Sunday, May 24, 2009

Connect the Dots - Part 3

How can we reach the kids throughout the week? Before we ask that question, perhaps we should again deal with IF we should…

Check out this video:

If left up to only 1 hour a week to instill Godly values and spiritual formation into our kids, it won't happen. If we hope to have kids stay connected to God after they enter and leave high school, parents must take up the mantel of spiritual training their children in the home. As church leaders, we can help reinforce those lessons by being a 2nd voice for Christ as kids encounter the world around them. “Two voices teaching the same truth.”

So…yes we should, assuming we have the goal of making lifelong disciples of Christ out of our kids! So then, how?

Well, with technology (and even some of the “old-fashioned” methods) there are numerous ways for teachers to connect with their kids and their parents throughout the week. You could:

¨ Send an e-card on birthdays or special holidays to their parent’s email.

¨ Send a postcard to the kids when they missed a week or two.

¨ Send a text message to their cell phone (obviously only some kids have these) with any number of potential messages.

¨ Create a monthly email newsletter that you can send to the parents.

¨ Create a fun kid’s website for kids to go to. There is even a curriculum ( that includes access to a password protected website for kids and the teachers to connect with.

¨ Get on Facebook and connect with their parents. Technically, kids under 16 are not allowed to have Facebook profiles, but some do anyway.

There are many more ways to connect the dots from Sunday to Sunday, but I am running out of room on the internet…

What are some thoughts you have on how to connect with the home throughout the week?


Friday, May 22, 2009

Fun Website to Check out!

Saw this on my wife's blog - Michigan Momma - and thought I would share.

Widdly Tinks "makes customizable widgets for pregant women, new mothers, birdes to be and for many other special events."  It also lets you make fun stick family representations of your own family and other cool things.

There are certainly ministry applications here as well - announcing new births in your church family, sending email notes to volunteers, etc.  

Just for Fun - Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Summer Fun in Port Huron

In case you are interested, you can check out this brochure from the City's Parks & Recreation Department about what is happening this summer.  Lot of free activities (I know how much we love free!!!) or low cost activities.

Speaking of summer, this year we are doing some special Wednesday night activities starting June 10th.  There will be more information coming in the form of a flyer, but here is a quick run down:
  • June 10th   SkatePort2 Skating
  • June 17th   Sanborn Park Swimming
  • June 24th   Goodells Park & Splash Pad
  • July 1st    Glacier Pointe Ice Skating
  • July 8th   Pioneer Days @ CWMC
  • July 15th Parade Night (Anchor Children's Ministry will have a float you could be part of if interested.)
  • July 22nd Vacation Bible School
  • July 29th Nothing (Whew!  We actually get a break!)
  • August 5th Brown City Family Camp
  • August 12th Brown City Family Camp
  • August 19th Children's Ministry Equip Night
  • August 26th Movie Night @ CWMC
  • Sept. 2nd Back to School Bash
WOW!!!!  Will that ever keep you busy, I thought summer was supposed to slow down???  Not in Children's Ministry.

Also, keep in mind 
  • June 22-26 Happy Time Children's Camp  for completed 3rd to 6th Graders.
  • July 10 Cruise Night on the front lawn of CWMC
  • July 19-22 Vacation Bible School 
  • July 23 Family Night on the Black River & 10th   
  • July 30 - Aug. 9th Brown City Family Camp
Get ready for a great summer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Homeschool Family

Just for fun, this video cracked me up.  Enjoy:

BTW, I am a homeschooling dad of 5 kids and believe Tim Hawkins is as well.  It is meant as a joke given all the misconceptions about homeschoolers.  


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Helping your kids become Spiritual Champions

The D6 Conference is coming this September 23-25 in Dallas, TX and looks like it is going to be an amazing time of setting the record straight for Church leaders on what their priority should be - that is partnering with parents to bring about the spiritual formation of children and youth.  Check out this video:

If at all possible, I highly recommend checking it out.  I would love to be able to attend, but have used up my conference budget and time for the year.  You can check out for information about them at  You can also follow them on Facebook.  


Friday, May 8, 2009

THE Most Important Thing!

Homer Hickam, and nearly every other boy in town, had only one destination in life – to become miners just like their fathers.  Only one problem:  Homer did not want to become a miner.  He had seen what it had done to his father and family – sickness, poverty and even seeing men killed.  He had a bigger dream and vision, one that every fiber of his being longed to follow. 


But for his father, the most important thing was seeing his son carry on the Hickam tradition of being the Foreman in the mines and providing for your family. 


 So what is our most important thing?  What is the most important thing we should pass on down to our children?

Come May 17th at 6 PM in the Chapel of Colonial Woods Missionary Church to hear the rest of the Story.

Questions for Dean - Part 2

Continuing the interview questions:

4. Now, because you mentioned “growing family ministry...” I am assuming at one point you had either introduced changes or introduced this as a new ministry.  How receptive/What were the responses/What encouragements & challenges did you face from the families being targeted?

FJIF has been slowly emerging into the congregation so that we did not shock people.  I think most of our parents do very little in terms of at home activities to pass faith onto their children choosing to focus instead on music, sports and educational activities.  So, we had done about 5 take it home events before the start of this school year, when we started with doing 9 of them for the school year.  The leadership is semi-on board (at least as long as I can get my other CM duties completed) so there is still a changing process I am trying to take them through as well.
In terms of the families, we have actually had good response based on comments and comment cards.  We have been able to give numerous resources to parents of kids ages 1 through 5th Grade that are aimed at encouraging spiritual formation in the home.  We have had a few instances where parents refused to attend the event, even though their child was there.  One such parent said (last year some time), "I think it's important for me to listen to Pastor Phil's sermon" (our Senior Pastor).  By growing I mainly meant areas that I would like and plan to expand to in the future:  Family Mission Trip, Take-It-Home events for Junior Highers and Senior Highers, Parenting weekend focused on at home spiritual formation, etc.  Again, the normal duties of CM take up most of my time, so I have to focus on these as time allows.

5. Can you explain the Children’s Ministry programs and whether it is separate from the Family Journey in Faith or if it supports it (or vice versa)?  

Let me see if I can lay out our CM programming:
Sunday 1st Service:  More traditional Sunday school classes from 9:00 - 10:15 AM
Sunday 2nd Service:  Called Children's Church, Pre-school is still rather traditional, but 2nd - 5th Grade is LG/SG using Elevate! curr.
Sunday PM:  Pioneer Club Bible program for 2 year olds through 5th Graders.
Tuesday AM:  1 1/2 hour program for 3 year olds through Kindergartners.  There is also basic childcare for younger kids during a Woman's Bible Study.
Wednesday PM:  Using 2:52 Basics virtue based curr. in a LG/SG format.  We also have a bussing ministry that brings in about 30-40 more urban, non Christian kids.
Saturday PM:  CM for Birth - 5th Graders during a contemporary worship service (called 'Venue').  Run three rooms:  Nursery-2, 3 through Kindergarten (traditional programming), and 1st - 5th Grade Large group program organized and run by me.
Special Events:  Numerous SE programs - VBS, Pinewood Derby, Tea for Two, Spring and Christmas Musicals, Nursery during adult musicals, Seder Supper for kids on Maundy Thursday...I think that's about it.
It is separate from FJIF, but since I oversee both areas I try and make the CM decisions support the overall vision of partnering with parents.  I also hammer to the volunteers this idea as well.  I am not a fan of adding another silo to the ministry, but at this point it has to be that way if I want any Family ministry stuff at all.  Hopefully, eventually, we can better intersect these areas of ministry to include families, Children's ministry, and youth ministry.

6.  And just a side question, why did you decide to use a blog, facebook, and twitter in your ministry and how effective have these online social network connections been in your ministry?  I have seen pastors/leaders on both sides of the spectrum of using these online connections in ministry.

When I moved from Colorado to Michigan I felt a need to up my level of ministry using technology both personally and for the church in order to better reach the kids and volunteers in this digital age.  So I started a blog as a way to connect with the volunteers for training, encouragement and information sharing.  I also got on facebook first just for personal relationships, but have since found it useful for recruiting, networking with other CM directors, and building bridges into the lives of people from church.  Twitter is really just for networking with other CM directors but also to draw traffic to the blog (and it really works!).


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Centrality of the Home

I highly recommend listening to this sermon by Dr. Voddie Baucham.  It's 35 minutes long, but well worth the time.

This will either make your blood boil or jump from your chair screaming "YEEEEEEEES!"  

Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Questions for Dean

I was contacted recently by a Children's Ministry volunteer in British Columbia, Canada about "interviewing" me for a Seminary project he his completing.  As I was typing the questions, I thought these would make some good blog posts to give you a climpse of what Colonial Woods is all about as well as the future vision of children's & family ministry hear.  Here are the first 3 questions and answers.  Enjoy!

1.  How long have you been with this church and what is the name of your position?
(found out that some people call themselves different than what is posted on the website)
I have been at Colonial Woods since January, 2007 after relocating from Longmont, Colorado.  My official title is Director of Children's Ministry.  I am working on my licensing currently and will hopefully have that by the end of this year.

2. How would you describe the state of Children’s and Family Ministry (CFM) when you first started at this church, what changes have been made so far, and where do you hope to see it?
I inherited a ministry that had been run primarily by "doers" (the person I replaced retired after about 15 years as the D of CM) as compared to leaders.  There was and still are elements that the D of CM is responsible to make sure everything happens (finding subs was a big issue).  I have been able to slowly turn this tide into showing people that their service to the kids is not "for me" but for the Kingdom out of their commitment to God. 
Also, when I came things were very traditional in just about every ministry setting - both services on Sunday, Sunday night, & Wednesday night.  Every room had one teacher and one helper (if they were lucky) teaching a traditional minded curriculum.  What I was able to do was slowly turn this tide and broaden into using some large group/small group stuff (Elevate during 2nd Service Elementary and 2:52 Basics on Wednesday night) as well as started an Elementary large group program on Saturday nights (which was a new service time added after I came).
Where I hope to go is to set up a volunteer coordinator or director in various spots to help oversee the growing numbers of kids and volunteers.  I would like to make a "business model" that has coordinators in charge of Sunday Pre-school, Sunday Elementary (1 for each of the 2 services), Sunday PM Pioneer Club (which I already have), a room coordinator for each room (who may also serve double duty as the teacher of one of the services), Wed PM Coordinator, etc.
Eventually I hope to move into a role of Family Pastor overseeing CM and youth ministry along with providing opportuniteis for parents to grow in passing their faith to their children at home.

3. You had mentioned a growing family ministry program.  Can you describe what that is and how it came to be?
Family Journey in Faith is our name for this FM that aims at partnering the church and parents together to bring about the spiritual formation of children.  We conduct 9 Take-It Home events throughout the year (Sept - June) where we bring children of a specific age/grade together with their parents and teach on a given topic.  I can send you a grid of what topics we cover for which grades if you would like.  It is  a program that initially started before I came, but that I took over leadership once I came on board (mainly b/c this is a passion area for me).  It is fashioned somewhat after Mark Holman's idea of "Faith-at-Home" from his books (which you can find info about online).
Our leadership had Mark Holman come and do a weekend event at our church before I came which was the impetus to starting FJIF.  I oversee a team of 5 other people (6 total with me) in which we share responsibilities to organize, conduct and teach the take-it-home events.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mickey Mouse Vs. Jesus

I was changing my son's diaper the other day when he looked down and told me the character on the front of the diaper - Mickey Mouse.  Being the dutiful dad I said, "That's right Elijah, that's Mickey Mouse."  Almost immediately I thought, "Wait, he's barely 2 years old, how does he know who Mickey Mouse is?"  Who told him it was Mickey, why is he excited about having him on his diaper, why am I excited that he recognizes him?  
Then I thought, "Almost as soon as this kid came out of the womb, he began to see Disney movies:  Monster, Inc., Cars, Bugs Life, 101 Dalmatians, and the list goes on.  Granted, none of those have Mickey in them, but somewhere along the way (probably from his older siblings) he picked that up.  

What if we were able to instill who Jesus is this early?  What if by the time they reach 2 years of age, they can see pictures of Jesus, Joseph, Mary, etc. and say "That's ____________."  As more research comes out, the ages of Birth - 3, it is becoming more widely accepted that those are the ages of KEY influence.  These early years of life are so crucial in a child's personal AND SPIRITUAL development!  Jesus and other Bible Stories should be posted every where we go so that our kids barley know of any thing else.

Of course, this is extremely hard to do given the images coming into our homes every day.  If your kids spend any time watching television, or being around you while YOUR watching, chances are they have already been exposed to more than children growing up even 25 years ago!  Why not take some radical steps to decrease or eliminate the insane barrage of images that take our focus off of Jesus?  

Perhaps I am way out in left field, but I always try and remember that we are in a spiritual battle for the lives of our kids.  If kids are highly influential in their early years, then you can be sure the enemy knows this and will target them - just like we should!  Parents and Church, it's time to unite to make Jesus so famous, they will be putting his picture on our kid's diapers.