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Wednesday
Jan212015

CPC {2015}

it's CPC {children's pastors' conference} TIME!

this week -- i'll be in TN. hope to see you + encourage you.

here's where you can find me:

COACHING SESSIONS 

WORKSHOP #7: LOCAL Community -- Connecting with Leaders in Your Community

GENERAL SESSION #5: Celebrating My Community 

and, of course, wherever there's COFFEE, you'll see me. 

ALSO: during the general session on friday night, we'll be sharing a bit about our context at willow chicago + the custom, multicultural curriculum we're creating for our kids + families. we'll unveil a facebook page for folks interested in joining the conversation about how to create a new type of diverse activities for kids. if you're interested in the topic -- i'd love if you contributed to the page. or, send an email to: curriculum@willowchicago.org. 

finally. INCM asked me to create this short video with a word of encouragement for my fellow kidmin leaders. whether i'll see you at CPC or not, be encouraged. much love.

Monday
Jan192015

on MLK {day}

today on MLK day. 

i promise to do all i can to help children notice + appreciate each other. to help them understand that we're all interwoven, connected, and affected by each other's well-being. 

i want kids to know the world is broken, unfair, and not the way God intended or hoped. that injustice, violence, and selfishness are not the ways of Jesus. ever. 

i promise, today, to remind + educate children so they know that God created them in his unique + beautiful image to contribute to the restoration of his kingdom on earth. 

that their differences, when matched together for the sake of greater collaboration + good, will actually change the world. towards greater love, fairness, kindness, peace. 

today on MLK day.

i recommit my life + ministry to the calling God has placed deep in my heart. to be a voice, advocate and champion of peace for the sake of children in my community. to risk greatly so that every child would know God's love fully, and see herself + himself in God's story. 

in the words of my favorite 5 year old -- "MLK worked to help fix things that were not fair." 

may we all do the same. 

 original image created by Molly Z. for willow chicago custom curriculum. ©Willow Chicago

Monday
Jan122015

the new year, so far

happy new year, and so much to say. i'll keep it short-ish. 

first up, we had the best holiday. lots of family, lots of rest, and a new baby niece added to our family. of course, our hearts are bursting in love. god is SO good to give nieces + nephews.  

then, our very first day back to work after the holidays was our child dedication + baptism service. we've tried something new in which we hold both celebrations in the same service. simply put: IT'S AWESOME. i think, it gives a great vision for what the two public committments mean. parents dedicating + choosing to raise their children in faith, and then, BAPTISM, the fulfillment of so many prayers and hopes all come together in a choice, a decision to follow and serve Jesus. 

during dedication, i said a few words about the significance of the dedication, and how the children of our church are all of our responsibilities -- that we'd never allow these parents to feel alone in their journey. we'd pray for, serve, care for, and cheer them on, always. it was a really special moment. i felt the group with me -- committed to the children of our church and their growing faith.

and THEN my boy Owen was baptized. OWEN. a 6th grader, who's been through a heap of tough stuff in the last year, and yet, has a great faith that's growing, made a decision to go public and be baptized. while he was on stage, i prayed that God would continue to heal and strengthen his heart, and that he'd use his talents to contribute to to restoring God's kingdom in the city. it was all i could do to contain my totally uncontrollable tears, in joy and praise for a God who makes all things new. 

 and now, onto a new curriculum unit for january. somedays it feels like we're writing new lessons every-day over-and-over, and maybe that's because we ARE. curriculum is hard work, and also, worth it all. this month, we're teaching old testament lessons on moses + ruth + naomi + deborah, and through it all, we'll remind kids that God helps + rescues, and often demonstrates his help by sending someone to be his blessing, his conduit. because, at the core of our curriculum is the value that we're all created in the divine image of God {regardless of our background, family makeup, or skintone}, and that we're all capable of contributing to fixing our broken world + city.

so, we'll do that again this month and believe that the spirit will speak to our kids, and help them make connections on how they're god-given strengths match up with the world's great needs. 

ALSO. if you're compelled by what i'm saying about the curriculum, and our willow chicago context, consider joining my team. in 2015, i'm hiring! more on that here. 

let's do this 2015!

Sunday
Dec212014

christmas is for us, too

december. the month of twinkly lights and hot cocoa, christmas parties and neatly wrapped gifts. and also, december is the month of STRESS and short tempers and messy houses.

i asked my husband if he knew of a housekeeping service that cleaned houses only during december. because of our schedules, my house is a disaster with no current plans for a good cleaning. 

working in the church during the month of december is a joy. and, PURE crazy. church-event-church-event-church-event. pastoring, pastoring, pastoring. so much need. with little margin for error, and even less margin to breathe. no room to take notice that christmas is for US, too. 

christmas is for pastors and children's ministry leaders, too. of course, our ministry is to serve. and during december, there's a lot of serving to be done. but, in the midst of our serving, leading, pastoring, we have got to notice that christ the divine child has come for us, too. 

christmas is not about crazy. it's just the opposite. jesus, a child, came to the world to bring peace and light, and a break from the crazy we've known. he came to free our souls and give new life. 

pastoring and leading in december is not just about giving endlessly to others. it's also about reflecting on the divine magic and mysteries of the season. it's about receiving the words of hope for ourselves as we offer hope to others. it's about allowing the choir's songs to inspire our spirits as we expect the songs to inspire the congregation's spirits. christmas is about renewing our simple faith as we teach simple lessons to the children in our churches.

be open. someone might just minister to you this season. WHAT.

this christmas, of course, serve the people of your church with great zeal and commitment. but, don't forget to pause a few times and receive the blessing of the christ child.

today, trying to be gracious and kind to myself -- christmas is for me, too. 

Wednesday
Dec172014

i'm hiring @Willow Chicago

BIG news -- i'm looking to hire a full-time Promiseland Director at Willow Chicago in the New Year to partner with me on caring for families, developing volunteer teams, and creating multicultural curriculum. i sense God wanting to do a BIG work in the city for families, and i'm looking for a proven, innovative leader who can make great things happen.

i'm biased, but SERIOUSLY, this job is amazing. 

Chicago Promiseland Director: This full time position will lead and direct the Promiseland ministry at Willow Creek’s downtown, multicultural Chicago campus. This key leader, in partnership with the Family Pastor will develop, recruit, and pastor Promiseland volunteers, innovate and implement efficient operational systems, and contribute to Willow Chicago’s custom children’s ministry curriculum development. If you have previous leadership experience, enjoy building and inspiring effective volunteer teams, and sense a calling to lead in an exciting, diverse, city context, please consider applying.

cheers to a new year, and God doing BIG things in all of our cities!