Kids & Church

I grew up in the church…as a pastor’s daughter….I go to church now as a pastor, but my siblings don’t ..but they might someday, who knows? I don’t think it was about whether they were in or out of church service, I think its about their beliefs and the problem of they aren’t sure how they feel and the church makes it out like “you shouldn’t go to church unless you believe/act/do exactly what we want”

I feel like that may be the answer for them, but for different people, the reasons are different.

Two blogs about children surfaced this week Sunday School is killing the church (which is really about the timing of Sunday School, altho the title makes our poor underpaid youth pastors even worse off)

and The Church Should Be the Thing that Backs Down

Both of these blogs actually are trying to address a larger issue

Which is Families are CRAZY busy!

 

I mean seriously, a parent used to stay at home with the children, one working person households used to be totally feasible, plus kids had more free time. Primary socialization for families (I mean the entire family , the parents and the children) used to happen at church.

Unless we change the economy (are you helping by justly paying your church workers? or asking them to only work the hrs they are paid for? If not your church is PART OF THE VERY PROBLEM YOUR COMPLAINING ABOUT) …….we need to look deeper.

Let me tell you something, almost every stay at home parent is one because they can’t get a job that will actually contribute to the family monetarily….i.e. childcare, work clothes, gas, etc. eats all their pay

Almost every person I know is being told to work harder (put in more hrs, be more available, don’t complain about anything ever) in their job (or risk losing it) with almost no prospects of moving up

Almost every person I know with children has more demands for homework and time than ever before…plus you are never supposed to let your child play out of your sight ever again (assuming you are a middle or upper class parent) because that is “bad parenting”

Want to know why parents put their kids in babysitting/Sunday School during church? They need a break

Some parents even send their children to Sunday School and don’t even bother going to church themselves (gee…what need is that signaling) More than once I’ve heard of a church with a “problem” with it being just used as a free babysitting service.

Why is it those activities that happen not on Sunday Morning are rarely attended by kids? Usually parents have some other activity they have to attend, like sports or family time or other things (I would say “How dare they” but I don’t think everyone would hear my sarcasm)

Its tough to be a family…

And the church offers very few family resources…almost nothing to parents about parenting, few things where the entire family will ENJOY the activity (note letting children come to something IS NOT the same thing as welcoming them)

Plus most church meetings are over bedtime, which makes it really hard for a parent to come unless they pay a babysitter…even onsite care won’t help to defeat bedtime. (as my colleague Ryan Timpte says)

Deeper issues

1. Families are busy

2. We treat children as a commodity

3. Families are rarely given truly family appropriate activities to join

4. Parents are tired

5. The Weekend doesn’t exist for most people (Saturday used to be a day off too, rarely is it)

Can we reclaim Sabbath? (do we know what that means to different people and how to build that?)

Can we work with families?

Can we support parents?

Can we help the economy and idea of overwork–even if its just in our own church environment?

Can we address these problems as opportunities….because until we do, we will continue to make claims of “such and such” killing the church. And as Katie Bombalurina Mulligan said

1. We are a resurrection people, so death is not an existential crisis for us or our institutions (easier said than realized, but yeah)

2. No one thing is “killing” the church

3. The church isn’t actually something that can die. It’s an institution that might end, but the people inside are what is living.

4. The articles are written with lazy generalizations (this too is a lazy generalization. back atcha).

5. There are so many different forms and ways of doing church. if you feel yours is unfaithful, go try some more ways. and then some more.

6. If we’re going to animate the church as a living entity, then the church is supposed to die, because nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky (~Kansas. or Ecclesiastes. Take your pick. Also, that rhymed.)“

Something to SERIOUSLY consider when discussing “those cutesy beings who are the future of the church”

or as I prefer to think of them “These children of God who have so much to contribute”

#online #internet and #church Resources, a start…

So…you might be ready to venture into this whole online church thing

YAY! I probably don’t have to tell you, but not being online these days is akin to not being in the phonebook…and everyone wants to be in the phonebook.

But then the question is how to do it? How much? What are good resources? I plan to list here some of the resources I have gathered.

Websites

www.textweek.com resources on the lectionary also www.workingpreacher.org has regular and narrative lectionary resources

http://www.monkdevelopment.com/ website with tips and tricks for churches

http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/2014/09/certification-lab-instructors-conversation/ offers workshops and trainings bc too often…church marketing sucks

http://churchtechtoday.com/about-2/ Free resources to help churches communicate better. No matter the medium, it’s time to be intentional about reaching your congregation and community.

ChurchTechToday was born out of the need to find a place to discuss how technology can truly impact the Church in positive ways, whether it be reducing administration with a church office, allowing para church organizations to connect with their members online, or simply to share the Gospel message through non-traditional channels.

http://pomomusings.com/ Adam Walker Cleveland’s blog about tech and ministry Social Media Sunday experiences

http://www.adamjcopeland.com/category/technology/ Adam Copeland’s blog about technological topics

http://textinchurch.com/  a marketing resource with some free and some pay content to learn about texting/email and media follow ups for visitors, etc.

 

Follow on Twitter

@cmsucks : idea sharing and marketing techniques

@NewMediaAtCTS : blogs and ideas

@pewresearch : pew research info to help to stay up to date

@dreampcusa offers twitter prayers on a regular basis

publishes his own unofficial daily Presbyterian News blog on twitter

@unvirtuousabbey monks who tongue and cheekily provide ministerial guides and twitter prayers (in my opinion the best in twitter ministry)

@chsocm Content & conversation about social media for church & faith. Lively ecumenical chat Tuesdays, 9PM (ET). Founded by , July 2011. Also on Facebook.

Experiencing the Word of God : Two nontraditional and GOOD experiences of the Gospel online that are possibilities for your church to take on are

http://faithandwonder.com/ Biblical Storytelling

http://www.90secondsermon.com/ Essential Sermon (created by a tech and a media person both of whom are now pastors, they are very saavy)

 

I tend to follow the Geek/Nerd world, issues in LBQT* and CisNormativity issues as well as feminism and theology

including

Suey Park @suey_park

MaryAnn McKibbean Dana

(those two tend to butt head so watch out)

Pastrix’s cool author Nadia Bolz-Weber @sarcasticluther

PCUSA Washington Justice advocate J. Herbert Nelson @jherbertnelson

A Queer Seminary student Alan @awhooker

as well as various Christian Magazines (CC Century, Christianity Today, Presbyterian’s Today, etc)

and my local Presbytery

My church has a website (which we are still figuring out, I hired someone to construct it, but do not like the results http://www.albanyncpc.com) three facebook pages 1 church, 1 farmer’s market and 1 nursery school all controlled through the church website, and a meetup group for our playgroup.

We JUST hired a 10hr a week media coordinator. Her job description reads as follows

10hr a week position, 5hrs onsite at New Covenant Presbyterian 916 Western Ave and 5hrs flexible
pay $8-$9 an hr

*Maintain website weekly
*Maintain facebook M-Fri
*Maintain Farmer’s Market Facebook
*Assist with Email Correspondances
*Design and Print Brochures, Flyer, Invites & Newsletters
*Assist with Advertising

Qualifications
Must be internet savvy, understand how to maintain and update FB, Twitter, and Basic Blog style Website
Self-Starter: Must be able to work alone and propose independent ideas
Organized: Must be able to routinely check on media without prompting or instruction
Team Player: Must interact and work well with pastor, secretary and staff

Preferences
Degree in Media, Publishing, Communications, or some related field
Experience in either attending or working at a church environment

The media person is to support all the online ads (local newspaper, craigslist) and free media resources that we could be using more, but I only maintain adhoc. This person is onsight for some coordination and to show the congregation that she is actually working (because many of them don’t get what a media person does).

 

If you have questions/comments about media or other resources, let me know!

 

#Beauty #life #church more #calvin&hobbes #worship #toughweekweareopenonSunday

images Life is connectional,

For me, Church is a great way to make connections….

The more the church can welcome the stuffed tigers and the rambunctious children, the better we are doing our job. After all, these messy people are the ones who remind us just how beautiful life is….When I was young I used to go to church with Eli. Eli was….a pistol, he always knew how he wanted things done and he threw himself into doing them, running from one end of the church to the other, yelling his announcements at the top of his lungs, jumping up and down in the pew. Calvin-and-Hobbes-hugging-calvin-and-hobbes-1395524-1024-768

He was that child in church.

Two important things about Eli

1. He loved church, he especially loved the “Amens” sung at the end, and would freeze whatever he was doing to listen carefully–what a holy moment

2. He loved church so much, he told everyone, EVERYONE about it, he invited his friends, who brought their parents. This child single-handedly brought more people to the church than anyone else in the entire congregation.

What a testimony to life, connections and worship that can be experienced through the eyes of just one child!

#Queer #God from #cisgaze perspective

Prayerful thoughts as my sister prepares for Trans Surgery

Queer means different, a different kind of God.

That’s the kind of God I know God to be, a God who is so varied that we MUST communicate with each other in order to start to grasp who Godself is.

This is why it is so VITAL to bring those who are different into the church,

I’m for the queer Church.

Because although I seem normative, I know that God made me unique.

 

Worship, Church, Buildings and Mission

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong, tell me which of these things are not like the other, by the time I finish my song

 

Worship, Church, Building, Mission
 
My church is very lucky to have a building: it has a good location and is not crumbling (although it needs upkeep)
 
Here is my question, how much is ministry defined by the building? How much to we decide who we are and what are capabilities by our building.
 
If we are looking to grow spiritually, then we probably should plan to OUTGROW our building.
This idea is some (I hope) of what is behind the new One Thousand and One Worshiping Communities. The idea isn’t just that church should go to the community, its the idea that church should be exuberantly overflowing into all parts of your lives.
Overflowing, Abundance, Exuberance: These should be the words that you associate with worship, church and mission.
 
I want monthly Mission projects, theater and arts. I want to be a place where children come to play, communities come to eat, and lonely people come to socialize. I want it to be a place to go when people are new to then neighborhood, or need a new connection in their lives. To do all this, I think we need to be more than outreach, more than in the community, but be lively, engaging and overflowing with Love.
 
This means Hands on activities, short & clear messages, uplifting conversations and empowering ministries!
 
Go! Mission! Go!
 
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