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Taking VBS Home

June 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

El Capitan State BeachWhen I was six years old my family lived in a camp ground called El Capitan in Goleta, California.  There were several families who lived there at the time.  Enough that the local school district made the entrance to the campground a bus stop. In 1982 a local church decided to do a VBS for the kids who lived there. I remember very little about the VBS. I don’t remember the games, or the crafts or the music. All I remember was that I went with my friend Ricky. My parents hired his mom to watch my infant sister while they went to work. Ricky’s mom used to dip her pacifier in jalepeno juice and put it in my sister’s mouth.  (Explains a lot–that’s a shout out to my sister.)

The most important thing I remember about that VBS was it was the place I made the decision to follow Jesus. I’m really grateful to the small Baptist church in Goleta for taking VBS outside the walls of the church.

After 15 years of family ministry–I wonder what would have happened if they had invited my family into the process. Would my father have decided to follow Jesus 6 years earlier?

At our church we do a baptism class for kids and their parents. In the class we present the Gospel and what it means to take the first step in following Jesus. Then we send parents home with homework. Their homework is to review what was shared and then pray with their children. Nearly every time we do the class not only do we see children decide to follow Jesus, but sometimes their parents too. We just think parents should be a part of the most important decisions their kids will ever make.  Especially since they are likely to be there for all of the others.

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Acts 16:31-34

Nearly 23 million kids will go to Vacation Bible Schools across the country.  Several million will attend camp. Several million more kids will decide to follow Jesus this summer.  Many of their parents would decide to follow Jesus if we invited them into the process. What would happen if we invited parents into the most important decision their children will ever make?

Aero Vodochody L 29 Delfin Jet CockpitThe average airplane can have over 40 gauges.  But only a few of those gauges are critically important at any given time.  And maybe the most important is the one right in the center.  Like the speedometer on a car, the attitude indicator may be one of the more important flight instruments on a plane because it shows the aircraft’s “attitude” to the horizon.  In other words, it will tell you whether you are flying upside down or not.  Kind of important.

Kidmin, like the cockpit of a plane, has lots of dials and gauges—lots of things that demand our attention like scheduling, team training and curriculum to how many popsicle sticks we need for VBS.  It can be overwhelming.  But what if some things are more important than others?  What if there are some systems that require our attention more than others?  What would be the attitude indicator for kidmin?

Apart from the basics like Jesus and the Bible—we know we need to point kids to Jesus and we do that through the Bible—, what would be the top five gauges we should give our attention to?  What systems are really critical to the effectiveness of kidmin?

Here is a great top five from The Orange Leader Handbook also known as the Orange Essentials:

System #1: How we integrate leaders.

We can’t expect people to follow us if we are not on the same page going in the same direction.  This is especially true when working with children and students.  We are laying the foundation of a person’s life so we must all be working with the same end in mind.  Having the same strategy to get there is a good place to start.


System #2: How we communicate truth.

How we say what we say is as important as what we say. Maybe we should communicate as if what we have to say is the most important thing that can be said.  Since it is.


System #3: How we connect people.

Spiritual growth happens best in the context of close personal relationships.


System #4: How our church partners with families.

Parents have the greatest potential to influence the life of the child.  Lasting impact begins with a system to effectively partner with parents to help them leverage their influence during the week.


System #5: How we mobilize every generation to be the church.

We have a lot of people doing church, but not a lot of people being the church.  If kids are not being the church while they with us, how can we expect them to be the church when they are not with us?


You are in the cockpit of your ministry at your church.  The gauges you give your attention to will determine the effectiveness of your ministry.

What do you think are the top five gauges we should be looking at?

Family Pictures

March 2, 2011 — 1 Comment

Family Picture My kids favorite iPhone4 apps today:  FaceWarp and Squeak My Voice.  Here is the family portrait we created.  From left to right:  Me, Janna, Emilie, Corey, Tucker, Gracie, Macie and Maggie.   Some other great non-educational apps my kids like: TapOut, Rat on the Run, Tornado Mania, Plants vs. Zombies, iFighter, Cows in Space, 3D Checkers, TicTacTouch, Shape Builder.

What are your kids favorite apps?


February 24, 2011 — 3 Comments

There are 14 feet in my family.  Count them—7 people!  Which is why our geocaching screen name is 14footfrog.  If you don’t know what geocaching is check out this little video.  It could be the one thing, like my family, that you can all do together and enjoy.  In fact, I give it a 10 on the Walt-Barney meter.  Here are the top 10 reasons why I think it makes a great family experience:

1.     When you are geocaching you are participating in something bigger than you.  There are 1.3 million caches all over the world, placed by nearly a million different people.

2.     As an adult you can go on a treasure hunt without losing face

3.     Kid’s love treasure hunts

4.     I can use my iphone—‘nuf said

5.     Something seemingly insignificant can travel far and wide.  I have a travel bug that started in Alberta, Canada.  It has traveled  over 4500 miles through the hands of hundreds of people.

6.     Of the people, by the people and for the people—its relational—an item can travel around the world in short leaps from person to person—kind of like the Gospel.

7.     It’s done in the great outdoors.

8.     My kids will ride their bikes for miles without complaining.

9.     You can be outdoorsy and techie all at once.  Kind of like Stargate—without the aliens.

10.  Finally, geocaching is a great way to talk as a family about the interconnectedness of people, the little things that we can do that may seem insignificant at the time, but have a big impact,  and how to share our faith with others.

What are you caching in people’s lives that could travel around the world?