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Wired Ministry

Ann Diaz

Make a high-speed connection for your ministry

"Wow, that is so old school. Sweet!" my son said, noting a retro-styled guy on a late-model skateboard. What a relief, I thought. My generation is so out of style, we're back in again.

"Old school" might be oddly intriguing to our kids today -- to a point. In small doses it apparently has its charm. But notice how excited they become when we're equally as interested in what defines their generation: technology.

By finding the right balance of old school and new for your ministry, you can show children that God's Word isn't only timeless -- it's everywhere they look. Plus -- a little technology infusion just might amp up your coolness factor and reach some young hearts that might otherwise be too cool for Sunday school.

We did some snooping to find out what super-cool tech gadgets children's ministers love, use, and rave about. Read on to learn about the tools that'll help you make a connection, wow kids, and manage your ministry.

Dance Praise

Kids and adults have fun (and burn calories!) with this Christian version of the popular dance-pad game.

Field Notes: Ministries are loving this more family-friendly version of wildly popular secular dance and guitar-playing video games, which often feature songs with inappropriate lyrics. Dance Praise features music by contemporary Christian artists such as Matt Redman, Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, GRITS, Relient K, and Jeremy Camp.

Preteens know how the game works: Random, computer-generated steps appear on the screen and participants try to keep up with the moves. Dance pads are connectable for group fun. Other features include ShadowDance Mode, which allows one person to choreograph the dance while others follow, and Exercise Mode, which keeps track of calories burned for individuals.

Price Tag: From $50 for one dance pad and software to $2,500 for an integrated, 10-player version

Learn More: digitalpraise.com


Wright's Direction

The sitcom-style video series enhances lessons in today's context.

Field Notes: "Wright's Direction" is a series of 15-minute DVD episodes complete with teachers guides and interactive devotions. The creative team at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, created the series as part of a new curriculum called GPS: God's Plan for Salvation.

The show is based on the Wright Family (Stan, Kitty, Jake, and Addy); their cousin, Schmitty; a foster kid named Jess; a latch-key techie kid named Nano; and a spoiled rich girl and her dad, Alexis and Mr. Vanderhoof.

"Each week we see these characters deal with a real-life application that comes from the keyword and Bible verse from that week's lesson. Sometimes they respond admirably and sometimes not so much," explains Diana Pendley, minister of children at Prestonwood.

"It shows kids how to practically act out a Bible truth through application," says Pendley. "When the character is mean to his sister, they see themselves in him and the consequences of that action. After the example, they go into small groups where they see the same truth and concepts in the pages of their Bible. We've made every episode available online, so kids can watch the show if they miss [a class]."

Price Tag: Nominal fee, based on church size; contact Brandon Carmichael at 972-820-4464 for information.

Learn More: View episodes at prestonwood.org/biblefellowship/children

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