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Three ways going pro helps kids grow spiritually

Guest post: Dawn Farris is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog www.whosthefarris.com or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris

helping kids go pro

To really grow, we have to let God work inside of us. I mean, we can try to do it on our own, and we can try with all our might, but in reality, it must be God who moves and works in us to bring about change.

To help kids to learn to rely on Jesus to help them grow spiritually rather than striving to “be good” on their own, teach them to go “pro” by using these three simple concepts based on the acronym PRO.

1) Pray—Begin by asking God to seek your heart and show you where He wants to work. As He reveals any areas that may need to change, confess them to Him and . . .

2) Repent—More than just changing our actions, repentance involves a change of mind trusting God’s way over ours. True repentance is the action that shows a change of our hearts and minds from our way to God’s way which means we will. . .

3) Obey—We want our kids to learn that to grow we have to obey God’s will and follow His Spirit and His ways. Spiritual growth will come when as our hearts learn that obedience is a gift of love and should be the first choice of those who belong to Jesus.

We all know that few of our students will go pro in their favorite sport, but by using a phrase they already relate to, we can help them learn through prayer, repentance and obedience how to go pro in their spiritual growth with the Lord.

What I learned when I dropped and broke my iPhone

cracked iphone

The expression, “It’s starting to be one of those Mondays” took on a new reality for me this morning.

Walking out the door this morning when my backpack hit my hand which was loosely holding my iPhone 5s. When the two of them made contact it was my phone that lost as it left my hand and dropped to the bottom of our concrete front porch stairs. The whole front glass section of the phone was completely busted up. The silver lining of this could be that we had Apple care plus so the fixing of the phone cost $79.00 and some unscheduled time to get it fixed.

While it was getting fixed, the whole 3 hours, it truly became clear how much and often I truly do use my phone. Here are some ways that in just those 3 hours I went to use my phone.

1. email of course. I went to send email and check my email. I am even embarrassed to admit that while I was in the apple store handing my phone over, the guy helping me told me how they would send a receipt to my email. You guessed it, I went to try to check my email on my phone that I no longer had with me.

2. Evernote was the other tool I was going to use on my phone. I wanted to take a picture of a logo that I saw and at another time wanted to do a voice recording note.

3. Starbucks app. I wanted to go get some coffee and reached for my phone to check my balance on the app when I remembered my phone was broken.

4. Calendar. Was completely lost without my calendar. Glad today was a Monday and is a little more relaxed than if this happened on another day.

5. Amazon book reader. As my wife was driving I usually will work on my iPhone or will get caught up on my reading or book review list. Not this time.

6. Clock. This was attempted more times than I will admit to, because it is very embarrassing how many times I check for my phone to see the time.

7. Trello. Every time I wanted to add to my to-do list or assign a project for a team member I would reach for my phone and come up disappointed every time.

8. EasilyDo. Trying to stay connected with all of my friends and their birthdays etc I love using EasilyDo. In this time block of my phone being down, so was my connecting with friends and wishing them a happy birthday.

9. YNAB. YNAB has been one of those apps that has benefited my family so much because we keep track of our spending and know what we have budgeted while maintaining real time updates for my wife and I. This app has been the single most beneficial tool to help us stop living pay check to paycheck. Every time we would spend something I had to hold onto the receipt for that moment that my phone would be back or I was around a computer to log into YNAB and record them.

10. Bible. I wanted to look up a reference that someone was making that was in the Bible but as we know by now, I did not have my phone which meant I did not have my Bible on hand.

11. Lastly, I did try to make a couple calls, it is a phone still as well I guess.

Isn’t it amazing how much our phones are used in such a short amount of time?
I have read on Tech2 the average person checks their smart phone 150 times a day.

How would you have been found trying to use your phone over the past 3 hours?

Do you have 1 single tool that you use more than your smart phone? If so what is it?

You do not, not have time to read.

books

I have heard and I am sure you have too, “Leaders are readers…” and with the amount we have all heard and read this one statement, I must believe there is some truth to this. Actually I whole heartily believe this.

You need to develop an appetite for life-long learning. In today’s world with all of our great technology like the internet, e-books, blogs on every imaginable topic under the sun, and all of this just a click away with the device all of us hold in our hands from phones, tablets, and laptops, there is truly no excuse to not read.

If you think you don’t have time to read, think about this:

Reading just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. Time you would have spent doing something the wrong way.

And that just scratches the surface at the benefits of reading.

Reading expands our minds.
Reading provides access to mentors who may not be with us anymore.
Reading allows you to travel places you may never get to go to otherwise.
Reading ignites our passion as we get to link dreams with others.
Reading frees us to learn about anything our hearts desire.
Reading clarifies our thinking as we connect with someone who has traveled further.
Reading fuels our creativity as we are challenged by someone taking one of our thoughts further.
Reading helps us lead more effectively and efficiently.

If you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself and a good book or e-book everyday. Start your day or end your day this way, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it.

First let me say upfront, one book that we all should be reading is the Bible. This blog post is assuming that you are already starting there. So now, let’s add to your reading.

Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:

“Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Books.

Some of the books I have spent some time chewing and digesting for a various amount of reasons:

Start here: “11 Books that have caused change in my life”.

Here is the list of books that I have on my iPad Kindle that I still have yet to read.
1. Tech Savvy Parenting
2. Creative Teaching Methods
3. Bit Literacy

Blogs

There are so many good blogs on the internet that you can learn from an expert in just about anything. And best of all, you don’t have to pay for it!

If you don’t read blogs, you are missing out. Get yourself a free Feedly Reader account. Get an app for blog reading on the go (I use feedly here as well). Then, find good blogs about topics that interest you.

Here is a list of the top 100 Kidmin blogs to help you get started. Notice this blog post has been in the list and steadily moving up over the last couple of years.

Now go and start your reading.

iTodd blog of the week

I have been taking part in a blog improvement type network collaboration group with some fellow children’s pastors for a couple months now. We have been going through the 31 days to a better blog by using Pro Blogger’s book. It has been good for me in a few ways. It has shown me what good things I have been doing on purpose and by accident and it also has given me some ideas to try out as well. Some of the ideas have been hits for me and some not.

Well, in this particular week my blog made blogger of the week and went under the microscope. I was able to read some good comments, feedback on my blog and thought why not ask you as well? So here is your opportunity to pour into this site and leave some constructive comments (remember, all comments have to be approved anyway so why not leave something good or even bad but said in a way it will be beneficial and be able to be approved).

– Let me know how you like the look?
– Tell me about the ease or the confusion of navigating around the site?
– The kind of topics?
– The material covered on each topic?
– The general length of each post?
– Do I give you information? Solve problems for you? Cause problems? Stir your thoughts?
– When you are done how do you leave, with feeling you want more or the feeling that you are glad you are leaving?
– Is it easy to subscribe to? RSS feed?

Any other thoughts?

Task #6 The Blogger Challenge

Here for the Blogger Challenge that I was part of, and since starting, I have fallen behind in, day #6 is about learning from some experienced bloggers some tips and tutorials. I am only going to list a few but there was a ton to read through. Here we go…

1. Seth Godin did a blog post on how to get blog traffic to your blog.

2. Rand Fishkin talks about 21 tips to earn link and tweets to your blog post.

3. Skellie from Skelliewag writes about the 25 Paths to an Insanely Popular Blog

4. Chris Garrett write How to Grow Your Google Authority

I think just after these 4 and no more it provides enough information for your head to explode.

What other articles have you read that were of great help in a subject manner?

Task #5 for The Blogger Challenge

Task 5 of our 31 days weeks to Build a Better Blog is to email a reader who’s left a comment on your blog.

Darren writes:
Two Ways to Take this Further and Make a Bigger Impression

1. If the person has left a link to their own blog in their comment, leave a comment on their blog. Again, this is another technique I used in my early days of blogging and it was certainly paramount in building readership.
2. Respond to the comment ON your blog. Sending the email is great for making an impression on the individual person, but leaving a comment in your own comment section shows other readers that you’ll engage in conversation. It also helps build comment numbers, which can build social proof and show your blog is active.

So there it is, that is Task #5. If you are following this weekly blogging challenge feel free to write how emailing someone goes for you. Do you see when you leave a comment on others blogs that they tend to come to yours and leave a comment? This is one that hasn’t really helped me much but I would love to hear how it may help you.

Learn from top blogs in your niche #4 31DBBB

Here we are with task #4 in our 31 days weeks of our time together.

In the workbook, Darren writes:

“The purpose of this task is, rather than promote yourself on the blog, spend time watching, listening, and observing how the blog operates. The goal is to enable what you learn help shape your own blogging strategy. There is a lot a blogger can learn by spending time on other blogs, particularly those that are doing well. You can pick up all manner of ideas, strategies and tips—things that they do well that you might like to emulate, as well as elements that they’re missing that could help you to differentiate yourself.”

So take some time and learn from others. What blogs do you enjoy reading and why?

The Forgotten Purpose of Twitter

I am participating in the Ministry Blogger Challenge where some children’s pastors like myself who blog are going through a book by ProBlogger and with each chapter we are given an assignment. The assignment I am working on now project #3 is “promote a post” which I am choosing a post that a great long time friend of mine named Karl Bastian had posted to his blog at Kidologist.com. Check out the original post or more of his stuff at the Kidologist!

Please read the next three sentence slowly and thoughtfully:

Relationships can’t be measured.

Relationships can’t be quantified.

Relationships can’t be R.O.I.ed

I’m getting really weary of reading articles like this one that talk about the value of Twitter in terms of whether people click on them or “ReTweet” them as though they are a waste of time otherwise. So what if only 29% of tweets are “acted” upon and of those only 6% are “retweeted” or if 71% of tweets have a “shelf life” of one hour and get no “reaction?” They were never intended to be works of literature to last the ages. They were intended to be flashes of data sent out to those who might be watching and might be following who might find it interesting.

I’m on Twitter because I value relationship with people not geographically close to me. It provides a stream of humor, links, photos and information of a nature Facebook simply can’t.

Society has gotten obsessed with “making money” on Twitter. As one who DOES make money on Twitter – I still do not primarily see it as a money maker, nor is that WHY I am on Twitter. The money I make via Twitter is merely as a side benefit because of the increased presence my company has because of Twitter.

I know it works because as soon we launch a new Twitter account, sales will increase. Case in point, this week I launched the ToyBoxTales twitter account – but it proved all the “experts” wrong, as the account had NO click throughs and NO retweets (other than the few I did myself with other accounts) and yet sales spiked as soon as that account launched.

To read the rest of Karl’s post, click on over to his site.

iTodd’s 5 most clicked on post

Here is assignment 2 that comes from our children’s pastor’s blogging group which has taken up the task of following the 31 days to a better blog with the adaption that we are making instead of 31 days it is 31 weeks. Today’s task which is one I am actually making up seeing that I got started late is to write a list post.

Darren Rowse explains in his work book that we have all picked up and with a discount because of us doing this together about the power of using list in your blog writing:
“Using lists has always been a popular and effective technique among bloggers wanting to write content that spreads from one person to the next. Just look at pages like the front page of Digg, TweetMeme and Delicious and you’ll see that much of the hottest content on the web at any given time is written in this style.”

So here is a list of the most popular post that people click on from this blog site.

1. Bad habits may be more present than you think.

2. Are you buzzing your volunteers?

3. Century Turns book review.

4. This one is technically not a blog post but it does come in as one of the more popular clicked on pages. It is my Children’s Ministry Vision. Seeing this makes me think it is probably good if I was to go back in there and proof that page a little more. I need to update, thanks for helping in the motivation with this.

5. Top 100 Children’s Ministry blogs. If you will look at number 55 you will see this blog in that spot. This was encouraging to me due to I had not put much time into the blog and tanked there. Now that I am purposefully working on the blog, what can happen next time Tony puts the list together.

There they are, the top 5 clicked on post. What are your favorites within this blog? What are your top 5 from your own site?

31DBBB: Assignment One: The Elevator Pitch

I have joined a group of co-bloggers who are going through this book titled: 31 days to build a better blog. To read more about it you can click on over here if you too want to join me and others for this time.

This is Day 1’s assignment which is to build an elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch you may ask? According to Wikipedia it is:

An elevator pitch or elevator speech is an overview of a product, service, person, group or organization, or project and is often a part of a fundraising, marketing communications, brand, or public relations program.

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver an elevator pitch in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.[1][2]

An elevator pitch is often used by an entrepreneur pitching an idea to a venture capitalist or angel investor to receive funding. Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea by the quality of its elevator pitch and will ask entrepreneurs for their elevator pitches in order to quickly weed out bad ideas and weak teams.

Elevator pitches are also used in many other situations. Personal uses include job interviewing, dating, and summarizing professional services. Proposals for a book, screenplay, blog, and other forms of publishing are often delivered via an elevator pitch.

A variety of people, including project managers, salespeople, evangelists, and policy-makers commonly use elevator pitches to get their point across quickly.

An elevator pitch may be presented in oral, written, and video formats.

You can see my current version of it in the header of my site which is by the way the picture I used for this blog post. What are your thoughts about my elevator pitch? Does is seem quick but also descriptive over what I do in this blog?

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