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Parent-Child Relational & Spiritual Engineer

Posted on 30. Jul, 2014 by .

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You like that? It’s my new title. I’m having business cards made as we speak. In a few weeks we’re going to re-brand our Children’s Ministry the Parent-Child Relational & Spiritual Center or PCRSC for short. Pretty awesome, right?

Okay, maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m not changing my title either. I might have lied about those business cards too.

So, what was all this about? Well, I’m trying to make a point. … Read the rest

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Why I need more sleep

Posted on 29. Jul, 2014 by .

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Earlier today I wrote about rest. One of my points was about how I tend to neglect sleep. Here’s how bad it has gotten:

  • At times I’ve worn it as a badge of honor. I’d kinda brag about how I’d only gotten three hours of sleep the night before working on some project, hoping to get some special recognition.
  • I was known as the guy who would send you an email sometime after midnight. I kinda became self-conscious about it and would often draft emails to have them send early in the morning so that it looked like I got  and early start as opposed to staying up so late.
  • I could go on, but you get the point.

Just a few hours after writing the post from this morning, my wife came across this video: … Read the rest

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Rest

Posted on 29. Jul, 2014 by .

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Disclaimer: I realize that this post is a little biased. Just account for that as you read though… although I may be writing truth, it’s easy to say when you’re in the position I’m in.

It’s impossible to over-estimate the value of rest in a person life.

I’ll admit it, I’m a work-a-holic. I love my work. I love to work. I find myself working when I’m supposed to be resting because I get lost in the excitement or intrigue. It’s incredibly healthy to have a job that you love and to love working, but having boundaries is so significant.

Here’s where things get unhealthy:

I neglect sleep.… Read the rest

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Jesus loves your ministry more than you do

Posted on 28. Jul, 2014 by .

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After leading children’s ministry for almost 20 years, I’ve learned something very significant that is sometimes easy to forget. Chaotic and hectic can become the norm and you find yourself saying, “things should slow down soon” but you know that they never do. Stress mounts and we find ourselves on the verge of a mental/emotional meltdown… and this just describes a typical Monday. That would be funny if it wasn’t so close to being true.

Here’s a reminder for you: Jesus loves your ministry more than you do.

Relax. Take a breath and think about that for a few minutes.

In over 15 years of ministry leadership, I’ve spoken the words, “I don’t know how this is going to work” more times that I’d like to admit.… Read the rest

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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, not 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.… Read the rest

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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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