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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. 

"Jesus Loves Me" at Home and Church

It was so amazing to be with our 2-year-olds yesterday at church. I love watching how they're transformed from the beginning of class to the end. From sad and timid to happy and engaged.

An observation, though. When it comes time to sing, a couple kids sing "Jesus Loves Me" with us. And we sing it every Sunday...sometimes several times. The others stare at me like I'm speaking a foreign language. I tell them "it's okay if you don't know the words, you can do the motions." So...once they're into the singing thing, I ask them if they want to sing anything else. "ABC's," they shout. And at least 60 percent of them belt out this song. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is next and a few know that. "Itsy Bitsy Spider" they seem to know as well.

So my point? These 2-year-olds know the songs that are sung and reinforced at home. And "Jesus Loves Me" just may not be in families' repertoire much. (In fact, I had a junior high helper tell me she didn't know the song.)

Since I'm using Group's Play n Worship for toddlers and twos that's very music based, I'm very eager to get the CDs and DVDs in parents' hands so they can learn and reinforce these amazing worship songs. I want these songs to become part of the children's fabric.

Even I woke up with one of the songs from yesterday on my mind. That's what I want for these little ones. That they know Jesus loves them--musically and for real--at home and church.

Posted at 15:48

Happy Birthday, SpongeBob!

This blog's on a much lighter note, but I learned from an email from Kidscreen that SpongeBob's 10th birthday is nearing: July 17. (Hey, that's my daughter's 16th birthday!)

Well, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of the entire Bikini Bottom cast. I love SpongeBob's innocence, loyalty, kindness, work ethic, and so much more. Patrick just cracks me up! And Squidward represents everything that SpongeBob isn't.

I know there's that view that the cartoon promotes a gay agenda between SpongeBob and Patrick. But I'm willing to see beyond that accusation because I see these two as children at heart who are just great friends! Disagree if you like, but I'm still a fan.

And, I think there are great character lessons in each episode--plus good fun. So while I won't be sitting with baited breath through the 50-hour programming event to kick off his birthday bash, I do want to wish SpongeBob a lot of crabbie patties and fun jellyfishing for his illustrious day!

Posted at 15:38

Impact for a Lifetime?

I'm just mulling over some thoughts about a passionate promise we make sometimes: "Use this and you'll impact children for a lifetime." Or, "You'll help kids love Jesus for a lifetime."

Man! That's what I want! That's the passion of my heart. But lately, I've been wondering if that's a realistic promise. And is it what God calls us to? And does it overestimate my--or anyone's--influence?

Would it be enough to say "use this and right now, this day, help children love Jesus"? Seems to me it would be more accurate.

Faith development is a journey. And the Holy Spirit is the travel guide. And to believe that a one-time hit is going to be the end-all and be-all, that just may be arrogant. I love what Ali Thompson said about this: "The bottom line: God can use the little things all together to change someone's life. The Holy Spirit guided each of those people in my life, but even more than that he wove their voices together to create the tapestry of my spiritual formation."

Is it enough to be a part of the entire tapestry and in humility acknowledge our little part--rather than saying what we do now will have a lifetime impact? I'm curious what others think in this dialogue.

Posted at 15:32

Social Networking vs. Conferences 2

Here's my question posed on Twitter: Will social networking make conferences passe?

Yesterday I posted what my Facebook friends said. Today, my Twitter friends. Your thoughts?

TeacherTim: @ChristineYJones Social networking is valuable and fun, but it can't shake a hand, give a hug, or shoot the breeze after a general session.

ChristineYJones: @TeacherTim Some say they find their quickest answers to challenges from peers. Will people grow tired of waiting for the next event?

TeacherTim: @ChristineYJones Interesting question. I'm finding that the "experts" at conferences are, in reality, "peers" I network with daily..

Matt McKee: RT @ChristineYJones Will social networking make conferences passe? // or will it only enhance the experience? Great question #kidmin

Larry Shallenberger: @mattmckee @ChristineYJones will enhance experience as long as conferences grow in interactivity., IMHO.

Christine: RT @LShallenberger: will enhance experience as long as conferences grow in interactivity., IMHO.///Explain interactivity.

Henry Zonio: RT @ChristineYJones Will social networking make conferences passe? // I like what http://theideacamp.com is doing with confs #kidmin

Christine: RT @henryjz: RT @ChristineYJones I like what http://theideacamp.com is doing with confs #kidmin///I love this, Henry!

Amy Dolan: @ChristineYJones yes! social networking will definitely tweak if not change confs-it provides a more personal way to learn.

Larry Shallenberger: @ChristineYJones I think R.E.A.L. learning that leverages social media (texting q's to speaker during session). etc.

Larry: @ChristineYJones look like the stuff you used at Group's Large Group Forum but on a larger scale and w/ tech gadgets for the early adopters.

Weigh in on the conversation. What needs to change about conferences in today's culture? Also, check out people's comments in the previous posting: Social Networking vs. Conferences.

Posted at 16:52

Social Networking vs. Conferences

I tweeted this question yesterday and got a flurry of responses on Facebook. I want to bring you into the conversation. What do you think?

My Tweet: Will social networking make conferences passe?

Chris Howley: No

Ali Bennet Thompson: I don't think so. It's still good to experience things hands-on and hear from leaders/experts who you might not be socially networking with. I think it might make conferences that are just speaking passe, but conferences like How2 where you do a lot of hands-on stuff provide a totally different experience than you can get online.

Courtney Fassler Walsh: oooh, I hope not. Conferences are such a nice get-away, a way to completely immerse yourself in whatever you're learning. I don't get that in my short stints online between changing diapers and feeding kids! lol

Judy Comstock: We are social beings and that includes sitting across the table from another social being, touching, reading their eyes, and on the evidence goes for face-to-face conferences.

Me: Judy, spoken like a great conference-creator!

Selma Johnson: We need that interaction w/each other, to see the passion, caring, seeing something in action is worth a thousand words, also, those attend need to get away and be refreshed.

Me: I'm glad to hear face-to-face isn't a thing of the past. Too many great conferences to connect and learn.

Glen Woods: I would like to see more opportunity for actual face-to-face interaction at conferences, however. Rather, than typical one person lecturing to large group with little opportunity for connection. I say this as a presenter and as an attender. Group seems to be cracking the code on this with the How2 conferences. (how2conference.com)

Judy Comstock: These accomodations will certainly be evident at CPC'10 (incm.org). As with How2, we are recognizing that conference participants want and need time to interact and not just listen.

So...what do you think? Will social networking make conferences passe?

Stay tuned til tomorrow when I tell you what my Twitter friends said.

Posted at 16:35

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