Archive for January, 2012

A free and highly accessible kidmin resource

Posted on 31. Jan, 2012 by .

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I’ve learned that most kid’s pastors I’ve met are highly resourceful. They’re always looking for great new resources and the cheaper it is, the better. If it’s free, well that’s incredible.

So, I figured that all the resourceful kidmin peeps who read this blog would be interested in this great free resource. Are you ready for this?

Really?

Here goes….

It’s called following #kidmin on twitter.

Wait a second, before you bail on this blog post, hear me out. Some of you have refused to get on twitter because you’ve not seen it’s relevance to your life or you don’t need another social media element in your life. I totally get that. However, you don’t have to sell your soul to Zuckerberg to get a twitter account (yes, I know Zuckerberg is with facebook, not twitter) and signing up for an account doesn’t mean you have to use it an the traditional way. Whatever resistance you might have toward getting on twitter is keeping you from joining the most active and relevant conversation in kid’s ministry today. Every day hundreds of kidmin leader join in the conversation. Many are just being conversational, while others ask questions and seek answers. Some are selling a product or resource and dozens of others are linking to relevant and current articles on their blogs. It’s a wealth of information right at your fingertips, and it’s free and effortless.

If you subscribe to a ministry magazine or enjoy reading and experiencing new ministry ideas, then following #kidmin on twitter is perfect for you.

So, here’s how you do it.

  1. Go to twitter.com and create an account.
  2. Don’t forget your username and passord, otherwise you won’t be able to long in and follow your twitter feed.
  3. In the top right corner of the page, you will see a search bar.
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Systems help you win

Posted on 30. Jan, 2012 by .

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One of the things I’ve learned most this year from the books I’ve been reading is the critical nature of systems. I’m absolutely convinced that systems help you win. You can be a great leader with a lot of charisma, but if you don’t have solid systems, you’ll never maintain what you want to achieve, if you even get there in the first place. I mentioned this in a post a few weeks ago along with the books I’ve read this year that supported this idea.

So, a few weeks ago I rented the movie Moneyball. I don’t like baseball, but I LOVED this movie. I saw incredible application of both systems and leading through change told through this movie, which was based on a true story.

Here’s the trailer to the movie. Pay special attention to what happens from 20 seconds in until 1:10 seconds, but the entire clip gives you the big idea.

Essentially the story revolved around how and underdog team without adequate resources could look at the game of baseball differently and actually compete with the bigest organizations in the league. It required less of looking at “star” players and the high caliber (and costly) skills they brought to the team and looking at the nuts and bolts of what each player contributed to the game. Basically, they were looking at individuals who could consistently get on base. If you have enough people who can get on base, eventually you’ll get enough people making it home and the more people you have making it home, the higher your chance of winning the game. This systematic approach toward the game of baseball turned the A’s from a team with little hope to a winning team. Catch the movie, it’s a great one.

The application toward ministry is simple.… Read the rest

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The birth of Kidmin

Posted on 30. Jan, 2012 by .

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I’m always intrigued the origin of things. Why we say certain words or how names come about. What’s even more interesting is when you see the origin of something new right before your eyes. A handful of children’s pastors saw the very thing happen almost three years ago… the birth of “Kidmin.”

At this point, the term kidmin is still catching on, but I suspect that will change in the coming years and perhaps more people will refer to children’s ministry as kidmin as opposed to… well, children’s ministry.

For those of you who are new to this blog or the greater “kidmin” conversation, let me tell you how this whole thing got started.

I first became involved in children’s ministry as a four year old… back in 1981 and ever since then, I’ve been involved in the ministry either as a participant, a junior volunteer or as a ministry leader. From my perspective, ministry leaders began referring to children’s ministry as kid’s ministry about 5-10 years ago. It seems to be a more casual term, probably more appealing to the older kids in the ministry who prefer being called kids as opposed to dear little children. In the last 5-7 years, I met more and more people referring to themselves as kids pastors, referring to their children’s program as kid’s church and beginning to use the term “kids” in their ministry environment names.

Step forward to 2007… the birth of twitter. I knew one or two people on twitter in the early days, but it wasn’t until the winter/spring of 2008 that people in ministry really started to use twitter as a way of communicating. It was a great way to follow ministry leaders from all around the nation… and world.

Then something changed in February of 2009. For almost a year, hashtags were growing in popularity as a way of categorizing tweets.… Read the rest

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Kidmin turns three!

Posted on 29. Jan, 2012 by .

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Another year gone by already.

Last year I wrote this post a few days after the #kidmin twitter hashtag turned two. Apparently no one celebrated the first birthday either. What a shame.

So, being the infamous creator of #kidmin (I say this tongue in cheek only because I feel it was more of a group effort) I put this date on my calendar so that we won’t forget again. February 3rd. That means that this Friday, February 3rd… #Kidmin turns 3.

So, here’s how we celebrate. Sometime between now and February 3rd, write a post on your blog explaining how #kidmin has affected your life or ministry. (No, I’m not talking about kids ministry in general, but the twitter search term). Tell a story about someone you connected with, a blog post that revolutionized your ministry or the introduction of a new resource or event as a result of the #kidmin community on twitter. Once your post is live, link back to this post or even put a link in the comments. If you don’t have a blog, just write your story in the comments. On Friday, I’ll compose a post with links/portions of everyone’s tributes toward #kidmin celebrating the actual day.

No idea what I’m talking about? Never used twitter? Never searched #kidmin on twitter? Well, you’re in luck. This week I’ll be sharing more about the fusion of Children’s Ministry and Twitter into what we know today as #kidmin. Stay tuned!… Read the rest

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Talking leadership in Dallas-Fort Worth

Posted on 27. Jan, 2012 by .

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Next Thursday I’m heading up to Dallas-Forth Worth for a day to connect with Children’s Pastors and leaders from several large ministries. I’m really excited to partner with Greg Baird and speak, lead some conversations and learn from others on the subject of leadership within the context of leading in large churches.

The brains behind Worlds of Wow have put together a unique event at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX and I’m pretty pumped. It’s not too often when you’re in a room with other leaders who all lead at the same capacity or greater than you. I’m humbled because although I’ll be sharing the stage with Greg, I feel there’s probably much I could learn from those in the room. The thing I’ve found though is that this kind of stuff keeps you sharp. As I’ve been preparing for this event, I’ve been reminded of leadership gems I’ve gotten rusty on or simply stopped doing. Speaking and leading discussions like this sure keeps you honest… and focused.

I’m sure I’ll post more about this next week along with some information I’ve been preparing… hopefully to keep you sharp as well!… Read the rest

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Quickly gathering contact information

Posted on 26. Jan, 2012 by .

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Last night I had the opportunity to speak to the High School group here at Gateway. It was my second time ever to speak to High School students, my first time in about 9 years. It went well, despite my apprehension speaking to High School students. However, as I’ve been very involved in our student ministry this past year, I’ve been concerned about the lack of information that we have on our students. Last year as we needed to quickly promote our student ministry camp, I found that we literally had no contact information for our High School students. Since most of their parents don’t attend Gateway, we really had nothing.

This year I’ve been plotting ways that we can better care of these students even in an administrative context. How do we track their attendance and know how to get in touch with them when they’re here? I decided that last night while speaking to them, I’d try an experiment and see if I could start the process of collecting their information. First, I figured that if I had email addresses, cell numbers, schools and grades, that would be a great starting place. So I created a little game to play that also tied into what I spoke about… a texting trivia game. I had several iTunes gift cards and put up random trivia questions with a google voice number. The first person to text the answer to the number won a giftcard. It was fun and we had significant participation.

After the last question, I posed one more challenge. I explained that we wanted to better know who they were and how to contact them for things like camp and such. So, we asked them to text their first and last name, their email address, their school and grade the the same number.… Read the rest

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Make it easy for parents to win!

Posted on 25. Jan, 2012 by .

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I think my last big take-away from the Orange Tour was this little concept.

Make it easy for parents to win!

In Think Orange, Reggie describes the four levels of parenting.

  1. Aware – These are parents who may be outside your church. Studies have shown that most parents are aware that the moral and even spiritual development of a child is their responsibility.
  2. Involved – These are parents who are in our churches. They’re around, maybe following Christ, but they’re not really doing anything intentional with their kids.
  3. Engaged – These are parents who are beginning to be intentional. They’re trying things that they’ve not done before.
  4. Invested – These parents get “it.” Whether you provide a plan or not, they’re going after it, developing spiritual champions.

Here is what I appreciated tremendously. Reggie shared that you’ll probably never get more than 20-30% of your parents to the invested level. As much as we’d like for it to happen, it’s just not going to happen. Set your expectations.

However, it’s possible to get a lot of parents to engage. It doesn’t take too much effort to take a parent who is doing nothing to start doing something… and this small change can produce huge results. We’ve got to celebrate the small changes. This is huge!

This is why this information was really refreshing for me. We’re in the process of developing a milestone family strategy and we’ll be putting a lot of effort into getting parents to engage with the plan. I would expect that the parents to truly engage in this strategy and follow it through are more likely to be invested parents. However, at the same time we’re panning to launch easy stuff, resources and opportunities to help parents do small things.

I guess it was just good for me to hear this stuff so that I know how to balance, that I don’t get frustrated by less people getting to the invested level where huge numbers are engaged.… Read the rest

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New Kidmin book coming in 2012

Posted on 24. Jan, 2012 by .

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I have to say that I’m really excited about a new book coming out in a few months. Really excited!

Yes, I did help write the book. But that’s not why I’m so excited. I’m excited because I believe that it’s a book that is going to impact a lot of people in Kidmin. Shoot, it might impact a lot of people in student ministry and other ministries as well. Why? Because I feel that it approaches the nitty gritty issues that every pastor/minister deals with… the tension they live in on a daily basis and it offers hope. The book is written in a very personal way that most will identify with. A half-dozen people beyond the authors have read the book and almost all have essentially said, “I really related to this book and saw myself in these pages.”  Plus, it’s a going to be a fun book to read. You’ll probably read through the book pretty quickly because it’s short and because it will draw you in.

This book, “The Eric Trap: Five things every leader has to get right” was written by Jim Wideman, Sam Luce, me and an incredible group of kid’s pastors that journeyed together through Jim Wideman’s Infuse for two years. The book will be available for the first time at the Orange Conference where there will be a book signing. Fun, huh? There will be a limited number of books available for bloggers, probably in March. If you’re interested in getting a copy to review on your blog, click here to request a copy.

Click here to read why Jim Wideman is so excited about this new book. Lastly, I leave you with a review from Jonathan Cliff.

“The “Eric Trap” takes Children’s Pastors on a dark, serious, and scary journey into the world of working in a church and balancing your priorities.  Read the rest

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We are stewards of timeless truths

Posted on 24. Jan, 2012 by .

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On more than one occasion, I heard Reggie say this line last week at the Orange Tour.

We are stewards of timeless truths.

What I think is interesting is that I often hear people complain about Orange curriculum Usually I hear people complaining from the point of view that there isn’t enough Bible in it. The funny thing is that I have people on my own staff who at times complain that the curriculum is too church. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a perfect curriculum and that alone isn’t reason enough to go out and start writing your own.

Curriculum was made to be tweaked… especially when they give it to you in editable digital form, right? Whether your curriculum comes from a virtue perspective or a chronological spin through the scriptures, the foundation doesn’t change that scripture is the basis for all things taught. If we don’t connect kids and students to the life-changing power of the scripture, we’re sunk. We may explore how the scripture can transform us to lead self-controlled lives or how certain events in the Old Testament teach us about what God wants to do in our lives right now. The bottom line is about how scripture connects to our lives.

In ministry, we have to understand that we are stewards of timeless truths. Every one of us. Leaders, small group leaders, hosts and story tellers. We steward these timeless truths and it is so important that we convey these truths accurately and responsibly. Too many times in my ministry have I heard a leader butcher the telling of a biblical truth, either in delivery or in content. We need not forget about James 3:1.

 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.Read the rest

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Be Strategic

Posted on 23. Jan, 2012 by .

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From day one of engaging with Orange (more than 4 years ago), the word strategy was a word I heard often. It’s not a new concept, but it was something that was brought to my attention again last Friday and I’m glad it was. Reggie painted a clear picture of the importance of strategy. He described how many great churches have incredible mission and vision statements that never really seem to do anything. Many of those church’s doors are closed now.

StrategyA plan of action with an end in mind.

I love it. I’m leading a breakout at Illuminate in Nashville in a few weeks titled, “What Matters Most.” In this breakout I’m going to speak about how sometimes we lose track of that particular “end” in mind or maybe the “end” we’re focused on really isn’t as important as it should be.

I wonder what would happen if we as ministry leaders scripted out all that we did in a given week or month and then asked the very important question, “What is specific end we’re trying to get to as a result of this event/program/resource/meeting?” I think it would reveal what things we’re doing that are strategic and those things that are just wasting time. Man, do I hate wasting time. What’s worse is when I’m wasting time and don’t even know it.

Families, kids and students need us to be as strategic as possible. We must be strategic with our time, our tallent and our resources. How are you being strategic today?… Read the rest

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