Sep 16, 2014

The New "Typical" Family

What picture comes to mind when you think of a "typical" family?

A bread-winner dad?  Stay at home mom?  Couple of kids?

Maybe 30 years ago...but not today.  There is no "typical" family.  Family structures are very complicated.  Research shows that no one dominant structure exists for families.

Kids are living in homes with married parents,  divorced mothers, never-married mothers, single fathers, grandparents, cohabiting parents, and a range of other situations.

In the 1950's, if you chose 100 children, 65 would have been living with married parents with the father employed and the mother at home.  Only 18 would have had both parents working.

Today, if you chose 100 children, just 22 would be living with married parents where the father is the bread-winner.  23 would be living with a single mother.  7 would be living with parents who are cohabiting.

6 would live with either a single father or grandparent.  34 would be living with married parents who both work.

Are you prepared to minister to today's families?

Sep 15, 2014

Is Preschool Ministry Really That Important?

How important is the preschool /early childhood ministry in your church?

Many people think preschool ministry is simply "childcare" and not as important as elementary, pre-teen, or student ministry.

This reflects the view of the culture as a whole.  A recent poll by Gallup revealed the following.

But I would beg to differ.  I believe the early years of a child's life are the most critical.

This period is the foundation that shapes children's life.  Research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of a child's brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping a child's brain architecture.

Early experiences provide the base for the brain's organizational development and functioning throughout life.  They have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills as well as social and emotional abilities.

Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life.

Each week we spend lots of hours and resources creating preschool classroom and chapel environments that will effectively communicate God's Word to the kids.  Even in the nursery, our leaders pray over the kids, sing songs to them, teach them, and get them acquainted with the Bible.

Please...please...please...make your preschool/early childhood ministry a top priority.  From the nursery to 5 years old - pour, pour, pour into the lives of children.  Remember....


Sep 12, 2014

Are You Going to Children's Ministry School This Fall?

I'm enrolled in Children's Ministry School this fall.  After 25 years of serving in children's ministry, I still have a ton to learn.

Here are the classes I am taking to grow as a children's ministry leader.

Books 101
I will be reading several books this fall.  They will vary from books that help me grow spiritually to books that help me learn more about ministering to kids and their parents.

Questions 101
I'll be asking lots of questions.  If you want to grow as a leader, start asking more questions than you give answers.                    

Online 101
I'll be reading blogs, websites, articles, watching videos and more.  This will help me stay current with what's happening in the world of children and families.

Connecting 101
I'll connect with other children's leaders and learn from them.

Are you enrolled in children's ministry school this fall?  Remember, growing leaders are always in school.

Sep 11, 2014

The Penny on the Nightstand...A Lesson About Excellence from Pixar Studios

Last week I shared some thoughts about creativity from Ed Catmull.  Ed is the president of Pixar animation.

Today I'd like to share something I've learned from Ed about excellence.  It's called the PENNY ON THE NIGHTSTAND.

Pixar Studios has a commitment to excellence that can be summarized in a shaded penny.  Here's what that means.

For a movie they're producing, they will literally spend days or weeks crafting what is the equivalent of "a shaded penny sitting on a nightstand that you'll probably not even notice in the movie." 

They are that committed to excellence.

So what's your shaded penny?  The inside of a cabinet that a volunteer only occasionally sees?   A small word in a newsletter that's going out to parents?  An email that's only going to one person?  A corner in one of your rooms?


Sep 10, 2014

20 Things I Love About Children's Ministry

The smile on a parent's face as dedicate their newborn child to the Lord.

Listening to a child pray.

Watching a child worship God in simple, sincere devotion.

Hearing a child excitedly tell their parent what they experienced during the service.

Seeing a brand new family walk through the door.

Seeing the smile on a volunteer's face when you tell them how God is using them.

Seeing a parent and child baptized together.

Hearing someone say "yes" when you ask them to join the volunteer team.

The contagious giggles of a child when you tell a them a joke and they get it.

Watching the energy of a group of 3rd grade boys in action.

Seeing God use a child to bring a whole family to faith in Christ.

Seeing a volunteer discover and walk in the gifts God has placed inside them.

Watching kids grow up and become young adults who love God.

Hearing a child say, "bababatized."

Looking in the nursery window.

Doing life with volunteers you consider family.

The good tired you feel after a big event.

Seeing a child step across the line of faith.

Listening to a child recite a Bible verse they have memorized.

Watching a father and mother pray a blessing over their child.

What do you love about Children's Ministry?  Share your favorite things with us in the comment section below.