Archive for 'Fresh Ideas'
Posted on 22. May, 2013 by Kenny.
I absolutely love teaching. Teaching is one of my top spiritual gifts. Unfortunately I don’t get to do it nearly enough. There have been times though where I have received criticism from my teaching that I simply didn’t agree with. I’ve had people tell me that they thought I taught over the kids heads, teaching information that was too complicated. Yes, I probably push the boundaries a little, but as passionate as I am about teaching, I’m absolutely disgusted by our ability to bore kids at church. I push the limits of teaching over their heads only because the default is often to teaching down to kids. We’ve taught the same stories so many times, kids have lost the wonder and joy. I’ve always taken joy in presenting information in a way that challenges what they think is true, maybe even confusing them for a bit and thing bring resolution in a way to resolve the conflict in their minds.
A couple nights ago I was watching some TED talks on my phone while I was watering the grass in my front yard (everyone does that, right?). There was an amazing talk by Ramsey Musallam, a Chemistry Teacher at a Catholic School. It took a life-threatening incident to shake him out of what he calls pseudo-teaching. Now he has some very strong ideas about teaching students. If you teach/communicate within the church, this 6 minute video is worth watching.
The premise is that true understanding of material is much more likely if curiosity is provoked in the student. If we can engage their curiosity, then they will actively engage in the material, question it and explore it. He says that “Student questions are the seeds of real learning — not some scripted curriculum that gives them tidbits of random information.” He goes on to say that questions and curiosity are magnets that draw students to their teachers.
That leads us to the million dollar question. We spend most of our times with kids talking to kids and asking them questions. How do we create an environment where we turn the tables and get them to ask the questions. Ramsey goes on to say… “[If] we have the guts to confuse our students, perplex them, and evoke real questions … we as teachers have information that we can use to tailor robust and informed methods of blended instruction.”
The students questions are the seeds to real learning. How do you evoke curiosity and questions?
Posted on 15. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
Today, we had a slight emergency. It was a great reminder about how carful we need to be in so many aspects of Children’s Ministry.
Every Sunday, we provide snacks like Cheerios and Goldfish to our preschool kids. To save money, we usually buy generic. We’ve been buying the generic version of Cheerios from a local grocery store for a couple of years now. However, a long-term volunteer brought a grave concern to us today. He said, “are you aware that the cheerios we’re feeding the kids could be contaminated with peanuts?” He handed us the box and there it was.
For years, we’ve been unaware. Probably lucky though, we currently don’t have any kids who are crazy allergic to peanuts, but I’ve had kids in the past who were. There’s not even a guarantee that a kid with peanut allergies would be affected by this product, but it could happen. So, we quickly pulled all the boxes and ran to the store and grabbed the name brand boxes (after checking the fine print of course).
You can never be too careful. Read the fine print and hold safety as a top priority!
Posted on 09. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
When people walked on the campus, they were directed to the kid’s building if they had kids. Once they were greeted at the door, they had the opportunity to check in their younger kids (4 and under) into childcare and all others were pointed toward the “Journey through the Passion” orientation. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood what was going to happen this night, how to use the passport and what they needed to make sure they did in case they didn’t have time to do it all.
The orientation video was a four minute video with a 3 minute countdown on the front end. The first orientation began right at 5:00 (when the event started), meaning the orientation video began playing at 5:03. As soon as the video was over, families were escorted out the back of the building where they could access some of the stations while new families came into the orientation room through the front doors. We ran the orientation every 10 minutes from 5:00 until 7:20 (I think) so that even if a family came right near the end, they could at least visit one or two stations before everything shut down at 8:00.
Here’s the video:
Posted on 09. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
A little over a week ago, we hosted a Good Friday event for families at Gateway. It was amazing and I want to share how and what we did to pull it offer. First though, let me give you some of the background.
I’ve been at Gateway for just under 5 years and this is the third year since I’ve been at Gateway that we’ve done anything on Good Friday. They began with a Programing and Arts Director that came to Gateway just over three years ago. The first year, it was just a service. We offered children’s programing for kids up to 5th grade because the content in the service was too mature for kids. It was a great service and it felt good to be doing something for our people on Good Friday. Last year we made a switch to provide a “come and go” multi sensory experience. People arrived on the campus and were handed a map and a schedule and encouraged to hit as many things as they had time for. There was a service with communion. there was a space that showed short films, there was an art gallery, there was a room with prayer stations and there were displays with diagrams and replicas of the spikes and whips used on Jesus along with several other venues.
Last year, we pulled the trigger a little late for this Good Friday experience and didn’t have the time we would have like to plan a similar venues and events for kids/families. So, we had childcare up to age 4 and two scheduled events for families. It was okay. Because things were planned so late, I wasn’t even able to attend due to a prior engagement. However, the experience planted a seed to do something really significant this year… and that is what we did.
Posted on 02. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
Five years ago, I attended my very first Orange Conference only a week before I began my role as a NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church here in Austin, TX. I remember having a very brief conversation with Reggie Joiner the day after Orange and asking him about people in my role. At that point I only knew one other person who did what I was about to do. Reggie indicated that he wanted to do something for NextGen/Family Pastors, but there wasn’t a lot of development over the years.
Now, five years later, there’s some real momentum behind the NextGen/Family Pastor. I meet new people every couple of weeks who do what I do. I’m keeping a list now and I’ve got well over 50 on my list.… Read the rest
Posted on 28. Mar, 2013 by Kenny.
I love my church! This weekend we have an INCREDIBLE line up. It starts tomorrow night with “Embrace the Cross,” a Good Friday Experience This year though, we’ve gone to great lengths to create a Good Friday FAMILY Experience. It’s called “Journey through the Passion.” It’s an interactive, parent guided walk though Holy Week. We just can’t wait.
On Saturday, we’re hosting an “Egg-a-Palooza.” Essentially, we want as many families as possible to attend on Saturday night so we have plenty of room on Sunday… so we’re throwing a fun family party before our Saturday service. It’s going to be epic. I’ll post next week on what we did and how we pulled it off. Stay tuned.
Also, normally in Texas, I say to pray for rain… but on Friday and Saturday, pray it doesn’t rain.
Posted on 13. Mar, 2013 by Kenny.
At Gateway, we’ve been spending some time discussing work culture and debating the pros and cons. We really value flexibility as long as there is accountability. We outgrew our offices years ago. There are only a few lucky people who have an office to themselves, but even those days are numbered. I don’t think anyone is really advocating we build bigger offices, but how can we be more creative with the space we do have and how our staff works both in and out of the office. For us, many of our staff work offsite multiple days of the week. This kind of arrangement can always be a mixed bag. I thought I’d throw this conversation out to the community and see what your church culture looks like.… Read the rest
Posted on 15. Jan, 2013 by Kenny.
I don’t know how to write this blog post. I read something not too long ago and it really has me processing a lot of stuff. Mostly stuff as it relates to my own faith, the faith of my two children and eventually, the faith of the thousands of kids who are affected by my influence. I love to talk strategy, implementation and methodology, but my wife often warns me those things alone don’t change lives.
I feel like every one of us should constantly re-evaluate our own faith and guard against what faith often tends to drift to. Knowledge. Beliefs. Culture. Routine. Boring. Related to that, what kind of faith are we passing on to our kids?
Posted on 17. Dec, 2012 by Kenny.
Because of the events last week in Connecticut where innocent children were killed, most everyone who works with kids is thinking, “what if that happened in the place where I work?” If you haven’t had this thought, you should. We are charged to take our role as both physical and spiritual guardians very seriously and we should do everything we reasonably can to make our ministry environments a safe place for the kids who come.
So, before I write any more content on this subject and before you read any further, ask yourself this question. Where are the weak spots in your ministry? Where are the places that need to be shored up to keep your kids, families and volunteers safe. I’m crazy about safety and over the weekend, several areas came to mind, things we can do better or ways we can make our ministry area more secure. What comes to your mind?
Here’s the challenge. Take action on at least one thing this week. Bust it out and make it happen. It’s worth the effort and if it’s a public change, it communicates good things to parents.
Posted on 07. Dec, 2012 by Kenny.
You might have seen this on the news or via some other social media outlet. It’s gone viral for sure… and this house is near where I live, like within 5 or 6 miles. Yet, I don’t know where because they’ve not published their address. Challenge accepted! Before Christmas I plan to post my picture in front of this house!
UPDATE: I wrote this post while Sara was at the dentist. When she got home, I showed her the video and I told her that I wanted to find the house. Literally, within 3 minutes, she had an address for me. She’s a genius. So, we’re going to go find it this weekend!