Category Archives: pastor

A Blue Christmas Service: If You’re Hurting at Christmas

What is a Blue Christmas Service? Guest writer Melanie recently reflected on the process of putting together a Blue Christmas service at Frenchs Forest Baptist Church, where she is a pastor: The concept of a Blue Christmas Service was new for me this year. The idea behind the services is to provide a quiet, contemplative service […]

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10 Things I Learned from Preparing a Blue Christmas Church Service [Guest]

A warm welcome to guest poster, Melanie Carroll, who is writing today about the Blue Christmas service she ran on the weekend. Melanie is married to Sean and has two young adult children. She trained at Carey Baptist College in Auckland, New Zealand, but is currently living across the ditch in Sydney where she is […]

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The Christmas Promise, by Alison Mitchell, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri

Top 10 Christmas Picture Books (that Feature Jesus)

From Rudolf and Santa to Slinky Malinki and the proverbial Pukeko in a Punga Tree, there’s a Christmas picture book for everyone. In most bookshops, though, Baby Jesus is hidden behind Grinches, trains and elves. If you’re in the market for Christmas books for kids that tell the story of God coming into the world as […]

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Ten Books, Four Words Each: Most Influential

The latest booklovers’ chain-letter going around Facebook seems to be a challenge to list (without too much agonising) your ten most ‘influential’ books. Heavens. To stay in the spirit of the challenge I’ve tried to write this in one sitting, presumably missing a lot of worthy contenders, but hopefully capturing some kind of truth. And […]

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Making Parenting Easier #1: 12 Ideas to Make You Feel Better

This is part of a series aiming to help us all go easier on ourselves and make our parenting lives more enjoyable and satisfying. The whole series list is here and more links are at the bottom of the post. [Update: 2.5 years later I’ve revised this and added some stuff in. Feel free to suggest […]

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6 Golden Tips for Becoming a Great Listener

This is a reworking of an earlier post that was part of the Generous Lent series, just to make it more widely applicable. Feel free to share it around if you think it’s helpful.  A good listener is never short of friends. Some people are naturals at this popular skill, and you might be lucky […]

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Women in Ministry: The Church’s Missing Workforce

At the moment in my corner of the church world (I’m a Kiwi Baptist), the number of our 250-odd churches in New Zealand led by a woman (as the sole or senior pastor) is in single figures. Low single figures. It seems likely that by the end of the year there will be only two such churches […]

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Lent with Kids, Week 1: Jesus is Wise

The pancake party was great fun, and we now have a seven-candle candelabra set up on the dining table – I am so rocking Lent! Well, the first three days of it, anyway… Now comes the hard part, for someone like me. I love ideas, so planning and designing our Lenten practice has been delightful. […]

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Sacraparental Lent with Kids

This is an introductory post to our Lent with Kids series, explaining how and why we’re using candles and a bunch of other things to make Lent meaningful at home. I wrote this several years ago now, and it has become a cornerstone of our family spirituality. Skip to the bottom to see the basic […]

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