November Virtue – Gratitude

This month in Elementary, we’re teaching on the virtue of Gratitude: Letting others know you see how they’ve helped you.  Below is a message from Melanie Williams, editor in chief of 252 Basics, the company that writes our curriculum, about Gratitude:

Gratitude is different from most of the virtues we talk about. It’s a characteristic God doesn’t have but expects us to have. Think about it: God, our all-powerful, self-sufficient Creator, doesn’t NEED anything, never got anything from anyone, and will never have to express gratitude. But He inspires gratitude (Psalm 100). Every good thing comes from God (James 1:17), so gratitude is a proper response toward Him. In fact, if we didn’t express gratitude, we wouldn’t be recognizing who God is and what He’s done for us. Plus, Jesus modeled gratitude for us (Luke 9:16). And He had something to say about it directly. Read Luke 17:11-19, about the ten lepers meeting Jesus. This encounter shows that the opportunity to demonstrate gratitude occurs every time someone meets a need for someone else. Unfortunately, only one of the ten chose to express gratitude. We don’t know why the other guys didn’t return. Maybe they were so caught up in celebrating with family and friends they didn’t even think about it. Or maybe they thought that what was given to them was something they’d earned – sort of an entitlement mentality. This month we are going to explore how to stop the busyness and “you owe me” excuses and REWIND AND REMIND ourselves exactly what has been done for us. We will take time to just say thank you. We will remember how others have helped us. We won’t let an entitlement mentality infect our thinking, causing the wrong attitude to spoil our gratitude. We are going to make sure we let others know we see how they’ve helped us and take time to celebrate what God has done.

So, in November we’ll be talking about GRATITUDE, letting others know you see how they’ve helped you.

Week 1 is about Jesus healing 10 men with leprosy (Luke 17). Bottom Line: Take time to just say thank you.

Week 2 is about the list maker: Paul, making a list of those he’s thankful for (Romans 16). Bottom Line: Take time to remember how others have helped you.

Week 3 is Jesus’ parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20). Bottom Line: Don’t let the wrong attitude spoil your gratitude.

Week 4 will focus on the main feasts celebrated in Old Testament days (Exodus 23). Bottom Line: Take time to celebrate what God has done.

And for the 5th Week: A 252 Basics special edition on one of five “faith skills”: Give to God (serve and invest). This is a “bridge” lesson, spanning gratitude (in November) and generosity (in December). You don’t want to miss this one!

Peace,
Melanie

Do You Celebrate Halloween?

Recently I received an email from someone asking if we did a Halloween-alternative event and whether or not we endorsed the celebration of Halloween.  I thought this topic might be of interest to others so I decided to post my response for you.

 

Kid’s Quest doesn’t necessarily endorse or celebrate Halloween but we do celebrate family.  And fall is a time of year that many people traditionally think of their families and desire to do activities with them.  So you can be certain we’re likely to do something to bring families together each fall.

 

What we do, though, is dependent on our current priorities and available resources.  This past year our ministry’s priorities took a major shift in 2 significant ways.  First, MBC launched a new campus and this was the first campus to have a Kid’s Quest children’s program.  So our focus in the past year has been to help this campus get started and grow towards successful independent operation.  Naturally, this has impacted our time and resources so we decided to be very selective in which events we offered this year.

 

This leads to the second change in priorities.  Our ministry recognizes that parents are the primary faith trainers in their homes.  The amount of time parents spend with their children far surpasses the time we see them on weekends at church.  Therefore, we decided it best to concentrate on improving the teaching components of our weekend program and on better equipping families to reinforce what we’re teaching in their homes.

 

So this year we focused more on the take home materials of our weekend programming so families could take every day moments as opportunities to teach their children.  And we also worked on creating shared family experiences that tie directly into what we’re teaching.  We’ve offered KIDstuff, a family worship and drama experience, and we’ve offered Starting Zone, a progression of events that presents families with the gospel message and leads to baptism.

 

This fall, an opportunity for a new event that might be viewed as a Halloween alternative did arise.  We partnered with one of MBC’s City Impact ministries, Powershift 2024, a community of car-enthusiasts, to present a fall family event called Get Lost!  It included a country drive through West Virginia and ending at Temple Hall Farm in Leesburg to enjoy all the farm activities they offer.  We didn’t do any teaching at this event.  It was purely social to give families an opportunity to meet.

 

We do not know at this time what we’ll be doing next fall but are currently seeking God’s leading as we consider our 2009 calendar.  I am happy to share one major annoucement with you all – a little surprise for those of you who took the time to read this entire post!  We are planning on bringing back The Rock That Rolled Easter Party on Friday, April 3, 2009.  Mark your calendars now for this fun, Easter-themed event for your family and friends!  And if you’re interested in being on the Planning Committee, watch for our December bulletin blurbs advertising for this and who to contact to sign up.

Understanding Kid’s Quest Check-in, part 3

Some of you have had to wait a very long time for me to get around to posting part 3 to this blog topic!  It has been a roller coaster year for us in Kid’s Quest with the Loudoun Campus launching in the beginning of the year and then a major staffing re-org in the early summer.  I decided to take the blog down temporarily and focus on just providing quick blurbs on the Family News Flash page so our staff and volunteers had a chance to catch our breaths.  But the time has come for me to pick this topic back up.

Were you in attendance this past Sunday, October 19, 2008?  The lines for check-in were longer than we’ve ever experienced — even when we were first starting out — and ran late into the service time.  I wanted to return to the topic of check-in to encourage you that the delay was not due to our Greeters or the MBC IT infrastructure.  The company that created and manages our check-in system, Fellowship One, had a data server failure that impacted all it’s customers across the country.  This resulted in very long pauses with every click on the computer.  We are so thankful to our Greeters for handling this difficulty with grace and thankful to all you parents out there for enduring the inconvenience.  If you were a first time visitor, we hope you were not too frustrated to return again.  Fellowship One promises the issue is fixed and everything will be fine for this upcoming weekend.

Greeters truly do make check-in work well and efficiently.  Things were slow when we first switched over to this new system.  We had very few Greeters and everyone was learning something new.  But in the last year our expert team of Greeters can now clear even the most intimidating-looking line fairly quickly.   Sometimes the lines do look long but don’t worry — this is usually right before check-in opens because some of you like to be ready as soon as check-in opens!  Once our Greeters get started, the line gets moving.

It’s amazing from my vantage point to see the way the Greeting Team has evolved over the past year.  It went from being one of our toughest volunteer positions to recruit for to a vibrant and thriving community of volunteers who are enjoying their part in making an impact on Washington.  I encourage you, parents, to take the time to say hello to the smiling faces that welcome you each weekend.  Imagine what our check-in lines would look like if we didn’t have our Greeters?  Actually, after last weekend, I don’t want to imagine that!  I’m just thankful they’re here to check my family in each week.

Understanding Kid’s Quest Check-in, part 2

As I said in my last blog entry, we now we have a new people management program called Fellowship One which originated with Fellowship Church in Texas that is more accurate, more secure, and enables us to serve you better.

 

Now for most of you attending, your only experience with Fellowship One has been the check-in component.  Did I hear a few groans?  Perhaps your experience has not been the best it could be.  I was skeptical at first, too.

 

Then I had the privilege of seeing Fellowship Church in action.  The church is comparable to us in the size of their children’s program.  We arrived 10 minutes before service time to what appeared to be a ghost town.  We honestly thought we’d gotten the services times wrong!  But 5 minutes later…they came.

 

It was like the gun going off at the start of a race as a sudden onrush of people came flooding in the doors.  Families lined up, Greeters checked them in, and off they went to escort their children to class.  Literally 5 minutes later there was a quiet hush in the hall; the service started and not one family was left to check in.  It was the most unbelievable sight I’d ever seen!  If I had blinked I might have missed it.

 

I quickly ran up to the First-Time Families desk and asked how this could have possibly happened so fast.  Was their software different?  Were they skipping some of the steps needed to check kids in?  How?  They walked me through it step-by-step and it as exactly the same as what we do.  So how did they do it?

 

The answer was pretty simple but yet has been our greatest challenge.  The answer was…Greeters!

 

 

Stay tuned for more in Part 3!

Understanding Kid’s Quest Check-in, part 1

Hi all,

 

Sorry to be so long absent from my blog. This fall has proven to be a very busy one! My team recently inherited management of the check-in stations on Sunday mornings and the adjustment has been a rough ride. I thought this would be a good opportunity to give you a peak behind-the-scenes of check-in and help you understand why we made such a big change in how we welcome you to your child’s classes each weekend.

 

 

Let’s start with a glance back at where we used to be. Across the church every ministry was using File Maker Pro as our database to manage information and attendance. I won’t lie to you; I absolutely loved File Maker Pro. It was easy to understand, customize, and manipulate. The problem? Every ministry had their own separate database. So if you moved, you couldn’t just change your address with one ministry. You had to contact them all! Can you imagine how annoying this was to people who moved out of the area?

 

 

There were many valiant efforts to unite the databases into one. But the lag time when you did searches was unbearable. Sometimes I would set my search parameters, go to lunch, and find the database still crunching data when I returned! So our IT Department began a new search, a search to find software that would meet our church’s rapidly growing attendance as well as being diverse enough in its functions to meet the customized needs of so many different ministries.

 

 

So now we have a new people management program called Fellowship One which originated with Fellowship Church in Texas. Not only has this program united every ministry’s information, there are a number of other benefits that has revolutionized how we handle your information. Bottom line: it’s more accurate, more secure, and enables us to serve you better.

 

 

Stay tuned for more in Part 2!