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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. 

Butterflies From Cocoons?

This just in from Iconoculture: "According to a survey by youth-research firm TRU, Millennials are leading more 'cocooned' lifestlyes as the economic crisis plays out. 7 out of 10 teens and 20somethings expect to eat more home-cooked meals; two-thirds plan to eat less fast food; and more than half (53%) say they will stay home more." QSRMAGAZINE.COM    

What might that mean for your children's ministry? I'm smelling lots of potlucks on the horizon! Anybody up for Tuna Surprise?

Posted at 19:05

Life Cycle of a Vision

Have you ever noticed that your vision or dream goes through phases? For example, I'm close to wrapping up the myriad of freelance writing pieces for Celebration Station--the kids' companion to Celebrate Recovery.

At first, I entered it with a little fear and trepidation in terms of understanding the amount of time it would take. But after counting that cost, I truly felt like God was calling me to do this. I had a vision for what I'd experienced as a child benefitting children in some way in churches and children's ministry programs around the world. I believed in what John Baker has and is doing with Celebrate Recovery. I wanted to be part of the great vision!

Enter...reality...a few months later. I'm perplexed about how to get started. I've had several false starts, but I'm starting to see this gel. I'm still excited. I'm loving how the dramas turned out. I'm jazzed about the discoveries kids are going to make in experiences I've created and/or adapted...and the relationships they'll gain in Celebration Station small groups. (We've even agreed on the name finally!) John and his team are liking what they see. This is a win!

A few months later...I'm tired of freelancing. I want my life back. I need balance. I'm in the whiney phase. Not a pretty place. This is where I start to focus on "well at least I'm getting paid." Some would call this the "death of a vision" phase.

And then the rebirth. I'm here now. Not sure if it's because of anything spiritual or just because I'm almost done (7 more lessons!). But I'm hearing from the production team that the video dramas are amazing! Our team is loving how the program is coming together. It's still going to be a lot of work for our team, but I truly believe kids' lives are going to be changed at Celebration Station. They'll find the encouragement, safety, support, and love they need while their family experiences recovery for hurts, habits, and hangups. I'm grateful to have been involved.

So, that to me is the life cycle of a vision: excitement/a sense of God's call; perplexity/creativity; fatigue/loss of vision; rebirth/renewed sense of call.

Posted at 15:26

Play 'n' Worship for Preschoolers

Our team has just wrapped up two amazing Play 'n' Worship resources (one for preschoolers and one for toddlers and 2s). I want to share one of the behind-the-scenes stories for Play 'n' Worship for preschoolers.

Patty Smith had the original vision for a DVD resource that would lead preschoolers in worship (Whirl n Worship). I have to say that this was one of the most amazing music DVDs we've ever done! Such high quality! While Patty and the team were filming one of the music videos, not every child had shown up. So Patty and Brenda started beating the bushes for kids and parents who'd want to jump in. The song was "Let the Children Come" and they lived out going and asking kids to "come to Jesus!" One particular family had just taken an excursion from The Children's Hospital in Denver. Their small son had a brain tumor. His mother said yes and she and her two sons are in the video. It was one of those times that the older child actually had fun in the midst of their family trauma. Patty and Brenda quietly wept as they watched all this unfold. And I can't help but remember that family and this story every time I see this amazing music video.

So that's the behind-the-scenes story. Now we've taken that DVD and transformed it into a children's ministry kit called Play 'n' Worship. It has 10 story trifolds that maximize the way preschoolers learn. The art is amazing! The experiences are right on with kids. You don't want to miss out on this! Check it out here: http://store.grouppublishing.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?item=2134178&section=18742

Posted at 14:53

Everything That's Hidden Will Be Revealed...

Ahhh...spring is in the air! And I'm wearing capris and sandals! Which means that everything that was once hidden would soon be revealed. I had to rush around this morning and make sure all my personal grooming from the knee down was in order!

Made me wonder...what kind of spring cleaning do we need to do in our ministries? What kinds of things do we need to shave or clip off in the light of day? Maybe a program that's outlived its value? Maybe a cranky volunteer or two who need a break?

Here's to you putting your best foot forward!

Posted at 17:18

Intentional Family Ministry

Brian Haynes' new book "Shift: What it takes to finally reach families today" will be out this August. A sneak peek: Brian advocates maximizing 7 key milestones in a child's life--from birth through adulthood.

What are the milestones your church celebrates with families? How do you make the most of these times? What do you call them: milestones, rites, what?

Posted at 22:39

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