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Behind the Scenes Elevate Uncategorized

Sometimes Our Work Looks Like Play – Paper Airplanes

Can you really complain about a job where you get to make paper airplanes? I can’t! Here we’re testing an activity for an upcoming Elevate Family series (now The point? We need to hang around friends who will help us make wise decisions and keep our lives soaring for God.

We get to make paper airplanes and teach families about God, all at the same time! How great is that?! Guess who’s plane went the farthest? All those years sitting in the back pews making paper airplanes out of church bulletins finally paid off!


Elevate Production Uncategorized

Elevate Year 4 is Here!

The fourth “peak” of Elevate has arrived… and Renee Huisinga was the closest to guessing all seven themes. So close, in fact, it was almost scary! Congratulations Renee!

The seven themes are as follows: 

Dojo: Practicing The Right Moves For A Successful Christian Life

The Great Race: Learning To Never Give Up

At The Big Top: The Three-ring Circus Life Of Some Of The Bible’s Most Interesting Characters

Roanoke Jones, Ace Detective: Using The Bible To Solve Life’s Mysteries

Power Up: Learning To Control Your Character

Allaso Ranch: Getting Away And Getting To Know God

Professor Playtime’s Christmas Shop of Wonders: Come Experience The Wonders Of Christmas

These subtitles apply to Elevate; Elevate Jr. will continue to use the same basic themes to teach lessons that are age appropriate for our preschoolers.

For more Elevate Year 4, check out the fly-over of our newest peak!

Elevate Uncategorized

Final Elevate Year 4 Map – Can You Guess It?


Here is the final version of the Elevate Year 4 map, minus the titles. Notice the previous maps in the background. Cool, huh?

This is your last chance to guess the themes and win a prize! Whoever gets closest to all seven themes will win a $25 gift card to Amazon.comIn the comments on the last map, someone gets every theme almost right, except the top right corner. No one has that yet! If you follow @elevatepastors on Twitter, you should know the bottom right theme (it’s the one we are working on now and will be the first released in year 4.)

Give your answers in the comments by April 12 and you just might be the winner!

Elevate Production Uncategorized

Elevate Year 4 Map – Can You Guess It?


Development on Elevate Year 4 is well under way. The first series has been approved and is being written right now!

Above is the second rendition (but still not the final) of the Year 4 map. By looking at the above map can you guess what the 7 series are? Take a look at the last map I posted (the first rendition) because 2 of the themes were guessed correctly…hmmm, I wonder which ones? Don't forget that the prize will go to whoever can guess the 7 themes correctly first, so give it a guess!

Elevate Uncategorized

Elevate Year 4 Map Will Be Unveiled Soon…

Hard to believe but
Year 4 of Elevate is upon us! We are in the stage of developing the
concept drawings for the Year 4 map. If anyone can guess what the seven
series are from this image I have something pretty cool that I will
send you.
The offer is only available until I post the next concept drawing. Come on, give a guess…what have you got to lose?


Children’s Ministry Elevate Uncategorized

Curriculum Essentials – Teaching the Bible

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

The Bible, to me, is an inspirational book. The Bible is where I learn about God and how He wants me to live. The Bible is a place where I hear life-changing messages directly from God. The Bible is…holy. It is set apart. There is no other book like it and no other book can have an impact on this world like the Bible can. So when I teach the Bible, I want to reflect that. I want my audience to be inspired and awed at what God did in the Bible, and hopefully by what He can do in their own lives. When teaching the Bible I like to use musical underscoring, because music can set a mood like nothing else. I like to use visuals, because my learners respond to them better than just looking at a speaker. I like to teach the Bible in such a way that the learner gets swept up in the story. In fact, when I teach the Bible, I like to get swept up in the story, so that the audience can get a glimpse of what I feel.

That’s how I like to teach the Bible. It may just be me, but I’m not one for off beat Bible story presentations. The kind with a goofy wig and bad bathrobe. To me, that makes the Bible seem silly. Now hear me please, I think comedy has its place in children’s church; it can be used for many fun activities that kids will enjoy, making them want to come back for more. But when it comes to teaching the stories of the Bible, the goal should be to inspire, to allow the Word’s penetrating message to do the work. Then, when God’s message settles into the heart, we must
help the child see how to use that message to make a difference in their world. When we impart God’s Word into the hearts of our kids, it will not come back void.

The Bible is God’s word. Listen to it, obey it and most of all respect it. After all, the Bible is…holy.

Behind the Scenes Elevate Production Uncategorized

The Birth of an Elevate Series…It All Starts Here

Staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series

Staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series in Mike Johnson's office 11-19-09


Holly Bennett and Daryl Oldenburg in staff meeting discussing newest Elevate Children's Church curriclum series
To develop Elevate, Elevate Jr., and the new Elevate Family products there are three major departments:

  • Pre-production (brainstorming the series, writing the series)
  • Production (filming, art construction, animation)
  • Post production (editing, scoring, DVD production)

Each series begins here…the Deadline Meeting. It’s here that all the departments come together and work out all the kinks of doing what we do in just 8 weeks. Basically, in a nutshell, the agenda for the meeting is “who needs what and when?”

Currently we are in pre-production of “City Streets – The Musical”. Yes, I did say musical. This will be the most ambitious series yet. We’ve got some very talented High School kids who will be playing the leads…which makes for some interesting shoot times in the studio (all in the evening after sports and school). Should be lots of fun!

Children’s Ministry Elevate Leadership Uncategorized

What can I do with a blog?

Over the past couple of years I have struggled with the question, “Should I, or shouldn’t I, do a blog?” I mean, after all, what can I do with a blog? Well, after much deliberation I have decided that, with a blog, I can share my thoughts on life, on family, on church, on volunteers, on ministry, and on being a Children’s Pastor in today’s world. And because I love connecting with people and I get excited about the conversations we all could have, I have decided to give it a whirl.

At, I am going to share the insights of 16 years as Children’s Pastor of Fellowship Church. We will get into the nitty gritty, the ups and downs, as well as the challenges and victories of ministry today.

Some of the things I will share are:

  • Leadership strategies.
  • Tackling and overcoming the challenges of ministry that happen Monday-Friday.
  • Video of strategy meetings and conference planning sessions.
  • Behind the scenes looks at the production of our curriculum, Elevate/Elevate Jr./Elevate Family.
  • A peek backstage to look at the jam sessions of Cloud Nine, the band behind all the music for FCKids and Elevate.
  • Concept art.
  • First hand knowledge of new releases from FCKids.
  • Insights from the FCKids staff in all areas of children’s ministry: nursery, preschool, and elementary weekends, large events, discipleship, and curriculum development.
  • Thoughts on curriculum essentials.
  • Team building ideas.
  • Behind the scenes of our C3Kids conference planning.
  • Building/sculpting tips.
  • Set design.

In a nut shell, if it makes FCKids go, we’ll talk about it here. God is doing many exciting things in Children’s Ministry today. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you and hearing your ideas!