Friday, June 5, 2015

A Girl Has the Right to Change Her Mind

To blog or not to blog? That is the question I've posed to myself over the past year. At the beginning of May, I reviewed my 2015 goals and reiterated that I needed to cut back on my blogging duties. So far, I haven't let any blogs go, but proving that this girl definitely changes her mind I am doing something I never thought I would--I am putting this blog on hiatus.

Gasp! Hard to believe, I know. Little Shepherd started when my book by the same name came out. I've used it to help promote my books and the books of others, shared youth ministry resources, favorite hymns, and also announced my other blogging activities here.

But as much as I love it, I've dedicated more time to The Children's and Teens' Book Connection (TC&TBC) through the years; and if a blog needs to go, it should be this one. Little Shepherd really isn't going away, though. It will stay online and not be updated. If I find I have more time in the future, I will start it back up again.

Please follow me over at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection, where I talk about books for kids from babies through young adult. Posts about my blogging activities and updating my goals will now appear at TC&TBC too.

You can also follow my other blogs at:

The Book Connection
The Busy Mom's Daily
Cheryl's Christian Book Connection
Books Can Be Deadly

Thanks for your loyal readership. God bless!

Blogging at Christian Children's Authors - Fitting It All In

Talking about being a working mom and fitting it all in today at Christian Children's Authors. See my post at

Monday, June 1, 2015

Youth Ministry Resource: Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries

You're looking for a youth pastor. Again.

What goes wrong? Why do youth ministries crumble? And what is the cost to students, parents, volunteers and church staff?

Is a sustainable youth ministry possible, even after a youth pastor leaves?

Youth ministry expert Mark DeVries knows the answer is yes, because he helps build sustainable youth ministries through his coaching service called Youth Ministry Architects. So take heart: No matter what state the youth ministry at your church is in--in need of a leader and volunteers, full of battles and stress, large or small in number--it can be built to survive and to last for the long haul.

Based on his own experience and on his many conversations and interviews with churches in crisis, DeVries pinpoints problems that cause division and burnout and dispels strongly held myths. He then provides the practical tools and structures pastors and church leaders need to lay a strong foundation for your ministry so that it isn't built on a person or the latest, greatest student ministry trend.

His accessible guidance

- helps senior pastors and search committees create a realistic job description for a youth pastor

- provides tips for making wise hiring decisions

- equips youth pastors to build a strong volunteer team

- offers creative solutions to help youth pastors set and keep boundaries

- gives a road map for navigating church politics

and more.

Building a sustainable youth ministry is not easy, and it's not quick. But with commitment to the process, hard work and DeVries's guidance, you can put together a healthy youth ministry--one that fits your church and lasts for the long haul. Youth ministry can last. Here's how.

"If you want to read a book that will challenge you to develop the gifts God has entrusted to you, whether you will be personally involved in ministry or not, you will find practical advice in it to help you and your church build a strong, sustainable youth ministry." (Russ Laughlin, Ministry, July 2009)

"DeVries offers a treasure of practical wisdom on the cultural and institutional prerequisites for youth ministry. This book should be required reading for any search committee that thinks it can solve all youth ministry problems with the next great hire. DeVries reveals how hard work, curiosity and hope make it possible to learn from inevitable failures." (Fred Edie, Christian Century, May 3, 2011)

If you want to read a book that will challenge you to develop the gifts God has entrusted to you, whether you will be personally involved in youth ministry or not, you will find practical advice in it to help you and your church build a strong, sustainable youth ministry. (Russ Laughlin, Ministry, July 2009)

Until senior pastors and elders take the wisdom and experience unleashed in this book seriously, they will continue to roll the dice in hope of landing on a sustainable youth ministry. (Mark Cannister, Youth Worker Journal, January/February 2010)

Every now and then a resource comes along that reshapes how we think about youth ministry. Mark's is exactly that kind of book. More than just a bunch of ideas that work; it's a combination of philosophy and ideology that will shape the future of your ministry. There's something for everyone in this fantastic read. (The Journal of Student Ministries, Winter 2009)

"Readers will find much practical information in this book." (Rae McCartney, Congregations, Summer 2009)

Purchase here!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Thanking the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for their service, their loyalty, their courage, and their sacrifices.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Goals for 2015 Update

Yes, my timing is all off for quarterly updates. I posted in February for the end of March because I wasn't sure how I would be feeling after surgery. Thankfully, I am doing well. Our family, however, went through some unexpected challenges. My father-in-law fell in my home three days after my surgery. He spent all of March and April in the hospital or nursing home. God is good, though, and Dad is now home and getting around fairly well. He still has nurses and therapists coming in, but perhaps life will be more normal now.

I will let you decide if this is the late or early quarterly update.

Daily Bible verse reading.

Doing better with this, but still not every day. That said, I've been praying more regularly, so that's a plus.

Complete editing projects.

One is done. The other one took extra time because part of it needed to be entirely restructured. I should be done next week.

Complete Amelia's Mission by May 31st.

While this won't happen, I am part of a regular writing group that meets twice a month. I have one more chapter to share with them before I need to bring more in with me. We'll see how it goes.

Reconsider blogging duties.

I have worked so hard on these blogs, I hate to let any of them go. What I know is staying:

The Book Connection
The Children's and Teens' Book Connection
Little Shepherd
Blogging twice a month at Christian Children's Authors

What I am considering cutting or putting on hiatus:

The Busy Mom's Daily
Cheryl's Christian Book Connection
Books Can Be Deadly

I should know by the end of May what direction I am going in.

How are your writing goals going so far? What have you achieved? What are you struggling with?