10 Years of Technology THE 5 Key Moments!

Jason Fry writes Real Time every Monday for the Wall Street Journal. Jason is an editor at the Online Journal, and also co-writes The Daily Fix sports column. But today his Real Time hits 5 Key "A-Ha" moments in the past 10 years. They are:

1.  Google–nuff said! But for Children's Ministers have you thought about this highly intuitive SEARCH engine that is our FIRST STOP when we wonder, have questions, are confused or just in need of quick answers? We are a world of SEARCHERS!!!!! What algorithms are you creating to adjust to the search habits of your kids?

2.  Broadband–quick! No, we want it NOW and broadband is just so awesome!

3.  ITunes–we listen in the car to any song we like (our current favorite is "Little Girl" by John Michael Montgomery–my 11th grader and 8th grader and I all cry every stinkin time we play it!)

4.  TiVo–We can have shows when we want them without clutter of ads!

5.  Blogging–making every PC a printing press! No editors, no filters, just writing for the pure joy of thought and discipline!

Kids Spend More Time on the Web than TV

These days, people are spending as much time in front of a computer as a television — in some cases, even more. Adults spend about 14 hours a week watching TV and 14 online, compared with 11 watching TV and 10 online two years ago, according to JupiterResearch. Young adults, ages 18 to 24, spend about 10 hours a week online, two hours more than they spend watching TV. Many don't even own TVs but have laptops.

1 Billion Personal Computers Connected to the Web By 2007!

Today, Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect for Microsoft and Paul Otellini, President and CEO of Intel have a great editorial in today's Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114765271807852552.html?mod=todays_us_opinion for a fee) that makes an astonishing commentary from two people who are betting their business on the future of our personal computers.

The great assertion in this, "Early next year, the number of computers in use around the world that are connected to the World Wide Web will pass the one billion mark. More than 250 million PCs will ship this year alone. Last year, laptops based on Intel Centrino mobile processors and Microsoft Windows XP outsold the highly popular iPod. Not only is the PC alive and well, but it continues to expand its global reach, delivering new capabilities, more choices and new opportunities to more and more people every single day, in every part of the world."

Did you read that? 1 Billion connected people! If my family is typical, one computer is used by more than one person! What are we as children's ministers doing to connect our kids? Connect our parents? Connect our Volunteers? Connect those who are searching for hope and truth and peace?

The "Build a Bear Workshop" Continues to Grow/ The Customization Piece

Business Week reports a sharp increase in the stock of the "Build-A-Bear" workshop. "Build-A-Bear" is a store that allows a children to designed their own stuffed animal. Children love the ability to create a one-of-a-kind customizable bear.

Is "customization" a fad or a trend in our culture? You tell me. Nike has a website where adults can create their own one of a kind sneakers. The children's Sonic video game franchise has a "Chao" world, where children can raise unique creatures based off what they feed it and how nurturing they are with them.

Adult ministry is currently grappling with issue of customization. "S.H.A.P.E" and "Network" classes help adults discover their unique design. Ron Martoia's excellent book "Morph!" presents us with the notion of an "ergonomic faith"– a way of expressing our faith that acknowledges that God has given each of us a unique design.

I don't pretend to exactly know what this will look like in children's ministry. But I'm convinced that we will need to begin to introduce a "customization" piece to our ministries more and more. I recently blogged about teaching spiritual gifts to children. But I think that's just the beginning. We need to help children discover that faith fits them… that a child and families uniqueness isn't a barrier being a part of our ministries, but an assess.

Hispanic's Gain In Census: Are You Reaching Them?


The Wall Street Journal today has the following graph associated with a great story that underscores the recent trend toward diversity. The shift has great implications to how we do ministry to understand that we are a melting pot, melting even more broadly and proportionately!

Keep current and recognize that Whites are DECREASING from 70% of the population in 2000 to 67% today!!


Here's a great website for those of you who want to keep up on the latest movies, music, and books. You might have noticed that Keith and I occasionally blog about leadership and children's ministry book, but we don't cover trends in media. Our friends at www.nappaland.com fill that gap. After a long hiatus, the creative mind of Mike Nappa is back.

www.nappaland.com is a great resource for you as children's ministry leader looking for a balanced evaluation of the latest pop culture has to offer. I'm a contributing book editor for the site and I'll be keeping up with the NYT's Best Seller's list.

And here's the best news. You can contact www.nappaland.com for free reprint on any of the material for your church newsletter or website.

USA TODAY: Infant Mortality Rate High Among Developed Nations


CHICAGO (AP) — America may be the world's superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia.

The Pool of Bethesda

I spoke at a small conference for children's ministers working with special needs children this weekend in Warren, PA. We were discussion Jesus' miracles and the miracle at the pool of Bethseda came to the surface as perfect metaphor for the "one-size-fits-all" madness that we perpetual in the church.

I need to confess something… this account has always troubled me. I can't stand the design of how poeple were ministered to in the account. All of the diseased and the infirmed came and sat pool side. Cripples, the blind, the deaf, and other physically handicapped people waited for the waters to move. An angel would stir the waters, and whoever noticed the water moving first, provided he or she had superior ambulatory powers, would drop into the waters would be healed.

Everyone else would have to wait.

In my human, limited perspective the story seems harsh. It's like those swell kids from "Lord of the Flies" decided to run the special olympics for a day. Only the strong found healing. If you couldn't get to the pool first, no Divine Intervention for you. I accept the situation as true becuase I find it between the covers of my Bible.

But you can't make me like it.

Jesus, apparently, didn't care for the arrangement either. He violated the protocols of both the pool and Sabbath and healed the lame man. Jesus acts obvious to the program.

I think sometimes you and I inadvertantly create "healing pools" in our ministries that keep the weakest of the weak from finding health. Our classes meet the needs of most. But if we encounter a child who is exceptionally disruptive due to physical handicaps or mental health issues, we clutch tighted to our protocols and our rules. And Divine Intervention is only offered to the strong, the whole, and the healthy. And we introduce Darwinian strain into our children's ministries. Only the strong survive here.

Or we can be Jesus, and violate our own protocols and rules. We can step away from our security and truly seek to meet and understand the needs of special needs children and their families. We create safe-places for children to "rise and walk" and then show them how their sins can be forgiven.

Karen… if you read this, you are going a great thing in rural Warren, PA. Calvary Baptist has bigger heart than many churches ten times its size.  

Using Summer Interns

Well, if you haven’t thought of using summer interns yet, you really need to think of this option that expands your own ministry while giving you a training ground for future children’s ministers. In today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114684963142045049.html?mod=todays_us_the_journal_report “Young, Eager and Cheap!”) Author Raymund Flandez does a fantastic job of summing up a great tool!

"Internships typically are associated with big companies. But small businesses can reap some of the biggest benefits.Dawn Cherek, who owns a chain of hair salons in the Madison, Wis., area, was having trouble drawing student customers to her newest salon, just blocks from the University of Wisconsin campus. A friend suggested she contact the university to see whether there were any marketing majors who could hammer out a plan to lure those potential customers.With the help of the university's career-services center, Ms. Cherek quickly posted a notice on the school's career-services Web site in March: "Progressive, Upscale Hair Salon Chain Looking For Two (2) Ambitious Marketing Student Partners to Create and Help Execute a Retail Business Marketing Plan." She labeled it as a "case study, part-time job opportunity" with pay of $8 an hour for four weeks.Ms. Cherek received two responses within a couple of weeks of posting the notice, and more have come in since. She expects the interns she hires not only to help her find customers on campus, but also to check out the local competition and find ways to burnish the store's image.For small-business owners like Ms. Cherek, interns can be a cheap source of talent — and an efficient way to evaluate potential future full-time employees. And while small firms sometimes find it hard to attract interns, it's getting easier, as many colleges help companies identify students who prefer small firms to larger ones."Often small businesses aren't aware of the fact that universities have students whose identified academic goal and career goal is to start working with small businesses," says Dennis Jorgensen, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago."

Great Commentary By Scottie May, Professor at Wheaton

In last Friday’s online version of the magazine, Christianity Today, Scottie May, Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton (IL) College (mom of Veggie Tales Founder too) has a great commentary in reviewing the two books When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity by O. M. Bakke (Fortress Press) and Paedofaith: A Primer on the Mystery of Infant Salvation and a Handbook for Covenant Parents by Rich Lusk (Athanasius Press), both published in 2005. You can see you great article at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/118/52.0.html . 

You have to read Scottie with a great deal of sensitivity to the two audiences for whom she writes. Scottie in one article distills much of what I love about her. First there is CONTEXT for the Children’s Minister—this context is both knowing evangelical church ministry to children AND the more sacramental approach in what some consider to be “mainline” or liturgical  traditions (though these last two are not fully equated). She also has a healthy skepticism for much of what we do in children’s ministry—programming that creates EDUTAINMENT instead of supporting community building and faith nurture in a family. That aside, I love her conclusion! 

Scholars must engage practitioners in ways that enable theology and theory to inform practice. Until then, two things will undoubtedly help all parents and children's ministers: Watch and listen to the child. Watch the child; watch closely to see what evokes wonder and awe in the child. And listen to that child; listen carefully as the child attempts to speak of things for which she or he may not yet have words. Then, when the child asks, it is time to teach. (Emphasis Mine)She reviews history and then offers this bit of GREAT ADVICE to boot! Thanks Scottie!!!!!