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Whether you have been serving for 6 months or 6 years (or more!), you probably have had moments when you questioned why you ever started serving in the first place. Maybe it was that staff member that kept asking you, or maybe it was because you saw the overcrowded classrooms. Maybe you’ve always loved working with kids, and you were eager to serve at the new church you joined.

In any case, the ultimate reason why you serve is because God has called you to do so. Never forget this.

My friend Julia recently told the story how she started serving, and what she experienced over the years. And God reminded her that she was called for a purpose, much like the prophet Isaiah.

Hear her words: Continue Reading…

Practicing the Presence of God

Lately I have been reading a book entitled The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. The book is written by Nicholas Herman who took the name of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection upon becoming a Carmelite monk. The book is small and easy to read, but the encouragement contained in it’s pages is huge. Brother Lawrence very simply lays out his methods of practicing the presence of God.
The best I can do to explain his methods is to liken them to the practice of “praying without ceasing” as we are told to do in the Bible by the Apostle Paul. Brother Lawrence takes great care to go about his daily tasks while keeping his mind focused on God as much as possible. He strives to do even the smallest task with great love for God. He writes that he is in the “presence of God” as much during his daily routine as he is during his designated times of prayer.
Over the last week I have tried very hard to put Brother Lawrence’s advice in to practice. I have enjoyed a deeper, closer time with God during the day’s routine. My thoughts have been more on God instead of my to-do list. I am feeling as though I am in an on-going state of prayer and fellowship with my Father God that is richer than before.
If you are discouraged or struggling under daily stresses, or if you just want to deepen your relationship with your Heavenly Father, give Brother Lawrence’s methods a try. I believe you will notice a difference in your level of stress and have more peace of mind.
What are some other things volunteers or leaders can do to have a deeper, fuller spiritual life? Please leave a comment and share what works in your life.

Are You in Too Deep

Glenys —  May 25, 2012 — 2 Comments

Twelve years ago, when my husband and I came to live in the United States, we were invited to go salmon fishing on a lake. That sounded like fun. I would sunbathe comfortably on the deck while my sons caught fish. I would sip a cool drink while the boat was anchored. I would put my feet up while the waves rippled gently around me. Nothing could have been further from the truth. This was Lake Michigan. This was eight miles out. This was big wave territory. And this was deep water. I never did get to sunbathe. I never did get to sip that cool drink. I never did get to put my feet up. But I did catch salmon.

There is something scary about deep water. It may not always be a comfortable place…but deep water is where the big fish are.

Continue Reading…

I’ve served in children’s ministry for 41 years and all this time the kids in the churches where I’ve served have been a mixture of “typical” kids . . . if there is such a thing. Children from homes where their entire family went to church, children from homes where part of their family went to church (most often from homes where their parents were divorced) and children from homes where nobody went to church (community, non-churched kids). But, in spite of all these years of experience with a fairly wide variety of children and families, I have not worked with children who were runaways. Honestly, my exposure to runaways is fairly limited . . . well, when my husband and I had been married for one year, we did work with children who were in a group home for juvenile delinquents and many of these boys were runaways at one time or another . . . but, my overall exposure was limited. I had no idea how many children in this country are runaways. This is until I added a tab to my blog for grandmas where I highlighted missing children so the grandmas (and grandpas, moms and dads) who read my blog could pray for the children and their families. I signed up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children‘s website so they email me alerts to let me know when and where children are missing. I have to say I am shocked. There are days when my inbox is filled with these alerts. (I’m stunned how many of these children are from the state of Florida)

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day.”  More than 2,000 children each day are reported as missing. Most of these children are runaways. Does this number shock you? It shocks and breaks my heart. So many hurting children. Just as I wrote this post I’ve received  five emails to let me know about children who are listed as Endangered Runaways. I’m stunned how many runaways are as young as 11 and 12 years old.

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Leaving a Legacy

Tammy Jones —  May 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

My brother-in-law passed away last week unexpectedly just a few months short of his 60th birthday. He left behind a family that includes several grandchildren that will miss him dearly. That event combined with several things I have heard and read in recent days led me to write this article about leaving a legacy.

Legacy is defined as “anything left behind as from an ancestor.” A legacy is what we leave our children and grandchildren when we have left this earth. The best legacy is not monetary, but something even more tangible—something spiritual. The best legacy would be those memories, those spiritual values, those morals and character traits that we purposefully instill into their lives.

As volunteers in children’s ministry, we have the opportunity to build a legacy into the lives of each child we teach. Each time a child attends our class is another opportunity to build a foundation that will become our legacy to that child. We should not only teach them biblical knowledge and principles, but reinforce the fact that God loves them and so do we. If that is the only thing that they ever get out of our time with them it may well just be enough for them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ later in life.

Continue Reading…

Last week I heard a great sermon on Acts 6:1-7 that challenged me in my children’s ministry.  Acts 6:1-7 describes a time in the life of the early church when the leaders realised they needed volunteers to look after the fair distribution of food to widows who were in need.  Verse 3 (Therefore, brothers and sisters, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty) emphasises three things that helped the early church leaders choose volunteers.  Firstly they picked volunteers from “among you”.  That is, the volunteers were part of the church community.  Secondly, they chose people “of good repute”; people where were known for their commitment to Christ.  Thirdly they chose people who were “full of the Spirit and of wisdom”.  As well as acknowledging God is in control, the people they chose would have been praying and trusting in God’s word. These are the kinds of things that people saw in us when we started working in children’s ministry.  However, the problem is that children’s ministry volunteers are often busy people.  We have the responsibilities of our ministry, of our family, and sometimes of another job.  All this busyness can pull us away from these things.

  1. Pick out from among you – we are so busy working in children’s ministry that we stop feeling like we are part of our church community.  We never get to a service, and we can be so busy before and after the service that we end up feeling distant from the community.
  2. Of good repute – in our busyness or as we deal with difficult situations we can be quick tempered, and our words and actions do not reflect our love for Jesus.  
  3. Full of the Spirit and of wisdom – to get everything done we sometimes neglect the time we spend with God.  Our prayers can become superficial and we read God’s word less and less.  We might still give lip service to our relationship with God, praying a quick prayer or quickly reading over the bible story we are going to teach, but we stop trusting in His wisdom.  Instead, we rest on our own wisdom and our own control and leave God out of our ministry.

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the Canvas Story

Matt Norman —  May 3, 2012 — Leave a comment

www.thecanvasstory.com

In America we are very sheltered. We think that slavery was something that ended with a speech given by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. In our little world this is true. However, in for the rest of the world this is still very real.

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In part one of this series I talked about how the 2012 Orange conference was a defining moment for me. The first thing that allowed this conference to make such an impact on me was the people I met. Here is a list of some of the people and how they impacted me.
  • Barbara Graves, Wendy Douglas, and Tonya Langdon: These ladies are part the team that I have the privilege of leading here at Kidmin1124. This is the first time that I have ever met these ladies in person, but I sincerely pray that it will not be the last. These women were each an inspiration to me already, and are even more so now that I have spent a little time with them.
  • Jim Wideman: I know, who is children’s ministry has not been inspired by Jim Wideman. Well, on Wednesday night I had an opportunity to have dinner with Jim and some of he folks who have been through his Infuse program. Jim had never met me before and I sure had never heard of me, but he was still willing to allow me to join his group for dinner. This type of generosity is not often seen these days, even in the church.
  • Tommy Campbell: Tommy was with the 410 Bridge, and Rafikimail. The 410 Bridge was one of many organizations set up at the conference to tell people about what it is they do in hopes of connecting with the attendees and with the churches they represent. However, Tommy makes this list while many other did not. You see, as a guest blogger I wanted to get to know a little but about the different organizations represented. So, I approached Tommy and asked him to fill me in. We then proceeded to have a conversation that lasted at least 20 minutes. Tommy spoke with such a passion, that I found it difficult to walk away. This conversation served to re-ignite the passion in me. I wouldn’t say that this passion had gone cold, but simply had been filed away for future use. Tommy helped me to realize that the future is now.
  • Amy Dolan: I consider Amy to be one of the superstars in the Kidmin world. Despite this, she took the time to sit and talk with me, one-on-one. In fact we talked for over an hour. Like with Tommy, my time with Amy helped to dig up some latent passion.
  • Amy Fenton Lee, Meaghan Wall, and Denise Briley: Amy is another one that I consider to the be a Kidmin super star. I am sad to say that prior to Orange, I had not heard of Meaghan or Denise. Well, I had the opportunity to have dinner with these ladies and Joe McAlpine on Friday night. While I may have never heard of these other two ladies, I can tell you that I will never forget them. Prior to this dinner I would have considered Amy to be the premier when it comes to special needs ministry. Now I would add these two ladies to the list. It is humbling to be able to sit with a group of people so passionate and knowledgeable that were still willing to pour themselves into a couple of children’s pastor desperate to do a better job of ministering to a group of people that most have forgotten.
  • Rhonda Haslett: Several weeks ago I wrote an article about regional conferences. Rhonda commented on that post and we then passed a couple of emails back and forth. You see, she run regional conferences aimed specifically at volunteers and this is something that God is giving me a passion for. Well, I didn’t even know that she was going to be there. During one of the breaks on Friday I walked out of the bloggers suite and started talking with a random person who happened to be standing there. That person was Rhonda. She and I went on to talk for the remainder of the break and part way into the next session about our shared passion for equipping those that give freely of their time to minister to children. With over 5000 people attending the conference God placed Rhonda literally in my path.
  • Joe McAlpine: At the beginning of the week Joe was just a random person that I had connected with in hopes of saving my church a little money as we split the cost of the hotel room and rental car. However, as the week progressed it was clear that God has something far bigger in mind. From the very beginning Joe and I hit it off. Of course, you would expect a couple of charismatic, young men with a shared passion for ministry to children to get along, but by the end of the week we had become friends. Then, late Friday night, hours after the conference had ended we had a chance to sit and talk. We had shared bits and pieces of our own stories throughout the week, but this conversation went so much deeper. We talked about a number of things, but there is one thing that Joe said to me that I will never forget. ”You have to pursue your calling.” I don’t yet know the full impact that this is going to have on my life, but I do know this; up to this point I have not been pursuing my calling. I have been kinda waiting around for God to give it to me. I have been working very hard, but I have not been pursuing my calling. I am not sure what God has planned for my future, but I know that from this moment on I will pursue my calling for all that I am worth. Joe had only known me from a few days, but he was willing to speak into my life.

Continue Reading…

In January 1986 The Space Shuttle Challenger was set to launch. Moments after it left the platform something went terribly wrong. The space shuttle exploded,killing all seven astronauts. This was a defining moment for NASA.

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During the opening session this morning zombies took over the stage for a brief performance or Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was great!!

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