Tag Archives: treehouse

cream of the crop.

wow. so wednesday nights aren’t easy. kids are tired and worn out from school… parents are rushing to get their kids to church, so they can go to church. but when i tell you that anyone who isn’t bending over backwards to get their kids to trek at long hollow right now… is crazy. because it is ridiculous. ridiculously amazing.

literally multiple times during the evening and on thursday, emmy (my beloved assistant) and i marvel at God’s goodness. as we watch Carol lead the choir… dang! she makes music fun, exciting, and hopping.

as we listen to the men (matt malone and ryan hubbard) who are teaching the bible study lessons … we are just grateful that God doesnt see wednesday night as a second thought. he is bringing the cream of the crop together to create memorable evenings together.

here is one of our teachers: matt malone, teaching kids how to share the truth of the Bible: (i shot this on sunday where he teaches the 4-5th graders, but you get the idea) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JydjtIGhiWc&feature=g-upl

then… we have BEN for worship. again… God’s best for his lhkidz. this college student drives an hour round trip each week to spend an hour leading our kids in authentic worship. this week he was out of town and our uber talented media specialist stepped up to lead and that too was amazing.

seriously grateful that God has been so gracious and abundant in our wednesday night stuff. the time kids spend with us, is well spent. it is worthy. that, is the goal. the purpose. the dream.

what area of your life can you see that God has given abundantly when something less would’ve been passable?

Tagged , , , , ,

up in my treehouse…

up in my treehouse

oh. friends. i can’t freaking wait for you to hear the new treehouse song!

(my friend curt campbell and I wrote it)

as soon as it is available for free download i will let you know.

it is so catchy and fun and says exactly what i wanted it to say.

we are using the song to open our spring musical. the musical is set in a treehouse… 4 kids are spending their last day before middle school opening up their time capsule from kindergarten: THE REVERED TIME CAPSULE OF KINDERGARTENESS.

except for the title song, all of the remaining songs are some of my very favorites from Slugs & Bugs, Underwhere. with titles like ‘Ninja’, ‘Mexican Rhapsody’ and God Makes Messy Things Beautiful … people should be prepared to be enchanted.

the kids are loving the songs. i’m loving the music (which is really good because i have heard each of these songs 1000 times, at least)… and the best part is that we get to point to Christ. with a song about cheese dip! and an all-the-faraway in my backyard treehouse … it’s going to be fun.

i’ve been working on the poster today… thought i would share it.

what are you so excited about today that you want to make a poster?!

if you tell me… maybe i’ll just design a poster for you!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

when claps are a good thing


i have been wanting to write a song…

i called my friend curt campbell. we met while i was directing a school talent show and he was playing guitar for his daughter. we talked about songwriting and he wrote a song for me for last summer’s vbs. this time, i asked if he wanted to write a song with me. i wanted a song about a treehouse for our spring musical… and to use in our treehouses during the weekend worship experiences. i wanted something acoustic-y, earthy, organic.

I’ve talked before about God’s kindnesses to me. This was a big one. Not only did I get to write a song with Curt… but we got to produce the song tonite. It was magical. I wasn’t sure how the producing was going to happen… then i went to Haiti. While I was in Haiti I got to know Jeremy Brown… one of our long hollow team members who was along to be the audio engineer on a new singing project that Gerald has with the orphans. I’ve known Jeremy, of course, because we work together… but I had no idea the big bag of talents he was carrying around inside. I learned that he produces songs at his dad’s studio in Goodlettsville.

I shared the song with him and asked if he would produce the song… he shared it with his dad… who happens to be Jim “Moose” Brown, known for a little song he wrote called “5 o’clock somewhere” as well as playing keys on many country artists’ records (brad paisley, jamey johnson… the list goes on and on) and he can play a ton of other instruments, as well. His dad agreed to play for our record. (is it called a record?).

the night was full of wonderful surprises. Curt played two acoustic guitars. Jeremy played the drums and tambourine. Moose played the keys, guitar, mandolin. Josh played the bass, another electric guitar and came up with a great hook for the song. It was unbelievable to watch them navigate the studio and the instruments. It was a beautiful ballet of motion wrapped in a cloud of kindness. The mellow vibe, and the way this family interacts with each other is a lesson in love. The encouragement for each other was constant… and obviously something that is natural for them. Laura, Jeremy’s wife kept me company as all the musicians were doing their things… patiently and adoringly of her beloved family.

i got to play for a minute when we added handclaps. woo hoo. it was a magical night. the song is sooo much more than i ever imagined. the care that they took with the song was humbling and i am so grateful. isn’t that just like God… to give exceedingly, abundantly… i’m still in disbelief that this just happened.

the song is wonderful. the instruments are layer upon layer of awesome. the message of the song is just what i was hoping for, and even more than i thought to hope for. it invites you in… the only requirement is that everybody love everybody… i just love that.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

he’s going to ask me if i did it…

There’s a kid in treehouse that put me on the spot this weekend and asked me if I was going to follow through on the thing God told me to do that week.

He wanted to know if I was going to do it Monday! I told him I’d get back to him on Sunday (he’ll have to wait an extra week, though because i’m on my way to haiti at 3am in the morning) anyway… here’s what i’m going to tell him.

“so… the person God wanted me to talk to about heaven that i mentioned the other day… I talked to her today… for about 4 hours.

She already knows all about heaven and Jesus… and currently attends a Lutheran church.

here’s the thing. i know God told me to talk to her about heaven, because I had asked him and that was the name the holy spirit put in my mind.

but here’s the deal: i’m pretty sure God wanted me to talk to her… because he wanted me to care about her.

I had the time to ask so many questions and learn so much about her life. i found that we had similar taste in music and love for arts festivals and other nashvillian delights. I learned about her ambitions and hopes for the future. i heard about her relationships. i found a million things to like about her…

i think he really wanted me to talk to her, because he wanted me to have a heart for her.”

so after i say all of that… i’m going to ask that boy in treehouse one more question

“who does God want you to have a heart for today?”

Tagged , , ,

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?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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.
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.

Tagged , , ,

i witnessed a miracle yesterday…

you wouldn’t believe me unless you saw it… but something insane happened in little treehouse yesterday…

little treehouse is a place where kinder and 1st graders come to worship God in a multi-media worship experience. a host welcomes them and guides them through the time. a praise team comes to bring the truths of the bible through song, a puppet(s) teach lessons through applications and videos help round out the experience… something for everyone. it’s all written,  planned, staged, prepped for, prayed about, ..

sometimes, they come just for an experience.

apparently, there are days when you are in kindergarten or first grade and you hear music, you are apt to lose your mind. yesterday started out as one of these days.

when this happens… you don’t want to listen to the adults around you. oft times you do what you want to do (because lets face it … most of them are still run by the sin nature)… alas… it can get hairy (wow, that’s an old lady word) but let me tell you, it can get hairy in there.

THEN… amidst the chaos –

there was peace… and listening… and worshipping… WHAT?!!!!

only moments before it happened, there was a havoc being wreaked (is it allowed to say it like that?!).

mayhem abounded… cats and dogs living together… it was hysteria.

then we brought in the boundaries, we guided the kids to stay in their seats, but raise their hearts and voices. we helped them with guidelines that they could manage… then the praise team began to lead them in HERE I AM TO WORSHIP… and HOLY COW!!!!! the holy spirit was clearly there. their little minds and bodies stilled while they sang in sweet and tender voices this beautiful song. it was truly a miracle. no less than the parting of the red sea… i’m just saying!!! God was hanging out in treehouse this weekend… and we are grateful.

Tagged , ,