Our mission is to help you build a Children's Ministry that is a beacon, a beacon that attracts kids, draws them in and gets them glued to God for life. Our super fun KIDS PARTY program brings the kids in; the two-year CLAMbake Sunday School/Discipleship course introduces them to Christ's Love And Majesty, the CLAM in CLAMcentral and CLAMbake. To top it all off, our online Kids Ministry: Wisdom Magazine is your source of insights, ideas and resources.
We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.
This statement of faith is the Nicene Creed, dating back to the early years of the church. To this we should add that we uphold the Bible as God's eternal truth written down for all. If you are not familiar with the Nicene Creed, you may be wondering about the word "catholic" in the last paragraph. That is referring to the universal worldwide body of believers down through history; that is, all people who have been saved by God's grace and the sacrifice of Christ.
It happened in my early teens. The first time I heard the term "Sunday School." I was horrified. Who in their right mind would use the two worse words in the English language to label something as important as a group study of God's Word? You see, Sunday was always anathema for me as a child because it meant two and a half hours sitting upright and silent in a hard wooden pew. And School, well forget it. Junior High destroyed my life, or so I believed at the time.
Not only that, but the very first time I attended a Sunday School class, I was the teacher! "So, what is it you guys do here," I remember asking. The Christian Education Director fired me a few weeks later.
But God works in mysterious ways, and it was His plan to get me involved in Sunday School and Children's Ministry in a big way. Happily, no pews have been involved.
My first job with a publishing company was at Youth Specialties, working with two of my heroes, Wayne Rice and Mike Yaconelli. From them I learned the value of lighthearted fun and humor in everything we published. I became a Zondervan author of resources for youth leaders (long out of print, so don't look) and ended up at Gospel Light Publications, where I became the Managing Editor of the Youth Department, volunteering at churches along the way. My chief claim to fame came at GL. In those days churches were starting to buy photocopiers. They used them to illegally copy Sunday School curriculum! It was having a major negative impact on Christian publishing companies. I had the idea to publish curriculum that was SUPPOSED to be copied, and the rest is history. GL made a mint and within a year all the other publishers followed suit and still do. Yes, my friends, I invented the Teacher Manual you slap on a copy machine. Oh, well. Kinda takes the wind out of my sails when I realize that after all this I STILL can't think of a better title than "Sunday School."
Moved to Kauai. Started a church. Created a Friday night event for kids called KIDS PARTY. They loved it and even hung on the Bible stories because they would earn points for answering questions on those stories. But then someone asked me to fill in at Sunday School. Same kids, same Bible, same Lord. But the kids were bored and listless, radically different from KIDS PARTY. "Must do something," I said to myself and that, through many years, twists and turns, is how we arrive now with a fun, lighthearted yet biblically profound and life-changing discipleship ministry we call CLAMcentral.
What happens next is up to you. Thank you for your service to God in Children's Ministry if that is what you are up to, and thank you for your interest in CLAMcentral! We are here to provide our very best resources to help equip you to fulfill your part in Christ's Great Commission.
Like Tom, my childhood memories regarding church aren’t exactly positive. While I didn’t have to endure the fear of nuns smacking my knuckles with a ruler, I suffered something perhaps even worse for an energetic young boy: BOREDOM! My friends and I would wait patiently for the lesson to be over so we could run out into the courtyard and get our Sunday allowance of one cup of Hawaiian Punch served in a foam cup. When we finished our punch, we would put it upside down on the ground and smash it with our feet. This created a loud pop that echoed off the courtyard walls. And THAT, dear reader, was the absolute highlight of Sunday school for me. I abandoned church the day I was finally released from the obligation to attend that Sunday school.
Fast forward about twenty years. I attend my first ever church service at Kauai Christian Fellowship. The church was about four months old, and being held in a small office building. Tom was a founding pastor and as I was about to find out, he and the other leaders were determined that church would never be dull. I will never forget my first impression that morning. There was an incredible “buzz” of excitement. People actually wanted to be there! I remember thinking “What, are the Beatles gonna be playing this morning?" Well, once the music got going and the people sang and clapped, I could see that this was a very different and attractive way to interact with God.
You see, prior to meeting GOD--the actual “He created the universe and everything in it and is in charge of everything God”--I had spent my life pretty much creating MY OWN God. Maybe that sounds crazy, but actually, quite a few people do this. It starts with a statement like “Well, I think God is . . .” and continues from there. Pretty soon, you end up where I was, which is what I call “The Burger King God." This is where you get to have God your way! “Ok, I’m ready to order. I want a Whopper of a God with extra love, mercy and forgiveness. Oh, and extra answered prayer. But for sure hold the obedience, changed life and accountability. And can I get a side of humor?" You know, like God would be kinda funny . . . like me.
But soon I was completely sucked into the life of church, where I discovered the joy, and the absolute excitement of a life in Jesus Christ. Here I found the REAL GOD, not the one I created with my own imagination. And do you know what? He was way more awesome!! When people comment on my great “enthusiasm” for the Bible, and knowing Jesus, my response is always “How can we NOT be excited about the fact that we can KNOW the Creator of the universe, and that He LOVES us?” Apparently, this kind of enthusiasm is attractive and so, well, they made me a pastor.
Then my beautiful wife Tessie and I wound up with a couple of "Rug Rats." Because Tom was involved with the Sunday school program at that point, it was no surprise to me that my kids, from day one, absolutely LOVED Sunday school. In fact, if we were out of town on a Sunday, and visiting another church, they would complain “I wish we were at OUR church!” Eventually Tom persuaded me to get involved in a few of the Sunday morning activities; by this time it was no surprise to me that it was fun! The kids were having a blast. But the best part of all, and honestly this was a bit of a surprise, was how much the kids were learning about God.
Now I know that sounds obvious, “Isn’t that what Sunday School is supposed to do?” But what surprised me was how much the kids (mine included) were learning about the Bible. At one point I was bemoaning to Tom, “Man, the kids in CLAMbake know more about the Old Testament than many of the adults I’m preaching to!” And I meant it!
But learning about God in a fun and exciting way is just the tip of the iceberg. As a pastor, here is what I found most compelling about CLAMcentral, and why I jumped right on board when Tom asked me to get involved: Unfortunately, many adult Christians have a skewed impression about God and what He is like. They usually fall into one of two extremes. The first faulty impression is that God is so loving that He has no standards, no authority, and no real concern about how I live my life. He is just there to help me when I need it, and OF COURSE He loves me, He said so. This view of God makes Him out to be a sort of benign “Santa in the sky” with all the “gonna find out who's naughty and nice” bits removed.
The other faulty view is that God is a scary taskmaster who is impossible to please. People who believe this are weighed down by the guilt of their sin, and thus scared into obedience. They are constantly trying to prove their “worth” of Christ’s sacrifice, but ultimately hoping to earn the approval of God and thus a slot in Heaven.
That is what makes the “Christ’s Love And Majesty” of CLAMcentral so appealing. Tom perfectly balances out the love and authority of Christ to give kids an accurate view of who God is according to the Bible, and why our lives are so enriched and fulfilled by following our amazing Savior!
And to top it all off, now that my kids have become teenagers, I am so overwhelmed by the fact that they totally get this. Here at Kauai Christian Fellowship we are raising a generation of kids who have a healthy faith in God. I hope that you will be intrigued enough to give CLAMcentral a chance in your church. You just might find yourself described someday as….enthusiastic!!!