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Christine has over 20 years of children's ministry experience. She's the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles related to children's ministry. It's no wonder she enjoys an almost-daily latte to keep her going! She is also the executive editor of Children's Ministry Magazine and serves as Group's children's ministry champion, responsible for research, development, and innovation in children's ministry resources. 

You're the Gold!

We had 40-plus of some of the most amazing children's ministers here for our first-ever reGroup! We explored all kinds of topics that I'm sure will eventually get revealed in this blog.

The thing that struck me today about reGroup is how every single person had so much to offer one another. I kept telling them "You're the gold!" And I mean it...their life experiences, their walks with God, their woundedness and their healed woundedness, their personalities, their perspectives, their passion!

The cool thing about reGroup is that every session's content is built by the participants. So all that great stuff I mentioned just oozes out in brainstorming and sharing and discovery.

I learned SO much from these folks. And I could tell by the way they were bonding, that they were connecting and learning from one another too.

It's the beauty of REAL learning...instead of lecture-based settings. And I love it!

This is an invitation-only event...but if you get an invitation to the one we'll do in Nov., don't miss it! (Oh, and if you want an invitation, email me at cyjones@group.com).

Posted at 12:29

Taylor Swift: A Girl's Girl?

I took my 16-year-old daughter and her friend to a Taylor Swift concert this week. There were 13,000 fans...mostly girls younger than my daughter. The girls sang every song with Taylor; it was like a huge singalong. They screamed! They danced! The four 12-year-old girls in front of us danced like something straight out of MTV. That was a jaw-dropping experience for us.

Taylor put on a great show. She even went out in the audience to play a couple songs then proceeded to hug 100-plus people (most girls cried). That was a really nice touch.

I like Taylor Swift; don't get me wrong. My favorite Taylor Swift song is "Fifteen." http://tinyurl.com/yjn5rok Every mom should play that over and over with her daughter.

I have to tell you, though, Taylor's show and lyrics raise concerns for me. For all her lyrics, go here: http://tinyurl.com/qsn5nr

I thought that maybe instead of this being called her "Fearless" tour, it should be called the "Angry" tour. She's got bad issues with guys, lots of displays of anger. The joke is that she writes a song about her exes. When asked if that might keep her from dating in the future, she answered, "They shouldn't do bad things." That was then pasted all over the stage as she sang. She also said that she doesn't believe in fairy tales and that in real life there are no happy endings. In her song "Picture to Burn," fire raged on the stage. She drummed angrily; she head banged dramatically. In other songs, she threw furniture.

Now, of course, this sweet girl wasn't acting angry all the time. And I get that it was a show. But I want people to help me understand: What's it mean that Taylor's lyrics resonate with young girls so much? Does being an empowered woman these days imply man-hate? Are all boys bad and just waiting to break your heart? What consequences are there if girls come to believe that?

 

Posted at 21:49

Secrets to Longevity

I got to have coffee with the uber-sharp children's pastor Anthony Prince after reGroup last week. And he asked me what my secrets were to longevity (I've been here 21 years). After some thought, I told him that I'd made it this long because I work for an amazing organization, then I itemized what's great about it that's led to me staying for so long. Afterward, though, I kept thinking about this question and realized that in essence the things that make for longevity in an organization are also the things needed for the individual. So...here are my secrets I shared with Anthony (and my after-thoughts in parens).

* Healthy culture--Group is healthy relationally because we practice direct communication and people-friendliness. It's healthy in the way it's led and managed. It's healthy in its business practices and in its finances. It's healthy because it's God-seeking and God-honoring in every corner! (In the same way, individuals must be healthy in all these things to avoid burnout. If one of these areas isn't healthy on a personal level, it makes it difficult to thrive in a job.)

* Integrity--There is never a smack of shadiness or bending the rules here. I respect and am attracted to such stellar character in all our practices. (Ditto for people.)

* Vision--I'm committed to our mission: We equip churches to encourage Christian growth in children, youth, and adults (and yes, that was from memory this time!). It drives me forward and energizes me. (Without vision, the people perish.)

* Philosophy--Not just any philosophy, but I believe in REAL learning. It's powerful, memorable, and life-changing. I believe in all our developed philosophies: The equipping church, the externally focused church, our family ministry approach, and more! Beyond these, I love working here because we're always asking why? We don't just do things the way others do, but we do them innovatively. (That keeps me stimulated and challenged, but I also have to be a learner and striving for the very best on a personal level in my work.)

* Loyalty--I love and adore our leaders. I respect their wisdom and I trust their hearts. It's a joy to align with their vision and direction every single day. (For people to stay for the long haul, they need to be able to make their agenda the agenda of their leaders.)

* Personal Value--That said, above, I love that I'm still encouraged to be a critical thinker. I'd never thrive in a setting where I had to be a "yes man." I know that my "let's analyze that, dream it, rethink it, look at it in a new way" is perceived as a value to my organization. And I feel tremendously valued. (Enough said.)

So...I think that about sums it up. Thanks, Anthony, for asking the question. And thanks for being a young man, father, husband, minister who's committed to finishing well. That gives me goosebumps!

Posted at 13:21

For the Children...

People! People! Can't we all just get along? Whether you agree or disagree with the passage of the healthcare bill isn't the issue I want to talk about. We all have opinions.

What I'm wondering about is the disappearance of civility in our culture. If we as adults can't handle disagreements with grace and dignity, how will our kids be able to do so?

Broken windows. Veiled threats. Actual death threats. Putdowns. Cursing.

It's always intriguing to me when people's values conflict even in their actions. They say they're concerned about the debt we're passing on to the next generation. Are they as concerned about the moral debt they're modeling for the next generation?

Your thoughts?

Posted at 17:29

Top-5 Easter Faves from CMMag: #5 The Old Rabbits' Home

This is an idea from CMMag that was actually first published in "Instant Skits for Children's Ministry" (a great book). It's about rabbits in a retirement home.

The Characters:

  • N.R. Jizer, a nonstop talker
  • Trixie Rabbit, who's obsessed with fruit flavors
  • Plugs Bunny, a hard-of-hearing wise guy
  • Codger Rabbit, who's cranky and feeble
  • Stranger, who's friendly but quiet

The characters in this skit are all rabbits; four of them parody "famous" rabbits (the Energizer batteries bunny, the Trix cereal rabbit, Bugs Bunny, and Roger Rabbit from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.)

Your kids will love this skit and it makes the point of the true meaning of Easter. (Do it with live actors or puppets.) Caution: Use it with older kids who don't still believe in the Easter Bunny.

http://childrensministry.com/article.asp?ID=467


Posted at 02:04

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