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Does Kidmin matter?

Posted on 15. Sep, 2014 by .

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What a silly question. Of course it does. I don’t have to convince you, do I? The problem is convincing others, right? Maybe you have found yourself in a situation like this:

  • You discovered that the monthly dry cleaning bill for the choir robes is larger than your monthly budget
  • You’ve been patiently waiting to come on staff full time, shortly after they hire the maintenance director, women’s director and administrative assistant to the missions pastor
  • You got in trouble  because the associate pastor’s wife found ground-in goldfish crumbs in the nice carpet where they kids aren’t allowed to meet

It’s so easy to become cynical, resentful and bitter when the ministry area you oversee isn’t valued as much as you believe it should be valued. This is what makes you a fantastic leader over this area, but it’s critical that you don’t “go there” emotionally. It’s frustrating, but it’s an unhealthy path that will damage you in more ways than one.

However, you serve in a very strategic place. You oversee the children’s ministry which IS a place of influence whether you realize it or not. … Read the rest

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You need a fitbit

Posted on 18. Aug, 2014 by .

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Okay, I don’t actually know if you need one or not, but go with me here for a minute. Back in late June, I bought a fitbit for myself. I knew that I need to continue to focus on my health. I liked the idea of a fitbit. It measures daily activity. It helps set daily goals. It tracks progress (or lack of it). It has a social component where I can track how I am doing compared to friends. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it or how well it would work for me.

I love it.

Since I got it nearly two months ago, it has been off my arm only to charged the battery.

I am constantly assessing how much activity my body is getting. Tracking my progress helps me make sure I get enough steps in for the day. It motivates me to take walks in the evening. I find myself parking in the back of the parking lot or walking to the pool rather than driving the car. I helps me see how sedentary I can be on certain days and help me think of ways to be more active. Nearly all my NextGen staff has one, so we enjoy taunting and encouraging each other every week. I’ve lost a little bit of weight (yes, even after a month long vacation) and I’ve had lots of people ask me if I’ve been losing weight.

Thanks fitbit.

Wait a second, this post isn’t a promotional piece about the fitbit.… Read the rest

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App of the Week: Google Drive

Posted on 17. Aug, 2014 by .

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The app I’d like to introduce to you this week isn’t a new app, but over the years it has been nicely developed and has become more and more useful as time goes by. Quite simply, it’s the Google Drive app for the iPhone (I don’t have an android device, so I’m sure it works as well or better on one of those devices).

Several years ago, my entire team (and most of the church staff) converted to google docs/drive for word documents and spreadsheets. We created an official “NextGen” shared drive and virtually every file we create lives in this drive. It’s essentially like having a corporate server without the need for being on the church network or having to hassle with a VPN when offsite. Our team has adapted well and so everything is there.

The Google Drive app for the phone is amazingly convenient. Since EVERYTHING is in our Google Drive, accessing any document or spreadsheet is super easy. I can search any document or easily browse through all of our folders to find the document I’m looking for.

From the app, I can quickly view, share or print any file. Here’s what makes this app perfect:… Read the rest

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Systems: Improving where you struggle

Posted on 15. Aug, 2014 by .

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One of the things I love about systems is that they often make me better than I really am. I think that we sometimes have this idea in our mind that we just need to be better, get better and become someone without weakness. This side eternity, I think we make this harder than it needs to be. Most strong leaders will tell you that they didn’t become who they are because they focused on making their weaknesses strengths. They became who they are by making there strengths even stronger. Primarily focusing on your weakness can be a fleeting endeavorer and at best, only makes you average.

That’s why the best leaders recruit people who are DIFFERENT from them. They recruit people who are strong where they are weak. They cover all their bases so that they can focus on what they can do better than anyone else.

Systems can be very similar to this. I meet ministry leaders all the time who consistently fail in the same areas all the time.… Read the rest

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Systems: Anticipating what is coming

Posted on 13. Aug, 2014 by .

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Yes, systems take extra work to set up and extra work to maintain. Systems require you to take a short break from the busy and think about things you don’t often think about. However, a little investment of time and mental energy to create and set up systems will pay dividend for years. They will enable you to spend more time doing the things that make a bigger impact. One of the first steps to setting up systems requires you to be a futurist. Basically, anticipate what is going to happen. Let’s take a look at what this means practically.… Read the rest

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Children’s Bible Review: Power Bible

Posted on 12. Aug, 2014 by .

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A few months ago, the folks from Green Egg Media contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to review their new Power Bible. I had never heard of the Power Bible, so I was happy to get my hands on it. They sent me book 1: From Creation to the Story of Joseph and book 8: The Light of Salvation. I figured I’d review them and give them away for someone to enjoy.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t impressed immediately and I put off doing the review because I don’t feel comfortable recommending something I don’t believe in. What I didn’t like was simply a matter of personal preference and I’m kind of ashamed to admit it. I wasn’t a fan of the style. It’s of the Japanese anime style of art and I’m just not a fan. I think anime grew in popularity after I became an adult, so I don’t have any attachment to the style. I just had a hard time imagining Jesus and these other Bible characters I’ve known all my life as anime cartoons. Again, totally my personal preference and opinion. Well, something interesting happened.… Read the rest

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Why you need a system

Posted on 11. Aug, 2014 by .

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I know that some people just aren’t wired this way and so it’s hard to get your mind around this. Some of you are, but you lack the information or sometimes the inspiration to develop the systems you need. Here’s what I’ve come to know over the years. The breadth of your impact will often be determined by the systems you have in place. A ministry without systems will always struggle to grow. Charisma and environment will always help being momentum, but a lack of systems will frustrate, plateau and even cripple sustainable growth. I hear the story all the time, how someone loved a church, product or resource but they eventually left because they weren’t taken care of. This is usually the result of a flawed, broken or lack of a system.

In a basic sense of the concept, a system is simply a set of rules that dictate actions. You know a system is really good when it takes you out of the picture. It’s working well when some task is accomplished regardless of you having to remember to do it.

Why do we need systems? Isn’t it obvious? … Read the rest

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When your kids do not want to go to church

Posted on 09. Aug, 2014 by .

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Several times a year I teach a Child Dedication class and one of my favorite parts of the class is embracing the tension between letting kids making their own choice and making some choices for them. In the class we cover Deuteronomy 6:4 and this tension lives in the part of the passage passage, “Impress them on your children.” What this verse unpacks for parents isn’t quite applicable for the parents of babies in the dedication class, but it’s a huge principle that parents need to carry with them as their kids grow.

In over 15 years of ministry I’ve seen some patterns emerge. There are almost always more 4 year olds than 9 year olds at your church. There are almost always more 9 year olds than 13 year olds and lastly, there are almost always more 13 year olds than 18 year olds. Why?

There are probably lots of answers to that question, but what I’ve found to be the answer is very simply, Kids just don’t want to go to church and parents don’t want to make them. I think that most parents mean well. They don’t want to force faith on their kids in fear that their kids will reject it.

So, what are parents to do when they face this situation? … Read the rest

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How to Dad

Posted on 08. Aug, 2014 by .

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Well played Cheerios, well played.

Read the rest

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Imagine you are gone

Posted on 07. Aug, 2014 by .

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Okay, lets play a little game.

Let’s pretend that tomorrow, you disappeared. Don’t make a big deal out of what exactly happened and where you actually went because that’s not the point. The point is, what is going to happen once you’re gone?

In your mind, you will imagine that everything is going to fall apart… because you’re holding it together, right? Maybe you are, but it’s interesting how this usually doesn’t happen. I kind of wrote about this last week in my post “Jesus loves your ministry more than you do.” Somehow, the world will go one without you. It’s depressing, I know – but that’s how it works. Someone will pick up what isn’t getting done and somehow, it will get done.

So, here is my question: Is it possible that you’re doing more than you need to do. Your frantic and overwhelmed lifestyle might be totally manufactured and unnecessary… a product of your doing. … Read the rest

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