Tag Archives: kidmin

the shirt off my back and a recent epiphany

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i have seen something that i can’t wait to share.

i love when excellence reigns where God resides.

http://slugsandbugsandlullabies.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/a-co-write-with-jesus-and-john-the-baptist/

My friend, extraordinary singer/songwriter (and more importantly human being) Randall goodgame has wrapped all of his talent, wisdom and knowledge around the inerrant word of God. He has taken some beautiful lessons from God and surrounded them with melody and timing that give them yet a new life… God’s word is a living thing.*

He has honored God with the choice to make an entire album of songs, with scripture-only verses and chorus. And thank the LORD… because it’s freaking awesome.

 

TWO SHIRTS is a song about serving others. It is about what is really important in eternity. It teaches selflessness, love and sharing. The enchanting melody places it firmly in your mind and heart, where it can change you from the inside out. I’m so thankful to have this song in the hard drive of my mind, to recall when I’m struggling with any of these things, and so grateful that my kids will have it too.

 

lyrics:

(luke 3:11)

anyone who has two shirts, should share with the one who has none.

anyone who has food should do the same

(mark 9:35)

anyone who wants to be first, must be the very last

and the servant of all, the servant of all

 

(matthew 6:19-21)

do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth

where moth and rust destroy

where theives break in and steal

store up for yourselves treasures in heaven

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be

*my recent epiphany:

i was talking to a friend about my job. i’m a kids creative minister. i usually say “i get to find as many ways as i possibly can to tell an eternal story that everyone already knows.” what hit me when i was talking to my friend is that the bible really is a living thing. how else could we continue to find new ways to share it’s truths? it’s a mindblowing realization to me.

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SWAG!! kidmin

Imagetoday we started an amazing series. the swag series.

SWAG stands for Spiritual Warrior Academy of God – Princess Heart Pockets and Bobo Ukelele Handsome are learning scripture and their bibles, so they will be ready to fight the enemy. LHKIDZ are learning alongside them. 

i’m so stoked for this project, but also, knowing that there will be warfare.

we are ready for it… 

here’s the link, if you want to watch the first episode…

the teacher comes on live, after they watch this, and tells the story of Nehemiah.

Our new Armor of God song is awesome too! email if you want me to send it to you. it’s called FIGHT! 

so fun!

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the picture doesn’t even begin to tell the story

nashville area kidmin christmas gathering.

nashville area kidmin christmas gathering.

because how would you guess that this picture represents a network of about 120 members… these are kid ministers from all over the nashville area.

we have a group that was started about a year and a half ago… give or take. and we meet monthly to encourage each other, get new ideas and basically to remind ourselves that we are all on the same team. we are all teaching the truth of Jesus Christ to the kids in our care. we are not in competition. we are not jealous or envious. we are fully supportive of one another’s efforts. and we are blessed.

i don’t know of other cities that have similar communities, but they should!

it’s so good to drive past a church that isn’t yours and feel connected to it, because you know the person there that is doing your same job. it is great to know that the kids we aren’t reaching have other people nearby to tell them the gospel.

i love this group of people. this year at christmas we painted ornaments, then wrote the name of our church on the back. each person picked a different ornament than their own, and commited to pray for that church for the next year (or indefinitely). so, i pray for Rolling Hills Baptist Church, i got their ornament. i posted a question to ask who had been praying and within 4 minutes, 3 people have already responded with the name of the church they are praying for.

that’s what it’s all about friends. working together for the good of the gospel. holding each other up in prayer.

i love it. that’s worthy networking.

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participating in a miracle.

Carol directed the singing.I wrote and directed the show. Emmy kept it all together. Boom!

Carol directed the singing.
I wrote and directed the show. Emmy kept it all together. Boom!

Oh what a night.

We finally had our lhkidz choir christmas musical, Walk of Love.

With songs from the Christmas Shoe Tree Musical by Jeff Slaughter (Can’t Stop the Shoes, Christmas Wrappin’, Heaven and Nature Medley and Walk of Love) , and a song by Randall Goodgame (The Camel Song), a song from childhood (I Just Wanna Be a Sheep) and a song I wrote with Ben and Cara (Born to Set Me Free)

and a story about a group of kids that are tired of hearing the “lesson” in everything only to discover that one of their friends has never taken a walk of love to Jesus…

the lhkidz choir was on an evangelistic mission. we were fully aware of the warfare that was going to challenge us. we were prayerful every practice and in our performance that we would point people to the truth about Jesus. we were intentional about singing our testimony and evangelism… before the performance tonite i told them “this is it guys, we’re going to battle. you are going to sing your testimony and ask people to follow Jesus in their own walk of love. we are going to witness, give our testimony by the words we sing. Jason Underhill wrapped the show by asking if anyone in the audience wanted to take their own  Walk of Love to Jesus.

The kids were amazing… and the women leading them, well, i just couldn’t be more grateful. (carol goad was our fearless choir director and dianne schneider taught and directed our choreography)

the cold cut homies made a special appearance in our videos and in our live show! swag!

as for MEDIA: …. Greg Saffles delighted us with some rockin’ black light action, as well as other loveliness. Tyler Hirth and Emmy Hendrick made sure the videos and lyrics rolled when they were supposed to roll, and the cameras were zooming in on the beloved faces of our choir members. Jeremy Brown managed all of our audio needs with his expert-ness (i’m sure that’s a word). Beau Hoffman served as our adult actor in the filmed portions, as well as providing accompaniment for the sheep song… Tyler Scott, Brian Zimmerman and Chris Long shot the videos for our drama element and Dakota Diel edited the pieces together. Not to mention the organization on the front end, and along the way, by Jason Dyba. Talk about your team effort!

for the performance, parents and families … friends and supporters filled the room with excitement and participation. Many of our treehouse hosts were there, rooting on the kids that come to their treehouses.

it was a spectacular evening. Our next generation minister, Jeff Lovingood, was cheering us on… as well as David landrith, Lance Taylor, Derek Hazelet and Jordan Easley. Our women’s minister, Julie Woodruff was there… it was such a blessing to share this experience with so many people in our church.

i can’t believe i get to do this for my job. find as many ways as i possibly can to tell the eternal story of christ… i have been amazed lately, by God’s kindness to allow me to participate in some of His miracles. I love my job. So much.

Can’t wait to start working on the next one! After I get everything ready for Sunday… and then wednesday… and… well- you get the drift.

What miracles are you participating in right now?

 

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it’s been a crazy amazing summer so far…

lhkidz interns and more

t emmy, hunter, jason, steven, casey and beau ready for vbs

this summer has been amazing. this team of interns (and my assistant emmy hendricks and cohort Jason Underhill… not pictured-sharon, jason’s assistant) has been incredible.

working tirelessly to pull off a kidz camp and kidz vbs within 3 weeks has been an “in the trenches” effort. the way that vbs has been going, has taught me a great lesson… working ahead is crucial.

because of the prep work we did for both events in the beginning of the summer, we have been able to focus on the little details and have an excellent experience for all involved. every minute we spent in preparation, is a minute that we can spend absorbing the moment with the kids and volunteers.

the other great thing… everyone likes each other and is FOR each other. when you are on a team that is FOR each other, then everything feels like a worthy experience. when you are cutting felt ears for 1700 sock donkey puppets (that’s 3400 ears, friends) with people you love, it feels like a hang out. when schlepping boxes and boxes out of a truck in 113 degree heat… it’s a bonding experience. do everything you can to surround yourself with people you love to be with. it makes everything better.

i’m honored to work with this group of people. grateful for a church that cares enough about kids to provide as many ways as we possibly can to teach them the truth of the bible. overwhelmed with the goodness of God in his kindness to us this summer with this special time.

if you asked my team if they know how i feel… i trust they would tell you yes. i believe they would tell you that they know how valued they are, what i love about each of them and what they have been able to add to their resume this summer. that’s been the goal… provide an environment that helps them love the church, love being part of things that have eternal value, grow as workers and believers, and laugh a whole lot. the work has been hard, and we are all tired, but we have a happy exhaustion in knowing that it has all been worth every minute.

if one person… one child… has a life that is changed forever… i know that each of us would gladly cut out 3,400 more ears.

what are you doing today that has eternal value?

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Jeff Lovingood, happy anniversary!

talk about your next generation pastor...wh

 

Today marked the 10th anniversary of my boss, next generations pastor Jeff Lovingood and our church, Long Hollow Baptist.

here’s the thing. not only is he my boss… in my life, he is LITERALLY a next generation pastor.

he was my youth pastor as a high school senior, and now he oversees the ministries that affect my high schooler, middle schooler and elementary schoolers… and i get to be part of it, working in his kids ministry.

if that’s not a full circle, i don’t know what is. and friends, that is encouraging!

it was an honor to be one of the presenters today and publicly say thanks for his work in my life, through the generations…

here are the gifts we gave him and why:

 

 

 

 

preschool:
Preschool ministry is presenting this orange leather Bible to Jeff Lovingood.
In preschool at Long Hollow, kids begin to learn foundational truths of Christianity. Everything starts and ends with the truth of the Bible. Without the Bible and the truth of Jesus Christ, nothing else matters. Jeff Lovingood has 3 kids of his own. He has trained them up in the ways of the Lord… as well as every baby or preschooler at Long Hollow. His ministry crosses the generations.

children:
The Children’s ministry is presenting heart monitor watches to Jeff and Rachel Lovingood to represent the time they have invested in kids and families over their years in ministry. why heart monitors? For the Lovingoods, ministry is a matter of the heart, they have dedicated their entire lives to seeing life change in others. They are deliberate not only about their personal physical health, but with the spiritual health of our generations.

students:
The student ministry is presenting this chair to represent the heart for that one person, that drives Jeff Lovingood. He is willing to go to any lengths for even one soul. This chair also serves as a reminder of the new Long Hollow Student building that has been a lifelong dream for Jeff that was realized this year and has already, in it’s first 4 months impacted #? lives for Christ. He has always said that when are not enough seats, or parking spots, they will stop coming.

volunteers:
This football represents Jeff’s great love for the Volunteers.
Yes, it is signed by he entire Tennessee Volunteer football team. No one loves the Tennessee volunteers more than jeff… But even more than his beloved VOLS, Jeff has his own team of volunteers, who have their own team of volunteers, who have.. well, you get the picture. Jeff has a personal rule, recruit 10 to recruit 10. Training leaders to become leaders. Volunteers are a big deal to Lovingood.

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is there possibly any word less sexy than curriculum?

we are starting a new curriculum from Ishine this next week (seriously…is there possibly a less sexy word than curriculum?) with kidz at long hollow.

lhkidz volunteers ken hirth and mike shelton always go the extra mile

this time its different. because i wrote it. designed it. edited it…  and my beloved texas writing team wrote the incredible video content for it.

so… i’m nervous. i’m curious but also a little anxious. and of course i’m excited too.

here’s the thing… i believe it’s really really good. we put it together with a church’s needs in mind. the way the files are prepared, the activities, the video elements, the worship videos… etc. the lesson flows…all of it. i think it’s important. and great. and truly humbled and honored to play on the ishine playground. so i’m excited to see how it goes.

as a preperatory move, we asked our small group leaders and kidz treehouse (worship) leaders to meet tonite so we could walk through the new flow with them and show them how all the pieces fit together… and also discuss together how important it is to love the kids. i said at least 100 times…. ‘even if you don’t get all the “stuff” done we want kids to leave knowing they are loved, so that even if no one else loves them all week they will know what love is when they leave us.’

i wasn’t sure that people were really “feeling” the meeting, or enjoying the samples of the videos. there were very few questions and i just couldnt tell how people were feeling… (plus i was being insecure, i now realize) so, to be honest, i felt a little bummed.

then i started doing laundry when i got home… and in the mindlessness,  i started reflecting on who was there… and how the interactions went. then i almost cried.

see… we have four campuses, so we don’t all get together too often. i get to go around and visit them occasionally, but we dont get to hang together alot… and also, sometimes the ones that dont go to the main campus, aren’t always able to make the trip.

i was beyond thrilled (thrilled sounds like too silly of a word, it’s thrilled but something deeper… what is the word?)…. anyway, i was glad to see that friends from every campus were there. and what’s more…. i just love them. if you happen to have kids in the lhkidz ministry… wow, are your kidz in good hands!!!

i love that everyone found the time in a wednesday night just because they wanted to be able to give kids the best experience on a sunday morning that they can. i love that they hung around and talked among their groups.

gosh. i just love who they are. so much. i’m overwhelmed … so i really can’t write anything too pensive tonite…i just really want you to tell me something that you want to celebrate this week.

what? what is it that just brings you joy this week? let’s share it.

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how young is too young for a salvation decision?

in the past week i have several opportunities to have a very similar conversation with totally unrelated people.

when that happens, there is usually something more going on. something i’m supposed to pay attention to. in this case, something i’m supposed to write about.

perhaps by now you are wondering what i’m talking about. i hope so, because that means you’re still reading. it’s the relationship we have with Jesus.

i’ve talked to several families who have young children that want to answer the call they hear in their heart from God… but their parents didn’t think they were “ready” or they just wanted to make sure. (i have a theory on this that i’ll get to in a minute). to be honest, it wasnt until i really dealt with this issue with my youngest child recently that i  sort of broke it down in my brain about what i think. although, if i look back, i know what i believe about it.

•i believe that when Jesus says let the little children come to me, he actually means it.

•i also believe that a personal relationship with Jesus – is just that, a personal relationship. its not something we can do for our child, though we wish we could… but given this idea,  i wonder why some parents think they need to stand in the way of it.

here are some ways to think about this whole idea that I think will help you understand that it is not about you, but about your child and the fact that they are able to hear God’s call:

-we begin to expect our kids to understand rules and obedience at an early age. at 1 1/2 or 2 we really expect them to understand our expectations and meet them. this expectation continues to increase as they mature

… why then, would we question whether they can understand the gospel when we present it to them repeatedly as part of training them?

-we know that our own relationship with Christ is personal, and not facilitated or allowed by another human – it is our personal decision to believe the truth in the Bible

… why then do we think that their personal relationship with Christ would be between you. them. and God?

-we worry about saying the wrong thing when we do talk to them about salvation

… why do we think this is different than anytime we are asked to share our testimony with anyone else? why do we think it has so much to do with US and OUR WORDS and stop trusting the Holy Spirit to be able to handle counseling our child (which is a child that God has allowed you to raise, but is His child first)

-we know that Jesus said let the little children to come unto me, and desires that we have “faith like a child”

… why then, when our child shows up with this faith that God himself talked about in the Bible, do we dismiss the validity of their decision or understanding?

-we tell them the truth of the Bible and the need for Jesus Christ as a Savior from the earliest lessons learned in preschool “GOD LOVES ME” to the progression of truths we share with them as they grow “I AM A SINNER and NEED A SAVIOR”

…why then, when they want to embrace this promise of heaven and freedom from the sting of death do we want to stave them off?

-we claim concern that they are only making a decision out of their fear of hell, instead of their desire for Christ

…can we agree that the Bible says that fear is the beginning of wisdom and that the disciples didn’t sugar coat the consequences of not receiving Christ. They were sharing with people about Jesus to rescue them from an eternity in hell. wasn’t your own decision to follow Christ born out of your desire to avoid hell? if that didn’t figure into your decision at least on some level, then we probably need to get together and chat… i have good news for you. Jesus came to save you from hell and give you access to heaven with Him. In this case, fear of not choosing God is a very healthy fear and a legitimate reason to choose to follow Jesus, it’s a fear He wants to see you.

Yes, life as a believer is a better life, but largely because of the peace that we get by knowing our eternity is secure.

This is one of the primary things that I think causes us to try to “hold off” their salvation decision: we had a time of questioning our faith in our own walk. we carry that memory and somehow think that maybe we our personal decision too soon, and didn’t know what we were doing, and that was what caused us to question. this is a subconscious thing that can create this reaction, but do you see the failed logic? do you really think it hurt you that early in life you had a tenderness and understanding of your need for Jesus… and this somehow thwarted your growth? i would say that the early decisions begin an eternal relationship that we will continue to grow and understand as we age. it has never hurt someone to have a personal experience with the God of the Universe. Think about this: you are a more mature believer now than you were 5 years ago, and hopefully in 5 years from now you will be an even more mature believer. So, too, will their understanding grow… but as a believer they have the power of the Holy Spirit to counsel them.

i heard the story this week of a child who expressed her desire to enter into a relationship with Christ and was told she wasn’t ready by her church leaders. they took it upon themselves to determine the spiritual state of her heart and the goal in this case was that the child began to hate going to church. she stopped telling her parents she loved them because she was learned from this experience to think that she wasn’t capable of understanding her own feelings.

i’m sure we can all agree that this doesn’t sound like something that would ensure that she would understand better later on, but rather hindered her growth for the whole time. she believed that she was in danger of going to hell for all of that time because she wasnt allowed to “pray the prayer”. i would contend that when she expressed her desire in her heart to follow Christ – that was the moment that she said yes and became part of the forever family of believers. it wasnt recognized or celebrated at the time, and caused an unnecessary time of pain and frankly endangered her relationship with the church.

now, i’ll tell you the story of my youngest child – she  was 5 on the Christmas day that this story begins. early that morning, before anyone came downstairs to see what Santa had brough, her sisters shared the gospel with her and told her they wanted to know she would be in heaven with them. she decided then that she wanted that assurance and the girls prayed with her. later they related this to me, but frankly, i discounted this experience, primarily because i didn’t witness it myself. (the older kids had made decisions at early ages, so it wasnt that i didn’t believe it was possible, i just didn’t see it happen so I doubted it).

so, fast forward to this spring (she is now 7, so she as at the end of being 6). blaikie told me she wanted to get baptized. i thought that was great but then i told her, well, there is something that needs to happen before you can get baptized. you have to acknowledge your need for Jesus and receive his gift of eternal life. she said she had. i said, well, i’m not sure about that. she started to bawl. she was devastated that i was questioning her faith decision. i regrouped and said, ok, tell me about it then (still with skepticism) and she proceeded to recount for me the moment that she said yes to Jesus. I said, ok, well, you have to tell Pastor Jason and then we will know that it’s  legit and we can see about getting baptized. she was irritated that i would ask her to take more steps before accepting the truth of her decision. i suggested that she write down her experience (for both of our sakes)

 

Last summer, I was leading a camp for some kids. In one group in particular, the parents specifically asked that we not share the gospel because they didn’t want someone besides them to be there for their kids’ decisions. I understand the parental desire, on one hand, but on the other hand… IT”S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’s ABOUT THEM AND THEIR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

if it was my kid and they had an opportunity to hear the gospel in a way that might reach them in particular, i want them to hear it.

the main thing is to make sure that they hear the truth as much as possible, and have every opportunity to embrace it for themselves.

she knew what she was doing. she said YES!

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Ministry Entrepreneurs

I don’t know what kind of church you are serving at… but the one that I now call home, is a place that rocks my world. Let me tell you why.

I’m going to back up just a tad, but i promise, i’ll make it quick… In my career as a writer, designer I have interviewed many enterpreneurs, I have written article after article about their blueprints for Millionaire Blueprints Magazine. I even wrote a book that’s at Barnes & Noble called “Prepare to be a Teen Millionaire”, about 7 entrepreneurs that made their first million as teens. Suffice it to say, I have spent some time using and investigating the word “entrepreneur”. And honestly, the whole concept of someone being so passionate that they risk it all to go for their idea is highly appealing to my creative mind. I love the excitement you see when you talk to someone who has built something that started on a napkin or a legal pad. I celebrate the successes that people enjoy when they sell out for something they believe it.

Then, this morning, I was given a whole new way to think about this word… 
I was discussing a new project with my colleague, Jason Underhill. We were talking about how to revolutionize some things in our children’s ministry. I was discussing the things that we have come up with and gone for, even in my 5 months here at Long Hollow.We have incorporated kids into more corporate worship, we have built a drama team of 30+, we have instituted a monthly actor’s workshop – Company of HeArtists, we have developed our social media communication, we have increased video production and built our tech team, we have built a team of writers. We are revolutionzing VBS this summer. Essentially, we have become ministry entrepreneurs. Minpreneurs kind of sounds weird, so I’m not sure I’m ready to blend the word…

But this is what we have been able to do in the last 5 months. We have taken ideas and brought them to life. We have seen opportunities that involved risk and return and we have recognized great return on our investments of time and resources. We have recharged systems that needed attention, we have put new systems in place. Our communication has increased and the energy is palpable.

This is because of this church. I’m in a place than encourages ministry entreprenuerism. We are encouraged to come up with new and different methods, solutions, experiences, but even more importantly, we are empowered to pull them off. If I have a new idea for children’s ministry, I’m rarely told ‘we can’t do that’, I’m usually told ‘figure it out and make it happen. we are for you.” Our pastor, David Landrith, has repeatedly assured the staff that he is loyal to us and “for us”. Our next generation pastor, Jeff Lovingood, is constantly pushing us to do things better than ever. He does not allow us to sit in mediocrity or complacency. I find that this pushes me into entrepreneurism and gives me the confidence to go for it, whatever “it” may be.

If you are a pastor are you empowering your leaders? If you are a minister, are you taking your ideas and running with them? If you are a creative, are you putting legs to your ideas so that people can see them walking around. I have found at my church that my ministry can extend as far and as differently and unexpectedly as God gives me the creativity for, I pray you have this gift. It’s life-changing.

One thing that I have found through all of my interviews and acquaintances with succesful entrepreneurs is that somewhere in their history is a mentor, someone that believed in them. That’s what this community at CMConnect can and does provide. Mentors that will help you succeed. Soak it up!

What entreprenurial ideas have you pushed the envelope on, that have met with success? What are you still too scared to try?

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bethlehem, we have a situation

Tonite we did something new in treehouse. new for me, anyway… and to tell you the truth… i wasn’t sure how it was going to go. i had high hopes. i had great expectations… and then i had kids who cant really read very well… reading the lines i had so carefully and prayerfully crafted.

we ran a 3 scene, 13 character show… with only one actor. (narrator).
the remaining parts were played by kids from the audience. the peanut gallery were given chants, motions and actions to create participation with the audience.

now, i will tell you, its tough to hear your lines delivered by 7 yr olds that can barely read the word “messiah”… and you’re feeling yourself pushing them forward… and you hope the kids are getting it, even though these aren’t actual actors… and then something like this happens:

i looked out into the crowd (after i had to join the characters on stage to help with some reading) and saw all of them standing when we said the word “star”, baa-ing when we said the word “shepherds” and flapping their wings when the angels were talking. YAY! They like it… they are having fun. then…. IT HAPPENED…
the oldest boy in the room told the teacher “IT WAS AWESOME”.

ah. nice.

got in the car with my own kids, who also happened to enjoy the experience… it allowed the younger kids in treehouse to “act”. and it spurred this conversation. i heard myself say, “the thing that makes me the most concerned, the thing that makes me hold my breath each weekend before we start a show… is that kids would be bored with the truth of the gospel because of the way we present it.”

two thoughts followed that realization
1 – good, that’s a good goal, to keep it interesting. i’m glad to name it.
but
B – am i pretending for even a moment that it is me that has to compel kids? am i presuming that God needs me to help him? am i making sure never to put myself above my God when it comes to what i expect from any given weekend…

whew. praying that kids will crave the gospel, and that i will not stand in His way…thankful i’m allow to be his vehicle sometimes.

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