Staff Retreat – Developing Mission, Vision and Goals

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 conference… but it was cancelled. So I found this place and made plans to retreat instead of going to a conference.  The strategy of the Purpose Driven model has helped me tremendously in ministry. Since I moved into my current position a year ago, I’ve made adjustments to ministry to reflect a more “purpose driven” strategy. Everyone has been on board for the most part; however, I wasn’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.  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. 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...

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I hired myself…. 6 times.

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 thing 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....

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The Multi-Site Advantage

  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...

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My Multi-Site Evaluation

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 or 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...

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My Multi-Site Journey

My new friend Dawn shot me an email asking me about what my church (being multi-site) is like. If you are closely involved in the multi-site movement, you would know that every one is different… kind of like snowflakes. My snowflake is Cross Timbers Community Church and it’s been a very cool ride for me, not without a few bumps along the way. I can say with complete confidence is that we are different from a lot of other multi-sites, but even more so, we’ve been evolving since this trip started. Let me explain my journey… Just a few years ago I was the children’s pastor at a large Southern Baptist church in southern Indiana. It was my first full time gig and I was definitely growing. My church didn’t exactly fit the mold ot the traditional Baptist Church, but it was by no means cutting edge (not always a bad thing). While at a conference, I picked up a book called Beyond the Box and it rocked my world. I knew at that moment that I wanted more… I wanted to be a part of an innovative church. I called it a next-level church. What really struck me was the multi-site model for ministry. I loved it and thought it would be so great to work in that kind of environment.  Well, within a year and opportunity came for...

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Children’s Ministry org chart

This post is in response both to a series of post from the “Just Pudge” blog (post 1, post 2 and post 3) and in response to the work I’ve been doing to get ready for a staff retreat I’m leading in a week. We’ve covering some foundational basics of our ministry such as mission, vision as well as developing some job descriptions, processes and the like. One of the projects I’ve been working on is actually putting together the organization chart so everyone can visualize where everyone fits into this great ministry. Some of my staff feels overwhelmed and overworked. I have a feeling that this organizational chart will show why… some of the staff are filling slots that should be filled by volunteers in this organization. So in the end, staff is overworked and volunteers are under-developed. I believe in the philosophy that ministry should be given away and our ultimate goal should be to work ourselves out of a job (theoretically… ha!). Ultimately, if my staff decided to all take a vacation on one Sunday (which they are not allowed to do), ministry should go on! So, at my upcoming staff retreat I’ll be sharing what our organization looks like so they can see what is expected as well as how to find and develop volunteers.  Because we have two services a weekend (on my campus) we...

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Calculated Risk

In less than two months, I’ll be a father. Finally. For over ten years of ministry I’ve often gotten strange looks from parents or fellow leaders as a result of some plans or programs. Occasionally they would actually say, “one day, when you’re a parent, you’ll do these things differently.I know my life is about to change. I know everything is about to be different. But I’m really anxious to see if I’m really going to do some of these things differently. I’m not rebellious by any means. If anything, I’ve always been more of a people-pleaser. But sometimes when I get these strange looks and comments about not understanding, it drives me to want to really mix things up. Risk is what prompted the writing of this post. Sometimes I do things in children’s ministry that isn’t expected… sometimes I wish I took more. The first time I ever held a lock-in, I didn’t make the kids lay down until 4:00 AM. I took the kids to a bowling ally and I had kindergartners glow-bowling at 12:30 AM. I think there’s nothing funnier than having a 6 year-old look at you with bright eyes and exclaim, “I’ve never been up this late before!” No one ever told me that I had to have the kids down by 11:00 PM. Heck, that’s when I usually start the scavenger hunt. I...

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Sometimes they do listen… and remember

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...

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