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Category Archives: Collaborate Book

Collaborating (kind of): Dick Gruber

Children's Ministry Talk: Listen Now!

Collaborate

Dick Gruber: Families Serving Together

First Things First

This is no dig at Dick Gruber… but, if I have to read another chapter intro that rehashes Deuteronomy 6, I’m going to put the book down for a week.

I get the fact that each author was given a chapter to work with, and that many of us who are called to ministering to kids and families are currently wrestling with that text.  However, couldn’t there be some way that an intro to the book could talk about texts that inspire family ministry?  I’m just saying… I never thought I’d be sick of the Shema.  Yet, 8 chapters in, and I’m there.

Quick Take-Away

Dick looks like he’s done an amazing job of releasing families to serve in ministry together.  If families serving together is a new concept for you, Dick lays out multiple ways you might be able to apply this concept to your context.  However, as this chapter makes clear, you have to start with the things that people are already passionate about.  Dick didn’t go around creating program after program and forcing families to serve together.  Instead, he takes things that families are already excited about and infuses a family ministry approach to those volunteer opportunities and programs.

My take-away is going to www.dickgruber.com to download some free ideas on some of the large events he’s pulled off in the past.  You may want to check them out as well.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

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Collaborating (kind of): Carey Nieuwhof

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Collaborate

Carey Nieuwhof: The Change You Need to Embrace

First Things First

Carey Nieuwhof seems to be a pretty great guy.

Next week at the Orange Conference, he’s going to be explaining to Senior Pastors from across the country why they need to take on the mission of reaching families in their communities.  I’d imagine that anyone attending his breakout would have a foot up on everyone else in the room if they read this chapter.

I’m just saying.

Quick Take-Away

So, I’ve loved some chapters of this book, and I’ve wanted to scream at others… this chapter did a little bit of both for me.  It would be easy for me to miss the chance to explain why this chapter is awesome… so I’ll first speak to what spoke to me and our church’s current context.

Our church is a church that cares more about those who are not attending our church than those who are.  So, reasons #1 for why Carey embraced family ministry is one that I think would resonate with our staff: Family Ministry Might Be The Greatest Outreach Opportunity The Church Has Today.  That is huge.  Parents in our community aren’t staying awake at night, wondering what our senior pastor is going to be preaching on Sunday morning… they’re worrying about their kids.  The crazy thing is – I’m staying up at night worrying about their kids too.  I think we can leverage that.

Okay… the thing that drove me crazy…

Carey talks about different kinds of changes a Senior Pastor has to face in leadership.  He talks about how it’s important for someone in leadership to be able to overhaul entire systems for the hope of a better tomorrow.  Then, Carey shares his own story… a story in which he realized that a massive restructuring would have to happen in order for his church’s ministries to align.  Then, after realizing his system needed a huge overhaul, he left his denomination and started a new church.

If I’m being totally honest, this made me scream a little bit in my head.

I understand that someone’s story is someone’s story.  Carey can’t change the way in which God led him to embracing family ministry.  But, the last thing I want to do is have my Senior Pastor read this chapter and get some crazy idea about leaving our church to plant one with a clean slate.  I want to know that a church which thrived in the 70’s and 80’s can reinvent itself as a church that exists to serve and equip families in the year 2010.  If I pass this chapter on to our pastor, I may actually white-out these two sentences:

Ironically, two years later, in late 2007, a few of us left the denomination we were serving to start Connexus Community Church.  When we had a chance to plant a church for the first time, we built it around a family ministry model.

Seriously, I am a big fan of Carey.  I’m stoked for the way that he’s reaching uncommitted families in his community with the Gospel of Jesus.  And, if I seriously cut out those two sentences, then I’m going to pass this chapter on to our senior leadership team.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

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Collaborating (kind of): Brian Vander Ark

Brian VanderArk

Collaborate

Brian Vander Ark: Putting the Pieces Together

First Things First

Brian Vander Ark (no… not THAT Brian Vander Ark) is the Senior Pastor of Family Ministries at one of the few churches on my “places I need to visit” list.  Ada Bible Church continues to rock my world – the more I read and hear about the stuff they have going on, the more excited I am about the future of the church-at-large.  Brian has a TON to say in the few pages given to him in Collaborate and he doesn’t waste any time in laying out exactly how they minister to families at Ada.  What I appreciate most about Brian is his obvious humility.  He finishes his entry by recognizing that his church doesn’t have it all figured out and that their “4-E’s” (see below) are a strategy in progress.  That’s leadership.

Quick Take-Away

Can you look at the volunteers who serve at your church in children and student ministries and tell me their one-word job description?  Brian can – they wear them on their shirts.  That’s right, friends, Ada Bible Church has blown me away yet again… they can break each of their ministry team members’ primary role down to one work.  To top it all off – they all start with an “E”.

Here they are:

  • EMBRACE: Nursery/Preschool – “Embraced by God’s Love.”
  • EXPECT: Elementary – “Expecting God can be trusted.”
  • EXPERIENCE: Jr. High – “Experiencing connection with God and people.”
  • EXPRESS: Sr. High – “Expressing Faith and relationship throughout God’s world.”

I want to be able to do this in our ministries.  At this point, I would rather visit Ada, Michigan than Hawaii… just to see this strategy in action.  I’m sold.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 

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Collaborating (kind of): Brad S. Tate

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Collaborate

Brad S. Tate: The Big Idea

First Things First

Yard Balls.

Need I say more?

Well, if you haven’t read the book… then, maybe you should.  If, for no other reason, then to figure out if your ministry is as useless as yard balls.

Quick Take-Away

Brad! You’re introducing an idea that so many of us have tried, but we’ve gotten worn out in the process.

The idea of having one Big Idea that everyone talks about on a Sunday at their own level with appropriate application is awesome.  The reality of trying to pull it off becomes tiring if it’s not owned at the top of the chain.  Basically, if your Senior Pastor is pushing this idea, you’re golden.  If the student/children/family pastor has to start the conversation, there’s a good chance you’ll be trying to move a mountain.

I want to avoid yard ball ministry.  I want to align what families are learning on a Sunday.  I’m a fan of the language used here – there’s a clear “win” and I could totally sell a “Big Idea” concept to a family I meet at a grocery store.  This is starting to feel like a rant.  I apologize.  But I LOVE this concept so much that I get flustered – many of us reading this chapter will never be in a place where we can make this a reality.  Our Senior Pastors set the pace and the vision.

Great food for thought.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 19, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

Collaborating (kind of): Brian Haynes

Collaborate

Brian Haynes: Make a Shift in Your Ministry

First Things First

I loved Shift by Brian Haynes.  If I felt like parents on the West Coast has any name recognition with this guy, I’d be working the phone right now to come speak at a parenting conference.  If you haven’t given thought to the idea of “milestones” in your family ministry strategy, you need to scrap your gameplan and let Brian help you build from the ground up.

Brian basically sums up an entire book in 5 pages (well done, by the way).

The “milestones” Brian lays out for the church to consider celebrating in the life of a family are:

  • Birth of a Baby
  • Faith Commitment
  • Preparing for Adolescence
  • Commitment to Purity
  • Passage to Adulthood
  • High School Graduation
  • Life In Christ

Quick Take-Away

Brian’s ability to lay out a specific strategy for discipling families speaks my love language and resonates with my soul in a way that I can hardly put into words.

There is no “quick” take away from Brian’s thoughts… basically, you have to read the book.

What I will say is this – I appreciate Brian acknowledging that not every child or student will have parents who are engaged in their faith journey.  For the first formative years of my Christian life, my parents were completely absent.  Churches looking at family ministry need to keep in mind that we will have to be the primary faith influencer for some children and youth.  When parents aren’t involved, the church takes the lead.  Brian – thanks for keeping kids like me in mind.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

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Collaborating (kind of): Becky Arthur

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Collaborate

Becky Arthur: Family Connect

First Things First

Becky’s article gave us some tangible ways to actually connect with parents.  I love tangible take-aways.  Thanks, Becky!

Here they are:

  • Communicate
  • Discontinue the kids-only VBS
  • Dedicate Parents
  • Build a Backyard Bible Club
  • Include Parents
  • Organize Family Teaching
  • Mark Spiritual Growth

Quick Take-Away

I think Becky is making some pretty awesome suggestions… we just have to learn to read between the lines.  Our VBS model works, but we can absolutely lean into a strategy that includes and engages parents in the midst of it.  We won’t be launching backyard Bible clubs any time soon… but I have a friend who has an AMAZING idea for an event that encourages and equips families to take the love of Jesus into their neighborhoods.

(Tangent: this same friend has a wife who’s writing a book.  I’m convinced that this book would sell more copies if it featured a vampire.  You can slap a vampire on anything and it will sell.  In fact, I’m tagging this post with the word “Vampire” and I bet it gets twice as many hits as the rest of this series.  At least.)

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

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Collaborating (kind of): Anna J. Light

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Collaborate

Anna J. Light: Parent Liasons

First Things First

Anna is an awesome woman with an amazing passion for youth and connecting with families.  I had the privilege of meeting Anna last year at the Orange Conference in Atlanta… though, at the time, she was going by her maiden name – Anna Meadows.

I truly appreciate Anna’s call to us in ministry – we need to build a bridge between those of us with an agenda (read as: church staff) and those we hope to equip and connect with (parents and students).  This might be a novel concept for some… but it’s an essential for all of us.

Quick Take-Away

I love this concept… but (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), I struggle putting it into practice.  I can cast vision for small group leaders.  I have a harder time asking a parent to put one more thing on their plate by asking them to help me greet and welcome other parents when they could be in church or a parenting class.  Again, I TOTALLY get why I need to do this.  We need to bridge the gap between ministry leaders and the parents we’re trying to engage.  Maybe if I knew who my target was… the perfect recruit for this sort of a team… maybe then I could begin to dream about who I know that could fill that roll.  Until then, I’m loving the concept and struggling with my next step.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin

 

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