This post is part of the Family Experience in a Small Church series and also fits nicely into my Orange week posts.  To get up to speed on the Family Experiences, visit the introduction post as well as the post about the welcome.

Following our the Welcome skit with our comic host interaction, we have family friendly worship.  We always choose high energy, action focused songs for this section.  In fact, I usually get a pretty good workout here and have often thought about doing a kidmin aerobics video series. :)

One of the key reasons we decided to begin doing the family services was the desire to create shared worship experiences.  It is the desire of our church leadership to see kids, teens, parents, and the older generations worshipping together.  While the family experience is not the end-all for creating that environment, it is a step in the right direction.  We encourage everyone, young and old, to participate in the worship including singing and doing the actions (dancing when necessary).  We do not get 100% participation, but we get a pretty high percentage and I’m happy with it.  It is so fun to see reserved parents, goofy kids and their teenage siblings, and 80-year-old ladies all trying to keep up to Hillsong’s “One Way.”

While the worship time is certainly fun, I am careful to point out that fun is not the goal, but is part of the process.  I do this by asking this question.  “Why do we sing songs at church? a) because it’s fun, b) to worship God, or c) because it’s fun to worship God.  Sometimes I throw in an off the wall option c to keep them on their toes.

We use DVDs from a variety of publishers to maximize our worship experience.  I like DVDs because they require fewer people to operate than a live band, the sound quality is drastically better than our church worship band, and the words are automatically synced to the music.  I don’t have the awkward moment when the sound guy forgets to advance the slide and everyone stops singing.  We mix and match songs primarily from, Hillsong Kids, God’s Kids Worship, and Brent Weber.

Orange Tour Webcast

Jared M —  February
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It seems like more and more kidmin conferences are reaching out to a wider audience by offering their conference, either in part or in whole, online and for free.  This is especially good for volunteers who typically do not attend conferences, but hear about things second hand from their pastor or possibly not at all.

The Orange group, the ones who marketed the Orange philosophy,  have many resources available for equipping those who work with children.  One of those resources is the Orange Tour, a traveling mini conference.  Next Tuesday, February 15, they will be making some of the best sessions of the Orange Tour available as a webcast, for free.  You can view the full info and sign up here  I am including the schedule and speaker bios below.


1:00 p.m. Session 1 Reggie Joiner
2:15 p.m. Session 2 Reggie Joiner
Sue Miller
Stuart Hall
Carey Nieuwhof
3:45 p.m. Session 3 Reggie Joiner
5:00 p.m. Call It Quits!
* All times are Eastern Standard Time


REGGIE JOINER is the founder and CEO of Orange, a nonprofit organization providing resources and training to help churches maximize their influence on the spiritual growth of the next generation. Orange provides innovative curriculum, resources and training for leaders who work with preschoolers, children, families and students. They have partners throughout the United States and eight other countries. Orange is also the architect and primary sponsor of The Orange Conference and the Orange Tour which provide national training opportunities for senior pastors, church leaders, and ministry volunteers.
Reggie is also one of the founding pastors, along with Andy Stanley, of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. In his role as the executive director of Family Ministry, Reggie developed the concepts of ministry for preschoolers, children, students, and married adults over the course of his 11 years with the church. During his time with North Point Ministries, Reggie created KidStuf, a weekly environment where kids bring their parents to learn about God, as well as Grow Up, an international conference to encourage and equip churches to create relevant, effective environments for children, families and teenagers.

Reggie is the co-author of Seven Practices of Effective Ministries (Multnomah, with Lane Jones and Andy Stanley) and the author of Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collide (David C. Cook). Think Orange encapsulates Joiner’s philosophy and practice of family ministry, combining the strengths of family and church to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Reggie is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern College. Reggie and Debbie Joiner live in Cumming, Georgia, and have four grown children: Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah and Rebekah.

SUE MILLER joined Orange in 2005 after 17 years of leading Promiseland children’s ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Sue was instrumental in leading the change process that grew Promiseland into a cutting-edge ministry known around the world. The story of how all that happened is told in her book, Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week.

Sue travels extensively teaching and helping churches partner with parents. She mentors leaders, inspires volunteers, and serves as a consultant for churches who want to go Orange. And in her spare time, she leads the charge with the First Look curriculum team at Orange.

CAREY NIEUWHOF is the lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, a multi-campus church north of Toronto and strategic partner of North Point Community Church. Before starting Connexus in 2007, Carey served for 12 years within a mainline denomination, transitioning three small rural congregations into a new congregation that experienced significant growth. He speaks to church leaders across North America about change, leadership, parenting and the strategy behind Orange. Carey co-authored Parenting Beyond Your Capacity with Reggie Joiner. He and his wife, Toni, live near Barrie, Ontario, and have two teenage sons, Jordan and Sam. In his spare time, you can find him cycling his heart out on a back road somewhere.

STUART HALL is the director of training for XP3, the student division of Orange. He also leads DASH INC, an organization he founded in 2000 to develop spiritually influential students that engage culture. Stuart co-authored The Seven Checkpoints: Seven Principles Every Teenager Needs to Know, MAX Q: Developing Students of Influence with Andy Stanley, and the leadership edition of Wired: For a Life of Worship with Louie Giglio. One day he may write a book by himself. Stuart, his beautiful wife Kellee, and their three incredible children reside north of Atlanta.

My Kidmin Tech Adventure

Jared M —  February
2 Notes

I had an exciting opportunity this Sunday to incorporate tech into our kidmin programming.  Prior to Christmas, none of the kids in our ministry had cell phones.  Now, at least four of them have private lines.  When I realized this fact on Sunday, I also realized the opportunities this could create.  After obtaining permission from the parents, I text messaged each of the kids our theme verse for the month.  I also asked the parents for permission to text the kids occasionally to encourage them to incorporate our monthly virtue into their everyday lives (never during school hours, though wouldn’t it be awesome to remind kids to be kind during recess?). 

Some of you probably think this is a very basic incorporation of tech into kidmin, and you’re right.  But in the small town I live in, tech advances much slower than it does in most of the US.  You know when AT&T says they cover 97% of America, we’re in the 3%.  

With this little experiment of using texting to send the verses to our kids, I am also looking for the opportunities to do the same with the parents.  Do you do something similar with your kids and/or parents?  Let me know in the comments section.  I’d rather not reinvent the wheel.  But for those of you who are going to suggest Twitter, we’re not there yet. :)

Gray 300 x 250 2Maybe we’re not quite there yet, but our church is working towards a strategy that successfully leverages the influences of both church and family to help reach the world for Christ.  In its simplest form, that is what I understand the orange strategy to be.  If I’m wrong, I guess I’ll learn that when I watch the free Orange Tour Webcast next Tuesday.  Are you going to join me?

I’ve also discovered that a variety of authors will be writing about the orange strategy this week.  I will be joining them, though unofficially, and will also be offering some of my thoughts on both the orange strategy and the upcoming Orange Conference.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to invite you to join me at the Orange Conference April 27-29.  I’m looking forward to sharing the experience, both the twelve-hour drive and the conference, with my senior pastor.  I’d also love to meet up with as many kidmin peeps as I can.  I’m especially interested to hear how some of you in smaller and/or rural churches are successfully implementing a comprehensive orange strategy into you ministries.  You can register for Orange by clicking the banner ad on the side or the one within this post (for the record, I do not receive any compensation from them for that ad).  If you register by February 17, you save $30 per person and receive $50 Orange credit, up to $200.

I have a confession to make.  For the first time since starting the one year reading challenge, I fell behind this last week.  And it wasn’t just one or two days, it ended up being most of the last four days of the week.  Ouch!

Okay, now that I’ve confessed my inadequacy at keeping with my Bible readings this week, I want to encourage those of you who may have fallen behind at any point.  It happens, but don’t let that stop you from reading all together.

Monday (February 7, 2011)

  • Exodus 25-27

Tuesday (February 8, 2011)

  • Exodus 28-29

Wednesday (February 9, 2011)

  • Exodus 30-32

Thursday (February 10, 2011)

  • Exodus 33-35

Friday (February 11, 2011)

  • Exodus 36-38

Saturday (February 12, 2011)

  • Exodus 39-40

Sunday (February 13, 2011)

  • Leviticus 1-4

What is it worth to you to hear Reggie Joiner, Sue Miller, Carey Nieuwhof, and Stuart Hall all talk about the Orange Strategy?  The Orange Tour has been traveling the country doing just that for thousands of leaders across the country.  Now, they are bringing many of those same sessions right to your office or living room.

On Tuesday, February 15, those four leaders will be broadcasting the Orange Tour webcast.  The webcast is a one day event that features some of the key sessions from the Orange Tour.  Not only that, but I have worked hard to get them to agree to let all Small Town Kidmin readers view the webcast for free.  (Truthfully, the entire webcast will be free to anyone and I didn’t even have to ask.)

For all of the information, go to  You can also sign up to receive email notifications as more details become available. 

This is really a great opportunity for all of us in children or youth ministry, but especially those of us in rural America.  I strongly urge you to try to make arrangements to watch the webcast and even see if you can get your pastor and/or student director to watch it with you.

I know there are a number of forums out there with great discussions happening, but it seems like it is mostly the same people participating in the discussion.  I’m hoping to get the conversation going on here by asking an open-ended question. The goal is to get the conversation started.  What happens from there is up to you.  I know people don’t comment much on blogs, but I encourage you to leave a response and participate.  Just the process of typing your answer may be beneficial to you.  Please feel free to remain anonymous and use a pseudonym in the name line.

So, here’s this month’s questions.

Should we teach kids how to defend their faith (apologetics)?

For added discussion:  Does the Christian faith even need to be defended? Does teaching them apologetics make our faith sound weak? How do we do this? Special classes? During Sunday School? During regular kids’ church?  If we do teach it, at what age should we start?

This post is part of a series pertaining to doing a regular family service or “family experience” in a small church.  View the first post here.

Our Family eXperiences (or FX) take place on the fourth Sunday night of the month.  For our first few FXs, we used the virtue that the kids had been talking about for that month and did a sort of recap.  In an effort to better equip our parents and encourage dialog at home, we have shifted and now premiere the upcoming month’s virtue at FX.  This has met with great satisfaction and is an added bonus for the kids who come to FX.  They get to know the virtue before anyone else.

For our welcome we do a comic host and credible host routine.  The comic host enters with some sort of dilemma, problem, or outrageous behavior that conveniently pertains to that nights topic and sets up the introduction of the virtue.

One of our hosts is “The Famous Dr. Know.”  Dr. Know is a mad scientist type character, more of a crazy scientist with an afro, who is played by our pastor.  What I love about using him in this role is the exposure it gives him to the kids at church.  I want the kids in our church growing up knowing that he is their pastor, I’m the children’s/youth pastor.  I also like it because they get to see him let his guard down, which means they know he can have fun in addition to be serious.

Another of our comic hosts, though she doesn’t come out as much, is “Millie the Baker who bakes.”  Millie is a baker who never seems to get her recipe right, that is, when she uses a recipe.  Millie is played by our pastor’s wife, who also is our preschool/nursery director. 

Both of our characters have extremely low-budget costumes, but when working with comic characters, sometimes it is actually better when the outfit looks a little pieced together.  Don’t get me wrong, they look good, but you would be surprised what you can put together with borrowed items and after Halloween sales. 

It is safe to say that with both Dr. Know and Millie, the adults AND kids enjoy the opening routine.  It is fun to see your pastor or his wife acting goofy and in costume.  Plus, both of them are surprisingly talented and do a great job with their characters.

That’s how our FXs begin.  By the time the welcome is finished, the direction is set for the service and the congregation has their attention focused on what is happening.  From there, we move on to dismissal…gotcha, just making sure you were paying attention.

Last week, I talked about the importance of bragging on your family in the privacy of your own home.  It tells them that they are valuable to you because you have nothing to gain by doing so.  Besides bragging on them in privacy, brag on them in public.  When done properly, it doesn’t come across as braggy, but as something genuine and authentic.

This is something I can be really good at…and other times I can be really bad at.  Sometimes, I have the tendency to make jokes at my wife’s expense.  On the flip side, I can’t talk about her for more than a few seconds without saying how wonderful she is.  I do my very best to recognize her publicly for the work she does. 

During our Christmas musical she did a lot of work getting things ready behind the scenes.  She was also responsible for ordering the roses that we give to those who help.  In her own humility, she didn’t order a rose for herself.  I made a special point to contact the florist and get one extra rose.  I couldn’t believe how much it meant to her. 

With our kids, this is just as important.  Make sure you brag on your kids when you’re around others.  It’s easier for me now, because my son is at major milestones, learning to walk and talk and beatbox (the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen).  I am already intentional about bragging on him so that, hopefully, I will do it when he is older.  I want him to know that I don’t care what other people think, I’m proud of him because he is my son.

One final word on this matter.  I have been on the receiving end of a father who uses personal stories about his kids during sermons.  Be cautious when doing this and always ask your kid’s permission before doing so.  Even good stories can be embarrassing.  I had a professor who said he paid his kids a few dollars for every story he used of them in sermons.  I like this idea and may implement it with my own kids someday.  Whether I pay them or not, I will definitely clear it by them first.

As of Friday, I have officially read two complete books of the Bible through this Bible reading challenge.  At some point, I know the readings will jump around more than they are right now and I look forward to that.  If you are doing the reading challenge as well, hop over to kidmin1124 and offer your comments.  Or leave them in the comment section below.

Monday (January 31, 2011)

  • Exodus 4-6

Tuesday (February 1, 2011)

  • Exodus 7-9

Wednesday (February 2, 2011)

  • Exodus 10-12

Thursday (February 3, 2011)

  • Exodus 13-15

Friday (February 4, 2011)

  • Exodus 16-18

Saturday (February 5, 2011)

  • Exodus 19-21

Sunday (February 6, 2011)

  • Exodus 22-24