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If you didn’t already know, I’m a nerd. When something catches my interest, I really want to study it and research it to learn more. In college, I did research for my final thesis on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Here is a little background…

In 1983, Howard Gardner put forth the idea of Multiple Intelligences. The theory of Multiple Intelligences is met with skepticism due to lack of research, but many educational systems still use components of his theory. Gardner suggests that intelligence goes beyond simply reading and writing.  Gardner’s theory proposed 8 abilities in which “intelligence” could be measured.  They are:

  • Logical-Mathematical—learns through the use of reasoning, patterns, and numbers (computer programmer, detective) 
  • Spatial—learns through use of visualizing and designing with the mind’s eye (architect) 
  • Linguistic—learns through use of words, written and/or spoken (author)
  •  Bodily-Kinesthetic—learns through the use of movement, motions, and activity (athlete)
  •  Musical—learns through the use of music, rhythm, and music theory (musician)
  • Interpersonal—learns through the interaction with others (sales person)
  • Intrapersonal—learns through the act of self-reflection (psychologists, lawyers)
  • Naturalistic—learns through relating information to natural surroundings (farmer, agriculturist)

That’s a really brief and insufficient explanation of the theory, but you can read tons more about it—the good and the bad—by googling it. It will have to do for this blog. My research into this theory was how it could be implemented in ministry curriculum to help kids better understand God’s Truth.  I think it has great potential to be used in churches and to better the learning experience of all age groups, but ESPECIALLY PRETEENS!

Sunday, we put it into practice.  We were wrapping up a unit with 5th graders on spiritual warfare.  As a review, we set up 5 stations and allowed students to choose their activity for the day. The stations were: Music, Body, Numbers, Words, and Pictures.  If a student chose Music, then they were given a passage of scripture relating to spiritual warfare and asked to create a song or rap that shared what they had learned from the passage.  Each station did similar activities relating to that form of “intelligence,” or as we called it “learning style.” 

As a Preteen Pastor, I know the struggle it is to get this age group to participate and really engage in a project. We often force them to all do the same things and the results are horrendous.  By allowing them to choose the activity, we saw what their natural preferences or learning styles were.  And since they chose the station, we had no problem getting them to actively participate.  The result…AMAZING!  There were incredible stories written, very talented rappers showed their rhyming skills, beautiful artwork, awesome skits, and really cool puzzles/riddles—all of which showed that the students understood what we had been teaching. And even better, it showed that they were able to share that knowledge with other students through their chosen learning style.

I’m excited to keep researching and integrating this into our curriculum.  There’s not enough space here to share all that we did or all that we’re planning, but I’d love share more or answer questions. If you’d like to know more, send me a tweet or leave a comment below.

Imagine if you woke up to find that all your clothes were 2 sizes too large and all your shoes were 2 sizes too small. How would you feel being forced to wear something that was obviously created with someone else in mind?

What if, on that same day, you realized that all television stations spoke in a foreign language that you could not understand? Not only are you frustrated and confused, but you are also mission out on much needed information.

This scenario is exaggerated a bit, but I can only imagine that this is what a preteen feels like when their church experience is not something designed specifically for them. Preteens don’t need an adult curriculum or a “children’s” curriculum anymore than you need enormously large clothes or ridiculously small shoes!  This age group needs opportunities to ask tough questions and see how Scripture gives them answers. Preteens are unique and they deserve a curriculum that fits their life right now.

Lifeway understood the unique needs of preteens, and they’ve produced a curriculum that every leader should explore. I got a chance to review FLYTE, Lifeway’s preteen curriculum, and I was really impressed with the thought and production that went into this series.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Awesome graphics and videos to go with lessons (this is HUGE for preteens)
  • Biblically-solid teaching that applies Scripture to preteen issues
  • Teaches preteens the difference between “world’s answer” and “God’s answer”
  • 2-year scope and sequence that can also be used as stand-alone lessons/units
  • Tons of extras—training material and videos, blog, product specialists, leader devotions, student devotions, and much more
  • MOST IMPORTANT—gives preteens the opportunity to explore the Bible and discover God’s plan and purpose for this stage of life

Based on what I saw in this curriculum, I think it is definitely a home run for preteen ministry.  Price is always an issue for ministries, and, well, this curriculum isn’t free.  However, I believe the curriculum is well worth the cost considering it’s effectiveness and all the extras that you’ll receive. 

Don’t take my word for it though—go check it out!  See more at Lifeway’s Website.

<p>FLYTE Promo from LifeWay Kids on Vimeo.</p>

 

Hi, My name is Matt and I am a negative person.

Ok, so I’m not negative all the time.  But I can get frustrated and become a real party pooper when things don’t go as planned. What do I mean by negative? I mean that I point out mistakes, gossip, complain, judge, and then I try to justify it. God has really been working on me in this area. He has shown me that much of my negativity and complaining comes from pride.  When things go wrong, I often shift blame to others and feel like I could’ve done their job better myself.  The truth is that’s not the truth.  That’s the deception of pride.

So here are a few things that I’m learning about negativity:

1. A negative plus a negative DOES NOT equal a positive
The truth is that you’re never negative alone.  My negative attitude is always pulling someone else down with me.  The complaining and gossip always involves more than me.  This is the biggest problem with having a negative attitude: it’s contagious.  My conviction is that my negative attitude has damaged others and caused them to sin with me.

2. A positive plus a negative CAN equal a positive
In the same way that one negative attitude can be contagious, so can a positive attitude.  There are certain people in my life that point out when I’m being negative, and they remind me of the positive.  They can change the course of the conversation by remaining positive and not participating in the complaining or gossip.  As I learn to treat my negativity, I’m really grateful for these individuals.

3. It’s always best to cut off negativity before it starts
I’m trying to learn to always evaluate myself first when something doesn’t meet expectations. I’ve found that I can really put things into perspective by starting with the question, “What role did my actions (or lack of actions) play in this situation?” I’m learning that most often than not, the blame rests on me. When I realize the role that my actions plays, my focus turns to reconciling instead of complaining. 

I’ve got a long ways to go, but God is at work. I still fail at this each day, but I’m thankful for how He is changing me and making me new.

Things have been a little crazy over the past month and I’ve failed to really pause and celebrate the thing God is doing. I know it’s Wednesday…days after Sunday…halfway to the next Sunday…I get it. But I figure better late than never on celebrating how awesome God is.

This past Sunday was Launch Sunday for Fellowship. This is the Sunday that all ages begin the new year in their new age-divided class. It’s an exciting time for the kids and a confusing time for the parents. But here’s what God did on Sunday…

1. 1300+ Kids and 700 FellowShip Kids Volunteers
I’m pretty sure that’s more people than the Polish Army. It was awesome to see families reconnecting after summer schedules, and the energy of the kids was out of this world. While I’m thankful for that many kids getting up and coming to church on a Sunday morning, I’m so much more grateful for the 700 or more volunteers that answered the call to serve. God used them in a tremendous way.

2. 250 Preteens and 70 Preteen Volunteers
It was so much fun to dive into a new year with this group of preteens.  They are super blessed because they have 70 leaders that have committed to walking through this phase of life with them.  I’m so thankful for the energy of this volunteer team and the time that they’re willing to invest in students.

3. Relationships are Growing (already)
I wasn’t expecting students and leaders to gel and connect so quickly, but it’s happening.  It’s like planting a seed and waking the next morning to find a fully bloomed flower!  Mentors (what we call Small Group Leaders) are writing cards, sending emails, and making phone calls to connect with their students and encourage them.  When we cast the vision for them to do this sort of thing, we were hoping to see results by October or November but it’s already taken flight. God is so good.

4. We Found a Community Group
We moved from Missouri 8 months ago, but we’ve really been transitioning ever since.  We were renting a house, selling a house, and hoping to buy a house.  It’s an awesome God-story of how all of those worked out.  We (My wife and I) knew that we wanted to find a community group once we had purchased a house.  We purchased a house in July, and so we met with a new community group in our area this past Sunday night. We had a great time connecting with the other couples. Each couple seemed interested in what God would teach us as we moved forward into forming a group. Dana and I are excited about “doing life” with this group. 

There is so much to celebrate as God keeps moving and working.