immediate and future needs in parched Niger | WORLD VISION BLOG

David's bright idea | WORLD VISION BLOG

"David’s bright idea" by James Addis

Do you give money to beggars? I can think of plenty of reasons why such giving is not a good idea. Then, I’ll see some destitute woman shivering in the cold, and I’ll feel compelled to press a few dollars in her hand.

I believe God looks favorably on such gestures, but I think most would agree they are of limited value. If we really want to be a Good Samaritan, then our engagement with the poor needs to be more thoughtful and intentional.

I was reminded of this the other week when I met David Strait. David is an engineer from Madison, Wisconsin. Like many people in his church, David sponsors children in a community struggling with poverty in Rwanda. David took his interest one step further by joining a church vision trip and heading to Africa to actually meet his sponsored children."

Read more @ David's bright idea | WORLD VISION BLOG

Knowing When To Stop | Samaritan's Purse

By Bev Kauffeldt, program support manager for the Samaritan's Purse office in Liberia.

We have all seen those terrible videos or read about it in the news. Someone is being robbed, beat up or is lying in the street hurt—and people are walking by, not stopping or willing to help.

When I watch it on the news I am in disbelief, shocked and angry. I find myself yelling at the TV. “What would happen if that was YOU! And people were walking by YOU! How would you feel?”"

Knowing When To Stop | Samaritan's Purse

Fighting Fear in Faradje | Samaritan's Purse

By Aaron Wolcott, country director in the Democratic Republic of Congo

I spent some of the most formative years of my childhood in Faradje, a town in the northeast corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was the menacing missionary kid who came home from boarding school every three months to join the local troop of village boys in morning games of football, forages through the tall elephant grass on “hunting” trips, and afternoons spent swimming in the hippo-infested Dungu River. These adventures were followed by relaxing in a guava or mango tree, eating up the fruits of the land.

Faradje became home to me. No matter how many times I moved after that, it always held a special place in my heart.

Read more @ Fighting Fear in Faradje | Samaritan's Purse

Elementary Children's Ministry Essentials . . . Furnishing and Supplies!

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

We've been talking about the essential elements for our elementary children's ministry classrooms which enable us to have safe ministry and how to create classroom environments on a shoestring, so today I'm going to touch on furnishings and supplies!
  • in far too many children's ministry classroom the main thing you see is furniture. Unless your furniture is bolted to the floor, remove tables and chairs. Give your children's ministry the gift of space - space to move, space to be involved in the Bible lesson with dramas and space for small groups to spread out and talk about the important things they are learning from God's Word. Have children sit on the floor - no need for chairs.

Finance Fridays: The Church Plant's Back Office -

Welcome to the world of church planting.

We all come into ministry with high aspirations of growing a church, reaching people with the Gospel and developing missional disciples to go and share their faith.  Seminary has trained and equipped us with the ability to study theology and explain the deepest tenets of our faith.  You’re an equipped pastor ready to go.

But wait, oh yeah, by the way pastor, you need to run a business while you are at it.  While you are out ministering to the needs of your community, you are also responsible to make sure your church has the necessary operating capital to pay bills.  You need to watch expenses so that the money is being used wisely.
You need to be the best stewards of every penny that comes through the offering plate.  And you also need to be prepared to report about the financial health of your church to your donors and supporters.

Sound like a daunting task?

Read more @ Finance Fridays: The Church Plant's Back Office -

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Today - I'm Sorry to Say So . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is,  "I'm sorry to say so but, sadly it's true - that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you!" This is true. Bang-ups and hang-ups can and will happen to us. Our world is broken by sin and because of this, hurt, pain and disappointment are part of life. We do not, however; have to be defeated by our bang-ups and hang-ups! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You’re Not that Smart: Avoiding the Moses Complex |

I’ve always found it fascinating that Solomon, the wisest king to ever rule Israel, understood the value of getting advice from other people. If God had already gifted him with wisdom, why did he pursue advice from others? It seems like it would have been appropriate for Solomon to say, “My wisdom and understanding comes directly from God. I will make decisions about my next steps based on that wisdom alone.”

Read more @ You’re Not that Smart: Avoiding the Moses Complex |

themelios: Pastors Who Enable

The role of pastors is clear in Scripture: “Equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” But unfortunately, some pastors confuse equipping for enablement.

Primarily, this is caused by fear on the part of the pastor. Proverbs 29:25 warns us that “the fear of man is a snare." But often, that fear doesn’t look like fear. Sometimes it looks quite courageous. Sometimes it appears as though the pastor is working himself to death in service to the church, when in reality he is doing all the work because he fears a lack of control. Sometimes it appears the Word is proclaimed in an uncompromising way, when in reality the pastor is just throwing red meat to the crowd. What follows are some ways I’ve seen pastors enable dysfunction in their churches.

Read more @ themelios: Pastors Who Enable

Church Planting: Leadership Transition -

If the author of Ecclesiastes is to be believed, there is a season for everything.  A season for planting churches, a season for growing a healthy church, and a season for leadership transition.  In some cases leadership transition means leaving, stepping back from one role into another, or it can mean closing the church all together.

Today I want to walk through some of the reasons for you to consider changing your role, and on Tuesday we will discuss how to do it well.  This is always a difficult subject, one that we don’t like to talk about… but it is something that happens, and needs to be discussed.  In preparing to write this, I reached out to a handful of friends who have gone through a transition in the church that they planted.  While some of the guys asked to remain anonymous, I am indebted to guys like Joel Rainey and J.R. Briggs for sharing their experiences, allowing me to come at this with more than my own experience."

Read more @ Church Planting: Leadership Transition -

Elementary Children's Ministry Essentials . . . Design Top-Notch Classrooms!

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

You may have had an opportunity to see elementary children's ministry classes in a large church - one which is decorated to the nines and while you might want to have compelling and cool classrooms, it just isn't in your budget. So, what do you do? Let me tell you - you can have a truly top-notch elementary children's ministry area . . . on a shoestring budget! Consider these ideas for developing the environment for the children in your church - 
  • you may be tempted to paint your classrooms bright colors, but resist such a temptation . . . paint your walls a pale, pastel or neutral shade and then decorate according to the time of year and according to your Bible theme. 
  • plan a paint-n-party day! Invite the people in your church to join you to paint your classrooms. Provide sandwiches . . . or have a pot-faith picnic and ask families to bring sandwiches, chips, cookies and veggie sticks to share for one big picnic! Provide lemonade and you have all the makings for a fun and productive day!

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Today - Step With Care and Great Tact . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"Step with care and great tact. And remember life's a great balancing act!" Life has it's "stages" and "moments" and we need to walk though it with a mind for "balance". 
Consider Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,11,  
"There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens: a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted, a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up, a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing, a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones, a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces, a time for searching and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for throwing away, a time for tearing and a time for repairing, a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking, a time for loving and a time for hating, a time for war and a time for peace. God has made everything fitting in its time." 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thank God for Smaller Churches and Their Leaders -

By Thom Rainer |

In a previous post, I wrote about the migration of people from smaller churches to larger churches. I noted several reasons for this trend, not the least of which was the growing urban and suburban population base in our nation. And that growth has come at the expense of the rural population. Today only 16 percent of our population lives in rural areas. Just a century ago, 60 percent of the U.S. residents lived in rural areas.

Such trends are real. The data cannot be refuted. But the reality of the trends does not diminish the value of smaller churches.

Read more @ Thank God for Smaller Churches and Their Leaders -

More Stuff You Should Know About Kids With Asperger’s Disorder | Church4EveryChild

This past Tuesday, we reviewed the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s Disorder and emphasized the notion that the unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses seen in kids with the disorder complicates efforts to serve them programmatically. We’ll continue our discussion today by examining three additional characteristics of many kids with Asperger’s that often complicate their ability to participate in activities at church.

Read more @ More Stuff You Should Know About Kids With Asperger’s Disorder | Church4EveryChild

Do you know the violinist? |

"Too often as churches, our focus is on making violins. I wonder what would happen if we lived in the world of the violinist and considered how they would play the instrument. Check out this short video telling the story of violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz."

See the video @ Do you know the violinist? |

Daniel, John the Baptist, and Your Storms -

By Matt |

"Over the last couple of months I have had two things floating around in the back of my head.  One has to do with John the Baptist (Luke 7:18-23), the other with Daniel (Daniel 6).  Both of these stories have to do with storms in their ministry, and I believe that they speak to all of us involved in ministry leadership today.  These stories may or may not apply to you today, but they will.  If you are pursuing a God-given calling to minister to people, you will experience storms…  and there is hope to be had in the midst of them."

Read more @ Daniel, John the Baptist, and Your Storms -

The Dr. Seuss Quote For Today - From There to Here . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere!" This is mostly true! There are funny things most everywhere . . . some are easier to see than others, but there are funny things most everywhere! God created the world and everything in it and some of these things are funny! 
Consider Colossians 1:16, 
"Because all things were created by him: both in the heavens and on the earth, the things that are visible and the things that are invisible. Whether they are thrones or powers, or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him." 

Elementary Children's Ministry Essentials . . . Bathroom Policies, Health Policies and Staffing Levels!

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
After you have your polices in place for the two primary issues of screening volunteers and child check-in/pick up, there are three additional key areas you can work on to ensure safety for the elementary age children in your ministry.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Samaritan's Purse

By Stephen Bergen, case manager/volunteer coordinator for the Samaritan's Purse home rebuilding project in Joplin, Missouri.

Scott and Barb live by the train tracks that run through the middle of town. I often had to stop at the crossing when I traveled to a jobsite on the west side. I passed by the property at the corner of 20th and Wisconsin for several weeks, but barely noticed the storm-damaged home there.

As I was pulling away from the crossing one day, I looked towards the half-finished house on the right. I saw a man standing in the front yard, staring up at the sky. I turned, pulled into the driveway, and asked him if I could help in any way.

Read more @ Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse

By Brittany Breedlove

Samaritan’s Purse Niger is taking the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 very seriously, and literally taking the Gospel witness to edges of the earth that have never heard it before. By doing so, SP is changing lives, and creating a new view of aid organizations.

Villagers in Niger have the general impression that aid organizations typically only work off the main roads, giving the majority of their help to the larger, more populated villages. Although this is good, many times the smaller, isolated villages that actually need aid the most are overlooked.

Read more @ Samaritan's Purse

Sent, Not Brought

Sent, Not Brought: " We are amazed at the miracles Moses performed in Egypt before Pharaoh and his people. We must remember that, though he was brought up in the house of Pharaoh and he had the best education of those days, the Bible says Moses was “sent.”

Brethren, in our ministry today, we might have strong experiences before becoming part this organization. We might have had certificates in various areas before being hired, but let me tell you that the Lord didn’t consider your past experiences or qualifications before He “sent” you to your current position."

Read more @ Sent, Not Brought

Dealing with “First World Problems” | WORLD VISION BLOG

Dealing with “First World Problems” | WORLD VISION BLOG: "My friends and I have a saying that we thought was unique — until we discovered that it already has a popular Twitter hashtag and YouTube video.

“First World Problems.”

At one time, we thought we’d create a blog based off the concept and make millions that we could donate to charities to save lives. But we weren’t the first to think of the idea. Woe is us. Maybe our disappoint is, in itself, a drop in the bucket of #firstworldproblems."

Endings and Leadership -

Endings and Leadership - "It may be the toughest part of leadership. It would at least seem to be toughest part of leadership because it is often the area most avoided by leaders.

Many leaders avoid endings.

We believe we must perpetuate the one area of our organization that is no longer effective because it has done so well in the past. If we just gave it one more chance it would be okay. But we have given it many chances, and it continues to be ineffective. We just find endings difficult."

Stop Leading like You Parent First Graders |

Stop Leading like You Parent First Graders | "I have four kids ranging in age from 6 to 17. I’ve been parenting for 17 years, so I know a little bit about parenting. I’ve been leading for about 20 years. I also know a little bit about leading. By the way, I’m still learning a lot about both parenting and leading.

What intrigues me, though, is how much you can learn about leading through parenting. Do I believe parents make better leaders? You bet I do! I believe there’s a lot to be learned through parenting that shapes leadership. That includes everything from establishing values, setting expectations, motivating, developing, disciplining, encouraging, celebrating, etc."

Church Planting: People and Policies -

Church Planting: People and Policies - "Whenever I initially interview a church planter to assess their needs I always ask them to tell me their story: why they are planting, what brought them to this place, and how do they intend to move forward.  At some point during the conversation there will always be a reference to other churches that they had been a part of, and how their leadership will look different.  This is not normally a critical conversation, most times the former churches are referred to rather warmly, but as we all evolve in our leadership, we look to do things differently from the places in which we came from."

The Dr. Seuss Quote For Today - Will You Succeed?By

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!" Well . . . there are things in life which if we focus and are persistent, we are likely to succeed, but certainly, most things in life there are no guarantees. However; when it comes to knowing and walking with God . . . well, if we follow God's Word, we are 100% guaranteed to succeed because God wants us to know and walk with Him!  

Elementary Children's Ministry Essentials . . . Safety!

By Lynda Freeman
Last week I talked about the components of a safe Nursery/Preschool and outlined essentials for these areas of your ministry. This week I'm going to focus on the essentials for Elementary children's ministry and give some ideas of how to utilize these items on a shoestring budget. 

What do you think of when you think of your elementary classrooms as well as the resources you'd like to have? As I said last week, if I had an unlimited budget and space for the "perfect classroom", I know there are some awesome resources I'd love to offer children. Unfortunately, our budget doesn't allow for those things, so which resources are essential elements for a truly effective ministry and yet are "do-able" on a shoestring budget?
Most of the needs of elementary age children are different than those of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and those needs help us determine what is truly essential in our ministry to elementary age children. The top areas you need to consider for your classroom are safety, teaching aids and activities so we'll look at each of these areas in the coming week.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clean water is life: Improvements to wells in Zambia | WORLD VISION BLOG

Clean water is life: Improvements to wells in Zambia | WORLD VISION BLOG: "Like millions of other people in Zambia, residents of the Kampekete community rely on water from shallow, hand-dug wells. The two wells already established in the village were abandoned and used only for animal watering because the water was not safe to drink.

“We used to draw water using the bucket tied to a rope,” says Betty Malumpande, a widowed 54-year-old mother of 10 children. “A lot of buckets and ropes used to drop into the well. The water was dirty because it was open, and the children would throw leaves, branches, and other things in the water.”

The government disinfected the well with chlorine — but it was difficult for villagers to drink the water because of the dirty particles still visible."

Saving My Generation

Saving My Generation: " Jochebed, the mother of Moses, teaches us a great strategy on how to save our generation: Take a chance on a life!

Jochebed faced risks and challenges when she sent her baby down the Nile. Today, we preach Jesus to children or teenagers, and that involves risks and challenges, too. We may face a lack of resources, a lack of support from our leadership (government or church), dangerous areas and so forth."

VBS 2012 - Rocky Point Lighthouse from Group

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
Rocky Point Lighthouse Starter KitI'm delighted for the opportunity to share Group's new weekend VBS with you . . . Rocky Point Lighthouse! The idea with this resource is to provide two affordable 2 1/2 hour sessions, plus a one hour celebration which churches could use over one weekend . . . or over three weekend . . . or they might be able to spread it out for one Saturday a month for a Summer of fun!

Rocky Point Lighthouse

Group Publishing

  1. Jesus heals a blind man – John 9:1-41 
  2. Jesus dies and comes back to life – Luke 23:26-24:53

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms - Puppets and Dress-Up - On a Shoestring!

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
As we continue to think about the items which are essential for our nursery and preschool classrooms, let's think about puppets and dress-up. Puppets make wonderful visual aids for nursery and preschool-age children. Little ones usually enjoy puppets and like the opportunity to make "friends" with a puppet character. The good news is it doesn't have to be expensive to add puppets to your nursery and preschool ministries! Consider the following sources for puppets -

The Dr. Seuss Quote For Today - Today I Shall Behave . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered!" I really like this one! It is a challenge to all of us! So, how do we do this? 
Consider Matthew 7:12, 
"Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you" 

18 Seconds or The Need For Strategic Listening -

18 Seconds or The Need For Strategic Listening - "Several years ago I served on a team whose leader approached leadership decisions in a rather frustrating way.  He would make his mind up about how he wanted to proceed, and then he would come to the team and ask our opinion on which way we should go.  He would then lead and influence the discussion in a way that ensured we would all agree with his pre-decided direction… while never being open to the thoughts or insights of the team."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dirty water for now — but clean water is in the works | WORLD VISION

Dirty water for now — but clean water is in the works | WORLD VISION: "Water: It’s such a simple thing, but if you don’t have enough, it takes over your life.

That’s what 13-year-old Zinhle Dlamini told me. Getting water for her family in rural Swaziland is a two-hour-per-day chore. And the dirty water they get is not nearly enough for all the drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing for a household of 10 people."

Water of Life: Filtering Water From the Akora River

Water of Life: Filtering Water From the Akora River: " One Wednesday morning, the quiet, small community of Ghana’s Ekwamkrom came alive with joy and hope. Parents hurried to Ebenezer Methodist Church where each household received two large plastic buckets and a water filtration system.

There was finally hope for release from the waterborne diseases their children had been exposed to all these years."

Join the Rescue | World Help

Join the Rescue | World Help: "In Guatemala, one out of every five children is malnourished to the point of death. And too often, death is their only escape from the suffering. But for thousands of these innocent children, there is restoration. Operation Baby Rescue—an initiative of compassionate people working to save lives from the effects of malnutrition—can be their hope."

The Dr. Seuss Quote For Today - All Alone . . .

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you'll be quite a lot!" Actually, it was supposed to be, "Teeth are always in style!", but I thought I'd change it today. While we may be physically alone at times in our lives, the wonderful truth is we are never alone! Jesus promised to be with us always - 

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms -Design a Classroom Environment on a Shoestring - Part 3!

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department
As you consider your nursery and preschool environments don't forget sound, video and books. Place a CD or MP3 player in your nursery to play soft music with simple lyrics you can sing to the babies as you hold and play with them; don't forget to train your volunteers to do this, too. I recently reviewed the  Veggie Singalong CD Player . . . it is one children can use - with adult supervision - and sing along with, too! A DVD player and a television can also be a useful resource, but again, train your volunteers so they do not just put in a DVD and then sit around and chat while the children watch the TV.  Use DVDs sparingly, but have it available for occasional use. Consider developing a library of movies you can use to help children learn.

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Yesterday - The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is, How Did It Get So Late So Soon?

By Lynda Freeman | About the Children's Department

The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?" Actually, it was supposed to be, "It's opener, out there, in the wide, open air!", but I thought I'd change it today. Time does fly. I was just marveling the other day how my grandson will be four years old this year! Talk about time flying! It matters what we do today because it does, "get so late so soon." 
Ephesians 5:15-20 tells us,
"So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times. Because of this, don’t be ignorant, but understand the Lord’s will. Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity. Instead be filled with the Spirit in the following ways: speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” 

Square Pegs and Round Holes…Helping Kids With Asperger’s Disorder and Social Disabilities Grow Spiritually | Church4EveryChild

Churches are social institutions. That’s not at all surprising in light of the traditional view that Christianity differs from other faiths in focusing upon a relationship with Jesus as opposed to religious rituals or practices. In his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren identifies fellowship as one of the five purposes for which man was created. Two of the other purposes (ministry and mission) Warren describes are largely carried out in the presence of others. Worship is viewed as a communal activity. The REVEAL survey found that the fifth purpose (discipleship) is catalyzed by organized church activities and spiritual activities engaged in with others, in addition to spiritual beliefs and attitudes and personal spiritual practices. When it comes to kids, our teammate, Libby Peterson teaches four “fantastic faith forming family functions” – Talk, Pray, Read, Serve…encouraging parents to talk with their kids about the Lord, pray together as a family, read the Bible together and serve together.

Read more @ Square Pegs and Round Holes…Helping Kids With Asperger’s Disorder and Social Disabilities Grow Spiritually | Church4EveryChild

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms - Creativity on a Shoestring!

By Lynda Freeman
So . . . we've considered the essentials for a safe nursery and preschool ministry, looked at creating a top-notch environment as well as furnishings and equipment on a shoestring. Let's pause a moment to consider supplies for our little ones which allow them to express themselves and what they are learning . . . all on a shoestring as well - with an eye for safety!

  • Toddlers are emerging artists, and preschoolers see themselves as genuine Picassos. As a result, craft items should provide safe exploration of multiple media, and the end product should be open-ended—which is, no “model” project to reproduce. Include the basics such as construction paper, glue sticks, safety scissors, chenille wire, pom poms, and crayons. Check pricing at warehouse/membership stores in your area or look on-line at S&S World Wide or Oriental Trading. Stack you construction paper by color in letter stackers - this will reduce waste from crumpled paper and will help you be able to easily identify if you are running low of a particular color.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 Things a Pastor Should Never Say | Life and Theology

"Ever heard a pastor say something that made you cringe?

We pastors say a lot. From the stage, to the phone, in an email, and in passing conversations, we are communicating with people most of our days. And while much of what we share is (hopefully) helpful, there are certain things that should never be said."

Read more @ 5 Things a Pastor Should Never Say | Life and Theology

The Rise of the Religious "Nones" -

"Much of the literature of the sociology and growth of the church focuses on the broad categories of the churched and the unchurched. There have been various definitions of each of those groups. I typically define “churched” as a person who attends a church worship service at least once a month, while any others would be “unchurched.”

My definition obviously says little about the commitment level of the churched. Indeed, if a person attended church worship services only one time a month, he or she could hardly be considered a committed churchgoer."

Read more @ The Rise of the Religious "Nones" -

Friday, March 23, 2012

The 5 Love Languages of Children - Giving One Away!

By Lynda Freeman

This book begins with a powerful sentence; "Every child has a primary language of love, a way he or she understands a parent's love best." This book will help you identify and know how to best fill your child's "emotional tank"!
The 5 Love Languages of Children 
Authors - Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell
Publisher - Northfield Publishing

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Today - Oh the Things You Can Find . . .

By Lynda Freeman

The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"Oh the things you can find if you don't stay behind!" While there could be things you will find if you don't stay behind, I think there are far more amazing things you will find if you follow Jesus! 
John 8:12 tells us, 
"Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'” 

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms -Design a Classroom Environment on a Shoestring - Part 2!

By Lynda Freeman

I've been writing about a safe children's ministry all month, but today I want to talk about your classroom environment . . . and how to have an amazing one, even on a shoestring budget! You may have had an opportunity to see nursery or preschool classes in a large church - one which is decorated to the nines and while you might want to have a really attractive nursery, it just isn't in your budget. So, what do you do? Let me tell you - you can have a truly top-notch nursery and preschool area . . . on a shoestring budget! Consider these ideas for developing the environment for the youngest ones in your church -

Finance Fridays: Church Plant Fundraising (part 2) -

"You’re ready to plant.  You’ve got a vision for your ministry, a mission to fulfill, a calling, support from your mentors, and all the money you need to get going, right?  Well, probably all but that last part.

How do you move the chains?  Pray for the right people to make commitments?  Yes, absolutely, but, you have the responsibility to connect with people as well.  I used to work for a guy who regularly reminded us that “We trust God for the outcome, but we’re responsible for the results.”  Amen.  How does this apply in our context?  We’re going to pray expectantly, allowing us to be confident, and get a little uncomfortable."

Read more @ Finance Fridays: Church Plant Fundraising (part 2) -

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seven Ways Leaders Regain Their Drive -

By Thom Rainer

"In a previous article, I shared with you my interviews with leaders who, at some point in their careers, lost their drive. I summarized the reasons behind their diminishing drive in seven points ranked by frequency of response.

In this article, I share with you the results of my follow-up question: “What did you do to regain your drive once you lost it?” As a reminder, these interviews were done over a one-year period as I met with leaders in informal conversation. My methodology is thus anecdotal rather than scientific. Still, I found their responses to be both helpful and encouraging.

These responses are again in order of frequency. Most leaders either gave one or two ways they regained their drive. Very few gave three or more."

Read more @ Seven Ways Leaders Regain Their Drive -

Moore to the Point – Should I Divorce If I’m Miserable?

"Dear Dr. Moore,

My wife and I are at an impasse. There’s been no abandonment, no sexual immorality, and no abuse. We just don’t get along. We shouldn’t have married. We should have known we are incompatible. I know God hates divorce but I don’t have any other option. My pastor and some Christian counselors have told me that while God hates divorce, this is the lesser of two evils because God doesn’t want me to be miserable.  What do you think?

Married but Miserable"

Read more @ Moore to the Point – Should I Divorce If I’m Miserable?

The Gospel for Sinners | Gospel Centered Discipleship | Resources to Make, Mature, & Multiply disciples of Jesus

By Fabienne Harford

"I’m a big fan of the gospel-centered movement sweeping America. We’re reclaiming the gospel from the hands of legalism. We’re denouncing the lie that obedience can earn you God’s favor. But we must not accidentally make obedience the unofficial enemy of the gospel. I don’t want us to find ourselves explaining away verses that tell us to flee unrighteousness on pain of death. I don’t want to wave around the gospel like it’s a trump card, offering a free pass from any eternal consequences of sin. The Bible speaks about our salvation as if it’s inextricably linked with our obedience.

I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)"

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

The Dr. Seuss Quote for Today - Be Who You Are and Say What You Mean . . .

By Lynda Freeman
The Dr. Seuss Quote for today is"Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!" There are things which are true about this saying, but there are also things which are not true. First the things which are true . . . if someone really loves you, they will love you no matter what you say because of who you are . . . a person who they love! Now for the things which are not true . . . you might, on occasion, say things which people who matter to you get upset about. This can be a painful thing to have happen, but it can, and does happen from time to time.
Now for a few things to keep in mind. First, you should say what you mean. Being honest is something which has to be a high priority for each of us. However; this doesn't mean you can't be thoughtful and considerate about what you say and how you say it. 
Colossians 4:6 says, 
"Your speech should always be gracious and sprinkled with insight so that you may know how to respond to every person." 
We do need to always use gracious and insightful words. 
Ephesians 4:1-3, 25, 26,29-32 tells us, 
"Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor because we are parts of each other in the same body. Be angry without sinning. Don’t let the sun set on your anger. Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ." 

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms - Germ Warfare and Washing Toys!

By Lynda Freeman
Yesterday we looked at two essentials for a safe nursery and preschool ministry - screening volunteers and child check-in/out, so today let's think about germ warfare and cleaning toys. We want our classroom environment to be an amazing environment - even on a shoestring! Our nurseries are spaces for little ones to be cared for, play in and for us to begin to introduce them to Jesus! Preschool classrooms are spaces for children to learn about Jesus to play in. Let's create environments your children—and their parents—will love.

Crisis Leadership: Are You Always Putting Out Fires? |

By Tony Morgan

"When I was in city management, I worked with the fire chief. A good fire chief knows how to put out fires. When the fire truck arrives at the scene of the fire, everyone’s role has previously been defined. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do. There’s a “standard operating procedure” for just about every scenario. At the scene of a fire, there’s no time for collaborative decision-making. When there’s a crisis, someone has to call the shots.

Crisis situations require decisive action. Someone has to lead."

Read more @ Crisis Leadership: Are You Always Putting Out Fires? |

New resource on including kids with aggressive behavior at church | Church4EveryChild

By drgrcevich

"I’ve been off this week catching up on my CME credits required to maintain my medical license and preparing for the series to begin this coming Sunday on spiritual development in kids with Asperger’s Disorder and/or social disabilities. But I haven’t forgotten about the churches our Key Ministry team seeks to serve.

Here’s a one-stop resource tying together the blog series from last fall, Beyond Zero Tolerance…When Kids Become Aggressive at Church. In addition to an edited version of the entire series in a single article, I included a SlideShare presentation of the lecture I was invited to present on the topic at last Fall’s Bioethics Conference and Through the Roof Summit at Cedarville University."

Read more @ New resource on including kids with aggressive behavior at church | Church4EveryChild

5 Essentials for Your Volunteers . . . #2 A Listening Ear! | Kidmin1124

5 Essentials for Your Volunteers . . . #2 A Listening Ear! | Kidmin1124:
"We all have busy lives with stress, sometimes we just need someone who will listen. If we are too busy to stop and listen to the concerns and cares of our volunteers, then we are too busy. Be sure your volunteers know they can come to you if they need a listening ear and then listen and pray with them. One word of caution; be certain when you give a listening ear, you are not a party to gossip. If a volunteer begins to gossip, stop them. Encourage them to go to the person they are talking about to try and work things out. Do NOT allow giving a listening ear to become a vehicle for gossip. But, if your volunteer is not gossiping and just needs someone to listen, be that person."