Monday, April 23, 2007

What Kaleidoscopes Teach About Children's Ministry

The kaleidoscope is perhaps the most well known of all optical toys. It was invented by Sir David Brewster (a Scottish scientist) in 1816. He named his invention after some Greek words that mean "the beautiful form watcher." Brewster's kaleidoscope was a tube containing loose pieces of colored glass and other pretty objects, reflected by mirrors or glass lenses set at angles, that created patterns when viewed through the end of the tube.

You can learn a lot from a kaleidoscope – even about children’s ministry. Here are five:

1. Change things up. What's a kaleidoscope if you look in it and never twist the tube and change it up? Your ministry needs to change. In the last 10 years, I have changed the way I do Kids' Church about 15 times. Never be resistant to change. You need it.

2. Remember that no two kids are the same. A kaleidoscope is nothing more than a tube containing loose colored little objects. These different pieces are blended together to create something beautiful. Similarly, no two kids are the same. Everyone looks different, acts different, and learns different. This is one of your greatest tasks – blending a group of kids together and creating an environment where they can all learn and grow.

3. Children’s ministry is blending. The coolest part of a kaleidoscope is seeing all those colored pieces blend together. Think of everything you have to blend in children’s ministry. There are learning styles, behavioral needs, personality differences, social and economic backgrounds, just to name a few. This is cool though, because this is how God works - He is in the blending business. God said that one day “every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation” will stand before the Lord (Rev. 5:9).

4. Kids want to move. Your kaleidoscope works best when you put it up to your eye and begin to move those small objects around. Sure, you can look through the kaleidoscope without moving the tube and it’s going to be pretty, but it pales compared to what some movement will bring. Your kids want to get up and move. They want to do something. This is why you can ask for a volunteer and every hand will go up even before they know what they have to do. Let them move.

5. Everything is beautiful when you look through the light. That kaleidoscope sure isn’t worth looking at in a dark room. You have to look at it through the light. Did you know that every one of those kids in your ministry is beautiful when you look at them through the Light (capital L)?They are special people, created in the image of God Himself, and He has a plan for each life.

So, what did I forget? Are there some other ministry lessons you can learn from a kaleidoscope? Tell us what you think!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Just in case...

In case you were not aware, I will be leaving for until May 4th to attend Bethel Seminary for school. The InMinistry program, earning a Master's Degree in Children & Family Ministries, is completed mostly while I am at home and at work (in Port Huron). I can still be reached by Email, or you may get in touch with Jessica @ the Church office.

God Bless, Dean

Friday, April 13, 2007

Equip - Remember the Titans

Our next Equip Training is this Sunday, April 15th @ 6:00 PM. We will be looking at the subject of teamwork and having some pizza, breadsticks and pop. Come and enjoy some fellowship, fun, food and training.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

T is for Time

OK, we are still just on the 'T' in how to T.R.A.I.N your children in the Faith. Here are the rest of the ways to spend TIME with your family.

4. Meal Time - Taking a moment to give God thanks and praise before eating establishes a ritual time that remains with children into adulthood. At the Bible camp where I grew up, we had a variety of mealtime prayers.

5. Vacation Time - Traveling together over a long distance or just getting away on a long weekend trip can be a great time to reestablish faith-talk in your family. Tithe 10 percent of your vacation time to God. Do a family service project, take some quiet time to read the Bible together, or have a family devotion each day. Visit another church and discuss what you liked and disliked. On the final evening of your vacation, spend time in prayer and worship. This doesn't have to be elaborate - simply listen to a few contemporary Christian songs and take some time to give thanks for the time you've spent together. Take turns sharing one thing that you were thankful for on the trip and one thing you look forward to when you get home.

6. Memory-Making Time - As a youth and family Pastor, I had opportunities to lead many youth-service trips. These trips were often life changing times for the teens as they experienced being the hands and feet of Jesus. While I loved leading these service trips, I always shared these experiences together. If your family is having relations conflicts, think about doing a service project together. The shared experience of helping those less fortunate than yourselves will probably give all of you a new perspective on the problems that your family is facing.

7. One-on-One Time - I think just about every parent says the same thing about their kids: "They grow up so fast". Soon, you'll be wondering where the time went. We have a refrigerator magnet that reads "Don't should yourself", which means don't go through life saying, "I should have done that". One of the best things that you can do as a parent is to establish the ritual of one-on-one time with each of your children. It can be weekly or monthly but it needs to be built in to your life rhythm. A failure to establish this time will leave you saying later in life, "I should have done that". Spend a weekend alone with each of your children, or establish a monthly date night when you see a movie or have dinner together. The particular activity is far less important than your commitment to spend time together.

The reality is that you DO have time to talk about faith with your children. You just need to take advantage of some of these slices of time. Yes, you're busy! Why not take advantage of the brief snippets of time?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

And the winner is...

Have you ever won anything? Have you ever won anything big? Lately, I have entered into contests such as HGTV's Dream Home Giveaway, Bass ProShops boat giveaway, a camper give away, Orange County Choppers giveaway. never know unless you try. Now granted I don't enter contests or lotteries that cost money, but wouldn't it be great if...

Problem is there is often a catch. Any prize you win you still have to pay sales tax on it, as if you bought it. Also, in most contests they have a rule that you agree not to sell it for at least one year. Good thing is, the "price" is outweighed by the "prize."

Believe it or not, ministry is the same way. Think about it...the price you pay in time, energy, stress, frustration SHOULD BE outweighed by the reward you receive: making an eternal difference in the lives of kids and families (including your own)! Before you do anything else, take a look at Matthew 20:1-16.

Seriously, have you click it it yet? Now, notice a couple of things:
  1. The landowner (God) is the one who goes out and gets the workers: EACH TIME! It is His Vineyard! He is in charge of this ministry. As issues come up, they are His to deal with.

  2. The fact that the workers are indeed being paid for their work. They are paid when the work is done. As "workers for the Kingdom," you too are getting paid, but you may not receive that payment until the work is done: when you reach Heaven.

So...have you felt frustrated recently? Feel like your working with no payoff? Feel like you are doing all the work? You are not alone! We are in this thing together. These kids need ALL of us, THE ENTIRE CHURCH! Let's spread the word.

To that end: Fellow workers, it is no secret that we are short on volunteers We have seen a recent explosion is the number of kids participating, especially on Sunday mornings. It is a great problem to have, but it is still a problem that needs to be addressed. WE NEED WORKERS IN THE FIELDS? Take a few moments and consider who God may have you contact this week to ask to be involved in Children's Ministry. Next step....go ahead and ask them! Then give me their name and number to follow up.

Blessings, Dean