Welcome to Kidologist.com (formerly PastorKarl.com), where Karl Bastian, nicknamed the "Kidologist" by his family for being a 'big kid' and founder of Kidology.org, posts his thoughts and adventures. GET POSTS BY E-MAIL: Subscribe To Kidologist.com

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Blasting Past Mount Saint Helens

On our way South on I-5 through Washington, we stopped at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center and finally got to see this famous mountain.

The famous mountain in the distance.

Granted from a great distance, but I still remember May 18, 1980 very well, I was only 11 years old when it blew. I was mesmerized by the power of the blast and the scope of the disaster. Ash reached my home in Lakewood, California.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Not only was it beautiful here where we stopped, but the entire drive through Western Washington was breath-taking. When Rich Stafford and I were friends at Moody he was always bragging about the Great North West, which he always said with emphasis - it took me a while to get here, but I'll admit it, "Rich, you were right, it is awesome here!" We will definatly be planning a future vacation here some time when we can stay even longer!

Me, at home in the woods.

We are now driving through Portland, Oregon on our way to Henry Zonio's home. We will be going to his church on Sunday. (Yes, I am online in a moving car on my laptop - btw, Sara is driving, not me)

At one with the trees?

Until next time, please leave a comment. ;)

The Things People Eat...

I have never liked sea food. Well, actually, it would be more accurate to say, I've always hated sea food. The very smell... well, ok, I'll leave it at that.

While I have been known to order a Filet-O-Fish at McDonald's I've been told that doesn't count. Today we went to downtown Seattle (more pics later) but for now I had to share both some pictures of stuff people actually EAT and my reason for NOT eating it. After all, the Bible says in Deuteronomy 14:9-10

Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that have fins and scales. But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat, for you it is unclean.

I don't see fins and scales on all the images below!! It also says, in 14:21

Do not eat anything you find already dead.

I don't know about you... but these all look VERY DEAD to me:

Granted, the end of verse 21 does offer some suggestions for what to do with this DEAD stuff, should you come across any:

You may give it to an alien living in any of your towns, and he may eat it, or you may sell it so a foreigner.

I'm not sure how nice it would be to sell this stuff to your friendly neighborhood foreigner, but it is nice to know that if I ever am visited by aliens from another planet, I know how to get them to leave - I'll just feed them some of this dead stuff, and they will leave and post a sign up there at the Earth Exit, "Skip this planet - the food's disgusting."

Seriously, would YOU actually EAT this stuff??

Friday, April 29, 2005

Let's Be Frank...

As promised, here is the summary of my visit with Ryan Frank...

Let's be Frank...

Let me be Frank with you....

Ryan Frank began his ministry at Liberty Baptist Church the same year I came to my present church, 1998. However, for Ryan, it was the church he grew up in. While marrying the pastor's beautiful daughter may have helped in the job interview, sine then he has shown himself to be both a creative and resourceful children's pastor. This was not my first time to his church. Ryan has been a long time contributor to Kidology.org and has been a trainer at Kidology events. Though I wasn't able to visit on a Sunday during this visit, I did get several opportunities to sit down and 'talk shop' with Ryan.

I asked him to share some of the lessons he has learned from being faithful to one ministry for seven years. I told him to feel free to be ‘Frank’ with me...

Ryan said one of the critical things he has learned is the importance of Team Building. An effective children's ministry leader has got to surround himself with qualified and dedicated people. He emphasized the need to maintain open lines of communication. When asked how to do this he said the main way was with his regularly scheduled team meetings which happen at least every other month. At these meetings there is reporting, planning of up coming events, (the whole team involved in special events), prayer both for ministry and personal needs. Ryan said that no matter how busy you are, being accessible is important, especially to those on your leadership team.

His team consists of 10 people: Nursery Director, Sunday School Director, Preschool Director, Awana Commander (and Assistant Commander), Kids Church Assistant Directors (2), Bus Ministry Director, plus he and his wife, Beth.

Ryan would encourage you to "feature the positives." Keep the Children's Ministry in front of the people." Use as much bulletin space as possible, fill the empty bulletin boards with children's ministry info, make lots of flyers and signs and put them everywhere.

No one sleepin' during this sermon! Ryan has a GIANT inflatable dino on the stage of the worship center all month to promote the upcoming Dino Day!

Sign up table in the narthex

Signs around the church. These poster holders are all over the church and available to all ministries, but Ryan tries to us them for children's ministry as much as possible.

Ryan has found that that is important to always do something ‘new.’ Granted, even something you haven’t done for a few years will have a ‘new’ feel to it, such as the Dino Days they are doing this year, which they haven’t done for a few years. Always doing something NEW adds an element of excitement to the ministry and demonstrates vision - shows you aren't in a rut.

Ryan keeps up with the world of kids and often adapts for church.

Ryan, striking close to the heartbeat of Kidology, mentioned the key is to build relationships with kids. He strives to maintain a relational ministry. “Its about relationships,” Ryan says, and seeks to make it a reality by not only sending kids birthday cards, but calling them on their birthday. His secretary emails him a list of who to call each day; it is part of her job description. Sure, he will miss a few and have to call the next day, but it means a lot to the kids. A new thing they’ve been doing is an informal “show 'n tell” during Kid’s Church where kids are encouraged to bring special things or new toys to church to ‘show and tell,’ and of course any children’s pastor can create an object lesson on the spot occasionally even getting it to fit the day's lesson! This really shows the kids your interest in their world and what is important to them. Every Sunday is ‘show n tell’ of what we, the teachers, are interested in, why not let them also ‘show n tell’ what they like.

Since 1998 every year Ryan frames the faces of his kids!

Another creative thing Ryan does is that he provides a “question of the week” online on the kids ministry website. Kids are encouraged to go online, print and bring with the answer for a prize. (For kids without Internet, or not allowed, they simply can ask for a paper version after church, but still have to remember to bring it back the following week answered to get the prize.)

I asked Ryan how about how he partners with parents in the spiritual formation of children. For starters, the topic of Kids Church is in the bulletin each week for parents with discussion questions so that over lunch the parents are equipped to interact with their children on what they learned that day. In addition to special family events such father/son/daughters or mother/daughter/son events, their Sunday evening service is designed for the whole family to provide a balance to the Sunday morning “everyone go to your own age class and service.” Sunday mornings can be focused age appropriate teaching, and Sunday nights have more of a feel of community and family interaction through worship and learning.

One awesome ministry of Liberty Baptist is that, they provide 100% free counseling for the community in a home adjacent to the church. The center is run by volunteer counselors and the church provides the facilities. Many families who are now a part of the church were first ministered to through the counseling center over family, marriage, or other personal struggles. It occurred to me that this was much like the model of Jesus, first heal their physical and immediate needs, and then they will be more open to the message of the Gospel.

At the end of our time together I asked Ryan a final question, “Of everything you actually do each week, what would you say is the most important?” (I included ‘actually do’ because I’ve heard many times of lots of things we ‘ought’ to do, but in the end, it is what we actually do that matters.) His answer was so simple it surprised me, and yet he was right on target.

“Actually do? I guess I’d have to say creatively and faithfully teaching God's Word.”

I’m not sure what answer I was hoping for - maybe some secret tidbit of ministry strategy, some covert task that would slowly and steadily transform my ministry - and yet, isn’t it true that in the end, our job as children’s pastors / teachers - is to simply teach the Word. There are a lot of other good and noble things we can engage in, and there is always another program or ministry ‘focus’ we can add, but at the core of our ministry we must never forget, what will matter most in the long run, in the lives and hearts of our kids, is how well we taught them the Word. So before the week is over, spend a little extra time on that lesson for Sunday!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Be Encouraged Chicagoians!

And I thought gas was expensive in Chicago!
(and this was the lowest we could find!!)

We have arrived in Everett (20 miles North of Seattle) Washington. Decided to get in the mood for our miles and miles of driving...

Where is the red convertible when you need it?

We've arrived at Kim's house... a childhood friend of Sara's from the Philippines who was her Maid of Honor when we got married. More pics to come!

Another buddy named Nathan!

A Vacuum Powered Goat and More!

UP-DATE: A.R.M. 4000 XL Video below...

Finally time for an update on our adventures!

Bloggin' on the train...

The Amtrak ride was fun. There will be some more pictures and video later, but overall it was a good trip. It was relaxing, and fun to watch the scenery. The bumpiness was ok, though walking was sometimes rough, it was fine while sitting/sleeping. The bed was NOT very nice, planning a chiropractic visit upon my return! :) But, on the bright side, I found my retirement home...

This is where I will retire.... if there is Internet, of course.

37 hours later, we arrived in Spokane. Contrary to online reviews, we arrived right on time... exept that 'on time' was 2:40am (4:40am Chicago time) so that added to an already rough night.

We were greeted by Darth Vader, and Daniel Bigler.

Our illuminated transport.

The picture is blurry to capture the lights underneath that were also under the seats inside, the children's pastor's ministry vehicle. (see I'm not the only CP with a cool car to interest kids!) Non-blurry pictures coming in photo gallery.

Fancy Schmancy!

They surprised us by putting us up in the fanciest downtown hotel called The Davenport.

Ah, yes, bring me my car please...

Truly 'early church' hospitality, Pastor Rick loaned us his car right after meeting us. As we took the keys and marveled that he would loan it to a stranger he said, 'we're all family and part of the same team, aren't we?' That's one of the neat things about the body of Christ. (not the car, the spirt of sharing!)

Daniel is loved by his kids!

Our first stop was to visit Daniel's preschool center where he works. It is one of the best centers in Spokane and we were impressed with the facility and philosophy of their approach.

Daniel and Pastor Rick. (and the cool car)

Next we were off to Shiloh Hills Fellowship. It is a two year old church that was born with the merger of two smaller struggling ministries - and it has taken off; they had 900 on Easter Sunday. The building has grown as well as the attendance, and the children's ministry was just 'given' the old sanctuary, so they are excited about what they will do with that room. (Pictures and video will be on Kidology where members will get to offer ideas/suggestions!)

Downtown Spokane hosted the 1974 World's Fair.

We went downtown to enjoy the sights and sounds of Spokane. It is a beautiful downtown area. There is an IMAX theater, carousel, shops, paths, etc. My favorite was the 'eating goat.' (shown below) Press a button on the wall, and the goat will eat out of your hand. (powered by a giant vacuum) Kinda strange, but kinda cool too.

Now That's One Cool Goat.

King of the World! (er, Wagon!)

Spokane boasts of being home of the biggest wagon in the world. (I know, I gasped too!)

She's not really that short, it's the tower.

After our tour of town, it was back to church for the point of the visit - their Wednesday evening program called F.L.I.G.H.T. School. (Finding Life In God's Heavenly Truth - the Bible) It is a FUN program that Pastor Rick created and has done for over 10 years in several ministries. Created as a more flexible alternative to the club program he used to use. It has a focus on Scripture memory, but also on life skills and application. Last night was "Water Night" filled with water games, a dunk tank, but also a lesson on Living Water and baptism. Several kids got saved. I, of course, had to visit Toys R Us on my way so that I could go around squirting kids. I found the BEST water gun ever! The A.R.M. 4000 XL

UP-DATE: Watch the A.R.M. 4000 XL IN ACTION!
QuickTime File 2.4MB

It attaches over your arm and is pumped by simply bending your elbow. I got it on sale for only $9.96 (I see on toysrus.com it is retail $29.99) My only regret is that I didn't buy TWO, one for each a.r.m.! (Think I'll have any trouble boarding my plane home wearing this??)

Me and Daniel and some WET kids!

This morning we went out to breakfast with Pastor Rick and visited Moody Northwest, but I'll be posting more on that later. (Right after I get the interview with Ryan Frank posted!) But, the Liberty Baptist Gallery is now live as well as the Shiloh Hills Photo Gallery.

NOTE: I have to post this blog post before I can add the gallery links, so if you are reading this in your e-mail, go online, I will edit this post and add the links and remove this sentence.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Arrived in Spokane...

Rich Stafford anyone?

We have arrived in Spokane WA after a looooong but fun train ride (pics to come, this is a Palm post).

In addition to our visit at Shiloh Baptist, we are hoping to track down a college friend, Rich Stafford, who went to MBI with me and stood up in my wedding, but I've lost his contact info. Anyone know Rich and Donna Stafford? Let me know!!!! More later!

Rich has been found!

Check out his website: www.staffordstudios.com He now lives in Portland, and we are planning to see him NEXT WEEK! THANKS to those of you who helped, and especially to Pastor Rick who tracked his info down.

Monday, April 25, 2005

On the Road Again, er, TRACKS

Or should it be 'trackin' with the Bastians?

Well, we are off on the next phase of our sabbatical...

I stopped by the office to grab a few things and was SHOCKED to see a new sign on my office door!

Soon we were at the station...

Sara booked us a huge comfortable room...

With views out BOTH sides of the train!

Soon we were leaving Chicago behind...

We went from tall building to farmland within 40 minutes...

I'm not sure how fast this train is, but it seems FAST - my guess at least 80mph if not overa 100 just trying to imagine a car going this fast... the train looks very old and worn, but is comfortable, and the ride isn't too bumpy... we'll see how it goes.

Yes, I am bloggin' from the train via my trusty cell phone which gets my laptop online. I was curious if I would get this post posted and not lose my connection, so far so good. Keep in touch! Post a comment below and say hi!

Good Bye Chicago, be back in a few weeks!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


1000 MILES passed!

Yes, on the road today we passed the '1000 mile mark' on this sabbatical. Since there was no out-doing getting to see George Lucas, we decided to hit the road early and get home - much to do to prepare for this next phase of the Sabbatical Adventures - we leave on the train tomorrow. Laundry is going now and we are trying to figure out how to best pack for a 20+ day trip that includes train, plane and automobile!

The highlight of the day was finding ourselves in the home stretch just around church-getting-out-time so we decided to drop by Culvers and see if any church folks would be there...

Fun to get to see some of my kids before hitting the road again...

Please pray for us as we travel - for safety, for schedule timing, for times to relax and refresh, to get all the reading done I want to do, and that we will find opportunities to minister to others as we travel. Next stop.... Spokane Washington via Amtrak! (or pray for no brake problems on our Amtrak train!!!)

If you haven't seen the online release of my novel, I'd love to have you read it and comment on it. Your feedback will be both helpful and encouraging.

Star Wars Photo Gallery LIVE

Star Wars Celebration Photo Gallery
is LIVE with 8 pages!!

There are 8 PAGES of pictures (click on thumbnails for larger images). There are a LOT of pictures (over 300) - most have been edited/cropped and the junk ones removed, but just put them all there so you can get a 'feel' for the event. A bunch of 'em have stories behind them... but you'll just have to guess for now and ask later. There is no 'order' but in general they are in the order in which I took them over the whole event. (Though somehow the last picture became the first - go figure - when I did the automatic webpage export.)


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Let me look on you, with my own eyes...

Let me look on you, with my own eyes...

These may have been Darth Vader's dying words, but they also have been the words of millions of fans who have wanted to see George Lucas since his last public appearance in... yes... 1987. Talk about fashionably late!

However, as stated in my blog yesterday, I had no plans (or hope) of seeing 'The Maker' as he is often called (see www.thankyougeorge.com) at the convention today. There was WELL over 50,000 people at the convention, and that total is days old! People were in line since the middle of yesterday and ALL NITE in the freezing rain to see him. So we decided to do like yesterday, and wait out the crowds and come late. Well, this may be one of the coolest (if not the most significant) occurances of Proverbs 16:9 in my life: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

The doors opened at 9am, so we arrived around 10am, parking is a nightmare, but a lady was standing out in the rain with a sign offering $9 parking for the day (our first sign of good luck), it was on the lawn of her business around the corner from the convention center. It was the most miserable 15 minute walk around the building - bitter cold, cutting wind, it forced tears from our eyes which practically froze to our face - we couldn't believe people sat in this weather all night for a mere sight of George Lucas!!!! We finally got to the door and walked right in. I heard a volunteer saying "If you want to see George..." and he was passing out blue wrist bands, "...put this on and go up the escalator to the second floor." Many walked right past him, but we took the bands and walked along. We were like sheep before the... well, we were just being ushered along with a bunch of other dazed and confused blue wristband wearing fans wondering where we were going. We were led through a bunch of now empty line dividers. Someone said it was only to see a video of George's interview this morning, so some left the line. We continued on thinking even a video was better than nothing. Finally we got to the room where George was already speaking and THE DOORS WERE CLOSED RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! So close... but then they said we would be FIRST in line for the next session, and had we gotten in, we would have only seen the last ten minutes of the current session! So we waited 10-15 minutes and then were ushered in (by troopers!) and got to sit right in the front! I was on the first seat next to the center, third row, but it was the best seat! The two rows in front of me had a security person blocking the view, and the center section had heads and monitors in front of them, whereas I had a straight shot view with nothing between! There honestly wasn't a better seat! (except on the stage, of course.)

So the man isn't CGI after all!

George Lucas was joined by Rick McCallum, Star Wars director/producer (left), George Lucas (center), and Jay Laga'aia (Captain Panaka in EP1) who hosted and facilitated the interview. There wasn't much significant or news worthy in the substance of the interview but it was really neat to see him in person, and to be part of a large group of fans expressing our appreciation to him for his creativity and dedication over the years to something that has brought a lot of imaginative fun to millions of people. I don't get fans of Star Wars who don't like George Lucas. I'm not sure what they expect - he is just a man, and no one is perfect. Most interesting to me was the one question he was asked: "What is your religion?" His answer was basically, "I am a very spiritual man but not a member of any organized religion." It's a bummer - the Kingdom could really use his imagination and creativity.

But enough about that - there was more to the day. And I DID finally dress up today in my Jedi outfit, which led to some interesting events....

Fellow Master Jedi

The Circle is now complete.

It isn't wise to upset a Wookie!

Dressing up as a Jedi does have its disadvantages.

Today we also got to see the Star Wars Musical, which basically took classic songs from musicals and rewrote them to tell the story of A New Hope - such as the old Obi-Won singing to Luke, how the Force flows like music, "The Music of the Knight." Sara also got to see the One Man Star Wars (I saw it Thursday, but I'd see it ten times) - if you ever can see this, you must!!

The latest action figure from Hasbro!

It was a great day - meeting George Lucas, seeing some great shows, and after a short stint in the exhibit hall again, we headed back to hotel room. Still not sure whether we are going back for more tomorrow or not. (Complete Celebration III Photo Gallery still to come!)

But for now, as Yoda once said, "Tired I am. Need sleep I do."

Karl and Sara meet the Maker...

The maker of Star Wars that is.

This is just a fast post from my palm - through fluke in the Force we got the BEST seat to see George without waiting in line!! More details later (and pictures) Oh, here he comes.... BYE!

SW Celebration DAY TWO

It is the morning after the day before today....

It was pouring rain all morning, so I skipped the costume and we headed down one hour after the doors opened and got in line with only about 50 people left and walked right in. Whew! It was a calculated risk, and paid off, considering yesterday the doors opened at noon and people were in line as early as 6-7am, and today the doors opened at 9am, so the line up started before the sun rose! We skipped the HOURS in line and got right in! Though, the 'store' was already closed due to the people inside being enough to keep them busy until 8pm! Good thing we got that over with yesterday. Here are some highlights from the day... MUCH more to come in the Gallery after the convention is over.

My 'hands free' umbrella invention!

How to know when you are getting close...

General Grievous done shopping!

Even Imperial Guards need to use the cell phone once in awhile

And I thought my Star Destroyer was big! This 40,000+ piece lego Super Star Destroyer was amazing! Later, in the gallery, you will notice a small docking bay that inside has lego characters all watching "Lord of the Rings" - kinda funny.

Sara and her favorite Star Wars character!

Hangin' with Rebel Pilots.

Sara caught inbetween two Masters dueling!

Is this to be her end?

Can you find the alien? (no, its not me!)

This guy knows how to get around!

Well, the fanatics were in line at midnight last night to see George Lucas this morning... only a few hundred out of thousands... and it is still raining. So we are waiting out the line and rain again, and about to leave.... and in full Jedi costume today, more pictures later!

May the Force be with you!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Force is With Me!

Right after I repair the shower myself in the hotel.
(The maintanence guy called off sick,
no doubt, he was sneaking off to the convention!)

Soon we were meeting Imperial Forces!

We left around 8 am and headed to the convention center in downtown Indy. Since we are official 'fan club' members, we have the opportunity to get in one hour early. (yeah, right!)

And posing for pictures with them.

The doors supposedly opened at noon (for fan club members) so we decided to get in line three hours early - and were already HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of people behind in a line that wrapped around the convention center, went up stairs, and finally went into a Disneyland on Steroids snaking pattern.

Met a few Rebels too!

The guy next to us, Ivan, knew more about Star Wars than George Lucas, so we definately learned a lot! It was fun to see all the costumed characters. Where is my costume? I decided not to wear it today so I could focus on learning the 'lay of the land' get the collectibles I'm after... I plan to wear it tomorrow.

My Clone?

This was the most creative costume!

Notice the shoes...

I guess he was a little short for a Sith Lord!

Fun to see all the different shirts.

Many young Jedi and many Game Boys!
(that's how I passed hours too!)


Finally, the Troopers let us in!

The line didn't even move until 12:45pm and by 1:30pm (a hour and a half AFTER the 'fan club gets in early' time) we were inside, only to be in the Celebration Store line. Finally, around 12:30 pm Sara suggested I give her a list of what I wanted from the convention store and go check out some of the other stuff. (What a wife! WHAT a wife!!) Little did I know then that I would not see her again until after 6pm! I was not allowed back into the store room, even though my wife had not sat down, eaten, or 'powered her nose' since 8am!! In the end, she had been in line over 9 hours!

I did get to go around the Exhibit Hall and see a show called the One Man Star Wars Trilogy, which was HYSTERICAL and worth the whole convention entrance fee! It was the best!

There are a TON more pictures, but I need to get to SLEEP... so pictures from inside and other adventures will be coming along later, and at the end of the week - a full gallery of all my pictures from the convention!

Heading home, the RCA Dome and Convention Center behind us!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hangin' with the Franks

Well, we have left the Franks behind us - always too short a visit, but we had a wonderful and relaxing time....

Walking along converted railways...

Enjoying the wildlife...

A little taste of home "East of Chicago"

They know how to make a guy feel welcome!

Their adorable little girl...

Of course, we spent a good amount of time "talkin' ministry" and the Liberty Baptist photo gallery and interview summary will be posted later this week - but it was time to hit the road again for a very different type of stop... some of you will just have to bear with me for the next four days as I will be at the Star Wars Celebration III Convention in Indy.

Starting to see signs of like-minded friends...

Already making new friends...

And the convention hasn't even started yet!

But I'll keep you posted on the activities!

The "Marks" of Leadership

The 'Marks' of Leadership
My Visit with Pastor Kim Bobb
Grove City Church of the Nazarene
ve City, OH

Spotlight on KidsMatter!

Kimborah Bobb grew up in the church where she now leads the children's ministry full time. She earned a degree in marketing from Olivet Nazarene University and then returned to Grove City in search of a marketing/promotions job. But God had other plans. She ended up turning down a marketing job opportunity because she just felt God telling her that He had something different. The next thing she knew she was answering the phone and Mark Hale, the children's pastor at her church, was on the other end and he was saying that God had brought her to mind as a possible candidate for an opening for Assistant Children's Pastor. She took the job and two years later ended up being his replacement when he moved on to become a senior pastor elsewhere. She is now one of two full time children's pastors (preschool and grade school) in addition to one part time children's pastor (20 hours) and twenty part time staffers (10 hours) between preschool and grade school for Sunday morning/evening and Wednesday evening programs. It is a church of about 4000 with up to 500 kids on Sunday mornings. Kim is now in her fourth year leading this ministry.

The greatest interest to me during this visit (and throughout this sabbatical) is first, any advice I can gain in leadership principles, but also, how various ministries are attempting to 'partner with parents' in the spiritual development of their children.

Kim had much good to say about her previous mentor, Mark, so I asked her, from what she learned and observed from him, what she would say are the "Marks" of leadership she learned from him. Not only did this result in great conversation, but made me want to meet Mark someday!

The 'Marks' of Leadership

1. Make your people feel appreciated no matter what they do. Kim has a drawer filled with cards to send for various occasions and loves to plan fun events for her staff. Indeed, we went to the circus with 30 of them while on our visit!

2. Build relationships with the people around you. Kim said that people often ask her how she gets so many people into ministry (and keeps them). Her answer was that they have relationships with each other, they don't just work together. Her motto is: 'A staff that works hard together needs to play hard together.'

3. Shepherd your leaders. Know what's going on in their lives. They need to know you care about them, not just their work. This was obvious as she introduced people to us and she knew a lot about them. It was also obvious from my other conversations that everybody loves Kim and feels like she knows them, even in a church of 4000 everyone I stopped and talked to answered, "Oh, yeah, I know Kim!"

4. Cast vision and carry the torch. It is the leaders job to see not only what 'IS'- and how to improve it, but to also see what "ISN'T" - what COULD be done, and excite people to make it happen.

5. You must own your ministry. Be the one they go to first when there is a need or issue, whether it is good or bad. Kim said, "I want to celebrate with you, cry with you, struggle with you. We are in this together."


One of the highlights of Grove City Nazarene is the way they integrate the family into the overall body life of the church. But Kim explains that it had to be gradually implemented over time. They began with "Bring Your Dad/Mom to Kids Church" on Mother's and Father's day. Next they started to plan a family event once a quarter, whether it be a family skate night, movie night (with free popcorn!) or even a camp out at the church that filled the entire church with tents! One of the keys to these family events is that they always include a family devotional time where families spend some time alone together going through a guided conversation on the theme/subject of the event. Now they have a Family Worship Service alternating every six weeks - one in the adult service with kids, then one in Kid's Church with parents. They strive to have something once a month for families. While families are busy, Kim has discovered that wholesome, fun and impactful family events will over time be chosen by families over the many other options available to families today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hangin' with Hoosiers...

Kim with Cali

Our time in Ohio was a ton of fun - Kim Bobb, her church, the circus, but the highlight was their little dog, Cali. (short for California) Besides being hypoallergenic, was a lot of fun. I even trained her to eat from a star wars light saber spoon...

Strong in the Force, this dog is.

Sara and I couldn't decide who we would miss more... Kim or Cali?!
but we did have to finally hit the road,

But not without kissin' the dog goodbye.

But soon we were back on the road and headed toward Hoosierland (Indiana for those of you in Rio Linda) We passed the golden, er, blueish Arches and headed West...

Pay no attention to the splatted bugs...

Once again we took in the scenic scenes of scenery.

Finally, (after an antique store stop, of course) we got to Sweetser, Indiana, home of Ryan Frank and Liberty Baptist Church, and had no trouble finding his house, since, after all, as he explained, it was the first house on the right...

On the right of what?!?!

I love what they've done with the lawn!!

New house and new baby... God is Good!

One thing I like about visiting the Franks is there is always a meal with extended family - something that seems to be fading in our culture, or at least in the city and 'burbs.' Ryan is a children's pastor under his father-in-law who was a youth pastor under the father-in-law before him. Another pastor, Uncle Pete, is a pastor at the church too. We enjoyed exchanging ideas, and of course, Dad was put on the spot to offer his son-in-law a sabbatical! He offered Ryan a three hour sabbatical right after he gets his. More to come, keep in touch!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Three Ring Circus... and then the Circus!

Today I got to visit TWO 'three ring' circuses! The first was Grove City Nazarene:

RING ONE: The Adult Worship Center

The adult service was amazing. This Sunday was the most moving baptism service I have ever been in. By the end I was crying... the lady next to me asked if I had family being baptized and I sputtered "I'm from out of town, I don't even know any of these people." :) I'll definately be filling my church staff in on how they did the service!

RING TWO: Club 345 (Grades 3-5) That's Kim Bobb!

Kim Bobb and the Band were bobbin' to familiar tunes... before a powerpoint lesson and skit followed by small groups. Of course, in the free time before hand, I had a chance to teach the kids the finer art of speed stacking...

Learning from the Master Stacker.

RING THREE: Pastor Gregg and Faith Factor! (Grades 1-2)


The Children's Pastor is Pastor Kimborah Bobb. I had a great time talking with her about how Grove City integrates the family into the overall ministry of the church.

Kim Bobb and the Kids Matter logo.

It's obvious at Grove City that kids DO matter!

Then it was off to the REAL three ring circus...

This guy could lead children's church!!!!!

Clowning around in Ohio!!

older daughter - younger daughter
(First clip: 4.4MB - Second clip: 3.2 MB)
(This was the best act - a dad spinning his daughters on his feet... I can't wait to try this back home the next time I'm horsin' around with kids!!)

VCBKIDS: Video Greeting From Pastor Karl!
(from the circus, 7.4MB QuickTime)

If you are in children's ministry leadership, don't skip the GROVE CITY PHOTO GALLERY, it is an amazing ministry, and the photos contain a ton of ideas... and stories for later.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Oh! HI! Oh!

Well, DAY TWO of our sabbatical is underway. After a healthy nutritious breakfast...

McBagel with Creme Cheese and Strawberry Jam!

We headed to Webb's Antique Mall (who puts those travel magazines in the hotel rooms!?!?!?!?), which claims to be largest in Indiana...

Amazing... pay for old stuff, that costs
more now than when it was new!

While Sara shopped, I checked out the old cemetary next door and researched Steve Tanner's roots. (and others, will be posted in the photo gallery to come!)

Tanner than whom? Not any more.

Next we decided to take in some of the local food to see how the natives eat here...

Nothing like trying new places...

Then, after taking in miles of the breath-taking Indiana landscape...

Glad I brought my camera!

We finally got to Ohio!

Kim Bobb, here we come!

Kim and Nick Bobb in their new home.

And thier hypoallergenic dog, Cali.

Tomorrow is Kim's church, a volunteer gathering, and the CIRCUS!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Begun, This Sabbatical Has.

Well, the sabbatical is officially underway!

In fact, this post is being made from a hotel in Richmond, Indiana - and with my laptop online with my cell phone, due to some fancy third party software that makes my Treo600 take my Powerbook online at 100K - not bad for free unlimited Internet while traveling (anywhere there is cell reception, of course) But since most of you are bored already with this 'tech talk' on to our adventures....

First stop: Fridays with Sara's parents in the South Burbs...

Next Stop: My older sister and her kids at Dairy Queen...


Me and Pastor Dave Barber. (boss man)

I'd like to dedicate this first sabbatical post to my boss and pastor, Dave Barber. He'll cringe for me saying it here (huuuummmmmble man of God that he is) but I am so grateful to be able to work with a pastor who truly seeks after God's heart and who cares for his staff beyond just "job performance." He really works hard to minister to us, encourage us, challenge us, and make sure we are doing well spiritually. While he is reluctant to accept any credit, I am thankful to him for this sabbatical - just another way he supports and blesses his staff.

SNEAK PEEK: Karl's Novel

OK, as a little benefit to my 'blog readers' I'm going to give you little 'sneak peek' of my novel which will be published ONLINE one chapter a week, starting NEXT week! (Will be announced via the Kidology Newsletter)

This novel is the result of several years of work and included the help of a few key friends who offered help on plot/writing/editing/etc. But the idea came to me after seeing the first Harry Potter movie - I loved the movie and even the moral lessons it contained, BUT did not like the foundation of witchcraft... then I included my own fascination with Star Wars and decided to isolate the elements of what makes GREAT stories that kids (and adults) love... the greatest 'danger' of Harry Potter is not so much in the reading of the books, but in the imitating of Harry and his friends, kids end up dabbling in witchcraft... whereas imitating Jedi is pretty harmless (No, Mom, I do not have to clean my room.... just won't work! ) - but I began to think... THEN IT HIT ME - all the elements of Great Stories EXIST IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE - but we just don't realize it, or appreciate then, precisely because they are real....what if there was a story that had all the elements of Great Stories (good vs. evil, and ancient tradition, a young hero mentored by a wise older sage, supernatural powers and miracles, great battles and mystery) but where if KIDS IMITATED the characters, they would actually be practising the Spiritual Disciplines! I wrote the middle chapter of the book that night and passed it around church, and the feedback was overwhelming positive, "Karl, you've got to finish this!" It took awhile, but with the help of some friends, it is finally ready to offer to you, my friends....

The Order of the Ancient

It is over 100 years in the future. There is One government. There is One church. And finally, after centuries of turmoil, the world is finally free of the one religion that caused all the problems… the Christians are no more. Truth has been traded in for prosperity. But there is a Remnant. They walk among us. They wield a great power. And slowly the tide of history is being drawn toward it’s ultimate conclusion. Indeed, Truth has not been eliminated, only purified and focused. These are the Chronicles of the Remnant.

The primary purpose of this book is to give a new perspective on living as a Christian in today's ever increasingly secular culture. While it is written for grade school kids, its perspective and message is ageless.

It strives to create a new appreciation for the power of Scripture and prayer by moving them to a time when neither is prevalent and are not everyday occurrences taken for granted.

It's purpose is NOT to predict or lay out any 'end times' events or prophesies. These “Remnant” believers are in the same theological, biblical time period as we are - awaiting the second coming of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The only change is that both the freedom and complacency brought on the Church during the Age of Democracy is gone. The 'Age of Democracy,' whose keystone was Capitalism, brought great advances to the Church, but it also removed our sense of urgency, dumbed our belief in the supernatural interventions of our God, and reduced our eagerness for the return of the Messiah. But in the time of this story, with freedom removed, only genuine believers could persevere: they are The Remnant.

(what I wrote that first night which became the very center of the novel)

The Prologue

Out of breath, he ducked into a corner, but not quite out of sight. Anyone who walked by would see him, and that just could not happen. Directly across from him was the doorway he had worked so hard to get to. Before he could open it, he had to cross the hallway where several guards was stationed not more than fifty feet from his present position. The door was only feet away, but it might as well have been a mile with those guards standing so close. He looked at the sign on the door, "RESTRICTED" and realized that once he entered that door the stakes would suddenly get higher. He was already in great danger. It was a miracle that he had gotten this far without capture, but the mission was of the utmost importance. The future of the Remnant depended upon it. It was warm in the hall, and he had relaxed his guard for a moment to catch his breath. He felt a chill go up his back as a draft from a vent below his feet sent a burst of cold air up inside the cloak that covered his youthful looking face.

He heard footsteps, and then voices. They were coming his way. There was no way he could go back the way he had come, not after... His thoughts were interrupted as the voices suddenly got louder. They must have rounded a corner and joined the guards down the hall. Now they were coming toward him!

Just months ago he would have panicked, but not now. He was a Disciple of the Redeemer, a Member of the Order of the Ancient. He knew who was ultimately in charge here. Besides, he'd had so many close calls in just the past forty minutes he knew that if the Master had allowed him to get this far, He would certainly deliver him again. The question was not 'if' but only 'how'.

His Mentor was always saying to 'look up'. While this was usually meant figuratively, he looked up and offered another intercession. Then he saw it. Recessed into the ceiling, across the hallway between him and the guards was a blast door. If it could be lowered it would block off the guards and hide him as he crossed over into the room that waited beyond the restricted door.

He bowed his head, closed his eyes, and extended his arm up toward the blast door. With his palm outstretched and his fingers slightly curled, he concentrated. He had to summon enough Faith. He interceded for the power in the way of his Mentor. He had never moved anything this large before, but if a mustard seed could move a mountain, he only needed a few molecules of faith. He took a deep breath, and interceded for the strength he needed. He could feel his spirit buoyed by the many that were interceding for him at that very moment. But nothing happened.

The voices got louder. A drop of sweat formed on his forehead. Was that doubt creeping up? Or fear? He could not allow his spirit to be distracted. He focused harder, but the blast door would not move. Then, in his mind he saw a number, 2911. What was that? He tried to ignore it and focus on the blast door. But it would not go away. Was it a reference to the Book of Books? He had only seconds before he would be discovered. But the number burned on the inside of his eyelids. He opened his eyes and saw the unmoving blast door. He knew that sometimes the Counselor chose to say ‘no’. After all, the Power belongs to the Sovereign, not His followers. He could only connect to it, not command it. He was wondering what use he would be to the Sovereign if he was captured, when he noticed a keypad on the wall right next to him. Time seemed to stop as he lowered his hand to the keyboard. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see the guards appearing before him. They were looking at each other as his fingers typed 2911 into the keypad instinctively. The guards heads started to turn toward him as the blast door suddenly came surging down and sealed into the floor with a loud sucking sound and deep thud. Josiah rushed across the hall and using the key card he had been given by Jeremiah, he entered the Restricted Archive room. It was dark. He reached over to the wall and passed his hand over where the infrared light sensor should be and instantly the room was flooded with light. He was startled by the light, but as his eyes adjusted, his heart suddenly sank. In the middle of the room stood a cylinder pedestal with an enclosed glass case. Inside the glass, levitating and rotating slowly was the object of his mission! But throughout the room, in every conceivable place stood an armed guard pointing his weapon at him. A tall gaunt man with a wickedly evil smile stood in the back of the room with an obvious satisfaction. It was a trap and he had taken the bait.

Your feedback is greatly desired!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ready to HIT THE ROAD!! Trooper Style!

The countdown is over and we will be on the road soon! The PK Cruiser* has been outfitted for the Star Wars Convention which will be attending after our visits to Grove City Nazarene in Ohio and Liberty Baptist Church in Indiana.

The PK Trooper Transport is Ready for Dispatch!

PK Cruiser? Yes, that's right, my Cruiser is a one-of-a-kind special edition "PK Cruiser" - here is the proof:


We look forward to hearing from you
via comments, forum posts, and e-mail!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!

Well, it is time to unveil the SABBATICAL MAP! We will be leaving later this week and headed on a 3500+ mile trip to visit churches, see some family, and take in some of God's most beautiful creations! I hope you will join us on the journey here at PastorKarl.com!

Put in on your Frig, follow along, and PRAY for us!
You can comment in the Kidologist Forum
as well on Kidology.org

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Taking Over Culvers for the Last Time...

One of my favorite things to do is go out to eat with families after church (which you've seen on this blog) You may remember reading my joke about how I should get a discount for bringing so many families to a restaurant - well, either the owner of Culvers reads my blog, or the Lord moves the hearts of restaurant owners! Because at our last 'Culvers' after church gathering, the owner identified me as the 'ring leader' of this massive group, and asked the name of our 'group' - and next thing I know, I've got a BOX of 500 10% off VIP cards:

Now I'm the guy to know around church. :)

I passed these out to friends after church and then headed off to Culvers for my 'last Sunday meal' until after my sabbatical!

Off to Culvers with my fan club. ;)
(I didn't forget Sara, she left church early for the wedding shower of my little bro's fiance', who are being married on May 27th, the finale' of my sabbatical.)

Part of the gang, actually 56 people came for lunch!
We took over the place!!
(Manager said we ran them out of hot dog buns!)

Of course, dessert is what you come to Culvers for,
and the weather was beautiful! So we moved outside.

One of my Super Buddies who is
really going to miss me, and I'll miss him too!

Everyone is asking where we are going! Well, we will be visiting or passing through twelve states covering over 3500 miles (not counting the flight home from California) A more detailed itinerary will be posted when we leave. We ask for your prayer as we travel, and that the Lord will use this time for relaxation, rejuvination, refreshing, refilling, recharging, recooping, re... well, lots of things that start with 'RE' :)

My Last Sunday...

Well, hopefully not MY LAST Sunday (on earth), but today is my last Sunday at Village Church until the END OF MAY!!! I will be on sabbatical, traveling from Chicago to Ohio to Washington down the coast through Oregon and Northern California to San Fransico and ending up in Yosemite before flying home and then after Star Wars III will be off for one more trip to Michigan and concluding with a long anticipated trip to Cedar Point! I'm going to miss being 'on the job' but with my new Treo 600 I will be connected throughout and able to get my laptop online to post here. I will post here as much as possible, and will be looking forward to COMMENTS posted here so I know I'm actually missed!!

While I am excited about the Adventures planned (some really cool plans are in the works) I am also finding that it is really hard to leave - and most of all - hard to leave the KIDS I get to see and enjoy every week at church. I may only get to see them for a few hours a week, but they are the BEST hours of the week!!

But I've left the place in good hands...

My K.C. Krew....
no, they aren't a bunch of blockheads!

They are the highlight of my ministry!

We are doing a Rescue 911 Unit while I'm away, let's hope the church doesn't burn down! Actually, the church is on fire, well, a picture of it...

The kids will be making firetrucks (one part each week) that will be racing toward the church to save it! Here are a few window close ups:

Anyway, things are looking to go well while I'm away... but I still wish I could do BOTH!
Check back often for updates - or subscribe to get the post in your e-mail. Send an e-mail to blogupdate @ pastorkarl.com (assemble the e-mail address, separated there with spaces to avoid the spam bots!)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hu is Leading China?

Bush: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
Bush: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi:: Hu is the new leader of China.
Bush: That's what I want to know.
Condi:: That's what I'm telling you.
Bush: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi:: Yes.
Bush: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi:: Hu.
Bush: The guy in China.
Condi:: Hu.
Bush: The new leader of China.
Condi:: Hu.
Bush: The Chinaman!
Condi:: Hu is leading China.
Bush: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi:: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
Bush: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi:: That's the man's name.
Bush: That's who's name?
Condi:: Yes.
Bush: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi:: Yes, sir.
Bush: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.
Condi:: That's correct.
Bush: Then who is in China?
Condi:: Yes, sir.
Bush: Yassir is in China?
Condi:: No, sir.
Bush: Then who is?
Condi:: Yes, sir.
Bush: Yassir?
Condi:: No, sir.
Bush: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi:: Kofi?
Bush: No, thanks.
Condi:: You want Kofi?
Bush: No.
Condi:: You don't want Kofi.
Bush: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi:: Yes, sir.
Bush: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi:: Kofi?
Bush: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi:: And call who?
Bush: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi:: Hu is the guy in China.
Bush: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi:: Yes, sir.
Bush: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Condi:: Kofi.
Bush: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
(Condi picks up the phone.)
Condi:: Rice, here.
Bush: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Going to new HEIGHTS!

I'm on the top of the world,
Lookin' down on creation,
And the only explanation I can find...
is my new 5 foot unicycle!

I debuted my new 6 foot unicycle tonight at Awana! If you follow this blog, you read the post 'On Top of the Word' (read here), where I learned to ride a tall unicycle on my first try at CPC. So as soon as I got home, I ordered one on ebay!

Unicycle Like An Eqyptian

I never was very good at basketball...

But suddenly I have a HUGE,
er, TALL advantage!

Move over Mike!

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Tonight was a blast! It all started with the final STAR WARS PARTY NIGHT at my house (upcoming post) and then it was off to Toys 'r' Us with my sister and friend Mike. Although there were a few cars in the lot, I dropped Melissa and Mike off so we could be the FIRST in line. It was raining, but once we started the line, others came and joined us. We had even considered getting back in the car ourselves after taking a a picture, but once the line started, we were stuck. It was nice to be first!

Me and Mike, unfettered by the inclement weather!

My turn with the camera - that's Mike and Melissa.

We wondered what we would do with an hour to wait in line, but entertainment presented itself. Not only did we talk with the other fans that showed up, (and confirmed that there are bigger star wars nerds than me!), but we even had some police activity! There was a car with two teen age boys who after stopping to ask what we were waiting for, kept driving by (in fun) and yelling that we were nerds, geeks, etc. Eventually, one of them was in the back of the station wagon with the hatch up and banging on a drum cymbal as they drove by yelling stuff. We couldn't figure out how driving around in mom's rusty station wagon, sitting in the back and banging on a cymbal and yelling made them less nerdy than us. So one the guys in line decided to call the cops for fun... they exaggerated a little... soon a police car was
flying through the parking lot and as the people in line cheered we saw them converge on the poor cymbal boys... I guess they learned not to mess with nerds. We couldn't tell if they actually got pulled over - they were out of site quickly with police in pursuit - I hope they just got a lecture! But when it was all over someone announced, "Hey! They just helped us pass 20 minutes!"

The line steadily grew...

5 minutes before opening, there were 35 people in line.

Once inside, it was nowhere as nuts as when I did this in 1999 - that was hundreds of people and lots of pushing and shoving and hours of bartering... this was crowded, but much more polite and a fun atmosphere. There were only four women and one kid amidst all the grown men rushing to buy plastic toys.

Here is a QuickTime video of me entering the store, but it ends with the store employee telling me to turn off my camera. Being a sucker for kids, I actually was helping the kid get some figures before I started filling my cart. (he couldn't reach/see over all these grown men, and was about to cry and I was all the way in the front/middle, so I was handing figures to him over the men.)

The strategy: grab as much as you can - if in doubt, grab another - and then once your carts are full, go somewhere else and see what ya got. I used my checklist to mark off what I got. I ended up putting back over a cart full of stuff (doubles) - but I had gotten one of everything that I wanted. The next phase is doing the math and then putting back even more.

To fill your carts, everyone turns a little bit to the dark side...

Since I have a Toys R Us credit card, I have been saving the free money for a year now for this very day. I had a good amount saved up - all money Toys R Us gave me, so most of what I got was free. Kinda nice to have Toys R Us buying all this stuff for me! But I did go over the free stuff a little... but I got out without needing a second mortgage, so that was good!

My reciept - so much for saving the trees!

The store was open until 2am, but I was amazed that we were done before 1am! Not bad! I filled four bags... some of the content coming to a Toybox Tale soon!

Is this a grown man?

Finally, home, I redecorated the kitchen counter with my loot.

My dad had no idea when he took his seven year old son to his first movie in 1977 that it would begin a hobby that would last a lifetime. There is just something powerful about this story.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Breakfast of Siths...

Yes, Me and Darth enjoyed another Star Wars themed breakfast this morning...

That's a big bite from such a small guy!

Star Wars Frosted Flakes....

tastes surprising like.... Froted Flakes!

It couldn't be simply be the exact same product, just with Star Wars pictures on it so that susceptible weak minded fans will buy a produt they normally don't buy????

No, that's not possible! There MUST be something special about this cereal besides just the pictures on the packaging!! There must be!