The family ministry circle I travel in is small (... at least mine is) ... yet ever growing. I met and became friends with Matt Guevara a few years ago. In him I found a friend, an encourager, and probably most importantly (for me) someone local.
Matt has both a pastor's heart and a passion for the next generation. We get together when schedules allow for coffee or lunch and catch each other up on what's going in life and ministry.
This fall, Matt started a Kickstarter campaign to get an advent book published in hard cover that he and several collaborators put together last year and made available digitally.
I sat down with Matt recently to get all the details.
What’s your current job and title?
I am the Executive Director for the International Network of Children’s Ministry (INCM). I’ve been there since August.
Tell how the advent book came about?
About a year ago, I noticed a Facebook conversation that I started asking the question “What are you using for advent?” Most of the comments came back that they weren't sure. I came up with the idea to create a resource. The funny thing was, advent started 7 days later. I came up the content and gave all those interested assignments. Partner with Kidzmatter who helped get it published and distributed it to their email list. There were over 20,000 people downloaded that pdf. That far exceeded expectations. Fast forward to this October, I had some churches who got the advent material last year ask for a hard cover of it. The idea of a Kickstarter was a fun way to explore the funding of a hard cover. The catch was it was October, books had to be shipped by the 3rd week of November in order to be useful. I can’t believe i started this in October (laughs with his head down in his hands).
Why use Kickstarter and not a publisher?
I’m a fan of Kickstarter. It was a great way to test the network of Children ministry could do. Could they do a short run of books? I intentionally make to goal large. It took a couple weeks to determine price. Then had to get the support of all the contributors. Kickstarter requires a lot of work, it’s not for the faint of heart. Then you have to wait to actually get approved. You go into it not knowing if its going to get approved. Then I learned how a successful campaign gets funded and put all of those best practices into practice.
Why another advent book? Aren’t there good ones out there already? What makes this one different?
There are plenty of resources available. The unique offer here is that is by church leaders for church leaders. It’s for those who work day in and day out with kids. They shaped the content to serve families. Another key difference is the unity of content in establishing a weekly rhythm,the rhythm of celebration, devotion, and parent encouragement that gives it a sense of accomplishment.
Is there still a way to get it?
Churches can order digital copies and make them available to their church. The digital copy is available on INCM’s website (linked here). There are no more hard copies.
Matt has graciously made the first week's worth of the material available to our readers (linked here). If you haven't decided what you are doing for advent, consider this. Be intentional with the time this year.