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, April 26, 2010

Eliminating the Roadblocks in Our Children's Ministry Services

I so want each and every child in my ministry to experience and walk in the fullness of the Spirit. I want them to have an intimate relationship with Him. And, since our services are probably the only launching pad for a child's love for the Holy Spirit, I am constantly evaluating what I see in our services so that I can insure that we are doing everything possible to help nurture their walk in the Spirit.

Recently during one of these time of inspection, I saw a couple of areas that needed attention and tweeking in our services. I saw how making two simple modifications throughout our entire ministry could move the children and our ministry one giant step closer to the ministry that I could see in my spirit.

Here are the two areas that I examined:

1. The first insight involved the culture of the Pentecostal/Charismatic service. I had to ask myself the question about whether or not the children understood the whats and whys of our services. We are constantly gaining new children in our services. Do the children have a clue about what we are doing? The Pentecostal/Charismatic church service has its own patterns and ways of doing things, right? We are clapping our hands, raising our hands, praying aloud, speaking in a strange tongue, etc. These and other things define the Pentecostal/Charismatic culture. And, in our church, this isn't relegated to just the adult services. And then I asked myself, do our children know why we are doing the things that we do? For example, hopefully, the children see you and your staff raise your hands during worship or dance before the Lord in the time of worship and prayer. Your children should hear you praying in your heavenly prayer language. But, do they actually know and understand what is happening? Have you explained during the service what is happening and why you are doing what you are doing? This ignorance will remove the value of what is going on and the children won't naturally follow your example.

2. The second insight again involved in what the children are seeing. If the children are following our example, what example are they following? We talk a pretty good talk in our services about seeing God move amoung our children. But, do our actions match our words? For example, do the children see you and your staff demonstrating your passion? Is your entire team being seen during the time of praise and worship? And, if so, do the children see the longing and passion in the heart of your leadership? They hear us talk about loving God with all of our heart, soul, and might. But, do they SEE it demonstrated during our time of praise and worship from the entire team? They hear you talk about wanting to win the world for Jesus as you receive the offering. But, do they SEE you and your entire staff giving in the offering? We must be DELIBERATE and VISIBLE as we set the example of what we want to see from our children!

As we eliminate these two speed bumps, we will be one giant step closer to seeing God demonstrate His presence in our services ... I guarantee it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

When Father Abraham Just Isn't Enough - Part 2

In sharing last week about opening the door for the presence of God, space didn't allow me to present a balanced, complete thought. I honestly do my best to make this blog readable and not consume for than a couple of minutes of your time. So, allow me this week to present the rest of my thought and offer the Thou Shalt Nots that must be avoided as you desire to usher your children into God's presence.

1. Thou shalt not forget that you are ministering to children. In using the title When Father Abraham Just Isn't Enough for these two blog entries, I wasn't encouraging you to totally ignore kiddy, fun, action songs. I was merely encouraging you to remember that there is a time and place for everything. We need to remember that we are ministering to children and fun and movement is a BIG part in touching a child's life. We need the songs that have children hopping up and down, spinning around, shouting, etc. But, there is a balance. An improper imbalance in either direction will tilt the ministry scales out of kilter! Too much Father Abraham and too little going-after-God worship will perpetuate spiritual babyhood. Too much going-after-God worship with little if any Father Abraham style songs will lose the attention and attendance of your children.
2. Thou shalt not become predictable. Remember that the definition for the word "rut" is a grave with both ends knocked out. Get out of the rut. Don't be predictable. Don't sing the same song each and every week. And, on a side note, don't sing one song for 30 minutes in a service. Just because the Spirit of God moved while you were singing Amazing Grace as the second song on January 4, 1949 doesn't mean that you have to sing Amazing Grace as the second song each and every week in anticipation for Him to move again through that song! Want to lose your kids? Be predictable.
3. Thou shalt not be unprepared. Ready for this? There is a plethora of great music available. There are so many CDs and DVDs with awesome music available today designed for children's ministry. But, sadly, many children's ministry leaders are lazy. With little or no forethought, they walk into the service and just randomly pick a song or two. Music is music, right? It's just another check mark on your order of service, right? NO, NO, NO!!! Where do you want to go in your service? What do you want to see happen? Take the time and find the music that will navigate you to your destination.

Monday, April 12, 2010

When Father Abraham Just Isn't Enough

The wisest man of all time said that there is a time or season for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We've all done something that is perfectly acceptable at the wrong time and died a thousand deaths. There truly is a time and place for everything.

As children's ministry leaders, we need to have the insight and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time so that we can have the right results for our services. If we aren't accomplishing or seeing what we long for in our services, it could be that we are using the wrong service components or possibly we could be doing the right thing at the wrong time.

The desire of every children's ministry leader should be for our children to encounter God in a very real, personal way in each and every service. The launching pad for the movement of the Holy Spirit can be the time of praise and worship. (Note .... the real launching pad is done on your knees BEFORE you get on the church property). One of the greatest things to consider for opening the door for His presence is the songs that you will be using. While songs like Father Abraham and There Was a Wise Old King are classics of children's ministry, they can't be the foundation for launching our children into the realm of the Holy Spirit. I'm not discounting these songs. I'm just reminding you that there is a time and place for these songs.

Allow me to briefly share four ingredients for ushering your children into God's presence.
1. Preparation. Before you ever to your ministry, begin your ministry by ministering to Him in your private time at home. What is done at home will overflow into the service.
2. Explanation. Just don't sing the songs. Explain the songs. Often, the kids don't have a clue as to what phrases or words mean in the song. Just be careful that you don’t become too wordy. It’s not a sermon. It’s an explanation!
3. Demonstration. Just don't sing the words. Demonstrate your passion and hunger for His presence. David couldn't/wouldn't hide his passion. His comment to Michael explained it all. In essence he said, "I can't hide my passion. I'll become even more radical and shamelessly passionate in my display and love for my King." Not only should you demonstrate your passion, your staff must be visible in their love for God. The kids will follow their example.
4. Expectation. Matthew 9:29 reminds us that God moves to the level of our faith and expectation. Are you just filling 10 minutes of your service? Are you just putting a check mark beside another item on your service agenda? Or, are you passionately expecting Him to show up?

Next week, I'll share some THOU SHALT NOT's to avoid as you desire to usher your children into God's presence.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Bait, The Tools, The Anointing - Part 2 (aka Trinity's Easter Extravaganza Candy Drop)

If you have ever attended one of our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences or attended another meeting when I've taught on the subject of the importance of the anointing, you've heard me tell about the time that I received a call from a lady asking me to officiate the memorial service for her nephew. In this phone call I learned that just a few days earlier her nephew had been beaten to death by his mother and her live-in boyfriend. The reason for the family to ask me to do this service was due to the fact that the 10-year-old boy had a few weeks earlier attended one of our weekend services. It was in this service, one of our Easter Extravaganza services, that the boy heard a Gospel message for the very first and only time in his life. Up to that service, he had never attended a church service or heard a message about Jesus.

The young boy came to our service because of a unique bait, a massive candy drop from a helicopter. Once at our service, our ministry team used creative tools to share the message An Empty Cross and an Empty Tomb for an Empty Heart. Upon receiving the phone call about the boy's death, I immediately cried out to God longing to have His assurance that the bait and the tools were accompanied with a strong anointing, one that would touch and change this young boy's heart as I led the children in the sinner's prayer at the end of the service.

I love the fact that we do the candy drop and drop 45,000 pieces of candy out of a helicopter in our three services. It is an extremely unusual way to draw a ton of children to church. I so enjoy the creative tools used to deliver the Easter message. It brings out the kid in me. But, the bait and the tools without the anointing is unproductive. It is still true ... it's not the bait or the tools, but rather it is the anointing that destroys and annihilates the yoke of bondage (Isaiah 10:27).

In the April 13, 2009 blog entry The Bait, The Tools, The Anointing I tell about our Easter Extravaganza weekend. This year, I've videotaped a brief overview of this exciting Easter celebration. Take a couple of minutes to watch a brief overview of a service. I hope that this stirs up some creativity in you for your next Easter celebration.