Monthly Archives: November 2009

5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Christine Yount-Jones

Name: Christine Yount Jones

Location: Loveland, CO


Claim to Fame: (from

Christine Yount Jones has over 20 years of children’s ministry experience. She has a B.A. in English education (University of Oklahoma) and an M.Div in theology (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary). She’s the author of 10 books and hundreds of articles related to children’s ministry. She’s the executive editor of Children’s Ministry Magazine and serves as Group’s Children’s Ministry Champion, responsible for research, development, and innovation in children’s ministry resources.

Why We Care:

Christine is legit.

While some may consider becoming executive editor of one of the leading ministry magazines in the nation the pinnacle of their career, Christine shows no sign of slowing down or becoming “comfortable” with what she’s accomplished.  She blogs and contributes to conversations on blogs regularly and keeps an active presence on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  She travels the nation, speaking to those currently serving in ministry in a way that encourages and equips them to reach toward excellence in everything they do.  Yet, Christine isn’t just a talking head – she has real thoughts and opinions and seems genuinely more interested in what those of us in active ministry have to say than she cares about towing the company line.

Above all, Christine makes the list because, though we all think very highly of her, the word on the street is that she’s one of the most humble and approachable children’s ministry leaders around.


Have you had a chance to brush shoulders with Chris?  Has she impacted or shaped the way you minister to kids?  Would she make your Top 5?

Share your thoughts/comments below!


Posted by on November 30, 2009 in Kidmin


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5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Sue Miller

Name: Sue Miller

Location: Cumming, GA

Website/Blog: None.  How is this possible?  On occasion, Sue guest posts here:

Claim to fame: (information provided by The Orange Conference)

Sue Miller joined The ReThink Group, Inc. in 2005. She and her family moved to the Atlanta area after 16 years of leading the Promiseland ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. Her responsibilities included leading and directing a ministry that involved 3,000 children and 1,000 volunteers. Sue was instrumental in leading the change process that grew Promiseland into a cutting edge, contemporary children’s ministry. The story of how all that happened is told in her book, Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week.

Sue’s passion to reach unchurched children and grow them into fully devoted followers of Christ is absolutely contagious. She has travels extensively nationally and internationally motivating and inspiring church leaders and volunteers to raise the value of building effective ministries for kids. She is involved in mentoring other leaders, and often serves as a consultant for churches who want to take their children’s ministry to a new level.

Why We Care:

Do we need to say anything more than, “Promiseland”?
For those of us under 35, Sue helped shape the landscape of every Children’s Ministry  program we’ve ever inherited or joined forces with.  Before Think Orange, many of us would have considered Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week* our ministry Manefesto.

So, what made Sue transition away from the ministry that she was so instrumental in shaping?  At what point did she decide that leveraging her knowledge and experience to resource other leaders could make a bigger impact than what she was already doing?  If she truly cares about speaking into the current conversations revolving around the #kidmin community, where is her blog?  As someone who helped spearhead the last shift in Children’s Ministry, I want to hear from Sue as to where she thinks the church is heading next… what shifts do we need to make to stay relevant and engaging?

Also, I just want to bounce a couple ideas I have off of Sue.  I bet she’d listen.


What are your thoughts?  How has your ministry been shaped by what Sue and the Willow Creek team have done in Children’s Ministry over the past two decades?  If you could sit down with Sue for only 20 minutes, what would you make sure you talked about?  And, as always, if you have any contacts that might lead me in Sue’s direction, I fully expect you to let me know!


* Have you lived in a closet and never read this amazing resource by Sue?  Read it online for free by clicking here.  That’s right – free.  Thank me later for hunting this down.


Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Uncategorized


5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Phil Vischer

Name: Phil Vischer

Location: Wheaton, IL


Claim to fame: (source:

Phil Vischer (born 1966 in Muscatine, Iowa) is an American voice actor, writer and filmmaker. He is well known for co-creating the award-winning VeggieTales with Mike Nawrocki the co-founder of Big Idea Productions. Phil was eight years old when he made his first animated film.

He has been working with Big Idea Productions since 1996. He has worked as writer, producer and voice actor for the series. In 2003 Big Idea Productions dissolved and was sold to Entertainment Rights. He still works on the Veggietales videos with the new company, Big Idea, Inc. Since leaving Big Idea, Vischer has started a new creative shop called Jellyfish Labs where he and a small team work to produce faith-based media for children and families. Vischer and Jellyfish are based in Wheaton, Illinois. As of 2009, he also still works with Big Idea on a contract basis, writing scripts and performing many of the voices for new VeggieTales productions.

He is currently working in Wheaton, Illinois as founder and owner of JellyTelly and Jellyfish Labs where he is working as President of the company that produces Christian products.

Why We Care:

Phil took an idea and made it an iconic presence in the world of Children’s Ministry and Church Culture.
We take a giant wooden cut-out of Bob the Tomato to the LA County Fair every year and let over a thousand kids throw bags of candy through holes we cut into it.  Nobody, anywhere in the United States, is taking an idea I had and turning it into a carnival game.
Phil took a simple concept (communicating the Bible to children in a relevant and engaging format) and took it far beyond the cutting-edge Jesus flannel graphs that dominated Christian education in the 1980’s and are still found in Sunday School classes today.  I’d love to sit down with Phil and hear what he thinks is coming next and how we’re going to get there.  Have you heard of his new project – What’s In the Bible?  It’s genius.  I’ve seen a bunch of his JellyTelly stuff and, I have to admit, I’m a fan of what he’s got going on.  Swing by and check out The Pirate’s Guide to Church History.  It’s awesome.


Where do guys like Phil fit into your list?  Any guesses what the chances are that I can run into Phil in 2010?
If you have connections that get me a coffee-date, I’ll make sure you get a shout out when I post about meeting the man behind VeggieTales.


Posted by on November 24, 2009 in Kidmin


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5 People to Meet in Twenty10: Jim Wideman

Name: Jim Wideman

Location: Murfreesboro, TN


Claim to fame: (from Jim’s website)

Jim Wideman is an internationally recognized voice in children’s and family ministry. He is a much
sought after speaker, teacher, author, personal leadership coach, and ministry consultant who has over 30 years experience in helping churches thrive.

Having served in 5 dynamic churches Jim understands what it takes to grow exciting, relevant ministries to people of all ages. For 17 years Jim led one of America’s largest local church children’s ministries in Tulsa, OK. Jim has also held various other positions in addition to children ministry throughout his career giving him a background in almost every area of the local church and Christian school. Jim currently serves as Associate Pastor at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, TN where he oversees the next generation and family ministries.

In addition to working in a local church Jim has successfully trained hundreds of thousands of
Children’s ministry leaders from all denominations and sizes of congregations in conferences and seminars around the world. Jim is considered an innovator, pioneer and father in the modern children’s ministry movement. He also currently serves as president of “The American Children’s Ministry Association,” as well as president of Jim Wideman Ministries and is one of the executive editors of K! Magazine. The International Network of Children’s Pastors awarded Jim the “Excellence in Ministry Award” in 1989 for his outstanding work in Children’s Ministry, and Children’s Ministry Magazine in 2001 honored him as one of ten “Pioneers Of the Decade” in children’s ministry.

Why We Care:

Jim has been a voice in Children’s Ministry for more years than I’ve been alive.  Jim has seen multiple shifts in the way ministering to kids is done… I want to hear from a guy who has a 30,000 ft view and where he thinks the church and family ministry is heading over the next ten years.


Would Jim be on your list?  Have you shared a cup of coffee w/ him?  Can you hook us up?
Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Posted by on November 21, 2009 in Kidmin, Resources


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5 People to Meet in Twenty10

During this next series of posts, I’ll share with you 5 people I will be trying to meet and collaborate with in the next calendar year.

Your plans for the next year should be bigger than just what programs you’ll be running and how much money you’ll be spending – you should be just as strategic in planning who you’ll be partnering with and why.  Over the next week or two, I’ll share with you who I think is at the leading edge of their field and how I plan on leveraging my time and schedule in order to get in their paths.

As we begin this discussion, I’ll start with 1 simple rule – nobody is off-limits on this list.  I’m not just going to write down 5 people I already have plans to see at Starbucks in January.  Rather, I’m going big on this one.  If I could strategically share a cup of coffee or a meal with any five people who I think could speak into and shape the way I do ministry… who would I list?

That’s my approach.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.


Posted by on November 10, 2009 in Kidmin


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