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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. 

Quick Discipline Help

Our current poll at "When it comes to classroom discipline, I am..."

Here's what people say so far: 6% are scaredy cats, 57% control freaks, 29% pushovers, and 9% clueless.

Yep! We all need help with discipline! That's why we created the Children's Ministry Pocket Guide to Discipline recently. It's full of quick tips. For example, why do kids misbehave? They need attention, they're bored, or they're confused--and what to do about each one. There's of the trade, when not to discipline, and the moment that makes all the difference. It's written by Mikal Keefer who has a fun, insightful style of capturing attention.

So, check it out and get it in the hands of every teacher. It comes in 10-packs (for $12.99) so it's CHEAP and easy to equip teachers in this everyone-needs-help area. (That's why we made it so help you affordably equip ALL your teachers.)

No being clueless anymore!

Posted at 16:07

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the man who loved me, provided for me, and treasured me all the days of my life--my dad! He's a fabulous dad and an even more fabulous grandad! We have so many great Grandadisms that we laugh about and enjoy! I'm glad he wanted to be a dad.

(Which reminds me of the Garrison Keilor column I read this morning about him never wanting to be a dad. I kept waiting for Keilor to say "no, not really...even though I never wanted to be a dad, I'm glad I am a dad." That never came. And it's so sad.)

So, here's back to my amazing dad who understands that even on the days you may not feel like you like being a dad, you do the dad thing anyway. And here's to you, Dad, for knowing exactly how to answer the question: "Which of us girls is your favorite--my sister or me?" Wisely, you'd answer, "You're my favorite green-eyed daughter and she's my favorite brown-eyed daughter." Smooth, Dad, smooth!

And here's to you for after my first husband died and I mournfully and fearfully looked at the desk in the office. How in the world would I pay bills? I didn't know how! You looked at me in utter disbelief and said, "Well, Baby, you won the Math Key!" (I did! I was the top math student in high school.) Thanks, Dad, for reminding me of who I am and for believing in me always! I love you!

And Happy Father's Day to all you dads who have guys and girls (of all ages) who look up to you in the same way!

Posted at 15:40

Results Matter 2

I'm still stuck on this issue of assessment/measurement in children's ministry. For years here at Group we've grappled with the issue of assessment. In fact, we've longed for anyone--church, company, individual--to crack this nut. How do you measure spiritual growth results--beyond verses memorized? (So if you know anyone that has figured this out, let me know!)

One passage of Scripture that I love and believe has the essence of what we should be measuring in spiritual growth is in 2 Peter 1:5-8. Verse 8 says "For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Hmmm....that sounds like a worthy goal for children's ministries!

So what are these qualities? Faith, goodness (moral excellence), knowledge, self-control, perseverance (patient endurance), godliness (being like Jesus), brotherly kindness, and love. 

I would love to see something that can measure those qualities as indicators of spiritual maturity--at each child's level. Of course, we all know we may only have children for one hour a week. So all the more reason that an intentional spiritual growth plan at church (with measurement/assessment) must partner with the parents who see these qualities lived out at home. We would partner in "fruit checking."

I think this is more than possible; I believe it's doable and necessary. Anyone figured it out so far? 

Posted at 15:10

Results Matter

In the business world, results matter. We measure Return on Investment (ROI) to determine if we've made sound decisions. And ROI can determine if we continue a business venture. It's a measurement that helps us determine best practices.

In the church world, faithfulness matters. We work diligently and leave the "fruit" to God. Or at least that's how I've experienced the dynamic of measurement in the church world. And, for good reasons, to some degree. We are called to faithfulness; results take time--a discouraging amount of time sometimes! And God is the one who bears fruit. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." Yes, there are very good reasons to leave results up to God.

But what about the parable of the sower I read in my quiet time yesterday? It seems like results are the goal: a hundredfold results. And then there's the parable of the talents. The one who's praised by God is the one who invested it wisely. I'd say there was some ROI measurement going on there! It seems that refusing to measure results in the church can be a bit of a dodge.

In "The Speed of Trust," Stephen R. Covey writes "It's vital to take responsibility for results--not just activities. This approach unleashes creativity. It helps you understand that if you can't get results one way, you try another way--you don't just sit there and whine, 'Well, I did what you told me to do!' "

So why not measure results in the church world? In fact, wouldn't results tell us we're doing the right things? We don't have to be afraid of setting goals, planning for those goals, and then measuring those goals to learn. It doesn't mean we just measure numerical growth, but it might mean that the community-building event we planned results in ongoing friendships after the event. It might mean that the outreach event results in a certain percentage of families then assimilating into our church. Those would be interesting outcomes--not just whether 50 people came.

I think results do matter. And I think we all need to do a better job of figuring out how to assess results. It's tough because spiritual growth is a heart thing. But then again, Jesus said we would know one another by our fruit. Maybe there are things we can observe and measure after all.

Your thoughts?

Posted at 16:00

Hope for the Future

One of the great things about being part of a company for many years is that we really become a family. We watch each other's children be born, go to school, graduate, get married, and more. We celebrate together!

And one sweet little one that we're celebrating is Hope Kinner (parents Scott and Janna). She's beautiful and already much-loved, of course.

And, to me, she represents the hope for why we do what we do here at Group. It's for the millions of little ones like Hope who need to have hope in the One who loves them more than anyone. We have hope every time we create something that God is going to use it to help children see how amazing he is--and how much fun and wonder there is in being a Christian, coming to church, following after Jesus! We have hope in a day that boredom will be banished from children's ministries! We have hope that churches and families will come together in the way that God designed so children love God for a lifetime!

I love the Scripture that says "hope does not disappoint." I know little Hope Kinner hasn't disappointed her proud parents. And I don't believe our hope in the future will disappoint either.

Look at this little beauty!


Posted at 16:14


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