The Ultimate Bible Resource List

Posted on 12. May, 2014 by .

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Hey Kidmin and NextGen friends. I need a favor. Hopefully in helping me, you'll help yourself or at least help hundreds of others who need this same resource. So, let's do a little crowdsourcing project. Are you ready? I'm sure you get asked this question or similar questions all the time. "What Bible do you recommend for my 7 year old? Do you have a devotional that you recommend for my 10 year old?" You name the age, I get the question and I'm sure you're the same. So, I'm trying to put together a short list. The emphasis on "short." I know that there are hundreds of incredible resources, but I know that it is easy to overwhelm a parent. I want to make it simple which means making it more likely a parent will find it helpful. So, I want to put together a list of Bibles and Bible Resources for 0-18 years of age. When a parent says, "What Bible do you recommend for my 2 year old," what would you recommend? I know that there are some Bibles that play to the boys or the girls when they get older. What is at the top of your list?

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Hurting moms on mothers day

Posted on 11. May, 2014 by .

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This is kind of a weird post to write. Maybe it's easy to take this the wrong way and if you feel yourself going there, you're missing the point. I honestly think that mother's day is much harder for people than we think it is. There's no doubt about it, there's no harder job than the job of being a mom. They give up so much to put their kids first and so many live with frustration, guilt and pain. However, mothers day isn't always a joy filled day. For many, its a day that we remember loss and feel regret. Although having a day purely dedicated to honoring moms is in incredibly awesome idea, we can unintentionally hurt a significant portion of our crowd in our churches. What do you mean?

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World’s Toughest Job

Posted on 10. May, 2014 by .

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I came across this video a few weeks ago and it actually tugged on my heart strings (my allergies must have been acting up again). Enjoy and share on this very important day.

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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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