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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. 

Ride the Shift in Family Ministry

The challenge of ministering to the family is complex for children's ministers. And the more brilliant voices we have speaking into this topic, the closer we'll get to solutions. That's why we asked Henry Zonio to coordinate a Shift Blog Book Tour to create the dialogue around the ground-breaking book Brian Haynes has written: Shift: What it takes to finally reach families today.

Want to find out what some of the best minds think about Shift--and Brian's all-church strategy? Follow these blogs along the tour:

October 1 - Liz Perraud at http://thelogosministry.wordpress.com

October 2 - James Giroux at http://jamesgiroux.ca

October 3 - Lorraine Seaman http://www.rockrunner.blogs.com/al

October 4 - Larry Shallenberger http://childrensministryandculture.wordpress.com

October 5 - Tim Inman at http://blog.inmans.org/

October 6 - Joshua Simpson http://pjsperspective.wordpress.com

October 7 - Micah Foster http://micahfoster.wordpress.com

October 8 - Amy Dolan at http://lemonlimekids.wordpress.com

October 9 - Jesse Smith http://www.sillypuppies.com/bookwormand http://sp_jesse.livejournal.com

October 10 - Michael Chanley http://pureconnect.org

October 11 - Gina McClain at http://www.ginamcclain.com

October 12 - Henry Zonio at http://www.elementalcm.com

Posted at 22:45

Lifesize Noah's Ark

Johan Huibers, a Dutchman, has just finished the world's first replica of Noah's Ark in Schagen, Netherlands. Huigen says, "Nobody learns about Christianity any more. I hope visitors to my ark will be inspired by the experience and want to read the Bible and learn from it. I followed the example of Noah because he, too, was a builder. I want to build another ark - this is just practice. The next one will be the same size as Noah’s, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.”

Huibers is passionate about awakening a hunger for God in his country. I'm inspired by him in the same way that I'm inspired by children's ministers week in and week out who perform amazingly big and small feats to awaken in children a hunger for God.

This guy has to be a closet children's minister, don't you think?

Posted at 15:38

What (cough) Would (wheeze) Jesus Do?

Yea, I'm sick. And everytime I get sick, I'm intrigued by how people respond to me. Some recoil and sit on the opposite side of the room (you know who you are!). And I get it; I really do. I wish I hadn't caught this from my family, but would I have given up the opportunities to rub their backs or snuggle with them to warm them up? Nah, I don't think so.

But that's family. When it comes to co-workers or church members or friends, it's easier to recoil. And maybe, just maybe, that's the last thing a sickie needs. A kind touch, a pat on the back, an empathetic "oh, you poor baby; what can I do?" sounds pretty good to me right now.

What would Jesus do? He was fully God and fully human, so he probably didn't relish the thought of getting the flu (swine or any other kind) or a virus or any other contagious germ. Funny that we have no record of him being sick in the Bible. "Oy, Ma! More chicken soup!" (he was a man, after all, and ladies, we know how most guys act when they're sick).

But anyway, what would Jesus do if he encountered sickies? It's something (hack, hack) I want us to think about--especially since we're entering what may be the nastiest flu season ever.

Gotta go...Sudafed calls.

Posted at 17:34

Stay the Course

Recently my 13-year-old told me after seeing the Celebration Station video of the woman washing Jesus' feet that he'd never heard that story before. What!? Never heard that story!? This is a child that's been in children's ministry and in my home for 13 years! What's the deal?

This issue always make me think of something my husband asked me when our oldest was around 6. Grant had brought home a take-home sheet from Sunday school and Mike asked me, "Is there any story besides Noah's ark?"

These are two stories that illustrate a pervasive problem in children's ministry. I wonder if kids are getting the overall scope of the Bible if we're always changing curriculum and starting over from the beginning--year after year after year. So there's lots of Noah but not lots of the Bible in its entirety.

I'm actually at a point where I'd like to encourage children's ministers to spend in-depth time choosing a curriculum--and then stick with it through it's entire scope and sequence (whether that's 2 or 3 years or more). Trust your instincts and God's direction and stick with the plan. Now, of course, I think for all sorts of reasons that Group has all the underlying stuff that makes for great Bible learning, but seriously, even if you don't pick Group's curriculum....stick with what you do choose.

It's the only way for kids to get to walk through the Bible and get the whole of God's story. And there are so many riches beyond Genesis. Let's saturate kids with all of God's Word!

Posted at 03:57

The 4/14 Window

Over Labor Day weekend, I attended the 4/14 Global Summit in NYC (at the amazing Promise Ministries Church). There were over 300 of us from 70 different countries. It was awesome! Like being in heaven with every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

The focus of the summit was reaching children between the ages of 4 and 14. This initiative has been around for awhile and has its origins in George Barna's research that of those surveyed who say they are Christians, 85% made that decision between the ages of 4 and 14. That's pretty compelling. Now, summit organizers are advancing the 4/14 Window strategy even more.

I love how mission organizations, missionaries, NGOs, and pastors from around the world spent time hearing the needs of children--and how critical they are to reaching the world for Christ. I told them this is something children's ministers and youth ministers have prayed for--that everyone would see the vision! We heard how kids are powerless, vulnerable, and exploited around the world. And that we have to stand up for them! Yes! Yes!

Then why aren't I onboard 100%? I keep saying my thinking is muddled and I'm not sure what to do with it. I think part of my troubled spirit is "what about the edges?" What about the 0 to 4 age group? Experts tell us that the first three years of a child's life are the most critical. Maybe it's great church nurseries and preschools who've partnered with parents to prepare the 4-14 group to respond to Jesus. And what about the 14 to 21 age group? I guess I'm just uncomfortable with lopping off the edges for a catchy marketing phrase that rolls off one's tongue--4/14.

I'm 100% on board with reaching children (and their families, by the way). I just want us to reach children of all ages. I think over time we'll continue to have conversations and hopefully this summit will make the big difference with strategic thinkers that the organizers dream of. That's my prayer--for all the children!

Posted at 16:44

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