Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wednesday night stuff

I'm in the process of researching some of the various programs out there for Wed. night church programming for kids. We'll be expanding what we do on Wed. nights at my home church, so I'm trying to figure out the best and wisest way to go.

Here's what I've found and what I know, but I need your help...

After a cursory search on the good ol' internet, I've found the following:

1. CEF/Good News Club
3. Word of Life/Olympians
4. Faith Weavers
5. Royal Rangers
6. Pioneer Club

I know a fair bit about the first two (especially AWANA), and have a passing familiarity with WOL. I know the last three only by name.

So ... if any of you know something you think I should know to make a wise decision, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to either comment here or email me.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Family Sundays

As most of you know, I'm always trying to figure out ways to foster a more authentic sense of community in local churches. Over at my home church we're going to try something different that I think will really help on a number of fronts...

If you look at a calendar, you'll discover that there are four (sometimes five) months in a year that have five Sundays. I doesn't take much imagination to realize that this regularly creates scheduling difficulties for Children's Ministry workers. You usually have volunteers that agree to work one Sunday per month ... but suddenly you have an extra week but not extra workers! Churches choose to resolve the issue in many various (and fully functional) ways. We are electing to do something a little out of the norm.

On these "extra" Sundays, we're declaring Family Sunday. We'll not have our normal Children's Ministries, but instead we'll have everyone all together in the main assembly area. This will create some challenges, for sure - but we think the rewards will far outweigh the difficulties. When you put them on a scale, it looks something like this:

1. It's different - there will be a certain amount of adjustment to things just plain old "not normal"!
2. It will be louder - there's no question that having children in this setting will create more noise and a little bit of chaos, too.
3. It will create some tension - some parents will be uncomfortable with the fear that perhaps their child will do something embarrassing or distracting.

1. It will foster authentic community. Real community is multi-generational, yet we typically exclude an entire generation from our corporate worship times. Family Sunday will be truly multi-generational.
2. It will weave children into the life of the church. Kids need to know that they're valuable and that they have a legitimate place in the life of the church. Involving them in "big church" will help bridge this gap.
3. It will help disciple our children. For starters, our children will have an opportunity to see a large group of adults (including Mom and Dad) worship together. It's hard to over-estimate the value of this experience. Also, it will allow many followers of Christ to share with the children in a variety of ways.
4. It will force us out of our comfort zone. At the risk of sounding harsh, I am increasingly convinced that many American church-goers keep a god in the closet and its name is "Comfort". We get in our ruts and we get comfortable. Doing something this out of the ordinary will be a healthy experience for us now and again.
5. It will involve more people in corporate ministry. In order to keep younger children involved and interested, we'll be doing things in smaller pieces. Instead of one 45 minute sermon, we'll have two sermons of perhaps 15-20 minutes each. Instead of one long set of corporate worship, we'll break out into singing in spurts throughout the entire time. Instead of just a few faces on the platform, we'll be involving many more. Instead of mostly 35-55 year old people, we'll have a more legitimate multi-generational feel - we're striving for the very best of a family reunion feeling.

Mind you, this is all in theory at this stage! Who knows if things will really work out as I'm suggesting. Our first Family Sunday will be in just a few weeks - I'll post to let you know how it works out.

In the meantime, do any of you do something like this? Have any ideas to share with me? I'd gladly give a (cyber) penny for your thoughts!


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Monday, March 3, 2008

The LORD provides!

I've been wanting to chronicle this story for some weeks now, but I couldn't (for reasons I'll not get into here).

Now I'm finally at liberty to say that ...

I am officially the Children/Family Pastor at the church we began attending last year!

I can't begin to express how excited and energized I am by all of this. As time permits, I'll fill you in with more of the details. For the moment, please continue to pray for me...

My two primary prayer concerns:

My position is part-time, with the hope of becoming full-time. For now, I need to continue to find other sources of income. I'm doing some substitute teaching, some work at the chainsaw shop, and some building trades/construction stuff too! As you can likely guess, I'm really enjoying the diversity of my schedule these days. But the fact remains that I need to stay organized and I need to continue to find ways each week to meet our family's budgetary needs.

Also, I have tons of names and faces to connect, and perhaps just as many ideas and notions to consider. There's a lot of positive momentum building there, and a great many very concerned parents. In short, it feels like the perfect spot to join in. But having said that, I still must successfully navigate the challenges of this new position.

If I can impose upon you to pray for these two issues, I'll be indebted to you.


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