Free Stuff Monday

Here s the most complete picture Bible ever! And it features a captivating, up-to-date artwork style—making it the perfect Bible for today s visually focused culture.  The Action Bible  presents 215 fast-paced narratives in chronological order, making it easier to follow the Bible s historical flow—and reinforcing the build-up to its thrilling climax.  The stories in  The Action Bible  communicate clearly and forcefully to contemporary readers. This compelling blend of clear writing plus dramatic images offers an appeal that crosses all age boundaries.
My own kids love, love, love this Bible.  It’s something all your grade school boys (and even dads) will love to read through.
Let this epic rendition draw you into all the excitement of the world s most awesome story, and today I’m giving away a FREE copy!  Enter below to have one all to yourself!

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Kidmin 360 Search: Helping Great Leaders find Great Churches

I’ve started working with the great Kidmin360 Staffing team, to help great churches find great pastors to children and families.  We are currently looking for a  Pastor of Family Ministry  at a wonderful church in  Vancouver, Washington –  Crossroads Community Church.  

Visit our  Candidate Page  for details, including a downloadable  Position Profile  for this and other searches we are engaged with. If you or someone you know is interested in this position, or any of the opportunities we represent, please follow the links to upload your resume confidentially.

If you are interested or know someone who might be, please give me a DM on Twitter @jonathancliff or email me at jc at

And, of course, if you know of a church looking for a new children s or family ministry leaders, please let them know about  our services! We are affordable, solely focused on children s & family ministry (our  team  has over 75 years experience in this field), and offer a nationwide network from which to draw from.  We  connect children s & family ministry leaders with growing churches!  

Free Stuff Monday

The wait is finally over. Yancy and friends have created a new collection of songs that are sure to warm the hearts of preschool kids and their parents too. You ll find lots of singalong fun including songs to celebrate some of the most special days of the year including Valentine s, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthdays.

CD includes 16 songs: Brand New Day, Shout!, Go!, Love One Another, Hosanna Rock, One, Two, Three, The Springtime Song, The Dog Song, Happy Birthday To You, Bye, Bye, Bye, I Like To, Don t Be A Turkey, God Is Good To Me, Away In A Manger, It s Christmastime, Love One Another (Lullaby Mix)

And for those of you working with kids in or around the church, there is a special DVD that includes animated music videos that are sure to capture the imagination of your preschool children. Perfect for home, church or the car for singalong and worship fun. BONUS: DVD includes soundtracks and mpeg files for you to import into your presentation software. DVD includes 11 songs: Shout!, Go!, Love One Another, Hosanna Rock, One, Two, Three, Happy Birthday To You, Bye, Bye, Bye, I Like To, Don t Be A Turkey, It s Christmastime, Love One Another (Lullaby Mix)

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Finish Strong

There is so much that goes into making spiritual environments for children, students, and families.  We work with sermons (talks), music, relationship building, and interactive elements.  With all of this planning do you take the time to look at your last impressions?  There is so much talk about that first impression, and there is no doubt that the first thing people see will set the expectations.  Yet, we leave little thought for the final impressions, and that’s too bad; because final impressions matter.

We need to organize our dismissal times with the same energy that we organize our arrival times.  This goes for Student Ministry and Children’s Ministry.  To not be intentional with how we say goodbye, is to miss the greatest opportunity to help kids remember.  It’s not about trying to hand out candy to that kid when they say the bible verse in front of their parents.  Really, it’s not.  It’s not about the youth pastor following up with the parents of insolent teenagers after church.  Really, it’s not.

I believe that there will always be an element of chaos to our dismissal times, but if we are intentional just a little bit we can make them better.  Here are 4 things to consider during this craziest of all times in our teaching environments.

1.  20% Showing Off what you ve done & 80% Encouraging Families with what was taught.  This is a big Kidmin thing to do.  We want to let our children show off what they’ve learned, but it’s our job as leaders to help parents take that next step.  We need to train our leaders to talk to parents at this time.  This may be when parents are the most receptive, and we need to take advantage of the chance ot involve families in all that we’ve done.

2.  Organized, smaller spaces for dismissal allow you to communicate vision to parents AND their children.  If you are doing the super large dismissal where you scream a kids name over a microphone, or let teenagers run into the parking lot en mass; then you are missing it.  Stay small for as long as you can, and let parents enter this environment.

3. Intentional Conversations.  We all know the families that need our special attention.  As a leader we identify, and then take action with the families that need our help.  I dare you to write down those families you most need to be influecing, and then look for them at the end of each service.

4. Positive Reinforcement. Take the time to speak life and hope into the families, children, and students when they leave.  You very well might be the last positive voice they hear until next Sunday

So I’d like to hear how you are intentional with your families at dismissal times.  And if not, what are you going to do different to make the best use of this valuable part of your time with children, students, and families?

This Means Curriculum War

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

I believe we live in the golden age of church curriculum.  I’ve looked at so many great fantastic things over the past few years, that it’s amazing.  It’s sincerely hard to put my finger down on exactly the best one.  But do I really have to?  Wouldn’t each individual and organization need to make their own choice, based on their own needs?

I’ve noticed an  embarrassing  trend over the past few years.  There is a battle being waged over which curriculum is the best.  Is it virtue-based teaching?  Is it chronological biblical storytelling?  Is it gospel-centered teaching?  Large Groups with videos, or large groups with skits?  Or should large groups go away, and we invest 100% in small groups?

The thing is I don’t find the following questions to have “either/or” answers.  There are some great materials, and each church has to decide which model they will use.  I’ve heard Andy Stanley make a quote that goes something like this, “We are married to the vision, but we just date the models.”  The models will change, and the curriculum will change as well.  The crazy part is that if you really look at all different curriculums, you’ll find that they have way more in common than they have not in common.  I’ve chosen what is best for my church at this moment in time, but I also recognize that other churches will choose something different for their church in this moment in time as well.

We don’t have to blow someone  else’s  candle out to make ours shine brighter.  I believe this can happen, and I see some early signs of collaboration happening between writing teams.  I dream of a day when pastors, leaders, and curriculum writers could sincerely cheer each others success; and back that up by toning down the rhetoric on both sides of either argument.

We can do this right?