#kidmin

Focus On What Matters - Three Questions We Ask Our Small Group Leaders

How do you train your SGLs (Small Group Leaders) to cater to different learning styles while they are leading their small group conversations?

How do you evaluate how your SGLs are leading their kids?

These are a few of the questions that we have been asking in our ministry over the first three months of the current ministry year. I wrote a short article for the 252 Kids blog on the Three Questions We Ask Our Small Group Leaders

We hope our kids have a knowledge of what is in the Bible but we deeply desire that our kids know how to take what they read and implement it into their lives every day. We want SGLs who will help shape worldviews that shape actions and beliefs that are carried out because our kids have the Word of God in their body, mind, and soul.

These are new questions for us as we strive to lead from a place that has an endpoint in mind. That endpoint is seeing all kids and students motivated by the Gospel so that they can live out their faith every day. 

I would love to hear how you evaluate and train your SGLs in the comments. 

Thoughts from #GS17 - Find . Grow . Keep

 http://www.followthegls.com/category/leadership-lessons/ 

http://www.followthegls.com/category/leadership-lessons/ 

One thing that Laszlo Bock shared at #GLS17 (Global Leadership Summit) was how there is a need for every organization to do three things to ensure great productivity. They are: 

1) Find people.
2) Grow your people.
3) Keep them!

This sounds super easy but to anyone who works in kidmin knows how hard it is to find your leaders let alone keep them. I have decided to make a shift at how I go about these three areas. The main shift will be to "Give Your Work Meaning." This was another point that he made during his talk and the difficulty came from another quote of his.

Some remember the duty but forget the meaning.
— Laszlo Boch - GLS17

If volunteers in our ministries are not being reminded of the meaning daily, or even weekly, why are we surprised when the volunteers get lost in their duty. If we simply ask volunteers to teach the kids using a curriculum and have little to no conversation regarding the true meaning of our ministry we need to make a switch. We need to help volunteers connect the duty of the ministry with the life changing stories of the children they are leading.

Make the switch to talk more about why we do what we do instead of talking about what we do.  

Here is our answer to why we do what we do: We want to see all kids and students motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday.

We want to see all kids and students motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith every day.
— #Cradle2College at The Peoples Church

When we are looking for a new volunteers I first want them to know why we do ministry. After that I need to change how we train them so they can carry out the why through how we do ministry. The key to keeping volunteers is to call them into something that has meaning and that is larger than all of us. We cannot be done with the duty if we are constantly trying to make the world better.

Three simple words from the GLS has me thinking about retaining leaders and that is a conversation worth having regularity.  

Book Review - The Art Of Group Talk: How To Lead Better Conversations with Kids

 "In small group, your destination isn't KNOWLEDGE. That's what the teaching is for.  In small group, your destination is APPLICATION. That's what your conversation is for."

"In small group, your destination isn't KNOWLEDGE. That's what the teaching is for.

In small group, your destination is APPLICATION. That's what your conversation is for."

Because before a kid can know God, they may need to be known by someone who knows God.
— The Art of Group Talk pg. 76

I just finished The Art of Group Talk: How to Lead Better Conversations With Kids after returning from #OC17 (Orange Conference) and I could not be more satisfied with what the book had to offer. If you have been a follower of the Orange strategy regarding small groups, which they call Tribes, then the content will be very familiar to you and almost sound like a repeating voice. This is what I have come to really appreciate from the Lead Small material, the content and strategy when it comes to implementing a small group mentality in your ministry.

Their first offering was Lead Small and it was the core content of the small group strategy that was considered essential in reaching kids and students not just with Biblical content, but by growing meaningful relationships with those in your small group.

The second book was Creating a Lead Small Culture and this took the core strategy and broke it down so a leader could see how to make the necessary tweaks to their ministry to implement the strategy. It was a great resource to use with core leaders who help shape the culture of your ministry. There was a great reading group and discussion guide that also helped take the content and personalize it for your ministry. I posted about this discussion guide here:

Book Study: Starting Over

The Art of Group Talk: How to Lead Better Conversations With Kids, shares with small group leaders how the strategy plays out in the conversations and the culture of your small group. It points to the importance of knowing your tribe so that life is shared and kids feel safe. It is a quick read, but the resulting change and comfort for small group leaders is worth the time.

Because before a kid can ENGAGE in a life of authentic faith, they may need you to ENGAGE them in a conversation about authentic faith.
— The Art Of Group Talk pg. 85

What I enjoyed about the book is that it states that the current phase of a child is just a piece in their development and that leaders need to be aware that development and growth in a child must be viewed from a larger context. Yes, what you do each week matters but it is what all these weeks add up to over time that shapes who a child becomes.

You’re a small group leader. So your destination isn’t just to help them learn or remember what they’ve heard from the stage. Your destination is to help your few personalize and apply what they’ve heard.
— The Art Of Group Talk pg. 101

Another great practical piece to The Art of Group Talk is the quiz section at the end of each chapter. These are practical questions to allow the reader to look at how they lead and how they can make small shifts to lead their few well.

Anyone who leads a small group would benefit from this book and its practical tips for having meaningful conversations with the kids and students that are in their tribe.

Lead Small
By Reggie Joiner, Tom Shefchunas

One Question All Babies Are Asking

I am a huge fan of the "It's Just A Phase So Don't Miss It" resources that I felt I needed to share it with you. They posted a great article on how important it is to reassure all babies can answer the question:

"Am I Safe?"

However, we can apply this evidence to what we already know about our sweet babies. You are the More Knowledgeable Other in the life of your baby. You are meeting their basic physiological needs by feeding them, keeping them clean, and placing them in a safe place to sleep. You are the person who helps your baby understand that it is not a good idea to pull the cat’s tail. You are the person who lets your little one experience new things. You rejoice when they are excited about a new toy and show empathy when that toy is lost.
— The Phase Project

You can access the full article here. You can also look at a few other articles that deal with the caring of infants and toddles in your kids ministry or as a parent. 

Faith: 140 Characters at a Time.

On Saturday, I led one of the discussion forums at Change Conference for students centered around how to live out faith on our social media feeds. I broke down the session into four sections. 

  1. Why we should share share our faith online.
  2. Identity: Shaped by faith or by favorites.
  3. Purpose: What we actually post.
  4. End Goal: How can we change and what takes the most of our time.

The discussion began with two simple questions:

  1. What do you like about your faith?
  2. What do you like about social media? 

At the end of the sharing time the main factors were community and other words that resemble a relationship that is formed and shared. We talked through three major Bible passages to set up the context of posting online. They were: 

  1. Deuteronomy 6:7-9
  2. Galatians 5:23;25
  3. Ephesians 4:14-16  
“You see on, I guess you could say, Facebook or even Snapchat ... you see your friends hanging out with other people, and you’re like ‘Oh, I’m alone right now,’” she said. “And even if there’s no way you could get to them even if you wanted to, it still just makes you feel bad or lonely or sad.”
— Sadie

The above quote was from an article on CNN.com entitled, Teen 'like' and 'FOMO' anxiety but the same feelings were shared when we talked about feelings that arise while scrolling through social media posts from peers. This is what drives the teenage anxiety known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). 

These were the three main tips I had for them. 

  • Be Accountable. Have two people that can ask you why you posted pictures or content.
  • Be Real. Are you psting content that is not in line with your true identity, or are you making an online version of yourself that is not true to your true identity.
  • Be mature. The content you post has just as much power now as it will in the future.

The slide above states that 42% of Generation Z says that social media has a direct impact on their self-esteem (The Center for Generational Kinetics). If this is true it is vital that as leaders we teach our kids a good sense of identity, specifically an identity that is rooted in Christ and who God made them to be. 

We have been given covered space from which to throw grenades, without requiring us to take responsibility for the weight of our words, their effect on other people and their reflection on the Church. Jesus said the world would recognize us by our love. What messages are we sending?
— Cara Joyner

When we talked about why we post online and what the purpose was I asked them to think through the language they use online. It did not matter whether that was the language in their own content or how they responded to others online. The goal for them would be to speak in the way that was inline with their Biblical worldview and also shared the character traits found in Galatians 5. 

Lastly, I left the students on the question what comes first in their life? Is it their relationships on social media, or their relationship with Christ? I love having conversations about social media and sharing your faith out as you post because it is a conversation that can be held between all generations. Social media is a new world and all of us are trying to navigate this world. This is only a small sample of what we covered in the 90 minutes I had on Saturday but if you have any questions or would like to chat more about this leave a comment below, or contact me via the info on the site. 

How Is Your Connection?

Life is hard. There are times we feel alone, discouraged, unloved, ugly and the list
can go on forever until we fully rely on the One who made us and sustains us. 

Picture a box with four corners. This box helps us understand the connection cycle we go through in life. Dr. Henry Cloud spoke about this at this year's Global Leadership Summit. 

In the first corner we are all alone and rely on ourselves. We can isolate ourselves from the world around us and hope that we are enough on our own. We have no connection. The second corner has us looking for approval from someone or something else but our own self-doubt will not allow us to believe that we can find happiness here. It is that small voice that replays all the bad comments and fake truths we believe about ourselves and that causes us to retreat back to the first box. This is a bad connection because we are always left feeling bad about who we are.


Do you find you cannot believe what others say about you because off the years of self-doubt that has built up in your life?


The third corner is our quick hit of happiness from our own coping mechanisms. This corner will look different for most people. It could be found in that great cup of coffee, or that chocolate bar hidden in your desk drawer for those extra stressful moments. It could also be those hours of playing mindless games on our phones as we let the world drift away from our consciousness. The key is that happiness is only available for brief fleeting moments in this corner and that happiness time we experience shrinks down as our coping mechanisms begin to lose their effectiveness. Our connection is fake and will not be sustainable.

The last corner is true connection. It is a connection with our God that acknowledges that He is our source of happiness and strength.  This corner is scary because it requires true vulnerability and trust. This level of connection ads value to life and allows for a true connection and a way to move forward.

I shared this connection cycle with the camp because it is not just a great way to look at ourselves, but it is essential for everyone as they look at their friendships and the teams they need to work with on a daily basis. 

The one who comes from above is above everything. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks like someone from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above everything.
— John 3:31 NIrV

I shared this connection cycle with the camp because it is not just a great way to look at ourselves, but it is essential for everyone as they look at their friendships and the teams they need to work with on a daily basis. As we continually seek to have our identity be found in Christ and not the world around us we struggle with the tensions of living in the culture we do and trying to live out our faith everyday.  We get caught up in what the culture around us wants to be and our own shortcomings replay in our minds and it keeps us doubting how God could love us. We all have days we want to forget and we all have days where we feel so small and insignificant that we get lost in who we are in the eyes of Christ.

I shared the story of Job at camp and how we went so far as to say that he wished the day of his birth would be erased from the calendar. 

After a while, Job opened his mouth to speak. He cursed the day he had been born. He said,

“May the day I was born be wiped out.
May the night be wiped away when people said, ‘A boy is born!’
May that day turn into darkness.
May God in heaven not care about it.
May no light shine on it...

I don’t have any peace and quiet.
I can’t find any rest. All I have is trouble.
— Job 3:1-4;

I think we all can relate to getting bogged down on life when things begin to swirl out of control. We thrive on having control of our lives but we forget that when we rely on our true connection with Christ his plan for our life is where we need to place our trust. God responds to Job and asks him to reflect on all the ways that He is in control. I asked the students to think about how they can all ow God to take control of their life in greater ways as they seek to live a life rooted in Christ. 

Let the peace that Christ gives rule in your hearts. As parts of one body, you were appointed to live in peace. And be thankful. Let the message about Christ live among you like a rich treasure. Teach and correct one another wisely. Teach one another by singing psalms and hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing to God with thanks in your hearts. Do everything you say or do in the name of the Lord Jesus. Always give thanks to God the Father through Christ.
— Colossians3:15-17 NIrV

Questions to think about:
 

  • What challenges are you facing now that are transforming your character to be more like Christ's?
  • Where do you see God's plan working in your current circumstances?
  • What corner of the box (found above) are you currently spending the majority of your time?
  • How do you respond to the idea that God wants a relationship with you?
  • This week take time to thank God for the opportunities you have to become more
    Christ-like.
  • Take time to read Romans 5 this week. 

Challenging Students To Do More This Year: Part 2

Another session up at camp focused on how important our words are when it comes to navigating the tension between living in the world we do and living out the faith we believe in. the culture around our students is not a culture that is screaming Biblical truth at them so we need to prepare and challenge our students to live a life that is motivated by the good news of the Gospel and allows them to share their faith through how they interact with the culture and media they are bombarded with everyday. 

I posted on this at length here: Pop Culture Christians.

Their faith plays out in their lives everyday even when they do not think about it. Their faith and worlview shows up in the posts on Facebook, how they form stories for Snapchat and how they discuss the latest movie plot. What I challenged the students on last week was whether or not their faith was evident in how they interacted on social media and how they talked about the media they are immersed in. If they were going to ask their friends the question,

"What motivates me to live my life the way I do? 

how would their friends respond. Would they respond with characteristics and attributes that exemplified Christ, or the culture they are surrounded by.

I asked them to think about five words they would want to be known by and then to begin to live out those values everyday. I also gave these questions for them to discuss in their cabins.

  • What values are most important to you?
  • Why is it important to know what the Bible says in order to engage culture?
  • If you were to make a pie chart about what takes up the most of your time, what would be in the biggest slice? TV? Internet? Snapchat? Friends?
  • What worldviews are shown through the media you see
  • How do those worldviews differ from a Biblical worldview?
  • What are the 5 words that you want to be known by?
SEE TO IT THAT NO ONE TAKES YOU CAPTIVE THROUGH HOLLOW AND DECEPTIVE PHILOSOPHY, WHICH DEPENDS ON HUMAN TRADITION AND THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THIS WORLD RATHER THAN ON CHRIST.
— COLOSSIANS 2:8

Here are some other verses to take a look at:

  • PSALM 115
  • GALATIANS 5: 1-22
  • 1 PETER 1:13-15
  • EPHESIANS 4:14-16
  • PHILIPPIANS 2:12-18
  • COLOSSIANS 3:1-5

How do you talk to your students about living out their faith among the culture and worldview that is presented to them through the media?

Challenging Students To Do More This Year

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to head up Muskoka way to speak to a group of students and staff for their last week of the camp season. The central theme that ran through the week was that they, the students, had an amazing opportunity this year to do more with the gifts and talents that God has blessed them with. I challenged them to think of ways that God could speak into their lives and how they could be attentive to the Holy Spirit's promptings to share their faith with others. 

The first challenge for the students is to think through what their gifts and talents God has given them and then to think through how they can use those talents to share their faith this upcoming year. I asked them if they believed that God is bigger than they could imagine and if they believed that God could use those same gifts and talents He placed within them to glorify how great He is. I asked them if they were willing to step out and use their gifts to glorify God in new ways this year. 

Discovering your dream is easier said than done. There is so much pressure to dream and become “certain” things in this world and as a result so many people struggle to discover who they really are. God has designed every one of us in a unique one-of-a-kind way. Perhaps it’s time to consider your dream, instead of the dreams others tell you that you should have. Maybe now is the time to consider who God has created you to be because only you can be you! God can give you a dream this week! 

They questions I gave to cabin leaders were: 

  • How would you define creativity?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • How can you use what you are passionate about to change the world around you?
  • If you were asked the same question by Jesus as Bartimaeus how would you respond? (“What do you want me to do for you?")
  • What truths about God are mentioned in Colossians 1:15-20? If those statements ae true, how do they make you feel and what are the implications of those truths?
  • What is the goal you are setting for this year regarding sharing your faith? What can you be praying to God about this week as you look to set your goal? 

I made the last challenge into a #hashtag challenge and created a specific tag for the week. You can do this for your group so they can share what their dreams are for this year. this will help create accountability among your own students.

How are you challenging your students this year to take steps of faith and to live out their faith everyday?

 

 

 

Notes from #OC16 - How To Tell A Story Beyond Sunday

 

Below are the notes I took from Dan Scott's session at #OC16. This year we hope to develop our Storytelling team with many of these points in mind as we look to engage kids on a Sunday, so that our kids are more equipped to live in their Monday's. 

As children’s ministry leaders, we are telling the greatest story ever told. No only is it true, it is life changing—forever changing. And through that story, kids encounter the love of God who sent Jesus to rescue us.
— Dan Scott

Stories are what captures imagination.
We have stories that shape our everyday and our everyday can become a great story.
Today those stories are published on a phone even before the consequences are thought out.

YouTube – 300 hrs of footage uploaded every minute.
Vine – 6 second videos that are played on average 1.5 billion times a day.
Snapchat – 500 million uploads a day.
Stories are available every day and are changing every minute.

Storyteller: A human created in the image of God.
Role of a Storyteller: Awaken imagination of the audience.

As storytellers of the Gospel we are not always doing all that we can to present that story as best we can.
 

What are some ways that you are missing the mark in your storytelling of the Gospel?

The question that we need to ask ourselves is: How are we using our skills as a storyteller to present the Gospel in ways that awaken the imagination and pull kids towards the life change that is found within the Truth of the Gospel?    

We need to help kids become engaged in the big story of the Bible and make it memorable.

Two ways that we can engage kids are:
1) Passive – see, hear and read
2) Active – Hands-on learning

Percentage of learning intake for kids.
               10% Reading
               20% Hearing
               30% Seeing
               50% Seeing & Hearing

               70% Speaking & Writing
               90% Doing

If this is the case for how kids learn do we need to change up how we lead large groups?
               Generally speaking, our Large Group times are set up for kids to learn passively, but if our small groups are set up in the correct ways kids will have the opportunity to learn actively and engage the same story in a new and exciting way.

Your Small Group time needs to be a direct extension of the story that is told from the stage. That time needs to be two things:
1) Fun
2) Engaging

Small Group time needs to be fun and engaging because how we communicate TRUTH matters and we need to know all aspects of the story being presented on Sunday. We need to treat the story with the utmost respect because of the life changing power of the story we are communicating to kids.

Too much is at stake for a kid if we present a bad story on a Sunday.

If we head into a Sunday with the mindset that too much is at stake for a kid if we present a bad story we need to KNOW the story inside and out. Read the story, live the story, and engage in the content that you will need to pull out for the kids to learn the Bottom Line. In the end it is the big concept of the story that matters and not the memorizing of the text that will stick with the kids. If they know the Bottom Line the kids can learn to live out the key concept of the story on a Monday.

Tools for Storytellers to keep in mind as the lead.

1)      Vocal Dynamics.
This is a great tool as you establish different characters on stage and help kids differentiate between these characters as you present the whole story. It helps you develop the character traits found in the characters in the story and the easiest way to show kids which traits are important is to change how you speak.

Pace of story is also established through how you use your voice and can help kids lean into the story at the times that are really important (i.e. Bottom Line).

The key is that through your voice you can bring to life the story and the characters found within the Bible.

2)      Planned Movement/Blocking.
This is something that I need to be more aware of because I walk as I talk and use my hands a lot. As you prep and read the story ahead of time begin to think about the specific spots on the stage that you want to use to LAND certain points of the story.

a.      Start in the middle of the stage with the Big Idea.

b.      Use stage right for point one (move across the stage in the way people read naturally).

c.      Use the middle again for the central point.

d.      End at stage left.

e.      Come back to the middle as you lean into the Bottom Line and what concept you want the kids to leave with.

3)      Connect it to life.

a.      Bottom Line – What is the point the Bible story is trying to make?

b.    What is it that we want kids to DO as a result of what they have learned?  

Check out some great Storytelling tools from Dan by clicking the graphic below. I am super excited for what is coming from Dan because he is an unbelievable communicator and he will be able to help your ministry in numerous ways. 

 

Session 1 Notes from #OC16 (Redefining The Role Of The Elementary Pastor)

Below are the notes that I took during Mike Clear's opening session at #OC16. Redefining The Role Of The Elementary Pastor was an awesome way to kick off the week and gave a great framework for a lot of the themes that many of my other breakout sessions would cover. 

THREE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER FIRST

1)      What are we doing?

a.      This needs to be defined by your mission statement.  We show up to help our kids become motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith every day.

1.      Know – know who Jesus is and establish an understanding of faith.

2.      Love – Jesus loves you and you need to show others the same love. This is where kids understand the character of Jesus and how moral behaviour is a way that Christ works through them to be light in their world.

3.      Share – Creating opportunities for kids and families to share their faith whether through word or action. 

2)      Why are we doing it?

a.      What is at stake if we go away? What would change in a kid’s life without the light of the local church?

b.      What has God called you (the leader) to in your life? Ministry will take courage and patience.

3)      Where do I fit in?

a.      What are your core responsibilities? 

TWO KEY PRINCIPLES
1) Maximize your strengths and minimize your weakness.
2) Lack of skill does not eliminate responsibility.

Most of your job as an Elementary Pastor will fit itself into two key categories and it is your job as the leader to be able to recognize what area you are currently living in.

1)      Production – The environments we create for our kids

2)    People – Dealing with individuals who are created in the image of God. No matter how we feel at the present moment everyone deserves the best from you at any given moment.

A)     Align your whole team.

a.      How are you repeating your core values to volunteers and staff so that they become the walking DNA of your ministry? Everyone should be able to answer the question of why do I show up/why do I do what I do. TPCKidmin – We want our kids to become motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith every day.

1.      Know Jesus

2.      Love Jesus and others

3.      Share Jesus with the world

                                                   ii.     These core values cannot be talked about enough.            

1.      Face-to-face coffee conversations

2.      Training

3.      Played out in how we plan

                                                  iii.     How are some ways that you can visually reproduce some of these values?

1.      Facebook banners

2.      Interview notes

3.      Murals in kidmin wing

4.      Stage design

                                                  iv.     Do your staff/volunteers understand what the win is for your ministry?

1.      Tell them that the win is found when we answer the question why we do what we do.

2.      The win is when faith becomes when our kids become motivated by their faith to live it out every day. When their character reveals Christ and Christ works through them to change the world around them. 

B)     Recruit for growth.

a.      Attract the right leader

                                                    i.     Go after the owners not the renters (Not Normal book)

b.      How are you perusing the new and quality leader so they invest in your ministry?

                                                    i.     Hoping they come to you will not work

                                                   ii.     Create easy avenues for them to establish involvement

                                                  iii.     Inspire your current leaders to find the next leader

1.      Likes attract Likes – The owners in your ministry will attract others who have similar traits and morals.

                                                  iv.     Mine for talent

1.      What avenues do you have for your current leaders/volunteers to grow?

2.      Do you have a structure that inspires leadership development?

3.      As leaders develop they can carry the vision forward because they want to stay.

HOW ARE YOU THINKING?

1)      Think vertically

a.      How do you transition the kids into and out of your ministry?

                                                              i.     Newborn – Toddler

                                                             ii.     Toddler – Preschool

                                                            iii.     Preschool – Elementary

                                                            iv.     Elementary – Sunday Morning Jr. High

                                                             v.     Elementary – Friday Night Youth

b.      How do you ease the transition for parents?

                                                              i.     What does your transition Sunday look like?

2)      Think Systems (Refine)

a.      What foreseeable challenges currently have no systems?

                                                              i.     What happens when check-in goes down?

                                                             ii.     Bathroom Policy

                                                            iii.     Visitors

b.      Fix the systems that are not functioning 

3)      Think Message

a.      Elevate TRUTH at all times

                                                              i.     How do you apply truth to your audience’s reality? Do you KNOW your audience and the reality that they live in?

b.      Kids at every age are created uniquely to understand God (It’s Just A Phase)

                                                              i.     Kids change but God doesn’t – you have to adjust your message

                                                             ii.     How do you connect kids to God as they transition through the phases?

c.      Elementary kids think like scientists but love stories - so how do you teach a story?

                                                              i.     What is the ONE thing you want a kid to never forget?

                                                             ii.     What scriptures align with that ONE thing

                                                            iii.     How will you recycle that ONE thing so they will remember it?

d.      Prioritize TRUTH and what is relevant to a child in the current phase they are in.

4)      Think Horizontally

a.      What is your strategy to recycle core truths?

                                                              i.     What is your scope and cycle for curriculum?

1.      Three year rotation – one year is a chronological journey through the Bible

2.      What do you want them to remember?

b.      How do you help kids recycle the lessons?

                                                              i.     Add more voices

1.      Storytellers are unique in their delivery and can help kids remember in different ways.

2.      Also multiple leaders that say the same thing in different ways on a Sunday will help a kid remember

c.      More understanding

                                                              i.     The goal of teaching is for kids to understand the ONE truth and not the amount of content. Content does not equal knowledge.

                                                             ii.     The goal is to help a kid master a concept of God

d.      Teach more relevant material

                                                              i.     Help kids understand how to connect their faith with what is happening around them

e.      Adults share how they feel and think about your ministry

                                                              i.     Do not prioritize your content around adult feelings. Prioritize your content around what a child needs to understand God in the phase they are currently in.

5)      Think program improvement

a.      Ask the question what lessons from last week can be applied to this week.

b.      How are we evaluating our ministry so that improvements that can be made are recorded and acted upon?

                                                              i.     Who are you serving?

                                                             ii.     What areas of our ministry need evaluating?

1.      Transition points

2.      Relationships and how they are formed

3.      New family experiences

                                                            iii.     Get a set of fresh eyes that can walk through your ministry if you need them.

                                                            iv.     Always be on the lookout for an answer to the question – How can it be improved?

1.      We work in our ministry daily and quite often we do not have the time to work on it

                                                             v.     What is working well and needs to be celebrated?

1.      New Christians

2.      Great relationships

                                                            vi.     How are you improving the environment?

1.      How do we visually reengage our kids?

2.      The look of the environments can undermine the relationships that you want to make with kids. They feel undervalued and disengaged.

3.      Show care through the visual appeal of your environments

4.      Make it welcoming

a.      It is always someone’s first week.

5.      Know your audience and how they engage with your space

6.      Equip your leaders

a.      Supplies need to be available and easy to find.

7.      Safe – NOTHING ELSE MATTERS IF IT IS NOT SAFE.

6)      Think community

a.      Evaluate the connections that are being made in small group time.

                                                              i.     How do you monitor the relational impact of your leaders?

b.      Numbers matter

                                                              i.     Who is coming

                                                             ii.     Who are new Christians? 

                                                            iii.     Baptisms

                                                            iv.     New to our church

c.      Your ministry has three crowds

                                                              i.     Kids

                                                             ii.     Parents

                                                            iii.     Small Group Leaders

1.      How do you ask questions that prompt responses?

2.      What are the home runs in those three areas?

3.      Generate questions by asking how you can do better.

7)      Think family

a.      How can we help families win at home?

                                                              i.     Do they know the win when it comes to your ministry?

b.      What happens on Monday at home is more important than what happens on Sunday

                                                              i.     Leaders who plan for that see growth in the areas that matter i.e. baptism

c.      When parents come:

                                                              i.     Give them a plan.

1.      Parents want to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to the faith of their child

                                                             ii.     Show them how it works.

1.      What is your family ministry plan? Show them how their kids will be cared for at each phase.

                                                            iii.     What they can do today.

1.      Tell them the lesson so they can recap and follow up at home

2.      Cue the parent

3.      Parents have a vision on what they want their kids faith to look like we just need to help them achieve it.

8)      Think Influence

a.      Set up the kids so they can serve both inside and outside the church

b.      How are you giving kids opportunities to experience ministry?

c.      Kids faith grows when they serve.

Thoughts from #OC16 - Share the WHY

Your ministry will only be effective when your leaders, volunteers and parents know the mission and vision of that ministry. I feel like we have said what our mission is quite frequently. It is that we want to see kids and students motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday. 

We hope that in our kids ministry our kids learn to do this by: 

  1. Knowing Jesus
  2. Loving others like Jesus loves them
  3. Sharing Jesus with those around them

So, what I have come to realize at #OC16 (Orange Conference) is simply this:

"0nce you think you have shared your vision too much you are only getting started." -Rebekah Bullard  

Another leader put it like this: 

"As a leader you constantly have to fill your bucket because vision always leaks out." - Sue Miller  

No matter how good of a communicator you are everyone needs to be reminded why you do what you do because you can't always see the results.  

One key thing for me so far this week has been that we cannot stop telling everybody why we show up every Sunday. We show up at TPCKidmin to motivate students and kids to live out their faith by teaching them the Gospel and the Truth contained in scripture.  

"We don't want people to show up to our church just to show up. We want to connect them to a growing relationship with Christ." - Dan Scott  

My brain is in hyperdrive after two days of learning, dreaming and vision casting for the future generations of our church, but none of those thoughts will make an impact on our ministry if we do not share the WHY we do what we do with everybody.        

Start Here

Accepting Christ as your Savior is always a moment for celebration, but when we see our kids wanting to make this decision, it’s a wonderful thing! However, it is something that usually happens away from mom and dad (in Sunday school or during summer camp) and it is our goal to not only have the conversation with the parents, but to help them to make it a family celebration. We don’t want them to miss out. There are so many family discussions and moments that can take place during this “process of discovery” for a child. To also note, there are some circumstances whereby the child might not be celebrated at home for their decision and, in those instances, our goal is that the child's small group leader will walk with them as they process what having a Saviour means to them. 

One parent described the process of discussing the decision of accepting Christ as Savior:

Sometimes I get stuck in my own head as I talked with my kids about accepting Christ. It is such an important decision that I want them to make for themselves. When my kids asks my about Jesus and how to accept Him as their Saviour and I am caught off guard, or distracted I get flustered and begin to over-spiritualize the conversation to a point that my kids do not understand. I start using church language instead of having an age appropriate and child-friendly conversation.

How do I make sure that my child understands the importance of this decision and at the same time talk to them in a way they understand?

Another parent asked us:

How often should I talk to my kids about accepting Christ? I see that they are asking good questions, but I do not want them to feel like I am pressuring them, or have them start to ignore me because I have asked them too often.

I love the simplicity and clarity of the “Start Here” program as it guides parents through this process. The “Start Here” program is a tangible, simple brochure that helps the parent walk with the child in their decision, and it’s all centered around a verse that many of us know and teach our kids.

We even have parents who wonder if they ask too much about their child’s walk – or lack thereof – with Christ. Our curriculum 252 Basics uses an easy to read and understand version of this message, and this is the basis of the “Start Here” program: 

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
— John 3:16 NIrV

The parent literature that comes with “Start Here” is fully customizable and editable, and is a wonderful starting point for your ministry to equip parents. It also addresses a family Q&A to guide and direct the conversation towards the end goal. Our leaders will soon be equipped with this material to ensure that conversations happening in our small-group time, that the messaging is consistent, and that the parental until is provided with easy follow-up. 

In the end, how well parents, volunteers and leaders are equipped to have important conversations is essential in how the Gospel message is clearly shared. “Start Here” covers all of these and we can’t wait to see how our ministry and families benefit from the conversations that are encouraged through it. 

Serving out of stress.

DON’T SIGN UP TO WORK WITH KIDS IF THEIR ENERGY STRESSES AND DRAINS YOU.
— Not Normal: Seven Quirks of Incredible Volunteers | Adam Duckworth and Sue Miller

It sounds so simple to say that if something stresses you out you should stop doing it. However, sometimes it is not that easy. I think about the volunteers that I have worked with in the past and currently and I think about how there has to be people who serve around me that feel the stress of working with kids and teens and don't know how to step down, or feel pressure to stay where they are even though the joy is gone. 

You may be thinking what pressures keep volunteers from stepping down or to even speak up about how they feel. Well, some that I have experienced are: 

  • They don't know where else they can serve within the church. 
  • They see the overwhelming need of volunteers and don't want to add to that.
  • They don't want to disappoint those who are leading the ministry.
  • They don't want the kids to feel like they are abandoning them. 

Those are only a few of the pressures that volunteers face and many of them are extremely valid and hard to navigate without talking it out with the leader of the ministry or with trusted friends. A leaders job is to get people into their sweet spot of volunteering and serving God. 

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”
— I Peter 4:10 NIV

We are called to serve others, but we should not be holding people back from moving out of a stressful situation and into their sweet spot of volunteering. If some of the pressure can be addressed so that they can continue to serve where they are that is great, but if they need to move on we should be helping them find that spot.

But that doesn’t mean we give up. We look for someone new, and start over. If you had a bad experience we want to challenge you to start again someplace new.
— Not Normal: Seven Quirks of Incredible Volunteers | Adam Duckworth and Sue Miller

A leader should never place the pressure of finding a new volunteer on the person moving into their sweet spot. God provides and there is someone within the church who's sweet spot IS within your ministry. The leaders job is to help that person see the vision of the ministry and for the new volunteer to step in and run with their new role. We want to keep our volunteers from giving up on serving.

NORMAL PEOPLE GIVE UP TOO EASILY. NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T TRY AGAIN. NORMAL PEOPLE OFTEN CARRY A CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER...
— Not Normal: Seven Quirks of Incredible Volunteers | Adam Duckworth and Sue Miller

As I read Not Normal last week I had so many great internal conversations with myself about our culture of volunteering and how to make it stronger and how to help volunteers feel more equipped to engage our kids on how they can live out their faith everyday. When we engage our volunteers to move from stress to sweet spot we show that serving out of joy is way better than serving out of obligation. 

Maintaining Faith Habits

The seventh book I am reading in my one hundred book challenge (#100BooksOf2016, or#100Books if you follow along on Twitter,) this year is Brad Lomenick's H3 Leadership. I have felt quite challenged personally on my daily faith habits. Brad breaks faith habits into five areas and they are:

  1. Hearing
  2. Reading
  3. Studying
  4. Memorizing
  5. Meditation 

First, where I feel I am keeping strong habits are reading and hearing. Taking on one hundred books in a year means that you have to keep a good  two books a week routine. That keeps me focused on personal growth in many areas of my life. I also listen to a good rotation of sermons and podcasts. My three go-to podcasts are:

  1. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek services
  2. Judah Smith and Church
  3. The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

I have a few others that I keep up with, but those three are my staples for my week. Where I am making some changes is in studying intentionally the word of God. I usually read books about the Bible, but I find that I wasn't spending enough time IN the Bible. Do not get me wrong I would read the Bible for curriculum ideas, passages that came up in podcasts, or for other kidmin related projects. After getting together with a good friend we made an agreement to read the word more this year. We keep each other accountable and that is a huge help. I am currently reading through the Gospels with my wife and I am reading through Genesis during the day for my own personal time in the Bible.  

Here is where I struggle - memorizing. It isn't even a matter of not doing it a lot, it's a matter of being terrified of the word memorizing itself. I struggled as a kid in that area and how others responded to that have not helped my feeling towards memorizing scripture today. I know that is a poor excuse and I hope to get better. The first step for me is to not let the word terrify me before I even begin. 

As for meditation and prayer. I think everyone would love to pray more daily and I am the same way. We have included more prayer in our kidmin services over the last year and a bit and I have gone to God in prayer more in my own life lately. 

Faith habits are essential in life and I love that I can reflect on how I am doing and challenge myself and have others challenge me on how they are going. 

Faith is less like your arm and more like your heart. It is not supplementary to who we are but integral.
— Brad Lomenick: H3 Leadership | pg 45

Brad gives a great breakdown in the fifth chapter of H3 Leadership on how to help grow and foster faith habits. A great chapter for constant reminders on how you are growing in your faith and not relying on your own success, but relying on what God has done for us.

The more one succeeds, the busier one gets.And the busier one gets, the harder it is to nurture spiritual vitality.
— Brad Lomenick: H3 Leadership | pg 46

I would love to hear in the comments what you are reading and listening to that engages your faith habits and growth in the comments below. 

BOOK REVIEW – PARENTING BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY BY REGGIE JOINER AND CAREY NIEUWHOF

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity

by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Oftentimes, parenting can be a struggle full of love. Rather than being another “how-to be a better parent” book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity focuses on how parents can fortify their parenting capacity by engaging their family in God’s story to the world. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity also has a wealth of helpful insights for those who are hoping to be parents one day, those who are preparing to soon be parents, for grand-parents, those who work with parents, have friends that are parents, or for those that are influencers in children’s lives.

The core of the book is divided into five key family values.

1) Widen the circle

2) Imagine the end

3) Fight for the heart

4) Create a rhythm

5) Make it personal

Biblically based from Deuteronomy 6, the values and verses work hand-in-hand. Moses discusses in Deuteronomy 6 that God intended for family and faith-community alike that it takes a village mentality to raise spiritually-healthy children. Through this partnership of family and community mentors, God’s bigger story begins to unfold:

“Your children one day will seek affirmation and approval from adults other than you. Either you can become intentional about enlisting other trusted adults to influence your kids, or you can depend only on your limited capacity. You can leave them alone to discover random influences who will shape their character and faith, or you can help them protectively pursue strategic relationships for their lives.”


If our kids engage Christ with genuine and excited hearts, there is an even better chance that the family relationship can be used to witness to other friends and family – to a world that yearns to be restored. Honorable mention: There is no guilt trip regarding your parenting skills. The authors’ hope is to share the concept that the goal of parenting is not to impress others with your amazing parenting skills, but it is to instill within your children the love and nature of God.

Someone & Somewhere

Kids need TWO important NOUNS so they can anchor their lives to something solid.

They need a PERSON.

They need a PLACE.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

This year, we have made a big push toward making sure all our leaders are oriented toward the same goal for all the children and youth that come into our church. We want them to be "Motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday." This gives our leaders a sense of an end-goal and shows us where we want our kids to end up. How our leaders help our kids get to this end-goal will be determined by who that individual leader, as well as how they demonstrate that Jesus is working through them to influence the world around them. By giving our kids someone who is passionate about living for Christ, they become a witness to how Christ is at work in the lives of caring adults who serve within the church. 

In everyone’s story of faith, there are people who have shown up and become catalysts for their spiritual growth.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

The interesting part that I have been thinking about is that our students have many other "someones" in their lives, and I have the awesome opportunity to speak to parents about the influence these other adults have in the lives of their children. I am a huge believer in mentors and how key people in your life can change the outcome of who you become. I see a direct link between my mentors and the decisions I make everyday. This fall, I can't wait to talk about the role of mentors for kids with the parents of our church, and I hope that I can help them leverage the influencers around their children so that these kids get motivated to live out their faith everyday. 

Once leaders embrace their role as a "someone" in a child's life we, need to emphasize the importance of a "somewhere." Contextually, a "somewhere" needs a few key elements to work well in children's ministry. It needs to be consistent with who the leaders are and where the teaching take place. Structure needs to be put in place so that relationships can thrive especially within children's ministry. Creating A Lead Small Culture puts it this way:

Belief influences behavior and behavior influences belief. They are the most important characteristics to understand when you are trying to shape a culture in your church.

Belief: The quality of relationships is linked to the quality of structure.

Behavior: Improve the structure.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture.

Your "somewhere" needs to be as equally important as the "someones" because until your behavior states that your "somewhere" is important it won't build the relationships needed (the ones that grow faith in the lives of the kids).

This year, we have strived to improve the structure of our Sunday mornings. We have functioned on Sundays for a few years with a large group/small group model for a few years, but there always seems to be a tension between what group has what function. The tension exists between who teaches the Bible story and who develops the application of that story, so our kids are equipped to live out their faith and the Bible lesson of that day. It is not a messy tension, but when the tension is not addressed, one of those key elements can be missed (and that applies to every ministry). Our "somewhere" needed to be given a clear directive so that our end-goal for our kids could be achieved. Each ministry needs to adapt their "somewhere" so that it is best suited to the needs of the students.

For us, our large group time is for teaching of biblical content, growth of spiritual disciplines, and time of group worship. Our small groups are set up for the growth of relationships that are stemmed from a consistent community of kids and leaders, the review of the Bible through memory verses, and how to apply the lessons in everyday ways. I am looking forward to a new ministry year because with every start, comes new questions and challenges as a leader.

Here are two questions that I hope you can wrestle through:

  1. How are you equipping parents to leverage the "someones" and their influence in their kids' lives? 
  2. How does your "somewhere" orient your ministry towards the end-goal you have for your kids?

 

 

*These are my thoughts from reading pages 1-37 of Creating A Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy & Elle Campbell

Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
$19.99
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell

Book Study: Starting Over

I am reposting this because I am working through this book again over the next few weeks and I am looking forward to having some fresh eyes as I look at the study again. I hope to gain some new perspectives as we are heading into a new ministry year this September. 

I am really excited to start this new year off by joining many other kidmin and youth min. leaders (last time I checked it was over 900), as we read through Creating A Lead Small Culture together through an online book club. I have already read through this book once fully and the second time was a brief synopsis for another leader in a smaller church looking to implement Orange philosophy and the 252 Basics curriculum into their program. The book is full of great tips on how to connect your leaders with the kids they serve on a deeper level and how they can partner with parents so that together they can create more opportunities for spiritual development and deeper understandings on how God is at work in their lives everyday.

Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere.

Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their kids and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids and teens to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

Here is how my next eight weeks are looking.

 *I will be starting again on Aug. 12 and going until Sept. 13. 

*I will be starting again on Aug. 12 and going until Sept. 13. 

As I started Session One today I have already had a couple questions jump out at me and cause me to strongly reflect how Life Groups (We use Life Groups instead of Small Groups in the hopes that these groups will continue to grow together and do life together), function in our kidmin department.

The very first question is a tough one for many leaders because they simply want kids and parents to attend everything possible that happens within the church walls.

If kids only show up at church one time a week and experience one environment or participate in one activity, where would you tell them to go?

Wowzers, yep they said what every leader dreads to ask, or even think about. The thought that a family or a child might only pick one of the many great things that your ministry does. I have been wrestling with this question for months now:

How do we plan our ministries better to help families leverage their time together so that they spend more time as a family?

Think about it:

Kids ministry is one day, or night,
Youth Ministry is on one or two other nights.
Men’s ministry happens,
Women’s Ministry is another,
and church is on Sundays,

oh yeah don’t forget about after school activities and extra curricular activities.

Add all those days up and well you have one very exhausted and overwhelmed family.

Your greatest asset to building faith in the next generation is not your Bible study, worship band, facilities, or budget. The most valuable resources you have to help people see God are the people in your church who know God.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

How do you react to that statement? With relief? Hesitation? Excitement? Explain Why?

What are your biggest obstacles when trying to connect every kid with a consistent adult leader?

What are some of your ideas so far for overcoming those obstacles?

Those are the main questions that I am going to be wrestling with this week. I want nothing more for my kids in our kidmin than for them to experience God through the caring adults that are in their lives. That is how they will understand who God is, how we works in their lives, and how He loves them unconditionally. By learning about God in a relational context I hope that our kids learn about a relational God that wants to have a consistent two-way relationship with them.

Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
$19.99
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell

Thoughts on Ministry Progression

The following are my speaking notes from a one-day conference we hold at The Peoples Church called Reaching High. This past year we broke up the main session and split it into three and covered the life of a child that would go through a ministry from birth to college. The goal was to equip and encourage the Life Group leaders by teaching them that what they do matters in the life of our kids and families. We tracked the child from children’s ministry and into a jr. High ministry and finally into youth ministry. We as presenters focused on three main questions:

  1. Children’s Ministry – What do I believe?
  2. Jr. High Ministry – Who do I believe I am?
  3. Youth Ministry –    Why do I believe what I believe? and How do I show it?

Each child asks these questions in their respected ministries, but the interesting thing about kids in ministry is that each child is at a different place in their spiritual understanding. You could have a new believer in youth ministry that is asking the basic question “What do I believe to be true?” We placed that question as the defining question in children’s ministry because we would like our grade 6 students that leave our ministry to know what the Bible says is true and to understand God’s plan of restoration. However any new believer will start by asking the same question, “What do I believe?” We decided that if we looked at the progression of ministries as a straight line it would mean that without knowing it we saw spiritual growth as having an end point. A line eventually has to end.

Children’s ministry has a child for about 11-12 years followed by two years of jr. high and another 4-5 years of high school and then they are done. When we look at ministry as a linear progression it speaks to the reality that the leaders in each of these areas is finished mentoring that child when the child passes into the next ministry. This leadership is what causes students to fall through the cracks.

We proposed a different type of ministry model. A more circular look at a child’s life from beginning to end. This is where I will let me notes take over. Enjoy!

Let’s start with how many church’s view birth to college ministries. One linear line and you are lucky if the children’s pastor and the youth pastor even agree with 80% of what they do. What is even more dangerous is that if we view spiritual progression as one straight line from birth to college we are doing our students a huge injustice.

 So let’s talk about how we want to move forward.

 I don’t think that all of the circles are ever entirely separated. They all lead in and out of each other. However, our focus changes. For example when a child is heading out of children’s ministry and heading into Jr. High the question shifts to what does the gospel teach us about Jesus to what does the gospel tell me about my role in God’s plan.

 The key question for Jr. High will be that of identity.

 How do I identify my life within God’s ultimate plan of restoration. We need to give these kids the opportunity to experience a God that is huge while they feel super small.

 Part of the Jr. High dilemma is that these students need to be told what God sees in them. What God sees in them becomes visible when we take the time to use affirming words that showcase God given talent within them.

 As students begin to navigate out of the What do I believe phase we need to capture their attention through a compelling story of a God that is present in their lives. If a student enters Jr. High looking at who they are without knowing who God is our world is way to loud for them to make clear and correct decisions.

 In Jr. High social media has produced a mentality that they have to create moments in their lives to generate likes on their social media sites. There is a pressure to perform and out do peers in those moments. (We will talk more about that in my session)

 When we have done our job in Jr. High and showed the students how to experience a God that is alive in their life through engaging stories we can start to move them towards the next question – How do I use these gifts to live out the gospel message in my life outside these walls. I am not saying that students don’t ask this question earlier, I am  simply saying that as they round out their Jr. High years they will enter into this. Faith becomes their responsibility.

The end goal of this model was that the child would work their way through our ministries asking the questions that are relevant to their exact needs. Our goal as leaders would be to allow these students the opportunity to ask these questions and we would help guide them to the sweet spot where all our ministries intersect. That would be the home. Our goal is that the students begin to act out their faith at home, in their school and into their adult years.

 

 

#THINKORANGE: OUR #KIDMIN IS CHANGING COLOURS THIS FALL.

+Originally posted on August 25, 2014

This September our #kidmin program is turning Orange and using the 252 Basics curriculum. I have found myself overly excited about this transition since going to the Orange Conference back in May. I am excited for a few reasons:

 

 

  1. The amount of content that will be available to our parents and families throughout the week. This will include Parent Cue, 252 Live, and more. It also means that more families will be talking about Jesus throughout the week. A win on all levels.
  2. The added responsibility and content for our tech team. Our tech team is full of students that have wanted more ownership over the content on Sunday mornings. Even though the content is still prepared ahead of time they will have the opportunity to pull it up at home experiment with it and make the visuals their own.
  3. The added role of a host on Sunday mornings. This will allow some of our volunteers the opportunity to use their dramatic skill sets to help the storyteller bring the Bible to life every Sunday.

 

 

The one thing I have not enjoyed about implementing Orange has been the constant need to justify our choice to other #kidmin leaders from other churches I come into contact with. Whether it is their preconceived feelings about what Orange brings, or their desire to have full control of the content that they bring to their kids many leaders have asked me the same question in one way or another,

 

“Are you worried about the lack of Bible content in their lessons?”

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I have heard this in the last three months. In a way I find it heartbreaking and I always feel as though one of our team’s core responsibilities in being questions. That responsibility is presenting the Gospel to our kids and allowing families the opportunities to live out the Gospel in their homes each week. When I get asked that question about Orange I feel as though I am being asked whether or not our team is capable to bring the Gospel message to our kids.

 

 

Orange is creative in ways that I could never be, or would take me hours to produce and summon from within myself. Those hours of creativity that this curriculum saves me allows me to add Bible when I need to, (I personally think that Orange provides just as much Bible content as many of the other curriculums out there do) for my volunteers, or for family specific content. I have also gone through Bible college for Biblical Studies and as a leader in a church realize that part of my job is to add in Bible wherever I need to.

 

So when I hear that question asked to me what I really hear in my head is,

 

 

“Are you prepared to do your job and teach those children in your care how to live out the Gospel message of Jesus?”

 

The answer is of course. I also realize for me the question goes way farther than what curriculum do I use and I probably take it way to personally, but I am always surprised when I get it.

 

 

I am excited for September and what 252 Basics will add into our ministry. I truly believe at this point that the benefits of this curriculum choice will be felt in the lives of the children in our ministry for years to come. As a children’s pastor you cannot ask for anything better than impacting the lives of the kids and families in your community.

LAUNCHING A NEW MINISTRY YEAR : NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS

*Originally posted on September 8, 2014

This past Sunday marked the first week that our elementary students used the 252 Basics curriculum from Orange and from the leadership side of things we could not have been happier with the outcome. Here are a couple of my highlights from our launch weekend.

1) Our set for this month. We were given some used doors to use from a family on our staff to use as well as all the hinges and screws to piece them together to make dividers. We used these to bring the theme from “Opportunity Knocks,” (the title of this months series) to life on stage. The idea from Orange was very Monsters Inc. and our tech. team went with that and used lighting to make them all blue and green.

Another great thing that came from this set happened by sheer coincidence. The theme for our church’s Global Missions Conference that runs from September 7-21, 2014 has a very similar look to it. We found this out after we planned the doors for our stage in a meeting with our worship arts department.

 2) We taught the students a new song this weekend from the CD “Movin’ Me” from Amber Sky Records. This CD is a must own for any #kidmin programs. It is upbeat, catchy and full of great songs for students and parents to learn. My wife and I play this CD at least once on every road trip since I picked it up in May. We taught the students one of my personal favourites from the album “Let It Be Known.” 

3) We made some changes to the sign-in and sign-out policies for our children’s ministry that were greatly received from our parents and congregation. We had ushers and greeters to help us with these transitions so it was a smooth transition.

4) We have implemented a props cupboard for our storytellers and hosts. This was very handy for the first lesson that included safari hats, sunglasses, a shovel and a stuffed carrot to name a few. this should help us stay organized and to help us gather props for upcoming weeks. 

Our children’s ministry department loved the flow of our large group with the bottom line, memory verse and lesson. It flowed well and kept us on schedule for the whole morning. 

A great first week.