Archive for February, 2008

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New Survey Sheds Light on Religious Habits of People in the U.S.

February 28, 2008

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life recently released a survey study of people’s religious habits. You can take a look at the USA Today article to find out more information on it.  I’ve already read two blogs and two newspaper articles on this survey, so you can expect to see more of it in days to come.

One of the biggest things that came out of this study is that 44% of people have chosen not to stick with the religion they grew up with and have either moved to another one or dropped out of religion all together. Also, most evangelical Protestant churches are in decline according to this study.

I can already hear people crying out that the church will be extinct if this trend doesn’t stop. War talk will pop up; cultural war, that is. This action will only further alienate people who have not made a commitment to following Christ. It just seems so easy for evangelicals to see the glass as half empty when they hear stats like this one.

I read Eric Bryant’s blog about this article that really resonated with me. This “fluid faith” as the USA Today article calls it can be very beneficial because it opens the lines of communication about spirituality and life. I like Eric’s perspective that this study shows that a new day is dawning rather than believe that it’s the end of the world.

What do you all think about this?

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C3 Kids Conference Overview

February 23, 2008

I was very impressed by the C3 Kids Conference. The FC Kids staff and volunteers were amazing. I tip my hat off to all of them. They were a huge blessing to lots of people. All in all, there were around 500 people who attended the conference, which is double what they were expecting. I think they did a wonderful job of showing the attendees who they are, why they do what they do, and some principles we can take back and use in our churches. If they were to do this conference again, they could not do it like they did this year. They could get away with showcasing their model and curriculum this year because it was the first year, and it worked. I like it. I don’t think it’ll fly too well if they do this again. If FC Kids does decide to do another C3 Kids Conference, then it does need to be more diverse and showcase children’s ministry rather than just children’s ministry at FC Kids. Do we need another conference like that, though? There’s CPC, Willow Creek Children’s Ministry Conference, Purpose Driven Children’s Ministry Conference, Dream Conference, Orange Conference, and the list goes on. I don’t know. I think FC Kids did a great job of presenting general sessions in a very engaging and entertaining way that I had never seen done at conferences before. So I don’t know… Plus, it is a huge commitment on the part of the staff and volunteers. I’m sure everyone involved is collapsing and just breating.

On another note, I had a wonderful time meeting a number of the FC Staff. They are a great group of people. I talked to my son tonight and said, “Guess who I got to meet?” We are in the middle of the Berry Blast Theme Park theme in Elevate, and the two characters are Twitch and Bernie. He said, “Who?” I replied, “I met Twitch and Bernie and the guy who does the Bible stories in the videos.” I’ll never forget his reaction. “THAT’S SO COOL!” I wish I had asked for their autographs.

Well, tomorrow I wake up bright and early to head back home! I’m excited that I was able to come and was immensely blessed and motivated, but I do miss my wife and kids. So, farewell to Fellowship Church and FC Kids. Thanks, again, for all your hard work. May God bless you immensely for it.

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C3 Kids’ Conference – Day 3 – Overview

February 23, 2008

Today was a much slower day than yesterday, which I am thankful for. I appreciated yesterday and felt good after it, but I don’t think I would’ve liked it much if today were at the same speed. Today was definitely more of a day to reflect and rejuvinate and dream. A great way to end the C3 Conference.

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C3 Kids’ Conference – Day 3 – General Session 5

February 23, 2008

This was the closing session for the C3 Kids Conference. A lot of people had left by this session, which always happens because there are people wanting to get home earlier. Unfortunately, those people missed out on a great presentation on utilizing people based on their temperaments.

At Fellowship, there are three temperaments they look at:

  • Dreamer: the person who is creative and has big ideas but doesn’t really know how to set up steps to get to that idea.
  • Developer: the person who loves administration and organization; this person links the vision of the dreamer to reality.
  • Doer: the person who actually does stuff and brings dreams and visions to reality.

They made a point that you should have all three in your teams. The percentages go something like this: 10% dreamers, 20% developers, and 70% doers. You need lots of doers to get a dream into reality.

This session was done in a very casual way where Mike had three of the FC Kids upper level staff share about each of the 3 D’s. It was fun to see each of their creative spins on each. I really liked Mitch Corn’s story of Joshua and the wall of Jericho because of the props involved. Here are the pics:

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Seven priests with rams’ horns

 

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It’s the Ark of the Covenant, not Noah’s ark

 

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The formidable wall of Jericho

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C3 Kids’ Conference – Day 3 – Breakout 3 – Kid-cipleship

February 23, 2008

For my third breakout at the conference, I chose to attend Kid-cipleship. This breakout outlined what FC Kids does to lead kids to make a commitment to Christ and follow through with baptism. The working definition the FC Kids use for discipleship is this, “helping children to apply God’s word to their lives.”

In doing that, FC Kids will have a salvation emphasis about four times a year not counting special events. They start as early as two years old letting children know that God loves them. At seven years old is when they start praying with the children about a commitment to Christ. It’s not that they don’t believe children younger than that aren’t able to do that; it happens to also be the same age when they start baptisms. FC Kids believes that most seven-year-olds have the capacity to understand the symbolism of baptism and it’s significance.

When a child makes a decision to commit his/her life to Christ during one of the salvation emphasis weekends a letter is sent home with the children to let parents know about their child’s interest or decision. They also follow up with a phone call. Kids and parents are, then, invited to a class entitle Kid Faith where they go over some of the basics of doctrine: original sin, salvation and baptism. Parents are required to attend with their kids because it is a way to resource parents and partner with parents in helping their children understand salvation.

FC Kids also holds 4 children’s baptism services a year, and it is put on as a celebration.

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C3 Kids’ Conference – Day 3 – Breakout 2 – FC Kids Leadership Uncensored

February 23, 2008

For the first breakout on Day 3, I chose to attend FC Kids Leadership Uncensored. I had thought that it was going to be a presentation on the leadership structure of FC Kids and how it all works. It wasn’t exactly like that. Steven Dilla, the preschool director for FC Kids at the Grapevine campus led the breakout. He began by sharing some sobering statistics about ministers and the state of ministry leadership which weren’t very good. His reason for this gloomy state of ministry leadership is that spiritual leadership isn’t doing what spiritual leadership is supposed to do. The first act of spiritual leadership, according to Steven, is to separate light from darkness and let light shine.

Steven then talked about the most important leadership act should be self leadership. There were four parts of self leadership:

  • Maintain equilibrium. Say no to all the “extra” stuff. Say yes to God’s ideas from those around us. And surround yourself with like minded people who can help you grow.
  • Maintain margin. Allow for margin in the planning of your time; don’t schedule things back-to-back. Control email and phone time. And walk around more; get to know those you work with.
  • Keep up strength. Be in scripture daily. Pray daily. Exercise regularly.
  • Take time to refocus. Maintain a sabbath (a time where you don’t produce). Have date nights with your spouse where you are not distracted. Develop a personal vision.

One of the interesting things I noticed about Steven was that I could tell he’s been highly influenced by Rob Bell. I watched too many NOOMA videos. It wasn’t good or bad that Steven is influenced in that way… just interesting. It’s always interesting to know who people are influence by.

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C3 Kids’ Conference – Day 3 – General Session 4

February 23, 2008

Well, if yesterday was like a satisfying workout, then this morning’s session was the sauna after the workout. (If you haven’t tried a sauna after a workout then you are missing out on one of the most wonderful things in life.)

The session began with a devotional on each seat for us to reflect on why God has each of here at the conference. We then sang some slower worship songs. After the marathon of a day yesterday, it was great to just focus on worshiping God and connecting with Him.

Mike, then, came up and shared about contentment. The definition he had for contentment was, “Having peace wherever I find myself, so I can give my undivided attention to the task God has called me to.” He used Joseph as an example of contentment and pointed out 4 thieves of contentment: anxiety & fear, jealousy & resentment, pride & entitlement, and disappointment & disillusionment. He should’ve called them the 4 Evil Ninjas against contentment because that is what was up to represent them…

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Some evil contentment-stealing ninjas

 

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Some more of the ninjas

Mike, then, went on to share some very candid and personal stories that related to each of these enemies of contentment, which I won’t share here. In short, the four remedies to counteract the four enemies were:

  • Patience and Trust
  • Thankfulness and Hope
  • Humility
  • Faith

I really needed that first session to just be able to connect with God within the context of a community that is passionate about children’s ministry. It was great. The session ended with a time of personal prayer and reflection, which was also really nice. From the conversations I had as well as ones I heard people having, Mike’s candidness and authenticity in his struggles with contentment touched many children’s ministers. Sometimes we look at those in leadership at high profile churches and think they have it all together and always have. It’s nice to see the man behind the curtain and know that he is just like us.