Music Ministry: A Guidebook

This work is an introduction to church music administration that provides insight into the responsibilities and demands placed on the person who heads the music program of a church. The chapters are written by various experts in their fields and address the topics of weekly worship planning, choir rehearsal preparation, recruitment, church staff relationships, financial management, working with children and youth choirs, and leading orchestras and handbell choirs. This addition to the Smyth & Helwys Help! series is a must-have for those just beginning a church music ministry or for seasoned professionals looking to improve the administration of their music programs.

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Kate Mars
Marriage Ministry: A Guidebook

Healthy marriages do not simply happen, though our culture’s marriage landscape suggests otherwise. Married couples need a strong foundation that the majority of people cannot build on their own. How can ministers best prepare engaged couples for the altar? And how can ministers help provide the needed material for healthy growth among married couples in their cultures? Marriage Ministry: A Guidebook by noted pastors, authors, and seminar leaders Bo Prosser and Charles Qualls provides a ready help for ministers who provide premarital counseling, perform wedding ceremonies, and generally care for married couples and their families. Full of information and ideas that encourage conversation, communication, and interaction, this book will help ministers respond to the many needs of couples in the church. Whether your ministerial needs are with the newly married, the successfully married, or the struggling married, Marriage Ministry will surely help you help them.

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Kate Mars
Help! I Teach Youth Sunday School

For today’s youth, life is filled with new choices, new decisions, new feelings, new perspectives, and new freedoms. During this time, teens are forming the belief systems that will influence their adult faith, and their ideas about the nature of God, the Bible, and the church. Will teen involvement in church youth programs provide them with a framework for making important choices? Will this time nurture values and encourage their emerging identities to be deeply Christian? Something wonderful can happen when you mix teenagers, the Bible, and an enthusiastic teacher together. Many teenagers are hungry to learn about the Bible, what it means, and how it can be applied to their lives. Traditionally, this type of education happens in Sunday School. Unfortunately, too many Youth Sunday School teachers are not prepared or feel inadequate when it comes to teaching teens. They do their best, but all they are doing is surviving the Sunday school hour. Help! I Teach Youth Sunday School offers the Sunday school teacher specific tips and hints to prepare for and care for teens. Real-life stories are mingled with information on Youth and their culture, common myths about Sunday school, a new way of preparing the Sunday school lesson, creative teaching ideas, ways to think about growing a class, and how to reach out for new members while reaching in to old members.

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Kate Mars
Lessons for Living

This book begins at the end! The idea for the book came from a conversation between Daniel Vestal and Babs Baugh concerning the life and work of Babs' mom, Eula Mae Baugh. Daniel called me and gave me the honor of trying to piece together more than 60 years of Sunday School lessons, sharing her wit and wisdom, and giving the reader glimpses of an extraordinary woman.

I want you to see her obituary before you dive into the rest of the book. She was a woman ahead of her time--way ahead! And, she was also a woman of her time. At many places in the book she speaks from her place in time.

In her Sunday School lessons she usually used the male language for God--for which she was unapologetic--and also quoted from the King James Version. After all, she was a product of her culture and her upbringing. She was raised by a Baptist preacher who, in the best sense of parenting, taught her the basics as he knew it.

My editor and I intentionally tried not to modernize her words. We've left her language alone for the most part because it represents her traditional understandings of God. Remember, these lesson plans came from the 1950s and 60s. She never expected that her notes would be published, much less put into book form. If she had, I am certain that she would have challenged the purely masculine nouns and pronouns around the name of Jehovah God in today's context.

Yet, in her upbringing Eula Mae was also given the freedom to grow and be herself. In her lessons you'll see her as strong-minded and independent, brave and courageous, tender and loving. You'll see glimpses into her teaching (and preaching), and you'll see her challenging her students to think for themselves.

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Kate Mars
Lessons from the Cloth 1: 501 One Minute Motivators for Leaders

Leaders are found in many settings. Ministers, corporate managers, spouses, parents, and leaders in all areas of life need motivators to keep them focused and growing in their leadership. Lessons from the Cloth: 501 One-Minute Motivators for Leaders will inspire you to keep growing in your leadership career.

Among a multitude of themes, the book touches on communication, power, trust, and balance as keys to progress. These elements of working with others do not come naturally to many of us. It takes work to be at our best. In today's society, time has become more and more valuable. These one-minute motivators allow readers to pick up the book and immediately begin improving some aspect of their leadership style. All of the motivators address our life's journey and the hope of finding balance and direction.

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Kate Mars
Building Blocks for Sunday School Growth

Building Blocks for Sunday School Growth are at your fingertips. These six building blocks: Vision, Balance, Leadership, Relevant Teaching, Receptivity and Inclusion, and Outreach and Inreach, will help you develop an intentional vision and plan for spiritual and numerical growth.

The authors contend that failure to pay attention to the infrastructure in these six areas can lead to a decline in the quality of your Sunday school. However, by focusing on these six building blocks, you will re-energize your leaders and allow your Sunday school to grow and develop.

As you gain a renewed perspective on the potential of Sunday school, you will notice an increase in energy, both spiritual and numerical.

The critics are wrong— Sunday school is not dead! Strengthening these six areas of your organization can lead to a renewed Bible Teaching Ministry. Your Sunday school can grow, and as the Sunday school grows, so, too, will the church.

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Kate Mars
Sessions with Philippians: Finding Joy in Community

This eight-session study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians explores the centrality of Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, his love for the Philippian church, and his joy in serving both Christ and their church. Paul’s letter reminds us of his special relationship with Jesus and calls us into a renewed relationship with Christ, too. Each session concludes with thought-provoking suggestions, making it an ideal resource for Bible study groups as well as individual readers. The Sessions Series is preferred by a number of churches seeking to help people build their Bible study skills. Many groups enjoy studying the Bible book-by-book. This popular approach helps a group discuss a book’s basic themes, learn how to interpret that book, and then wrestle with it’s meaning for their lives.

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Approaching a Missional Mindset

The world isn’t the same as it was in the 1950s. The kind of church that worked then probably wouldn’t work now. Today, we must be the church in a new place, in unimagined ways, and with a wider range of people. We are called to the radical and refreshing challenge of developing a “missional lifestyle.”

A missional lifestyle involves more than simply supporting missions and maintaining the church program. It is about sharing the love of Christ whether or not anyone joins our church! A missional lifestyle challenges us to be the presence of Christ in our community and in our world.

Approaching a Missional Mindset is a Bible study that will help you strive to live a missional lifestyle. As you or your class work through these lessons, this study will help you examine your passion for living as a Christian and think about what needs to be changed in your life. Perhaps you will emerge from this study transformed. Together, we can make these days the “good new days”!

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Is God Calling?

We have all been called! Some of us may need to respond to the call. Some of us may misunderstand the call. Some of us may still be listening for God’s call or searching for the appropriate response. Regardless, God has gifted us all and called us into service. These Bible studies bear witness to the reality of God’s call. Sarah thought God’s call to motherhood was impossible. Samuel was confused by the whispered call of God. Elijah’s call was affirmed and validated in many ways. Matthew was clearly called by Jesus even though the religious leaders disagreed. Paul’s call drastically changed his life and the face of Christianity. These are exciting stories of call and response. Yet, these are no more exciting or dramatic or important than your call. In studying these call experiences, perhaps you can clarify your call experience. Witness the varying forms of God’s call, the variety of people called, and the variety of responses. Perhaps God’s call to you will become clearer. Hopefully, God’s call will become definitive for your life. As you study, pay attention…God is calling, and the call is for you!

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