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Dumb Things #4

This week I’ll be covering some of the more dumb things I’ve ever done as a Children’s Pastor. Be sure to visit www.jonathancliff.com/tags/dumbthings to keep up with all the dumb-ness happening here this week

I’m gonna close down this week’s edition of Dumb Things with one of the most unsafe, dangerous dumb things I’ve ever done in a Kidmin environment. Now, it didn’t include “Pipe-Bomb Sunday” or “Chainsaw Juggling Clowns”, but it when looking back I’m horrified of what I was thinking.

So let me say that back in the day…meaning when I first started my Kidmin journey; I didn’t have a lot of help. It would oftentimes be just me and 100+ kids in a gymnasium for 2 hours. Yes you read that right. I was crazy. I cut my teeth on this psychotic Kidmin method, and over time I brought on some great help. Admit it…many of you have been here. Anyways, I was always looking for activities for kids to do when they came into church each weekend. Coloring sheets, painting stations, Lego tables, and video games on the big screen were easy draws. One week I was talking about the Creation story in Genesis, and thought a little creating craft would be a great opening activity. I was thinking modeling clay, not your normal play-doh stuff. But the modeling clay wasn’t easy to work with, so I added some plastic butter knives to help shape it better. Then the shaped modeling clay wasn’t holding it’s shape well as I attached all the pieces, so I then added toothpicks for the kids to use as a skeleton-like setup.

Are you seeing what we have here? At an unsupervised table I left 100+ kids at a table with hard modeling clay, plastic knives, and sharp toothpicks. After a few minutes, I had sharp death balls soaring through the air. Somehow I avoided catastrophe and nobody died. I have since learned that anything that could be turned into a dangerous object will be turned into a dangerous object.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Starr Cliff · November 5, 2010

    I remember that. The kids just made balls of clay then stuck dozens of toothpicks in them like some kind of medieval weaponry. They thought it was awesome. Ha! It’s kind of miraculous no one lost an eye.

  2. Lynne · November 5, 2010

    HAHA! Funny stuff! Oh, I’m sure we’ve all done our share of dumb things! I try to block them out of my memory, but if I think hard, I can come up with a couple…

    I wasn’t thinking when I showed a movie clip from Greatest Legends of the Bible DVD about Jim Elliot that showed a cartoon Jim Elliot dying with a spear in his chest. It freaked out a little girl and her family got upset and left the church.

    I had a little girl’s hair catch fire one day in kids’ church when she was dancing on stage during worship. Another little boy put it out, thankfully, and the girl’s parents laughed and said she was “on fire for God.”

    Man…there have been more, but they must be suppressed. A lot of dumb things I’ve done have resulted from assuming things or not communicating well.

  3. Linda Lolley · November 6, 2010

    Enjoyed the stories! I think God gives childrens directors/pastors creative minds and a wonderful sense of humor to go with it. The hair on fire was impressive!