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Christine has over 20 years of children's ministry experience. She's the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles related to children's ministry. It's no wonder she enjoys an almost-daily latte to keep her going! She is also the executive editor of Children's Ministry Magazine and serves as Group's children's ministry champion, responsible for research, development, and innovation in children's ministry resources. 

Why I Weep on Weekends

Tim Miller wrote this...it's amazing!

Why I Weep on Weekends
Because I did not have to stay around longer on Saturday evening to do a last-minute walkthrough.
Because I did not have to arrive an hour early to pray with my loving team of ministry partners.
Because I did not leave it all on the floor in the morning, I did not need a nap in the afternoon.
Because I did not have to stay after the last service to talk to parents about the decision their child made this weekend.
Because I did not have to take time between services with my worship team to go over the new song one more time.
Because I did not have to take money out of my own pocket to buy coffee for my tech team.
Because I did not have to prepare for a training meeting.
Because I didn’t miss lunch with my wife so I could meet with staff.
Because I wasn’t asked at the last minute if I could find a sub for a 4th-grade small-group leader.
Because no one threw up in the middle of the main entrance.
I weep on weekends because I am not currently ministering to children.
 
For more from Tim, check it out his blog: http://timmillerblog.wordpress.com/
Posted at 20:19

Children--Our Greatest Treasure

Children are loved and treasured--everywhere!

My husband and I just got back from a trip to Malta and Italy and one of the things that struck me was how much people dote on their children. Families out walking on the beach on a Sunday afternoon. Families in airports. Families in church. Families at restaurants. While I couldn't understand all the languages, I could tell that they delighted in, protected, and valued their children.

I just couldn't help thinking about how good it is to know that (for the majority of children) no one will ever love them here on earth more than their parents do. I think we may forget that sometimes.

I'm such a big fan of parents!

Posted at 23:49

When Is Enough Enough?

If you haven't read the Time magazine article about overprotective parents, make sure you do. Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/ycrxfj2

It adds to the discussion we have around here at times about how much safety and security is enough in a children's ministry. In a conversation we had with about 60 children's ministers a few years ago here at Group, we asked them to list how many safety and security procedures they had in place for their ministries. All together, there were over 80 items on the compiled list.

Whoa! 80 items! When do we know that we've crossed the line into an overprotective ministry and we're not just doing "due diligence"? When do we contribute to the culture of "freaking out" that parents find themselves in? What, in your opinion, is enough in providing a safe environment for children in your care? I'd love to see your brief list of absolute safety measures.

I think we all may need a wake-up call!

Posted at 13:52

A Christmas Letter From Jesus

It's rare that I pass on a fwd email, but this one captured exactly how I feel about the kind of Christians we need to be. So I'm passing it along in my blog.

Letter from Jesus about Christmas --
 
It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. 

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
 
Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
 
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.
 
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
 
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
 
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
 
3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.
 
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
 
5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
 
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless?  Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
 
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
 
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
 
9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.
 
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.
 
Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :


I LOVE YOU,

 

JESUS

It is God's will that those who are still in this world should communicate heavenly gifts to one another by means of prayers.......St. Therese

 

Posted at 14:13

My Cup Overfloweth

My cup overflows, I'm spread too thin, my rubber band's about to pop. No matter what metaphor I use, you get the picture. I'm overwhelmed! I'm doing so much work with much less time. And when I share that with my co-workers, looking for some semblance of sympathy, they say "welcome to the club" or "who isn't?"

And, seriously, who isn't these days? Who isn't doing more with less in this economy and cutbacks in churches and businesses? We're all stretched to the point, I'm afraid, of breaking.

And, the truth is when we're about to overflow, that's when people learn what's really in our cups! I'm grateful that here at Group we work really hard on the foundations of having a healthy culture. One of the key things we emphasize and practice is "direct communication." I have a feeling that when all of our cups are overflowing, we may just have a bigger "side order of conflict" (which our pastor preached on this Sunday). I'm not looking forward to conflict or having my stuff overflow, but I'm grateful that I live and work in a culture that treasures keeping short tabs.

I hope this is some encouragement to you as well. Because in my heart of hearts, I know we're all maxed out. God, give us grace to live among one another with peace and mercy in the midst of being overwhelmed! Amen!

Posted at 20:35

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