Children’s ministry: burning brightly and longer

Everyday Ministry

The fourth of four principles in this series on children’s ministry is about training others to get involved in the work. The most important thing to do in order to achieve this is to protect your existing children’s ministry team from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, insofar as this lies within your power.


Children’s ministry: Overcoming obstacles

Everyday Ministry

In this occasional series, Bruce Linton and I (Gordon) look at some principles of leading children’s ministry. Bruce has been a children’s ministry leader for nearly 20 years. For some of that time, I have followed him around with a camera, a sound recorder, a laptop and three daughters, in an attempt to document and imitate some fine gospel ideas. (more…)

photo | Pink Sherbet Photography on flickrphoto | Pink Sherbet Photography on flickr

God’s gift of parenting


The arrival of a first-born child into a family is one of the greatest moments in all human experience. It rates with marriage as one of the big milestones in a person’s life. As such, it is particularly important that the Christian believer should understand it from a spiritual viewpoint, setting it in the context of his or her faith, and therefore relating it to God through Jesus.

photo | John-Morgan on flickr

Children’s ministry: It takes a body

Pastoral Ministry

Over the course of nearly 20 years in children’s ministry (not including his own childhood), Bruce Linton realized that the establishing principle behind starting a children’s ministry in a church is usually this: noise must be contained so that we, the grown-ups, can get on with church. (more…)

Wanted: more church invaders

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

flickr: The Arches

A few years ago, our family of six left a congregation full of parents with young children, and joined a church made up mostly of university students.1 This wasn’t an ideological statement on our part: it was simply because my husband works in university ministry, and that’s where we needed to be at the time. But it’s made me aware of some of the benefits and costs of going to church with people from a different age and stage from your own.


Dividing walls of teenage hostility

Everyday Ministry

“Who am I? … I don’t know. I guess I have a lot of things to ponder.”

-Derek Zoolander, speaking to his reflection in a puddle, in Zoolander.

In an interesting twist on the Narcissus fable, the really ridiculously good-looking Zoolander neatly sums up one of the main pressures of the adolescent years: the search for identity. Teenagers have a lot of things to ponder! (more…)

Helping teenagers read

Resource Talk

A friend of mine visited my house, an English teacher clearly unhappy with her day. One of her teenage students had rubbished her lesson and the novel they were studying to another teacher. In the staff room there was general consensus that, though my friend is a great teacher, the book was totally unsuitable for boys because the lead character is a teenage girl. Gosh, of course they should forget about the book and watch the movie version instead. After all, a teenager wouldn’t be able to discover the mind or world of another person within the pages of a book! That would be way too demanding; they’d better just watch the movie.


Talking about predestination with kids

Resource Talk, Sola Panel

Little Black Books: Predestination--cover

Some parents resent being the taxi driver. I offer to do it whenever I can. When else do your teenagers actually consent to sit within 10 metres of you, let alone talk to their friends while you listen? And besides, the opportunity to pay out their appalling music and inflict your own Classic Hits and Memories upon them is too much to resist. (more…)

“Jesus. All about life”, by Murray Smith



Jesus. All about life (Youth Edition)

Murray Smith

Bible Society NSW, Macquarie Park, 2009. 135pp.

Murray Smith has put together a smart and sassy little book called Jesus. All about life. This 135-page creation has an obvious connection with the evangelistic campaign of the same name, but Smith’s book is aimed squarely at teenagers. It’s the sort of book you could easily imagine sitting on a teenager’s bedside table (or, more likely, somewhere on the bedroom floor underneath a recently discarded jacket). (more…)

Be careful what you promise

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in Heaven? If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” what would you say?

Have you ever used these questions (or a variation on them) to talk about the impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ with friends or strangers? They are the introductory questions in the well-known gospel explanation associated with Evangelism Explosion (EE). They’ve proved themselves to be a very popular way to start a serious discussion about our relationship with God. We assume that people in our world have given at least some thought to their own death and eternal destiny. These questions help us to show how the gospel, with its strong emphasis on assurance of future salvation through Jesus (e.g. 1 Thess 1:10, Heb 9:27-28, 1 Pet 1:3-5), provides a clear answer to important issues. (more…)

Give me Fervr

Resource Talk

The arrival of the iPhone in 2007 redefined the template for the exploding markets of both mobile phones and PDAs. But it signalled something maybe even more significant: the expanding reach of the worldwide web. Since the early 90s, the web has operated primarily through home or work computers. But more recently, we see it penetrating into almost every aspect of life. Now it’s not uncommon to find the web in your car, your phone, your cafe, your school, your fridge and maybe even your parents’ home! (more…)

Youth ministry resource



I spent Wednesday lunchtime talking to Kitty Fung, who works for Anglican Youthworks in Sydney, about the (relatively new) youth site fervr. Apparently it means whatever you want it to mean. I know we’re old and fogey-ish over here at Sola Panel, but I thought that there might be some people interested in checking it out and hearing what they’ve got to offer. Finding quality Christian resources for youth work is not always easy.