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Author: host Created: 10/13/2008 6:48 PM RssIcon
The Daily Voice blog explores Christian education in progressive congregations. Archives of our daily email newsletter will be posted here each weekday morning. Use the various tools to the left to see posts older than 2 weeks.
By host on 7/30/2009 7:00 AM

Since it is Thursday, it must be time for a book review! Today’s review is a 4-for-1 special. Dawn Young (Director of Christian Education for the Louisiana Conference) has reviewed four fiction series for us. These series are all appropriate for book club reading, and Dawn offers suggestions for using each series for this purpose. If your church doesn’t currently have a book club, consider starting one. You can find information about starting a book club here. Although not church-specific, the process is easily adaptable to the church setting. One benefit of reading a series of books is that it spares you the process of choosing a new book every month!

Happy reading and discussing! ~Sally

By host on 7/29/2009 7:00 AM

It's no secret that times are tough in many communities across our nation. Charitable organizations, homeless and battered women's shelters, and churches are experiencing high demand for their services. Your congregation can have a huge impact on an organization--and learn a lot in the process about how our everyday skills can have a possitive effect on others--by planning an A.H.A. (All Hands Activated) Month.

Start by choosing an organization to assist. The ideal organization would be one that has a small staff but which offers many services, such as a shelter. Set up a meeting with the staff to talk about what their needs are, especially anything that never seems to get done. Get as long a list together as possible, with details about such things as specific hours or days the work needs to be done, supplies available, and specific skill requirements. Find out if they would like to have congregation members contact a specific person or phone number. 

By host on 7/28/2009 7:00 AM

The number of digital photos you accumulate for ministry purposes can begin to grow quite large over time, making it increasingly difficult to find the photos you desire quickly. No one filing scheme works best for everyone, but here are a few tips to follow that will make finding photos easier down the road.

By Different Voice on 7/27/2009 7:00 AM

It never fails. As soon as I plan a Teacher Training Event for Sunday School teachers, one of the teachers approaches me and asks, “Is it really necessary that I come to this meeting?” The reasons that they seek to be excused vary from, “I have taught Sunday School for 25 years,” to “I don’t want to come to another meeting.” No matter which words they use, I hear the underlying question, “What’s in it for me?”

I’m guessing that anyone who has planned a Teacher Training Event has had this same experience. I’d be interested in hearing how you respond. (You can leave a comment here.) I respond by informing the teacher that he or she is an adult and must make the decision about whether or not to attend. (I refuse to give anyone permission to miss the Teacher Training Event.) Then I follow up with reasons I believe his or her attendance would be beneficial.

By host on 7/24/2009 7:00 AM

It was a wonderful day when I realized that I did not have to answer every question my children asked me immediately. This was a major parenting discovery for me, as I figured out that immediacy on their end did not have to translate to immediacy in my decision making. Yes, my kids always want to know the answer to whether or not they can sleep over at their friend’s house tonight or whether they can purchase the latest computer game right now! But as a parent, I am allowed to take time to make decisions. It is okay to say, “I’ll think about it.” “I will check the calendar and get back to you.” or “Your father and I will discuss it and let you know.” It took awhile for my children to view “maybe” as an acceptable answer, but when the alternative was, “If I have to answer right now, the answer is no,” they learned to view maybe as a hopeful answer.

By host on 7/23/2009 7:00 AM

ATTENTIVE TO GOD: THINKING THEOLOGICALLY IN MINISTRY. Charles M. Wood and Ellen Blue. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008, 138 pp

Attentive to GodYou are probably thinking, “Well, I can just skip over this one; certainly a book about thinking theologically isn’t for me.” Which is precisely who this book may have been designed for, those who don’t think theological thinking is for them. And there is much to frighten you away from this book. Begin with the theological pedigree of the two authors; both are professors at seminaries. The topic of theology is generally left to the purview of those that attend seminary, often because those that don’t attend seminary have enough sense to avoid it whenever and wherever possible. Admittedly, the authors intend this work to be for those learning to become theologians and to “empower the people to be in ministry themselves.”

By host on 7/22/2009 7:00 AM

Increasingly in many congregations, visitors do not attend a worship service, instead taking part only in Christian education classes or other mid-week groups. If your congregation is only collecting the names and addresses of those in worship, you may be missing an opportunity to provide great hospitality to those who take part only in other activities.

Provide your teachers with a simple contact card that they can give to and ask visitors to fill out. If your budget will allow it, also have teachers give small folders or envelopes available to give guests with such items as a church brochure, a business card, a Christian education guide, a notice about the church's child and youth protection policy, a guide to your church library, a map of the room locations, a magnet, an imprinted pen, and so on. I also recommend putting together a list of recommended reading and websites so that individuals who are new to progressive theology can begin to explore this topic on their own if it interests them.

By host on 7/21/2009 7:00 AM

For each one of us, there are those things that we know that we should do, but for one reason or another, we just don’t always get around to doing them. (For example, I know that I should floss my teeth every day. I’m aware of the benefits of flossing. But somehow, much to my dentist’s chagrin, my flossing tends to be somewhat random.) Today’s technology tip is more of a gentle reminder than a tip, as I am sure that it falls into this category of information you already know. Here’s your reminder: Backup the files on your computer! Any data that you cannot afford to lose needs to be backed up on a regular basis.

Is all of the important data on your computer currently saved elsewhere? If your hard drive crashes as you are reading this email, how much data will you lose?

By Different Voice on 7/20/2009 7:00 AM

clipboardAs the end of July approaches, a Christian Educator’s thoughts turn to Fall Sunday School, which entails ordering curriculum, recruiting Sunday School teachers and scheduling a teacher training event. Of those three things, the first two must be done, but it may be tempting to leave out teacher training or postpone it until life is less busy. (And when would that be?) I encourage you to resist this temptation. A teacher training event can be a helpful and positive way to equip your teachers for a new Sunday School year.

Here are some “back-to-basics” essentials that may be included in a beginning of the year teacher training event. Note that I have avoided calling it a teacher training meeting. Few of us want to attend another meeting!

By host on 7/17/2009 7:00 AM

saying NOThe writer of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us that there is a season and a time for everything. When I was younger, half of these verses did not make sense to me. I understood the part about there being a time for those things in the list which seemed positive; for being born, healing, building up, laughing, dancing, throwing away stones, embracing, seeking, keeping, sewing, speaking, loving and being peaceful.

It has taken me longer to appreciate that the remainder of the actions in these verses can also be positives.

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