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Our kidmin branding exception to the rule

Posted on 30. Jan, 2015 by .


The last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about branding. I explained how we’ve created a brand around NextGen so that our parents and volunteers connected to our strategy. Secondly, I wrote about our plans to brand each age division under our NextGen brand. The branding around our age divisions is what kids will most identify with. It’s what they’ll get excited about. However, I ended my last post saying that there was an exception. Here’s where we’re intentionally ignoring the NextGen and specific age group brands.… Read the rest

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When Sunday’s suck

Posted on 28. Jan, 2015 by .


My wife tells me I shouldn’t say that word. I’m smart and I should expand my vocabulary, but sometimes you can only describe a really hard and bad day by how much it sucked. I’m not discounting the power and excitement of doing what we get to do. In kidmin circles, we talk about how Sunday should be the best day of every kids week. We know that Sunday is the super bowl and every day of the week leads to what happens on Sunday. How disappointing it must be when Sunday is anything but that.

Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t often hear about how awful Sunday’s can sometimes be. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a Sunday #kidmin tweet saying, “well, today was a horrible disaster of a day.” I see lots of tweets about how amazing the day was. Are we editing?… Read the rest

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NEXT: An unparalleled gathering

Posted on 27. Jan, 2015 by .


A couple of years ago, the people at Orange asked me to help them rally and champion people who do NextGen/Family ministry. It’s the role I was hired for almost 7 years ago at Gateway. When I took the role, there were only a handful of us around the country, but it seems to be one of the fastest growing roles right now. Right now I have over 300 NextGen/Family pastors on my contact lists and it grows every month.

We’re defining the NextGen Pastor as the one person responsible for all age group ministries at a church (at least infants through high school). Every church has one. It could be the senior pastor or a discipleship pastor and more and more, it’s people with the specific NextGen role.

We’ve found that there aren’t any resources for those in this unique role. … Read the rest

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Posted on 25. Jan, 2015 by .


When working with kids, we get used to this question. The natural inquisitive nature of kids and teenagers can be refreshing. Okay, maybe the incessant “whys” of a four year old can get a little old. However, I find that as people, we ask this word less often than we should. In the right context, “why” is a powerful tool of evaluation and review that will help your ministry get better over time.

  • Why do you have that policy?
  • Why do you use this curriculum?
  • Why do you have these age groups in this classroom?
  • Why don’t you do this program?
  • Why don’t you say that more?
  • Why do you you take offering that way?

Don’t roll your eyes yet. We often get questions like these from parents or volunteers, so we already know all the answers. However, I find that over time, the answers change. … Read the rest

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Reorganizing our Kidmin around a brand

Posted on 22. Jan, 2015 by .


A few weeks ago I wrote about how we have rebranded our Kidmin here at Gateway. Honestly, we’re only about 30% into our rebrand. A student ministry previously called Uprising and Kid’s Quest has been essentially replaced by the larger brand of NextGen. So far, the transition has gone really well. However, I wanted to explain the thinking behind why we’re branding the way we are.

First of all, we wrestled with the brand and communicating our organization for months. I talked to dozens of church leaders and the responses I got were all over the place. So, I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong way to do this, just the way you feel fits your situation best.

My initial desire was to brand Gateway Kids and Gateway Students. It’s super clear and that’s a huge win. My preference is always to brand in conjunction with the church. However, in a NextGen/Family Ministry model there was a problem with this (in my opinion). Actually, two problems.… Read the rest

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Winter Camp is HERE!

Posted on 16. Jan, 2015 by .


The time has come. In just a few hours, we depart for a weekend we’ll never forget. Seven school buses. Four moving trucks (luggage and supplies). Nearly 100 incredible leaders who will invest in the lives of almost 300 kids/student for four amazing days!

To see the crazy stuff we’re doing with our second annual NextGen camp (that’s right, we’re running 3 separate camps for elementary, middle school and high school all at the same time), just follow our hashtag at #gatewaywintercamp on twitter and instagram. Feel free to follow @wintercamp2015 on twitter and instragram as well.

61IkPo60b5LPersonally, I’m kinda stoked that my friend Jonathan Cliff is investing in my staff, volunteers and kids/students for the next couple of days. He’s been a good friend to me over the years and I’ve learned much from him. Ministry is more fun when you get to share the way I get to this weekend.

Pray for us this weekend. Pray for the health of our leaders and kids and pray for the amazing time our kids will get with their leaders for the 72 hours they are away. Pray for life-change.

Stay tuned for some big updates next week and the play by play on social media!… Read the rest

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Onboarding Volunteers: Orientation

Posted on 11. Jan, 2015 by .


It’s funny how often your policy manual needs to be updated. When I got to Gateway over six years ago, I inherited a policy & procedure manual. I felt that it was about 60% accurate. There was terminology I didn’t like and many procedures that I felt were unnecessary. We gave one to every new volunteer and I would cringe a little every time we’d put it in a new set of hands. However, rebuilding a policy manual is one of my least favorite tasks. It takes forever and no one enjoys it. It’s the easiest thing to procrastinate on, so it ends up getting put off and put off. I was so proud to introduce a new volunteer handbook nearly a year later. Six years later, I feel the way I did about the manual I inherited with the beautiful handbook I created.

Our ministry has changed significantly in the past 18 months. We’ve integrated our kids and student programs in many different ways and we recruit, train and onboard our volunteers together, making our policy manual somewhat relevant to our kids volunteers and almost completely irrelevant to our student volunteers. It was time for a change.… Read the rest

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Rebranding our Kidmin

Posted on 05. Jan, 2015 by .


This year we launched a ministry rebrand at Gateway for NextGen. This has been a painfully slow process not because I’m so thoughtful and creative but because I absolutely hate coming up with new names for stuff. I never like anything and I don’t love just copying something else I heard. This has also taken a long time because I know that whatever we pick, we need to live with for a while. A lot of effort goes into getting people onboard with something new and my hope has been to launch with huge excitement. The last reason this has taken a while is because I’m in a bit of uncharted territory. We’ve integrated our kids and student ministry at Gateway on multiple levels. My title is NextGen Pastor and I lead a NextGen team. I’ve been wrestling over what part NextGen has to do with our rebranding process. I’ve asked dozens of people for input and looked at scores of ministries and we’ve come up with our plan that is 30% implemented.… Read the rest

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Why 2015 is going to be off the chart!

Posted on 04. Jan, 2015 by .


2014 was amazing, but 2015 is going to be a year like no other. I’ve got some pretty amazing things in the works that I’m really pumped about. I truly expect 2015 to be the best year yet – relationally, spiritually, vocationally and with my family. The last two years have been amazing. It was two years ago that I came back from Christmas break feeling that I needed to bring more focus to my role at Gateway. It’s not that I wasn’t already focused – but I did have a lot of irons in the fire. The focus led to two incredibly productive years where I’ve seen more wins/successes in all my years of ministry.

However, 2015 is going to be different. … Read the rest

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2014 – What a year!

Posted on 31. Dec, 2014 by .


In less than 12 hours, 2014 will come to a close. I’ll never forget this year. It was filled with both incredible difficulty and great joy/triumph.

2014 began with me sitting in a pretty difficult staffing position at my church. I had two full time positions and two part time positions still to fill. Fortunately, I had actually made connections with all the people who would fill these positions – even though it would take almost six more months to fill every position.

In addition to trying to get the staff positions filled, I felt like I was fighting to find the voice for kids, students and families at my church. As a leadership team, we had agreed that developing highly relevant ministries for kids, students and families was one of the top three priorities at Gateway, but very little had been done since the decision was made. I cried a lot of tears in 2014, both personally and in my managers office (no shame here). However, the struggle was worth it as I’ve seen 2014 as one of the most rewarding and productive years for ministry in all my life. … Read the rest

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