Take a peak at the next generation

Posted on 05. Aug, 2014 by .

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Perhaps you’ve seen the article about Generation Z circulating around the web the last week or so. If you work with kids/teenagers, you really should read this article now as it has implications for you ministry for the next 15-20 years, seriously.

Reading this article encouraged me and actually gave me a great deal of hope for the future. It also challenged thinking that I’ve often had about the current Generation Y (millennials). So many people (including myself) often put the subsequent generation in a box based on our own generation’s worldview. We find ourselves saying things like “they’re over-connected” or “they’re narcissistic.” We’ll say, “when I was their age, I spent all day on my bike exploring my neighborhood instead of being glued to a screen.” We even mock their TV, movies, music and other media.

As much as we like to compare and it’s practically impossible to put ourselves in their shoes. They grew up in a different world than we did. There were influences beyond their control that shaped them differently than we were shaped. Just embrace the fact that they are different, realize that you just wont get it and try to appreciate that.

This new generation, Generation Z is fascinating – completely different from Generation Y. Here are some of the findings of Generation Z: … Read the rest

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Thoughts after a lengthy vacation

Posted on 04. Aug, 2014 by .

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Today, I am back at work. It’s weird as I’ve been on vacation since July 3. I come back to work today excited to be back at it. I’m excited to be with my team again and excited to be doing great things as part of Gateway Church. However, my return is bittersweet as well.

I had an amazing vacation. Three weeks of traveling and one week of stay-cation with the family. That’s a lot of time with my family. I took Titus out for a little father-son fun last night and while eating pizza, I told him that I had to go back to work the next day. He immediately looked down at the floor as tears began to well up. I’ll admit, I got a tad emotional as well. We had so many great times together this past month.

So, what did I learn? What great nuggets will I take away from my epic vacation? … Read the rest

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App of the week: Cluster

Posted on 03. Aug, 2014 by .

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There are times when you find  great app and it feels great. Then there are days when you find an app that is a game changer, and you can’t stop talking about it. Now it’s my turn to tell you about it. If you’re a ministry leader who ever hosts events, trips or special programs at your church, this app could become indispensable.

Earlier this summer, we were preparing to send off over 150 kids, teenagers and adults on summer mission projects. Our problem was that last year, we didn’t get a lot of great photos from the trip. All the leaders took lots of photos on their phones, but once the trip is over, getting the photos is very challenging. A few weeks before the trip, I tasked one of my staff to write up instructions for sharing photos to a dropbox folder that could be shared with all the leaders. I wasn’t a huge fan, but it seemed like the best option. I LOVE dropbox, but getting people who don’t use it would take a bit of explaining and there were several steps involved. Then we found Cluster and it changed everything. … Read the rest

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Letting your mind wander

Posted on 01. Aug, 2014 by .

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Recently I read a fascinating article from the New York Times called, “No Time to Think,” by Kate Murphy. I love it because it addresses something things that I believe I have very wrong thinking about. I’m a very busy person who is constantly looking for ways to hack my schedule to be more productive. Getting more done at all costs. I read while on the treadmill because it’s one of the few things I can multitask. I get audio books to listen to while doing big yard projects. When running outside, I listen to podcasts and I try to schedule phone calls and appointments during commute times. Yes, I’m one sick puppy.

It’s interesting though how some things in life are counter-intuitive.… Read the rest

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High Capacity Children’s Pastors & Unicorns

Posted on 31. Jul, 2014 by .

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A few weeks ago I read a fascinating article from the Vanderbloemen Search Blog about the challenge of finding high capacity Children’s Pastors. The article appears to be written more for the senior leadership audience, but it’s critical that those of us in the trenches know and understand this. Honestly, there is something that you can do about it.

I agreed with this article in dozens of ways. In the past 7 or so years, I’ve had to hire four or five children’s pastors and four or five elementary and early childhood directors (full time positions). I’d enjoy having my fingernails ripped off more than searching for any of these positions. Why? Because there aren’t many of them out there. I feel like my chances of finding a leprechaun or unicorn are higher. Not Children’s Pastors or Elementary/Early Childhood Directors, but ones that are high capacity, able to lead ministries with hundreds of kids and hundreds of volunteers with a track record to convince me. In most cases, it has taken me a year or more to find these positions, they just so hard to find.

This article explains why there may be so few good quality Children’s Pastors. In just about every case, it is because of the actions, mindset and decisions made by senior leadership. Go ahead, read the article. You agree with the points, don’t you?

Now, here’s what I’m suggesting. … Read the rest

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Parent-Child Relational & Spiritual Engineer

Posted on 30. Jul, 2014 by .

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You like that? It’s my new title. I’m having business cards made as we speak. In a few weeks we’re going to re-brand our Children’s Ministry the Parent-Child Relational & Spiritual Center or PCRSC for short. Pretty awesome, right?

Okay, maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m not changing my title either. I might have lied about those business cards too.

So, what was all this about? Well, I’m trying to make a point. … Read the rest

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Why I need more sleep

Posted on 29. Jul, 2014 by .

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Earlier today I wrote about rest. One of my points was about how I tend to neglect sleep. Here’s how bad it has gotten:

  • At times I’ve worn it as a badge of honor. I’d kinda brag about how I’d only gotten three hours of sleep the night before working on some project, hoping to get some special recognition.
  • I was known as the guy who would send you an email sometime after midnight. I kinda became self-conscious about it and would often draft emails to have them send early in the morning so that it looked like I got  and early start as opposed to staying up so late.
  • I could go on, but you get the point.

Just a few hours after writing the post from this morning, my wife came across this video: … Read the rest

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Rest

Posted on 29. Jul, 2014 by .

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Disclaimer: I realize that this post is a little biased. Just account for that as you read though… although I may be writing truth, it’s easy to say when you’re in the position I’m in.

It’s impossible to over-estimate the value of rest in a person life.

I’ll admit it, I’m a work-a-holic. I love my work. I love to work. I find myself working when I’m supposed to be resting because I get lost in the excitement or intrigue. It’s incredibly healthy to have a job that you love and to love working, but having boundaries is so significant.

Here’s where things get unhealthy:

I neglect sleep.… Read the rest

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Jesus loves your ministry more than you do

Posted on 28. Jul, 2014 by .

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After leading children’s ministry for almost 20 years, I’ve learned something very significant that is sometimes easy to forget. Chaotic and hectic can become the norm and you find yourself saying, “things should slow down soon” but you know that they never do. Stress mounts and we find ourselves on the verge of a mental/emotional meltdown… and this just describes a typical Monday. That would be funny if it wasn’t so close to being true.

Here’s a reminder for you: Jesus loves your ministry more than you do.

Relax. Take a breath and think about that for a few minutes.

In over 15 years of ministry leadership, I’ve spoken the words, “I don’t know how this is going to work” more times that I’d like to admit. However, when I look back on all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen God provide in more ways that I can recount.… Read the rest

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Don’t let stupid become normal

Posted on 05. Jun, 2014 by .

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I had this idea yesterday that made me both laugh out loud and cringe at the same time. I was talking with a new staff member about a room in our kids building. For as long as I’ve been at Gateway, this room has been a volunteer room. It’s where volunteers check-in, where we have quick volunteer meetings and it’s also where we do volunteer orientations. It used to be an early childhood environment called “Mini-Mess Hall.” I know, weird. It had this theme of mice cooking… I know, not any better. Regardless, it’s been a volunteer room for more than 6 years. We actually painted it to not look like a themed early childhood room two years ago, but the sign outside the room still states: Mini Mess Hall. When we promote a new volunteer orientation, we direct people to “Mini Mess Hall.” It wasn’t until my new staff member asked about the name of the room that I realized, “Why have continued to call this room “Mini Mess Hall? That’s stupid? It makes no sense at all? Why wouldn’t we call it something that communicates what it is?”

Then I realized how many stupid things we do and say in our ministry that have simply become normal to us.… Read the rest

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