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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. 

I Wish! I Wish!

I lost my work badge (again). Bummer! That creates all kinds of irritations trying to get around in our building. And I looked and looked. Even cleaned out my car (which is a good thing). Found things under the couch cushions I didn't need, of course. Whew! It's dirty under there! And I prayed with a double mind--God cares about the little things vs. this is a ridiculous prayer.

Anyway, made me wish that I didn't lose stuff. My son even said, "Maybe you need to put a beeper on it to help you find it next time." If I did, everything in my house would be covered with beepers. I wish I were more organized! Life would be easier!

Which made me think about children's ministers. What is it you wish for? What is it that you just can't seem to get a handle on--like for me, losing things? (Did I mention I lost my Bluetooth, too?) What is it that seems to irritate you repeatedly that you'd love help with--paperwork, phone calls, scheduling, meetings? If your irritation could disappear to make your life easier, what would that thing be?

Give me your wish list!

Posted at 16:47

Promotion Policies?

This may seem like such a mundane thing, but it's one of those "nuts and bolts" questions. When do you promote (or move kids up to the next class) in your early childhood area?

It seems like it's pretty obvious how that works once kids get to school--when they move up a grade in school, they move up in Sunday school. Now that I serve with 2-year-olds, though, I'm seeing the impact of "promoting on birthdays."

So we have 2-year-olds who don't want to go up to the 3-year-old room. Developmentally, they're not ready. We let them stay and treasure that we're not losing them. We get attached! Then we have 1-year-olds who have a birthday and immediately get moved into our room. This last Sunday we had so many new ones that it was disruptive. I had to hold one little girl who could only tell me "birthday"--meaning "I had a birthday and this is what I got." I had to hold her the entire time!

So the lesson went out the window, the processes we'd established went out the window, and it felt like we were starting all over in the middle of the year.

So, I'd love to know...how do you deal with the promotion issue in your early childhood area?

Posted at 19:00

First-Ever How2 a Wow2!

We just completed our first weekend of regional How2 Conferences in two cities! And it was a Wow! Take a look at what participants said about the first-ever How2 Children's Ministry Conferences...(and go to group.com/how2 to find one in a city near you this spring)

"I have been equipped, connected and motivated to continue to dream and work out a growing children's ministry."--Heidi Rogers, Elmhurst, IL

"The HOW2 Conference has made a lasting impact on our children's ministry. We are implementing some of the ideas right now. God has used this conference to mold our ministry into the one He wants."--Brad Bennett, Kansas City, KS

"Practical - ideas we actually practiced not just heard about."--Lori Cruden, Rockford, IL

"One of the best conferences for small churches and large churches alike. The information presented can be used no matter how large or small."--Evan Sheckler, LaHarpe, IL

"It's a wonderful experience to be able to bond with the children's ministry group. It allowed us to feed off each other and grow together."--Jody Johnston, Sheridan, IL

"Bring as many of your leadership team as possible to make connections and so everyone is on the same page."--Christy Hager, Millington, IL

"HOW2 includes hands-on activities that help participants internalize the message. Whether it is about helping families with special needs or helping volunteers feel valued, we all walk away with a better compass to guide our children and volunteers with."--Jody Spicer, Cedarburg, WI

"A must for all struggling Children's Ministries for encouragement and how-tos. A must for thriving ministries to keep you on your toes."--Stephanie Whittenhall, Medinah, IL

Don't miss out on this revolutionary training conference--there's nothing else like it for your leadership team!

Posted at 17:28

Are We Risking Enough?

I was struck by something Steven Spielberg said while receving the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes ceremony.

In talking about his very first movie (at 6, I think), he said he had a sense of "am I going to be able to get away with this?" And that feeling has followed him through every movie he's ever made. In fact, he said if the movie didn't make him wonder, "Am I going to be able to get away with this?" then he would pass on the project.

I'm grateful that I work for Group which has a culture of risk and innovation. And we've learned that when we do "play it safe" instead of pushing the envelope, we don't serve our customers as well.

I think greatness requires a big element of risk. Are you doing anything that makes you wonder "Am I going to get away with this?"

Posted at 21:18

God Bless Those Parents!

I just have to say that I was really struck by what parents go through to get their little ones to church yesterday. After serving with the 2 year olds (they're so wonderful!), I walked through our children's area to get to big church. I had to wade through parents with babies bundled up in car seats, diaper bags on shoulders, toddlers crying sometimes, and more. It just struck me that these parents maintain a strong commitment to their families being in the presence of God in our church--and that made me grateful for the efforts they put forth to let us love and teach their children.

Posted at 19:11

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