kidmin

It's Personal- bringing the BEST of OC19 to your team

Hello leaders! If you are anything like me, you spend lots of time and energy trying to find new ways to pour into your leaders. You’re looking for the latest book, podcast, blog, etc. in hopes of finding something refreshing and specific to an area of your ministry that you want your team to come away more knowledgable in. If I told you that I may very well have that resource for you, would you believe me? What if I told you that this resource has been presented before 8,000+ ministry leaders just like yourself, you can obtain this resource for a great price, and, the months and months of preparation put into this resource may even be in your area, would you believe me then? What if this resource has the ability to help change the way you see kids, the kids that live right around your church or neighborhood? I have the resource that you need to tap into. It’s called Orange Tour, and it’s likely coming to a city near you.

Orange Tour is a traveling one day conference that comes to cities all throughout the U.S. this Fall. Voices from Reggie Joiner to Carey Nieuwhof to Danielle Strickland and Ryan Leak share about how we, as ministry leaders, can make it personal for every kid and teenager in your community.

One of the great things about this one day conference if that you don’t have to pay big conference money to attend. Orange Tour is strategically priced to enable churches big and small to bring more of their team which helps build stronger and more unified teams. At the cost of $79 today (June 13, 2019) only, you will want to take advantage of the opportunity today.

Visit orangetour.org to register today!

YouLead Labs Wednesday PM Edition

The afternoon sessions of the YouLead labs were just as informative as the ones from the morning sessions. I sat in on a session about what volunteers want from their leader led by Gina McClain. She is such a dynamic speaker and has the ability to connect with her audience immediately. It didn't hurt that she had some really awesome Charlie Brown and Snoopy shoes on. Here are some key points she made in her breakout: 

How do you communicate when you delegate? Big Asks vs Small Tasks

A big ask is a mindset that conveys vision, clarify the win, and it’s going to have trust. 

Small tasks- You have a mindset that wraps around a detailed to-do list (has a micromanagement feel)

You have to find the right leader to delegate to. When people see what God can do through them, their level of commitment will astound you. 

How are you developing those you lead? 

Coaching is consistently keeping the vision in front of your volunteer. 

Coaching teaches your volunteers how to think.

Again, great stuff from @ginamcclain and I would encourage you to connect with her as she is just flat out, an incredible leader.

My second PM lab was presented by the Go Weekly team as they discussed created a social media strategy that can engage parents and help train leaders. This breakout was essentially a big plug for the Weekly tool that I use every week and has been an absolute game-changer in my ministry. You can find out more about Weekly at goweekly.com.

 

Thoughts from Children's Pastor's Conference Day One PM Edition

Have I mentioned how great the worship has been this week? Being in the presence of the Lord with a couple thousand other children's ministry leaders has been incredible.  

Melissa J. MacDonald was the first of two speakers to take the stage Tuesday night. She is a great follow on twitter as well, in case you are not following her. @kidsconsultant is where you can find her in the Twitterverse. She is incredibly funny, fixing to be getting married, just had knee replacement while still in her 30's, and is a Jesus loving woman! 

Melissa opened up her time with us with this statement "God is present, and you are here on purpose." She then challenged conference attendees to partake of CPC18 and to not just be an observer. She made many more great points, with a few that I'll share here. 

How can you hear His voice if you never stop using yours? 

Stop telling kids to start doing what you’ve stopped doing. 

If you believe that you are made for “this”, then stop depending on yourself to figure it out. 

If you are made for this, then be honest with yourself. 

If you are made for this, there is nothing that comes your way that you can’t get through because He is with you.

Being broken, bruised or hurting doesn’t disqualify you from this, it really qualifies you. 

Melissa was great and I would highly recommend you take the opportunity to get to know her or bring her to a camp or training. 

Our second keynote was Beth Guckenberger. Beth and her husband Todd serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. They have a big heart for foster and adoptive ministries and themselves have raised ten children. Beth really opened her heart up to those in the room. Before leading us to take the Lord's Supper, Beth shared how we need to make room for Jesus when we find ourselves in stories that we don't make sense. I immediately connected with this point as I reflected how God has worked in my life through the death of our infant son Asher in 2014. It's nothing short of amazing in looking back at the work the Lord has done as a result of a lot of pain in our lives. 

Beth also reminded us that there is no place too dark or too nasty that Jesus wouldn't go into. Afterall, look at where He was born. He desires to meet everyone right where they are at, regardless of where they been or what they've done. AMEN!

I'll have more from CPC as Day Two kicks off!

Walt Disney World through the eyes of a Children's Pastor

Walt Disney World! My favorite place in the world, outside of my home with family! If you've been, hopefully, you feel like I do, but it's ok if you don't! I just love it here, and I'll share a few reasons why and how it relates to my children's ministry and yours. Let's get to it, shall we? 

First, Disney spares no expense to make guests feel welcomed and at home. For those of you who've been, you would agree, the company as a whole does so much to accommodate their guests. It starts with the option for a shuttle from the airport to your resort if you are staying on Disney property. They take care of your luggage so that you can enjoy a trip to the parks or perhaps just some downtime in your room upon arrival. Your luggage makes it to your room later on after you've arrived.

Now, how does this apply to children's ministry? We need to have the same mindset of making our guests and members feel welcomed every time they step foot into our children's ministry environments. Some of the biggest frustrations about getting to church is what happens in preparing for getting to church. Getting out of bed on time, getting kids dressed, eat breakfast, etc. You know the drill. Sunday mornings before leaving for church service can be some of the most stressful of the week. Let's not add to the stress by extending that chaos into our environments. Have welcome teams in place, make sure your security measures are the best they can be, greet families new and old with a smile, and share the love of Jesus with them as much as you can by what you say and what you do in the few brief moments you have with them in your environments. First impressions are everything!

Speaking of first impressions, it doesn’t take a Disney budget to make a great first impression on kids and families. The second thing to access is are your kidmin environments warm and welcoming or is there room for improvement there? The Walt Disney Company has an incredible team of visionaries, set designers, performers, and the list could go on. Disney hasn't spared any money in the stories they desire to tell in their parks. From themed lands to the music and details, they've sold you in their work ethic. They cut no corners and neither should we! Disney gives it's guests the very best they have to offer and we should be doing that for God and every family that comes into our environment. Give those families your very best, and they'll keep coming and tell a lot of people about why they are attending your church and sending their kids to your children's ministry environment. Create a theme for your environment. Take it as far as God allows. He won't bring you to it if He ain't gonna see you through it. 

Lastly, the presentation is as much about the experience as anything. As I was walking through Disney's Animal Kingdom, I would simply look around me and see how much detail there is in the work. From the plants and greenery to the concrete work to the costumes and presentation of the different rides or shows, every bit of these things matter. How we present ourselves to guests or regular attendees matters. How we present the lessons matter. The language and terminology matter. Find unique and innovative ways to present your lesson. Don't rely on the same old thing all the time. Switch it up some. Bring in new faces. Create large group sets. Theme your small group rooms to go along with the lesson. Get your small group leaders pumped up about being there on a cold, dreary morning. Have something for first-time guests to take home with them that represents your children's ministry. Maybe it's a t-shirt or fun goody bag, find ways to connect with those kids. They'll want to come back and bring their friends with them. I keep wanting to come back to Disney World. It's because of the presentation.

Give God and your families the very best and watch what happens. 

My Checklist for Celebrating Those in the Trenches of Children's Ministry

As 2017 winds to a close in a mere week or so, I’ve spent some down time reflecting on all God has done in me, in my wife and kids, and in those, I serve with on a weekly basis. The year 2017 has been a definite year of growth for me personally and professionally as I’ve prayed for the Lord to stretch me. And stretch me He has, to the point of downright uncomfortable (no better way to be stretched though if personal/professional growth is sought after). 

A big part of my reflection of 2017 has been focused on my children’s ministry staff, paid and volunteer. “How have I helped them develop? How have they helped me develop? What does 2018 look like for our team? What areas are we strong in? What areas need strengthening? Who am I praying for specifically to join our team? How will our team handle substantial growth?” The questions have gone on and on and thankfully, they have helped me grow tremendously. It’s not that I never thought about the answers to those questions, but it’s more of not spending adequate time evaluating those questions and what I thought the answers might be and furthermore, how my staff might answer those questions. 

My biggest goal as I looked at closing out 2017 was to honor my staff the best way I knew how, with food. The thought of just sitting around a table (OC17 reference there) and enjoying them was incredible. How was I going to pull it off though as someone who is not very good at details? I made a list, I checked it twice and shared it with my biggest asset at home and in ministry, my wife. She was a bit surprised at how well I had things put together. Quite honestly, so was I. It was so important though that I got it right. My team deserved this. They’ve been in the trenches of ministry with me for a good while. Some have come and gone of course, but many of these folks were already in place upon my arrival to First Baptist Lee’s Summit in January 2015. They’ve stayed too. That says more about the kids and families that they are impacting weekly then anything else. Such selfless folks! 

Here’s the checklist I created for the event: 

Who to invite- full list of volunteers serving Sunday AM, Sunday PM and Wednesday PM (include addresses)

Where to host gathering- chose to do it at my house as a come and go, was so personal and plus, these folks helped us pray for a new home and for many, this was their first chance to visit our new house 

Information for the invitation- where we’re meeting, the purpose of gathering, times, etc.

Creating/mailing invitations- had lots of help in this from my admin who created the design of invitation and took them to the post office for mailing

Created food/drink list- we offered milk (from Shatto Dairy, mmmm), orange juice, coffee, sweet tea from Chick Fil A (mmmm), hot chocolate, bottled water, bagels, fruit trays also from Chick Fil A, bagel spreads 

Created shopping list- needed to include plates, napkins, eating utensils, etc.

Order food- had Chick Fil A catered for the main course (chicken mini’s, mmmmmm)

Prepared venue for people- normal house cleaning type stuff plus setting up serving tables

Shopping- had to purchase/pick up supplies

Overall, this was a great “event” and an awesome time to honor so many folks in one setting. I definitely hope to grow in honoring the folks who are in the trenches and would love to hear/see how you are honoring/celebrating folks that you are serving alongside. 

How attending #OT17 can help your church's impact on your community

Church leader, one of the things that's likely on your mind quite often is simply how can we reach more folks in our community for Christ. What is the secret anecdote to seeing more folks walk in the doors of our church on Saturday's and Sunday's. It's the age old question right? Thousands of books have been written on the topic from hundreds of "experts". It's all justified too in my opinion. These folks are simply sharing their success stories with us and the methods used along the way. I'd like to take just a moment to present another resource that quite possibly has some of the most effective steps in impacting your community for Christ: #OT17.

Whoooaaaaaa David...what's with the hashtag thing there? This hashtag is life changing and quite possibly ministry altering! #OT17 stands for Orange Tour 2017. Reggie Joiner and his incredible team of leaders will travel to 20 different cities across the U.S. to simply have a conversation with you about how you can be #ForOurNeighbors. That's another hashtag that you will be quite a bit between now and this Fall. 

When Reggie Joiner presented this concept of being #ForOurNeighbors at Orange Conference 2017 (#OC17), so many thoughts were running through my mind. "If we could do this or do that, what would happen if we thought this way or approached people that way." "What if I started doing what he suggested?" All of these thoughts and ideas and mental results popped in my head! 

I'll just tell you, I could go on and on about this but instead of doing that, let me offer you this. Today only, you can register for $20 off the regular ticketed price for #OT17. Simply go to: orangetour.org and get signed up today! 

Sweet Summertime

Hello #kidmin friends! School is over, pools are open, vacations have begun. That must mean only one thing, sweet summertime!

Now, for those of you not as blessed to be connected and serving in a kidmin environment, you are missing out on so much. First of all, the stories kids have to share. Oh you know what stories I'm talking about too! The ones you would never want leaked into public knowledge!!!! Yeah, well guess what, we have them too and it's something you can laugh about later on! Secondly, it's VBS season! 

That's right, Vacation Bible School SEASON! It's not anything like the 4 seasons we experience on a yearly basis and it's anything but a vacation for the VBS Director but, it is an incredible time for the church to come together and outreach a whole community! Sounds fun right?!?!?!?!?!? Ask your VBS Director how you might could plug in! I guarantee you that there is a special place just for you. 

Another fun thing about sweet summertime is summer camp! You know, when you take a bunch of kids off to some remote location in the woods and leave them there with no means of communicating to mommy and daddy every night??? HAHAHAHA That doesn't sound like summer camp but rather like summer detention. Summer camp is so much fun and helps provide an out of the box experience for kids to see God at work in their lives away from church and away from home. 

How about "Promotion Sunday"? It's that one Sunday of the year where you've got leaders and parents all teared up that Johnny and Sue are moving on to another class or ministry. I've got one of those "Johnny's" myself transitioning out of our kidmin environment into the student ministry environment! Scary for all parties involved.

Finally, back to school! The day and week all parents are looking forward to come late July. Kids are going crazy, food bill has tripled in just a short time and you don't have to hear "I'm bored" until the following summer. 

Parents, take advantage of summer with your kids. Enjoy them. It's the last summer they'll have at that age. Kidmin leaders, take a deep breath. We have no offseason and yet, this is definitely the time to remind yourself that we are not running the 40 yard dash to September. Make memories with your kids, they'll be moving to student ministry soon enough!