Archives For Ministry

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AWANA has done a complete revamp of their Preschool Cubbies curriculum and they sent me a sampling of the material to review. Being a fan, not only of AWANA, but more importantly of scripture memorization, I told them I’d be glad to look at this ESV based curriculum a well as give a prize pack worth over $300 of curriculum and Cubbies goodies away!

Awana has been helping churches and parents raise children and youth to know, love and serve
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jody-livingston-guest-postMy friend Jody Livingston, a Student Pastor in Kennessaw, GA, wrote an inspiring piece about what he would do differently should he take on a student ministry role for the first time. I found this piece especially poignant for those new in student ministry. You can read the whole article here.

Jody Livingston started in youth ministry at 18 and wishes he’d have slowed down just a little bit.

I took my first Youth Pastorate during my freshman year of college.

I was eighteen and clueless.

If I’m honest, I was just making stuff up as I went.

If it seemed like it might be fun, we did it. If it seemed like it might push students a little further in their faith, we tried it.

If it seemed like something I would enjoy, we tried that too.

Great Treasures is a unique online tool which allows you to study the word in an interlinear fashion.

It is laid out in three rows, the top for beginners, the middle as an intermediate tool, and the bottom for more advanced study abilities.

Beginner: This is basically a section for various English side by side comparisons.

Intermediate: In this section, you’ll find basic definitions based on the KJV word you click on as well as cross references regarding where that word is located in other books of the Bible.

Advanced: This section provides the full Greek text as well as a parsed section describing the characteristic of each word.

After a host of years passed without the Word of God, King Josiah’s associates found it in storage at the temple. After reading it, hearing of God’s laws and recognizing its power and significance, this was said of Josiah:

The King stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
-II Kings 23:3

I admit it. I’m pretty stupid…spiritually speaking, that is. I’ve been a Christian for over 19 years now, and I daily amaze myself by the amount of spiritual stupidity my own soul is able to harness. I mean, how could I have been on this journey for more than half my life and still be so far from being conformed to Christ? As I stroke my chin and recollect on the past ten years, I know that my spiritual “dumbness” has been curbed by the Holy Spirit’s work through the discipline of Scripture memorization. However, the goal here is not to motivate you to memorize via a life changing testimony but to craft an argument that leads you to recognize that diligent efforts at Scripture memory can bring huge spiritual payoffs.

Perhaps you do not see yourself as spiritually stupid. Interestingly, God does. Seriously. Take a look at Isaiah 55:8-9. Seriously. Go read it now. We often don’t do things God’s way because we’re not internally aligned to the desires, passions, purposes, and motivations of God, hence the logic behind our spiritual stupidity. Continue Reading…

It never fails. In ministry, we get constant volunteers who come to us and tell us that it’s time for a break. Typically they bail out of their  ministry leadership with little time to find a replacement or talk of having too much on their plate. Here are a few deeper reasons why ministry leaders may step out and some proper responses to those. At the end, I’ll suggest a way of communication about ministry service that would prove helpful if it became part of a church’s culture. I believe this will alleviate much of the struggle that comes with volunteers who just “need a break.”

  1. They should have said no to begin with. They knew they had too many commitments, yet they took on something new anyway. Most of the time these situations can be avoided simply by not asking the person who you know will say yes, even though you also know they already have too many commitments. Or possibly you ask them to serve in the area you have in mind in lieu of something they are currently doing. Either way, this one typically rises and falls on leadership.
  2. The position was not a good fit for them/no calling. Perhaps
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Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished.

-Ezra 9:1-3

It’s easy to criticize the church. We have a great deal of failings. John McArthur says Continue Reading…

“Reading” photo courtesy of paulbence via Flickr

Do you often get excited about a new book finding yourself enthralled in the message, only to watch its premise and principles fall down the drain of lost memories days later? It’s a shame, really. We spend hours with a book and if it doesn’t immediately change some perspective we have, we fail to see long-term implications. You will find me referring to and recommending a vast amounts of books on this site. Given that, I think this post is extremely pertinent. There really are some effective strategies to reading a book than simply opening the cover and getting down to business.

As I review the many books I read, I can see how I retained more information from the ones that I read more carefully. New ministry books come out every day and we are never short on materials to read. I encourage you to read books that support your perspectives and that challenge them. Only by hearing where the other side is coming from, can you gain ground in your own stances and arguments. Below is my system. It works for the framework of my brain, organization systems, and key learning styles. You my have to adjust it a bit, but I think you will find some generally helpful guidelines.

Step 1: Study the front and back cover. I know it sounds elementary, but most people don’t read the back of a book. Pay attention to any subtitle the book may have. Read the summary on the back. See what the author’s background is, that will help you to prepare for the type of writing style they may have. In addition, the book my have a dust jacket that provides more helpful insight in the front and back flaps. Continue Reading…

Book Review: I Blew It

January 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

Dollar, Brian. I Blew It. Influence Resources: Springfield. 256 pages.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In the last eight to ten years, there have been some extremely good Children’s Ministry leadership books written. There have also been some bad ones. I’m thankful that Brian Dollar’s I Blew It falls into the former category. Brian sent me a copy of this before Christmas and due to our move and the holidays, I am just now getting back to blogging. I was eager to make a review of Brian’s book my first post back.

I Blew It is based on the premise that those of us in Children’s Ministry make a handful of common mistakes and Dollar is hoping to shed some light on the underlying factors to those mistakes. As he was making these mistakes during a twenty year tenure as a CP, he “made a commitment to avoid wasting my mistakes because they are some of the best learning opportunities in life.” I like the four questions he poses that we ask when we do something stupid or ill-advised:

  1. Why did it happen?
  2. Was it avoidable?
  3. What specifically could I have done to prevent it?
  4. What do I need to know, be, or do to avoid repeating the mistake?

Probably the most striking thing about Dollar’s book is his blatant transparency. For all the ways he shows himself to be a goober, you see through that to learn from his wisdom! He writes with frequent humor, theological depth, and great humility. I had the privilege of meeting him and running with him at CPC 2013 and he is the real deal.

This book is a must read for anyone in Children’s Ministry, new or seasoned. I was encouraged a great deal through his hilarious stories and logical leadership principles. It is filled with pastoral guidance, ministry relational advice, recruiting principles, and pushes for deeper discipleship, to say the least.

If you are a Children’s Pastor, buy it. If you want to be a Children’s Pastor, buy it. If you have a Children’s Pastor at your church, buy it for him or her. If you just want a good primer for ministry, buy it. You won’t be sorry.

The issue of sexual orientation is moving further and further away from being a discussion about morality. Some of that battle is being waged by the legislature in California.

A first-of-its-kind state law that would restrict parents from trying to “cure” their minor children’s same-sex attractions seems headed to the governor’s desk.

If both state houses can agree on the final language, the legislation, which would ban all sexual orientation change effort (SOCE) treatment for minors, will be sent to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature sometime in September. But, so far, there has been no indication from his office on whether he will sign the bill into law.

This is a law which allows the government to wiggle its fingers into private counseling sessions, theological matters, and personal convictions of parents.

Proponents find ammunition in this APA Task Force on SOCE (sexual orientation change effort). However, without wading through Continue Reading…