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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. 

No Invisible Children

This response to a previous blog needs to be out here where everyone can see it. Read Peggy's heartbreaking poem...

I've never been on a blog before, and don't know if this is where i need to be or not! something happened today that i felt moved to share. having been a children's minister until my husband's job changed our location,and a subscriber to your magazine and workshop attender, i always thought i was sensitive to the invisible child. i have an invisible grandson, one who is unchurched unless i take him to vbs or other church outreach events. his family situation makes for a stay-in-the-apartment existance unless memaw takes him places. i took him to a church day camp this week. i came home and cried after i left him today and wrote this letter to the church. i think all children's ministers need to read it and think about that invisible child.

She took me into camp today.
Did you see me?
My teacher wasn't in the sanctuary.
Did you see me?
No one greeted me.
Did you see me?
It was the same thing yesterday and the day before.
Did you see me?
When I am on the playground, no one is near me.
Did you see me?
When I leave, no one tells me goodbye.
Did you see me?
She makes me come every day.
Did you see me?
I probably won't come Sunday.
Will you miss me?
When I look for Jesus, will He see me?

A lonesome child

thanks for letting me vent.

Posted at 18:00

Family Ministry Is NOT Another Program

After spending a day and a half with Brian Haynes, author of Shift: What it takes to finally reach families today, I'm more convinced than ever that Brian brings something to the family ministry dialogue that I rarely see: a workable, sensible, biblical, sustainable family ministry philosophy.

Brian's grasp of family ministry goes beyond anyone's that I've encountered thus far. He and his church (Kingsland in the Houston area), have spent the last decade studying, refining, and testing a spiritual formation path that integrates family ministry into everything their church does (at every age level). Sounds hard, I know. But the beauty of it (and something we've searched for in the arena of family ministry for the last two years) is its utter simplicity.

There are three parental behaviors that are the goal of their family ministry: celebrating milestones, weekly faith talks at home, and capturing God Sightings. And they've so brilliantly succeeded at helping parents grow in these behaviors--as evidenced by the quarterly research they conduct with parents.

I'm telling you! This works! Brian and his church have succeeded in what Timothy Jones has identified as the key factor of a church's family ministry success. They've created an ethos in their church that influences everything they do. It's brilliant--and it's very different from what other folks espouse in their strategies.

Check it out at, the latest issue of Children's Ministry Magazine, and Brian's new book Shift (releasing 8.5) from Group.

Seriously, this is what it takes to finally reach families today. And it's not a program; it's a workable paradigm shift.

Posted at 11:26

The "New" Evangelism

So in getting ready for the wedding, I splurged on a "mani/pedi." And believe me, after all the weeding, pruning, painting, staining, and cleaning to get my house ready for guests--my nails were in trouble!!!

The most interesting thing was the amazing conversation I had with the manicurist. She had some unique views about God and spirituality (including reincarnation). In the past, I would've been "ready with an answer" to argue with her about where she was wrong. Instead, we had an amazing dialogue. On some points (other than reincarnation), I listened intently and tried to find truth in what she was saying. I shared with her my journey and some of my fears and doubts. She said she'd read a quote about "maybe we don't know everything about God and can learn from others." Then I was able to challenge some of her views later that maybe she didn't know everything. In fact in one area I agreed with her and still asked, "But what if we're wrong?" She later thanked me for opening up her eyes to how she'd boxed in her views. And even at one point she said she'd read that "God has only one son and it's us." I responded, "Now I don't believe that. I do really believe that 'Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life...and that no one comes to God but through him.' " By the end of the conversation, I asked her to jot down the names of books, films, etc. that she'd mentioned so I could learn. (We even hugged goodbye!)

It was an amazing evangelistic dialogue that wasn't about "arguing" her into the kingdom of God. It was about respect and listening and sharing. So I shared this with friends at work and one of them asked, "What does that mean for the way we teach kids?"

Interesting! I know this kind of dialogue and encouragement to think is at the heart of Grapple curriculum. And we seek to ask thought-provoking questions in all we do. I'm curious, though, about what others have found. Is it possible to dialogue with children of all ages--and not just tell them what to think? What do you think? What are you doing that's working?

Posted at 15:51

Dreams Come True

My son got married this last weekend in the most beautiful and amazing ceremony. He and his new wife, Bri, demonstrated a deep love for each other and for God. It was so wonderful!

And I cried at two key times where I saw dreams coming true. One was when Bri stepped out onto the stairway, being led by her father. Standing there in all her beauty and purity, I cried because I knew that this was Grant's and Bri's dream come true--to find each other, fall madly in love, and commit their lives to one another. It was a beautiful moment! And one that made my big Marine son cry, too!

The other key time I cried was when Grant and Bri stepped out of the center part of the ceremony to have a private communion and prayer time. As I saw my son taking on the mantle of spiritual headship in his new family's life, praying for and with Bri, I was deeply moved. This was the fulfillment of one of my dreams--that my son would grow up to love Jesus with all his heart. God blessed me as I saw the fulfillment of all those things we do as parents and children's ministers (and wonder if they're making an impact). Well, they are. They really are!

Check out the beautiful couple!


Posted at 16:19

Environments Matter

I retweeted this blog from my friend and the author of Group's Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to a Successful Children's Ministry:

Interesting comments from my friends on Facebook:

Susan Corbran: We painted our rooms last year - orange, green, yellow and blue - all different. Now I'm ready to paint my office with the leftover colors -to tie it all in. Our church leadership (but mostly the trustees - who have a say in what the building looks like) has a long way to go to even accept change in environment - but I'm all for it.

Laurie Dyer: Our church switched to a rotation children's SS curriculum about 4 years ago and repainted most of the children's rooms and hallways to go with the curriculum. We have a theatre room with leftover pews from an old remodel, complete with a stage and curtains;an art room painted to look like Joseph's workshop, our "oasis" room has walls painted with desert scenes and a big sheer tent with pillows. the hallway is completely painted with life-like Bible characters; It looks great!

Cheryl Wong: You ought to check out our new environment! It totally rocks!

I want to see pictures of all these great environments! And I'm planning coffee with Cheryl to see my dear friend and check out her digs (since she's right here in Loveland!).

Posted at 15:57


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