Language Translation

Books I'm Reading

  • "Surviving the Anointing" by David Ravenhill

Books I've Read

  • "Revival God's Way" by Leonard Ravenhill
  • "Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room" by Kenneth E. Hagin
  • "The Dynamic Duo: The Holy Spirit & You" by Rick Renner

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things I Don't Understand

In a matter of a few days, Vickie and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in children's ministry. On the first weekend of June in 1979, Vickie and left Waxahachie, Texas to become full-time children's evangelists heading off for our very first Kid's Crusade at Mark Hankins church in central Louisiana.

Thirty years have come and gone. You'd think that I'd have a full grip on everything associated with children's ministry by now, wouldn't you? Today, allow me to use this blog to share some things that I still don't understand.
  1. Why is it that most parents in dropping off their child in our classes exit the class while telling their child, "Have fun"? Is having fun the reason that their children are with us? To make matters worse, the parents first words in picking up their child usually is, "Did you have a good time?"
  2. While this doesn't effect me because my ministry isn't operating off of the children's offerings, I don't understand why parents give their child a coin or two for the offering. I know of many children's churches who derive their entire budgets off of what is given in the children's offerings. Let's see ... 30 children each giving 28 cents .... whoa .... we'll get a new DVD .... wait, it will be cheaper to find an old, used VHS tape at Goodwill.
  3. Why this happens ... the more visible the ministry, the more bountiful the number of volunteers. To flip it around, the more hidden or out-of-sight the ministry, the fewer the number of volunteers.
  4. Why is it that midweek sporting activities are more important than midweek Bible clubs? I've never heard of a teenager facing overwhelming peer pressure falling back on truths learned at pee-wee baseball to help them resist the smooth conniving lies of the enemy, have you?

I know that this isn't one of my "usual" type blog entries. This entry won't point you towards having a Holy Spirit service. Believe me when I say that I'm not writing this entry because I am bitter or angry. These are just thoughts that come to me from time-to-time. Perhaps you have the answers to these thoughts, or other thoughts to add to this list. Send me your answers or additions ....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let's Not Be Orphans!

Several years ago, I had the privilege of going to Mexico City to witness a powerful children's ministry. During the trip, I saw this ministry reach out to the children who literally lived at the city dump. It was heart wrenching to witness the children rummaging through the garbage trying to find food to eat and items that could be sold for money doing whatever they could to just survive.

In John 14:18, Jesus addresses future "survivalists". Before His departure to heaven, He promises His followers that He would not leave them comfortless. The word "comfortless" in the Greek is the word "orphanos" from which we get our word "orphans". In other words, Jesus is telling His followers that we wouldn't have to be survivalists, pilfering and doing whatever is needed to fend for ourselves to just exist.

Sadly, many children's ministry workers are treating their ministries as though they are orphans. They enter into their classes after a prayerless week having finagled every crafty strategy necessary to make what is printed in a book come alive. Just as an orphan would utilize every ploy to make it one more day, many children's ministry workers are teaching by hook or crook to get through one more teaching session.

Come on, we aren't orphans. We don't have to be survivalists. Let's call upon the One who has been assigned to work alongside us to prepare us for the ministry before we arrive at the church, teach alongside us as enter into the class, and do what only He can do to seal the deal as the message is delivered and then walked out in the children's lives.

This Comforter, aka the Parakletos, aka the One who has been called to walk alongside, aka the Holy Spirit, is waiting for our call for deployment. Let's allow Him to fulfill His assignment as He works side-by-side with us. Then and only then will we see Joel's prophecy fulfilled in this generation!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Time for a Revolution!

In just a few weeks, Vickie and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in full-time children's ministry. A lot of things have changed over the years. So, so many great advances have been made in the 30 years. We now have the tools, the trained staff, the decorated rooms, and, in some cases, the money to do some pretty exciting things.

At the same time, children's ministry has never been in a more vulnerable position. Consider these statistics:
1. Lifeway Research (Southern Baptist) recently reported that their research showed that about 75% of young people quit church. (Leadership Journal, Fall/2007)
2. In his online Barna Update article Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in Christian Churches George Barna reports that many twentysomethings are reversing course after having been active church attenders during their teenage years. As teenagers, more than half attended church each week and more than 4 out of 5 (81%) had ever gone to a Christian church. From high school graduation to age 25 there is a 42% drop in weekly church attendance and a 58% decline from age 18 to age 29. That represents about 8,000,000 twentysomethings alive today who were active church-goers as teenagers but who will no longer be active in a church by their 30th birthday.

Those statistics are frightening, aren't they! Even more frightening is the reality that many of our children’s ministries knowing these statistics will continue to do what they are currently doing and expecting to produce different results. THERE MUST BE A CHANGE!

There must a revolution. There must be a paradigm shift. There must be 21st century individuals who are like Martin Luther when he on October 31, 1517 nailed his 95 thesis on the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and declared enough is enough.

Together, let’s launch a revolution. The sole reason for Billy Burns Ministries and our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences is to ignite and unite passionate, vocal children’s ministry leaders who are standing in the gap for this generation. We won’t just do children’s ministry as usual. We won’t just have great programs. We want a revolution so that this generation will fulfill Joel’s prophecy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Well-Balanced Children's Ministry

If you've ever been around me, you know that eating is one of my favorite sports! I've thought about creating a t-shirt that reads "I've conquered anorexia and bashfulness". I love sitting down to a good meal.

Early in life, Mom taught me the importance of eating a well balanced meal. She would always cook a meat, a couple of vegetables, and have a salad. If I had my way, I'd just have eaten the meat. But Mom in her wisdom knew that I needed the squash, green beans, spinach, and salads. Each type of food provided nutrients that the other food group couldn't provide and each was equally important.

While we are going after having children who love the Holy Spirit, we also need to remind ourselves that our children are triune beings. Children are not just a spirit. They have a soul and they live in a body. As children's ministry leaders, we need to minister to each part of the child. An imbalance in one area will keep a child from receiving all that is needed to mature as a Christian.

Occasionally, our children's ministry will have a weekend that is less "spiritual" and focuses on the soul and body. I want the children to LOVE coming to children's church, begging their Moms and Dads to get out of bed and get to church. I want my kids to be EXCITED about coming to church as they connect with fellow boys and girls who love Jesus like they do. I want our kids to have their best friends be in my ministry!

Recently, we did a service based upon the old Nickelodeon television program Super Sloppy Double Dare. After singing a couple of songs, we had our children watch a 30 minute DVD. Afterwards, we asked questions based upon the movie and allowed the children to enjoy the children to enjoy the physical challenges that involved raw egg, chocolate pudding, slime, and a lot other horrendous food concoctions.

Was it spiritual? Nope. Was it fun? Yep. Will it create an excitement about being a part of our ministry? Most definitely. Did I miss God by not having intense prayer that weekend? I don't believe so. Not everything that Jesus did fit into the "spiritual" category. The feeding of the 5,000, the turning water into wine fit more into the Double Dare mentality than the spiritual category. In taking care of the body and soul, He gained their following for the other times of spiritual ministry.

Let’s feed our children a healthy meal. While not neglecting the meat of the Word, let’s insure that they are receiving all of the food groups so that we can produce children who are passionately in love with Jesus, love to come to His church and be with His people.