book club

Thursday Book Club: Catechism Resources in Spanish

UncategorizedJared Kennedy4 Comments

We got an e-mail this week asking about catechism resources in Spanish. I found out some great info on some excellent Bible teaching materials in Spanish from friends at Christian Focus. The excellent children’s catechism, My First Book of Questions and Answers, which has been widely used and commended by Sinclair Ferguson, John Piper, and Alistair Begg, has also been translated into Spanish and published by Editorial Peregrino, Spain.  You can find the Spanish version of the book here. In addition, Christian Focus' Biblewise and Bible Alive are available in Spanish through Biblica's STL Distribution. These are 32 page books in full color with a clear Biblical message and have been widely accepted across the world. Information sheets for these are attached here.

Thursday Book Club: What is the Church?

UncategorizedJared Kennedy3 Comments

What is the Church? is Sojourn’s second children’s book, written by Mandy Groce and Bill Bell.   What Is The Church? was written to teach preschool children that the church is not a building. It is a people that God has called together and made alive by faith.  Unlike other books on the church, this book does not answer the question by first telling about the activities that the church does (gathering, preaching, communion, baptism, counseling, discipline)--although those things are essential marks of the church and they should not be ignored.  Instead, this book begins with who God's people are--recognizing that the church's activity results from its identity.  When we call children to be a part of the church, we are calling them to be a part of a gospel people.  And, as a gospel people, the church is a believing family, a community of missionaries, servants, learners, and worshipers.  At Sojourn, we call our people to stop going to church and to start being the church. Once God's people know who they are, we can challenge them to be who they are.  In other words, we call them to live as the people that God has made them to be.

We are pleased to announce that the book will soon be published by Christian Focus Publications.  The projected date for publication is July 2011.  You can pre-order now at their website.

Thursday Book Club: Teaching Children Can Be Simple

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Post image for Long Story Short Devotional The following article is by Marty Machowski. It is  taken from Bible Study Magazine, where his book Long Story Short was recently featured.  The counsel that you’ll find below is very helpful.

I remember feeling the full weight of my leather-covered adult Bible when I first sat down to teach my kids. At that moment, the responsibility seemed overwhelming. Questions flooded my mind: “Where do I start? How much should I read? What should I say?” And the biggest question of all: “Am I even qualified to do this?”

But teaching the Bible to my children was easier than I thought. It’s easier than most parents think. Here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Start with the Stories. There’s a reason story Bibles are so popular. Who wouldn’t be captivated by stories about giants, battles, miracles, and shipwrecks? These stories are in your adult Bible with even more detail. Read Genesis, Exodus, 1 Samuel, the Gospels, and the book of Acts. Watch your children get excited about what will happen next.
  • Shorter is Better. All you need is ten minutes a day. Read a shorter passage—not a whole chapter—using your Bible’s chapter subdivisions as a guide. Ask a few simple questions after you read. Let the discussion go where it will—then pray. Keep your Bible at the dinner table, and pick up where you left off the next day. After a couple of weeks, your children might remind you that it’s Bible study time.
  • Be prepared for distractions. It’s no surprise that children’s attention spans are short. I’ve blown more than one family Bible study by getting frustrated when my children lost focus. Allow distractions to run their course. Pause for a minute, and then draw your children’s focus back to what you are reading.
  • Look for Jesus. Stories in the Old Testament look forward to Christ: God providing a deliverer to save his people and blood sacrifices being offered up for sin. And every New Testament story points to Jesus. In each Bible story you read, look for him.
  • Faithfulness over time is what’s important. Consistency is more important than a fantastic devotion. Don’t forget that it’s the power of the gospel that transforms children’s lives, not the quality of our presentation. Often, your family Bible study is going to feel average. Just remember that the impact we leave on our children takes place over years.

HT: Covenant Fellowship Church blog

The "9 Things" Book. Win a copy!

UncategorizedJared Kennedy4 Comments

9 Things They Didn't Team Me in College about Children's Ministry by Ryan Frank (Standard Publishing, 2011). I am really thankful for the ministry of Ryan Frank.  He is a superstar in children's ministry.  Ryan is the Executive Director of KidzMatter Ministries, an Executive Director of Awana Clubs  International, and the publisher of K! Magazine.   He has served as a children’s pastor for fifteen years, and he also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Network of Children’s Ministry and the American Children’s Ministers’ Association.  But the reason Ryan is such an amazing superstar is because he ministers with gospel humility and grace.

The title of his newest book is 9 Things They Didn't Teach Me in College about Children's Ministry.  I didn't actually take any college or seminary classes on children's ministry.  So, for me, he could have put just about anything in this book. :)  I'm really thankful for what he did put here.  The book is profound.  It majors on the simplicity of the gospel, humility, and love for people.  But it is also practical.  It applies these profound truths where the rubber meets the road, that is, to practical, everyday kidmin stuff like recruiting volunteers, managing conflict, and making budgets.  I'll be having all of our Campus Kids Directors read it.

You can win a copy of the book.  I'll give away a copy to the person who becomes fan #140 of SojournKids on Facebook.  Click here to become a fan!

Here is a brief summary of some highlights from the book:

In the chapter titled, "How Big is Your Church? Defining a Successful Ministry," Frank writes:

Methodology and programs change, but God's measurement of success never changes. Sometimes we look for creative, innovative, dynamic exciting ways to succeed while overlooking the obvious.  Want to know what's really important to God?  The gospel!

In the chapter titled, "People Over Paper: Polishing Your People Skills":

Cheering on your team can start with simple notes of encouragement.  They go a long way.  You can e-mail someone, but I suggest turning off the computer and sending something in the mail.  After all, it's nice to go to mailbox and find something other than a bill now an then.  I see your head nodding.

In the chapter titled, "The Big 'Ask': Recruiting Volunteers for the Long Haul" (I wish I'd been told this three years ago before I read Reggie Joiner and Andy Stanley!):

Having ministry descriptions shows exactly what's needed and what the qualifications are for the different ministry positions.  In baseball, the requirements to be a pitcher are known.  That's why a batboy knows he isn't ready to pitch.  In children's minsitry, there might be someone who would be a great organizer but isn't ready to teach.  Ministry descriptions help people get into the right positions and not get frustrated.

This book is full of these kinds of gems.  Thanks again Ryan!

I received a complimentary copy of the book, 9 Things They Didn't Teach Me in College about Children's Ministry, from Standard Publishing for review purposes.


Thursday Book Club: 15 Ways to Pray for Sojourn's Kids

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

9 Things is an amazing little book, and I'll have a complete review in a couple of weeks, but I couldn't help but preview one section that was particularly helpful and convicting for me.  Ryan Frank writes a lot about dependence upon God and prayer in this book.  There are two prayer lists in the book that I think are particularly helpful for SojournKids servants.  Here is the first (on page 16).  This is my prayer today. 15 Ways to Pray For the Kids in Your Ministry


  • that God will give you a love for each child.
  • that they will come to know Christ as Savior.
  • that they will love God with all of their hearts.
  • for their parents and families.
  • that they will choose the right kind of friends.
  • for spiritual stability during tough times.
  • for the needs of their hearts that you may not know about.
  • for protection in their lives.
  • that they will have wisdom and discernment.
  • that they will love God's Word.
  • that they will learn to pray.
  • that they will have concern for others.
  • that they will have integrity in all areas of their lives.
  • that they will have courage to do what's right.
  • that they will look for ways to serve the Lord.

A copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes by Standard Publishing