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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. 

Ahoy, Matey!

Just got back from the field test for Group's 2010 VBS: High Seas Expedition. Wow! I couldn't believe how amazing the set is! A 3-D ship! Very cool! You're going to love it! And all the decorations are so imaginative.

I have to say this, too. I don't have the privilege of working on or with our VBS team directly. But they are an amazingly creative, innovative, committed team of folks. Every year they seem to "beat" themselves from the last year in doing VBS even better! They seem to have a fine-tuned read on what children's ministers are looking for from year to year to reach thousands of kids each summer!

And the fact the VBS team is committed to field-testing (which is a Group value) is commendable. There's a group of children's ministers who've come in from all over to serve as Crew Leaders. They learn, serve, and help shape our VBS. And our team (staff from all departments) serves in every area--games, crafts, snacks, Chadder, storytelling, worship, and more.

Check it out at www.group.com/vbs.

I'm wowed! And grateful to work with such great, creative people!

Posted at 17:51

Celebrate Your Faith!

My dear friend and amazing team member RoseAnne Sather (who is the most gifted, talented, wonderful art director I've ever known--she's the AD for Children's Ministry Magazine) told me something yesterday that I keep thinking about.

A 6-year-old boy asked her, "Are you celebrating your Christianity?" (Wow! Out of the mouths of babes! What a question!)

So it makes me wonder how I would describe my faith. Is it a duty? A discipline? Or is it a true celebration of what Jesus has done for me?

Are you celebrating your Christianity today? I hope you're filled with joy at least one time today as God throws a party in your heart! Balloons and all (well, maybe not balloons...but lots of joy!).

Posted at 15:49

Smile!

I just got out of a meeting discussing our "State of the Church 2010" project for next year. It's very exciting! We're going to benchmark best practices in healthy churches, starting with "friendliness." In the works is an assessment tool that each church can use to determine whether they are or aren't friendly. And who cares about friendliness? Everyone should! Not just the smile and say hi kind of friendliness, but the kind of friendliness that leads to connection and community that's life-changing in the life of the church. Stay tuned! We keep trying to find new ways to serve you every day!

Posted at 17:40

Recruit Teens This Summer

I serve with my 15-year-old daughter in the 2-year-old room in our children's ministry. And Abby's fabulous with those children--she's their favorite, of course!

As good as she is, we hear that some children's ministers are afraid of using teenagers. One of their fears, according to Larry Shallenberger (author of Lead the Way God Made You) is that teenagers are unfocused and unreliable. To counter that, Larry suggests in The Inside Track (from Church Volunteer Central) how to counteract that fear.
"My teenage son is a percussionist. At the end of last school year, he volunteered to participate in nearly every chorus and instrument ensemble that his large high school offered. The only problem was that he forgot to write those dates down or tell us about it. On three different occasions, I came home and learned that Alex had a concert in just an hour. Advanced planning and adolescent brain development seem to be at odds.

The children’s directors [I talked to] had some strong suggestions to help teens like my son improve their reliability:

  • Instill a sense of value in the teens. Their contributions matter, and they will be missed if they don’t show up.
  • Communicate a strong vision for the ministry. This increases their desire to follow through.
  • Provide written schedules every two months. Also send reminder postcards, text messages, or e-mails the week of their service.
  • Involve their parents. Consider inviting the parents to your orientation training, and make sure that a calendar lands in their hands.
  • Place teens in ministry areas that suit their gifts. When a teen is serving in his or her “sweet spot,” he or she is more likely to pay attention to the calendar."

To get a free sample of The Inside Track, go to http://tinyurl.com/maykl2
To get Larry's amazing book, go to http://tinyurl.com/nacyl9

Posted at 17:19

Need Summer Volunteers?

School's out! And summer's on!

If you, like many, need creative recruiting ideas, check out this article in our Children's Ministry Magazine archives: "Does God Go on Summer Vacation at Your Church?"

Here's what one children's minister said in response to the article: "At our church we have a group of teachers and actually rotate teaching every third or fourth Sunday. It works really well, everyone gets vacation time and can switch with each other when necessary. We use lots of sources, one being Live Big, Live your belief in God, It's been very rewarding for children and teachers; our teachers come from almost all the sources mentioned in your article. Darlene Pierson, Community Church at Ocean Pines, Berlin, MD"

Posted at 13:28

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