What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry – Wonder by Randy Isola

imageWelcome back to my continuing series of posts related to the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry in which I am reviewing various of the chapters from the book.  Randy Isola chose the word “Wonder” as his description of what matters now.

He begins by reminding us of the sense of wonder that the disciples has about Jesus,

I believe one of the most compelling questions in Scripture is the disciples’ asking about Jesus, “What kind of man is this?” After a glimpse of his power, the disciples were driven to discover the answer. Our churches should instill that wonder in children and propel them to a lifelong adventure of finding out the truth behind that question.

I think it is easy to lose that wonder that most of us felt at the moment of our salvation.  In most relationships, you have to work to keep the relationship fresh.  In our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must never lose sight of the awe we felt the first time we really grasped the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins.  That is the wonder that we should be working to instill in kids – a wonder that will persist and grow as their relationship with Christ grows.

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What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry – Community by Liz Perraud

image image It’s time for another summary of a chapter from the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry.  For her contribution, Liz Perraud chose the word “Community.” Liz Perraud really sums up the essence of children’s ministry with her introductory paragraph:

All the Bible stories, catchy songs, classroom creativity, and fun snacks don’t mean a thing without healthy Christ-centered relationships that connect our children to one another, to adults who care about them and to the God who loves them. 

What we do should be all about relationships because God is all about relationships.  As ministers to children, we must focus on:

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What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry – Memories by Sarah Killelea

image image In the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry, Sarah Killelea chose the word “Memories” as what matters most.  She explains that so much of her early impression of church is based on memories.  She writes:

When I reflect on my early images of God, my feelings toward the church, and my childhood prayers, it’s the memories I held that shaped each of those.

Did I like going to church? Were they nice to me? What was the funny skit about? Did I feel included?

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The Best Part of My Visit to the CM Expo (Part 2)

Yesterday, I started my list of people I met at this year’s CM Expo in Lexington, KY last Thursday and Friday.  The people I met, and conversations I had, really were the highlight of my trip, but I just ran out of time to write before I could talk about everyone.  With that in mind, I will try to keep my descriptions a little bit shorter today!  So, here we go with the remainder (and/or next part) of my list.

5. Matt McKee (@MattMcKee).  Matt recently moved from the Cincinnati area to Atlanta to help out the ReThink Group and work on his new undertaking – R04R. R04R is a technology company formed to design applications for the IPhone and Android phones for churches and other organizations.  Frankly, I think the work sounds fascinating, and I enjoyed having a chance to talk (even if only very briefly) with Matt about his new company and about his work with ReThink.  Matt is a nice a guy and clearly passionate about what he is doing these days.  On the down side, he did come and sit at the table with us during the Yancy show with the best smelling Arby’s sandwich ever even though we hadn’t had lunch yet, but I can probably forgive him for that.  I can’t wait to find out what Matt is doing next.  I only regret that we didn’t have more time to talk about church signs. 🙂

6. Bob Singleton is the founder and president (and everything else) of God’s Kids Worship.  I recently had the opportunity to correspond with Bob related to my review and giveaway of some CD’s on Dad in the Middle.  I had an idea from that correspondence what type of person Bob would be, and I wasn’t disappointed after I met him.  Bob has a passion for reaching kids through music, and he is really good at it.  My wife and I spoke to Bob and his wife (a fellow numbers person) for quite a while on Thursday night.  I enjoyed learning more about his time working on Barney, how he works with kids, and the research he’s done in the area.  The products, which Bob almost singlehandedly puts together, are top notch, and it was a blast just having some time to chat with Bob and his wife.

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The Best Part of My Visit to the CM Expo (Part 1)

CMExpo1 Last Thursday and Friday was the inaugural CM Expo in Lexington, KY.  I don’t often get to attend conferences because of my other obligations (namely my other job), but this one was close enough (3 1/2 hours) and cheap enough ($25) to make it worth it to make the trip.  Plus, my wife came along, and we were able to turn it into a long weekend.  It was interesting to see all of the different exhibitors.  There were some common peddlers, but the clear majority of the stuff was from people who clearly have a heart for kids.  Whether that was the guys from Kidz Matter, Seeds Family Worship or Kidz Blitz, it was fun to walk around and see it all displayed in one room.  There were also Scoops and Sit Ins to learn from, though frankly I didn’t make it to very many of those in the end.  All that to say, the single thing which I enjoyed most was the chance to meet so many people in person who I knew from online.  I will forget some, no doubt, but here are some of the people who left a lasting impression on me.  I enjoyed talking to, and learning from, them so much, that I thought I would take a day just to tell you all a little more about them:

1. Tony Kummer (@TonyKummer). Of all the people I was planning on meeting at meeting at the CM Expo last week, Tony is the only one I have actually spoken to before.  We have had a number of telephone conversations (during many of which Tony has talked long enough to totally deplete the battery on my cell phone).  I have always admired Tony’s website – Ministry-to-Children.com.  For the last six months or so, I have been working with Tony to try to promote interest and activities in the forums on his site.  About three months ago, I started to write article for Tony’s site as well.  I’ve enjoyed our phone conversations and talking blogging with Tony, and I was looking forward to meeting him in person.  I was not disappointed.  Tony is a great guy.  It didn’t hurt that he has a similar sense of humor to me and enjoys causing a little bit a good natured trouble here and there.  Despite all of the success with the website, he is humble and quick to remind you that he is “just” a new children’s pastor at a reasonably sized church who happens to have a blog.  In addition to his dedication to children’s ministry, Tony is also clearly a devoted father.  Although younger than yours truly, he’s got one more kid than me, and I found it just as interesting to share stories about being Dad with him as talking about children’s ministry.  One thing I didn’t know about Tony that I learned at the Expo is his outgoing nature.  I tagged along a bit as Tony made his rounds of the Expo and was amazed at his ability to carry on a conversation with just about anyone.  I also noted that, because of Ministry-to-Children.com, people were chomping at the bit to throw free stuff at Tony to review on his site.  I appreciate his willingness to pass some of that along to us minions to review. 🙂  My conversations with Tony, and others, sparked a number of ideas for blog posts which you will see here on Dad in the Middle, or on Ministry-to-Children.com or Kidmin1124.com, in the near future.  I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Tony as time goes on.

2. Jim Wideman (@JimWideman). It won’t be any surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I have a great deal of respect for Jim Wideman.  After meeting him this past week at CM Expo, that respect has only grown.  Jim had what had to be the best idea for a booth at CM Expo.  Some people has full scale architectural masterpieces.  Jim had a couple of chairs, a couch and some odds and ends from the garage for ambiance.  His booth was designed for people to just sit and chat with him, and it worked well.  In fact, Jim was so busy with people on the first night of the Expo that I didn’t actually get a chance to say hi.  I did have some time to hang out with him on Friday.  As well known and respected as he is in the world of children’s ministry, what struck me the most about Brother Jim was his friendliness and humility.  I didn’t actually get a chance to talk children’s ministry with him, which I regret, but we did get to “shoot the breeze” and talk a little bit about parenting.  One of the things I have always appreciated about Jim is that every time I have ever heard him speak, and in everything I have ever read from him, his family is prominently featured.  It is clear from everything he does that next to God his family is his highest priority, and I feel like I can learn just as much from him about being a husband and father as I can about children’s ministry.  It was also interesting for me to listen to Jim talk about his tendency to take a perfectly good hobby and turn it into a job/chore.  I had to laugh as I was sitting there with my wife who has told me the same thing a number of times. 🙂  If you are in full-time ministry, I would definitely encourage you to check out Brother Jim’s Infuse group and/or his one-day seminars coming up this fall.  You can find out about both on his website.  After meeting Brother Jim and talking to him for just a very short period of time, I understand why people line up to learn from him.  If you ever have that opportunity, I encourage you to jump at it.

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Does Quality Time Always Have to Be Spiritual Time?

The first day of the CM Expo was great!  While I am having a blast networking and checking out all the latest and greatest that kidmin has to offer at the CM Expo this week, here is another article I wrote several weeks ago which was published on  Ministry-to-Children.com. The article titled Does Quality Time Always Have to Be Spiritual Time? was published on June 7, 2010.

Brief Synopsis: We don’t always have to share the gospel with kids in order to show them the love of Jesus. In this article, I share about a time I spent just chatting with a kid about his life which was as spiritual as anything I’ve ever done.

Click here to read the entire article!
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