Changing the World with Video Games

I am continuing the series of posts on kidmin and video games.  In my research, I came across Evoke.  According to Evoke’s blog, “Evoke is a ten-week crash course in changing the world. It is free to play and open to anyone, anywhere.  The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.” Evoke is the kind of thing children’s and family ministry leaders need to pay attention to!  Imagine if we could engage kids in virtual projects aimed at faith formation (serving, evangelism, discipleship, prayer).  Expect to see more and more games like Evoke in days to come.  If you are a gamer or know any programmers, DM me on Twitter!  I’d love to explore this...

I Am Not Creative and Other Lies You Tell Yourself

“I am not an artist.”  “I cannot draw or paint.”  “I am not creative.” These are all lies that people tend to believe about themselves.  I know; I believed all of these fallacies.  I remember trying very hard when I was a kid to draw horses or castles or people.  The results were nothing more than hard scribbles.  So, like any disciplined young man I gave up my dreams of being an artist and turned that passion towards Tecmo Bowl. The problem with these lies is that they keep perfectly creative beings from developing their gifts.  Recently, I have reignited my desire to draw, not so I could become an artist but so I could represent ideas in the best way possible (for me and others).  This led me to the work of Austin Kleon, whom I have blogged about before.  What I love about Austin Kleon is that he gives loads of training away for free.  Recently he taught a seminar entitled “Visual Note Taking” and he posted the slides AND audio for free on his website, along with some other tutorials.  These are invaluable resources for anyone who works with people and ideas. Here’s why visual thinking matters (according to the Committed Sardine blog): •                Visual thinking is an actual strategy for learning developed by Abigal Housen and Philip Yenawine in the 1980’s, which uses visualization to increase critical thinking.  It is an important strategy in the teaching and learning process. •                Visual thinking has been shown to increase comprehension of ideas from six to 20 percent. •                Visual thinking taps into imagination and intuition.  It can...

The Best Video Ideas

Part of my role in ministry involves the creation of video teaching resources for K-5th grade and 3-5 year olds.  Every month, we create an average of 80 minutes of finished video for these age groups.  The more video I create, the more I realize that video is one of the best methods to communicate powerful messages with consistency and quality. Part of our teaching videos with K-5th involves a creative, story-driven element.  We’ve had a boy band, a lost medieval paige, restaurant critics, and a Cereal superhero come to life on the big screen.  Our kids go crazy for these characters and become markedly more interested in what we are teaching from God’s Word. It’s a big win for us.  But through the process of brainstorming, creating, casting, writing, producing, shooting, and editing hours of video I realized that these characters are all just really simple ideas that connect to our audience. This is a lesson that Blendtec, the company that produces the “Will it Blend” series of videos found to be true through their showcase of random items destroyed in a Blendtec blender.  Here are some takeaways from a recent interview with Blendtec’s Marketing Director, Jeff Robe. 1.              Good videos connect the audience to a message. Part of the reason why our crazy videos work is that they tie into the teaching every week.  The ties might be subtle, but they ensure that kids watch until the end and walk away with God’s Word planted firmly in their heart and mind. 2.              If a picture is worth a thousand words, a few seconds of video is a...

What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry – Wonder

I want to continue our series of posts about What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry with a few posts about the answers that really resonated with me.  Randy Isola contributed the answer “Wonder” to the What Matters Now project.  Randy is my boss, but that’s not why I’m reflecting on his contribution (I’m pretty sure he does not read this blog anyway).  Randy has re-taught me what children’s ministry is all about.  I say that he “re-taught” me, because before I met Randy I thought I knew everything about children’s ministry.  Here’s what Randy had to say about wonder: I believe one of the most compelling questions in Scripture is the disciples’ asking about Jesus, “What kind of man is this?” After a glimpse of his power, the disciples were driven to discover the answer. Our churches should instill that wonder in children and propel them to a lifelong adventure of finding out the truth behind that question. When it comes to children’s ministry, we all want engaging programming, flawless theology, deep relational communities, great tools to equip parents, etc. Ultimately, we want all that so we can point children to Jesus. Sometimes we do that by giving answers, other times by raising questions. I wish that children would always leave churches with answers and questions, with a sense of wonder and amazement at the person and work of Jesus. I hope that our ministries help children encounter Jesus in such a way that multiple times throughout the week they will, with a sense of wonder, ask themselves the question, “Who is Jesus?” I pray that every child influenced...

What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry – More

I want to continue our series of posts about What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry with a few posts about the answers that really resonated with me.  The final submission to be turned in was by my friend and mentor Byron Ragains.  If you do not know Byron, who ministers with David C. Cook, just wait – he’ll find you.  And when Byron finds you, he’ll never forget you. Byron writes, “My word is MORE.  I am almost 50! I recall the days when my two sons were babies. Occasionally, I got the call to feed them a nutritious meal from a jar. I can still hear the click noise once the lid is opened! I creatively tried everything to magically force the boys to eat: Pickled squash, sweet potatoes and even some peas! Nothing really worked. All of that seemed to change once we got to dessert: fruit and puddings! They went from refusing to enjoy the Gerber’s main entree to inhaling the desserts! I can hear them saying, “MORE, daddy! MORE!” What I am hearing is children asking for MORE! We continue to ramp up the fun, excitement, lights, crazy and volume in hopes to satisfy their thirst for God. What if we became burdened and restless to make sure our ministries are creating space for our children to hear the mighty voice of God and a huge thirst to seek and follow Him? This is the MORE I am talking about! They want it. What about us?” I love the idea that in the era of abundance, Byron challenges the field of children’s and family ministry...