Children’s ministry: burning brightly and longer

Everyday Ministry

The fourth of four principles in this series on children’s ministry is about training others to get involved in the work. The most important thing to do in order to achieve this is to protect your existing children’s ministry team from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, insofar as this lies within your power.

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fishing
kids

Children’s ministry: Overcoming obstacles

Everyday Ministry

In this occasional series, Bruce Linton and I (Gordon) look at some principles of leading children’s ministry. Bruce has been a children’s ministry leader for nearly 20 years. For some of that time, I have followed him around with a camera, a sound recorder, a laptop and three daughters, in an attempt to document and imitate some fine gospel ideas. (more…)

photo | John-Morgan on flickr

Children’s ministry: It takes a body

Pastoral Ministry

Over the course of nearly 20 years in children’s ministry (not including his own childhood), Bruce Linton realized that the establishing principle behind starting a children’s ministry in a church is usually this: noise must be contained so that we, the grown-ups, can get on with church. (more…)

Kids’ culture watch spot: Facing fear

Everyday Ministry

By popular demand (two people asked), here is my next script for a culture watch spot I did with the kids at church on Sunday.

You will need two overhead visuals for this culture watch spot:

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Daniel 2-7, Harry Potter and Narnia

Everyday Ministry

It’s a Sunday as I write this, and I’m speaking on Daniel 2 and 7 later this morning at a friend’s church in Lidcombe.

Daniel 2-7 is chiastic in structure; that is to say, if you have a story where the first incident is labelled A, the second incident is labelled B, the third incident is labelled C, and so on, then the overall story (if it’s chiastic) follows the pattern A B C D E (and so on, depending how long your story is) and then you get to a point and go backwards until you get to E D C B A.

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Kids and idolatry: a spot I had to do at church

Everyday Ministry

For some reason, I’ve been asked to do a regular ‘culture watch’ segment for the kids’ spots at the beginning of church.

I’m not sure I even believe in watching the culture, but someone clearly did at some stage in the history of our kids’ talks, so here we are with me doing a ‘culture watch’ spot. My basic strategy has been to work on a topic or passage from the Bible, and find a YouTube clip with the faintest of connections to something that may possibly illustrate the bit of Bible I want to talk about, but is at least funny in a ha-ha kind of way.

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A preacher’s near blunder

Pastoral Ministry

 

Well, I preached Psalm 11. For what it’s worth, you can find a somewhat sloppy manuscript somewhat sloppily inserted into the comments of my previous post.

I made the mistake of assuming that the ESV text, which I used, would be fine. It was, except that the NIV text—which was the preferred Bible translation at the church I was visiting—departed ever so slightly from the ESV at two significant points.

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Psalm 11—A Psalm about Jesus

Pastoral Ministry

Psalm 11 talks about the wrath, fire and judgement of God.

I have some 3/4 formed thoughts about how the Psalm points to Jesus. But I would be delighted for blog readers to add their thoughts to the mix, as I prepare to preach it this Sunday. You can go in the footnotes that all good preachers put into their sermons and read out as people are exiting the building.

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What’s our church on about?

Pastoral Ministry

 

I sat in a church staff meeting and we came back—as we must—to that question that all true churches should ask themselves on a regular basis: what’s our church on about?

I scribbled down a four-parter in descending order of importance, and share it here for what it is worth. That may not be a lot, given that it took all of one minute and thirty seconds to get it onto a scrap of paper, and people kept saying things that I hadn’t thought of as I wrote. But here we go.

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Necessary heresies?

Life

 

It’s not really necessary to know your heretics, unless they’re doorknocking you.

Even then you can find ways to avoid them or annoy them. I keep a Greek New Testament on hand. When they deny that Jesus is God, I mention John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. I point out that in verse 14 of the same chapter, the Word becomes flesh—God becomes man, the man Jesus Christ.

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Preaching hell from the Bible

Thought

Hell is a sphere of separation and deprivation, of pain and punishment, of darkness and destruction, and of disintegration and perishing. The vocabulary of the New Testament includes: darkness outside, weeping and grinding of teeth, destruction of body and soul, eternal fire, fire of hell, condemned to hell, forfeiting eternal life, the wrath of God, everlasting destruction away from the presence of the Lord, perishing, separation, blackest darkness. Sinclair Ferguson, 9Marks e-journal

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Calvin and Sandy’s survey

Review

I’m sorry, Sandy, at the end of a fairly exhausting year, during which God has continued to show his goodness and kindness in all sorts of ways, I lack the will and strength to fill in your survey about books I’ve read this year. Although may I take this moment to recommend the most brilliant—and, in fact, the only—book ever released by Matthias Media under the title Encouragement, as well as the chortle-worthy, friendly but occasionally disappointing Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by Michael Palin. (more…)