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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. 

Small Churches Rock!

I love the small church where I grew up in Dougherty, Oklahoma! It was there that my first touch with a children's ministry (even though they didn't call it that back then) changed my life forever.

I'm grateful for the small congregation that loved me, taught me, and prayed for me. I'm grateful for the little ragamuffin choir that would assemble by the songleader telling us to just come up front. And I'm grateful for the ways this church embraced me when I came back from college as an onfire Christian who ministered to our youth group from ages 3 to 16!

I guess I'm thinking about this because I just read an article from the May/June issue about Small Church Challenges from Rick Chromey (on newstands in mid-April). And I'm thinking how grateful I am that my small church met all those challenges--and more!

If you're part of a small church and sometimes get discouraged that you're not Big Church on the corner, I hope you'll be encouraged today. Someone--like me--will sing your praises throughout eternity because of your faithful love and service.

What you do matters--in big ways!

Posted at 23:47

Beth Moore Confirmed at KidMin 2012

We're so excited about Beth Moore speaking at our KidMin Conference September 28--Oct. 1 in Chicago this year! This is such a God thing that she’s joining us!

We tried to get Beth to come through the regular channels and it wasn't working out. But God introduced us to a sweet man named Steve Seelig who just happened to be Beth’s lifetime friend. Steve explained what this unconventional conference is all about—renewed passion, deeper learning, and authentic conversation for children's and family ministers. He painted a beautiful picture of who our guests are--the most passionate, visionary, compassionate, creative, fun-loving ministers around!

And, basically, Beth said, "You had me at 'children.' " She's a grandma now and said she's so grateful for people who are investing in her grandkids in her church. And she wants to be able to speak that to you--if you’re there!

I know, Beth Moore is a big women's ministry speaker, but at KidMin, she's coming to speak to the heart of children's and family ministers--whether you're male or female!

Don't miss out! Every week, we're adding new, amazing people to our speaker and trainer lineup. And we're creating new surprises to bless you.

It's the truth when I tell you that seats are filling up fast. Register today! (and bring your team because there's so much to experience, you'll want to divide and conquer!)

Posted at 17:23

Top 10 Ways to Love Your Volunteers

Valentine's Day isn't that far away. Plan ahead and use one of these ideas to let your volunteers know how much you appreciate them.

  • Give a gift certificate from a local restaurant.
  • Have children use a permanent marker to sign a thank-you T-shirt.
  • Give 2 movie tickets.
  • Give a small plant.
  • Personalize a tote bag.
  • Clean a teacher's classroom.
  • Fill a coffee mug with a bag of ground flavored coffee.
  • Create a bulletin board that features volunteers serving children.
  • Have Psalm 71:18 printed in calligraphy and framed for a volunteer: "Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come."
  • Give Whoppers candies with this note: "Thanks for your whopper ideas!"

For more ideas, go to http://www.childrensministry.com/articles/thanks-a-million!

Posted at 19:57

Top Three Ways to Handle Snacks in Kidmin

What do we do with snacktime in children's ministry when there are so many food allergies with kids?

It's a real issue and one we need to grapple with. I remember one of my fondest memories as a kid at church was eating an orange pushup at a VBS--regardless of the fact that we were standing on hot pavement for snack time. And now, it makes me sad in my 2-year-old class when little ones say to me "I hungy" and I have to say that we're not allowed to give them snacks anymore. Is this what we've come to?

We asked children's ministers on our poll at www.childrensministry.com how they handle allergy policies. Here are the top three ways they do it:

1. We rely on parents to inform us if there are any allergies we need to know about (79%).

2. We provide food but post the ingredients and make sure parents alert us to allergies (16%).

3. We don't allow any food in our programs (5%).

The fourth option was "We allow kids to bring their own food, but don't provide any." (This is actually what our church does.)

So how does your church handle food allergies in your children's ministry? Post to help us all grapple with this issue.

 

Posted at 19:46

Are New Years Resolutions Wrong?

I can't bring myself to make any resolutions this year. Maybe it's because I know that all of my past self-willed hopes and dreams fall short year after year. So why bother? Or maybe there's something bigger.

This last year when I was in the Dominican Republic, I was struck by the humility of the pastors and leaders there. When asked what they did, they would humbly preface their answer with "by the grace of God." So..."by the grace of God, I am the pastor of..." or "by the grace of God, I am the site director for..." Over and over, we heard them speak like this.

Would I ever have the humility to talk like this..."by the grace of God, I am..." Would I be self-conscious about it? Would it become an issue of pride for me to show how humble I am? Would it matter?

As I stand at the beginning of another year, I'm reminded about what the book of James says about resolving to do things in the future. James 4:13-16: Some of you say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money." But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away. So you should say, "If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that." But now you are proud and you brag. All of this bragging is wrong. Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is sinning.

Strong words. What if we learned from our brothers and sisters in Christ from the DR? What if we prefaced all our hopes and dreams and resolutions with "If the Lord wants..." or "by God's grace, I will..."? Are we afraid we'd feel antiquated and embarrassed? Part of me thinks so, but if I know to do right and I don't...it's sin.

I'm thinking this is my one resolution for this year: By the grace of God, I acknowledge that I'm nothing without God's grace and to purpose to know that every day what I do and don't do is in his hands. By the grace of God, I submit to his good and gracious will.

 

Posted at 17:47

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