Leading a NextGen meeting: the Agenda

Posted on 07. May, 2014 by .

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Last week at Orange, I led a breakout called "Aligning Your NextGen Team." A big portion of this breakout was unpacking concepts around leading meetings. One of the best ways to align a team is to meet frequently. Last year at Orange, I led a breakout just on leading meetings. This has been a fun journey for me because 18-24 months ago, I was amazing at leading terrible meetings. After a lot of research, learning from others and implementing some great ideas, I now lead good meetings and sometimes they're really great. Maybe one day they'll be fantastic! One of the most important components to a good meeting is having an agenda.

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What questions do you have?

Posted on 29. Apr, 2014 by .

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One of the best things I've learned from my friend and mentor Jim Wideman is the art of asking questions. I've learned that he is always asking questions and he has an expectation that other people are asking questions of him. The quickest way to disappoint him is to spend an hour with him and not asking anything. I learned how the art of asking questions can completely transform your conference going experience. This week I'll be at the Orange conference where over 6000 of the greatest leaders in ministry will be in one place. Sure, I'll learn a lot by just being there. General sessions, breakouts and conversations along the way will be very informative, but if you think about it this is a very passive way to learn at a conference. A very important discipline is to ask yourself the question, "what do I want to learn this week? What answers or solutions do I need?" Chances are, the answers you're looking for are everywhere around you, you just have to ask.

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Introducing #iamnextgen

Posted on 28. Apr, 2014 by .

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This week is my sixth Orange Conference. I look forward to this event every year for many reasons and it seems like the reasons change every year. In past years it been because of strategy I was hoping to learn. In other years it was the community I was looking to experience. Last year it was the answers to two or three critical questions. This year it's a totally new reason. This year I'm filled with excitement about the NextGen/Family Ministry networking that will be taking place. Last year Orange took a step toward connecting this group of people through a breakout track. This year Orange is taking a giant leap into NextGen networking. There will be ample opportunities to NextGen/Family Ministry leaders to connect, learn and grow from one another. There are very specific breakouts, networking parties, conversation opportunities and more. There are even more opportunities in the works for this community after Orange... very cool. Six years ago when I attended Orange for the first time, I was just starting my role at Gateway as the NextGen Pastor. I only knew of 3-4 people who were in a similar role. Now there are hundreds and I know there is so much we're going to be able to learn from one another. Since the NextGen Pastor doesn't really have a place to connect, this week I'm launching a place for the conversation to live. This week you'll see the birth of #iamnextgen. If you want to connect to others in this role and take part in the ongoing conversation about all things NextGen/Family Ministry, tweet and follow the hashtag #iamnextgen.

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Large Group Programing Excellence

Posted on 23. Apr, 2014 by .

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This last year we made some significant changes to the way we teach elementary kids on Sunday morning. We went from a team of 10-12 that covered production in two environments for three services to a team of nearly 40 for a well-executed service in one environment for three services. It has been a game changer. However, when we were getting ready to launch, it was very difficult to find any video resources that showed what a highly executed elementary service could look like. I contacted several churches and no one had any kind of video, which is funny to me. Since we relaunched in January, I've recorded the service every week. This week, the folks over at Seeds released the Kids on the Move: LIVE service they performed at the Seeds conference. In years past, I've thoroughly enjoyed watching the services the've recorded. Church on the Move does kidmin programing at a level that is unattainable for 95% of most churches, but they certainly are inspiring. There's always something to learn from watching what they do. Check out their most recent video release below.

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A new check-in comes to town

Posted on 09. Apr, 2014 by .

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Last night someone sent me a link to the video posted below. I had no idea this was coming, but I'm very excited about it. Planning Center Online, the creators of the absolute best service planning software has just launched check-in software. Honestly, I wasn't expecting this but I think that this could be a game changer. I found Planning Center Online shortly after it came out. I personally didn't have a need for it as I wasn't planning services in a way that the software would help me. However, I was intrigued by how it scheduled volunteers. I exchanged emails with one of the developers making suggestions on how this software could be modified to help manage volunteers in a Children's Ministry context. At that point, it assumed that the same set of volunteers would serve for multiple services on a weekend. Since then they have modified their software to allow you to schedule volunteers for multiple services with an "evite" type feel.

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Easter Resources: Mini movies, videos and countdowns

Posted on 26. Mar, 2014 by .

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Okay, Easter is only 26 days away now... you better get busy. Yesterday I shared a bunch of free (and links to high quality paid) graphics and slides to enhance your Easter experience. Today, I'd like to share some incredible media that could enhance your Easter services in a major way. The resources I've gathered below are from Worship House Media and Worship House Kids. There are literally hundreds of other resources on their respective sites. It's a great time to be in ministry, so many great resources to choose from. The Son Rose Theatrical "trailer" for your Easter service. Very high energy, intense scoring and a good recap of the Easter story. Would be a great addition to an older elementary audience. Son of Man A very powerful and well animated wordless mini movie that recaps the final days of Jesus. The movie artistically connects events from Jesus' ministry with the final moments before his crucifixion. I really love this video. It goes on to tell the story all the way until his ascension to heaven... but the video could probably be faded out if you wanted to end it with the resurrection.

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The Desk

Posted on 25. Mar, 2014 by .

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Last night, Chris Parker, the student pastor at Gateway wrote a blog post that totally inspired me and I knew that I had to write this post today. When I first took the job at Gateway six years ago, a reference told me that one of the "negatives" about Gateway was the office space. There just wasn't enough. Many years later, we're an even larger staff with the same amount of space. About a year ago, a decision was made to radically transform the offices. The idea was to transition to a highly collaborative office space. The private offices on the perimeter of the building would be shared or even general office space for meetings and the cube farm in the middle would be divided up into larger working spaces with couches and tables. I was one of those lucky few who had a private office. It wasn't a big office, but I could close the door and be in my own world all day. However, when I heard about the transition, I put my finger on the largest space and said, "Can I have half of this room, I want to bring my entire team together?"

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Easter Resources: Graphics & Slides

Posted on 25. Mar, 2014 by .

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Easter is 27 days away. Do you know what you're doing yet? Do you need some help? Looking for some resources to enhance the plan you're trying to execute? It's good to know that we don't always have to re-invent the wheel. There are others who have been in your shoes and have created beautiful resources and have made them available for free and for purchase. This week I'm going to connect you to some incredible Easter resources. There is still plenty of time, so hopefully some of these resources will meet your needs!

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I fell in love with Texas all over again

Posted on 24. Mar, 2014 by .

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I just wrapped up a two week vacation and it was marvelous. After the intense Fall and winter, two full weeks of disconnect have been much needed. The only agenda I had for this time off was a week away with my family followed by a week of yard projects that would take an entire week. I've been living in Texas for just under ten years and they have been (almost) ten glorious years. Sara and I actually have our "move date to Texas" as a reoccurring date on our calendar and we celebrate annually. I don't know what it takes to be a "Texan" or to say that one is from "Texas," but I'm very proud to live in the state.

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Make it Clear: Follow the Frog

Posted on 20. Mar, 2014 by .

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A couple of days ago I came across the following video. With over 3 million views, you may or may not have seen it, but you'll love it. This is a funny video, but it PERFECTLY illustrates a key principle of the book Switch, a book all about change. The concept is "If you want people to change, you must provide crystal clear direction." The illustration used in switch is how two college professors tried to encourage a change in public health in a West Virginia city. Getting healthy is about a vague as you can imagine. Everyone has their own opinions of what getting healthy looks like or consists of. The two professors decided to attack local unhealthiness through milk.

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