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Don’t let stupid become normal

Posted on 05. Jun, 2014 by .

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I had this idea yesterday that made me both laugh out loud and cringe at the same time. I was talking with a new staff member about a room in our kids building. For as long as I've been at Gateway, this room has been a volunteer room. It's where volunteers check-in, where we have quick volunteer meetings and it's also where we do volunteer orientations. It used to be an early childhood environment called "Mini-Mess Hall." I know, weird. It had this theme of mice cooking... I know, I didn't make it any better. Regardless, it's been a volunteer room for more than 6 years. We actually painted it to not look like a themed early childhood room two years ago, but the sign outside the room still states: Mini Mess Hall. When we promote a new volunteer orientation, we direct people to "Mini Mess Hall." It wasn't until my new staff member asked about the name of the room that I realized, "Why have continued to call this room "Mini Mess Hall? That's stupid? It makes no sense at all?" Then I realized how many stupid things we do and say in our ministry that have simply become normal to us.

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Your kid needs counseling

Posted on 03. Jun, 2014 by .

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Seriously, your kids need counseling and this isn't meant as an insult to you as their parent. Yesterday I wrote about how failure as a parent is inevitable. Parents can't be awesome all the time. Even the best parents miss the mark and cause damage that lasts. Recently my wife and I have come into contact with several incredible families with messed up kids. These kids aren't necessarily messed up because of bad parenting, but because people are broken and things happen. Sometimes this is unavoidable. As a result, my wife and I had a brilliant idea. We're working hard to give our kids great opportunities. I don't know if we'll be able to pay all of their college, but we're going to do all that we can. However, we've thought that an incredible investment that we can give our kids upon graduation from High School or maybe College is several thousand dollars for counseling. Counseling to help them fix, cope with and overcome the ways we might have broken them through our parenting.

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Failing as a parent

Posted on 02. Jun, 2014 by .

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Are you ready for a full dose of reality? Failure as a parent in inevitable. Stop living in a dream world, you're not as great of a parent as you think you are. Okay, enough with the negativity. Recently I've become aware of several parenting "misses." I've encountered multiple people who have experienced total parenting failures, either as parents or as kids of parents. You're probably thinking, "why is this such a surprise? Just take a walk around your block and you'll find more parenting failures than you can count." No, what has raised my awareness of this issue is that in every case, the parenting disasters (or near disasters) have happened in incredibly loving, Christ-centered homes. From my limited viewpoint, I didn't see any blatant sin or negative behaviors that would lead to these incidents, but they happened anyway. I think that these situations are very challenging for us Christians. When stuff happens, we start to look for the cause. We try to justify what behaviors happened that caused this. We try to sniff out the dysfunction. As a result, we end up hurting rather than healing and we make the situation worse, even in our sincere efforts to "help."

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Culture versus strategy

Posted on 30. May, 2014 by .

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Michael Warden, a gifted leader within our community wrote a powerful post about emotionally intelligent leaders several months back. I recently pulled it out again to see what areas I can work on personally. One point continues to resonate with me. Emotionally intelligent leaders value culture over strategy. Michael describes it this way: You’ve probably heard the common phrase of “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If the strategic goal is the new country we’re sailing toward, then the organizational culture is the ship that’s carrying us there. Emotionally intelligent leaders know that if the ship sinks, they’ll never reach the goal. So they tend to the ship first, and the trip second. This is so incredibly true and I've seen this play out for the team I lead and within specific people on my team the last few years and more specifically in the last 9-10 months. The leader has a powerful and strategic opportunity to set the culture. His or her absence or inattention to this can result in strong personalities on the team to change the culture. Culture affects everything. It affects longevity, productivity and job satisfaction. If this is true, your role as the team leader directly affects the livelihood of other people... that's huge! I've seen this play out in a powerful way this past year which I'll write more about later. Here's how culture trumps everything

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Make an investment in your leaders/volunteers

Posted on 29. May, 2014 by .

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I'm a HUGE fan of the regional conference. Whenever possible, I go to the big national conference. They inspire me and challenge me to think bigger than I currently do. They help me take a step back and see the forest from the trees. Whenever possible, I encourage ministry leaders to get away and grow in this way. Few things will do more for your ministry than for the leader to expand his/her vision and to connect with other like-minded people. However, little will have a greater impact on momentum and synchronized focus than mass participation at a regional conference/event.

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The demise of the modern family

Posted on 29. May, 2014 by .

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Yes, that blog title was a bit extreme I will admit. Maybe it was too much, but it points to a real issue that is causing bigger problems than we're actually acknowledging. Marriages and families are having less than ideal experiences and one cause of many are the little screens we cary with us everywhere. Twenty years ago, it was the TV. I remember seeing pro-family campaigns that talked about how TV is destroying the American family and I'm sure this sentiment hasn't changed, but if they only knew how little of an impact TV has on society compared to the effect mobile technology is having on society. It's time for families to have real conversations about how always on connectivity and media is impacting the home. I'll confess, I struggle with mobile and technological addictive behaviors. My default mode is to look at a screen as opposed to just sit and think, rest and enjoy a moment. I'm far more productive with technology than I ever was without it, but I realize that this does come with a cost. I'm not really calling for throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I do feel that conversations need to be had. This past March, I got a little dose of reality.

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App of the Week: Cash

Posted on 28. May, 2014 by .

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One of the most useful apps I've encountered lately has been the new Cash App from the makers of square. You know square, the people who made it super easy to take credit card payments over your iPhone or iPad. They've changed the landscape for small businesses, regular people who need to take credit card as payment as well as church bookstores or walk-up registration situations. Their new app "cash" has made digital payment among people you know easier than ever. I'm like a lot of people now days, I just don't carry much cash on me... and I usually only write checks a few times a year. It's nice to have extra payment options as it's not always convenient to have to run to the bank to pay a friend back. Here's how cash works:

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The Ultimate Bible Resource List

Posted on 12. May, 2014 by .

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Hey Kidmin and NextGen friends. I need a favor. Hopefully in helping me, you'll help yourself or at least help hundreds of others who need this same resource. So, let's do a little crowdsourcing project. Are you ready? I'm sure you get asked this question or similar questions all the time. "What Bible do you recommend for my 7 year old? Do you have a devotional that you recommend for my 10 year old?" You name the age, I get the question and I'm sure you're the same. So, I'm trying to put together a short list. The emphasis on "short." I know that there are hundreds of incredible resources, but I know that it is easy to overwhelm a parent. I want to make it simple which means making it more likely a parent will find it helpful. So, I want to put together a list of Bibles and Bible Resources for 0-18 years of age. When a parent says, "What Bible do you recommend for my 2 year old," what would you recommend? I know that there are some Bibles that play to the boys or the girls when they get older. What is at the top of your list?

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Hurting moms on mothers day

Posted on 11. May, 2014 by .

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This is kind of a weird post to write. Maybe it's easy to take this the wrong way and if you feel yourself going there, you're missing the point. I honestly think that mother's day is much harder for people than we think it is. There's no doubt about it, there's no harder job than the job of being a mom. They give up so much to put their kids first and so many live with frustration, guilt and pain. However, mothers day isn't always a joy filled day. For many, its a day that we remember loss and feel regret. Although having a day purely dedicated to honoring moms is in incredibly awesome idea, we can unintentionally hurt a significant portion of our crowd in our churches. What do you mean?

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World’s Toughest Job

Posted on 10. May, 2014 by .

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I came across this video a few weeks ago and it actually tugged on my heart strings (my allergies must have been acting up again). Enjoy and share on this very important day.

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