Oct 22

Dana’s Story

Posted in: Vision

Over the last two decades of Children’s Ministry, I’ve watched God use hundreds of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of kids.  But these stories of grace never get old and never cease to amaze me.

I was recently talking with Dana Muller, one of our Saturday night Life Group Leaders at Harrodsburg Road, about how she ended up serving in Children’s Ministry.  The story she told me blew me away.  It’s a great reminder of what big things God can do when one person makes his or herself available to be used by Him.  Here’s Dana’s story:

I grew up in a family full of addictions and anger.  My grandparents owned the local bar, and I spent many afternoons there while my parents worked.  My dad was an over the road truck driver and when I was nine, my parents divorced.

I was hurt, angry, and confused because I was much too young to understand what was really going on around me.  I thought it was my mom’s fault and took out my anger on her.  Being a single parent, my mom worked really hard to provide for us.

To help her out, my mom hired a few babysitters before eventually finding Mindy.  Mindy was so loving and didn’t seem turned away by my outbursts.  She was there for us and cared about us.  She taught us about unconditional love.  She played games with us.  In my broken world, she was healing.  I can remember her taking us to Vacation Bible School during the summer, and I remember loving it. Because of her love for me, I was able to learn about God’s love for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 has become one of my favorite verses.  It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even when I didn’t know or understand what good could come from my current situation, God did.

Because of the way Mindy impacted my life, I have a passion to change the lives of children I come in contact with.  You never know the impact you can have on a child when you love them with the love of God.

Not only was my life changed, but my family was changed.  We have been healed.  My parents are remarried to each other and both have been baptized.  God certainly had different plans for me than I expected when I was nine, and I got to see them all because one person showed me His love when I was young.

Because Dana experienced the transformational power of God’s love, she has a passion to share that same gift with others.  And I’m guessing you do too.

Like Mindy, you probably have no idea the difference you’re making in the lives of kids week in and week out.   It’s always hard to see these things in the moment.  But trust me – God has BIG plans for the kids you serve, and He is using you to reach them with a love that never ends.

So, now that you’ve heard Dana’s story, I’d love to hear yours.   Who made a difference in your life for God’s kingdom so that you can now turn around and share it with others?  Why do you serve in the Big Picture Show?

You can  answer by either commenting on this post or e-mailing me at jbyerly@southlandchristian.org. Thanks for standing in the gap and loving God’s kids!


Sep 6

Praying for the Big Picture Show

Posted in: Multi-site

Have you ever been a part of something really special? Maybe you were on the team that won the championship in high school. Or maybe you were a part of the group that helped pack a million meals for Haiti last year. If you’ve ever come to a pond baptism here at Southland then you know firsthand that incredible feeling that comes from experiencing a life changing moment.

We are inviting you to experience one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. One that you’ll look back on in a year or two and think, “Wow! I can’t believe I got to be a part of that!”

Beginning this weekend you will find a grid in your leader check-in area inviting you to sign up to pray for a specific environment in the Big Picture Show. We are joining together across environments and across campuses inviting God to come and do something huge in our midst. With ten minute slots available from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, each ministry environment will be bathed in prayer all day for the next six months. We believe that a commitment like this will unify our team like never before.

Here is what you can pray:

  1. Protection and safety on the weekends. Safety is our first priority on the weekends, as much as we seek to ensure that our kids are safe we also want to pray for the safety and protection of our team and our leaders. Pray for protection in our relationships with God and with others, our schedules and our health.
  2. Discipleship culture. We want to offer opportunities and resources to our leaders to encourage their spiritual growth. We believe that doing so will better equip them to lead, this is Expression 1.
  3. Contagious community between leaders. It’s our hope that people would experience a unique community in the Big Picture Show where they are known, loved and appreciated. We believe that experience will overflow into how we lead others, this is Expression 2.
  4. Life Change. We serve in the Big Picture Show because we want to see kids find their place in God’s big story. This is what brings us back every week. You are radically investing your life into the lives of kids and families at Southland, effecting them for eternity. Pray for aha moments with kids and opportunities to connect with parents, this is Expression 3.
  5. Right people in the right spot. As God continues to grow Southland across Central Kentucky we have many opportunities for new leaders in the Big Picture Show. We want the right people in the right spot on our team. Offering this special opportunity to serve is Expression 4.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1-2

We’re in this together. We’re believing together. We’re praying together. Join us.

- Laura Rizer

Animation Station Groups Director

Aug 23

Big Picture Show Sneak Preview Event

Posted in: Vision

Hey Children’s Ministry Leaders!  Don’t miss  your chance to attend one of the Big Picture Show Sneak Preview Events this weekend:

  • Sat, Aug 25, 4:30 p.m., Building C
  • Sun, Aug 26, 9:00 a.m. & 11:45 a.m., Chapel, Building A
  • Tues, Aug 28, 6:30 p.m., Chapel, Building A

It’s going to be a fun, fast-paced experience designed to give you a snapshot of what to expect in Children’s Ministry over the coming school year.  You’ll hear plenty of vision about the new Big Picture Show ministry (the new name for Children’s Ministry) and what it means for you as a leader.  Plus you’ll hear the latest about our Richmond and get some important info on keeping kids safe as we help them find their place in God’s big story.

We need all current and new leaders to attend of these 30 minute experiences.  I can’t wait to see you there!

Aug 14

Playing Your Part In God’s Big Story

Posted in: Vision


You ever walk in late to a movie, and you’re not exactly sure what’s going on?  There’s all kinds of action happening, but it’s hard to orient yourself to the story.  You don’t know all the characters, and you may have missed some vital plot points along the way.  It’s confusing trying figure out what it’s all about. 

That’s kind of what it’s like being a 21st century kid.  You’re growing up in a world where it’s not uncommon to hear about shooters walking into  public places and opening fire.  You’re growing up in a world where your parents are just as likely to get divorced as to stay together.  You’re growing up in a world that’s drowning in debt, saturated with images of sex and violence and divided by deep political differences.

Like a movie already in progress there’s a lot going on, but it’s hard to figure out what it all means, and often, it appears to be a story without any hope for a happy ending.    

But this is not the full story.  No, there’s a much bigger story being told.  It’s God’s story, and it’s been unfolding since before the creation of the world.  It’s an adventure story, an epic battle of good and evil, and the greatest love story of all time. 

It’s a story with a hero.  It’s a story of hope.  It’s a story with the happiest ever after you can possibly imagine. 

And best of all, it can be your story too. 

What kids need today is someone who loves them enough to help them find their place in God’s big story, to help them find meaning, purpose and grace.  That’s what the Big Picture Show is all about – leaders like you, showing up every week to help kids understand the big picture of God’s great love for them. 

Someday, when it’s all said and done, Jesus will return, and God will roll the closing credits on this world.   Your name will be at the top of that list of credits because you played a starring role in telling God’s story to kids by the way you loved them.

So welcome to the cast.  Get ready to play your big part.  The lights are set.  The cameras are rolling and the Big Picture Show is waiting for you take the stage.

Jul 3

What’s the Deal with the Red Tags?

Posted in: Safety & Security, Weekends


During a weekend service in Children’s Ministry you may notice some adults in the room wearing these awesome red tags.   Don’t be jealous. These are just for Guest Observers.   What are Guest Observers?  I’m glad you asked!

Guest Observers are anyone in a Children’s Ministry room who does not have a leader application and background check on file with the ministry. This includes:

  • Parents staying in the environment with their child.
  • Potential volunteers shadowing another leader.
  • Friends or family of current leaders.
  • People visiting from other churches.

This does NOT include:

  • Parents coming for early pick-up.
  • Friends or family accompanying parents during pick-up.

What do you do if you see someone wearing a red tag?   Just keep your eye out and help us make sure they’re following the Guest Observer rules.

  1. Just like you, they must never be alone with a child (even if it’s their own child).
  2. They should not be leading any activity with kids or helping with restroom runs (again, even if it’s their own child).
  3. If they have a child in the environment, they must check out by showing a matching security tag just like any other parent.
  4. They must check out with a staff member before they leave.
  5. They must wear their red tag at all times.

If you have a concern about any Guest Observers not following the rules, please see a staff member immediately.  The bottom line is that they are our guests, and we’re happy to have them, but keeping kids safe is our first priority.

Also, if someone wanders into the environment without any kind of tag, please send them to the Guest Check-In table to fill out Guest Observer paperwork to get their very own spiffy red tag.  Just tell them all the cool kids are wearing them, especially the cool Guest Observers.

Thanks for doing your part to keep kids safe!



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