Tuesday, December 29, 2009
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.
Dean L. Butterfield
Monday, December 28, 2009
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!!!!
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.
1. Caring Conversations
4. Rituals and Traditions
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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.
Monday, December 7, 2009
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.)
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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):
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas
- Wonderful Christmastime
- Joy To The World
- The First Noel
- Medley: Jingle Bells, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Feliz Navidad, We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- Angels We Have Heard On High
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- The Greatest Gift*
Monday, November 30, 2009
Here are some of the issues so that you can decide.
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).
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
“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......
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sorry, nothing profound to say today.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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
"'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.
PS - Sorry about the "rawness" of this post, but I am pretty passionate about this topic - especially right now.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
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
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
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.
- 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.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Let me know if you are interested!!!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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
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.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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!!!!!!!!!
- 4 Volunteers in the Infant through 3's
- 5 Volunteers in the 4's through 5th Grade room
Monday, September 14, 2009
If you've come to this site from Google, read below!!!!!!!!! Oh year, everyone else too.
- 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.
- 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.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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.
- 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.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
- "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."
Friday, August 21, 2009
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
- 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.
Friday, August 14, 2009
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:
Thursday, August 13, 2009
- 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.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
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.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Ahhhh, got your attention, didn't I.
Monday, July 20, 2009
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
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
- 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).
- Jesus warned us not to hinder children from coming to him (Matthew 19:14).
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
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?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
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.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
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.
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!
Friday, June 12, 2009
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.