Create a safer place

Posted on 09. Mar, 2014 by .

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One of the very best things we can do in our ministries is to create a safe place for kids when they’re with us. Yes, we want environments where kids can have conversation in confidence when that is needed, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Our actual environments need to be safe. We have to have a place where parents know and feel that their kids will be happy and whole when they come back to pick them up.

I wrote a post a few weeks about about this very issue, but from a slightly different perspective on the Lead Small Blog. Yes, if our environments aren’t safe, families won’t come back. We all get that. But sometimes perception is reality. You may have a safe environment and your volunteers might follow all the procedures, but there is a perception issue that is going to trip up some of your families. It’s important to recognize that our culture is becoming more and more skeptical and what may have worked five years ago doesn’t anymore.

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Heavenly Adventures: Tracking the ISS

Posted on 08. Mar, 2014 by .

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Here’s a totally random but potentially useful idea to use in your kidmin.

A little over a week ago, I took my family on a really cool adventure. I’d come across a website that shows you when and where to look to spot the International Space Station. No, really. You tell the website where you are and it tells you when you’ll be able to see it. It will tell you where in the sky it will enter your view and where in the sky it will leave. It will also tell you how long you’ll be able to see it.

To really make this an adventure, we drove almost three hours away to Enchanted Rock… a famous outcropping of granite in the Texas Hill Country that would give us a completely unobstructed view of the night sky. We got to the top of the rock about 15 minutes before the scheduled sighting. When the time came, we were not disappointed. It was the brightest light in the night sky and for the next four minutes, we watched it zoom across the night sky. We then hiked down the small mountain in the darkness which only added to the adventure.

So, what does that have to do with kidmin?

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My secret for super-productivity

Posted on 07. Mar, 2014 by .

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A few years ago I did something unintentionally that has probably allowed me to be far more productive than I ever thought possible. Seriously, it was the easiest thing ever. It took all of 2 minutes and it’s still paying off 5 years later. Are you ready for this, it could change your life too?

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Stop “doing your own thing”

Posted on 06. Mar, 2014 by .

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I recently came across this blog post. Yes, it’s written to the student ministry audience, but it could just have easily been written to the kidmin community. For whatever reason, those of us in kidmin just love writing curriculum. I’m not sure what our reasons are. I say “us” and “our” because I spent the first several years of ministry writing much of the curriculum I taught. Granted, this was in a time where there were also very few options… not today when there are so many options for every kind of ministry genre.

Seriously, read the post, “The problem with ‘We do our own thing.’”

I want to point out the three main points of why you shouldn’t write your own curriculum:

  • It’s arrogant to write everything.
  • Curriculum is cheap, your time isn’t.
  • It communicates isolation when your students long for connection.
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Where is your office?

Posted on 05. Mar, 2014 by .

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The work environment is rapidly changing, even in the church. I live in Austin, which is a major tech city and it seems like many of my friends/peers no longer work (or have to work) in traditional offices. Many work exclusively from home or a combination of home and a local office. Even some who work in an office work with a team from all over the country. The days of a traditional office are over.

Several months ago, Gateway made a pretty significant transition in office culture. For years, we’ve not had enough office space. With a small farm of cubes in addition to small offices, everyone was super crowded. As we continued to grow the staff, things continued to get more uncomfortable. Then we realized something.

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Why children’s ministry should matter in your church

Posted on 04. Mar, 2014 by .

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Yesterday I had heard that Perry Noble, the pastor of Newspring Church in South Carolina, had started a message series focusing on kids and the next generation. While driving yesterday, I listened to the audio of the message given last Sunday, “The Hunger Games: This is how we change the world (part 1).”

I’ve been following Perry Noble for many years. He’s a senior pastor who’s crazy passionate about reaching people who are far from God, and he’s a little crazy. What I love about him the most is that he’s a senior pastor who really believes in ministry to the next generation. I’m not saying he’s a pastor who says the next generation is important, but doesn’t fund or support the ministry as much as the generational staff feel they need. No, Perry is a champion of kids and student ministry. He invests HEAVILY and he even get’s confrontational about how significant investing in kids and student is.

This message is a home run. What would happen if every church believed in investing in the Next Generation as described in this message? What would happen if every senior leader championed the kids and student programs at their church like it really could change the world? Well, it might actually change the world.

Watch/Listen here: Hunger Games: This Is How We Change the World (Part 1)

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Teens, tweens and social media addiction

Posted on 03. Mar, 2014 by .

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A few months ago I read an article in Wired magazine that was quite shocking. The article is based on a book, “It’s complicated, the social lives of networked teens” by Danah Boyd. We all know that teenagers are overly connected to their electronic devices. Between twitter, instagram, snapchat and texting, they seem to always be glued to their devices. We’d even go so far to say that they’re addicted to their devices.

However, that’s not the view of this book/article. They suggest that teens/tweens aren’t addicted to their social devices, they’re addicted to each other. They spend so much time on social media because they usually don’t have any other way to connect. The suggestion is that if parents gave their kids more freedom, kids would be less connected to their social devices. It’s an interesting idea and worth exploring. More than ever, we’re more protective of our kids and we have them busier that any generation before. What if our kids had more time and more freedom to be together?

Check out the full article here.

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Here are your clergy tax options

Posted on 02. Mar, 2014 by .

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Because you’re in ministry, you’re taxes are more complicated. You have a housing allowance, you may or may not have exempted out of social security and for various reasons, every church processes the taxes of their pastors differently (I know from personal example). You have have had taxes down at your last church, but now you’re totally confused.

Most of you only have a couple of tax options:

  1. Do them yourself.
  2. Go to the local tax prep office
  3. Go to a CPA

Let me evaluate your three options.

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Have more respect for yourself

Posted on 01. Mar, 2014 by .

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This post is mostly directed toward the staff or higher level ministry leader. Whether you are paid or unpaid doesn’t matter. But I’m going to step on my proverbial soapbox and say a few things that many of you need to hear. If I’m being perfectly honest, sometimes I need someone to point their finger at me and remind me again.

You are the Children’s Pastor. You are the Preschool Director. You are the (insert your title here). You are in your position for a reason. Okay, maybe some of you fell into your position on accident… you were available and your pastor snatched you and put you in charge… but it wasn’t an accident. You have one of the most amazing responsibilities on the planet. You are a key influencer in the spiritual formation of multiple lives. Kids are going to make it to heaven and experience a full life of purpose here in this world because of a part that you play. That’s amazing! That’s beautiful! That’s your privilege.

Please. For the love of all that is good. Have more respect for yourself. Have more respect for the calling God has placed on your life. Some of you are probably asking, “What do you mean? I respect myself!” Let me break this down.

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Be different and be awesome

Posted on 28. Feb, 2014 by .

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My wife came across this video a few weeks ago and showed it to me. I couldn’t help but smile. I mean, I like a good cello as much as the next guy, but this is simply amazing.

Here’s what stood out to me about these two guys.

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