Archive for the ‘Children’s Ministry’ Category

Do you know who/what was the biggest hit of RECESS Day #4?

Gary the Giraffe.

I kid you not.  Kids go crazy for puppets…especially…Gary the Giraffe.

Honing our vandalism skills with chalk on the building


Disturbing the peace with loud rocking worship music


Ann Lynn sporting lunch lady gang paraphernalia


Downin’ some delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (seriously good)

Because it is supposed to be 95 degrees today!!

RECESS kids getting baptized (just kidding)

And then I checked out the “craft” from yesterday.  White powdery substances in a ziplock bag!!  Yep…we figured here at the Living Stones Church that given our neighborhoods it would serve the kids well to know the street value of cocaine and how to produce it.  JUST KIDDING.  According to RECESS Director, Meredith Waltman – it was an experiment with “soap.”  Hmm….

A white powdery substance in zip lock bags that we are calling “soap”

Today we launched RECESS 2012!!!  Thanks to the generosity of the Living Stones Church we are looking forward to the next eight weeks with a bunch of students from Monroe School / Miami Hills apartments (we are expecting about 100 total).

Today went great!  Meredith Waltman (our RECESS Director) and her top-notch counselors and volunteers did an excellent job.  The kids had a blast and it was a successful first day!!

Another great thing this year is that we were approved for a grant from the government to make our own breakfasts and lunches.  Last year we were approved by the South Bend School Corporation to be a free lunch site.  It was a huge blessing to have daily meals supplied by the corporation.  BUT – the quality of the meals were a little…you know.  So, this year we have been approved for a grant that will pay us $5.31 per child per day.  Multiple that by the number of kids in RECESS for eight weeks and we are looking at a potential funding of $20,000 so that we can make our own meals!!!   This is a huge blessing!!!!

Finally, this past Sunday Living Stoners brought us over our funding goal by contributing $15,759.38 for RECESS 2012!!!  THANK YOU!!!

Yesterday morning we had a baptism celebration.  We baptized a dozen people (that is actually a preacher’s count…the true number was 11…preachers always round-up) in front of a crowd of 4657 (see what I did there?  that is a big round-up).

It was a great morning.  You can check out the video testimonies of most of those who got baptized yesterday morning:

We like to have our children, who normally are back in Kid’s Kanyon for the entire service, join us to witness the baptisms.  I had just finished a message on baptism explaining the what and whys of baptism when our children entered the room.

And then yesterday evening I got this Facebook notification:

I started to think about how terrifying it might be for a kid to watch the preacher dunk people in water without any explanation!!!  And then watch as everyone in the audience applauds and adds their approval!!

Note to self:  it might be a good idea to explain to children what you are doing in baptism before they see it.

To the Medors – should there be any need for therapy sessions for poor Seth to overcome his trauma, you can send the bill to the Living Stones Church.  OR – if he grows up with an aversion to getting baptized, when he meets God – I’ll step forward and take the blame for it! 🙂  Just be thankful this is his issue.  It could be worse.  Rumor has it that our Children’s Minister’s [yea…I’m looking at you Amy Osterhout] child, after Doug Harsch invited everyone to stand and worship, yelled at the top of her lungs – “I DON’T WANT TO!!” 🙂

Sometimes God just decides a church is going to have a particular ministry whether it asks for it or not.  And since He is God, he gets to do that and doesn’t really need to ask anyone for permission!  And for whatever reason, God has decided that the Living Stones Church is going to have a ministry for families and children with special needs.  We didn’t ask for it.  We didn’t pray for it.  We didn’t set it as a part of some great “vision statement” / outreach plan.  God just sent us a ton of families with children who have special needs.  Like, percentage-wise, more than any church I know!!! (humility qualifier:  I don’t know every church. 🙂 ).

What is strange about God’s plan is that I feel like we are an ill-equipped church for such a ministry.  We don’t have many resources in regards to money, space, etc.  But, I guess that doesn’t concern God at all.

What we do have is people like Amy Osterhout (she leads our children’s ministry) who before coming on staff at LSC served in the South Bend Community School Corporation as a special education teacher for 17 years.  AND we have Melissa Holstein who has seven children (along with a husband who could at times qualify as one of her children 🙂 ) who has several children with autism and a PASSION to see families who need support get it!  She started “precious stones” here several years ago for this very need.  (sidenote:  I don’t know anyone who lives with as much grace, humor, and endurance in the midst of their life circumstances than the Holsteins.  Don’t tell them – but they are heroes to me).  AND we have an entire children’s ministry team that in heart, life experience, or passion is second to none in regards to children with special needs.

SO…Here we go!!  I guess we are beginning a venture to figure out how to be a church that is capable of ministering faithfully to families and children with special challenges that God has sent us.  We don’t have everything figured out.  But we’re going to try.

I got an e-mail this morning from Karen Roberts who works with Joni & Friends International Disability Center.  It looks like we are going to learn as much from them as we can on how we are supposed to serve and minister well.

Speaking of heroes, Mike Cope who is one of my preaching heroes…like seriously…the man can preach in such a way that Scripture just comes to life…at his blog began today a series on “Church and Families With Specially Challenged Kids” and I know it is going to be great.  You should check it out here.  The above video is from his first post.

I announced months ago here (you should go read it again for her glowing resume) that we had hired Amy Osterhout as our part-time Children’s Minister.  Starting the first week of September –  Amy Osterhout, went FULL-TIME as our Children’s Minister.  Praise God!!!!

  • Reflected yesterday before we began services how many people were involved this week in making our worship services happen…it was a lot of people.  I’m hesitant to even name names for fear I’ll forget someone (my thoughts were triggered by Bill Steele who was at the building by 7:00 a.m. cleaning off walks, taking care of odds and ends.
  • Thank you to Sky Medors for putting together our picture/video presentation.
  • We had a FULL-HOUSE.  It was a record non-Easter attendance.
  • It was split numerically almost 50/50 between the 9:30 & 11:30 services.
  • At 9:30 a.m. we only had 14 parking spots available in our parking lot (can you say…we need a third service?).
  • Dedicated 27 children from 20 different family units yesterday.  They are the cutest kids in the history of any church at any time!!  🙂
  • Lots of family and friends…welcome to LSC.
  • Apologies to Manny Navarro and family…we forgot the picture they turned in for the video…I will correct this Sunday!!!  Sorry Manny!!

Sunday we continue our series – Is Jesus Really All I Need:  A study of Colossians.  We will pick up with my favorite poem in the New Testament – Colossians 1:15-20 (unfortunately it is a poem that doesn’t rhyme…nor does it start off with “roses are red and violets are blue”…but I love it nonetheless 🙂 ).

Just a reminder that I encouraged everyone to read the entire letter of Colossians each week.  Easy feat.  It is only four chapters!

In addition – we are dedicating 27 children this Sunday to the Lord.  Join us as we celebrate their lives, along with their parents and families, and take promises to help these families in the task of producing mature followers of Jesus (what?!  Another major theme in the letter to the Colossians!!)

I did say it was a LSC child dedication didn't I?

Who just hired:

  • Someone with 17 years of teaching experience (14 years of it being in the South Bend School System)
  • Someone with one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen (seriously)
  • Someone who has been at Living Stones Church long before it was ever called Living Stones Church (longer than I’ve been here as Pastor)
  • Someone who loves Disney World almost as much as I do
  • Someone who received her Bachelors from Purdue (we aren’t holding it against her 🙂 ) in Elementary Education Major and a Learning Disability Minor.
  • Someone who is fully dedicated and committed to the vision of LSC to the South Side of South Bend
  • Someone who has a Masters from IUSB in Special Education
  • Someone who was the Teacher of the Year @ McKinley in 2000
  • Someone who has proven herself faithful again and again in ministry and service
  • Someone who was named South Bend Schools Special Honor Group at Celebration of Excellence in Teaching in 2000
  • Someone is highly organized and self-motivated
  • Someone I love very much!

Who did?  We did.  The Living Stones Church.  And her name is Amy Osterhout.

Welcome Amy on board as you begin leading our children’s ministry and all of the great things that are going on in Kids Kanyon!!!!