Digital Devotions

This is important to note before you start reading: I love God’s Word.  It is the foundation upon which everything we do at KidsWorld is based.  And I am passionate about getting kids into God’s Word daily (which is why we developed a Bible Reading Schedule for the kids at our church).  Okay…I feel better now… I came across a new website today that solves a problem for me.  You can find all sorts of websites that have daily Bible readings or excerpts from books on spiritual disciplines.  You can even find websites that have the audio available.  My favorite online devotional tool to date has been http://m.enewhope.org/ (a tool made available by Wayne Cordeiro’s church in Hawaii.  But I finally found an online resource that has Scripture readings with a journal component at Examen.me. Examen combines Bible, prayer, and journaling online.  With the free account, I can save my journals (or “examens”) and even export them to PDF.  I have not been able to keep up the discipline of journaling, ever.  I’ve been waiting for the right web resource to do this and finally Examen pulls through.  But what does this have to do with children’s ministry? I frequently ask children’s and family ministry leaders how important they feel teaching kids how to use the Bible (find passages, know the order of books and sections). For many ministries, this skill is absolutely essential.  In fact, Promiseland devotes time (5-10 minutes) to this skill development every week in 4th-5th grade.  I’m not there. Here’s why.  I’m an advocate for teaching kids skills for tomorrow.  Is learning how to read...

Creating Visual Prayers

“Get your head outta the clouds!” I remember hearing that phrase countless times on old movies whenever the older, sensible character was verbally lashing the whimsical, dreamy character.  It’s an odd phrase.  I remembered it recently when I encountered Wordle. According to Wordle’s website, “Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.” These “word clouds” have countless applications in children’s and family ministry.  They are a powerful design tool.  They can provide visual feedback to those who submit written materials: prayers, prayer requests, favorite Bible passages, sermons, and books of the Bible.  Last weekend, I used Wordle to create a cloud from the combined written prayers of 85 middle and high school students.  Here is what we came up with: So, get your head and your ministry in the...

You Might Be A Tech Geek…

If you have ever seen or heard of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a red neck,” listen to these adding “…you might be a tech geek” to them. · If you understand the phrase “OMG, MYOB” or “IDK, my BFF,” … · If you know that Wii is spelled “W-I-I” and not W-E, … · If you rotate your wallpaper more than your tires, … · If you’ve ever worked on a PowerPoint, while riding in a MiniVan, … · If you have more toys than your kids, … · If your Facebook status is more up to date than your own family, … · If your entire music collection can fit in your pocket, … · If your favorite writing utensil is a stylus, … · If you know that BlackBerry is not a fruit, … · If you can remember your passwords but not your anniversary, … ‘Til Next Time! Dean Butterfield – KidTech Blog...

How do you remember everything?

Do not think of an elephant.  I know, you’ve heard this one before.  Try not to think about something and it somehow turns into the only think you can wrap your mind around.  For me, I’m constantly scanning online for new ideas and new methods.  I’m an interdisciplinarian, so I’m not checking out children’s ministry content alone.  Design, education, business, social media, news, games – all of these topics are under my radar.  The problem?  Bookmarks….tons and tons of bookmarks.  The solution?  Since I check a lot of blogs, I started using a RSS Feed aggregator (I know – it sounds too technical for the average guy…it’s just a fancy way of saying a free program that collects blogs posts that I subscribe to).  I use NetNewsWire. The problem?  I don’t have a place on that program to take notes or remember my own thoughts about specific posts.  In fact, I don’t have the capability to do that anywhere on the Internet.  The solution?  Evernote. Evernote is a simple, free program to remember things.  Since there is an iPhone version of Evernote, I can record voice messages, create notes from text, or notes from pictures.  If I’m online and I have some thoughts about an article, I quickly clip the article and add my own notes.  If I’m at Chipotle and I have a brain epiphany, I can write it down on a napkin, take a picture of it, and post it to Evernote.  Here’s the kicker: Evernote scans every note I add and if that note includes text (even handwritten text), Evernote makes it searchable.  I wrote a...

Wii Fit Examined

Forbes just released an article discussing the merits of having Wii Fit around the house.  I’m not sure if you have a Wii or not (or if your ministry uses one), but I absolutely love it.  According to gaming blog Kotaku, having a Wii Fit is only useful for those who play it regularly. Ummmm…duh!  I guess you probably will lose weight and get in better shape if you use your fitness club membership too and that Bible you have sitting around might actually change part of your  life if you read it and obey it. All sarcasm aside, I was more interested in the article for two other reasons.  One – my family has a Wii Fit and I find it incredibly useful for keeping track of my fitness activities and weight.  In fact, my entire family just started a Biggest Loser contest!  Wii Fit (and our elliptical machine) will be getting regular if not daily use for the next several weeks. The second reason I was interested in the article is because it cited some start-up research being done on the obesity epidemic in America and its effect on the America family.  Scott Owens, a professor at the University of Mississippi, will be conducting some ongoing studies on Wii Fit in order to get a glimpse into how video games play a role in obesity.  Results are expected in...