9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me In College About Children’s Ministry: A Book Revie

April 12, 2011 at 3:25 am (Uncategorized)

A simple book you can read in day, 9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me In College About Children’s Ministry, is a must for any one who is serving in Children’s Ministry.  A few weeks ago I received a copy of Ryan Frank’s new book, knowing I had to give a review I put it aside and pretty much forgot about it because I was trying to finish up two other books, thank goodness Frank’s book is only 100 pages long, because in just a short amount of time I was able to get read not once, but twice.  Being a short book, I thought I would try and keep the review short and sweet.

First of all for the bad news… well that fact is there is no bad news.  This is a great read for Children’s Ministry leaders, volunteers, and Pastors to get a better handle on Children’s Ministry in 2011.

Now for the good stuff… Like I mentioned earlier I want to keep this review short and sweet, so I only going to pull out 2 chapters that really grabbed my attention.

  • Chapter 2: People Over Paper

Man, talk about a duh moment, but sometimes we just have those.  In this Chapter Frank reminds us that no matter how good we are at teaching, coming up with cool concepts, making incredible videos, and doing everything else that Children’s Ministry Leaders are to do, nothing is more important than PEOPLE!  Frank says this, “When it’s all said and done, the ting that matters most is making a choice to put others first.” Frank goes into good detail about some ways how you can treat your volunteers like heroes, and to that I say “YES, YES, YES”  Without volunteers you can’t do ministry and we need to do our best to appreciate them.

  • Chapter 7: Movement Causes Friction

As with any thing in life you are going to have times in your life when you have conflict.  Before I say anything else about this book let me say this,  if you are in Ministry and everyone is happy then chances are so is Satan and you are not reaching your potential nor are you doing everything to serve.  You can’t keep everyone happy all the time.  Frank covers a lot of ways to handle conflict and how to deal when you meet people who oppose you.  One thing that really caught my attention was Frank speaking about “Picking Your Battles Carefully” Frank gave an example at his church about a battle he didn’t have, but he won the “war”.   Now, I know that seems simple, but lets be honest for a second, when someone confronts us we can get defensive.  Just because someone questions you or has a conflict, you can’t take it personal and sometimes you need to let the other one win, you might just need that person in your corner for a bigger conflict.

This book is worth it just for these 2 chapters, but the great part is there are 7 more that are just as good that will help anyone grow in their Children’s Ministry.

OMT (One More Thing) did I mention I was given 2 copies of this book, one for myself, and one to give away.  It’s really easy to win it (I will even pay the postage to get it to you) all you need to do is post a comment and let me know why you need to read this book for yourself.

Disclosure:  A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Standard Publishing for purposes of review.


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The Veritcal Self- book review

March 2, 2010 at 12:24 am (Uncategorized)

Mark Sayers has written an engaging study of the way modern people struggle with the question of identity. And when I say “engaging, I mean I couldn’t put it down. We live in the age of the “horizontal self”, pressured to create public personas based on the images around us. We brand ourselves in order to become socially acceptable and relevant. We compartmentalize our lives to fit in with different groups. Our horizontal selves worry about what others think, about status, about achievement, about today.

Whether we realize it or not, we’ve lost our “vertical selves.” The vertical self is concerned with character, holiness, contribution, eternity. Even believers and churches fall prey to the trap of the horizontal self: we want to be Christian and cool too. We’ve chosen self over soul.

What is the answer? Discipleship and accountability. We must rediscover what it means to be holy.

I found the history of how we arrived here fascinating: when did it become cool to be cool, how the definition of “sexy” has changed, how we’ve traded spiritual holiness for secular holiness. I will never look at another advertisement, movie, or staged political event the same way. I highly recommend this book for everyone, Christian or not, because Western society is playing us for fools. And we’re playing along.

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The Voice: New Testament Review

February 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm (Uncategorized)

I have started reviewing for Book sneeze and my first book was The Voice: New Testament Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishing.  On the back cover you will read the following:

You will fall in love with the Bible in this bold, new translation and format.

  • Beautiful achieves literary and artistic excellence
  • Sensitive respects cultural shifts and the need for accuracy
  • Balanced includes theologically diverse writers and scholar

When reading the cover I was excited about a new translation that would give some new insight to the New Testament, but I cannot continue this review with out being transparent and honest.  I was disappointed and disprove of this New Testament being a translation.   This Bible is not a translation, but a retelling, a paraphrase of the Bible and that is what it needs to be spelled out as.  I will list some nice things about this Bible I enjoyed and then the not so good things.

The positive:

  • I did enjoy the the story line and retelling of the verses in narrative form with speakers.  For example when Jesus spoke, it would write Jesus and then what he said.
  • It gave verbal cues for example Elizabeth (disagreeing)
  • The Voice also used the narrative form to break up the text so that it is a much easier read, and enjoyable to read at the dining room table in the morning for devotions.

The negative:

  • This is not a pure translation and my hope is that it does not try to carry the weight of a translation.  As an Associate Minister at a church I would never use this Bible to teach or preach from.
  • The Voice takes out Biblical words so the don’t cause division or harm to people who disagree with them some examples: Jesus is no longer called the CHRIST, he is the liberating king; Baptism is no longer used it is a ceremonial washing. These are just two glaring problems I see with this Bible.  It comes across to me like we are trying not to step on toes with Christians who don’t want to practice baptism or want to not make Christ a hard fact to live by.
  • I also think that The Voice goes a little too far to try and please cultural ideology instead of delivering truth in the teachings.

I would not recommend The Voice to anyone looking for a new Bible to use as their everyday Bible, and I would not recommend this Bible to any new believer or Christ-follower.  If you are looking for a reading Bible like The Message or The NLT then this would be a good choice to read.

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Final Reflections of ’09

December 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm (Uncategorized)

As we finish 2009 and look forward to 2010 I thought I would write one more blog for 2009.  I am still new to the blogging world and have yet to maintain a weekly article or at least routine, but I am getting better and plan to do better in 2010.  Here are just a few things that happened this year:

  • Kristy and I had a big move this year as we left a great ministry at Peachcrest and started a new Ministry at Woodruff Road Christian in SC.
  • We started a new Kids worship service called C2 Kidz Worship that the families at WRCC are truly being blessed by.
  • I have started thinking “Orange” when it comes to Children’s Ministry
  • We have made a lot of new friends and family in Christ this year.
  • Our family celebrated our very 1st Christmas Eve service this past week with WRCC-what a true blessing!
  • We are surrounded by an incredibly loving group of friends & family-they amaze me with their generosity and true appreciation for our family
  • I am so blessed to work under the leadership of a godly man like Kerry-he has helped to make me a better Youth Minister, communicator, and Christ-follower.
  • I can’t tell you have impressed I have been with the Elders at WRCC.  It is truly a blessing to have such a Godly group of men leading the church where I serve.
  • I pray the people will take seriously their commitment to feeding themselves and feeding others this coming year
  • I see great things in store for Woodruff Road in 2010-can’t wait to see God blow the doors off and do more than we could possibly ask or imagine

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“Eats with Sinners” by Arron Chambers

December 25, 2009 at 11:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Here is another book review.

I just finished reading Arron Chamber’s new book, “Eats with Sinners”. Once again Arron’s thoughts are provoking, stirring, and makes me examine my walk with Christ. As a Youth Minister I am always reading and being encouraged by other Christians in their writing, but Arron not only encourages, but challenges. As I look at my life and look at the people I socialize with most of the time it is with Christians, and while socializing (i.e. fellowship) is not inherently a bad thing, it is why and what I was called into.

One of the best Chapters was Chapter 8 on the topic of “URGENCY”, Arron reminds us what Jesus talks about in Luke 10 ” The harvest is plentiful…” so many times we examine ourselves in the few of others, or we (well I being a Minister) examines churches and it can be depressing knowing your attending was 300 while the church done the street had 4 services with 300 per service, but Arron reminds me that there are so many people lost I need to stop worrying about the church down the street or the Christian sharing his faith, instead I need to pray for that church or that person and continue to reach people with the Gospel.

Every Pastor, church leader, Elder, needs to read this book, needs to bring it to the attention of other leaders in the church, and then needs to take it to the church and get them to see that “eating with sinners”, building relationships with those not in the church, and taking the Gospel where other people are not willing to go is exactly what Jesus would want us to do. Thank you Arron for encouraging and challenging my walk with Christ.

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Primal: Mark Batterson

December 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm (Uncategorized)

I have the privlage of reading a copy an advance copy of “Primal” by Mark Batterson.  Let me just tell you this book really excited me about getting back to the basics of Christian teachings.

Mark’s book looks at a way to get back to the simplistic of Christian teachings, to the “primal” teachings of Jesus.  Mark challenges us to get simplify our walk by becoming great at the Great Commandment.  The book outlines the Great Commandment:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).

He breaks the four parts of the commandment down- heart, soul, mind, & strength.

  • Heart = Compassion
  • Soul= Wonder
  • Mind= Curiosity
  • Strength = Energy

Today the church is consumed with getting everything perfect, but with inperfect people.  And the people want church done their way, they want their music, their sermons- nothing to offensive, but nothing too light either.  They want a perfect children’s ministry, a student ministry that doesn’t necassarily challenge their students, but one that will keep their students entertained so they stay out of trouble.  They want a church that doesn’t hound them if they don’t serve, don’t make it to service this Sunday, and they can get lost in the mix, and guess what- there are many churches who are providing exactly what people want, not what people need.

Mark Batterson challenges us to get “primal” in our faith.  It is a call to action!

Primal encourages us to go heart-first into the world.  Loving God with all of our heart means our hearts are broken by the things that break God’s heart.  That’s compassion.

Loving God with all of our soul is about rediscovering a sense of wonder.  Are we still amazed at grace?  Do we find ourselves in awe of beautiful sunsets or falling stars?

Curiosity, or loving God with our minds, is an especially interesting section.  The idea behind it is simple: to love God is to know God.  A Christ-follower should be a constant learner, seeking out new insights.

When we break a sweat for the good of the kingdom, we’re loving God with all of our strength.  It takes energy to follow Jesus.  It takes energy to make a difference.

Mark Batterson’s “Primal” needs to be on every Pastor’s list to read in January 2010, it needs to be read by every Elder & leader in the church to challenge them to get back to the church in Acts 2,  it needs to be in the hands of every Christ-follower who wants to make a difference for the Kingdom of Heaven.

to order your copy of “Primal” click here

I appreciate WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a copy to review.  I know I’ll be coming back to it many times.

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Forgotten God- Francis Chan

October 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm (Uncategorized)

I have to applaud publishers who are committing publishing deals to a whole new generation of writers, many of whom are only known to their local congregation and those of us in the blogosphere.

Forgotten GodFrancis Chan is one of those new voices.   The pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California has followed up his popular Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By a Relentless God with The Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (David C. Cook).

Chan takes on a big topic here and tries to make it accessible to the common reader.   This book will whet the appetite of the novice Christian for more awareness of what we sometimes call, ‘the third person of the trinity.’  The book is relatively short, only 166 pages before the bonus chapter from Crazy Love begins.   With several blank pages throughout, it does leave the reader wishing Chan had written just a little more.

Although he quotes others who have written on this topic, such as A. W. Tozer, Chan is more concerned with presenting mini-biographies — one at the end of each chapter — of people who have experienced what it means to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   Call it theology by example.

Here’s a sample of his writing:

Nowhere in scripture do I see “balanced life with a little bit of God added in” as an ideal for us to emulate.   Yet when I look at our churches this is exactly what I see:  a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives.   People who have in a sense asked Him to join them on their life journey and follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded. The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before.   The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives.  Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us, He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life.

This I would call passionate theology.

Chan is also not afraid in some chapters to be almost relentless in his use of interrogative sentences.   The tone is similar to what one might find in Chan’s spoken sermons in his church.   The reader is forced to respond.   This is devotional theology.

So again, don’t look here for depth of writing on all that the Holy Spirit is and does.   But don’t be too quick to dismiss this as lightweight, inspirational writing.  Chan is concerned that the Holy Spirit infuse both our lives as individuals and our churches.   This is constructive theology.

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Our Social-Spiritual Life

May 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm (Uncategorized)

So I am watching television yesterday and the next thing I know I am yelling at it. Has that ever happened to you? You are calm and then the next thing you know you feel your blood begin to boil and you are attempting to engage the people on television in some sort of debate! As I said, that happened to me last night and I haven’t quite calmed down yet.

So what was I watching? I was watching a rerun of the The Hills Marathon on MTV…

Ok, just kidding. I was watching FOX NEWS and they had a special on successful people.  They interviewed a Houston pastor, we will call him Pastor Joel.  The church Joel serves at doesn’t have a single cross or Christian religious symbol, nor does he try and use the name of Jesus, he wants to be a church open to all religions.  A question was asked whether or not a person’s religious background should influence their political and social outlooks on life. And Pastor Joel said something to the affect Christians in this country should learn to separate their religious beliefs from their political beliefs. This infuriated me–and I have to vent!

The truth is that when a person meets Jesus everything changes. Jesus never intended Himself to merely be a “get out of hell free” card. As I have heard it said, He didn’t just come to get us out of hell and into heaven–He came to get Himself out of heaven and into us. AND when that happens, literally every aspect of our lives will be effected–not just certain areas.

I was reading John chapter five this morning–which totally goes along with what I am writing about. In John five (actually, throughout the whole book of John) Jesus says that He wants to give us LIFE. He never says, “I want to influence an aspect of your life,” or, “I want to be a part of SOME of your life.” He says, “I am life!” And so once again, for someone to make a decision to be a follower of Christ means every aspect of our lives are completely surrendered to Him.

This means who we date, how we respond to our spouse, how we raise our kids, how we handle our money–and yes, even how we view the political and social climate of the world we live in. Remember this–Jesus isn’t impressed when we throw Him a bone by merely coming to church on Sunday–He desires complete surrender from us 24/7/365.

In a nut shell this is what I am saying…I am tired of people (and the media) trying to convince followers of Jesus that there is a dividing line between the secular and the spiritual. If Jesus lives inside of you then He is not a part of your life–HE IS YOUR LIFE.

The goal of our churches should be to teach this with passion because so many believe otherwise. I do not think we should tell people how to vote or to kick them out if they voted for a particular person; however, I do believe it is the churches responsibility to teach that there should NOT ever be separation between how we live on Sunday and how we operate our lives during the rest of the week.

Remember this–Jesus didn’t die a horrible death on a cross so we could merely limit Him to the areas of our lives where we feel as if He can do “the least amount of damage.” He died so He could change how we live…and that includes everything–including our political and social agendas.

Just a thought!

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My first post!

May 23, 2009 at 11:45 pm (Uncategorized)

You know when your walking down the hall and you see someone and ask, “How’s it going?” To me this is a question…and I must admit I do not want the 30 minute version of their life story; however, I do want an answer. But all too often the other person will respond by asking me the exact same question, “How’s it going?” I want to yell, “I asked you first!!!”

I have pondered the reason for this and the only thing I have came up with is that the other person either does not think I care OR they really don’t have anything good to talk about.

The other response I get is one that drives me up the wall–especially when it is given by a Christ Follower. Once again I ask, “How’s it going,” and they respond, “well, I am just getting by.” This makes me want to throw up.

I have this belief (it actually comes from Scripture) that each and every person on this big ball of dirt called earth was custom designed by God.

Anyway, I really do believe that each one of us has a purpose in life…and it is not just to see how much oxygen we can consume or how many blisters we can form on our rear ends as a result of sitting around and doing nothing.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that He wanted us to have life–life to the full. I honestly do not think Jesus spilled His blood on the cross so that His followers can walk around and brag about how we are all “just getting by!” And I don’t think He sent His Holy Spirit to live inside of us so we can merely survive–He wants us to thrive!

So why do so many people, even Christians, feel like, “if I can just make it through this day…or this week…or this project then I will be ok?” I believe it is because too many of us become passionate about the pursuit of things that are not in line with the purpose for which we were designed.

One of the verses I have been wrestling with lately is Psalm 37:4, it tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart. I have heard that verse nearly all of my Christian life and I believe I am finally beginning to discover what that means…that if I will learn how to continually and completely fall in love with Jesus then He will blow my mind with the full, abundant life that will take me to places that I have never even dreamed.

The problem is that too many people have re-written that verse. To them it may say, “Delight yourself in your career…or your car…or your home…or your kids…or having a dating relationship,” you get the picture. So people relentlessly pursue all these things…and because of that they fall out of love with Jesus and merely begin to admire Him from a distance.

And that is why people feel they are “just getting by.”

So how are you doing–really? Are you surviving–or thriving? Has there ever been a time that you seriously got along with God and asked, “OK, you designed me–but for what?” It bothers me that so many people in our country feel trapped in dead end jobs…and the only reason they stay working where they are is because they are dominated by feelings of inferiority and insecurity. So many people I know pursue the career that their parents wanted them to pursue, or their friends–but what about God–what does He want? If you don’t discover your purpose then you will always be in survival mode.

He didn’t create us to survive–He wants us to thrive!!!

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