Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

birthdays, baseball & the bible

first: thank you, thank you for all of the lovely facebook, twitter, and text birthday messages. i felt loved and celebrated and grateful. as you may know, i’m a big fan of birthdays and i especially love my ownbirthday. so after a very full day yesterday of eating at my favorite restaurants, and cheering on the cubs to an actual victory, and being with my family, i was a very happy girl. and, it was especially fun to watch my little niece experience her first cubs game. when you are born into our family, you are a cubs fan for life. there is no other option!

and second: while i was out celebrating, the team from what’s in the bible announced it’s official release date! lori and i have been developing the content and writing the lessons for the last couple months, and we are thrilled to finally get it into the hands of children’s ministry leaders! dvd 1 releases november 15, while dvds 2-4 will release january 2011!

a really unique feature that we’re right in the middle of developing is the mobile site for volunteers in which leaders can access the curriculum guides from their smart phones.  we wanted to create a simple way for volunteers to prepare during the week and implement the lesson on sunday. i personally can’t wait to teach a lesson from the curriculum guide on my iPhone. way. too. fun.

we are also creating an at home interactive site for families. we know that take home papers, even with the best of intentions, don’t always actually make it home. so we are creating small take home cards that point families to the online site where children and parents together can answer questions, interact with the characters and videos from the sunday morning lesson, and utilize further bible discovery resources. it’s going to be really fantastic!

oh! and of course we would love help spreading the word about the curriculum. if you’re interested in tweeting, facebooking, blogging, or yelling from your rooftop – let me know! | @adolan | leave a comment

book list [for today]

i’m in the middle of a million books right now. or 5.  i love reading multiple books at the same time. in a strange way they sort of shape and speak to each other, making the reading experience fuller and deeper.

i’m finally through all of my summer vacation books and am now moving on to a few heavier books. books on leadership, and fear, and food, and spirituality. you know, none of the subjects that should be read while lying on the beach! what are you reading this fall?

here’s my list:

the land between: finding god in difficult transitions [by jeff manion] i listened to jeff’s talk at the leadership summit and instantly knew that i wanted to hear more from him on the topic. after going through a somewhat rough transition in my own life, i realized that we don’t often hear christian pastors speaking about what it feels like to be “in between.” i love that jeff addresses this, and only hope that his book sparks the way for more conversation. and, he’s dan scott’spastor – so that makes him extra cool!

permission to speak freely: essays and art on fear, confessions, and grace [by anne jackson] i’m a huge fan of anne jackson, specifically loved her first book “mad church disease” and love, love her blog flowerdustand this new book is so good and creative, and honest, and lovely to read. i’ll be posting a full review next week (9/7) on the book blog tour. can’t wait!

women food and god: an unexpected path to almost anything [by geenen roth] i picked up this book last weekend at barnes and noble, and even just a few chapters in, i’m already loving it. it’s such a different book than i’ve ever read, and is really stretching my thinking on how our spirituality is often expressed by how we cook and eat. not necessarily a traditional christian perspective (and her language isn’t the cleanest) but i am really enjoying the book.

unleashing the power of rubber bands: lessons in non-linear leadership [by nancy ortberg] yes, i’ve read this book before. and yes, i’ve blogged about the book before. here and here. this is my current favorite leadership book. when i was thinking about a leadership book to read with sandy, the new intern, this was the book i thought of first. i’m excited to digest and process it alongside sandy. it will be fun to see it from her perspective!

on writing: a memoir of the craft [by stephen king] my husband just read this book, and oh-so lovingly, handed it over to me the minute he finished. the book really inspired kelly, and i’m hoping for the same!

what does your book list look like today? oh! and if you’re interested in adding a free book to your list, my brother in law is giving away a copy of transition planon his blog! happy reading!

welcome TED to #kidmin

welcome TED. we’re glad you’re here.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference and first began in 1984 when founder Richard Saul Wurman wanted to throw the world’s best dinner party.

how TED became the new harvard is a fascinating new article in the latest fast company magazine, and of course has me wondering how TED will affect the future of children’s ministry conferences.

maybe you’ve seen jamie oliver’s TED talk, or elizabeth gilbert on nurturing creativity, or malcolm gladwell on spaghetti sauce, and maybe while watching you wondered why learning isn’t always this simple and effective. it’s without doubt that TED is paving the way for new forms of learning and collaborating.

the key to TED’s success are the simple yet distinctive design rules that wurman created:

1. a single track of programming: wurman says, “they think people want choice, but the people talking at the break don’t have a common memory and all feel they went to the wrong session.”

2. no Q & A: wurman’s logic, “out of the first 20 questions you get, 19 are either speeches or bad questions.”

3. 18 minute-talk length: wurman says 15 minutes would be trivial, too short. and if you said 20, people would talk for 25.

i love most everything about children’s ministry conferences, and as both a regular conference attendee and conference creator, i’m curious to see how we’ll follow TED’s lead.

what do you think? how will TED affect children’s ministry conferences? and the better question: how do we want TED to affect conferences?


merge 2007

happy saturday, everyone! we are on our way tomerge today, and we are really excited about all that god will do amongst us. i’ll be blogging & tweeting each day – you can follow our hashtag #merge2day. our hope for the participants is that through a collaborative, conversational, and experiential time we would be able to create new storying experiences for children in our various church contexts. if you aren’t able to be physically present with us this year, we of course would love for you to join the conversation here!

and, if you are the praying type – would appreciate a few prayers before the week begins:

  • for the children and youth ministry participants: that god would give collaborative spirits, open minds, and peace filled hearts.
  • for the merge staff: that details would be taken care of, and the staff would be filled with joy, strength, unity, and wisdom throughout the week.
  • for the high school students: that god would reveal himself in brand new ways, and they would be inspired to follow god with renewed passion.

cm telesummit (next steps)

thanks for listening to the cm telesummit sessionon digital children’s ministry. i hope the session was inspiring and challenging, and that you have discovered a few new ideas on how to create a digital perspective for the children, parents and volunteers in your ministry!

a few ideas for next steps:

1. consider creating a 1-2 sentence description of your digital perspective for children’s ministry. use these sentences as a guide for determing the next step in your ministry.

2. check out the resources mentioned during the session: (all are clickable links)

3. share your next step, new idea, or digital children’s ministry perspective right here on the blog.

a (digital) volunteer perspective

lately, i’ve been challenging myself to apply a digital perspective to as much of children’s ministry as i can. and specifically, i’ve been wondering how we can better connect, communicate, and train volunteers by utilizing technology and starting with a digital perspective.

next month, i’ll be presenting my digital ideas at the children’s ministry telesummit.

today, just a few ideas as it relates to volunteers:

consider eliminating a few of your physical volunteer meetings, instead encourage volunteers to attend meetings via skype, iChat, or tokbox. oftentimes, volunteers want to attend our training meetings but aren’t physically able.  imagine if more volunteers were able to attend training meetings because they were able to participate from home, or the office?  fantastic!

consider sharing files digitally: instead of emailing large curriculum lessons, or photos, or videos, or policy manuals – create a digital folder where volunteers can easily access everything. i’m a big fan of dropbox, and i think the potential for utilizing this tool with both volunteers and parents is incredible!

explore ways to simplify volunteer communication by considering mobile app development. an app for volunteers would enable you to encourage volunteers to check in for service via their mobile phone, send curriculum lessons to volunteers on their phones during the week, receive small group photos from volunteers, and share videos and important news events. so exciting!

utilize online networks for volunteer training like: children’s ministry blogs,twitter, facebook, andcmconnect for great content, easy accessibility, and an affordable price (free)!

i absolutely love the possibilities, and would love to hear what have you been trying in order to digitally connect with volunteers.

and don’t forget! sign up today for the cm telesummit (it’s free, and fun, and educational)!

digital learning & children in the church

my 14 month old niece and i have something in common: we both love to play on my iPhone. lately, whenever i’m with her, i hold the phone while she scrolls through the pictures, then we play a few games on the apps – her favorite is barnyard animals, and we always use the camera to take a picture of us. my niece learned how to use the iPhone before she learned how to walk.

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about this generation of digital children and the way we are (or aren’t) adapting our curriculum and teaching methods within the church to connect with kids. this month’s feature article in fast company magazine calleda is for app: how tech is making kids smarter everywhere” sparked a few thoughts for me, and i want to make a few connections for those of us working with children in the church:

1. “american children now spend 7.5 hours a day absorbing and creating media – as much time as they spend in school. even more remarkably, they multitask across screens to cram 11 hours of content into those 7.5 hours.” (fast company p. 68).  if this is true, we need a new starting place for our learning methods in the church. what if we approached our methods from this perspective:  instead of assuming paper activities, we started by asking what technology tool (computer, iPod, iPad, etc) could be used to deliver the best content? of course, we won’t allow technology to sacrifice relationships, or to be used just to say that we used technology, but if it really is the best way to pass biblical information and faith application onto this generation of children, then we have to approach our curriculum in a new way.

2. “young children belong to a generation that has never known a world without ubiquitous handheld and networked technology” (p. 68). this is different than any of the previous generations, so for the first time children are smarter than their teachers. this is going to require those of us in the church to make a major mindshift, some call it reverse mentoring, where we allow, encourage, and feel comfortable allowing children to inform us. of course, as teachers we will always be responsible for facilitating content and leading dialogue, but we are going to need a certain new flexibility in allowing children to be the experts in creating and utilizing technology tools. seth weinberger of innovations for learning says, “the main transformational change that needs to happen is for the teacher to transform from the purveyor of information to the coach.”

i believe we’re on the edge of something very new for teaching children in the church. and i’m hopeful that together we can create a new church learning experience for children!

additional resources: rewiring ministry for the digital learner by matt guevara, something digital this way comes by henry zonio,digital natives from harvard university.