The Best Intergenerational Christmas Pageant Ever!

Easy-Christmas-Pageant

Christmas pageants are not my thing. I’ll just say that at the beginning. When I was at Asbury, I purposely stayed away from having any involvement, whatsoever, with the Christmas pageant. When I started at First Presbyterian last year, someone was already in charge of the pageant, and so I  just showed up to help corral children. And this year, I was not that excited about trying to find a pageant to do…until I read Theresa Cho’s blog post entitled “No Stress, No Fuss Christmas Pageant.” In her post, she shared about a super easy way to put on a Christmas pageant (which she actually adapted from Carolyn Peters, a DCE in at Grace Presbyterian Church in Beaver Damn, Wisconsin), and I wanted to give it a try.

Let me share with you the highlights after we attempted this for the first time:

  1. Parents appreciated not having one more thing to drag their kids to during Advent.
  2. Kids didn’t have to memorize parts, learn songs or do anything other than show up.
  3. Adults of all ages from our congregation participated…and some of them really got into it.
  4. I grabbed a couple middle school guys who are talented musicians and we led most of the music in the pageant.
  5. People’s comments after church consisted of things like “I think this was the best Christmas pageant I’ve ever seen here” to “That was so amazing how everyone could take part in it” to “This was so much fun – and put together so well” (I don’t think they knew we hadn’t rehearsed).
  6. Kids had fun. We had children, that for a variety of reasons wouldn’t have signed up to be in a pageant or wouldn’t have been able to sit through rehearsals, having the chance to really embrace this pageant and participate in it fully.

So, this is how we did it (and how you can too).

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Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity: A Review

I’ve spent the past week in Washington DC at the “Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity” conference. It’s been awhile since I’ve been at a Continuing Ed event and it was a great chance to get to connect with some friends (old and new), do some networking and hear from some great folks. I thought I’d just share some highlights and then offer a few comments.

Best Presenter: Patricia Lyons
While I struggled at first to keep up with her pace and excitement as she shared about her conversion to Harry Potter, her presentation was definitely a highlight of the conference. She was a presenter who made a relevant presentation about how to read the language of our culture to communicate good news to children and youth today. Add to that the fact that she was hilarious and wearing a Harry Potter robe and had a wand…a great presentation.

Best Workshop: Michael Novelli and Rebekah Lowe – The Art of Bible Storying
Michael and Rebekah offered a wonderful interactive and participatory workshop after the conference officially ended. It was based on Michael’s work on bible storying (his book is “Shaped By the Story“). I think this was a great way to end the conference, where we actually learned about a new way of doing youth ministry (which I think is what many were hoping for at the conference). If you’re not familiar with Michael’s work, be sure and check out Echo. And Rebekah has done some amazing work translating his work specifically for children’s ministry.

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See you in Washington D.C. in 1 Month!

Just got an email from the folks behind the Children, youth and a New Kind of Christianity conference being held next month. And it was a reminder that there are only 4 weeks until this conference! If you haven’t signed up yet…it’s not too late; you can still register here. This is how they describe the conference:

This isn’t your average children’s and youth ministry conference!

Something is happening in the church. A new kind of Christianity is taking root and growing across the globe. New forms of ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. And change is happening.

But amidst these changes and shifts, children and youth are being left behind. Innovative approaches to ministry with adults are emerging around the world, but little critical reflection and attention has been given to how to nurture young people within a new kind of Christianity.

In May of 2012, leaders, ministers, volunteers, parents, and students will gather in Washington, DC, USA to spark conversations about youth and children within a new kind of Christianity. They will talk about innovative practices, critical issues, and controversial topics like violence, racism, interfaith dialogue, and sexuality. They will emark on a journey together to engage in life-giving ministry with young people. And they will blaze a new trail for the 21st-century church.

After finally figuring out my hotel and flight details two weeks ago, I’m really jazzed about making it out for this conference. I’ll be flying out on Sunday (a red-eye) and getting into DC on Monday morning. I can’t wait to meet up with friends, meet new folks and listen to some phenomenal presentations and panels.

My real hope for this conference is to come back with some really helpful ideas for how to do children’s ministry in a small-church/small-town context. That is one of our struggles at our church right now, and I’m hoping to draw on the wisdom of others at this event. It’s going to be great, and I hope to see some of you there.