I went to Ikea yesterday. Since my church office flooded last month, a lot of our furniture needed to be replaced. My office is not big enough for the desk, credenza and bookshelf setup if I want to have a place to meet with people as well. So, I decided to follow the Cross Timbers’ way and set up my office like a living room. I figured Ikea was the best place to find furniture that would work with my limited space. What a cool strore. This was my second time to visit Ikea. They have three here in Texas. One in Frisco (north of Dallas) and one in Round Rock (near Austin) and one in Houston. I noticed something interesting the first time I visited the store, but it really got me laughing this time. The trademark of Ikea is that they sell stylish and inexpensive furniture to maximize space. If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ll notice that city living means cramped living. It’s very fun to sit in the display environments at Ikea and imagine what it would be like to live in 250 square feet. On our first visit, my wife and I sat in that display and evaluated whether we would have to get rid of Francie (our 65 pound chocolate lab). What cracks me up about Ikea is that Texas is the last...Read More
Author: Kenny Conley
I wrote yesterday about utilizing your website for communication purposes. It’s an incredibly effective method to communicate to visitors as well as regulars/members. If you make it simple and neat (ideal for all, especially visitors) and up to date with fresh information, you’ll have a great tool. If not, people may visit your page once, but rarely again. Today I want to focus on the idea of using your website as a tool for communication where your audience can communicate back to you… and I’m not just talking about providing a link to your email. I know some churches are using FellowshipOne software which I used to use (don’t ask). They have the weblink component which is absolutely marvelous! Whether you just want to poll people, sign up for an event, or have people pay online… you can do it through weblink. For those of us who don’t have FellowshipOne, there is still hope! As much as possible, I try to include online forms and registrations where people can respond immediately. Why have someone download an application for camp, VBS or whatever and then leave it to them to fill it out and mail it in when they could just do it right then. On the flip side, why would you want to take hand-written registrations and forms and then do the “data entry” thing for your records when...Read More
This is the first I’ve heard of this! I know, many of you out there are mac heads… but you have to admit that this is pretty stinkin’ amazing. Honestly, I assumed that Apple would have come up with something like this first. Check out the last video (far right) where people are paying their bill via credit card on the table…...Read More
I know, totally boring title! However, this is a topic I’m very passionate about. I feel that if you’re not using the internet to communicate with your church… then you are behind the eight-ball (unless you live in a community that is not tech savvy at all… but those are becoming more and more rare). Nearly every church has a website. Regardless if it is pretty or not, is your content up to date, or did you write it 4 years ago when the site launched. Up until about 6 months ago, the church I worked at over 3 years ago still has a page that I wrote when I first got there in 2000. The page described activities that kids could do on Wednesday nights… activities that I had ended shortly before I left. The funny thing is that the website went through 2 re-designs, but the bad content survived. First of all I want to offer to suggestions to those who have a church/children’s minsitry website or are planning to launch one: Simple and neat is the way to go. Your website needs to make logical sense and be easy to navigate. Can a visitor find everything necessary within just a few minutes. There is nothing wrong with supplying your ministry philosophy, core values and policy manual… but just attach them on a page as pdf files...Read More
A few weeks ago I took my staff on a retreat. We rented a great lake house on Lake Travis just outside of Austin, Texas. Initially I was taking the team to the PDCM conferenceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but it was cancelled. So I found this place and made plans to retreat instead of going to a conference. Ã‚ The strategy of the Purpose Driven model has helped me tremendously in ministry. Since I moved into my current position a year ago, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve made adjustments to ministry to reflect a more Ã¢â‚¬Å“purpose drivenÃ¢â‚¬Â strategy. Everyone has been on board for the most part; however, I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t completely convinced that everyone understood why. This is the reason why I planned to take everyone to Saddleback. So when the conference was cancelled, I decided that we would watch 2 or 3 sessions from a past PDCM conference, and talk it out and make it reality for our church. Ã‚ One of the biggest things I wanted to come home with was a vision statement, mission statement and a list of values for our ministry.Ã‚ I know (from personal experience) how easy it is to get so busy with ministry that you never take the time to back up and develop mission and vision. I have felt a burden to get these things done. It can be challenging to lead a volunteer meeting when you...Read More
Okay, that’s an exaggeration. I didn’t hire all of my staff (some were inherited). But, 4 out of the 6 people who work with me in CT Kids all have the same personality as me. For many years I’ve been a big fan of the Myers Briggs personality test. For all kinds of staff trainings, I’ve given this test to my team. Now there are all kinds of personality tests out there, but this is by far my favorite. It seems to go a step beyond the others as it divides the population into 16 different personality types. Click here to take the test and click hereto learn more about it. I’ve often found it helpful to take as a group as it shows how different temperaments can work together and how teams can avoid conflict by better understanding they way everyone is designed. I know it’s helped me show a lot more grace to those who often frustrated me. It’s part of understanding the unique way that God has designed us. A few weeks ago I took my staff on a retreat. The first thingÃ‚Â I did was have everyone sit around and take this personality test. My personality is ENFJ, which makes up only about 5% of the poplulation. I remember taking this test for the first time while I was an intern of a large missions organization....Read More
With great excitement I’m embarking on a great new ministry for kids at Cross Timbers. This July I’ll be taking a team of 40 to Mexico on a missions trip. Although mission trips to Mexico are about a common as Baptist Churches in the South, the unique element of SURGE is that we’re taking 4th and 5th graders. Honestly, my idea to take 10 and 11 year olds out of the country isn’t because I’m a risk-taking junkie (although some adults may think from the way I run lock-ins). Actually the idea to begin SURGE was birthed in me almost 5 years ago. Having done extensive short-term missions work, there is no doubt I have a heart for the lost, especially the unreached. My passion for missions has undoubtedly influenced my ministry to kids (all the kids are very familiar with T.H.U.M.B. and the 10/40 window). I know that God calls some to full-missions even as young as children… but the opportunities are very rare. Last of all, I know that a mission trip experience can be like Miracle Grow for a young person’s faith as well as an excellent opportunity to plant a vision for world missions. So I concocted a plan for outreach and missions for 3rd-5th graders. First of all, SURGE would be directly connected to our Small Group ministry. This will be for kids who...Read More
Ã‚Â Okay, I know that sounded really demanding. Also I know that school is almost out (two more days in my neck of the woods). However, this needs to be said. If allowed, every children’s pastor needs too be in the schools of the kids they serve. About two years ago I made a commitment to bring lunch to every 3-5th grader who was in small groups. It has been a challenge to bring lunch to 50+ kids in just 12 weeks. However, the investment pays off so big! Usually when having lunch with one of my kids, they invite 2 or 3 friends from their class to sit a the visitor table. At some schools, I actually get to sit atÃ‚Â the classroom table. Since all the kids are curious about who I am, the kid I’m visiting explains that I am Mr. Kenny and the proceed to tell everyone about their church. How great is that? I’ve heard Craig Jutilia of Saddleback (previously) say many times that it is in the relationship department where we’ll find our biggest wins (our secular competitors will usually beat us in the programming department). Hanging out a kid at lunch advances me forward light years in my relationship with that kid. In addition, I begin forming new relationships with all the friends, making it that much easier for the kids to invite their...Read More
Ã‚Â Sorry, I still have multi-site on the brain. I was thinking about my last two posts all weekend and felt that I needed to emphasize the last few sentences of my most recent post. This was the thing that I found so beautiful and so powerful about multi-site kids ministry. Anyone who pastors kids knows that it is a lot of work. Many hours go into it. Now tell me if you don’t think this is true, but I believe that whether you lead 50 kids or 500 kids, you’re doing the same amount of work. Okay, I did exaggerate a little. With 500 kids, you will have more work because there are more volunteers to oversee and more resources to purchase and organize. However, the core tasks remain the same no matter how many kids you have in your ministry. It’s going to take the same number of hours to prepare you lesson for elementary. Four kids, forty kids… who cares, you still have to write the lesson that is unbiased to attendance. Same goes for Preschool Same goes for summer camp, outreach events and the like. To be honest, it’s not really fair. Because I have 500-700 kids attend on a weekend, I have 3 full time staff, 1 intern and 3 part timers. However, the CP at the newest campus runs 170-225 and he’s all...Read More
Okay, my last post was getting too long and I hadn’t even gotten to my honest evaluation. So, I decided to add a separate post of my evaluation. I’ve been intimately involved in a multi-site church for about 18 months on various levels of leadership. In addition, our style of multi-site leadership has changed over the past 18 months. So, this evaluation is simply my honest opinion based on my experiences. As a children’s pastor for a lot of years, I kind always felt a little isolated. In the early years when I was doing it part time or full time by myself, it was difficult to find time to network with others… or sometimes even find people to network with. I don’t know if it was just me, but a lot of my network attempts were very awkward. Again, maybe this was just me, but I sometimes felt I was being evaluated orÃ‚Â coached by others from larger ministries and those from smaller ministries tended to be on a defensive. I just found it hard to just relax and just enjoy being with others who served kids like me (it may have just been my area too, since I’ve been to conferences and have had no problems with this). However, regardless of the awkward unions, many times different churches approach ministry from different philosophies that it is hard to...Read More
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