One thing I am very passionate about is keeping track of kids who attend my church. Over 6 years ago I listened to tape of Jim Wideman talking about the importance of tracking kids. He equated tracking attendance to shepherding your flock. I immediately felt guilty. My church tracked numbers more so than it did individuals, so I ended up buying a cheap attendance program that would allow me to keep track of my kids. Because my church was not bought in to the idea of the tracking I wanted to do, it ended up being a lot more work for me and I din’t really achieve what I wanted. Several years back, I relocated to a church in Texas and was part of the process of implementing Fellowship One as our ChMS. I was thrilled as this was exactly what would help me do what I wanted to do. Within a month or so, I had some reports tweaked that cranked out the data I needed. Every Monday morningÃ‚Â I had reports on what kids had been missing for 3, 6 and 9 weeks, kids who were first time, second time and third time visitors as well as kids who were having birthdays that week. With a few tricked-out excel macros, I could push a few buttons and within minutes I had labels that volunteers could stick on pre-printed/age...Read More
Author: Kenny Conley
The Villages of Ziga The tiny bike path we followed seemed to wind on forever, especially since the landscape didn’t vary. The rocky, sandy terrain, and especially the small knobby bushes were pretty hard on my little pickup’s tires and I worried since I had 400 presents inÃ‚Â the back weighing me down.Ã‚Â But we finally began to see kids pointing toward us calling out “nassara, nassara!” (white person) and we knew we were close. Sure enough, just a head we saw some of the houses: small mud-brick buildings, the metal roofs gleaming in the hot sun, and a bit further, the small school. This village is called Soubeira, and the population is 80% Muslim. As we pull up, we see the fathers and the village elders wearing the traditional Muslim clothes: the long “boo-boo” and the small woven cap. We setup, perform the Gospel drama and present the Good News about Jesus. For nearly everyone there, this is the first time they are hearing about Jesus in a way they can really understand. The children are in wonder at the drama and are nodding their heads during the Gospel message. When asked, nearly all raise their hands to receive Jesus as Lord. The Muslim parents look pensive, their eyebrows furrowed. We distribute the gifts to all the children amidst wild cheers and joy. We thank the school directors...Read More
37 Signals is a Web 2.0 company that has several really cool products on the market. As a Web 2.0 company, all their products are online applications. This one in particular is no exception. It’s called Ta-Da Lists. What does it do? Well, simply put, it’s just a to-do list. That’s it, nothing else. I know, I’ve been to the leadership and time management courses that rebel against the idea of to-do lists. Honestly, I can’t really remember what the reasoning way, something about relating to projects with vision and mission rather than tasks. I guess I can see where they’re coming from, but when I’m running to pick up some stuff at the supermarket, I’ve got a list. If I attempt to conquer my grocery store visit with mission and vision in mind, I’ll be going back later for the eggs. Here’s the skinny. You can sign up for a free account (they’re all free) and create lists. You can have a grocrey list, a honey do list, an agenda for your next staff meeting list… whatever you want. In addition, you can share your lists with others. You might share your honey-do list with your spouse, share your agenda list with your staff or your christmas list with you momma! When you share, others can then add or complete items for the lists you shared with them....Read More
Last night I laughed out loud! From about 9:30 until 11:30, I watched over 30 online registrations come in for an upcoming Lock-In. The deadline was Wednesday and my intention was to pull down the registration at midnight. For about 30 minutes, a registration was hitting my email every two minutes. On Thursday morning I had 2 or 3 emails from forlorn parents begging for mercy as they had missed the deadline. Why do they always wait until the last minute? Ã‚Â One thing I have learned in over ten years of children’s ministry is that many parents will wait until the last minute. For some it may be procrastination and others it may be the whirlwind of life that comes with having multiple kids. Either way, I know I’ve griped about the eleventh hour rush. The knowledge my experience has given me is this: I can’t change this from happening. So, rather than gripe, I’ve come up with a few techniques that have been such a time saver. Ã‚Â **** Let me preface something first. All that I’m saying here is said in the spirit of serving. The only reason I do these events is to serve kids and families. These techniques are not methods to frustrate parents because I’m mad that they wait until the last minute, but tools to help my staff and me to save time so...Read More
Okay, this hasn’t much to do with Children’s ministry, but was so funny. The Sutent Pastor at on our Keller, TX campus sent this to me a month ago. The best laugh I’d had in a very long time. Click on the pictures to see the actual...Read More
Sometimes in the moment of any particular weekend, doubts of my effectiveness and usefulness creep in. Sometimes as I’m finding difficulty making a connection as I’m teaching or the kids seem to be very distracted, I really wonder what I could have done to have avoided this situation. Fortunately, I carry with me a certain knowledge that has given me confidence in these moments of self-doubt. This knowledge is something my children’s pastor passed on to me as I was beginning my role as a children’s pastor. Mr. Randy, who in my mind wrote the book on children’s ministry, shared how on many occasions he would sit in his car long after church let out and just weep. He’d weep over why the kids didn’t connect, why they were so distracted or why they totally missed the point. Hearing this from the man who shaped much of who I am as a believer and a pastor has helped me deal with the weekends I’d like to do-over. Now, when faced with tough weekends, I still mourn the lost connections and missed points. But instead of over-internalizing, I make note of what I can try to do better and then move on facing the new week ahead. Ultimately, I was obedient in my calling to teach and I did what was expected of me to share. I have to trust...Read More
God spoke to me last night. You’re reading this right now (if anyone is reading this) because God spoke to me last night! It was very late and I was jumping around the web, reading various articles and blogs on Children’s Ministry. Usually I’m surfing the web doing research and looking for fresh ideas, but last night I was more obsessed with finding out who was blogging all things children’s ministry. There were definitely more bloggers than I expected to find, but certainly not enough. I went to be determined that I was going to start blogging right away. The first email I sent out this morning was to my church communications director and my fellow children’s pastors (I’m at a multi-site church). I told them that as soon as possible, I wanted to launch a children’s ministry blog as a resource to parents. We had just talked the day before about more dynamic content on our website, such as letters from the children’s pastors every week. With the three of us contributing on a regular basis, we could provide a great deal of information for the parents we served. Inspired from my web surf the night before, all I knew was that I needed to start blogging right away. I asked my fellow children’s pastors to hold me accountable to begin and maintain a consistent schedule of writing....Read More
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