Archive for December, 2011

Christmas Infographic

Posted on 21. Dec, 2011 by .

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Here are some interesting numbers surrounding the Christmas holidays!… Read the rest

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Soapbox: My technology pet peeve

Posted on 20. Dec, 2011 by .

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There’s probably no way I can write this post without coming across as a little bit of a jerk… so I apologize and the front end. This isn’t directed to any particular person… but just multiple encounters I seem to have on a weekly basis.

It seems that almost everyone has a smart phone today. That’s probably thanks to the iPhone where a very friendly mobile internet is available to all. With our phones, we have access to almost anything and everything. It’s an amazing time in which we live.

My pet peeve comes from when people with these amazing tools to access almost infinite knowledge ask me questions that no longer seem necessary any more. Obviously, if its something I should know that you don’t know, then ask me. But if it’s one of those things that very few people would know… then for goodness sake, look it up. Google it. Map it.

I know some people with a smart phone that rarely if ever have opened up google maps on their phone. Sometimes they ask me for directions and my response is almost always the same. Don’t you have google maps on that phone of yours? I get asked how to spell stuff all the time. I’m a horrible speller. I think people don’t realize how easy it is to look up a word, even on google. You could probably get the correct spelling faster than asking me, even if I was a good speller. Nine times out of ten, when someone asks me a question like this, I end up looking it up on google. Why? Because I have a smart phone with access to the internet.

Oh, so do you. You’re paying $30-40 a month to have google in your pocket… look it up.

Actually, my wife has gotten very good at this.… Read the rest

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Equipping teenagers in kidmin

Posted on 20. Dec, 2011 by .

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One of the most significant forces for kidmin in the local church are teenage volunteers. Every kidmin has them and some highly depend on teens. Although some teenagers lead small groups or have a strong presence from the stage, most fill many valuable roles here and there as helpers, behind the scenes volunteers and on the floor with preschoolers having fun. Teenagers in kidmin are highly valuable because many will be the next generation of volunteers and staff. I’m amazed by how many kid’s pastors I meet who were volunteers in children’s ministry when they were old enough to serve.

Unfortunately, many of these teens get over looked. They’re treated as another warm body that helps us keep our ratios. It’s not that we’re not grateful for them, but they’re treated differently than adult volunteers. I think that’s a shame. Sure, teenagers can be immature and a little undependable, but they have passion, availability and a longevity that could far surpass most adult volunteers. These teenage volunteers need to be equipped. Intentionally.

Well, I’m hoping to do my part with this in a small way. Last month at the Illuminate Conference in Austin, I had about 4 teenagers who serve at my church (Gateway) attend the conference. A few of them had parents who were attending the conference and a handful came on their own. I was totally amazed at their involvement. They paid attention, took notes and really got a lot out of the whole event. It was then that I realized that I should really try to provide something specifically for them. They can attend the conference just like everyone else, but maybe I’ll offer one breakout specifically for teenagers.

So I’m rolling this out in Nashville. A breakout entirely for teenagers who serve in kidmin. Oh, and guess who I have leading this breakout.… Read the rest

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Excuses are lame

Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by .

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I love to see people overcome opposition. A few months ago I had a survey that I wanted potential new staff to fill out (as part of the interview process). The online form I used for the survey broke. It was not intentional at all, but how staff candidates responded taught me a lot about what they were made of. There were several that I had to track down as they got stuck with the broken survey and did nothing. Others submitted what they could with the broken survey and didn’t worry about what didn’t work. However, there was a select few who overcame this obstacle. One called the company that hosts the survey to find out why it wasn’t working. Others cut and pasted the questions in an email or word doc and submitted their answers that way. Although I didn’t break the survey on purpose, this incident taught me a lot about how people react when faced with an obstacle. Some make excuses and others get creative and push through.

Something else happened last week that totally blew my mind. As you know, I have this little project on the side right now called the Illuminate Project. It was started as a tool to equip children’s ministry in the local church in a major way. It’s a low cost, regional children’s ministry conference designed with the volunteers in mind. The response is exceedingly positive around these events. However, many churches end up not coming, even some who initially set plans to attend. I get to hear a lot of excuses. Excuses like:

  • We don’t have the money
  • Volunteers don’t want to give up a Saturday

Honestly, those are the two big ones. However, I got a message from a Marie Ray, a Children’s Pastor in Nashville, TN. I randomly met her on a shuttle bus in Chicago after the Kidmin conference and then again in Nashville a few months ago.… Read the rest

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Nashville Illuminate – Only 60 days away!

Posted on 19. Dec, 2011 by .

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I can hardly believe it, but the greatest event for kidmin volunteers serving in the local church is only 60 days away. It will be here in not time.

So, if you live within 3-5 hours of Nashville, TN, I highly encourage you to check out Illuminate as a viable training option for your staff and volunteers. Technically, the early bird rate expired last Friday, but I’m extending it through this week. Anyone who registers by Christmas can save some money.

I know it’s just a few days before the craziness of Christmas Eve services, last minute shopping and good family time, but I’d highly encourage anyone within driving distance of Nashville to consider registering this week. I’ve actually got a great story that I’ll post later today that should encourage anyone.

Click here to do something great for your staff and volunteers!… Read the rest

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Free Children’s Bibles for Christmas

Posted on 15. Dec, 2011 by .

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A few days ago I wrote a review about Group’s “My First Hand’s on Bible” and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback saying that the review was very helpful. Well, I’ve got something even more helpful for you. How would you like 18 of these Bibles for your ministry? I know I would! Click here to see more info on this great give-away! Merry Christmas!… Read the rest

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The Power of Persuasion: Repetition

Posted on 14. Dec, 2011 by .

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I came across a very interesting article on the role of repetition when it comes to persuasion. Essentially, we have to remember the elements of human nature when hoping to persuade someone to volunteer or some other thing we need. It’s not that people don’t want to do what we’re asking, sometimes they just don’t get it yet. In the case of repetition, it may mean that they need to hear the request 3-4 times before there is a connection in their brain that says, “Hey, I think I want to try that.”

Persuasion can be exhausting. Ever spent an hour on the phone calling through a list of parent trying to get them to volunteer? Of course you have! It takes a lot out of most of us. I think it’s this way because in many ways we feel like we’re selling ourselves. We have a lot invested and to hear a no or not get any answers or call backs is personally difficult. I think that sometimes we give up too early or we don’t ask often enough. People need to see that video a few times or hear two or three different stories of life change before they pony up. Find a way to separate the ask from you personally and do it often. Although they said no six months ago doesn’t mean they’ll say no when asked again.

For repetition to really work (according to research), it’s important to create a brand and be consistant in the way you communicate a need. The familiarity of the brand is what will make people more inclined to say yes. So, when it comes to persuasion, your image/brand is just as important in how/when you ask.… Read the rest

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Christmast Prayer Activity

Posted on 14. Dec, 2011 by .

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I don’t repost stuff on this site very often, but I figured that I couldn’t pass this one up as it was too popular last year.

A year ago as we were preparing for our Christmas Eve services, I led our staff in a prayer event for our church that had a fun Christmas theme involving Christmas music. What’s not to love about that? Click here to read that post and download files to host a similar Christmas prayer event with your staff or volunteers.

 … Read the rest

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Children’s Bible Review: My First Hands-On Bible

Posted on 12. Dec, 2011 by .

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A few months ago I was given a copy of “My First Hands-On Bible” while at Group’s Kidmin Conference. It seemed to be just the right age for my son, so I was anxious to get home and see how it worked as a Bible he and I could read together.This Bible appears to be a cooperative project of Tyndale Kids and Group Publishing. This Bible intended for preschool age children is very unique from most other children’s Bibles aimed at this age group for two main reasons:

  1. The Bible follows Groups philosophy of R.E.A.L learning (Relational, Experiential, Applicable and Learner-Based). Every Bible story includes questions and activities that engage kids in R.E.A.L learning. This is not a passive children’s bible, but requires active engagement.
  2. This preschool Bible actually uses real Bible text. Where most beginner Bibles are edited down into a much easier way to read, My First Hands-On Bible used abridged passages from the New Living Translation.

My First Hands-On Bible contains 85 different stories from the Bible, most of the stories you would expect to find from a beginners children’s Bible. The Illustrations are excellent, modern and fitting for a preschooler as illustrations from some beginner Bibles look and feel dated. On the pages containing the story, you’ll find simple activities in the margins. Although the text for each story is short, the activities break it up and make it fun – which also bolsters learning and understanding. Little handprints in the text prompt you exactly when you can do the simple activity. These activities are simple like moving your hands in a specific way or marching around the room quickly.

The end of each story contains several elements. Each story ends with a section called the “Jesus Connection.” I’m not sure if this was inspired by “The Jesus Storybook Bible,” but aI greatly appreciate it’s inclusion.… Read the rest

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The Power of Persuasion: Limit the choices

Posted on 12. Dec, 2011 by .

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As much as we love to have the freedom of choice, sometimes it can be our very downfall. I’ve worked with kids long enough that you never ask a group of kids, “what do you want to do?” or “what movie do you want to watch?” Chaos, disappointment and tears always follow such questions. Instead, I ask, “Hey, do you guys want to go to the park or to the pool?” or “Do you want to watch this movie or that movie?”

Studies show that options also have a significant effect on persuasion. Interestingly, the more choices you offer, the less effective you’re going to be in persuading someone to pick something. An intriguing study was done to illustrate how extensive choices can be demotivating. In this study, an upscale store had 24 varieties of jam and anyone who tasted the jam got a voucher to get jam at a discount. Three percent of the tasters purchased jam. However, in another experiment, the store offered 6 flavors for tasting. In this case, 30% o the tasters bought jam. Excessive choice can be demotivating.

I whole-heartedly believe in this principle. I absolutely hate going to the Cheesecake Factory. Their 40 page menu is so frustrating. Obviously, they’ve seen success, but the excessive choice does have a negative affect on me.

In ministry, we naturally have tried to limit choices. In times of recruiting, we used to have a ministry selection card where we had various roles that could be selected for Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School and High School. Each department had 5-8 different roles. So, someone interested in serving “kids” had to choose between 20-30 different roles. Too much. So, we’ve consolidated. We eventually narrowed it down to where we only really have 3-5 roles available in Next Gen. So, someone only needs to pick which of those 3-5 roles they’d like to do and then what age group they’d want to serve in.… Read the rest

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