Create leaders not followers with the leader-leader approach.
David Marquet redefines leadership for the modern leader who wants to create empowering environments for their people. Read more: Turn the Ship Around!
Connecting Children's Pastors to Creative, Contagious, Innovative Leadership
Create leaders not followers with the leader-leader approach.
David Marquet redefines leadership for the modern leader who wants to create empowering environments for their people. Read more: Turn the Ship Around!
Guest post by Dawn Farris who is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog www.whosthefarris.com or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris
I put a new “Scentsy” wax cube in the warmer in my office today. I hadn’t used one for quite a while, but the cold weather and gray skies made me want to warm up my space and my attitude. A sweet mix of peppermint and a little left over something or other was noticed by everyone who came by.
“Hmmmm. Something smells nice.”
“Oh, wow! Your office smells great.”
“What smells so good?”
The aroma in my office was sending some good vibrations throughout the church for sure, for sure.
Then a little later in the day I was Skyping with my friends Todd and Andy. We were chatting about blogging and we got on the topic of the attitudes and how we need to always be careful that we are conveying an attitude encouragement, humility and equipping rather than complaining, criticism or negativity.
As I got ready to head home for the day, I went to turn my warmer off and realized that our attitudes, and the attitudes of our teams, need to be a bit like that Scentsy.
A great attitude is like a pleasant aroma. It can literally change the atmosphere in a room–or a ministry.
How does that happen? A “scent-sational” kidmin team comes from individual “scent-sational” attitudes and efforts–from each member choosing daily to have attitudes like. . .
. . . regardless of our circumstances.
When we live out these types of attitudes, individually and collectively, people will take notice, they will be drawn to us and we will be a “pleasing aroma” not only to others, but to the Lord. We will not only be a “scent-sational” team member, but a “scent-sational” team.
So let’s get praying, let’s get choosing and let’s get using God’s power to permeate the space around us with the attitudes of Jesus as we serve together to be not just “scent-sational,” but sensational kidmin teams as we share Jesus with the children around us.
Ralph Hawkins and Richard Parrott shine some light on the life of Saul, Israel’s first king and expose the tragic leadership failures of the man whom God chose to be the earthly leader of His people. Although King Saul is credited with some small successes, the authors term his overall reign as a “net-negative”. Bringing up the point that
it is not so much how you start but how you will finish.
Hawkins and Parrott list the ten areas where King Saul suffered leadership failure. These pitfalls are:
1. Saul Failed to Handle Authority Humbly.
2. Saul Failed to Break Out of His Tendency to Isolate Himself.
3. Saul Failed to Think Before He Spoke.
4. Saul Failed to Act When the Time Was Right.
5. Saul Failed to Lead the People, but Let Them Lead Him Instead.
6. Saul Failed to Promote or Make Necessary Changes.
7. Saul Failed to Love the People.
8. Saul Failed to A Be True to His Own Ethics.
9. Saul Failed to Admit Failure or Concede to David.
10. Saul Failed to Consult God.
In Leadership Lessons: Dr. Ralph Hawkins and Dr. Richard Parrott offer a practical leadership guide with proven steps that could help anyone in a leadership role. They tell the stories of King Saul’s leadership missteps and connect those stories with the challenges facing today’s leaders. In our current climate of rapid change, intense competition, you will find valuable advice that will give your leadership a firm foundation.
A quick run down comparison of Saul’s pitfalls and many Children’s pastors same pitfalls.
1. Handle authority humbly. Many cp’s once given more responsibility by their senior pastors begin to lord things over the same people who earlier on were treated like responsible co-team members
2. Isolate themselves. Get so busy with their ministry and separated from rest of church it creates isolation. The children’s pastor doesn’t change this.
3. Think before he speaks. Enough said on this one.
5. Not leading but being led. Often times cp’s can get so tired they don’t have the energy to lead like they have been called to and instead will go with the flow of the most vocal ones.
6. Not making changes. Again see earlier downfall and the cause can be the same, tired.
7. Not loving people. Due to various reasons, we can often times see people as here to carry out “our ministry” not the ministry here to help complete the people. Fall in love with he people or the first will happen quickly.
8-10, go ahead and complete the comparison. There are many!
This will prove to be another good leadership resource to add to my book shelf.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers
Guest post: Dawn Farris is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog www.whosthefarris.com or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris
To really grow, we have to let God work inside of us. I mean, we can try to do it on our own, and we can try with all our might, but in reality, it must be God who moves and works in us to bring about change.
To help kids to learn to rely on Jesus to help them grow spiritually rather than striving to “be good” on their own, teach them to go “pro” by using these three simple concepts based on the acronym PRO.
1) Pray—Begin by asking God to seek your heart and show you where He wants to work. As He reveals any areas that may need to change, confess them to Him and . . .
2) Repent—More than just changing our actions, repentance involves a change of mind trusting God’s way over ours. True repentance is the action that shows a change of our hearts and minds from our way to God’s way which means we will. . .
3) Obey—We want our kids to learn that to grow we have to obey God’s will and follow His Spirit and His ways. Spiritual growth will come when as our hearts learn that obedience is a gift of love and should be the first choice of those who belong to Jesus.
We all know that few of our students will go pro in their favorite sport, but by using a phrase they already relate to, we can help them learn through prayer, repentance and obedience how to go pro in their spiritual growth with the Lord.
The expression, “It’s starting to be one of those Mondays” took on a new reality for me this morning.
Walking out the door this morning when my backpack hit my hand which was loosely holding my iPhone 5s. When the two of them made contact it was my phone that lost as it left my hand and dropped to the bottom of our concrete front porch stairs. The whole front glass section of the phone was completely busted up. The silver lining of this could be that we had Apple care plus so the fixing of the phone cost $79.00 and some unscheduled time to get it fixed.
While it was getting fixed, the whole 3 hours, it truly became clear how much and often I truly do use my phone. Here are some ways that in just those 3 hours I went to use my phone.
1. email of course. I went to send email and check my email. I am even embarrassed to admit that while I was in the apple store handing my phone over, the guy helping me told me how they would send a receipt to my email. You guessed it, I went to try to check my email on my phone that I no longer had with me.
2. Evernote was the other tool I was going to use on my phone. I wanted to take a picture of a logo that I saw and at another time wanted to do a voice recording note.
3. Starbucks app. I wanted to go get some coffee and reached for my phone to check my balance on the app when I remembered my phone was broken.
4. Calendar. Was completely lost without my calendar. Glad today was a Monday and is a little more relaxed than if this happened on another day.
5. Amazon book reader. As my wife was driving I usually will work on my iPhone or will get caught up on my reading or book review list. Not this time.
6. Clock. This was attempted more times than I will admit to, because it is very embarrassing how many times I check for my phone to see the time.
7. Trello. Every time I wanted to add to my to-do list or assign a project for a team member I would reach for my phone and come up disappointed every time.
8. EasilyDo. Trying to stay connected with all of my friends and their birthdays etc I love using EasilyDo. In this time block of my phone being down, so was my connecting with friends and wishing them a happy birthday.
9. YNAB. YNAB has been one of those apps that has benefited my family so much because we keep track of our spending and know what we have budgeted while maintaining real time updates for my wife and I. This app has been the single most beneficial tool to help us stop living pay check to paycheck. Every time we would spend something I had to hold onto the receipt for that moment that my phone would be back or I was around a computer to log into YNAB and record them.
10. Bible. I wanted to look up a reference that someone was making that was in the Bible but as we know by now, I did not have my phone which meant I did not have my Bible on hand.
11. Lastly, I did try to make a couple calls, it is a phone still as well I guess.
Isn’t it amazing how much our phones are used in such a short amount of time?
I have read on Tech2 the average person checks their smart phone 150 times a day.
How would you have been found trying to use your phone over the past 3 hours?
Do you have 1 single tool that you use more than your smart phone? If so what is it?
I have heard and I am sure you have too, “Leaders are readers…” and with the amount we have all heard and read this one statement, I must believe there is some truth to this. Actually I whole heartily believe this.
You need to develop an appetite for life-long learning. In today’s world with all of our great technology like the internet, e-books, blogs on every imaginable topic under the sun, and all of this just a click away with the device all of us hold in our hands from phones, tablets, and laptops, there is truly no excuse to not read.
If you think you don’t have time to read, think about this:
Reading just an hour a day adds years of experience and research to your life. You actually gain time by reading. Time you would have spent doing something the wrong way.
And that just scratches the surface at the benefits of reading.
Reading expands our minds.
Reading provides access to mentors who may not be with us anymore.
Reading allows you to travel places you may never get to go to otherwise.
Reading ignites our passion as we get to link dreams with others.
Reading frees us to learn about anything our hearts desire.
Reading clarifies our thinking as we connect with someone who has traveled further.
Reading fuels our creativity as we are challenged by someone taking one of our thoughts further.
Reading helps us lead more effectively and efficiently.
If you aren’t in the habit of regular daily reading, I suggest you take out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself and a good book or e-book everyday. Start your day or end your day this way, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it.
First let me say upfront, one book that we all should be reading is the Bible. This blog post is assuming that you are already starting there. So now, let’s add to your reading.
Sir Francis Bacon’s advice on reading says it best:
“Some books are to be tested, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
Some of the books I have spent some time chewing and digesting for a various amount of reasons:
Start here: “11 Books that have caused change in my life”.
There are so many good blogs on the internet that you can learn from an expert in just about anything. And best of all, you don’t have to pay for it!
If you don’t read blogs, you are missing out. Get yourself a free Feedly Reader account. Get an app for blog reading on the go (I use feedly here as well). Then, find good blogs about topics that interest you.
Here is a list of the top 100 Kidmin blogs to help you get started. Notice this blog post has been in the list and steadily moving up over the last couple of years.
Now go and start your reading.
Here is another guest post by a friend of mine who pastors here in Iowa, her name is Dawn Ferris. Enjoy the challenge by this post.
My heart is so burdened. I often write for those in children’s ministry—volunteers or other children’s pastors. But today, I’m writing to those who need to hear call of God to help out in their church’s children’s ministry programs.
There appears to be a serious shortage of people who are willing to make a commitment to helping children know Jesus. Across the country, in large and small churches, east coast, west coast and mid west, churches and children’s ministers are struggling to find people to serve in their ministries.
It’s a spiritual battle, and it is taking place within the walls of our churches and within the hearts of God’s people.
Children’s ministers are no longer called to minister to children, but to empower volunteers to serve. It has even been suggested that 85% of a children’s pastor’s time should be delegated to recruiting, equipping, encouraging and appreciating volunteers.
Yet churches and parents often still expect that same children’s pastor to invest another 85% of their time teaching, encouraging, planning events and equipping children.
Since 85% + 85% = 170% of their time, well, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Jesus knew it, and so He told us, “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to bring workers into the field. For the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.”
Truer words have rarely been spoken. Children are so receptive to the love of God. Children are hungry for people to invest in them. Children want to be led. But the window of time is short, because children aren’t children forever.
And like the leaves change and fall with the seasons, a children’s open to the things of God has a very short window.
Don’t wait to be asked. Your children’s pastor or ministry leader may be swamped under the demands of a 170% work schedule. People often have a zillion reasons why they can’t serve in children’s ministry, but here are five I’ve come up with as to why you should consider answering the call of God and making the call to your children’s ministry leader.
5 Reasons to Answer the Call to Serve in Children’s Ministry
1—You have a chance to be a part of leading children to Jesus. Without Jesus, people are going to hell. With Jesus, people can be saved from hell. Care enough to help save a child.
2—You have a chance to be a part of leading children to Jesus. Repeatedly in God’s Word people found their way to Him because someone else led them there, and sometimes they did it when they were tired, beaten, shipwrecked or endangered. In the U.S., out of all those, we can probably only claim tired. Come and lead a child to Jesus.
3—You have a chance to be a part of leading children to Jesus. God promises us that He will equip us and strengthen us for His mission. Trust God to empower you to help lead a child to Jesus. He’s very reliable, and trusting Him can change your perspective and your life.
4—You have a chance to be a part of leading children to Jesus. To paraphrase Mordecai when he talked to Esther, if you don’t do it, someone else will, but you may be in your church to help for such a time as this. Children’s Ministry may be a little dangerous sometimes, but so is the alternative.
5—You have a chance to be a part of leading children to Jesus. We are in danger of raising another generation of children who don’t know Jesus. If you are reading this today, God is calling you to do something about it. Think about it. If you knew God was calling, wouldn’t you want to answer the phone?
Ok so those five reasons were really just one reason. But, what more reason do we need to serve than the privilege to partner with God to lead a child to Jesus and to see them saved from hell?
Answer the call. Make the call. See what God will do. Then write and let me know!! There’s nothing I love better than a great story of God at work in people’s lives.
Coming soon: What you can do to help when you are just not a “kid person”—not everyone is.
This is a guest post by Andy Partington who is the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana. You can find out more about him at www.andypartingtonblog.com
I have this tendency to think faster than I talk. I don’t stutter, but what usually ends up happening is my words tend to come out funny. The first letter of the second word likes to swap places with the first letter of the first and I end up creating an entirely new vocabulary.
As a child, this occurrence bothered me.
As an adult and performer I tend to use it to my advantage.
After all, kids laugh.
Saying it Silly
Now in the grand scheme of things there is a hierarchy of words in the dictionary based on silliness. It may not always be easily seen to the beginner, but years and years of copying Merriam Webster’s big book through disciplinary action has taught me that this is so. Over the years playwrights, clowns, and vaudevillians have always held to the rule that the hard “k” sound is particularly funny. I haven’t the slightest reason to give, but through practice I’ve always tried to include it in my routines. For instance, if I’m picking a random city or locale, I’ll go with “Kalamazoo” or “Kisatchie” as opposed to “Baltimore” or “Springfield.”
Children also respond to their own unique fun words that seem to be universal. “Spaghetti” is a word that usually draws laughs. It’s also one of the favorite foods that kids yell out most often when asked. Perhaps there is humor in familiarity paired with the natural mouth feel and silliness of the word. This is great fun to explore and play around with. During your next message or performance, take a little time to throw in a few new words or try out some of the examples above. Then see if you can find a reason for all the chuckles. If you can’t find the cause, who cares?
Kids are laughing.
Another way to make kids laugh is to use funny names. Go for something meaningless and stupid. It’s always best to stay away from hurtful or descriptive names, because we’re in the business of making laughs, not psychological scars.
At a recent church, I was blessed with two girls named Joyce. I could have easily gone with “Joyce 1” and “Joyce 2”, and that would have resulted in a few smiles. But inspiration hit and I realized that I had one Joyce and a copy… another Joyce…a resulting Joyce…a re-Joyce…Rejoice!
Also, you might have noticed that parents have become increasingly clone worthy in their naming and that you might have a room full of Austin’s, or Hunter’s, or Reginald’s. The common classroom quick fix is to add the last initial to the name..Ex. Austin A and Austin F.
But we want kids to laugh.
How about something completely different?
How about some nonsense?
Austin A and Austin “Potato Salad”.
Okay, first off…it’s dumb, but kids laugh.
The second thing is that I didn’t point out which one was given the silly name. So, it works out that neither of them has to wear a label that they didn’t necessarily want and they both get to claim it if that’s the attention that they want. (9 out of 10 times they both want to be “potato salad.”)
Mostly Magic Words
I have a lot of props in my act and tend to name them completely off the wall names that, through repetition, help the youngsters to easily identify what I’m doing based on what prop I’m holding and referring to.
A few examples are: My screen remote is called a “flurb.” My puppet trunk is called the “box-o-stuff,” and I often refer to any kind of magic wand or pointer as a “spatula.”
All of which garner laughs with very little mention. Returning kids will even mention these items when I fail to on a regular basis.
This helps us in two ways.
One, they laugh.
And two, they repeat.
Parents are constantly stopping me and asking if I’m the guy who taught their kid this. When parents notice, word of mouth grows.
But most importantly, kids laugh.
Here is a mentoring post that Andy Partington who is the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana wrote on mentoring. You can find out more about him at www.andypartingtonblog.com
As you march up the ladder of ministerial success, take some time and think of how you got there. Sure there were lots of victories. You picked up some valuable lessons from hard knocks. And along the way you picked up some great anecdotes, illustrations, and connections.
Isn’t it time to pass some of that wisdom along? Paul talks about mentoring as a father and son relationship.“11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12)
We all bring a bag of tricks to the table–a wheelhouse of good ideas that are just begging to be shared with future generations or with our peers trying to minister in their own areas of life. Are you ready to take someone under your wing and become a mentor? Well, here are five things to do as you decide to share your expertise.
1. Make a list of your strengths and experiences you bless someone’s life with. Start here. After all, you can’t really invest in someone without pinpointing what it is you’ll be sharing. You may just be surprised as you make your list. It’s possible you’ll find some strengths you didn’t know you had.
2. Determine how much time you have to give. I get it. You’re really busy. It’s always good to know your schedule and evaluate how much time you can give. Time can never be saved or redeemed. But it can be invested. And what better investment is there than pouring yourself into others?
3. Pray for and choose someone you want to be with and reach out to them. Let God identify just the right person to mentor. Perhaps you see someone struggling. Maybe someone has reached out to you for advice. Look for a teachable spirit and someone who you actually like. Mentoring is a relationship. So, it will help to actually like the person.
4. If you “connect” initiate some regular time together until your protégé has what they need. Mentoring time doesn’t always have to be a formal meeting. Spend some time together and enjoy a few laughs. Take your mentee along with you as you work. You’ll find that if you connect, it’s easier to talk and you’ll be on your way to sharing your life’s story, wisdom, and passion.
5. Then let them go. Every little bird gets kicked out of the nest in order to fly. Once you’ve passed on everything you can, it’s time to let them work on their own. Hopefully, they’ll be equipped to mentor someone else and pay it forward.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the ins and outs of mentoring. Let me hear if you have some other great pointers to get out there and start mentoring.
Guest Post by Dawn Farris who is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog www.whosthefarris.com or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris
“And pray for my cat and my dog and my goldfish and bless all the world. . . Amen”
While children’s prayers can be heartfelt and sincere, part of our call in their discipleship process is to help children grow deeper in the discipline of prayer.
Because prayer is more than just talking to God, it is both an offensive and defensive weapon in the spiritual battles we face every day, this week in our children’s ministry, we used what we called “fish prayers” to help HiSKidZ grow in their prayer and spiritual lives and walks with God.
Our younger children made fish refrigerator magnets and our olders made bookmarks to help remind them to pray the fish way. (Yes, along the way we practiced our fish faces, fish sounds and fish tales!)
Here is what we shared this week with our kids; and our leaders and parents loved it, too, since this isn’t just a great way for kids to pray, it’s a great way to pray for kids.
Pray for faith. The disciples prayed for Jesus to increase their faith and we can learn from their example. We talked with HiSKidZ about how the world can chisel away at their faith, so we need to pray that God increases our faith and the faith of our friends.
First we had to explain integrity. Our simple definition “doing the right things for the right reasons” helped kids to understand that they could pray to be honest, sincere, helpful, kind, forgiving, generous and more. Since we have used virtue based curriculum in the past they understood praying that the words adhered to our walls would be adhered to our hearts.
As we talked we found that most of our kids were not praying for people to get saved. It didn’t take long to realize that prayers for people to “be saved” were most definitely in God’s will and we became excited to see what God will be doing as we begin to pray for our family, friends and classmates to know Jesus as their Savior.
HiSKidZ define holiness as “being set apart for God.” Again when asked, most realized they had never considered praying for their life to be set apart for God. Our older kids even concluded that one of the reasons many kids grow up and don’t follow God could be that there weren’t enough prayers being prayed for them to be set apart for their whole life.
Just as a fish can swim deep down into the water, HiSKidZ and their leaders went home this week with a new tool and plan to help them go deeper in their relationship with their Savior and Friend, Jesus.
I have the privilege of being the Family Life pastor at First Church of the Open Bible, an incredible church in Des Moines, IA I oversee a growing children’s ministry where every weekend you can always see families coming in to have a real experience with the life changing Savior – Jesus. I am married to Rachel, the best wife that God could have hand picked for me. We have been given three incredible gifts from God by the names of Jenelle, Camille, and Zachary. Lastly I enjoy fishing with family, reading about leadership, task management, all things Macintosh and gadgets.