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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. 

Boxed In?

Have you ever stopped to really think about the term "out-of-the-box"? Someone who's creative may refer to himself as an "out-of-the-box thinker" or a woman may say she does ministry that's "out-of-the-box."

What does that really mean? It seems to me that it's all relative, isn't it? I mean it depends on the box you're talking about. I just clicked on a link to someone making such a promise, and I thought "Is that really out-of-the-box?" Maybe for some; depends on their box.

Years ago I went to a conference and the leaders kept promising that they had an out-of-the-box worship leader for our worship time--very innovative, very edgy. When I went to the worship time, it was a young guy with a keyboard leading us in choruses. Okay, not out-of-the-box for me, but my box is pretty big with worship experiences that I consider edgy. But to them, it rocked their world! Then again, I've been to conferences where the worship was so edgy and rocky and loud that I didn't find it worshipful. Guess my box wasn't as big as others'!

Anyway, I don't have a huge axe to grind with the term; we even used "out-of-the-box" as a theme for training one year. But I'm just musing today. I think I'll be a lot more cautious when I hear people using that term to discover how big their box is that they're trying to get out of--before I run to check it out.

Posted at 18:04

Boxed In?

Have you ever stopped to really think about the term "out-of-the-box"? Someone who's creative may refer to himself as an "out-of-the-box thinker" or a woman may say she does ministry that's "out-of-the-box."

What does that really mean? It seems to me that it's all relative, isn't it? I mean it depends on the box you're talking about. I just clicked on a link to someone making such a promise, and I thought "Is that really out-of-the-box?" Maybe for some; depends on their box.

Years ago I went to a conference and the leaders kept promising that they had an out-of-the-box worship leader for our worship time--very innovative, very edgy. When I went to the worship time, it was a young guy with a keyboard leading us in choruses. Okay, not out-of-the-box for me, but my box is pretty big with worship experiences that I consider edgy. But to them, it rocked their world! Then again, I've been to conferences where the worship was so edgy and rocky and loud that I didn't find it worshipful. Guess my box wasn't as big as others'!

Anyway, I don't have a huge axe to grind with the term; we even used "out-of-the-box" as a theme for training one year. But I'm just musing today. I think I'll be a lot more cautious when I hear people using that term to discover how big their box is that they're trying to get out of--before I run to check it out.

Posted at 18:04

Predicting Church Conflict

I just read this piece from our upcoming Children's Ministry Professional Edition that I wanted to share with everyone NOW! If you'd like to know more about subscribing to the premiere leadership publication for children's ministers, check it out at http://www.childrensministry.com/leaders/

Predicting Church Conflict

    There are predictable moments in a church’s life when conflict is more likely to surface. Here are the top 10 predictable times for conflict as identified by church conflict guru, Speed Leas .

1.   The Easter Season—Typically one of the busiest seasons in the life of the church, expectations are high and conflict can arise over music, preaching, childcare, or even doctrinal issues.

2.   Stewardship Campaigns or Budget Preparation—Issues can surface not only between staff members and the church board during this time, but volunteers and church members often end up in conflict when it comes to money matters.

3.   Adding Staff—The addition of a new personality, work ethic, and vision can rattle the cage of the status quo.

4.   Changes in Leadership Style—Pastors and leaders go through different seasons in their approach to leadership techniques and styles. If the change is drastic or uncomfortable for some, it can lead to conflict.

5.   Absences—When key leaders are away from the office such as on sabbatical or vacation, tensions can rise as well as conflict among those left in charge during a leader’s absence.

6.   A Change in the Pastor’s Family—Whether it’s a new baby or a teenager in crisis, family changes can pull a pastor’s time away from the flock, which can result in feelings ranging from tension to disappointment.

7.   Significant Generational Changes—When a sudden influx of young families emerges in an older congregation, it can unsettle the church. Or when a young pastor suddenly has to manage an older team, it can create stress all around.

8.   Completion of a New Building—Your congregation put a lot of time and money into a beautiful new facility…and not everything’s perfect—conflict brews even in celebration.

9.   Rapid Membership Changes—Whether attendance quickly grows or wanes, conflict can grow under the pressure and effects of number changes.

10.  Between Pastors—When there’s a change in leadership, there can be tension among others outside of leadership as they jockey for power or influence.

Source: “Top 10 Predictable Times for Conflict in the Church” by Craig Webb (lifeway.com)


 

Posted at 20:17

Predicting Church Conflict

I just read this piece from our upcoming Children's Ministry Professional Edition that I wanted to share with everyone NOW! If you'd like to know more about subscribing to the premiere leadership publication for children's ministers, check it out at http://www.childrensministry.com/leaders/

Predicting Church Conflict

    There are predictable moments in a church’s life when conflict is more likely to surface. Here are the top 10 predictable times for conflict as identified by church conflict guru, Speed Leas .

1.   The Easter Season—Typically one of the busiest seasons in the life of the church, expectations are high and conflict can arise over music, preaching, childcare, or even doctrinal issues.

2.   Stewardship Campaigns or Budget Preparation—Issues can surface not only between staff members and the church board during this time, but volunteers and church members often end up in conflict when it comes to money matters.

3.   Adding Staff—The addition of a new personality, work ethic, and vision can rattle the cage of the status quo.

4.   Changes in Leadership Style—Pastors and leaders go through different seasons in their approach to leadership techniques and styles. If the change is drastic or uncomfortable for some, it can lead to conflict.

5.   Absences—When key leaders are away from the office such as on sabbatical or vacation, tensions can rise as well as conflict among those left in charge during a leader’s absence.

6.   A Change in the Pastor’s Family—Whether it’s a new baby or a teenager in crisis, family changes can pull a pastor’s time away from the flock, which can result in feelings ranging from tension to disappointment.

7.   Significant Generational Changes—When a sudden influx of young families emerges in an older congregation, it can unsettle the church. Or when a young pastor suddenly has to manage an older team, it can create stress all around.

8.   Completion of a New Building—Your congregation put a lot of time and money into a beautiful new facility…and not everything’s perfect—conflict brews even in celebration.

9.   Rapid Membership Changes—Whether attendance quickly grows or wanes, conflict can grow under the pressure and effects of number changes.

10.  Between Pastors—When there’s a change in leadership, there can be tension among others outside of leadership as they jockey for power or influence.

Source: “Top 10 Predictable Times for Conflict in the Church” by Craig Webb (lifeway.com)


 

Posted at 20:17

It's My Birthday!

Well, it's my sister's birthday...but that reminded me that it's also my spiritual birthday. 31 years ago (on her actual birthday) I gave my life to Jesus--and I've never been the same! What an adventure! What a life changer!

In brief (and not to give you all the gory details), I was extremely lost! I'd been an overachiever through high school, but then I became a committed underachiever in my freshman year of college (that translates as a big-time partier). I just never could seem to find the happiness I craved. It wasn't in a new setting, new friends, new college, new drug...it just wasn't there.

So after reading a little book titled "I'm Gonna Bury You" (which my sister gave me), I realized like the author that maybe the happiness I was looking for was in God. So I started reading The Way (remember that? It was the Living Bible with hippie pictures.). I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (often in hiding from my roommates). In the middle of John, God gripped my heart while I was camping and reading my Bible to candlelight.

The verse said "Until now you've asked for nothing in my name. Ask and you'll receive that your joy may be made full." And no kidding--God reminded me that I had said that in my heart as a child in Sunday school. I remembered thinking, "I'm never going to say 'in Jesus name.' " And here I was longing for the joy that Jesus had to offer me and he knew everything about me and still loved me and wanted to make me happy! I prayed that night for Jesus to come into my life.

And (all you Sunday school folks will appreciate this) all I knew to do after that was sing "This Little Light of Mine" as I watched the flame in my candle dance around. 

I'm so grateful for all the Sunday school teachers who loved me and taught me to prepare me for my spiritual birthday! And I'm so grateful for the new life and purpose that Jesus gives all of us!

Posted at 20:50

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