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"!