All posts for the month December, 2005

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Something else I got a chance to do yesterday, but didn’t have a chance before bed to post, was spend time with a good friend, Al Florek from Tulsa, OK. Al and I have been friends for over 20 years. We got involved in children’s ministry together under Carl Lindelien as kids ourselves. As teens, we joined forces as the “Rock Brothers”. Using juggling, comedy, magic and audience participation, we got to cut our teeth performing and doing ministry at many events all over central Minnesota. It also opened the door for us to spend time under other children’s pastors’ ministries.

Al became one of the most sought after clowns for birthday parties and family venues all over Minnesota and later in the Tulsa area. He currently has a great business staining and sealing concrete floors and he still ministers to kids as a volunteer at Victory Christian Center in Tulsa.

We headed out to the local magic shops here in Minneapolis/St.Paul and cracked the same old jokes and one-liners that we’ve been crackin’ for almost 20 years. Man it’s fun to look back and realize how a simple friendship has lasted so long and how much fun we still have together.

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I just got back from visiting my friend and mentor, Carl Lindelien in the hospital tonite. Carl was my Children’s Pastor when I was a kid and later a mentor in children’s ministry as a high school student and college kid (I was his intern for a year when he was at a church in Florida). It’s hard to see the guy laid-out on a bed with IV’s stuck in him and dealing with pain – Carl went in on Christmas day for an infection in his intestine. He has been losing severe weight as a result. Please pray for this children’s ministry pioneer and pastor.

More history: As mentioned in an earlier post, Carl was the senior editor and head writer for the original first four quarters of Charisma’s “K.I.D.S Church” Curriculum published back in the early 90’s. He also helped edit the first quarter of Willie George Ministries’ “Kids One The Move” Curriculum.

…and, if you were ever invlolved in children’s ministries back in the late 80’s, you may remember “The Praisin’ Raisins” – a parody of the California Raisins. This too was a Carl Lindelien thing.

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Here’s the next rule of thumb for preparing to teach a segment of a lesson:

2. Make sure that your props, objects, DVD, projector, puppets, costumes, magic tricks, or any other visual methods that are to be used are ready, in place and in good working condition. There is nothing more embarrassing then getting ready to teach a part of your lesson and you find yourself in a difficult situation because your teaching material isn’t in place or is broken.

Always test your lesson equipment and cue video or DVD clips – check to make sure your stuff looks good – this means that you have to know what your doing. Let’s face it, whether you think so or not – the kids know if you are prepared or not.

It’s helpful if you take your lesson outline and make a list of everything you need for each lesson segment and check that list off as you gather your stuff together.

btw: I always wanted to be the Fonz…

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Rule One

Over the course of the next few days, I will share with you a few simple rules of thumb when presenting a Gospel magic trick, object lesson, story or whatever you find yourself doing. If you use these guidelines, I promise you, your lessons will become more effective and you will be come more organized in preparing yourself to teach.
So, here’s number one:

1. Research your lesson and study. You may need to make it more personal than what you read from a book or lesson manual. Keep in mind that it needs to flow with the rest of the theme for the day. Some people don’t think that children’s pastors are as learned as the other pastors at your church – unfortunately, many children’s ministers fall into this false thinking themselves as they go about thier ministry. Nothing could be – nor should be further from the truth.

Just like any pastor, you ought to have a collection or library of reference works to use in doing research on a topic, key word, or scripture. Check out for a great, free, downloadable Bible software. It has many versions of the Bible, concordances, dictionaries, commentaries, topical studies and other cool study helps. You can always get online at or

The point is simple, you cannot put into the heart of a child what is not already in your heart. So, study, research, pray and generate the message in your heart first!

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Get the people who work closest to you to start talking about the ministry and get them to share the vision. “…so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell others.” This could very well be the best and most effective tool. But you have to get your workers to catch that glimpse. If they are excited about it… others WILL here about it.

Here’s an interesting concept: Share your vision with your pastor so he can stay excited about it and be a word of mouth advertisement. He can be a valuable element in getting your vision out there. People will listen to the Man of God (your pastor). I don’t say that jokingly. From the pulpit, to a church newsletter article, to meeting with board members and others leaders in your church, to newcomers and visitors; look at all of the opportunities that have just opened up to you. I’m not saying to use and abuse your privileges with your pastor – Just make sure he knows what is going on so he can effectively share it with others who need to here it from another reputable source.

Well, there you have it! Put it out there! Don’t be secretive. You’ll never get the vision off the ground. Advertise so others can plainly see what your goals, ambitions, and dreams, that God gave you, are. In return, you’ll get others talking about all of these things! Communicate effectively and you’ll cause a positive epidemic that will change your ministry forever.

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Today was a real reminder of what being a children’s pastor sometimes means. My wife and I spent the better part of the day (7:00 AM – 4:00 PM) in the family waiting room with a newer family from our church as thier newborn was having open heart surgery. We had coffee with them; shared stories that were funny, interesting, strange and touching with them; played Monopoly with them; had lunch with them and prayed with them until word came to us that all had gone well with the surgery.

We were tired at the end of the day, today. But, knowing that we had made a difference in just being there to help build thier confidence and faith and to keep them company will see fruit later.

You have got to keep in perspective that a large portion of your ministry must happen in other places other then the classroom or the auditorium. It will happen with people other then just the kids. Today, we not only ministered to a newborn… but, also a mother, father, two grandmothers, an aunt and a few days ago before the surgery we also made an impact on a grandfather and some friends of the family and we have been watching the family’s 2 year old at our house during the day for the last few days. What i want you to see is that, we had a newborn, a toddler and a bunch of adults who needed our prayers and hugs more than an object lesson or funny skit.

Don’t get me wrong – I won’t stop ministering to large groups of kids, doing the fun stuff… I love that, it’s my favorite. I am just saying, that you not only have to be able to relate to children, but also the people that drive them to church each week.

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There is nothing wrong with advertising… “WHAT?!?!?!!” Yep, it’s o.k. to advertise in church – unless of course you are an avid contributor to *the slice of laodecia website (have you seen this stuff – if ever there was a waste of time, energy, resources and money in the Kingdom , it’s at that website*). So many people automatically think of television commercials that sell those things we as Christians should be able to live without. What is your pastor doing during the services when he makes announcements? He’s ADVERTISING! Remember? Put it on a billboard! Or maybe in the bulletin. What about setting up a booth in the lobby with pictures and sign-up sheets. Have children give a special presentation during the adult services. Wear hats, shirts, name-tags, tattoos! Whatever it takes to communicate your vision. Create brochures, flyers, handouts, signs, posters, etc. Have fun finding new ways to put it out there! Make it look sharp and organized. Make it worthy of being advertised. Put forth a vision of quality and clarity that your church will be proud of.

*disclaimer: Jamie Doyle really does feel this way about the slice of laodicea website.

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Alright – here’s a half-baked idea for a lesson… This is of course going to require you to have internet access and a computer capable of flash media. If you do not have flash you can get the free player at:
You will also need to log on to the Sith Sense site provided by Burger King.

On the site, Darth Vader asks you to think of something. Then, after asking you to respond to 20 questions or less he tells you what you were thinking! It’s really pretty cool. Get on line and try it yourself… It’ll freak you out man!

So the lesson is an expose on the ability to read minds and have psychic powers. This would be a great lesson for pre-teens and older elementary kids. Have a kid think of an object in the room and have the computer “read their minds”

Explain that it works because the computer is crossing items off of a giant list each time you answer a question – and through a process of elimination, it finds your answer.

Now have someone choose an item that is very specific like: a picture of their family (the computer may guess picture, but it will never be that specific).

Wrap it up by telling the kids that only God can read your minds and He alone knows your thoughts, desires, dreams and attitudes.

Have fun with this one!

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Here is a simple step in helping you to more effectively communicate your vision. This is pretty specific but it’s something only you can develop.


Too many people are afraid to share what God has shown them. In Habakkuk 2:2 we see to “…write the vision and make it plain…” But it goes on to say that the purpose in putting it down in writing was not only to make it plain but so it could be shared with others. The Living Bible Translation says… “Write My answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell others.” Now please understand that I am not a huge fan of the Living Bible. I hope this doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. But I do like this particular verse idea. Make it plain so others can read it and tell others. Don’t let your ministry be the best kept secret in the church. Be bold and ready to share what’s been happening in your ministry – remember, what happens with your kids’ ministry is because of God, so don’t be afraid to let others in on what God is doing with the children.

I’ll have another idea later – keep smilin’

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So many people have piggybacked with the latest soon-to-be-released DVD, Polar Express and the Narnia movie for children’s church themes. I am not opposed to using pop-culture and the hottest trends or movies for themes or lesson topics. I have done many myself. However, I chose to do something a little different.

I looked at several Christmas themed curriculums and none really seemed to fit what I wanted to do. I realized that as I was looking through some of the old stuff that I had done in the past that the curriculum was already there.

I picked up the first ever volume of K.I.D.S. CHURCH – no, it’s not from the Power Tool Box Series. Many don’t even realize that there was an entire year of curriculum published by Charisma before the Power Tool Box set. It was simply called K.I.D.S. CHURCH and the first Quarterly was called “It’s P.A.R.T.Y. Time” it was all about gifts…

…and here’s a little history lesson and fact list for you: Carl Lindelien was the Editor and Senior Writer and wrote some of the skits, object lessons, puppet skits and dramas for it; Randy Christensen wrote the giving lessons, skits and object lessons; and Bill Wilson was a contributor of stories and object lessons as well.

The first four lessons are on gifts that God gives to us. As I read through the material, I realized that many Christmas things were used to illustrate the lessons. So I am using three of the lessons before Christmas and creating a new lesson for the New Years Eve weekend about sending the “Thank you notes” for the gifts you’ve received.

The entire curriculum is an incredible collection of 13 lessons and it’s worth looking for. Sorry, Charisma does not publish this series anymore. But you might find it on or in your church’s junk closet behind the old Train Depot Curriculum.

Yeah, I know – a curriculum that’s almost 15 years old is NOT the latest trend. I realize that! That’s why each lesson has to be updated a little. But most of it is salvageable like the object lessons, the giving lessons, the main scripture and the Bible stories. I’ve added my own DVD clips from popular Christmas movies and I don’t use overhead transparencies – I use cool pictures of cool kids doing cool Christmas things in my Keynote program (yeah, I’m a Mac guy). And we use our characters to help introduce or enforce the points.

Here’s my point – before you jump on a bandwagon or buy that latest curriculum, what do you already have that you can repackage and serve up so the kids will talk about it?

Carl Lindelinen

Randy Christensen

Bill Wilson

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