Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Worshiping With Kids


A current trend in ministry is actually a harking back to “the old way of doing church” – Parents and their children attending worship together.  Of course, there is a fancy name for it now, Intergenerational Worship.  Basically, it is a response to the decline in seeing young people stay with the faith upon graduation from high school and entering into college.  Christianity Today and LeadershipJournal.net recently posted two great articles on this very issue.  One is based on kids – and the other is youth!  

Keep in mind, the idea of age-segregated ministries has only been in place since the middle of the 20th Century.  With the rise in Baby Boomer children, and a lack of effective churches, age specific ministry was a natural response.  That is when groups such as InterVarsity, YFC and Navigators got their start.  But I think we have done ourselves a disservice in separating the family SO MUCH and we are beginning to see the effects of it.  Age separated and appropriate teaching has its place in the church, but efforts should be made to support the families in their decision to worship with their kids.  It is, after all, Biblical!


Keep in mind, also, the parents are indeed the ones responsible for the spiritual nurturing of their children, regardless of their age,  If we set up structures and programs that even HINT that parents can rely on church to “take care of it,” a lot of them will do just that!  We must be intentional in partnering, encouraging, equipping and inspiring parents to use everything in their arsenal to discipleship their children.


His,
Dean L. Butterfield

Monday, December 28, 2009

They're.....just.....kids!

I hear these 3 little words more than I want to admit!  And, like Mike Johnson from Fellowship Church, it IRKS me!  Kids deserve our best!  They deserve to be trained properly before sending them on the front lines of the battle field!  Watch this powerful video for a great illustration of what it means when we DON'T train our kids to follow Christ:



What I love about the volunteers of Anchor CM and Family Journey in Faith is that they care about giving kids the suit of armor they need to stand against the schemes and battles they will face.  WAY TO GO TEAM!!!!

Dean

In a Nutshell... (a rather LARGE one)

This is how you do it...raise fully committed disciples of Christ. Just follow these 9 simple steps...but it is harder than it appears! The 5 principles of passing on your faith to your children and 4 keys to instilling Christ in your kids and family life listed below are from The Youth and Family Institute located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Check them out:

FIVE PRINCIPLES for passing on faith
1. Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal, trusted relationships—often in our own homes.
2. The church is a living partnership between the ministry of the congregation and the ministry of the home.
3. Where Christ is present in faith, the home is church, too.
4. Faith is caught more than it is taught.
5. If we want Christian children and youth, we need Christian adults and parents.

FOUR KEYS for daily living
1. Caring Conversations
2. Devotions
3. Service
4. Rituals and Traditions

These are also some of the concepts we will be focusing on with the Family Journey in Faith team and the events/programs we put together. Begin to focus on applying these in your homes and get prepared to see God do wonderful things in your homes.

His, Dean

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Family Gotcha Running Ragged?


Then this site may be just what you're looking for:  Cozi!

No, that's not an inviation!  But the name of a family organizing website to help famiiles keep their events, plans, lists, and calendar in one place.  It's completely free!  It also has other add-ons like E-Christmas Cards (for those who don't do 'Snail Mail' anymore) and a family journal site.

Check it out when you get the chance.

Dean

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to T.R.A.I.N. your children

Those of you who attended the FJIF Take-Home Event, you heard some of this; but I wanted to take a bit more time to look at how we can and should intentionally T.R.A.I.N our children. Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to train our children and offeres a promise in return. Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to teach our children the commandments and Love of God, and do it ALL THE TIME! In fact, there is never a time in which we are NOT teaching our children about God and His Love / Promises.

Therefore, since you're doing it anyway: WHY NOT BE INTENTIONAL IN IT?! Mark Holmen, former Senior Pastor at Ventura Missionary Church, and found of the Faith Begins @ Home movement, wrote a book called Faith Begins at Home. He takes the word T.R.A.I.N  and makes it into an acronym for us to easily remember 5 key principles in how to intentionally disciple our children.

For this post, let's only focus on the first letter "T." T, if you were not able to quess, stands for Time. In today's world, time is one of our most precious commodities. The primary question I hear from parents is, "When is there time to talk with my children about faith?"

For most parents the stereo-typical image that comes to mind when you say "faith-talk" is having an hour-long, sit-down discussion at the kitchen table with the Bible open and a candle burning. Of course, the realty today is that a lot of families don't even have kitchen table, and they certainly don't have a full hour when they can talk together! In our increasingly busy lives, we must make the best of the time that we have. So when is the best time to discuss our faith with our children? The only reasonable answer is anytime.
Here are 3 of 7 times that are perfect times for starting to converse to your children about God and Faith:

1. Car Time - Doesn't it seem that the most time you spend together as a family is when you're in the car, on your way to the next thing you have to do? Try turning off the radio and asking your children what "highs" and "lows" they had during the day. Then take a moment to pray for the event that you’re headed to next.

2. Sick Time - Another significant block of time that you have with your children occurs when they are sick and have to stay home from school. While no one looks forward to his or her child being sick, it does provide time to have a healthy conversation. Sick time gives you a chance to watch videos or listen to music together. So why not chose videos that will naturally lead to talking about issues of faith and life?

3. Bed Time - There might not be a better time to talk about faith than at bedtime. Share the highs and lows form the day and then take time to pray for each other. With teenagers you can ask, "What's on your schedule tomorrow that I can pray for? Do any of your friends need prayer for anything?"

(These sections are taken directly from Mark Holmen's book.)

Dean

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas" CD Review

Yancy Richmond is an up and coming (and nearly arrived) Christian artist.  What makes Yancy unique is that, so far, she has stuck with kid's music.  I have especially liked her Little Praise Party "My Best Friend" DVD for pre-school praise.  So, I jumped at the chance to review her new CD, Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas!  [Not to mention they sent me one for me - SWEETNESS!]

By checking out the track list, you can see this CD contains a nice blend of "traditional" Christmas carols, and 3 originals (2 by Yancy herself):

  1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  2. Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas
  3. Wonderful Christmastime
  4. Joy To The World
  5. Christmastime
  6. The First Noel
  7. Medley: Jingle Bells, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Feliz Navidad, We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  8. Angels We Have Heard On High
  9. O Come All Ye Faithful 
  10. The Greatest Gift*
*Currently getting air play around the country.

This is not just music for kids, though!  As you listen to the "Fancy" album - and yes, I'm that old to know what albums are - you are taken on a journey from the rockin' tune of Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas down to the mellow Christmastime.  Her cover of Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime will allow a new generation continue to enjoy this Christmas classic.  Lastly, The Greatest Gift wraps up the CD with what is basically the the events of the night and morning of Christmas put to music, telling the purpose of why Jesus came to earth!

If you're in the market for some new and fresh Christmas music, yet still love the classics, I highly recommend Yancy's "Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas."  You can purchase the CD at Amazon, Yancy's own website, and certainly Itunes.  Enjoy!

Dean

Monday, November 30, 2009

Repost: To Santa or Not to Santa?

One topic of debate this time of year for Christan Families centers around the issue/person of Santa Clause. Do we tell our kids about Santa? Do they get gifts "From: Santa?" What's the harm in pretending that Santa does exist?

Here are some of the issues so that you can decide.

Cons
1) Santa Claus is often given the same qualities as God: Omniscience and Omnipotence, specifically.

2) Santa keeps a list of our rights and wrongs. God does not.

3) Telling kids that Santa exists, when in fact he doesn't, sets up your kids for disappointment (not to mention you are lying to them).

Pros
1) Saint Nick was a real person and we could teach about him and his ministry.

2) James Dobson says it's OK.

3) Kids pretend all the time - to be a Princess or a Jedi - this is no different.

So, what do you think? What stance has your family taken? Has the question of whether or not to "believe" in Santa ever come up?

Food for thought, Dean

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Randam Thoughts....by Dean Butterfield


For those of us over the age of 30, you may remember a sketch on Saturday Night Live called "Deep Thoughts.....by Jack Handey."  They were quotes to either show the absurdity of a situation or intentionally be stupid.  Here is one of this quotes:

“If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let'em go, because, man, they're gone.” --Jack Handey

Or you can watch some by heading over to this site.

Well, this is:

Random Thoughts....by Dean Butterfield

  • Why is it that when I start looking for volunteers, I think I hear crickets chirping in the background?
  • How one spends their time and money communicates values to our kids.  What values are we communicating?
  • As a Christian, I believe the Bible is the ultimate authority for all of life.  But do I really live and think that way?
  • How do you communicate grace and truth in one sentence, with using the word "...but..."?
  • Have you ever seen horse fly, a horse fly, a horse fly?
  • I am amazed nearly everyday how God has gifted His people for the work of the Kingdom.  Now, only to use those gifts by answering the call......
Thanks for listening.

Good Looking Blog

Well, I got tired of the old coffee house look, and my wife told me I need to update my book, so I decided to change it up a little bit.  I found some great Blogger Templates sites in the process, if you are interested:


So, what do ya think???

Dean

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Heart is Heavy

I haven't felt like blogging much recently as I have a lot on my heart and mind recently.  There are a couple of families in our church that my wife and I would consider friends (they are also volunteers) who are on the brink of divorce.  I have had 3 volunteers recently let me know they need to step out of ministry.  Then last week I got sick for a couple of days.  I feel like my spiritual and emotional tank is run dry!

Sorry, nothing profound to say today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parents ONLY!!!

I have no idea if this will help any of you with where you are in life with your kiddos but I ran across this site today, and I'm just gonna pass it along.

The Porn Talk site is a comprehensive site for helping parents have difficult conversations with their kids about sexuality and pornography.

For His Glory, Dean

This may come as a surprise


I know this is going to be a huge shock for you, but it appears the Gosselin children are beginning to act out!  Duhn, duhn duhn.......  The last few months have been wracked with pain, jealousy, anger and bitterness between John and Kate; and all is not well in the perfect little world of Kate.  OK, you've got to read this quote:


"'I'm trying to give them the grace to see, if they’re acting out of line, I'm trying to look deeper into why that is," she says in the article. "Why the kids are acting out. Cause it’s all inter-related. I mean, they don’t see it, but it’s all interconnected'."


What????  Why are the kids acting out????  IT'S BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS ARE MUD-SLINGING AT EACH OTHER AND YOU'VE TORN THEIR WORLD APART!!!  


It doesn't take any analyzing or seeing how things are inter-related!!!  The only thing that is going to make it any better (besides a complete miracle of God) is to let them say what they want to say and grovel for their forgiveness!!!  Once you've done that, then you can begin to rebuild their trust in you as their parents - and with that trust will come obedience!


There is a bigger purpose for this post, though.  There are families in churches all across our country that are right now going through divorce and CHOOSING to ignore Biblical truth for their own selfish desires.  I know this is messy, ugly and nasty stuff, and from a human and emotional perspective, I get it!  But long before divorce papers are filed, long before bitterness and apathy forms - married couples must be willing to step and say "Enough is enough!  I don't like living this way and I want to make this work!!!"  If you are on that edge in your marriage, talk to someone who will encourage and help you bring peace and reconciliation back into your relationship.


Dean


PS - Sorry about the "rawness" of this post, but I am pretty passionate about this topic - especially right now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Real Prayers from Real Kids

Ran across this video put together by the folks at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN. Have tissues available!!!


Kids Prayers from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Can God Change our Schools?

Let's be honest - it is HARD to find God in our public school system.  With groups like the ACLU, National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers - God has a lot of competition!  But, the one thing that liberal school boards (and not ALL are liberal) and these groups can't do is limit the power of God in His people!  Take a look at this video, that a Facebook friend referred to me:



God CAN and WILL use us if we seek to walk like Jesus in every aspect of our lives!  God can change students, teachers, administrators, school and districts if we seek to make Him 1st in our lives!  Will U B the 1 to answer the call?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let me ask you a Question

This coming Sunday, October 18th, at our 10:45 AM service we are having another Take-It-Home event with 1st Graders and their parents.  We will be looking at "How to Cultivate a Servant's Heart" in our children.  It is going to be another wonderful time of being encouraged in and learning more about passing down faith to our children.  In fact, the families will be given another great Family Time Virtue Pack to use in their times of connections as a family.

We have been doing these TIH events for nearly two years now, so I thought it might be beneficial to take a quick look, again, at the purpose of the Family Journey in Faith. [Because, it's not about giving something ELSE for the family to do in an already busy schedule.]

So, let me ask you a question:  What is THE most important thing if life?  As parents, since our time is precious, what one thing should we MAKE SURE our kids learn?  Take a look at Matthew 22:37-40:

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

We are to teach our children to Love God above everything else!!!  Above athletic ability and accomplishments, above academic success, above a positive self-image.....Loving God, and then Loving others, is THE most important thing.  The bummer....that does NOT happen naturally.  We are bent towards sin; and in order to help our kids to learn this commandment we MUST be intentional.  That is why we have the Family Journey in Faith ministry:  To assist, encourage and inspire parents to be intentional in their passing faith to their children.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brought to you by a Fruit of the Spirit

Patience!!!

The Changing Face of Children's Ministry

There is a new wave happening in the church today!  A move allowing Children's Ministry to be put on display for the larger Church to see.  The reason for this is because we are beginning to see just how important it is to influence others when they are young - under 13 especially!  It's a move that allows and requires us to keep the parents informed on how to pass on a legacy of love to their children and how the Church can SUPPORT that.  So, of course, with that limelight comes some responsibility - but more important an opportunity!

An opportunity to put our best foot forward.  An opportunity to allow parents, church goers and non-church goers just what can be accomplished in Children's Ministry when the church and parents work together.  And an opportunity to show just what kind of quality and effective programming can be put forth.  This brings me to my main point.

I recently received a brochure from a large Children's Ministry para-church group in the mail recently.  It was nicely done - glossy and in full color, laid out well, a good balance between information and vision capturing.  But, there was a one glaring issue for me:  It looked "old!"

  • The pictures of the two main people for the organization were ladies in at least their 50's.  There is a difference than BEING 50 and LOOKING 50!
  • The names listed as board members were all likely older folks; and though I am sure they are all quite distinguished and respected, only 1 name I recognized.
  • The font choice was boring.
  • The other pics used were ones someone had simply taken with their personal camera and not professional looking.
There is, however, a New Face of Children's Ministry.  One that includes
  • High capacity leaders; 
  • Young people excited, passionate and gifted for CM; 
  • Uses video to enhance their vision; 
  • Works hard at making things look inviting
  • Understands that CM can be cutting edge, but it takes work.
Let me show you what I mean....

Here is a site that I would say has "The New Face" of Children's Ministry.  Jonathan, an up and coming young Children's Ministry Leader, does all of those things listed above; including a great video explanation to parents the importance of Salvation and Baptism.  Also, a couple of great brochures on Salvation and Baptism for parents to work through with their kids.

On the other side, here is a Children's Ministry brochure (Not the same one I received in the mail) that shows a good quality, but not all that inviting.  On the surface there is nothing wrong with it, but it tells a lot about they style and "face" of their ministry - Old School.

Now granted, at times my brochures, postcards, posters, etc. I have made up in the church are often not that great (something I am working on), but then again I'm not on a national stage either.  One way to help with this is to find someone with a creative edge and "an eye" for good design.  For instance, this summer one of our interns did this poster for VBS:



To compare here is one I did (Just hurts to look at it!):




Which would you rather be involved in???

Food for thought!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saturday Venue Live

Check out this video of the new Series for Saturday Venue Live Kids - TransFormed.  The program comes from High Voltage Kids Ministry.




Saturday Venue is also looking for a few volunteers to assist in either the Pre-school or Elementary areas.  There are opportunities to work on teaching, singing and leading kids with the Elementary group under my direction.  I will personally train you to develop the skills necessary to become a dynamic kid's presenter.

Let me know if you are interested!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hungry For You, Jesus

In our staff Chapel time today, we sang this song.  This really struck me today and made my cry and long for my Father.  May it encourage you today, as He is waiting for you too!


How do you view children?

I ran across this sign today and wanted to share it with you:



Clearly in God's word children are called a blessing, yet in our culture they are often treated as a nuisance, a distraction and a hindrance to our success.  Just last week as my family and I (Remember, 5 kids and 2 adults) were entering a restaurant, my wife noticed a rather judgmental glance from one of the other patrons.  After sitting down and ordering our drinks, that same lady walked over on her way out and said, "When I first saw you guys coming, I thought 'Oh, No?!?;' but you have a wonderful family."

[Caveat - we have our moments!]

If we truly think children are a blessing, we will praise the families that choose to accept as many as God blesses them with.  I'm not saying everyone needs to have 4, 5, 6 or more children - I am simply stating that in our culture - WE HAVE IT BACKWARDS!  We easily take on things that the Bible calls a curse, and just as quickly reject what the Bible calls a blessing.

In Him, Dean

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stepping Up His Game


Last year NFL Quarterback Vince Young had a breakdown under the pressure of life. This year, he's stepping up his game - at least as far as real life is concerned. After the death of Steve McNair earlier this year, Vince decided to step into the lives of Steve's two boys: Trenton & Tyler.

"Those are my boys,'' Young told The Tennessean. "I wouldn't say it was to pay anyone back; it was just out of love. Steve would do it for me. He pretty much did it for me when I was growing up." Seems Vince and Steve knew each other long before becoming teammates.

Quite the dramatic turn-around in his life. Almost as maybe Someone is orchestrating it???

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The World is Changing....Rapidly

Saw this video on Facebook a few days ago and hesitated to put it on my blog. Take a look at it when you can. It's a little long, but provides some eye opening facts about how Christians are decreasing rapidly and Muslims are increasing.



Thoughts??

Clothing Giveaway - October 10th


Coming up next month is the annual Clothing Giveaway at Colonial Woods. On October 10th, from 9-11 AM, the church will be full of families looking through tons of clothes donated to give away. IT'S ALL FREE!!!!!!!!!

Again this year we will be providing some Children's Ministry opportunities to the families coming through to look for clothes. This is a time to speak into and love on kids and their parents in a tangible way. I am looking to line up several volunteers for the 2 rooms:
  • 4 Volunteers in the Infant through 3's
  • 5 Volunteers in the 4's through 5th Grade room
If you are interested in helping others in this one time opportunity, please get in contact with me by EMAIL.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Google Search: Why Did I Get Married


If you've come to this site from Google, read below!!!!!!!!! Oh year, everyone else too.

OK, so you see that little Site Meter Stats box down a little bit on the right? That is a little way I can track how many people have visited Anchor CM's blog. It also tells me:
  • Where they live - Port Huron, Toledo, etc.
  • What Internet service provider they are using - Comcast, Verizon, etc.
  • What pages or blog entries they visited
  • what web browser - Internet Explorer, FireFox, etc., and
  • How they came across my website - Linked from another blog, etc.
So get this: the overwhelming reason people visit my site has NOTHING to do with Children's Ministry or Colonial Woods (the church I work in)!!! I get at least 5 visits per day people referred from the Google search: why did I get married. A while back I had a couple of posts talking about those popular films by Tyler Perry using them as a springboard to encourage us to be more vulnerable with our spouse.

Now, I find that interesting because I wonder why people are searching for the answer to that question. Is it because they are looking for information on the movie? Or are they searching for answers to that question for THEMSELVES??? Given our current culture and the rate of divorce in our nation, it wouldn't surprise me that people might just be turning to the Internet to give me a 1 good reason why they should stay married.

Perhaps I am reading more into this that what is necessary, but what if people do happen to stop by this site on their search for answers? What should we tell them? What would you tell them? If I had to give the one answer as to why they should stay married, it is for the reason that you got married to begin with!!!!!!!!!!

You're asking the right question - why did U get married - because the reason you got married should be the SAME reason you STAY married. What is that reason? Depends.....
  • Because I couldn't imagine spending my life without her.
  • Because I came alive when I met her (had to borrow that one, but it's TRUE).
  • Because there is no one on earth like her.
  • Because my Love for her is only bettered by God's Love for me.
What would you say to that person if you knew someone was reading this blog and asking "Why am I married?"

Dean

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You & Your Child Making a Difference


A Facebook friend of mine is the Founder of Kids for Christ USA that helps parents HELP THEIR KIDS establish Bible clubs IN SCHOOLS. As the school year kicks off, and since we are called to be salt and light into a dark and broken world, perhaps this will be of interest to you.

First, your child MUST be attending the school in order for you to get one started there. The way it works is that your child is the "sponsor" of the weekly group and you act as a "host." Bob's vision for KFC-USA is simple:

  • Reach children in the public schools with the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Encourage young believers in their faith; enabling them to live consistently in Christ.
  • Train and equip young believers with what they need to win others to Christ.
If you are interested, and I know some of our own Colonial Woods kids would ROCK at this, get in contact with them HERE.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President's Speech - So Any thoughts?


Whether you watched "The Speech" here or somewhere else (or not at all), do you have any thoughts on what the President said? Basically, it seems to have come and gone much like any other thing politicians seem to say.

The President seemed to focus on the broad topic of Personal Responsibility - a topic also well covered in the Bible. Nothing earth shattering or that upsetting in the speech....except I do have one thought.

As believers, we are called to have Christ at the VERY CENTER of our lives. Seemingly everything we do and say should be done with keeping Him there. So, the millions of lost people that saw this video today: Did it help them come any closer to a relationship with their Creator? Did it help the thousands (likely more) Christian kids in public schools grow any deeper in their walk with Christ? See I don't have an issue with the President speaking to the kids in our schools...I think with parental notification and coaching they SHOULD watch the video. What I struggle with is whether or not this helps our kids and families to KNOW God more? (Even if I do not favor his opinoins and policies, his story is one many public school kids can relate to!)

I think it can if the parents step into that process. Human behavior defaults to the sinful and negative side of things. We must be intentional in teaching our kids to see God and take on Biblical values. If we leave things up to "nature," our kids will not come to it on their own. And if we believe that God's Word is sufficient for ALL OF LIFE, then a speech by some guy in a powerful office won't even phase them - one way or another.

But just don't leave it hanging there either. Take this and ANY opportunity to teach your kids about God and His Word to us.

Dean

PS - The pic is one of an actual cover off Time Magazine back in 2007. You can read the article online HERE.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I wonder....

I wonder if the video that will be shown to hundreds of thousands of kids next week in our public schools will be anything like this one. It was shown at Eagle Bay Elementary School in Farmington, Utah. As you watch it, ask if you can legitimately with Biblical grounds unwaveringly "Pledge" to everything mentioned in this video:




Some yes, but there are certainly things here I don't agree with. Again, this is only meant to provide information to parents given that MANY of you also do not agree with President Obama's administration and policies. This truly is unprecedented times!

Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Operation Christmas Child - Coming Soon!

This year's Operation Christmas Child will be coming soon to CWMC. It is a great opportunity to teach children about sharing the love and light of God to children around the world, and give them a global perspective. This year, Samaritan 's Purse has partnered with Big Idea on a song about Giving Christmas Away. Check out a little video about it here:




Thanks Jeni for sharing this link!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Risers for Elevate LG Room

Here are a few pics of our 2 news sets of Easy Risers in our Elevate Large Group Room @ CWMC. I think they look AWESOME!





Potential Conflicts Ahead


On September 8th President Barack Obama is going to be speaking via Satellite and TV to all the kids who attend Public schools (and possibly some private ones will show them as well). Teachers are being encouraged to make this an assignment for their kids including some pre and post work According to this website the President plans on talking about the importance of education and succeeding in school.

I bring it to your attention because unlike any president before this, it seems everyone has a rather strong opinion, one way or another, about President Obama. It seems you either like him...or you don't. As parents, our younger kids will most likely pick up on our beliefs and opinions and convey those as their own. It would not surprise me in the least to hear of classrooms becoming a place for arguing and conflict over the person of the President as there will undoubtedly be differing opinions on his politics.

Parents, if your child's school is going to be showing this speech, perhaps this would be a good opportunity for you to do some pre-work of your own with your kids.
  • Help them to understand how to know what they believe and stand up for it.
  • Teach them to test those beliefs against the Word of God and see if they hold up.
  • Coach them on how to be respectful and loving yet hold onto the Truth.
  • Finally, teach them to pray and ask for God's strength and wisdom is facing any conflict that may come up.
Again, as parents we need to be involved in the education of our kids. Education is not just about learning how to read and write, but it is about defining a set of values and beliefs as to how we should interact with the world. Also known as "A Worldview." Be sure to keep this in mind as we launch into another school year.

Dean

Thursday, August 27, 2009

School's Back in Session-Post #1

...or will be soon enough (shout out to all those who don't start school until after Labor Day)!! I hear conversations all over the place about what kids and parents are excited about this upcoming school year. I hear conversations about the different between public school, christian/private school and home school. I hear about parent meetings and student orientations taking place. I even hear and see comments from parents (usually *moms*) about sending their young kids to school for the first time.

I went to public school nearly my entire life (1/2 semester in private, Catholic school that I cannot even remember), and I remember thinking often about why I need to learn to read, write, do math, understand science, etc. As an adult, being WAY more sophisticated (*cough, cough*), that question has morphed into "What exactly is the purpose of education?"

Just doing a Google search on that question brings about 161,000,000 hits!!! Here is how a few of them answer that question:
  • "The purpose of education is to make the world a better place!"
  • "The purpose of education is mental, moral, and aesthetic development, the unfolding of each person's personal best."
  • The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life-by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality."
  • The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people. "
  • "The true purpose of education is to bring about profoundness to one's emotions, to broaden one's perspectives and to lead to a healthier approach of looking at life."
Such a myriad of answers to a seemingly simple question!!! It appears that these definitions and others seem to have 2 things in common: 1) Education is something we receive or do, so that 2) we can give it away or go out and make a difference. Sound familiar???

As believers, we are to RECEIVE the Grace and Love of God through acceptance (the doing) of His Gift, then GO and make a differnece in the world. Education is about Knowing and Growing in Christ to then share that love with others. The goal of education for our children is for them to know God personally and then share it to others.

I'm gonna post some more on this topic over the coming week or so, but feel free to leave some thoughts and comments on this train of thought so far.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Repost: Why we homeschool?

It is a fact that, in America anyway, we live in a money driven society that requires people to work to make money in order to survive. A long way off are the days of Star Trek in which things can be replicated by a computer and consumed (a little shout out to my fellow Trekies). So how do families balance it all?

Should both husband and wife work? Can we make it on one salary? What if the two of you are at odds about this issue? It is an ever brewing and controversial topic in society and even more so in the church. As you may have guessed, or just know about us, my wife is a stay at home mom (SAHM).
Before our 1st child was born, we made the decision for her to stay at home, which has now turned into homeschooling (or will as my other three kids get older). We had to make tough financial choices along the way, some of which are not popular either; but we feel that this is God's design for our family (Deut. 6:4-9, 1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:4-5, Acts 20:28-29, Proverbs 27:23).

For us, the bigger issue is about Discipleship - something as believer's in Christ we are ALL called to be part of (Matt. 28:16-20). The more time I have with them, especially when they are young, the more likely it is that my faith will become their faith and will stick as they get older. (Of couse, it will change, but the roots of the faith start with our parents and childhood experiences.)

What are some of your thoughts?

Dean

Should Christians Support THIS Health Reform?

A lot of dialogue, some louder than others, is taking place on the issue of Health Care reform given how the current political administration is striving to make it happen. So, perhaps you've asked yourself if we, as Christians, should support it. Well, I began to look around what other believers were saying and I ran across this site. I began to listen to the Teleconference call from supposed Christians and believers of other faiths that took place in showing "Unified support of the faith community" for this health care reform bill.

Take a listen for yourself, if you can stand it:



I've got several thoughts on this issue:
  • If these are the folks speaking for the rest of us, then I do not wish to be part of this so-called Unified Faith Community. They claim the people talking show just how unified we are on this issue, when clearly we ARE NOT!
  • It's not a far jump to understand that government run health care will provide coverage for abortions, since it is currently LEGAL in the US. Of course, they already provide our tax money to Planned Parenthood - which encourage abortion as a viable option of dealing with "Un-Planned" pregnancy
I could go on, but there is too much to list; so let me direct you to a another blog entry that has some great information and Biblically-based (I know, a shocker, right?) thoughts on this issue.

Socialized, Universal health care is NOT the answer to the very real issues we have (high costs that continue to increase, insurance companies willy nilly denying coverage, etc.). There are other ways to accomplish it:
  • Increase Medical Co-ops where members share the cost of the needs of each other.
  • Limit the cost of medicine when the research used to create the medicine is funded (in whole or in part) by our tax dollars.
  • Tax credits to families to help them afford health care
  • Expanding Medicare for better or earlier coverage or lowering out of pocket costs for those on Medicare. Doing the same for Medicaid.
There are other options for, what I can see, is a REAL need for Healthcare reform. Universal healthcare is NOT it!

Dean

Friday, August 14, 2009

Safe Web Browsing for Kids


I've ran across a few sites recently that can help you as parents feel safer in having your kids on the internet. (I mean OTHER than not allowing them on it at all.) Here they are:

Safe Web Browsers
http://www.kidoz.net/ - This one looks VERY kid friendly.

Informational

Microsoft's Informational page on how to set up your computer with safety controls.

If you know someone who could use this information, spread the word.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Indiscretion of Sports Figures

I'm a sports fan - BIG SHOCKER I know. So sports stories intrigued me. This month alone, in the world of sports:
  • we have made a convicted felon trying to find his way back onto a NFL Team (likely the Buffalo Bills);
  • a prominent Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver plead guiltily to killing a man while driving under the influence and get suspended for one full year from the NFL; and
  • a well-known and talented NCAA Men's college basketball coach get caught having had an affair and possibly paying her to get an abortion.
Why do I bring all these up? Not because of the publicity they get in the media and not because I'm sooooo concerned about the reputation of sports or sports figures. No, I bring it up because the standard statement when these guys were confronted, at least initially, is "I had a moment of indiscretion, and I'm sorry." Sounds sincere, right?

Let me define indiscretion: the trait of being injudicious. [Don't you love it when they do that?]

Let me define injudicious: lacking or showing lack of judgment or discretion; unwise.

Huh? Does that sound like admitting to doing anything wrong? Let me paraphrase, "I'm sorry I was unwise and apparently did not do a good enough job to hide it." The things these gentlemen did were wrong, they are sin! But instead they say "I'm sorry I got caught." Culture today, and possibly even the Church, barely sees this! We need to wake up and despite living in this Postmodern age, where objective truth does not exist, we should own up to the mistakes we make and expect others to do the same.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How Early is too Early?


I read a recent article on Christianity Today's website spelling out one Christian professor's case for early marriage. (I find it intriguing that he works for a secular school in Texas...) The author does not give a specific age he has in mind, but one can figure he is talking about after HS from around 18-22 years of age; and he is definetly speaking about relationships and marriage in America and/or western culture - not of middle eastern or Indian arranged marriages of children as young as 8!!! If you haven't done so already, read through that article first.

Now, first off, I have not typically been a form of the group that publishes CT as I believe that have purposefully pushed a liberal agenda in the Church. So I was actually shocked, but pleasantly so, to see this article on the website (not sure if it is included in their print magazine). With that said, I believe this article makes some excellent points! I'm not going to get into the biological issues (since I am not a biologist or psychologist, nor have any interest to be so), but I do want to address one issue that I know will come up for most people reading the article.

Here is the question: "Don't young people need to get a college education so they can support themselves and any family? Doesn't that need to happen before they get tied down into a marriage and/or family?" Um, well, NO! I'm pretty sure that's not included as an 11th Commandment or anything.

So what's wrong for young persons to get married providing they show appropriate signs of faith, maturity and responsibility (which is key)? Yes, God has put some guidelines in place for our benefit, but not sure what those would entail in terms of early marriage??? Yes, sex and intimacy should be reserved until one is married (perhaps this should include even kissing - duh, duh, duh). For me, this hark ens back to a different discussion about the culture of college aged kids going off to school after HS rather than sticking around and starting to earn an income and attend a local community coll. or tech school. I think we perpetuate the problem by forcing kids to NOT take responsibility after HS by sending them to a school in which virtually all their expenses are paid for (tuition, R & B, books, etc.) b-4 entering the so call "real world."

OK, I'm not a crazy anti-education uber-conservative (I have both a Bachlor's and Master's Degree from fully accredited schools). But I think we have not only not listened to biology, but also to God's Word - "He who finds a wife (hear spouse), finds what is good."

I'm interested to "hear" what you have to say, so leave a comment or two.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So it begins again...

What you ask???? (Seriously, did you ask that?)

Recruiting for Fall Children's Ministry!!!

When I Grow Up... from Marty Taylor on Vimeo.

If you are interested, send me an email!

Dean


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Hate People!


Ahhhh, got your attention, didn't I.

This is a title of a book I heard about on my way to work this morning. It also has a corresponding website. The interview I heard on the radio was from one of the authors discussing some of the elements of the book. Briefly, it lists out 10 types of personalities that exist in the workplace and how to best interact with them. For instance, "Stop Sign" is someone who puts the kabosh on any and all creative ideas or thoughts - saying things like "I think you've had enough fun" or "You'll put an eye out with that thing."

There are dozens of books out there on this kind of topic; that is, how to relate to the differnet types of people in your work/school/family/world....

What makes this one interesting is that the authors chose the title for thier book, "I Hate People." There is an implication here that I don't agree with, nor do I think it is Biblical - that implied idea is that "I HATE the poeple who are not like me!" Think of it, why would "Stop Sign" bother you? Why would "Spreadsheet" bug you? The issues they would bring up are ones to be dealt with in business, ministry or life... We "hate" them because they are not like us, and whatever type WE may be. Afterall, all of us is one type or another, right? What if YOU are Mr. or Mrs. "Smiley Face?"

God's Word tells us something very different: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3). We are to put the needs of others before our own! I could go on, but you get the point.

In the way of recommending a good book on dealing with personality types, especially those in your church or business, check out "5 Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni. Great book that helps us all realize what we bring, and don't bring, to the table.

Til next time, Dean

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is Bigger Really Better?

I posted this orginally on a blog that I do some guest work on for The Cory Center for Children and Families, but thought I would repost it here too.

I have often wondered about the phrase “Bigger and Better,” and whether or not there is any truth in that statement, especially as it relates to Children’s Ministry?

I mean, it appears that the best Children’s ministries are the ones at churches larger than 2000 and have large budgets. It also seems that the CM directors that are most talked about and well known in the blogging world are the ones @ these larger churches as well. But what about the little guys? (Of which I still fancy myself one.)

For instance, I know some great CM directors from seminary that are in small to medium churches doing great things in bringing about the spiritual formation of children. I look at Ryan Frank, Children’s Pastor at little known Liberty Baptist Church in Sweetser, IN, a church of less than 900; but his ministry at Kidz Matter provides CM resources all over the country. Is Bigger REALLY better?

Certainly having a treasure of resources and access to a bigger pool of volunteers (though I am sure we all struggle with finding qualified CM volunteers) does have its advantages and allows for greater flexibility. But being smaller comes with some great opportunities as well: necessity for creativity, ability and time to develop more 1:1 relationships, flexibility if one happens to make mistakes, etc...

So, if you are reading this and struggle with being at a “small church/ministry,” take heart!!! God can and will use you to make a difference in the lives of kids & families. Remember, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Col 3:23-24).

In Him, Dean

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Are we Making a Difference?

We are in the process of making some decisions about bussing at our church and whether or not to continue carrying out that ministry. You may or may not have been part of that ministry or even known it to have existed. It's a hard decsion to make given how much of a struggle it is to keep it going and the fact that very few people seem to care to keep it going - myself included!!!

But let me provide a different perspective on it....this blog entry came from a fellow Children's Minister this morning. It is POWERFUL and helps shed some new thoughts on this debate. Perhaps it will strike you like it struck me........

I used to do a lot of Bus Ministry. Things have changed in the last few years where running busses is not feasible right now… but I still have a little place in my heart ready to pounce when the time is right again.

Bus Ministry is a great place to learn a lot… hard and fast. You make a lot of mistakes… and you ask a lot of internal questions… and it challenges the living crizzle out of your beliefs and makes you wonder if it’s worth it at all.

Once I remember questioning whether pulling a kid out of their situation for only a couple of hours a week was actually doing any good for them at all. I was explaining to God how they’re bombarded with family issues, inner-city pressures, peer-pressure like you’ve never seen… how was my little song-n-dance once a week going to provide any help… especially for those who didn’t half listen?

God told me—I must stop here for a moment and make sure you understand that when I say “God Told Me”, that it works like this: I get a really excellent idea in my mind that I know in a million years would never come from my own jacked up, over functioning brain—flatly”:

“When you’re in a fire… any moment you’re not burning is a great moment.”

I knew exactly what He was telling me. These kids were in the worst of situations… and though I was questioning our effectiveness, God was making it clear that every moment they were free from that situation was a precious, precious time for them. It helped me so much. Suddenly I saw their hyperactivity in a new light. They were excited to just be kids for once. They were getting a chance to play, a chance to connect with adults who truly cared about them as people. I wasn’t allowed to downplay any of the time we spent with them after that.

This concept doesn’t only apply to Bus Ministry… but to any ministry to children. Sure, we only get them a few hours a week… assuming they come every time the doors are open… but that time is precious. Especially from God’s point of view. Even if all we did was play with our kids rather than teach, for some of them it would be the most spiritually refreshing moments in their week. Experiencing God’s unconditional love in a safe, accepting environment should be the foundation of every children’s ministry experience.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm just curious...?

My wife and I have mentioned to each other before about how we would like to talk with some folks from the fundamental Baptist movement. You know, the one in which ladies wear long skirts and the men/boys are typically in collard shirts tucked into pants??? I am fairly conservative myself and have often wanted to strike up a conversation (dare I say a friendship) with their families.

But here's the thing - they seem closed off??? Perhaps they get tired of people making fun of them or staring at them, but I am genuinly curious. So, are any of you fundamental baptists? Would you be willing to talk about your beliefs with me and my family?

This may not be the best place for it, but I don't have any other option to try and communicate these questions. Perhaps I am a little strange (no comments about that, ya hear?), but I thought I'd give it a shot!

Dean

Why is Family Ministry Important?

I have posted before about the importance of Family Ministry and the necessity of parents discipling their kids in the home. Chances are you guys may even be sick of hearing me talk about it. But a lot of the reasons I am so passionate about family ministry are things that weigh heavily on my heart, and should be on ALL of our minds as Christians. Let me explain:

Reasons Why Family Ministry Should Be Important
  1. It is Biblically mandated for the church and all Believers to teach the things of God to children (Psalm 78:1-8, Deuteronomy 6:1-9).
  2. Jesus warned us not to hinder children from coming to him (Matthew 19:14).
  3. The most effective way to make disciples is by raising them yourself! Having more children means more people for you to disciple (Matthew 28:19-20), which is the goal of the Christian life!
  4. We are loosing Christians FASTER than we are replacing them! This includes stats from both new conversions and new births into Christian families. For more stats on this, listen to my previous post: Click Here!
  5. If what happens in the home becomes the center of one's life, personality, goals, etc., then God NEEDS to be taught in the home. Otherwise God becomes someone one "does" once per week.
  6. Kids will eventually grow up and become adults. If they are set to believe God is the center of their life, they are more likely to stay connected to Him when trials come and big decisions are made.
  7. The end goal here is to produce Fully, Committed Disciples of Christ who go and make a difference in the world. We can all use reminders to keep that in mind while we make decisions for and about our kids: Homeschool, public school or Christian school; sports, music, community, or no activities; devotions at home or no devos at home, etc. KEEP THE END IN MIND!
This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully get people thinking. Do you have any "Reasons" to add?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bring God into the Equation


Typically, when my family is out and about, we get lots of people looking at us - some even make comments about / to us. You see, with 5 kids we are one of the larger families in the area (Port Huron, MI). We hear things like:
  • I could never do that!
  • It's hard enough with the two that I have!
  • She must be a saint! (Interesting they never say 'He' must be saint??)
  • You know what causes that right?
  • Are you done yet?
And those are more nicer comments!!! Let me say out of the shoot - these things are offensive to large families! They may seem like innocent comments, and we may laugh them off along with you; but at the heart of these comments us an un-Biblical, erroneous and sinful thought: That children are a burden and not a blessing! (Understand that I do NOT have anyone in particular in mind right now, but am making general comments on a personal blog.)

It is clear that God calls children a blessings - so why would I want to hinder that blessing? I have heard all the arguments and most of them stem back to selfish desires and wants. I AM NOT SAYING THAT EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A LARGE FAMILY!!! That is not the point! There are some families that have tried for years to have children but have been unable to. Honestly, that breaks my heart! I would love to see those couples be able to have as many children as they want, but that is NOT our call!

What I am saying is that we should allow God to influence the size of our family - whether that's 1 child or 18 blessings! We should prayerfully consider these decisions in light of God's Word and Wisdom. I can give you lots of reasons why we should limit our family size, but just about all of them are un-Biblical. I can give you an equal number of reasons why we should ALLOW God to have control of that area of our lives. At the very least, bring God into the equation! Talk with Him, ask Him, then wait for a response!

My wife has had 5 C-sections and we are not sure if her body can handle any more. But we are equally unsure if her body will handle 1 more, or 5 more. We are not going to be irrational about it - we trust and value the opinion of her OB-GYN (who is the best in the area according to just about everyone). We believe God will make it know when he wants us to be finished. We also believe God has given us wisdom and discernment to process through these decisions.

OK, I had to get that off my chest.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A True Story of Love

Dr. J. Robert McQuilken had been the President of Columbia Bible (International) College for nearly 22 years. But his wife, Muriel, came down with Alzheimer's and he found himself torn between to divine callings. He made the right choice!



If you would like, you can get more information about Dr. McQuilken's story HERE.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The only Thing This seat is good for....

...is for my son to rest his butt on.


I think he may have pooped in his diaper then too! Go Bux!!!

A Caveat To: Yet Another Huge Controversy

After talking with a dear friend (via email), I thought I would add a caveat to the previous post. This article is harsh! There is no question about it. For many of you it is offensive and judgemental. I DO NOT FULLY SUPPORT Dr. Baucham methods and do not necessarily fully support his conclusions, but I do think that homeschooling should be an option considered (via prayer, God's word, seeking the advice of wise believers and being given a genuine peace about the decision) when it comes to educating our children. And not just blown off as too radical to impossible without weighing out the pros and cons.

For some, this is simply not possible (single mothers, families in which both parents must work). For others, parents have chosen to have their families in the public schools to be a light for Christ. [Again, this is all under the assumption that parents are actively engaged in the learning process, which I think we all would agree should be the case.] So let me direct you to a more balanced article when it comes to the options for Christian parents to educate their children.

Pink Sun Drops: Homeschool vs. Private School vs. Public School

This blog entry does a nice job (it is rather long though) at laying out thoughts and questions to consider given where you are and if you are considering a change.

Also, since I put a link to a strong homeschooling article, I'll put on on a strong Public schooling option. This blog entry, in fact the entire blog, is written by a parent who purposefully sends their kids to public school. I have not read these blog entries fully yet, so will not comment on them now, but there are lots of voices out there talking about this.

Thoughts?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yet Another Huge Controversy


NOTE OF CAUTION: If you click on this link, you will delve into another huge controversial issue among Christian families and the church - that of public school education and Christianity.

Dr. Voddie Baucham, who've I mentioned before, makes a strong case about "The Top 5 Reasons Not to Send Your Kids Back to Government Schools." Again, for most people we land on one side or the other of this issue. Meaning, you are either OK with public schools or you are not. Which is why people get so upset about this issue. But, that's not why I bring it up!

I bring it up to help people to start a dialogue about the issue! Since most Christian families send their kids to public schools (85-90% according to the link), the voice NOT being heard is the one choosing to home school or Christian school their kids. As a homeschooling dad myself with my 5 kids, my voice is typically played off as being "radical" (at best) or "asinine" (at worst, and yes that IS an actual word). I'm also curious what my fellow Children's Ministers think about this issue as well.

Have any thoughts?

Dean

PS - I've been gone for a couple of weeks moving into a new house and taking a few days off work. So I thought I would come out with a bang!

Family Ministry - Part 5 (Last One)

As I look at the lay of the land in Children’s Ministry, there are a lot of churches in America today debating whether or not to start some type of Family Ministry program. Well, if I may be as so bold as to put this question to rest: YES YOU SHOULD! Parents are struggling in the face of a culture that tells many of them they have made wrong decisions having kids, going to church, or choosing at all to teach about God. They need to know they are doing some things right.

Parents also need to know that the church will help give them ideas, resources, and a place to connect with other parents. It is my belief that this should all be part of a family ministry program that crosses the silos we typically see in ministry. But if that is not an option, start somewhere. I personally recommend doing some Take-It-Home Events or Key Age events. Check out the Faith at Home books by Mark Holman.

Even more churches have started Family Worship events bringing kids and parents together in a kid friendly worship environment. That is also a good place to start, but should not stop there. Why? I think, and this may hurt a little bit, that it continues to perpetuate the idea that the families need to come to church to connect to God. What happens at home is far more important for faith building then what takes place in the church. The church cannot, and should never have, taken the primary responsibility for the discipleship of children. For more thoughts on this issue, read Family Driven Faith by Dr. Voddie Baucham.

If we want to have kids that do not leave the church after high school, let’s focus our efforts on having kids follow the Great Commandment: to Love God with everything they are!

Dean

Friday, June 12, 2009

Connect the Dots - Part 4


We’ve been on a journey looking at how to connect the dots from Sunday to Sunday to bring about spiritual formation and the discipleship of children. We have discussed the issue IF we should try and connect with kids throughout the week and listed some ideas on how to make that happen.

Let’s be honest, Children’s Directors are NEVER short of work to be done! What we need to then focus on is how we maximize our resources and efforts to bring accomplish discipleship of children. What is the most and/or least effective?

One of the strongest messages of God’s Word is that parents are responsible for the spiritual formation of children. But if we believe that, why do we continue to set-up programs that do not include them? We should be focusing on events that bring kids and parents together. The weekend Christian Education programming will always be there, but what about special events and family ministry ideas?

I think we should also be striving to do everything we can to encourage and equip parents with the tools necessary to help them raise Godly disciples in their children. Parents are berated all day long (often from themselves) how they don’t measure up; we should take every chance we get to encourage and empower them with this clear message:

God chose THEM to raise their children! There is no one else He would rather do it. There is no one else that can do it and He will give them the ability to make it happen.

Those are key areas we should focus on as we seek to partner with parents to keep kids connected to the Vine.

Dean Butterfield