On sabbaticals and further life-changing events

It’s been a quite summer for the Conley family. I celebrated my first seven years at Gateway Church with a two month sabbatical. Those who follow me on Instagram probably wondered how long my “vacation” was going to last. Let me just say this. If you can arrange for your organization to offer sabbaticals – DO IT! My sabbatical has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Essentially, it was a giant hug from my church saying “thank for for all your hard work.” It has been a huge investment into me and my family,...

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Why 2015 is going to be off the chart!

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...

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Jingle Jam 2014 at Gateway Church

Here is the video of the live broadcast from our Jingle Jam Christmas service. The video is actually all four shows from that day, in case you’re wondering why our Jingle Jam was four and a half hours long. Enjoy! Oh, and did we do an opener from the hit movie Frozen? Yes we...

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Best Christmas Ever!

Okay, we’ve done a lot of incredible Christmas programs at Gateway over the years – and some of them have been HUGE. Huge in the scale of 8-12 performances with close to 10,000 people in attendance. We’d go into the holidays exhausted – but proud of what we we able to pull off. Yesterday though, we hosted a very different Christmas experience that was a lot smaller and simpler – but what I feel was the best we’ve done. I know I’m biased, but here are my reasons: This Christmas experience was far easier to pull off than previous years....

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Child Dedication: When you can connect the dots

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about child dedication. Click here to see pages and pages of Child Dedication thoughts and ideas. However, I thought I’d say something about the process and event since it’s been a few years since I’ve written about the event. We’ve only made some minor changes in the last few years, but I’m feeling the itch to re-invent and refresh a little. Hopefully I’ll process much of this here so the greater kidmin community can both help me and benefit from my process at the same time. We held a child dedication just...

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Your best connection to families

I’d like to wrap up this conversation of rethinking family ministry with what I believe is a church’s best opportunity to impact families. It’s not a curriculum or a program. It’s not an event or a seminar. It’s actually not something your staff or key leadership will do at all. The secret weapon isn’t what most people expect, including the people who have potential to make the biggest impact. If you buy into this idea, you’ll find that building a healthy family ministry might be less work than you anticipated because it doesn’t involve starting something new because you’ll just be...

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More might be better than new

We’re almost done with this week of rethinking family ministry. Already we’ve talked about really understanding who our family audience is and this controversial idea of lowering the bar for parents. Today’s idea is connected to the other two… especially the idea of lowering the bar. Launching a Family Ministry resource that didn’t cost me any time or money We started using 252 Basics and My First Look at Gateway almost seven years ago. It was an excellent move for us as it helped us bolster a change to small groups. However, about two years in we moved away...

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Lowering the bar for parents

So we’re talking about rethinking family ministry. Perhaps family ministry isn’t what we thought it is or maybe we’re not seeing families for who they really are. Family Ministry is new on the block and there are some great new resources and ideas that seem like the answer… but what if they aren’t – or at least not completely. Here’s the deal. For decades (or longer), the answer for children’s evangelism/discipleship was to let the church handle it. There are aspects of the family ministry model that has swung the pendulum all the way back the other way. This view...

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The new normal family

Yesterday I launched this idea of rethinking family ministry because I think that what first comes to mind when we ministry leaders think families for family ministry might not be completely accurate, strategic or as impactful. I’m biased and I didn’t even know it I remember a conversation I was having in a leadership staff meeting over ten years ago. We were talking about the large numbers of families in our church that were blended. I remember going on and on for a few minutes about how it’s hard for me to get my head around what that kind of family...

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Rethinking family ministry

Isn’t everyone doing family ministry now? It’s such a popular thing to talk about among ministry circles. The family ministry breakouts at conferences are packed and ministry people want to know what others are doing to better serve families. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better place for the church to be – engaging families with renewed energy. However, I think it might serve many of us to rethink family ministry. Here’s what I mean by that. I think that when when the phrase “family ministry” comes up, certain things come to mind. Mom, dad, and 2.5 kids Parenting classes...

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