It’s Here! What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Web Conference

I’ve been blessed to collaborate with Matt Guevara and Amy Dolan over the past year on this What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry project. It all started as a crazy idea Matt had to create an innovative way to spark conversations in the kidmin world around the question, “What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry?” We gathered responses from 33 leaders, and with the generosity of our friends at Imago, we released a free eBook as well as published a print version that kidmin leaders could use to spark conversations in their ministries and in their networks. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that the eBook would be downloaded over 3500 times!

It’s a year later, and once again, we are sitting back in amazement at where the What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry project has gone. Today, January 27th, is the first day of the What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Video Web Conference! Continue Reading…

Where Can You Get $1,112 of Kidmin Resources for $97?

Yes, you read that title correctly! If you hop on over to Only 144 Hours beginning at Noon EST today, January 14, you will be able to purchase $1,112 of quality kidmin resources for only $97! How can this be possible, you may ask? Well, the catch is that this sale only lasts for 144 hours. It all ends at Noon EST on January 20. After that the deal is gone, kaput… never to come back again. This deal for these resources are a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Now these are some cheap-y resources you’ll be getting. Here’s just a partial list of the 24 resources that are part of the deal:

  • 3 months of The Kitchen curriculum from KidzMatter
  • Countdown videos
  • $200 DVD set for volunteer training from Dr. Mark Moore
  • Countdown Creator and Applause Meter software
  • Almost 200 quality Kidmin graphics
  • Missions video based on “If the World Were a Village of 100 People“
  • Volunteer Recruitment videos featuring George Dubya

And there’s much more as well as some bonus items including a copy of the What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry eBook and a CD sampler from Yancy!

If all of that wasn’t enough, they will send a DVD backup of all the files that are part of this great deal. Also, the first 100 people to snatch this deal up get a free hardcopy of Collaborate: Church + Family.

Don’t miss out and tell all your kidmin friends! You’ve got only 144 hours to grab this crazy kidmin deal. It all starts January 14 at Noon EST and ends forever at Noon on January 20.

NOTE: While I am part of the marketing team for this Only 144 Hours deal, I still think this is an amazing package with quality resources and would be telling people about this deal even if I wasn’t connected to it.

Can a Conference Really Meet Your Kidmin Needs?

I remember talking with Chris Yount-Jones about this great idea for a conference Group was going to put on for children’s ministry that was going to be focused primarily on helping those in Kidmin to network with and connect with each other. I was excited to hear about it then and am still excited about the potential Group’s Kidmin Conference has to meet one of the biggest needs I think exists in the world of Kidmin: peer mentoring relationships.

I am a people person. I don’t come across as an extrovert when people first meet me, but I thrive when I’m around people. I would’ve never survived my years as a full-time children’s pastor without all the connections and kidmin friends I made. As I’ve had the privilege of stepping outside a full-time position and look at kidmin leadership from the perspective of an observer who’s “been there,” I am seeing more and more that most kidmin leaders are essentially isolated with little or no peer mentors. By a peer mentors, I mean friends who are living out the same struggles you are as a kidmin leader who can speak into your life to offer advice, support, prayer. Additionally, you are able to speak into the life of a peer mentor as well.

I am excited at the prospect of Group’s Kidmin Conference to cultivate an atmosphere where kidmin leaders can begin or expand their network of peer mentors. If you are a kidmin leader, I encourage you to seriously consider reserving your spot at the Kidmin Conference. Take advantage of the Heart-to-Heart Conversations and Connect Groups that will be key parts of the conference.

I hope to see you in Chicago!

Contributor Call for One.Life Book Blogging Project

One of my favorite authors, Scot McKnight, has recently released a phenomenal new book entitled One.Life. I’ve appreciated Scot’s take on theology for quite a while. I’ve devoured each book that I’ve ready by him.

In One.Life, Scot attempts to answer the question, “What is a Christian?” Simply put, his answer is, “A Christian is someone who follows Jesus.” For 14 brief and engaging chapters, One.Life applies the “Jesus Creed” to that answer to give us a more holistic understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. If you’d like to read a great review of the book, hop on over to Larry Shallenberger’s blog and read his thoughts on One.Life.

I think this book has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of what it means to be a Christian by stripping down the answer to it’s core: following Jesus. Because of this, I would like to do a book blogging project of One.Life and would love for the Elemental CM community to be a part of it.

If you’re not familiar with a book blogging project, take a look at ones that we’ve done for Too Small to Ignore as well as Think Orange. What we do is have guest contributors review one chapter of the book, sharing their thoughts and insights about that chapter. This is an independent project of Elemental CM and is in no way connected with Scot McKnight or Zondervan. If you are interested in being a part of the project, you will need to purchase your own copy of One.Life. I would like to post the project in mid-February. You would be assigned a chapter to review as well as a date that your review will be posted on Elemental CM (you can post it on your own site as well). Leave a comment below if you would like to participate or contact me at henryjz (at) gmail (dot) com.

Ad Spotlight: Compassion International

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

If you are unfamiliar with Compassion International, then you’ve probably been living on the dark side of the moon. For those of you who may not know, Compassion International works with local churches all over the world to help children overcome poverty. When you choose a child to sponsor, you can rest assured knowing that a majority of the money that you send it is going to directly help the child you’ve chosen. While I have not personally been to the areas where Compassion does its work, I have a number of close friends who have, and they have attested to the amazing work that Compassion is doing to combat poverty one child at a time.

If you don’t already sponsor a child through Compassion or some other organization, I challenge you to consider taking it on. I know that some of you may not be able to do so at this time, but you might be able to in the future. Some of you already sponsor a child or children… are you able to sponsor another? We may not be able to end poverty on our own, but we can all do something.

A little while back, I coordinated a blogging project with a number of contributors and posted a chapter by chapter review of Too Small to Ignore. Too Small to Ignore is written by Wess Stafford, the president of Compassion International. You can link to all of the reviews here and get a feeling of the heart that Stafford has for children.

(NOTE: I receive absolutely nothing from Compassion International or anyone else for endorsing them or placing their ad on my sight. It is a free ad that I have independently placed on my site. I simply believe in what Compassion International is doing and am spreading the word. One another note, if you do have a product or resource that you would like to advertise on Elemental CM, please check out the advertising opportunities available to you.)

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas. This season can be crazy busy for those working at a church, so to all of you full-time, part-time, bi-vocational and volunteer kidmin workers I pray that you are able to take time to reflect on God’s gift to all of humanity: Emmanuel – God with us. I pray that you are able to enjoy this time with your family. I pray that you are blessed beyond all that you can imagine. I pray that you are encouraged as you continue to give of yourselves leading those on the frontlines of children’s and family ministry. You are my heroes!

How an 8-Year-Old Became an Atheist

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by woodleywondeworks)

You may have run across this article on the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy site posted on Sunday by Ricky Gervais. It is an article where Ricky Gervais talks about why he is an atheist. It’s an interesting read. I encourage you to hop on over and read it.

What stood out to me in his article was Ricky Geravais’s testimony of how he became an atheist:

“I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God – what a relief for a working-­‐class mother…
“…there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.
“Oh… hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.
Continue Reading…

More Thoughts on Santa, Anyone?

Over the past couple of days I’ve come across many blog posts and tweets on opinions about Santa. Hey, I even chimed in a few days ago.

I thought I’d include some of what I’ve come across here for further discussion.

For an anthropologist’s view on Santa check out Jenell Paris’s article over on Patheos. (HT: Dave Csinos)

Here’s an ad put out by the United Church in Canada (HT: Dave Csinos):

In the same vein, here’s a music video by Becky Kelley entitled, “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?”:

What are your thoughts on these?

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