Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted for awhile… Does anyone else have a problem with time going by too fast?
Over the holidays we have been in production of our new Elevate series “Allaso Ranch”. I am really excited about this series and I look forward to it accomplishing great things here at FC and around the world. The theme for Allaso Ranch is summer camp and each lesson is about growing closer to God.
One of the greatest things about camp is the fun that you have and the friendships that you make. Knowing this, we wanted to write a song for this series that would communicate just how great camp is and how awesome the friendships are that happen there. The song is called “Do It All Over Again” and I’m really excited about the way it turned out. Take a look…
“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.”
Proverbs 4:14 NLT
Have you ever had someone smell something, throw their head back in disgust and scream, “this smells horrible!” then pass it to you and say, “Here, smell this.” I heard a wise Jedi master once say, “Who is the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?” While those words form an amusing line in the context of a movie, they point out a sad truth… if you smell it, who really is the greater fool?
The Bible is full of stories that give real life examples of fools. Samson, who foolishly followed a girl leading him to slavery. Esau, who foolishly followed his physical desires leading him to a lost birthright. Adam and Eve, who foolishly followed the lies of Satan leading them to a state of separation. The innumerable kings in the Old Testament, who foolishly followed their own evil ways leading them to the wrath of God. And the list goes on and on.
We know that we must look to the Bible to learn what we should do. But, we also need to look to the Bible to learn what NOT to do. God gives us these stories of fools so we can learn how to avoid their costly errors and in doing so not become fools ourselves. Another wise Jedi (or maybe it was a Vulcan) once said, “Those who fail to learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” I would add, those who see a fool do something foolish and yet still repeat the actions of the fool are the greatest fools of all.
The motto for FC Kids is “Making Good Kids Into Great Leaders.” We achieve this several ways. One way we achieve this is through a salvation presentation.
We use a salvation presentation to show kids God’s love and help them become great leaders. How do we do it? It’s a three step presentation:
Present the Gospel in a corporate setting.
This includes presenting the Gospel in Children’s church, presenting the Gospel at camp, and presenting the Gospel during Adventure Week, which is similar to a VBS. In Children’s church, the Gospel is presented at least once every 8 – 12 weeks. We will spend the entire Children’s church service on the Gospel that weekend. At camp, the Gospel is presented during a nightly event where all of the campers are taught together. During Adventure Week, the kids have a Bible study time with their age group and the Gospel is presented there.
Present the Gospel in a small group setting.
Kids who are interested after hearing the Gospel in the large group setting attend a small group. This takes place during the small group time in Children’s church. Here they have more one on one interaction with a leader. At camp, kids hear the Gospel presentation while spending one on one time with their counselor. During Adventure Week, the same would happen with the kids and their leader.
Present the Gospel to the children and their parents as they attend Kid Faith.
Kid Faith is a class that all of our children must take with their parents before they can be baptized. The class gives parents an opportunity to hear the Gospel presentation with their child. This serves two purposes. The first is that sometimes parents taking the class with their child are not believers. Not only does the class give them an understanding of what their child is doing, it also gives them the information and opportunity to become a Christ follower themselves.
The second purpose of the class is that it gives parents a specific set of questions to ask their child to assist the parents in knowing if their child really understands the Gospel. This helps the family bond as they go through the process together and ensures that the child is making an informed decision. A parent is normally going to be best at gauging their own child’s level of understanding. The child is able to answer questions at the end of Kid Faith with a leader at Fellowship Church. This helps determine if they are ready for baptism. In addition, they are given the opportunity to accept Christ into their lives if they have not done so already.
How do you show kids God’s love and help them become great leaders by presenting the Gospel to them? I’d love to hear any ideas and suggestions you have!
"If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." Galatians 6:3 NLT
Something is important because of its purpose. No purpose? No importance. Think of a battery. It is small and not very flashy or attractive. But its purpose makes it important. You can’t use a mobile phone, channel surf with a remote control, see in the dark with a flashlight, or start your car without a battery. Batteries are important because their purpose is to make it possible for those devices to reach their potential.
We are designed by God and commanded by God to help others. Helping others is part of our purpose, and when we help others it is like plugging a fully charged battery into our life. Just like a mobile phone without a battery is a purposeless paper-weight, a person who does not help others is purposeless, just taking up space. You are not too important to help others; you find your importance and your purpose by helping others.
Watch for the chance to help someone this week. Try to find at least one person to help everyday. It might be a person you see in your regular routine, or a random person on the street. Remember, when you help them, you are fulfilling your purpose. Trust me…you’ll get a charge out of it.
“Share your food with the hungry,and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” Isaiah 58:7 NLT
“‘He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 22:16 NLT
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!
Below are a few photos taken with our iPhones as Creative Pastors sets up the Elevate booth for CPC Nashville 2010. I’ll be at the booth some so if you're here, be sure to drop by and say hi.
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 mikejohnsonblog.com, 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!