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Phillip Day Children & Families Ministry Specialist  ~  Mobile: +61 (0)417 116 970
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VCCE Victorian Council of Christian Education
Email: phillip.day@vcce.org.au
Website: vcce.org.au
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MIDST Jesus place a child in their midst
Email: phillip.day@midst.com.au
Website: midst.com.au
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Discover Children’s Ministry Network cmm.org.au
Resourcing Australian children and families ministry, promoting:
Networking ~ Connecting ~ Events ~ Positions vacant ~ Resources
Resource people (trainers/presenters/artists) ~ & more!
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Villages raise children and faith communities make disciples

Welcome to Midst, a ministry of

  • a kaleidoscope of colour and ideas
  • a suspended explosion
  • a book in the making
  • an odd sox enterprise
  • a dingodabulous story
  • a shared journey
  • an annual subscription of AUD$36

There are two ways to benefit from Midst …

1. Sign up to ‘Midst Snippets’

Receive a free eNews every now and then called ‘Midst Snippets’ … excerpts of ideas and insights into the key ministry areas of Midst; updates, stories, upcoming events, ministry news and more. Opt out at any time. Receiving Snippets is a great way to evaluate Midst before subscribing. Sign up here>

 

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Midst Vision
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I have a passion to see parents, schools & children’s workers and church leaders equipped and resourced to join children on the faith journey in ways that benefit us all … ultimately, so we may all grow in faith in God as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This passion is expressed in my:

  • motto: “Villages raise children; faith communities make disciples!”;
  • relationships, conversations and activities with a variety of people, networks and partnerships;
  • joy in drawing alongside people in consultancies or training opportunities;
  • ability to listen to and share stories, particularly in the area of parenting.

My prayer is for the highest quality of effective Children & Families Ministry for Victoria.

This prayer is expressed as I:

  • explore daily personal Bible reading & prayer;
  • further my reading in the area of children and families ministry;
  • develop the Midst website in ways that benefit The Kingdom of God.

I have a passion to see a re-imagination, a re-definition and a re-organisation of the way we are church with The Child in our MIDST.

This passion is expressed in:

  • a commitment to risk something new;
  • an unwillingness to see children in our faith communities ‘lost in transition’ as they grow older;
  • my prophetic anger out of a sense of injustice where I see failure to attend effectively to God’s little ones;
  • a growing sense that we each struggle with ‘The Child in our Midst/The Child Within’;
  • Midst values: We need to connect, engage, participate, belong, respond WITH children.
Phil Day © 2011 midst.suvic.org.au

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Midst Vision
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Community
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Here are the friends, colleagues, organisations and networks I partner with and/or support in some way.  The list is not exhaustive or in any order.

Given our sometimes distinctive approaches and theologies I am happy to say mostly we agree with each other and the dialogue is always healthy and helpful.

If you are not on the list and would like to be or would like to add a link or amend anything, please send me the relevant details.


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Ideas
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Ideas … Dingodabulous seeds of energy!

Some things to think about … some ideas to explore … a collection of what if ‘s and maybe’s …

(Do you like the word ‘dingodabulous’?  I found it one day at it started all sorts of adventures in the imagination.)
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Communion with children
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Engaging children in the communion time

Engaging everyone, particularly children, in the communion time

Common to most traditions of celebrating worship is the time of Communion/ The Lord’s Supper/ Holy Eucharist.

In these traditions there are at least the following three parts embedded somewhere.  If not, there could be!

First Part: A Jesus Story

By what ever means encourage children towards the help they need to find a Bible, find a story of Jesus and engage in it for themselves and with others. This could be in the form of an engaging sermon just prior to communion. It could also be a drama or storytelling presentation of a Bible story.  It could be one of the stories of Jesus that children have been exploring in their own age-appropriate time over the last few weeks. It could be an Old Testament story that points to Jesus. It could be one child’s favourite story read from their favourite Bible. There are many useful ways to explore this. It could even be a multi-gen, multi-sensory, engaging sermon!!

A couple of questions to we can encourage children and others to ask as we engage the Word of God prior to coming around the communion table:

  • I wonder why this story is in the Bible?
  • I wonder how this helps us to be like Jesus to one another and to those in our community and in our world?
  • I wonder how we can find the help and the learning to do this?

Second Part: The Story of the first communion meal

This is the instituting story … the formation story … of how we come to be gathered as a church around the communion table. Often these Words of Institution come from the prayer book, an order or service or directly from 1 Cor 11:23-26

Some traditions may allow different forms of these words to be integrated in different ways through story, prayers, poems, comments or testimonies. These different methods allow an exploration of the ideas around this instituting story. Nevertheless, these words institute us … they form us … they start us off … they give us a pattern or an example to follow.

On the night Jesus was betrayed … Jesus started a special meal to help us to REMEMBER.

Remember’ can have two meanings here:

  • to re-call the stories; re-member the stories; re-live, re-tell, re-enact, re-engage with, re-imagine the stories of Jesus. And from this:
  • to re-put-together; re-make; re-member Jesus together; re- be Jesus to one another and to those in our community and in our world? [missing reference from BTh Essay] In this sense of the word, re-member is the opposite of dis-member. (One slightly odd illustration of these opposites … While we can’t re-member a dis-membered cooked chook, we can re-member Jesus today as the church.)

To re-member Jesus in this latter sense is part of what it means to celebrate how God makes Jesus alive today to one another and to those in our community and in our world. We do this:

  • in the coming together as God’s people;
  • in responding individually and together out of our engagement of the Bible narratives of Jesus; (The Old Testament as it points to Jesus; and the Letters of Paul and others as it describes how to re-be Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.)
  • in deciding afresh to commit individually to being followers of The Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth
  • in deciding together as a Body of Christ to be like Jesus to one another and to those in our community and in our world?; and
  • in asking for the help we need by Holy Spirit to be pentecosted, gifted, formed afresh for God’s mission in and through the church.

Third Part: Using the responses gathered in the first two parts, we frame a prayer:

We are not the church together trying to re-member Jesus by virtue of the fact of turning up or having a meal or wanting to commit ourselves in this way. As important as these things are, we are made to be be like Jesus to one another and to those in our community and in our world by God. If we don’t already, we could learn to acknowledge this and pray accordingly.

This makes something like the following prayer an important part of all thanksgiving liturgies.

Come Holy Spirit … come empower us, make us, gift us, pentecost us afresh and help us be like Jesus to one another and to those in our community and in our world after the pattern of Jesus we are discovering together. Amen.

In this sense, the communion meal becomes a sign up page to being used by God to be The Church. The mystery of God’s presence in and through the Church is experienced in this moment and in every expression of what it means to be God’s Church.

[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

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Project Orange
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Is your ministry with children and families …

                   … a strong, vibrant RED + YELLOW = ORANGE ministry? 

RED … the colour of the parents’ spiritual leadership, faith nurturing and discipling of their own children …  PLUS

YELLOW the colour of the church’s invitational and discipling ministry with children and families … EQUALS

ORANGE … working together to strengthen both the roles of parents and the church

ORANGE … exploring ways to establish and resource partnerships between parents and the church. 

The concept of ‘Orange’ is from Reggie Joiner, Sue Miller and others out of the USA. More explanation here>

 

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Being Church with children
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Here’s an idea for a way of being church with children.

At the outset, an observation.

Being church with children is a complex matter. But it can be made simple.

What is written below does not need to be complicated although the use of words seems to make it seem so. If my words make it a stumbling block, by all means, edit away!

Bottom line, the way of thinking about children in our midst does require a re-imagination of our current, often out-dated ideas. Current practices mostly suit us as adults and our perceived needs but aren’t doing everything that can be possibly tried to ensure our children aren’t lost to our faith and worshipping traditions at key times of transition.

When it comes to a child’s faith journey, what’s required more and more is a thoughtful and often complex response:

  • taking into account how children best grow and learn;
  • even taking into account how adults best grow and learn;
  • getting the mix right;
  • forming partnerships between the home and the church;
  • rejecting simplistic responses that don’t work and have never worked well enough anyway!

The aim set out below is to meet the needs of :

  • parents in practical ways in the area of raising children (particularly boys) with faith … understanding our own faith journey and the faith journey of children;
  • adults who come together to engage with one another and  God in the Bible and to do this at times with children.;
  • children whose faith is best formed through celebrating worship together in multi-age settings. The basis of involvement is an active participation and contribution in such activities as drama, music, the visual arts and technology.
  • boys who are currently being lost in the transition years of upper primary to secondary and secondary to tertiary.

Style (adaptable/negotiable)

The schemata outlined below is only one such possibility. The theme for the month, randomly chosen and explored using the different events below is ‘food/hospitality’. It could be any theme where the story of Jesus intersects with our story of what it means to do life together, being Jesus to one another and the community around us.

  • Week 1 … Tuesday night … Forum: Raising Boys … activities for here could include • guest speaker • Bible discussion/activity • AO nights • Parent/son night or activity as planned by group • prep for celebration event. Added factors provided by a child advocate … thought through and planned in advance with leader and host: How is this activity be modified if  children present in our midst? How can they be involved at our feet? How can they participate? How can children be taken aside to bring back a conrtibution to this process? Or a combination?
    Theme example: Meals with Jesus … Competencies around BBQue sausage on safe campfire/reenact Meal on beach with Jesus
  • Week 2 … Tuesday Night … Bible Engagement … • multi-aged • particularly for those 9yo and above • drama based for those who are active • &/or technology based for those who don’t want to be up front •  prep for celebration event. Added factors provided by a child advocate … thought through and planned in advance with leader and host: How is this activity to happen given children in our midst? How can they be involved at our feet? How can they participate? How can children be taken aside to bring back a conrtibution to this process? Or a combination?
    Theme example: Meals with Jesus … Capture on powerpoint/keynote photos and drama of Jesus’ meals with sinners and tax collectors.

  • Week 3 … Tuesday Night … Toolkit for growing great kids … Practical learning and discussion for parents • story based learning • community building • helpful in developing culture in family and celebration events. Unlikely children would be present for this one but welcome nonetheless
    Theme example: Culture and routines around family meals and celebrations, guidelines for healthy, helpful, Godly behaviours; expectations of community meals discussed & negotiated.

  • Week 4 … Tuesday Night … AO Bible study & activities. Added factors provided by a child advocate … thought through and planned in advance with leader and host: How is this activity be modified with children possibly present on some occasions? How can they be involved at our feet? How can they participate? How can children be taken aside to bring back a conrtibution to this process? Or a combination?
    Theme example: Meals with Jesus … Discuss the theological hospitality of Jesus’ meals with sinners and tax collectors including God’s grace possibly including Pauls’ instructions to Corinthians around the agape meal.

  • Week 4 … Friday Night (Sat?Sun?) … Community celebration of worship around communion … story of Jesus (food)/contributions from above activities … communion … prayer/come Holy Spirit continue to remake us your church.
    Theme example:  Culmination of food/hospitality theme
    This aspect needs to be read in conjuction with the ideas of being church together around the communion table here>

One possible result of this cycle: A way of doing community meals with one another with some understandings of hospitality and welcome; with some agreed guidelines around the community routine of meals with children.

Another possible outcome: Let’s do slow cooker meals with our community celebration with leftovers going into freezer containers for pastoral care/needs etc

Note#1: Groups could provide ‘at home’ activities so other not present could engage in the learning/activites of the group. Perhaps suggesting ways for others to contribute at the celebrations of worship.

Note#2:  All activities are valid in their own right and complete on the night AND have a dimension that can be taken and shared at a celebration of worship anywhere including the once per month celebration.

Other Variations

In the process of life together … there may be 2 or 3 (minimum) pray, agree and decide, “Wouldn’t singing (for example) be good to add as part of our worshipping life together?” These two or three could recruit a child advocate and a host as necessary to form a planning team to produce either:

  • ‘at home’ activities for community participants &/OR
  • another monthly activity night/afternoon for people interested in this area.

The possibilities are endless and limited only by interest and the size of the community. Some of you will even be saying, “What about girls?” Good!
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Three Friends
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Three faith perspectives ~ Three faith  journeys ~ Three ways to explore

 

Draft: 18/7/2012

Please feel free to comment/edit/suggest …

Note: Being on this website for writing/editing purposes is not meant to imply that it will end up in this format.

Credits

To be added

Section 01: Introduction

A helpful Tool

Here is a tool to help you explore what it means for a upper primary aged child to be a friend and follower of Jesus. It helps a leader and a child explore answers to some typical questions they may be facing about themselves, God, Jesus, how to be a friend of Jesus and how to follow Jesus.

Each child is different and in a special relationship with you and opening this booklet together with a child probably means the child is open to the idea of following Jesus … most likely coming to this booklet as a result of an invitation to consider being a friend and follower of Jesus. Nevertheless, this booklet should also make sense to a reader who picks it up for a casual read.

Background to ‘Three Friends’
The investigations and challenges are undertaken by three friends each reflecting a different style of investigation. These styles have been inspired by observations and a study by David Benson presented, in part, at a lecture in Melbourne 2011. (‘What’s the Bible got to do with me?~ shaping the thinking of teens outside the church” Annual Peter Corney Youth Ministry lecture, Ridley COllege, Melbourne, 2011, David Benson, Kenmore Baptist Church, Austlraia)His work suggests there are at least three typical teenage responses to the Bible being are those of an antagonistic atheist, an untrusting skeptic and a confused seeker. Benson uses the work of Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel and Rob Bell respectively to challenge each of these common world views. According to Benson these theologians offer distinct voices commending the Bible in the market place of ideas.These summaries will appear below..It might also be helpful to characteristic these approaches as intellactual, philosophical and emotional; perhaps even in terms of belief, behaviour and belonging. The challenge is to represent the complexity of these approaches simply without having to ‘unteach’ something later on in life. The beauty of this approach is that if we can explain something simply to children, we will have the jargon-free language to share our faith story with anyone.

Assumptions

Relating this to the world of a child, particularly that of of an upper primary aged child, certain assumptions are made.

• Patterns of personality, style and preferences are are set and observable in a child prior to teenage years;

• The ways of viewing self, God, Jesus and the world are being formed and developed prior to teenage years;

• Investigation and response to the claims of Jesus is possible at early ages;

• Family and children’s workers as well as parents need help to be able to see and respond appropriately to these developing world views in children.

• Children coming to this document do so with some background understanding of themselves, God, Jesus and the Bible story

• Children coming have some level of desire to be friends and followers of Jesus

Starting Out

Earlier publications are a forerunner to this publication, particularly the work undertaken in Scripture Union’s ‘Starting Out’. The writers of this booklet recognised that the basic questions of ‘Who am I in relation to God?’ ‘Who is God?’ Who is Jesus? Why did Jesus have to die on a cross? How can we be friends and followers of Jesus? needed to be simply addressed. This will also be the challenge in the first of these ‘Three Friends’ booklets. ‘Starting Out’ also started with ‘You are special and important to God!’ celebrating our unique relationship with Creator God. It is considered important to establish this up front with ‘Three Friends’

Any further writing could also helpfully explore ‘What does following look like?’ with topics such as The Bible, Keep on keeping on!’, Church, and Worship amongst others. These basic discipling matters are thought best left to any follow up booklets in a ‘Three Friends’ series.

The ‘Three Friends’ approach is also partly inspired by the central question used in Starting Out. “Are any of these three friends just like you right now?” This question will be used as a tool to help children investigate questions in ‘Three Friends’.

Sin

A theology of ‘Sin’ is the elephant in the room! Adults find hard to talk about sin simply yet helpfully and correctly around children. ‘Starting Out’ did it extremely well talking in terms of ignorance, broken or lost relationship with God showing up in a range of behaviours that demonstrate this failure of relationship. Building on this, ‘Three Friends’ continue this approach weaving in the biblical notions of sin as darkness (evil), lostness and brokenness (missing the mark). These aspects of sin will be explored in a variety of ways, sometimes not even using the word ‘sin’.

JustRight!

Another term developed in ‘Three Friends’ is ‘JustRight’ Gathering the idea and vision of all relationships being just right, it includes such things as of JUST: justice, fairness, fair for everyone, a fair go, everybody matters to God, fullness, nothing missing and RIGHT: righteousness, right relationship, correct, healed, healthy, helpful, right for everyone not just me, right view, not crooked.

This term will be used and applied to all relationships including our relationship with God, ourself, others, our history, our environment and our world. YES, God’s interest is in us personally AND yet ultimately has the rescue of the whole world as the big, big picture. BOTH the emphasis on personal relationship with God for it’s own sake AND God’s desire for a big rescue of the the environment, whole communities, the whole world; it’s systems and structures in order for it all to express the dream and sovereignty of God will be explored by ‘Three Friends’.

Three Friends will also explore what it means to live JustRight in all our relationships with God’s help. This is what it means to follow Jesus (a term used in the gospels) or to imitate Christ (a term used in Paul’s letters). We do so individually and together with Holy Spirit’s help. We do so individually and together as the Church to demonstrate the love of God, the truth of God and the power of God with the help of Holy Spirit. We do so in an age when we live in and express the reality of a relationship with God in the ‘now’ AND as a foretaste of the ‘not yet’ which is to come.

Three Friends

Developing a style for each of the Three Friends will be a construct and this will have its strength and weaknesses. Hopefully this will allow children to identify with one character at one time and a different character at another.

All these complex understandings! Yet simply put! Now there’s a challenge:-)

Rather than take on the full argument here of how and why this resource is as it is, much better to see it and test to see if it is helpful: ‘Does it work?’

‘I wonder …? Questions

This style of questioning is used trhoughout these booklets as a way of invitin a child to engage with the story. They may be wondering the same thing or they may offer an answer to that question. Listening to the responses to these questions will help to guide your discussion and learning together. Tow of the most common responses to a child’s responses here could be, “What else?” and “I wonder how you came to that answer?” These further questions will also help you to glean what a child may already understand about the topic being explored.

We do so with Holy Spirit’s help!

Conversion is never our role. It is God’s. We may teach, quide, answer questions and invite but the work of Holy Spirit is the work of Holy Spirit. Learn to operate as a juniour partner in the process. Pray as you listen. Listen as you pray. Learn and discover together.

The challenge for parents and workers

These few introductory pages conatain some learning points and discussion starters. When it comes to actually applying any learning by using the booklet of the Three Friends the challenge is not to assume that we know exactly what any particular child is thinking or feeling. Giving time for conversation, listening, observation and prayer will mean allowing a child to explore and engage in some of the questions for themselves. One very effective tool in listening is never to react externally with surprise or dismay at something a child says. A good line to use when you are inwardly squirming is, “That’s interesting, tell me a llittle more about that please.” If you can say it calmly and a little dispassionately you may very well encourage further trust and discussion.

The Basic Pattern for when the Three Friends explore a topic

  • Pose the question … and explore, each friend looking at an aspect of the question; Open The Bible
  • Share findings with each other and wonder with each other “What does this mean?”, setting the question for the next page
  • Go off for more of an explore and figure how this could make a difference
  • Come back and share the sorts of things this could mean, including response activities. e.g. prayer flow chart.
  • Ask the reader: (YOU! Yes I mean YOU!) What do you reckon: what do you feel about all of this; what are you going to do about this;
  • Provide a
    • Thought bubble for responses
    • Add a reminder: We are not alone, God is helping us
    • Encourage the use of one or more of the response activities proposed by each Three Friends

Form here<>

Section 02: Three Friends: Character, personality, style, background story

The following section sets the personality, background story, investigation style of each character for each of the Three Friends. The sections also contain mottos, particular Bible stories, references, quirks and more for each of the characters. Note: the language in this section will not necessarily make it onto any particular page later on. The words here represent theology and ideas that will form the basis of ideas and language expressed later on.

Arthur Squiz

Engaging the antagonistic atheist …

… who is convinced: science yields the only sure knowledge; much of what we think is conditioned; thinks belief in God is a way of fulfilling wishes; no evidence to support such beliefs; natural processes explain everything and must explain human behaviour; natural laws make miracles impossible; Bible implausible – a product of a naive and unscientific age – especially creation myth and resurrection of Jesus; Science is about facts and the Bible is about faith; The Word of God is unbelievable and can’t make sense of the world. [Benson p.4]

Peta Song

Engaging the untrusting sceptic …

… who has too many unanswered questions; unwilling to believes something just to make you feel better; difficult to believe; hard to trust ant any of what Christianity claims is true; sees the Bible’s morality as restrictive and some Christians judgemental; doesn’t understand how it all works – how can the death of one man counteract the sins of billions??; doesn’t know how we can believe Jesus really did live and rise from the dead; did those things really happen; is the Bible real; is it made up or and evil joke; the Bible is in-credible and can’t see the evidence. [Benson p.4]

Chloe Street

Engaging the confused  seeker …

… who wonders, “Who cares?”; sees the proliferation of religions and denominations as undermining that any one option is right; lacks confidence that God could exist let alone be right; feels desperately alone and afraid in the world; not wanting to believe out of desperation in case it’s a lie and doesn’t work’; want to believe, to feel peace, hope and love but sees Christianity as a blind faith – trusting in and old book; looking for a foundation to justify taking a leap of faith to believe in something real that works. [Benson p.5]

text text text

Arthur Squiz

Engaging the antagonistic atheist …

… who is convinced: science yields the only sure knowledge; much of what we think is conditioned; thinks belief in God is a way of fulfilling wishes; no evidence to support such beliefs; natural processes explain everything and must explain human behaviour; natural laws make miracles impossible; Bible implausible – a product of a naive and unscientific age – especially creation myth and resurrection of Jesus; Science is about facts and the Bible is about faith; The Word of God is unbelievable and can’t make sense of the world. [Benson p.4]

[Learning opportunity]

[Considering the mid to upper primary aged group of children you know, can you see the seeds of this stance developing? Discuss.]

Response

Francis Shaeffer addresses the illogicality and unlivability of a naturalistic and impersonal secularistic world view. The Christian world view answers our questions of relational morality, personal meaning and purpose and hope for the world in a coherent manner, verified by what we know of the universe and our human nature. By firstly challenging an antagonistic atheist’s confidence in their world view, the hope is they are open to considering he Bible as a plausible system in answer to the big questions with which they grapple. [Benson p.10]

Approach

Open the ears of listeners by challenging secularism; addressing the plausibility of the Christian world view; providing answers to the big questions.

Typical faith stance

“The Bible story of how to live in a just-right relationship with God, yourself and others is the best system around … it answers all my big questions like “Why am I here?” … it also tells me what’s going on in relationships and human nature; what’s broken and how to fix it.

Key question

Does it make sense? How can I make sense if the world that’s not right and what is God doing to fix it? Can God love a person who isn’t all together right now?

God’s view about me

I am important to God … I matter.

Sin

Sin as brokenness in relationship; failing the mark, ignoring God, pushing God away. Life as accepting grace, forgiveness, help and healing to start over, being put in a right relationship with God and living in this.

Six Windows Themes

  •  The ‘Creation’ window sees:

God as creator/maker/source/generous (not stingy), sustainer, repairer, healer … and there is a problem of death & decay, dislocation, twisted ‘image’ … Jesus lived in our broken world and overcame; showed God not giving up on creation; showed the way … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as new creation, breathing self (image) into us humans ongoingly, recreation, regeneration, co-labourers in healing and restoring creation … Ultimate: a new heaven and a new earth … ref: Galations 5

  •  The ‘Law’ window sees:

God as just, righteous, law giver … and there’s a problem of guilt and shame … Jesus came and fulfilled the law; is the Lamb of God … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as being washed clean, made just-right, working with God for a just-right world … Ultimate: stand tall, vindicated … ref: Psalm 19:7-11… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

Related Bible Stories

Jesus teaching about relationship, faith, loving God, brokenness, things out of order, things NOT just-right yet offering grace and forgiveness

• Jesus heals the man with leprosy, Jesus calls fishermen and tax collectors; Paralytic Mark 2 forgiveness/healing/sin broken

Miscellaneous

• Shalom: Full Supply; Nothing Missing; Nothing Broken

Peta Song

Engaging the untrusting sceptic …

… who has too many unanswered questions; unwilling to believes something just to make you feel better; difficult to believe; hard to trust ant any of what Christianity claims is true; sees the Bible’s morality as restrictive and some Christians judgemental; doesn’t understand how it all works – how can the death of one man counteract the sins of billions??; doesn’t know how we can believe Jesus really did live and rise from the dead; did those things really happen; is the Bible real; is it made up or and evil joke; the Bible is in-credible and can’t see the evidence. [Benson p.4]

[Learning opportunity]

[Considering the mid to upper primary aged group of children you know, can you see the seeds of this stance developing? Discuss.]

Response

Lee Strobel explores Jesus’ existence  and claims and the reliability of the Bible as not a corrupted collection fo fables by advancing reasoned arguments. By providing information demonstrating reliability and credibility demonstrates the Bible can withstand scrutiny thereby demonstrating its historical and moral veracity. The hope here is that by providing novel evidence in this way may encourage and exploration and engagement of the Bible story for themselves. [Benson p.12]

Approach

Establishing trust through advancing creditable truths; addressing the reliability of the claims of the Bible and Jesus.

Typical faith stance

“I want to see if he really lived, what he said is true, and check this Jesus out from all sorts of angles … like some people who did in Jesus’ day.  Some people hated Jesus and had him killed.  Other people believed what he said about himself, saw what he did and wanted to follow his example of how to live.  I’ve checked out Jesus for myself: there were lots of witnesses who saw him after he rose from the dead; the authors who wrote about him talked with people who knew Jesus first hand.  I want to find out more about how to be a friend and follower of Jesus for myself.”

Key question

Is it true? How can I know what is true about what happened so long ago? Is the Bible reliable?

 

God’s view about me

I am special to God … unique!

Sin

Sin as darkness; evil, choosing against God, choosing for self, ignorance of God and God’s ways (no excuse; Romans 1:20) Life as is choosing loving, healthy, helpful, Godly choices out of a love response to all that God is and does.

Six Windows Themes

  •  The ‘Kingdom’ window sees:

God as wise leader, good boss, centre rather than top, holder of upside-down values compared to the world … and there is a problem of enslavement to the world rules/values, choosing against God … Jesus show the way and invites and waits for us humans to get on board (no force) … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as being made free citizens and God’s co-workers in the world … Ultimate: The Lion and the Lamb lie down together; Followers honoured as faithful servants … ref: Colossians 1 

  •  The ‘Holiness’ window sees:

God as perfect ‘other’, mysterious, beyond our control, out of time, transcendent, perfect awesome … and there is a problem of shame and uncleanliness /evil … Jesus makes God’s contact with us real, the sacred dwelling amongst us … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as washed clean, being light and salt in the world … Ultimate: Clothed in Christ … ref: Isaiah 6

Related Bible Stories

Ordinary people loved and followed Jesus. People who met Jesus said he was someone special from God, (creditable witnesses) Some people didn’t like it and plotted to kill him. Resurrection: creditable witnesses; Thomas asking questions and being allowed to; Historians outside of Christianity/ The Bible talk of Jesus.

Miscellaneous


Chloe Street

Engaging the confused  seeker …

… who wonders, “Who cares?”; sees the proliferation of religions and denominations as undermining that any one option is right; lacks confidence that God could exist let alone be right; feels desperately alone and afraid in the world; not wanting to believe out of desperation in case it’s a lie and doesn’t work’; want to believe, to feel peace, hope and love but sees Christianity as a blind faith – trusting in and old book; looking for a foundation to justify taking a leap of faith to believe in something real that works. [Benson p.5]

[Learning opportunity]

[Considering the mid to upper primary aged group of children you know, can you see the seeds of this stance developing? Discuss.]

Response

Rob Bell: a approach that engages nominal Christians and New Agers who are open to truths and insights irrespective of source. A variety of approaches that excite imagination, enthral emotions, encourage a  pursuit of truth, make sense of their stories within the bigger story of the Bible, fulfilling a desire for something more, experiencing life the Jesus’ Way, exploring Bible stories in a non-coercive way; discovering the truth, goodness and beauty of the Bible; drawing on all this to construct a meaningful life. [Benson p.14]

Approach

Arousing interest by engaging experience; addressing the relevance of the Christian message in living meaningfully in today’s world.

Typical faith stance

“The story of God gives me a way to understand the struggles and hopes and experiences of living in this world generally and my life specifically. In it I hear a call to an alternative path that is appealing, inviting NOT coercive or dogmatic. The failures of so many people in the Bible reassure me that “I’m not alone in my anxiety and doubts … or my mistakes. Jesus’ invitation to have ‘life to the full’ seems too good to be true.  But his resurrection life confirms that this new life that he is offering is real.  I want to find out how to have Jesus’ new life for myself.”

 

Key question

Does it work?  How does it all help me live my life? What difference does it make in the world?

 

God’s view about me

I am loved by God … accepted!

Sin
Sin as lostness, despair, hopelessness … Life as foundness, a desire to be found , finding one’s true self in God, healing, restored to a safe, loving relationship with God, self, others for God’s purposes for the world and the help to live in this.

 

Six Windows Themes

The ‘Covenant’ window sees:

God as smitten lover, promise-keeper/faithful, trustworthy … and there is a problem of a separation from and a yearning for intimacy … Jesus as trustworthy, not walking away, demonstrating God believes in our worthiness … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as reconciliation, fresh start, gossipers of the good news of a new agreement between us humans and God … Ultimate: a marriage feast … ref: Hosea

 

The ‘Family/Home’ window sees:

God as  Abba, loving parent, ‘father heart’ ‘mother love’ … and there is a problem of alienation and exile, lostness … Jesus as brother,  in it all with us for the long haul … Grace and invitation expressed here and now as a welcome ‘home’; new tribe, member rights and responsibilities in the world … Ultimate: enter into a full inheritance … ref: Hebrews 2

Related Bible Stories

Zaccheus and his responses/ restitution
• Not the way’ to go … good way to live, good choices
• Needing imagination to see how things could be different; and example to follow; hope there is another way.

Miscellaneous

Section Heading

Section paragraph

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Midst
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Childlysimplicious

A new word to describe the joys and the challenge of ‘The Child in our Midst’

‘He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them [in their midst]; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’  Mark 9:35-37 NRSV

On this web page you are invited to engage The Child in our Midst.

There are at least six children you could ask into your midst in order to listen to and learn from.  These children speak, not necessarily with words we can audibly hear, but speak nevertheless in languages we need to be able to see, hear, sense and interpret with all the power of Holy Spirit we are privileged to access.

The headings have been gleaned from readings and discussions over the years and some of these headings have been in use for some time.  Books and articles have been written relating to some of these themes.  They are gathered here as a useful reminder to the discussion so far.  Some of the headings will be new to the discussion as well.

The Metaphorical Child

‘Unless you become like this child you will never enter the kingdom of God’  Matthew

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The Actual Child

The present of an actual child in our midst should make a difference.  We have come a long way since the era when it was often believed that ‘a child should be seen and not heard’.  Thankfully, time and traditions have changed in that respect.  What still needs to be asked every time an actual child is present in our midst is, “So what?”

In what circumstances do we keep doing the same cultural things in order to raise a child at the feet of that culture?  When do we change facets of our traditions in order to take into account the presence of a child?  When do we not so much change our traditions but rather change our behaviours completely whilst being true to our traditions because a child is present?  When do we radically change our behaviours and our traditions because they are just not working for us as adults let alone the child in our midst.  In this case, the child in our midst clearly and plainly draws our attention to the fact that things are not working.

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The Representative Child

The one child in africa and the one child in our school community and the one child in our family are examples of the representative child in this picture.  You may ask each of these representative children in turn to be and speak God language and God words from their perspective related to, for example, ‘Hope’.  What if each of these representative children could become  the word ‘hope’.  What would we understand them to add to the meaning or theology of the word ‘hope’.  It will take careful ears to hear their language/and interpret their expressions.  Sometimes the child will speak about ‘hope’ given their ‘hopelessness’.  There is also a danger that adults will project of our adultness of words and expression on the child but also there will be the distinct possibility of seeing, hearing and sensing a new expression of God-words about ‘hope’ in and through the child.

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The Future Child

As adults, as parents, as grandparents, as workers and as ministers we have a vision for each child in our care.  We look into the faces of our children or into the faces of the representative child and we begin to see and pray and glimpse the mature adult, the mature disciple or the potential of each child.  We see how carefully we would nurture and how carefully we would disciple each of these children in order for them to become this vision we have for them.  Hopefully this is in line with God’s vision for them.  John 14:13 shows us Jesus’ vision for his followers.  In the context of Jesus life, ministry and mission, Jesus says “these things and even greater things will you do!”  Isn’t this the hope of every parent and ministry worker as well? Our children will stand on our shoulders and do even greater things than we do.  

In once sense we are looking into the eyes of each ‘Actual Child’ and considering and responding to their needs in the present moment but as we look into the eyes of ‘Future Child’ we will need to listen intently in order to plan and act in ways that will help realise God’s vision for that child..

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The Child Within

The childhood memories of the good and bad times are brought to every situation by each adult.  Sometimes the child within has been wounded in a past time and place and strong perceptions and strong emotions are triggered in the present time and place.  That wounded child within is present amongst us in our relationships today.  This inner child is in our midst and needs to be heard and healing offered.

Similarly, occassions of great joy or sensory significance can be moments that trigger memories involving strong perception and strong positive emotions of past moments.  These can be recognised and celebrated.

Both of these types of events can give rise to expressions of The Child Within regarding either the lies that will spoil our life or the Truth of God that will build our life.

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The Christ Child

In the Bible we are given pictures of Jesus as a child … as a fetus in Mary’s womb leaping on meeting John in Elizabeth’s womb; as a baby in a manger; as the memories of Mary; as a 12 year old in the temple.   The picture of of Jesus as The Christ Child is granted to us in this way.

As the Holy Spirit comes to us revealing truth and correction amongst other things … can we ask Holy Spirit to speak to us from the perspective of the Spirit of Jesus as a baby in a manger, as a one year old, as a four year old, as a ten year old?  What would we ask him?  What would that conversation reveal about ourselves, our relationship with God, about our relationship with others, our history or our environment?  What would The Christ Child reveal and express about God and any facet of God’s Truth, Love and Power in that moment?

This child speaks.  We would do well to listen.

The thoughts expressed here are developmental and represent the current views of the author, Phillip Day and may not represent his views in the future or the current views of Scripture Union Victoria. Previous updates: 4Jun09 Last updated: 16Jun09

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Soap Box
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Here are some conversations around topics that will help improve our relationships with children.

No ‘sacred cows’ are safe however and some of the discussion may challenge the more traditional approaches to ministry with children and families.

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Creches, cry rooms and foyers
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Are these areas in our churches for fun or recovery?

I reckon there are a few things to improve the ability of quite young children to stay in church for longer and longer periods of time. The skill and expected behaviour of sitting still, remaining quiet and even listening and participating in some activities is one thing. The underlying value we place of our child learning and growing in an appreciation for and an ability to engage in celebrating faith and worship is often the thing that is overlooked when bringing children to church. We miss the big picture and don’t have a vision for our child standing with us in 20 years time starting now as they are a babe in arms. After all, day to day, moment by moment worship and celebrating that is one of the few things we can learn as infants that will last us for eternity.

Starting with the big-picture idea of churches developing a vision for children celebrating worship in our midst, below are a few strategies that will help churches empower themselves and parents to take a long view regarding welcoming children into the midst of our celebrations.

But first, four things we know.

  • Children are capable of learning healthy and helpful routines and reasonable behaviours.
  • Children also know how to operate to get out of doing them.
  • In order to win through in the end, some days we just leave the context we are in and go ‘home’.
  • Children won’t keep doing something for ever just because we say so. Talk about the underlying values and motives for doing something starts at a very early age even though the loudest ‘voice’ is good and bad consequences.

An example will help explain this. From an early age children are encouraged to sleep through the night. Although they may wake and certain needs will need to be met such as food, a nappy change or even some comfort and assurance, most parents learn that in order for the child to recover some composure for a return to sleep it is not a time for fun. Therefore a strategy of dim light, no eye contact, no party, only minimal words, any needs met, and a quiet expectation for  that child to return to sleep needs to be employed event though the child will work against that idea. Experience will help identify those times when pain or sickness means that it is best not to try a ‘return-to-sleep- routine and try again another night because it ‘just ain’t gunna work’!

Each child is different and there is a collective sigh of relief when a child learns to sleep through the night. Why? It is a healthy and helpful routine for all of us and an expected behaviour as they grow older. The deeper reason is that is part of a pattern for good health. In the men time we train children in sleeping through the night from an early age for all our benefit, consistently following through with rewards or bad consequences as appropriate.

This is a helpful parallel illustration to our efforts to helping children grow to be a part of a worshipping community. It is an courageous and intentional church that envisions, equips and encourages parents to do the work required to raise children in the pews. Sometimes this is the first 20 minutes of a service and sometimes it is for the whole service. A good strategy will take into account that it takes time to for adults and children to learn; children will naturally opt for more colour and fun and do anything to get there; sometimes it’s a difficult learning process best not attempted on some days and going home and missing out is the best option; and ultimately we would love children to choose the values and motives for celebrating faith and worship as their own.

What I would love to see is parents and churches encouraging and providing a range of quite, related, interesting, yummy activities for children to enjoy in the seats as a celebration of worship proceeds. This can be true of large churches as well as small churches who value the idea of raising children at the feet of the culture they would love to see the children adopt. If children are encouraged to stay in the place of worship, they are more likely to learn the ways of the faith community in that place even though it is not necessarily fun or visual or even at times and may even be just for adults.

Unfortunately many churches side step the difficult issues in this process by providing colourful, playful and fun activities or activity areas in creches, glass encased cry rooms, foyers and  fun activity areas at the backs of some of our churches. And children know how to get there. In some ways, churches are working to counter their own goals of raising children in the faith. Churches are building failure into their processes. In short, they are teaching children to leave. (“Ahhhhh!”, the reader might say, “now we can see why this is under the heading of ‘Soap Box’!”)

Usually children will pick up on where the fun and interesting places are in life and will do there best to be there.  Even if it means making a fuss. Let’s have recovery rooms and foyers where there are no toys, no colour, no running around or any alternative activities.  Let’s use these rooms for recovery from a distressing moment or a dirty nappy or for reminding children what the guidelines are for reasonable, safe and happy behaviour. There is also the possibility that the windows looking back into the celebration of worship provide opportunities for seeing the action, to receive a little bit of teaching about what is being done and why or to see others showing acceptable behaviours in order to affirm that behaviour. Then, after the recovery, it’s time to go back to the quiet, interesting and yummy activities in the seats.

Sometimes it’s just best to pack up and go home. No discussion, no party, no fun at home, no friends or play after church, bad consquences as appropriate and certainly no rewards … just a quiet talk and even a play practice later in the week about the expected behaviours and underlying values.

If activity areas exist at the back of small churches these could be reserved for certain times of the service or, better still, be an area where a child can quietly go to in order to retrieve a resource that will help them stay with their parent or another adult in the seats.

One of the things that children will probably need to learn as they take a growing part in any family or community is that there is a level of ‘work’ or engagement required from it’s members.  This idea is always to be applied in age and stage appropriate ways however, as is most often the case, very little or even nothing is required or expected of children. They are not helped to participate or engage with the activities of celebrating worship except on the occasional ‘concert item’. It takes time, energy, grace and tough love for a church family partnering with parents to train a child in a growing level of participation.  We would improve our retention rates of children if we worked on the necessary vision, prayer and skills to do this.

A final parallel example is that of supermarket shopping.  It is the work that is required by a family in any given week but it is not necessarily interesting, relevant, fun or yummy for kids.  Figuring out how this can be a positive experience of working together as a family unit is something that is taught and caught over time … or it is avoided as being too hard! In the midst of a shopping event children may throw a tantrum as a way to opt for not coming or to gain a treat. How we handle this and recover well will determine our success in teaching a child to play a part in the work of becoming a skilled, self-managed shopper now and in the future. Sometimes leaving a basket of shopping in the aisle and going home with associated bad consequences for everyone is the best option. With training and time such things as participation in decision making in the processes of shopping will help to engage children.  There are many similarities with this situation and worship.

Celebrating worship does take some work on everyone’s part.  It doesn’t have to feel like a chore but it does take work. With God’s help and the help of a worshipping community, we can welcome children into our midst and learn to appropriately provide for their needs in relationship to everyone else’s at the same time helping them learn the behaviours, attitudes and ultimately, the deeper values of celebrating worship together.
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Villages raise children, faith communities make disciples
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Midst SoapBox: Villages raise children and faith communities make disciples.

The idea of a ‘nuclear family’ is a recent one … less than one hundred years old.  Children were raised by a village of incredibly interconnected people and systems.  Not everything went right in these villages.  Attitudes to children have been changing over the past decades to address many of the issues that still see children abused.  Nevertheless, it took a whole village to raise a child to maturity.  Even when a child was old enough to work, they were bonded to guilds and apprenticed to masters before they emerged as adult craftsmen and women.

Are we expecting too much of parents or of a parent in raising children by themselves?  Are we providing the training, resources and help parents need to assist children grow and make the variety of transitions in their young lives?
Some research I have heard of suggests that children will benefit greatly form the regular interaction of three generations.  Seeing and experiencing positive, helpful and healthy interactions between the generations will help a child in their growing sense of relationship and connectedness.  Also, if children have five or six strong relationships in a particular community, they will more likely remain strongly linked to that community and be less likely to be at risk of alienation or homelessness.  I’ll find the research sources for this one day but, in the mean time, it makes sense.

The follow on from the idea that if takes a village to raise a child is that it takes a faith community to make a disciple of that child.

Again the question, are we expecting too much of parents or of a parent in raising children of faith by themselves?  Are we providing the training, resources and help parents need to assist their children make the variety of faith transitions in their young lives?  Are we providing information and training to help everyone understand how faith develops and how we can sow Spiritual Truths into the lives of children as they grow and develop?
Parents and churches working together to develop strong connections in a faith community and finding ways of linking and apprenticing children into the faith activities of that faith community will help a child transition well through the various stages of faith.
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Gallery
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Clay Families

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Loved the challenge of using fun-clay to model a series of families! It took hours but I find a great deal of pleasure in being creative. Placing them on a background of grass and sky and photographing them was the easy part. The photo image has since been used in a variety of training contexts. I have also taken along the fun-clay to some of these training events and invited people to model a clay child as they hold a real child in their mind’s eye/heart and pray for him or her.

Reflections at Mevagissey

Our family’s trip overseas in 2008 meant the luxury of time and place to photograph anything and everything ‘orange’.  The little fishing port of Mevagissey on the south Cornish coast of England provided a feast of colourful images. This particular photo is one of my favourites reminding me of a very special time and place. The colour orange also reminds me of the challenge of forging partnerships between the faith-forming activities of the church (yellow) and the faith forming activities of the family (red). RED + YELLOW = ORANGE!    more>

Spring


Growing tulips is but one of the delights of my springtime. The colour and growth after a cold winter is always a reminder of spring and of how God can restore and renew something out of what sometimes seems an empty and lifeless place.

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Support Options
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Thank you for your support for Midst/Phil Day

Please read the overview below or browse the accordion windows above for more details.

Support Options Overview

There are a number of benefits to you:

  • from a range of thought provoking ideas to some specific nuts ‘n’ bolts programs to adapt to your context;
  • from a coffee with Phil Day to a full consultation with him;
  • from a one-off training event to discovering a whole new way of doing ministry with children;

There are a number of ways you can help to ensure Midst continues and grows:

  • from a free sign up to ‘Snippets’ through to making a contribution towards the Midst website;
  • from being a prayer partner/team supporter through to booking a consultation;
  • from a making a donation for a program licence through to becoming a project developer …

There is a level of support for Midst ministry that is right for you. One in which we all benefit.

Your support at any level translates as support for:

  • Phil Day, currently the Children and Families Ministry Specialist with SU Victoria;
  • SU Victoria and its ministry with children, young people and their families in a variety of contexts.; and
  • Solomons Scripture Union, a sister movement in our Pacific Region.

To determine your level of benefit and support simply browse over or click on the accordion windows above.

Too many options? Nothing suits?  Simply call Phil and let’s chat.

If you are ready to simply sign up to a free, no obligation eNews called ‘Snippets’ and think about support options down the track, do so here>

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Prayer and a one to one connection with Phil

You can pray for Phil’s ministry and for the uptake of the Midst resources and programs. Check them out for yourself on this website.  Book a ‘coffee’ with Phil to learn more. Make contact here>

“The one-to-one connection is invaluable to me … it is the spark of ideas and energy so important for ministry … so let’s work out an appropriate time & place.” Phil

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Sign up to Snippets
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Sign up to ‘Snippets’

Freely explore the Midst website and sign up to receive an occasional free Midst eNews called ‘Snippets’ …

  • excerpts of ideas and insights into the key ministry areas of Midst;
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Unsubscribe at any time.  Please sign up below.

 

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Please support Midst by subscribinbg
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Please Support Midst by subscribing

By making a minimum donation of $36.00 you are subscribing for a year.

In this sense your donation to Midst is like purchasing an annual subscription to a magazine.

  • you browse the magazine for one or two ideas and then you realise it’s value and you commit.
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Choose from the following:

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P.S. If you haven’t already, please sign up to ‘Midst Snippets’

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Team support/Donate
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Thank you for your support for Midst/Phil Day

Generally …

  • A unit of support for an SU staff worker is $264 … in line with a ministry stipend + admin support.
    (however a greater of lesser amount is a good thing too)
  • This can be a one-off donation OR a regular donation paid in installments over the year.
  • Travel costs may still apply however contact Phil about this.
  • Even if you are unable to donate at this time and if you would like to receive regular prayer and ministry news from Phil, please follow the prompt in section three below.
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  • Thank you for any level of support you are able to offer.

 

If you would like to support Phil Day by

  • becoming a team supporter
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please use one or more of the methods described below.

 

1.  Initiate a once-off, online donation using Credit Card (VISA/MasterCard) or PayPal

 Please tag your donation with ‘Team Support for Phil Day’

&/OR

2.  Donate using another method including:

  • Pay by AMEX
  • Request an Invoice
  • Internet Bank Transfer
  • By phone, post or cheque
  • Setting up a regular bank or credit card payment

Please download a pdf (68KB) describing these other methods here>

Print or save this to your computer.

&/OR

3.  Your interest in Phil Day’s prayer and ministry news is also appreciated.

  • You are invited to subscribe to Phil Day’s Team Supporter Emails using the sign up form here>
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Thank you!
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Support a progam
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There are a number of programs under the Midst umbrella where a specific donation is requested towards the ongoing development and support of each program.  In these cases it means may make a specific donate towards a program that will also benefit you/your church rather than a general one.

The options are listed below.  To find out more about each program please follow the links.

Please Note: 

  • The reason a donation is requested is in order to allow you to donate more or less depending on your context.
  • Donations by Australian tax payers are tax deductible.
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  • Big Buds: a separate donation is requested to support the licencing of this program in your context.
  • 10% of donated money will be donated to Solomons Scripture Union for children’s ministry related projects

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Team SUpport Letters
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Phil Day’s latest team support letter: Autumn 2012

If you have already subscribed to quarterly Midst Updates, thank you!
If you would like to subscribe you may do so here>
An archive of letters may be found below if you have missed any.

Happy Autumn!
Slow meals & conversations; pot bellied stoves & long breakfasts; hanging on to warm days with cold shadows.
Some conversations:
Normally in the course of the summer months there are a number of events to organise &/or attend or the odd project to be involved with. Mallacoota SUFM, Geelong Refresh, MTC, a family camp … in the course of these events and ongoing projects, some very interesting conversations happen.
Here’s a sample …
Over mission at Mallacoota I was on deck as coach and parent program leader. (Keren tagged along but in a holidaying-annual leave capacity … just a few small, helpful responsibilities … sort of like a team kid!) We met with parents keen to learn some parenting skills. Rather than just dropping off the kids for a great SUFM program and small group relationships, they stayed for a plunger coffee. While we chatted we shared and listened to stories about parenting. Parents tasted the coffee and enjoyed the quality of conversation. It resulted in parents coming back each day for encouragement, new skills and deeper values to inform the way they parent. For one couple who came with serious questions about parenting, it meant finding a recommitment to God, a deep sense of grace and forgiveness and a fresh start in their relationship with God and each other … something their children will also benefit from. Please continue to pray for this couple as I follow them up in their struggle to do life.
A conversation to continue …
While working on the project to find material to replace/upgrade ‘Starting Out’ I have been privileged to engage in a number of deeper theological conversations on the topic of how do we best help parents and workers with resources to help children to be friends and followers of Jesus. One conversation explored the subtle differences between ‘You are special and important” and “You are special and important to God” and the importance of communicating both. Another longer conversation was around how to engage children who are wondering about the relevance of God (God? Who cares???); the response of children who have learnt to be cynical (Jesus is just a fairy tale!); or the children who are wondering about how God relates to them (How does God care for me?) Yet another aspect of this conversation involved the idea that God is interested in a much bigger plan of salvation than just an individual and has the salvation of the whole world and it’s systems and environment at heart … God so loved the world!! Imagine a world where every aspect displays the sovereignty of God. How to hold all conversations in a creative tension is the challenge of this writing project for upper primary aged children.
I don’t like the non-conversations: “We must get together and talk about that ” … I wonder if that’s code for “Children aren’t important in the scheme of things for me right now.” ?? Hmmmm … maybe not, let’s give people the benefit of the doubt!
The conversation with old friends about youth group days; rediscovering memories around old photo albums; past decades of discovery where our young minds and lives were shaped that would ultimately make a difference to the way we raised our own children; and about our children who are now standing and acting in the world, loving and serving God. As we talk to these young adults, sometimes coaching them, mostly encouraging them, we are reminded that our vision for them is that of Jesus for his disciples “… whoever believes in me [Jesus] will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these …” John 14:12-14. May it be so!
Conversations are continuing around increasing the support base for my role as Children and Families Ministry Specialist here in Victoria. I would appreciate your prayers around this. Thank you!
I would love to have a conversation with you regarding life, ministry, parenting, children … or even coffee!! Check out midst.suvic.org.au if you haven’t had a chance to do so. Still a work in progress but I would value any feedback you may have.
Thank you once again for you interest and support!
Shalom, Phil

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If you would like to donate to my team support, thank you!  To find out how, click here

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Archive of team support letters

  • Autumn 2012 team support letter, view the pdf (76KB) here>
  • Summer 2011 team support letter, view the pdf (80KB) here>
  • Spring 2011 team support letter, view the pdf (204 KB) here>
  • Autumn 2011 team support letter, view the pdf (94 KB) here>
  • Summer 2010 team support letter, view the pdf (204 KB) here>
  • Spring 2010 team support letter, view the pdf (284 KB) here>

 

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Subscribe to Phils TSLetter
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Phil Day’s Midst Updates for supporters, friends & colleagues

About once every 3 months I send out an email update called Midst Updates for my supporters
with a collection of ministry stories from my edge of the world and a growing list of ministry benefits for you.
I hope you will confirm yourself as a willing recipient of Midst Updates although I completely understand if you are unable to do so at this time. (Sometimes there is just too much to
keep up with!)
In between quarterly updates I’d like to keep you informed with an occasional Midst Memo
(maybe every 2-3 weeks) with a small story and some details of what I’m up to for your consideration &/or prayer.
At the moment I am using MailChimp to generate and deliver these email so if you able and willing to receive an email from me, please click the ‘Subscribe to list’ button below and some confirmation emails will flow.
Thank you in helping me with my strategy to upgrade my story/benefit distribution system.
Please don’t forget to add me to your address book. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Shalom,
Phil Day
Children and Families Ministry Specialist

Subscribe to our mailing list

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Email Format



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Support Trainging
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Support or host a training event

Receive training

You may be interested in either training for yourself or training your team.  If so, browse a list of upcoming training events here>

Host a training event

Your support could also be in the form of helping organise a training event for you and your team.

  • Discuss the options and determine how your needs could be specifically met.
  • Consider if it would be appropriate to offer participation to others in your area.

Find out more about this option here>

 

Either way, working out a fee or donation to cover the training and costs involved is a valulable way of supporting Midst/Phil Day.

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Solomons
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Solomons

10% of your donations to support Midst, Phil Day or Midst programs will be accumulated and donated specifically to the work of children and family ministry in the Solomon Islands.

Late in 2010 a curriculum of Sunday School material was produced in the Pijin language. One of the features of this material was the way it uses environmental and everyday materials in the teaching and for craft activities. This made it immensely more useful in the local context. 1,000 copies of Book 1 were printed. An overview of this project (44KB pdf) is included here. 

It is hoped that ongoing installments of this curriculum will be produced with the help of donations. However monies raised could equally go to other projects such as start-up costs for a children’s ministry worker in Solomon Islands.

Thank you for your support as we think and pray for our pacific neighbours and, in particular, our partner Scripture Union workers in the Solomons.

P.S. Did you know that the Scripture Union movement is active in over 130 countries? Take a look here.
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Phil Day
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Phil Day

Children and Families Ministry Specialist

Phil has 40 years of experience of ministry in a variety of secular and church-based teaching, ministry and leadership roles … urban and beach missions, schools ministry, a large regional church, small country and urban churches, CRE, MOPS, play groups and kindergartens. midst.suvic.org.au captures and expresses only some of his ideas, creativity and experience.

A number of versions of his bio of various lengths and for different purposes may be obtained in a pdf (40KB download) here

 

Working With Children Check

Issued in the State of: Victoria, Australia
Card No: 0058876-02 Expires on: 29-01-2017 Issued to: Phillip L Day

 

His current role with the VCCE

For three days a week, Phil is a part of the fresh team working for the The Victorian Council of Christian Education (VCCE). The VCCE is one of Victoria’s oldest inter-church support agencies. Since 1871 and throughout its history the VCCE (and its forerunner the Victorian Sunday School Union) has displayed innovation and passion for Christian Education, particularly around genuine areas of need within the Christian community.
In 2011, the VCCE set its immediate future to focus on:

  • Networking/ training/ consultancy: children and camilies ministry (Phillip Day)
  • Resourcing children and families ministry (Nancy Moyle)
  • Theological Engagement: children and families ministry (Beth Barnett)
  • Bible Engagement (Angela Sawyer)

These areas are seen as critical to the health and mission of the church. More about the VCCE on the website here>

Phil’s transfer/secondment from SUVic to the VCCE also signals a new partnership between the two organisations (and others). We’re excited at the possibilities this is already shaping for the future.

 

Midst

Phil is the author of the content on this website and will continue to work on Midst in the balance of his time. Both ministries compliment each other and Phil looks forward to your phone call/email!

 

Quotes about Phil

“Creative, inspiring, diverse, lateral, inclusive and interactive. He is able to articulate in words what we have felt and known for years but have been struggling to express and put into action”.

“Phil’s understanding of children in the community of faith is something he has obviously given a great deal of time and research to. We’ve learnt how valuable it is to learn and worship and grow WITH children. In terms of looking at the church, we have reversed the culture away from individual and ‘nuclear’ family towards being a faith community! People look at us and say “We want that!” ”

Please email me for a high resolution photo if needed for advertising brochures etc. Click here to contact me.
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Resources
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Jesus: The Gift of God
Resource (724 KB pdf) … download here … print or save to your computer
Here is a Christmas sermon/ reflection with accompanying script, visual presentation and production notes.  This can be used in its entirety or parts of it can be adapted where shorter participation is required.  Overview: At this Christmas time, as in times past, Christians celebrate Jesus: The Gift of God … but how do we receive this special gift, explore it and make it our own?

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The Five keys
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Introduction to 5 Keys

There are at least 5 keys for ministry with children and families … all helping to build on the underlying principle that …

Villages raise children, faith communities make disciples.

The nurturing, loving environment of the home and the missional, discipling nature of the faith community will need to partner together in highly valuing and pursuing the following 5 keys for ministry:

  • connections with children
  • participation with children
  • being engaged with children in what we do together, particularly as we explore the Bible with children
  • a sense of belonging with children
  • every means of inviting and recognising the range of faith responses of children

Discover ideas and resources in these pages to help you value children even more highly.

There is also opportunity for you to add to the wealth of wisdom and experience expressed in these pages.

Question: How do we know we value something?

The value we place in something or someone can be measured by the quality and quantity of time, energy, resources and dollars we spend in relationship with the object or person of value.

Merely to assert we value something or someone does not necessarily mean we do.

As a parent, children’s worker or minister, merely to assert we value children or children’s ministry does not necessarily mean we do.

Part of what it means to determine if we value children and ministry with children or not is to evaluate the quality and quantity of time, energy and money given to this ministry.

More specifically, how much time, energy and resources do we give to exploring and actually valuing and using the above 5 keys to unlock our ministry with children.

These five keys will help you to be more effective in raising children and making disciples.

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5Keys Rationale
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How to use these keys

Understanding how a values system fits into your vision/strategy structure helps you as a leader or leadership team to implement them in your context.

Part of the rationale for a values system is developed on the first page of this Midst body of work under ‘Introduction to 5 Keys’. Briefly, if we value something (object, person, program, way of operating) then we are prepared to demonstrate that we do by the quality and quantity of time, energy, resources and money give to that something. Saying we value children and ministry with children is one thing. Showing it is quite another.

This fits into an overall picture of purpose (why you exits); vision (where you see yourself heading/ultimate goal); mission (the specific and immediate task); and values (the ethics by which we achieve our mission); the goals (a set of steps … SMART Goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based)

The sailing metaphor here would be: Purpose (we exist to prep & sail this yacht, that’s our job.); Vision (we are sailing to that island – destination paradise!!); Mission (#1 repair the mast/yacht seaworthy, #2 recruit and train a crew, #3 navigate the reef … ) Values (team work, trust, safety, skill levels, urgency) Goals (Small step by step related to the first mission: e.g. Repair, stick to $X budget, and in the water by November) In this sense, the way we go about the goals to achieve the immediate mission and ultimately our vision will demonstrate our values along the way.

This view of the purpose/vision/mission/values/goals varies from organisation to organisation. Adapt this to your own views. Suffice to say that the values we hold form part of the means you choose to achieve an end. It holds that the end does not justify the means. Arriving at the final destination by paying lip service to key values along the way will mean there will be more negatives than positives regarding the process. Generally speaking, when there are more negatives than positives and even though the outcome might be positive, God doesn’t end up with a good name in the process.

Outcome versus process. Process versus outcome. The balance is tricky and the values we hold often help to guide how the tensions are dealt with.

So …

There are more than five possible values that you may consider however these have been chosen to demonstrate how just holding one or two of them in your ministry can make a difference to how you construct a program; how you train a team member; how you tell stories about your ministry area and much more. If the thing you value is also highly valued by those who have appointed you, then there is added benefit. If time, energy, resources and money was spent in just one of these areas in achieving a particular mission, the quality of the outcomes of the mission would be generally be more beneficial for more people.

An example …

One particular program observed in a local church had a wonderful way of connecting people in to the group and a effective way of helping even newcomers to participate and quickly gain a sense of belonging. The point of the group however (purpose and vision) was to help people respond to Jesus, becoming friends with and followers of Jesus. However there was little or no value placed on helping people to respond. This was ignored as observed by the lack of training, resources, time or energy spent considering this. Even attempting something in this area and failing could have delivered a positive learning outcome for the team. A consultancy and training in this area would make a difference to saying we valued something and actually valuing something.

Another example …

Often churches say we value relationship with our children however even a cursory glance would reveal that it is the informal and ad hoc connections with children being referred to. A more analytical look at what really is happening would reveal that many children are missing out on the quality of relational connection with their faith community they need to support faith formation. That is why connecting children is explored in this area of Midst.
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5Keys List
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The list of keys

Here’s the list of keys available to choose from. Explore them and consider adapting and adopting them for your context.

Key #00 An Introduction and Overview

Here are at least 5 keys for ministry with children and families … all helping to build on the underlying principle that …
Villages raise children, faith communities make disciples.
Feel free to browse the keys below and evaluate them for use in your context but:
• as you begin to benefit;
• as you recommend this site to others; or
• as you are able to contribute a story or idea …
you will need to subscribe. Please subscribe here>

 

Connect

Key #01 Connect

We need to CONNECT with children.
As a faith community we celebrate worship, learn, socialise and go about mission together. When we connect with children in and through these activities we will model and teach appropriate and loving relationships with one another.

 

participate

Key #02 Participate

Children need to PARTICPATE.
Activities and relationships of the faith community need to involve everybody; calling forth a team effort as we exercise our skills and gifts; learning to deal with unmet expectations and conflict.

 

Belong

Key #03 Belong

Children need to experience that they BELONG.
In order to help children know and feel they belong, ownership and shared vision is fostered; everyone’s rights and responsibilities are respected and upheld; inter-dependent relationships are celebrated as they emerge; growing leadership is cultivated.

 

Engage

Tool #04 Engage

We need to ENGAGE children.
We will engage children in the Gospel message through a kaleidoscope of appropriate, creative, colourful, multi-sensory, multi-learning, multi-age approaches that result in thoughtful and/or heart-felt responses to the Word of God.

 

Respond

Tool #05 Respond

We need to invite children to RESPOND
We will create an environment where every response towards God is affirmed and celebrated in appropriate ways.

 

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We need to Connect with children
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We need to CONNECT with children.

As a faith community we celebrate worship, learn, socialise and go about mission together. When we connect with children in and through these activities we will model and teach appropriate and loving relationships with one another.

Children will also:

  • be cemented into the structure of our faith community,
  • be trained in the skills of healthy communication
  • receive encouragement and affirmation for who they are
  • receive healing when there are issues around broken trust

Ideas and resources

A range of people have contributed to the following list of good ideas that have worked for them in their ministry with children, families, faith community, schools or play groups. If you have seen or tried something that has worked, you are invited to contribute that idea/comment for review and posting so we can all keep learning together. You may do so here>

A ‘slidy five’ connects!

Children appreciate every little sign of recognition that they are present: a wink, a nod, a smile. One of the best ways is to ‘shake’ hands. We do it with others we meet, why not with children? One reason we don’t is because it isn’t very cool. “Give me a high five” and ‘”Give me five” can miss or worse, hurt. An invented, special handshake is a much better idea. I have invented a ‘slidy five’. I offer the palm of my hand and invite the child to slide their hand over mine. I then offer to slide my hand over their hand. They quickly learn the pattern. I have incidentally taught an 18 month child how to do it over a couple of months of weekly visits to the family. A 23 year old friend still insists we use it as the preferred greeting. A ‘slidy five’ is a great way of paying some special attention to a child but in a cool and appropriate way.

| Author: phildup55 | Context: general | Acknowlegement: Phil Day | Website: http://midst.suvic.org.au/ | 2012 © midst.suvic.org.au |

Have a coffee* … and consider how you might adapt one or even two of these ideas to your context.
As you have a coffee*, you are also invited to consider:
•  Signing up to Midst Snippets … free ideas & updates; news of resources & training. Do this here>
•  Support for Midst … If you are a contributor of ideas to this website or are exploring and benefitting from a few of ideas here, you are requested to support Midst with a donation … equivalent to the cost of a resource book. Please do so here>
•  Donating to Midst … Team support as a one-off or regular donation is the best way to ensure the thinking and work behind this ministry continues. Explore this option here>

*beverage of your choice

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K01posts
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We need to CONNECT with children ~ ideas, stories & articles.


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BELONG
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Children need to experience that they BELONG.

In order to help children know and feel they belong, ownership and shared vision is fostered; everyone’s rights and responsibilities are respected and upheld; inter-dependent relationships are celebrated as they emerge; growing leadership is cultivated.

Belonging is a step beyond participation. It is where:

  • opinions of children are sought using appropriate language and methods;
  • children are involved in planning and decision making in appropriate ways;
  • children are taught to listen to God and to share their insights and gifts in safe ways;
  • children are valued as part of the church now and not merely as the ‘church of the future’.

Ideas and resources

A range of people have contributed to the following list of good ideas that have worked for them in their ministry with children, families, faith community, schools or play groups. If you have seen or tried something that has worked, you are invited to contribute that idea/comment for review and posting so we can all keep learning together. You may do so here>

Ask a child what s/he thinks!

Mostly we all appreciate being asked for our opinion. If we know that there is a serious attempt to consider the thoughts and feelings of the group then a sense of belonging is fostered. When we ask children what they like most about our church we discover a whole new picture of what works for a particular age group. When asked how things might be improved I am always delightfully surprised by the some of the comments showing that their opinion is worth considering. I am always careful not to promise that anything will happen as a result because that depends on a lot of other things. No one seems to mind if their ideas are not taken up, just that they are seen to be carefully considered. Even us adults! Being at least asked fosters that sense of responsibility for and belonging to the community.

| Author: phildup55 | Context: general | Acknowlegement: Phil Day | Website: http://midst.suvic.org.au/ | 2012 © midst.suvic.org.au |

Have a coffee* … and consider how you might adapt one or even two of these ideas to your context.
As you have a coffee*, you are also invited to consider:
• Signing up to Midst Snippets … free ideas & updates; news of resources & training. Do this here>
• Support for Midst … If you are a contributor of ideas to this website or are exploring and benefitting from a few of ideas here, you are requested to support Midst with a donation … equivalent to the cost of a resource book. Please do so here>
• Donating to Midst … Team support as a one-off or regular donation is the best way to ensure the thinking and work behind this ministry continues. Explore this option here>

*beverage of your choice

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Participate
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Children need to PARTICPATE.

Activities and relationships of the faith community need to involve everybody; calling forth a team effort as we exercise our skills and gifts; learning to deal with unmet expectations and conflict.

As children participate, we will need to keep in mind:

  • these activities will avoid being unnecessarily gimmicky or performance-based;
  • basic pastoral care of all members of the faith community will mean helping everyone find ways of making valuable contributions to the team;
  • effectively communicating our thanks and describing what it is we appreciate about a child’s or anyone’s contribution will help instill a positive and encouraging culture.

Ideas and resources

A range of people have contributed to the following list of good ideas that have worked for them in their ministry with children, families, faith community, schools or play groups. If you have seen or tried something that has worked, you are invited to contribute that idea/comment for review and posting so we can all keep learning together. You may do so here>

Asking for help helps more than just you.

It’s no different for children. We all are helped to become a part of the group or the team as we participate along side one other. Rosters are often a great way to create the space for the work to be done, the connections to be made and the sense that we can make a contribution. It is important that the role or task is carefully explained, demonstrated and coached. ‘I do while you watch; You do while I watch; You do.’ It is also important to discern whether or not the task is a realistic challenge. There is nothing worse than expecting too much and leaving a child feeling dejected because they haven’t lived up to your expectations.

| Author: phildup55 | Context: general | Acknowlegement: Phil Day | Website: http://midst.suvic.org.au/ | 2012 © midst.suvic.org.au |

Have a coffee* … and consider how you might adapt one or even two of these ideas to your context.
As you have a coffee*, you are also invited to consider:
• Signing up to Midst Snippets … free ideas & updates; news of resources & training. Do this here>
• Support for Midst … If you are a contributor of ideas to this website or are exploring and benefitting from a few of ideas here, you are requested to support Midst with a donation … equivalent to the cost of a resource book. Please do so here>
• Donating to Midst … Team support as a one-off or regular donation is the best way to ensure the thinking and work behind this ministry continues. Explore this option here>

*beverage of your choice

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ENGAGE
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We need to ENGAGE children.

We will engage children in the Gospel message through a kaleidoscope of appropriate, creative, colourful, multi-sensory, multi-learning, multi-age approaches that result in thoughtful and/or heart-felt responses to the Word of God.

These activities will find a creative balance between:

  • curriculum based program and small group relationships;
  • age-appropriate activities and multi-age experiences;
  • peer group learning and one to one mentoring/coaching;
  • children asking questions of others and entering the Bible to explore the Gospel message for themselves.

Ideas and resources

A range of people have contributed to the following list of good ideas that have worked for them in their ministry with children, families, faith community, schools or play groups. If you have seen or tried something that has worked, you are invited to contribute that idea/comment for review and posting so we can all keep learning together. You may do so here>

Fun, mess, emotion!

Why do we have all the fun first and when it is time to ‘learn’ we sit kids down and do the quiet, boring stuff? Why can’t we continue to learn while we play games, explore, have fun, make mess and explore a Bible theme. Sure, we need to pause in the midst of some of these activities to address discipline issues or ask a question or two related to the theme. If children know that this is part of the deal and what is required in order to continue with the fun then they will discover it is possible to learn and reflect on the run. It is often in the heat of the moment, when the emotions are running high, that the best examples of how to be a friend and follower of Jesus can be explored.

| Author: phildup55 | Context: general | Acknowlegement: Phil Day | Website: http://midst.suvic.org.au/ | 2012 © midst.suvic.org.au |

Have a coffee* … and consider how you might adapt one or even two of these ideas to your context.
As you have a coffee*, you are also invited to consider:
• Signing up to Midst Snippets … free ideas & updates; news of resources & training. Do this here>
• Support for Midst … If you are a contributor of ideas to this website or are exploring and benefitting from a few of ideas here, you are requested to support Midst with a donation … equivalent to the cost of a resource book. Please do so here>
• Donating to Midst … Team support as a one-off or regular donation is the best way to ensure the thinking and work behind this ministry continues. Explore this option here>

*beverage of your choice

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RESPOND
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We need to invite children to RESPOND

We will create an environment where every response towards God is affirmed and celebrated in appropriate ways.

As a faith community, parents and workers we will need:

  • to be trained to see the wide range of faith responses to God;
  • to be trained to invite and help children to follow and be like Jesus;
  • to learn how best to immerse ourselves in one to one mentoring/coaching with each child;
  • to see this as being at the heart of our mission.

Ideas and resources

A range of people have contributed to the following list of good ideas that have worked for them in their ministry with children, families, faith community, schools or play groups. If you have seen or tried something that has worked, you are invited to contribute that idea/comment for review and posting so we can all keep learning together. You may do so here>

Great program & friendships but no invitation to be a follower & friend of Jesus?

The best building in the world; the best program; the most fun; the deepest connections and friendships; a fantastic small group leader … all are good and necessary but may miss the mark in making disciples if we are unable to find appropriate ways to invite children to be a friend and follower of Jesus. Of course an invitation will take a variety of forms and may not be appropriate every week, never the less, learning how to invite a response is an important key to ministry with children and their families.

| Author: phildup55 | Context: general | Acknowlegement: Phil Day | Website: http://midst.suvic.org.au/ | 2012 © midst.suvic.org.au |

Have a coffee* … and consider how you might adapt one or even two of these ideas to your context.
As you have a coffee*, you are also invited to consider:
• Signing up to Midst Snippets … free ideas & updates; news of resources & training. Do this here>
• Support for Midst … If you are a contributor of ideas to this website or are exploring and benefitting from a few of ideas here, you are requested to support Midst with a donation … equivalent to the cost of a resource book. Please do so here>
• Donating to Midst … Team support as a one-off or regular donation is the best way to ensure the thinking and work behind this ministry continues. Explore this option here>

*beverage of your choice

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Big Buds
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What is Big Buds?

Big Buds is an intentional mentoring and discipleship initiative aimed at engaging children in significant relationships with adults from their faith community outside of their own family. The Big Buds program equips and supports Big Buds as they establish a safe mentoring relationship with their Little Buds.

The range of styles of mentoring relationships possible under Big Buds is only limited by imagination. The wise choice will depend on the age and needs of each individual child, the needs of the family and church and the results of prayer. Big Buds may be a significant platform from which to launch or enhance particular discipleship programs.

  • a five year old may need the welcome and attention of a 17 year old. Add in birthday cards and a visit as appropriate.
  • a 10 year old may benefit from occasional excursions with a group of Big Buds and Little Buds
  • a 13 year old may be helped by regular opportunities to help with hands-on projects
  • a 15 year old may need maths tutoring
  • a 17 year old may require a skills/gifts tutor in worship leading

Why Big Buds?

There are a number of major benefits of a fully implemented program such as Big Buds over a range of informal arrangements by parents and mentors encouraged by workers: 

  • Programs implemented by churches need to be safe and seen to be safe for everyone, especially children. A properly formed program of the church means the risks are managed in appropriate and accountable ways.
  • The value of strong, safe connections with children can be taught from the platform or newsletter every time Big Buds is celebrated. If children are to stay affiliated in a faith community we can constantly communicate the importance and the means of this at every opportunity. More here>
  • It takes a village to raise a child and a faith community to make a disciple. The teaching and training associated with Big Buds empowers parents and faith communities to make wise choices for their children.
  • The coordinated team approach to setting up a program in a church means a greater assurance it will be sustained into the future even if a key worker leaves.

How do I find out more?

You may access the level of information you need to determine if the program is suitable for your context:

  • The Big Buds Info pdf;
  • The Big Buds Manual; or
  • The Big Buds Resource File (including Big Buds Manual)

Note:

Big Buds is the result of a collaborative partnership between The Salvation Army, Australia Southern Territory and Scripture Union Victoria.

Corps or groups coming under The Salvation Army need to contact: tracey.davies@aus.salvationarmy.orgin order to do this.

Everyone else, please click here to continue.


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Register
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Howdo I find out more?

Corps or groups coming under The Salvation Army need to contact: tracey.davies@aus.salvationarmy.org in order to find out more.

All others may obtain information regarding Big Buds in the following web pages.

But first … please register your interest.

  • Registering your interest and obtaining a Big Buds Info pdf, the Big Buds Manual and/or Big Buds Resource File, by whatever means, does not licence its set-up and ongoing use in your location. To do this, a church will need to obtain a specific set-up licence described on following web pages.
  • Registering your interest and providing contact details does not obligate you to proceed with Big Buds once you have downloaded resources and assessed Big Buds for use in your context.
  • Registering your interest also means agreeing to receive Big Buds promotional emails.  Your contact name and email will not be used for any other purpose.  You may unsubscribe at any time.



Register your interest in BIG BUDS
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To proceed after registering, clickhere

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Downloads
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Accessing Big Buds Info, Big Buds Manual and/or Big Buds Resource File:

Download the Big Buds Info pdf … pdf file (716 KB) here

[8 page screen-view, non-print pdf of introductory information (overview), examples of some templates and graphics; explanation of set up licence steps and costs.  This is a highly recommended download for everyone.  Don’t forget to save the file to your computer.]

Download the Big Buds Manual … pdf file (4.4 MB) here

[74 page pdf file (including active hyperlinks); screen view only version … full description of the Big Buds program, all explanatory and training articles as well as print examples of all templates and graphics]

Download the Big Buds Resource File which includes the pdf print version of the Big Buds Manual …

Apple Mac Users: (66MB .dmg file) here…   OR   …   PC Users: (66MB .zip file) here

[If you download the Big Buds Resource File, you will also be able to view or print the pdf of the Big Buds Manual.  You will discover all the templates and graphics you will be able to adapt for your use once you obtain a set up licence. Having this complete resource, you will be able to able to proceed immediately you obtain a set-up licence.]

Please transfer me to an online store in order to purchase the physical copy of the Big Buds Resource File here.

At our online store you may use you credit card (Mastercard /VISA) or PayPal. The resource will be mailed to you using Australia Post.  The charge of $14 will include postage and handling and a tax receipt will be issued.

Please note:

When printing, the use of colour photocopying and professional binding is recommended, at least in the initial stages of promoting this idea to your leadership.  If you do not have a colour photocopier, asking for some initial sponsorship help or taking the file to your local stationer may be two options to consider.
Although the files provided have been screened for viruses, no guarantees can be provided and you should only rely on your own screening processes for files downloaded from the internet.
Mac Users: Double clicking on the downloaded .dmg file should open it.  Dragging the contents to your hard drive will be enough to get you started.

PC Users: Double clicking on the downloaded .zip file should allow you access to the zipped contents.  Then click on ‘Unwrap’ to view contents.  Transfer only the file ‘Big Buds Resource File’ to your computer.

Proceeding?

If you already have the Big Buds Resource Files and are ready to proceed to the ‘Set-Up Licence’ step, clickhere.

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Obtaining a set up licence
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How much?

The set-up licence is obtained by making a donation, based on what you can afford, to ‘SUVictoria Team Support for Phil Day/Big Buds’.
A unit of Scripture Union Team Support for Phil Day is $264/year (or $22/month for 12 months) and is the suggested donation for a licence.
Your donation will support Phil’s ongoing ministry which has been instrumental in the development of Big Buds to this stage.
Phil’s ability to continue in his ministry through your support will enable him to serve you in your ministry.  This will mean:

  • help and advice via phone, email or web to set up and run Big Buds in your church;
  • access to extra and new resources on Big Buds web pages
  • subscription to a regular Big Buds eNewsletter full of encouragement and ideas
  • further development of Big Buds and new ministries.

Please prayerfully consider your needs and what you can afford in regard to your level of support.
Thank you.

Other things you may need to know:

Donations may be made online, by bank transfer, phone or post.

The once only, set up licence is for one year.  To continue Big Buds after one year, you may wish to continue your Scripture Union Team Support for Phil Day/Big Buds or continue a licence and subscription for web and newsletter support for a nominal donation of $22/year.

Donations are ‘tax deductible for Australian tax payers.

Ready to proceed?

Please complete the on-line Set-up Licence Form here.

Not proceeding?

If you are not proceeding at this point and you have a question or comment, please complete:


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Set-up licence
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If you are not yet ready to proceed and yet have a comment or query, please send a messagehere
If you are ready to proceed, please complete and submit the following set-up licence form:

[form 3 “Big Buds Licence”]
After you have sent this form, please click here

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Make a dontation
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If you are ready to obtain a set up licence for Big Buds in one location by making a donation to ‘Team Support for Phil Day/Big Buds’, please choose from the following:

 

1.  Initiate online donation using Credit Card (VISA/MasterCard) or PayPal

2.  Other methods of donating including:

  • Request an Invoice
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To download a pdf (68KB) describing these methods, clickhere

Print or save this to your computer.

Thank you!

In due course, having initiated a donation, a ‘Big Buds Thank You Certificate’ will be emailed to you.

In the mean time, please proceed with your plans.

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The Bible
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Bible Engagement

Midst/Phil Day promotes a number of effective ways to help children, young people and adults engage in the Bible together. The colourful headings above offer ways to explore this topic.
If you would like Phil Day to help you in any of these particular ways of exploring Bible stories in any of the following contexts:

  • a gospel message in a church service, or
  • leading a whole multi-age church service and message, or
  • chapel or CRE classes
  • a kid’s church session, or
  • church family camp multi-age teaching sessions, or
  • a training day or workshop in these Bible engagement areas …

please contact Phil Day here>
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Engaging Drama
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Engaging the Story of God

In order to prepare an engaging encounter between children and families and the Bible we must first engage it ourselves.

On one hand it’s called preparation.  On the other hand it is placing yourself to be challenged, taught and changed by the Living God.

The method outlined here is helpful in building the bones for any method of reading, storytelling or drama.  It builds in the possibilities of inviting responses to the Word of God using ‘I wonder …’ questions or invitations.

 

Step 1: Observe stories from everyday life: fact/emotion/meaning/response

In everyday conversation with people about everyday events, we often only report the facts. If this is the case, we are not communicating our story. Only when we move beyond the facts, and let the listener know what we are feeling or thinking about what has happened, are we beginning to tell our story. If we then move past this to what this means for you, the teller of your story, and share the consequences or the implications for your life, something interesting often happens. The listener responds with empathy towards you; with the joy or pain; or some other emotion that they experience when listening to you. Note: Surprise, Anger, Fear, Happiness, Disgust, Contempt, and Sadness are considered to be the six basic human emotions. Out of this response they may respond with a similar story of their own. You then have the opportunity to listen to their story. If you draw them beyond the facts and the associated thoughts or feelings, you may bring out the meaning for their life. The associated response in you may present the possibility of ministry… to either celebrate with them or to offer pastoral care; to share a story from your life or from the Bible. Let’s bring all that to the Bible story.

 

Step 2: Gather the facts.

Determine the characters and sequence of events in the Bible passage. A list of characters may also include, for a slightly wacky storytelling angle, the sandal of a person, a rock or a tree.

 

Step 3: Underline the verbs, thoughts and feelings.

Sometimes it’s obvious because the story has the verb or the feeling written as part of the text. Imagine the verbs and feelings of all the characters in the story, even if they aren’t written. Often the feelings/emotions givien or implied in the story will help you to break down the story into smaller sections each with it’s own cycle of fact/ emotion or thought/ meaning/ response.

 

Step 4: Do some background work.

Understanding the context of the story, who it was written by and who it was written to will help you to relate this story to today’s generation. Some of the meanings of words are lost on people today. Some words or practices carried huge cultural meanings that impacted the early readers, e.g. ‘leprosy’, ‘Sabath’ or sin-laws and cleansing proocedures. The setting of the story, the geography, climate, traditions, anything you can read or research about that part of the text will help you determing the meaning for the people who originally engaged in this story and will help you to convey that meaning to people today.

 

Step 5: Climb into the story.

Building on steps one to four, imagine you are each character, one at a time. Imagine each feeling and see yourself act out each verb. The more dramatic and expressive storytellers will find some space and physically act out each facial and bodily expression of the feelings and actions rather than just imagine it. This will come in handy when using your whole body to tell the story later on. Step 6: Determine ‘the story’ in each step of the text.

Climb into the shoes of every character, one by one, even the wacky ones. Discover each character’s story from their perspective.

  • The event (verbs/facts/what did they see?/what did they do?)
  • Their thoughts and feelings, beliefs and challenges this evoked
  • Their immediate internal responses and reactions, the meaning, implications, consequences for the character’s future.
  • Consider YOUR response/reaction to each character. (see also Step 7)

Step 7: Interact with the story yourself.

What was the original purpose of the writer? Can you tell? Does this story resonate with you? What are the emotions and thoughts this story evokes in you? What is your story in response to the Bible story? What is God doing in your life? Remember, not just the facts. What are the thoughts/feelings and meaning for you? Ask God and other praying friends to help you to deal with the pain/anger/bitterness that may arise … or thank God and celebrate the joy/love/purpose you may discover. As a result, this may become one of your real-life stories that you can gossip (evangelise) to someone about God’s healing love and compassion.

 

Step 8: Come up with a clear, single purpose for telling the story.

It is vital that you now write down and verbalise the simple, clear learning point that you are trying to make with children, in language that children can understand. It will help you immensely to communicate the Bible story, and your story, clearly. Do it!

 

Step 9: Develop a list of ‘I wonder‘ questions.

Develop a series of ‘I wonder’ questions arising from the above story analysis. Allow pauses in the story for these questions to be asked. They can be asked by a second person, a puppet or by you, the storyteller. Allow a quizzical pause after each question and then either continue or accept a couple of responses. You can even form small groups of children with a leader on the spot to allow for more responses. This must be done with care so that you don’t interrupt the flow of the story too much, but it can be quite helpful in eliciting children’s own stories. Train your small group leaders to be on the lookout for opportunities to respond to a child’s story.

 

Step 10: Choose your storytelling style.

The above steps allow a way of researching and building a story that will enable you to enhance any storytelling technique. Below is the Bible story of Jesus healing the man with leprosy. It can be read as straight text with dimensions of expression if the above work has been successfully completed. It will come alive as story. You may retell it in a variety of forms, from clowning to cartooning, from the point of view of the man’s sandal (imagined) or the man himself.

Four key feelings/verbs have been isolated in the text so that children could volunteer to be involved in the drama of the story. The results could be captured on a digital camera so that the story can be relived again and again. Here goes …

 

Story Example: Mark 1:40-42 Jesus heals the man with leprosy –

Key learning point for the storyteller, the leaders and the children: We discover how much loving care and compassion God has for us by looking at Jesus and his loving care and compassion for people. In this story, the meaning of compassion comes through strongly. It is the loving care that Jesus showed and, with God’s help, can come from the deepest part of us … not just a ‘sorry this is happening’ but a passion to do something about it!

 

Do you ever wonder how much loving care & compassion God has for you?

[Drama photo: puzzled, thinking, quizzical, asking, wondering]

  • I wonder how we can find out about this.
  • I wonder if we can all use our minds and imaginations, and our inside eyes and ears to find out about God by looking at Jesus.
  • Let’s look at a story of Jesus from the Bible in which Jesus heals a man with leprosy. Leprosy is like a dreaded skin disease. I wonder what it would be like.

A man with leprosy came to Jesus and knelt down.

[Drama photo: rejected/ sad/ lonely/ in trouble/fear/troubled/abandoned/hopeless/spurned/cast off/ thumbs down]

  • I wonder why life is like it is sometimes. I wonder if you know what it’s like to have no friends or to be rejected like this man, or what it feels like when it seems there is no hope of fixing a problem.
  • I wonder what the best thing that could happen for the man is. (Worth exploring at some length)

He begged, ‘You have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.’

  [Drama photo: begging/pleading/wishing/desparate/eager/longing/yearning/hope/expaectant]

  • Do you ever wonder about people who came to Jesus? I wonder why the man with leprosy came to Jesus.
  • I wonder what the man has heard about Jesus.
  • I wonder why he thought Jesus would help.

Jesus felt sorry [compassion/pity] for the man. So he put his hand on him and said, ‘I want to! Now you are well.’

[Drama photo: compassion/love/heart pouring out/empathy/mercy/kindness/clemency]

  • Do you ever wonder about Jesus? I wonder why Jesus touched a man who had leprosy.
  • I wonder why some others thought this was shocking.
  • I wonder where Jesus’ love comes from. I wonder how Jesus learned to love like that.

At once the man’s leprosy disappeared, and he was well.

[Drama photo: joy/amazement//excitement/hope/fulfilled/rejoicing/jubulence/rapture/ecstacy]

  • Do you ever wonder about Jesus? I wonder where Jesus’ power came from to heal people.
  • I wonder how amazed the man’s family was.
  • I wonder if you’ve ever seen a miracle.

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Arthure Squiz
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First things first … some definitions.

*squiz [skwiz] colloquial, slang … noun: a curious, close look at someone or something; verb: squizzed, squiz·zing … “Hey, come and have a squiz at this!”

*just-right [juhst-rahyt] a state of being in relationship/friendship: equal, fair, justice, balanced, exact, honest – good, perfect, full, healthy, helpful, truth … “You know what? Things are just-right between us. I’m very happy!”

It is highly recommended you take the time to explore these meanings with children before you start using this method of engaging children in the Bible story of Jesus.

Who is Arthur Squiz!? … and who is he taking a.squiz@

Arthur Squiz is a little older than some of us and a little younger than some of us. He is on a mission. For a while now, Arthur Squiz has been living up to his name by taking a squiz at interesting ideas and questions about Jesus. He thought he already knew most things about Jesus but now he was older and his brain was better at solving mysteries he figured it would be useful to update his information.

Arthur also has a super-power. It’s called iWonder.

The other thing you need to know is that ‘Squizzy’ is Arthur’s avatar and between them they iWonder a lot!

When it comes to the Bible story about Jesus, Arthur mainly wonders what God’s idea of being just-right is. Of course, Arthur had his own ideas about what it would be like to be just-right in his life, in his friendships and in the rest of the world. To work out what God’s ideas about being just-right are, Arthur knows he needs to take a squiz at what Jesus thought, felt and showed in his life.

Arthur is also very interested in comparing his story with the story of Jesus and the people Jesus met. iWonder if you would you like to take a squiz at Jesus yourself?

In any of the Arthur Squiz booklets about Jesus, when you see this icon, it means …Check it out! Grab a Bible and take a squiz the Bible story, word for word, for yourself. If you are viewing the booklet as a pdf on a computer screen or online (see example page below), clicking on the icon will take you to a website with the Bible story. Please make sure you have parent/teacher/leader permission to do this.
On every page there is an emoticon. It means …If you enjoy cartooning, try and sketch one or more of the emotions from the photos into cartoon faces. Have fun. As you draw, you may like to iWonder with Squizzy.
When you see this icon, it means …There is a little bit of information that will help you in your squizzing.
When you see a cartoon scribble of Squizzy, it means …Arthur’s iWonder super-power is active. These iWonders have come from all sorts of places. Thank you if you have helped Arthur with these.

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Engagement Articles
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The following articles, indicated by the large orange headings, are offered to inspire and challenge. They will also offer practical insights to improve our effectiveness in growing faith in each other and particularly in our children as we engage them in the Truth of God’s Word.

Engaging Children in the Bible

Imagine any or all of the following taking place over the course of a few days or weeks in the life of a group of children or particularly for one child on your heart.

Imagine a child …

  • hearing a Bible story well read with varied voice tones and some facial expression
  • hearing a Bible story well told with plenty of facial and body expression
  • being invited to help present this Bible story to others so that they can dig into it, understand it, love God more and follow God’s ways for their lives more closely responding positively to participate and contribute to the life of the faith community
  • bringing the drama of the actions (verbs) and emotions (feelings and thoughts) of each section of the Bible story to life using one of a variety of dramatic, visual or performing arts, e.g. drama, drawing, animation, pipe cleaner figures, clay models, Lego, toys, music, song, fun, play etc.
  • wondering about different aspects of that action/ emotional moment from the viewpoint of the original characters in the story
  • responding to the invitation to wonder with answers, stories and examples of their own
  • doing the work of drama/ visual art and having it captured digitally for presentation to others at a later date
  • editing and highlighting aspects of the digital presentation with more wondering questions
  • previewing the finished result providing opportunities for a variety of responses
  • receiving a version of their work and some of the questions/ responses in paper or digital form
  • presenting the Bible story to others along with the insights gained along the way
  • helping adults to see that children have theological insights too
  • responding to the Word of God in their life
  • repeating all of these step with another Bible story with a group of mixed ages, stages and life experiences
  • spending time on a Bible story in a variety of ways (rather than one week on one story before quickly moving on to the next)
  • responding to the invitation to be friends with Jesus and belong to God
  • being affirmed and led in those responses towards God.

Imagine a child’s engagement levels participating in some or all of this!

When we only attempt steps one or two in the list above, we limit the possibilities of children engaging with God’s word and allowing it to impact their lives.  Often we move too quickly to the next activity.  Next week’s program in most curriculums means a different Bible story.

Many of the steps outlined above require hard work, prayer, preparation, training and sometimes recruiting a team.  Sometimes many of the steps are not possible in a particular context however with some effort, more opportunity could be sought and more steps may be made possible.

Becoming a great storyteller is only the first step, not the last step.  Learning how to phrase engaging “I wonder …  questions is the second step, not the last step.  Find the passion, learn the skills, pray for the outcomes you would love to see.

[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2009 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

What does a child engaged in The Bible look like to you?

We would love to see a greater engagement of children with more of these steps prayerfully and carefully implemented.  Each child is different so engagement could look like one of a number of things: a greater desire to be in relationship with us; wanting to help others; finding their part in either the preparation or the presentation; realising the ‘presentation’ is ministry not a concert; wanting more; a sense of greater affiliation with the group they are actively involved in helping; responding to questions; more eye contact; more smiles and laughter; more satisfaction; more questions; wanting to spend more time with you out of ‘normal time’; greater contributions of ideas and what to do next; deeper responses; less bullying; less fidgeting; less boredom shown by less behavioral issues; children listening to one another and praying for one another.

I wonder what does a child engaged in The Bible looks like to you?

[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2009 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

Open the Bible yourself and with children

Open a Bible yourself and allow the Truth of God’s Word to engage you! Encourage children in providing the example and the help they need to find a Bible, find a story of Jesus and read it for themselves.

A couple of questions to we can encourage children to ask:

  • I wonder why this story of Jesus is in the Bible?
  • I wonder how this helps us to be like Jesus to one another and to those around us?
  • I wonder how we can find the help and the learning to do this?
[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

Engaging Children in Communion time and The Bible

Particularly round a communion table you may like to explore some further responses out of the answers to the Bible engagement questions explored in previous articles.

Common to most traditions of the time of Communion/ The Lord’s Supper/ Holy Eucharist there are at least the following three parts embedded somewhere.  If not, there could be!

First Part: A Jesus Story

By what ever means encourage children towards the help they need to find a Bible, find a story of Jesus and engage in it for themselves and with others. This could be in the form of an engaging sermon just prior to communion. It could also be a drama or storytelling presentation of a Bible story.  It could be one of the stories of Jesus that children have been exploring in their own age-appropriate time over the last few weeks. It could be an Old Testament story that points to Jesus. It could be one child’s favourite story read from their favourite Bible. There are many useful ways to explore this. See the previous articles.

A couple of questions to we can encourage children and others to ask as we prepare to come around the communion table:

  • I wonder why this story is in the Bible?
  • I wonder how this helps us to be like Jesus to one another and to those around us?
  • I wonder how we can find the help and the learning to do this?

Second Part: The Story of the first communion meal

This is the instituting story … the formation story … of how we come to be gathered as a church around the communion table. Often these Words of Institution come from the prayer book, an order or service or directly from 1 Cor 11:23-26

Some traditions may allow different forms of these words to be integrated in different ways through story, prayers, poems, comments or testimonies. These different methods allow an exploration of the ideas around this instituting story. Nevertheless, these words institute us … they form us … they start us off … they give us a pattern or an example to follow.

On the night Jesus was betrayed … Jesus started a special meal to help us to REMEMBER.’Remember’ can have two meanings here:

  • to recall the stories; remember the stories; relive, retell, re-enact, re-engage with, re-imagine the stories of Jesus. And from this:
  • to re-put-together; re-make Jesus together; be Jesus towards one another and those around us today. In this sense of the word re-member is the opposite of dis-member. One slightly odd illustration of this is that while we can’t re-member a dis-membered cooked chook, we can re-member Jesus today as the church.

To re-member Jesus in this latter sense as part of the communion meal is part of what it means to celebrate how God makes Jesus alive today to one another and to those around us. We do this:

  • in the coming together as God’s people;
  • in responding individually and together out of our engagement of the Bible narratives of Jesus;
  • in deciding afresh to commit individually to being followers of The Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth
  • in deciding together as a Body of Christ to be like Jesus to one another to those around us; and
  • in asking for the help we need by Holy Spirit to be pentecosted, gifted, formed afresh for God’s mission in and through the church.

Third Part: Using the responses gathered in the first two parts, we frame a prayer:

We are not the church together trying to re-member Jesus by virtue of the fact of turning up or having a meal or wanting to commit ourselves in this way. As important as these things are, we are made to be Jesus to one another and to those around us by God. We need to acknowledge this and pray accordingly. Something like the following prayer is an important part of all thanksgiving liturgies.

Come, Holy Spirit, come empower, make us, gift us, pentecost us afresh and help us to be Jesus to one another and those around us after the pattern of Jesus we are discovering. Amen.

The communion meal becomes a sign up page to being used by God to be The Church. The mystery of God’s presence in and through the Church is experienced in this moment and in every expression of what it means to be God’s Church.

[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

Imaginative Stories

Invite children to imagine you they are an object or another person watching the story of Jesus unfold. Allow them to explore the story with their insights. Ask for their help and ideas to do this.

Perhaps ask your teenager leaders to imagine, devise and present their stories and insights. Help them with background information so they may prepare well.

Be brave and try some improvisation using one of the suggestions of the children. Use a suggestion from a grade six boy! Watch them delight in engaging in the Bible story as it is tole from a fresh and interesting perspective.

Underlying all this is to make sure you know and can communicate the central message of the story. Write this ‘Learning Point’ in the words your audience can understand and relate to.

[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

Visual Stories

Make a photo of the emotions in the story of Jesus. Sometimes those emotions are reported in the actual story or you will need to do the necessary background reading, use your biblical imaginations and listen to God for the hunches and insights needed here.

Unless you can do it all yourself, you will need a:

  • Storyteller: to explain, explore & wonder with children
  • Drama director: to conduct auditions, to encourage thoughtful creativity and to push emotions in the photos
  • Photographer: to keep snapping and to be aware of lighting issues
  • Crowd supervision: to keep an eye on those who have trouble focussing or who need special attention.
[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

Action Stories

As you prepare a Bible story well, there are a number of ways to add action to it.

  • If there is a word (or words) that are repeated throughout the story, make up an action and/or a sound effect the children will need to enact whenever they hear the word/s. An example of this: Often people were puzzled by Jesus’ words or actions. Ask children to scratch their heads and put their hands on their chins whenever this arises in a story. Sign language for ‘God’ is bumping your two fists, on on top of the other, and then pointing up. Ask children to do this when they hear ‘God’ mentioned in a story. Ask children to draw a ‘J’ in the air just in front of them or on their hand whenever they hear the name of Jesus. In the treasure stories, ask them to dig the ground just in front of them.
    It is better if this action is related to the main learning point of the story or it could become a distraction … although sometime it can be used for the plain fun of it.
  • Enact the verbs or ask a few or all the children to do this for you. Children enacting stormy waves and wind as well as Jesus sleeping in the boat is one example of how this can be used.
  • Sometimes there are stories with ‘warnings and well done messages’ If you point to the children, ask them to call out, “Watch out!” or if you elbow and fist down in front of you, ask them to call out, “Well done!”
[© Phillip Day & Scripture Union Victoria, 2011 … midst.suvic.org.au This article is FreeShare: Part or all of this text may be used provided it is not for profit and provided it carries this complete tag.]

And make it fun!

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Big Bible Challenge
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Under Construction

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WOW
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Envisaged for this area is a number of sections containing resources for celebrating many of the transitions and milestones of life.

WOW Transition & Milestones Ministry will help children and families ministry workers to resource partnerships between a child’s or young person’s parents, faith community and wider family to celebrate some of the important events in their life.

These resources will help parents, a faith community and wider families:

  • make the most of important teaching moments;
  • nurture faith in young lives.

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Teaching Moments
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Teaching Moments

In the midst of each celebration it will be important to make the most of each opportunity to equip and resource parents and the faith community with some important Words of Wisdom (WOW).

The confidence to speak these words into a child’s life will come with practice. A faith community can mentor parents in this process.

Wonder and Words of Wisdom

WOW … is a big word! It is an expression of wonder; it is said with wide eyes and raised eyebrows; it is a celebration word!

WOW … is also a word that can stand for ‘Words of Wisdom’.

The general sentiment is: “As we stand with you at this milestone or as we transition with you over the next little while, we hope you appreciate these few words of wisdom. They come from lots of places and are given to you with love and in the hope that you will continue to follow Jesus and grow in your faith in God.”
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Lost in Transition
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Lost in Transition

There are key periods of transition in the lives of our children where the risk of being lost to our faith communities is greater. Working to minimise the risk at these is an important part of the aspects ministry explored in these web pages. Working strategically towards a vision of children connected firmly into the faith community in ways that mean they grow in relationship with God and the whole faith community means it will be less likely that a child will leave.

Milestones

Celebrating milestones with a child in creative and positive ways will communicate love and care, create memories & connections and help to cement a child into the faith community.
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WOW Resources
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Resources

Imagine the possibilities of having all the resources thought through and developed for you in one place.  Midst is working to ensure this sort of help is at hand.

 If you would like to partner in this process, please contact Midst.

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Under construction
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WOW! The area or page you would like to view is under construction.

There are elements of WOW Transition and Milestones Ministry that are still to be developed or are being trialed or refined. Mostly this development is in partnership with different faith communities or organisations.

If you would like to participate in an aspect of development, please contact Phil Day here>

The best way to keep track of new resources coming online is to sign up to receive Midst Snippets. You may do so here>
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WOW FOrmat
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Each transition or milestone is organised around the pattern of:

~~~~ A ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Transition/Milestone title: (age) A subtitle

Name of Champion (position/group/person)

• The leader of a team of people who can deliver effective celebration and teaching

Parent Seminar/Training/Discipling

• Core competencies or reminders made as a suggestion to parents and/or children.  This is suggested as a journey to embark on rather than a judgement of current abilities.  Resources are offered to help parents in their role.  This section may also include teaching and reminders to the faith community that may be expressed in newsletters, announcements or preaching.

Top 5 Resources: 

• Suggest reading and web search links around these core competencies/reminders

Great Ideas for Faith Community Celebrations

• Teachings, things to remember, wisdoms, ideas, resources, references, links.

Great Ideas for Family Celebrations

• Teachings, things to remember, wisdoms, ideas, resources, references, links.

WOW Cards

3 pdf card designs: Each card design contains specific words of teaching and encouragement to each party in the drama of life surrounding this milestone and transition.

• WOW* … * indicates this card is for the person whose life we are celebrating

• WOWp … p indicates this card is for the parents and extended family of the person whose life we are celebrating

• WOWc … c indicates this card is for the immediate faith community of the person whose life we are celebrating

 

Note: Wonder and Words of Wisdom

WOW … is a big word! It is an expression of wonder; it is said with wide eyes and raised eyebrows; it is a celebration word!

WOW … is also a word that can stand for ‘Words of Wisdom’.

The general sentiment expressed in each of these transitions or milestones is: “As we stand with you at this milestone or as we transition with you over the next little while, we hope you appreciate these few words of wisdom. They come from lots of places and are given to you with love and in the hope that you will continue to follow Jesus and grow in your faith in God.”

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Event Possibilities
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The Announcement of Pregnancy (A new family member): The Baby is at the door!

The Birth of a Baby (Birth): Welcome to the world

The Naming/Dedication/Baptism of a Baby/Toddler (0-3 year olds): Welcome to the Church

New Beginnings at School (4-6 year olds): Happily started

Faith Commitment (first Communion/first decision): Following Jesus

Children to Youth (Primary to secondary) (11&12 year olds): Moving on up: 

Passage to adolescence (11-14 year olds): Well and truly on track

Passage to independence (15-16 year olds): Courage and grace

Passage to adulthood (17-19 year olds): Standing in the world

Birthday (any age ~ individual): You are special, loved and important!

Life in Christ (any age ~ individual): Following Jesus

The Decades (anyone with a ‘zero’ birthday in that year): Happy Decade!!

Life is hard sometimes (any age ~ individual): And sometimes a lot!
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Help for you
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Help for you

Be confident help is at hand. See the summaries below or explore the accordian windows above for more detail.

Focused consultancies

Book a coffee and/or lunch consultation and we’ll chat about the issues. We may determine that a lengthier and more structured consultation process may be more appropriate for you.

More detail here>

Presentations with a difference

From a classroom to a beach or from a church to a chapel;

From Bible storytelling to a visual, multi-age sermon or an artist in residence to family camp activities;

What ever the context or the style, the Truth, Love and Power of God will shine through!

More detail here>

Tailored training options

The list below is only a very small sample of training topics. If you can dream the topic, we can probably negotiate something close to it. If, however, I do not have the experience to train your team in the topic of your choice, I am confident I will know someone who can. I would be more than happy to refer you to them.

  • Faith Journeys with Children
  • Intergenerational worship … being Jesus to one another and the community around you.
  • Toolkit for Growing Great Kids
  • Growing Faith in Children in an ‘Orange kinda way’
  • Connecting through Storytelling and Drama
  • The 5 Keys to Ministry with Children and Families
  • Clown Ministry Skills

More detail here>
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Booking Form B
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Book
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Consultancy
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Why not explore the idea of a consultancy or a review?

Let’s chat about your current ministry with children and families. I am able to offer individual churches a consultancy or a review designed for your context.  The consultancy tools I can bring to you have been developed from three decades of experience and are highly adaptable.  From two hours over coffee through to eight hours per week for 12 months; from a phone chat to three days a week for two months … these consultancies can be negotiated and adapted to your needs.
I am currently involved with consultancies with two churches in suburban Melbourne.
Find ‘Help for getting the direction right in your church’ in a pdf brochure (116KB download) here>

Bookings

Ideally, each request for a consultancy or review requires an online booking form to be completed. The ‘Booking Form’ accordion window above provides access to more information about booking, fee &/or donation options and links to a ‘Request for Consultancy’ online form. When you get to it, feel free to call me and we’ll fill it out together over the phone as we chat about the possibilities.

Phil’s bio and photo

For further information about Phil’s background and experience, click on the ‘About Phil Day’ accordion window above.
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Presentations
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Presentations

Depending on your needs and your context, Phillip is available for:

  • Multi-age, visual sermons
  • Engaging, multi-age church services
  • Challenging children’s talks
  • Creative kid’s church/Sunday school presentations
  • Special occasions
  • ‘Artist in Residence’ activities
  • Family or kid’s camp speaker
  • Christmas carols in the park visual artist/speaker
  • Holiday program presenter

Please contact Phil or make a request for a booking by starting here>
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Training Possibilities
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Training Possibilities

This training topics outlined below are only a very small sample of what is available to you.  If you can dream the topic, we  can probably negotiate something close to it.  If, however, we do not have the experience to train your team in the topics of your choice, we are confident we will know someone who can.  We would be more than happy to refer you to them.

Once we have determined your exact training needs and the best way to deliver them, we will also invite you to consider opening up this event to others in your area. If we determine this is practical and appropriate we can do this in the hope that the training will be of benefit to others and to help defray the costs of training. It may also be possible to offer two or more streams of training workshops. Let’s talk!

To help you understand the cost of training, a discussion of fees is provided here>

To help you to contact us or to make a booking for training or a presentation, please fill out a contact or booking form here>


Under each training topic are the time variations for which each may be offered:

  • 1HR … An introduction to the topic. An overview of the scope of the topic, useful directions, books or ideas to explore. Exploring only one facet in any real depth in an activity, small groups or personal reflection as time allows … a typical training event workshop of approximately 1 hour or so.
  • 2HR … plus a break … Same as above exploring more facets using a variety of approaches.
  • 4HR … plus breaks … Same as above exploring more facets in more depth using a greater variety of approaches. Hands on practise of skills with some take-home outcomes are also a possibility here … probably with a lunch or, with an early start, a mid-morning brunch!
  • 5 x 2.5HR … Five sessions over 5 weeks of 2.5 hours each.
  • WE … over a weekend plus breaks and meals and fun! … A whole weekend at, for example, a family camp where the emphasis is on learning and celebrating worship together. Sometimes children will be with their own age group while adults are in their study/seminar groups and sometimes everyone is in multi-age groups based on interest. Common to all is a unified theme which results in a time of multi-aged celebration of worship. 

‘Faith Journeys with Children’ or ‘Effectively Communicating Spiritual Truth to Children’

  • 1HR – • – 2HR – • – 4HR

The two titles provide options to you regarding which emphasis you would like us to bring to this topic in the time available. Understanding how faith develops is vital in effectively communicating spiritual truth to children at home, at school and at church.  Effective communication of spiritual truth is important to understand as we share a faith journey with children.

Rather than a presentation of theory, we have devised a workshop approach in order to engaging participants in small group discussion. This normally leads to a number of personal reflection activities as time permits. The result is often a serious revision of our parenting as all as our children and families ministry in our churches.  It will also help to focus our efforts in our ministry in schools.

 

Multi-age worship as a church family

  • 1HR – • – 2HR – • – 4HR – • – WE

Much of our ministry in schools or in the local community and as parents may be quite engaging and faith nurturing.  Sometimes however, this is not backed up by multi-age, welcoming, celebrations of worship.  We would love everyone to be even more engaged by what happens on a Sunday morning or on a weekend church family camp. There are appropriate, non-gimicky ways for this to happen.

The focus of this topic is to explore and experience some of the principles that guide multi-age worship, especially with children.  These principles will have implications for the way we open the Bible with children, sing with children and even how we listen and talk to God with children.  The teaching and discussion will help everybody to engage in the one activity we know will last for eternity … celebrating the most high worth of our Most High God.
Come to learn, participate and be inspired!

 

 The 5 Keys to ministry with children

  • 1HR – • – 2HR – • – 4HR

There are 5 keys for ministry with children and families … all helping to build on the underlying principle that … Villages raise children, faith communities make disciples. The nurturing, loving environment of the home and the missional, discipling nature of the faith community will need to partner in and highly value the following 5 keys for ministry:

  • connections with children
  • participation with children
  • an engagement with children, particularly in the Bible
  • a sense of belonging with children
  • all means of inviting and recognising the range of faith responses of children

Discover the principles, ideas and resources in these workshop options to help you value children even more highly.

 

Working Safely with Children

  • 2HR – • – 4HR

How we work safely in our relationships with children is of paramount importance for a number of reasons. The motivation for filling out forms, attending training, managing risks, providing safe, comfortable environments for children is not just to avoid litigation if something goes wrong. Our motivations for working safely with children need to go much much deeper than this to reflect and communicate the love of God. The training in this topic delivers the practical how-to’s and the deeper motivations to improve all our activities in this area.

 

Tool Kit for Raising Great Kids

2HR – • – 5 x 2.5HR

Sessions cover a range of discipline ideas and techniques.  Each of these ideas will be discussed in such a way as to help participants adapt them to their own specific context.  If you are a parent, children’s worker or a CRE or classroom teacher there will ideas a plenty for you to choose from.   This is a highly adaptable course and can be presented over a number of weeks in a range of contexts.  One of the strengths of the way the forums are conducted is the way the discussion, storytelling, reflection and problem solving activities help to establish community amongst participants. More on this topic here>

 

Running a Holiday Program

  • 6HR

If you would like help to train your team in the basics of presenting a relational holiday program, help is at hand. Borrowing from many of the above topics to provide an overview of ministry with children and families, participants will be walked through the issues as well as the practical how-to’s of providing an upfront program along with small group relationships and activities with children. As churches in a community commit to such a program, the sense of vision and team is affirmed in coming together for training like this. Others who are working with children in other contexts could also be invited if it is thought they would benefit from this sort of training.


 Storytelling for Life

  • 4HR

Your ministry will receive a fantastic boost with this level of training helping us to understand story, listen to story and tell our story.

If you are finding it difficult to get your message across or struggling to recruit then ministry leaders, small group leaders, PARENTS, children’s workers and CRE teachers, mission leaders, church newsletter editors will all gain from improved storytelling skills to:

  • help to listen well and communicate clearly in ALL your relationships
  • gossip the Good News even more naturally
  • engage children, youth and adults as we open the Bible
  • make your platform presentations really zing!
  • be more effective in our recruiting strategies
  • share and promote our ministries

 

 Growing Faith in Children in an ‘Orange kinda way’! 

  • 1HR

Is your ministry with children and families a strong, vibrant RED + YELLOW = ORANGE ministry? This session explores the roles of parents and the church working in partnership to grow faith in their children.

The understanding of ORANGE developed by Reggie Joiner and others goes something like this:  RED is the colour of the parents’ spiritual leadership, faith nurturing and discipling of their own children …  PLUS … YELLOW is the colour of the church’s invitational and discipling ministry with children and families … which all EQUALS … ORANGE … working together to strengthen both the roles of parents and the church … exploring ways to establish and resource partnerships between parents and the church.

 

Connecting through Storytelling and Drama!

  • 1HR – • – 2HR

Whether in the classroom, the kids club, a lunch-time program or a Sunday School class … connecting God’s story in the Bible with children through storytelling and drama is one the keys to invitational, relational learning and fun.  The focus here is to uncover the emotions experienced in and through a story and to use them to shape our telling of the story in the words we use and the expressions we bring deliver in our faces and bodies.

 

Engaging Children with The Bible

  • 1HR – • – 2HR

Explore some great ideas to engage children in actively exploring the Bible’s message.  We pray for a real engagement of children with us, the program and, best of all, with God. Part of the focus here is to explore the way we ask and answer questions.

 

Helping Children to Follow Jesus

  • 1HR – • – 2HR – • – 4HR

Often we run a great program, provide caring relationships, effectively teach spiritual truth to children and yet provide no invitation or avenue to respond to the gospel message. This is often based on the two related issues of fear and a lack of skill in this area. With teaching, simulated practice, discussion and prayer this is easily overcome. It is a teachable concept that parents, workers and teachers are quite easily able to understand and apply. Skills training in this topic will also help to unlock the passion to see children and their families following Jesus.

 

Clown Ministry Skills

  • 2HR – • – 4 x 2HR

Discover the basics of clown makeup and costume and begin the process of discovering your clown within.  Learn and practice the principles of clowning as well as explore some ideas to help prepare you for clown ministry.  The basic skits and routines practiced and performed over a number of workshops will help participants to begin the journey of clown ministry.
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Booking Form
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Ways to access some help for you …

Need to chat on the phone first about the options below? Do your have a simple phone/email query before getting started? Contact Phil here> Concerned about fees/donations? Check here>

  • To organise some consultancy around a particular issue please complete the form here>; OR
  • To make an online booking or to request a presentation and/or some training, click here>; OR
  • Cut and paste the relevant text below to an email, complete it and send to: Phil Day
SUBJECT: Midst/Phil Day booking form for a PRESENTATION &/or some TRAINING
PREFERRED FIRST NAME::    
LAST NAME::    
EMAIL ADDRESS::    
CHURCH/ ORGANISATION::
CHURCH/ ORGANISATION WEBSITE (if any, including http://)::    
YOUR ROLE/ POSITION (if any)::    
#1 CONTACT PHONE NUMBER (a daytime number if possible)::    
#2 CONTACT PHONE NUMBER (if any)::    
This is a request for   • A PRESENTATION • TRAINING • A COMBINATION OF PRESENTATION & TRAINING (delete all but one)
INFORMATION REGARDING EVENT
• Name of event
• Day and date of event (if yet to be determined, type ‘tbd’ & add suggested dates) 
• Times of event (start and finish, approximate is better than none)
• Location of Event including full name of venue and full address 
• General description/nature of event
• Overall, what positive, helpful, prayful outcomes would you love to see as a result of your event?
• What would you like me to do at this event? Please be as specific as you can 
PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION CONCERNING FEES/DONATIONS >here>
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/QUERIES
SUBJECT: Midst/Phil Day request for a CONSULTANCY
PREFERRED FIRST NAME::
LAST NAME::
EMAIL ADDRESS::
CHURCH/ ORGANISATION::
CHURCH/ ORGANISATION WEBSITE (if any, including http://)::
YOUR ROLE/ POSITION (if any)::
#1 CONTACT PHONE NUMBER (a daytime number if possible)::
#2 CONTACT PHONE NUMBER (if any)::
• ISSUE/S OR TOPIC/S UP FOR DISCUSSION
PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION CONCERNING FEES/DONATIONS here>
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/QUERIES

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Form
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red  child

MIDST request for a consultancy

  • To contact MIDST/Phil Day directly by phone, try +61 (0)417 116 970
    Call for a phone chat before completing an online form if this would be helpful for you.
  • To make contact with a simple comment/query please use the contact form here>
  • To make a booking request for a presentation or for some training, please use the booking form here>
  • An asterisk* indicates a required field.
  • Your preferred first name and last name please.
  • A valid email is required. A confirmation message with your booking request will be sent to this email address.
  • For churches, please include full name, denomination, suburb, city.
  • Optional … If you have a website please give this including the http://
    (Probably best to cut & paste the actual web address)
  • A daytime number if possible.
  • If any
  • Have your checked out the discussion regarding fees &/or donations here>?
  • red  child

    Consultancy brief

  • Please provide a general description of the issues/topics up for discussion; the sort of input you would like to receive; and the projected time component for a consultancy.
    Note: For this response and those below, any jottings, dot points, helpful comments … all good! Maximum characters: 500
  • Overall, what positive, helpful, prayerful outcomes would you love to see as a result of a consultation? It would be helpful to know where you would like to end up in the short, medium or long term. Maximum characters: 500
  • Please note any preferred times and locations to meet. Leave blank if this is something best discussed over the phone.
  • red  child

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Mini Moments
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A list of currently available Mini Moments of reflection and learning may be found here>

Reflection and learning can take place at different times and in different places. Different learning styles mean we will engage with our world in different times in different ways.
The model of formal education where a speaker talks and a recipient listens is overused. Learning at your own pace, in visual and kinesthetic ways is under utilized.
Here, in this area of Midst, you are invited to consider setting up spaces for mini moments of reflection and learning for those who would enter it.
To do this is to help address the imbalance of too many words and too few visual and kinaesthetic paths to learning.
When a warm and inviting space is set up with a number of mini moment stations, participants are invited to drop into a station for a mini moment of reflection or learning
After taking a little time to wander around and find the activity that suits you best participants are invited to make the most of the their opportunity to engage in the activity. If they have time, they may do more than one.
The invitation to participants is, firstly, to make a choice to participate and engage in the activities before them; asking God to help them discover something true, something new.
Reflection and learning can take place at different times and in different places. Different learning styles mean we will engage with our world in different times in different ways.
The model of formal education where a speaker talks and a recipient listens is overused. Learning at your own pace, in visual and kinesthetic ways is under utilized.
Here, in this space, we have an opportunity to address the imbalance.
You are invited to drop into a mini moment of reflection or learning at one of the stations in this space. Take a little time to wander around and find the activity that suits you best. Then, even in the busy market place, make the most of the your opportunity to engage in the activity. If you have time, do more than one.
Firstly, make a choice to participate and engage in the activities before you. Ask God to help you discover something true, something new. Make sure you adapt the activity to your needs.
Participants are also encouraged to only take the activity sheet and materials at the station they spend time at. All the rest of the activities can be found as part of an active PDF online on this website.
Organisers of a mini moment space are encouraged to adapt each activity to their needs.
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List of mini moments
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The following mini moments are available for download to Midst Subscribers. By all means download a test sample before subscribing.

An hour a week …

As you make a bracelet out of a piece of string and a single bead, reflect on the hour a week you have with a child or a group of children in one of your programs. Also reflect on the many hours a week children spend in other contexts … especially their family.

Download a PDF (165KB) here>

 

Let the children come …

As you make a child out of modelling clay, keep a child you know in your mind’s eye and be praying for him/her. Listen to God about this child. Be mindful of the inklings and hunches coming from God regarding him/her.

Download a PDF (514KB) here>

Reflect on Mark 10:13-16

What can we do?

Most of us come from a professional, trade, primary industry or home background where we solve problems and fix things all the time. Think of an example of a problem / issue / breakage that needed a response. Let’s apply some of the principles we learn along life’s way to an issue in our ministry area.

Download a PDF (169KB) here>

The lesson of ‘The Bricks’

Here is an opportunity for the mind, heart and spirit to play with Holy Spirit. The suggestions for reflection here relate to the article ‘The lesson of the bricks.’ On all of the images depicting a brick wall one brick is coloured/shaded. This brick represents a child.

Download a PDF (1.5MB) here>

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Issues for leaders
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Click herefor pdf (1.4MB): Let the children come …
Others will be added in due course.

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Faith journeys
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Faith begins with God, the author of faith. Our God is King of kings and Lord of lords. Our God is Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Our God is God of miracles. At any moment of time and at any place, God does and will break into people’s lives in amazing ways. One of the ways people have tried to understand a faith journey has been to devise linear approaches to understanding this. This has been helpful to a point. In the same way we have linear orders of service, program outlines and pictures and structures on paper for various processes we also have ‘faith stages’ as outlined below. God will use our understandings gained from these linear approaches and, it is equally important to affirm, God will also work outside of them and even in spite of them sometimes.
Understanding linear approaches to life and faith form part of our skills and knowledge base. Primarily though, we need to rely on God, listen to God and partner with God in the work God is doing in our midst and in the lives of children, young people and their families.
The thoughts below have been gleaned from experience and from a very helpful summary of a large body of knowledge concerning the spiritual development of children found in Post Modern Children’s Ministry. Well worth a read!
To develop this further, we ask the question, “What spiritual truths do we want to sow into the lives of children?” Grouping our wide and varied responses to this question and ordering them to correspond to the learning regarding how faith develops in stages, means we can more effectively communicate and revise our ministries.

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God is trustworty
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Spiritual Truth: God is trustworthy!

Writers suggest that a child’s faith development journey starts at conception or at least at birth. Spiritual development is intertwined with all other developmental areas of a child’s life, and must be addressed to ensure successful navigation with all areas and at each ‘stage’. It is at the earliest stages of a child’s experience of life that the concrete experiences of ‘trust’ and ‘people in whom they may trust’ will form. This will dramatically influence their understanding later in life of a God who is trustworthy.

Application: Our facilities, programs, behaviours and relationships need to be safe and trustworthy.
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TO God you are lovable, special and important!
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Spiritual Truth: To God, you are lovable (worthy of love), special and important! 

We fail to communicate this truth when we, as adults, cast doubt and shame in a child’s life. We manage to do this almost unwittingly when we fail to encourage and affirm a child in all that they are capable of doing. Children see adults as ‘all-knowing’ and ‘god-like’ so when adults expect too much, children may feel they have let us adults down, this may sometimes sow doubt or shame in a child’s sense of self. This can also happen when we fail to take into account their ages and stages of development.

Application: Encourage and affirm children in their successes.  Challenge, help and encourage learning through the risks and the failures.  Do not berate failure.   Make godly character the goal of godly discipline.
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God is Love!
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Spiritual Truth: God is love!

A young child thinks in concrete rather than abstract terms.  When an adult says, “This is what it is to love one another” or “You are being kind to your sister”, a child accepts the comment and ‘banks’ it for the day that he or she will understand this concept. Love is experienced and named a long time before it is understood; keep linking the concrete expression to the abstract idea of it. Another important note is that God expresses God’s love partly in and through a sense of belonging in families and communities.

Application:  Celebrate God’s love! Talk about it! Gossip it! Tell stories about it! Bank it! Help children to belong and feel connected to their faith communities; talk about this connectedness and sense of belonging as a experiences of God’s love.
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We can’t earn GOd’s love
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Spiritual Truth: We can’t earn God’s love! 

In primary years, children begin to discover what they are good at and may be affirmed in their learning style and special gifts and abilities. If this doesn’t happen there will be an increasing sense of failure, frustration and guilt. It’s also true that we are in the midst of a society that increasingly expects and deems as necessary a range of competencies.

In terms of children’s spiritual development, we must also begin to sow into their lives what the Bible teaches as necessary – which is often in stark contrast to the competencies valued by society at large. Loving God, self and others, loving mercy, working for justice are not often listed as values of our society. Building on the truth that God is love and by adding concepts of mercy and justice is an important development in our children. It’s worth noting here that all the above stages need to apply and in place in order for this stage of development to be negotiated well.

Application: Teach and explore the concept of sin in the context of this wider picture of God’s love, mercy and justice. As parents and children’s workers, help children to take steps and make choices in following Jesus.
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We can belong to God’s family
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Spiritual Truth: We can belong to God and God’s family. 

Preteens are on the lookout for role models and mentors who have stories of faith (their own and the Bible Story) that demonstrate the experience of belonging and connection to God. Children will bring sustained, insightful and deep questions to these faith stories. A sense of belonging is adopted after a process of hearing it, seeing it, experiencing it, ‘banking’ it and then claiming it as their own. They may inherit this notion of belonging from their parents until they eventually embody it for themselves through a process of questions, decisions and choices on the basis of their own experience..

Application: As parents and children’s workers, don’t be shocked at any question that seems like a child might be doubting their own or someone else’s faith. In an affirming, loving and gently way, help a child to understand why they are asking these questions and to explore the answers with them. Help one another to identify and address deficiencies in the earlier stages of a child’s spiritual development.
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God is worthy of our worship
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Spiritual Truth: God is worthy of our worship. 

If children have learnt or experienced the antithesis of any of the above, they will more than likely leave thier faith community. They will vote with their feet.  They will make choices away from 24/7 worship of God.  Also, if children are not participating in or a not engaged by our celebrations of  worship they will more than likely leave.  If children are just sitting around waiting to leave to go to Kids Church when they no longer fit Kids Church we will risk losing them.

Application:  Find appropriate ways to include children of all ages (including babies) in our expressions of corporate worship. It is where they will best learn to worship God together as God’s family. Do this in ways that take into account all of the above stages of spiritual development.
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Progrms
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Big Buds & Toolkit for Growing Great Kids.  Choose one from the drop-down menu.
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Thank you!
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Thank you …

 

Please continue to browse Midst.

 

Please note:

If you have just signed up for Midst Snippets or Toolkit Snippets, we need to confirm your email address. To complete the sign up process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.
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Celebrate
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We celebrate the following milestones and transitions:


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List of mini moments
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