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Rule of 3 because it is good to never be alone

I have friend named Dale Hudson who has written a blog post of his talking about the news of the Pastor in the news recently being accused of doing things with some kids. Unfortunately this topic people don’t seem to take as serious until a situation comes up that forces them to think about it.

I stress all the time in Kids Life the importance of the rule of 3, whcih basically is this: Never be alone with just a child and you. Make sure you always travel in groups of three for accountability. Never travel with kids outside of a group, watch your conversations and meetings with kids outside of group ministry times.

I think Dale did a good enough job of discussing this in his post so here is the link: Dale Hudson.

Top 100 Children’s Ministry Blogs

Tony Kummer has spent who knows how many hours calculating a ton of blogs and their stats to end up with this pretty exhaustive list of children’s ministry blogs. This blog just for the record made it into this list at number 55. Not sure if that is great or not but considering how much time I have not had to devote to this blog over the last few months, it may not be so bad.

So go here: Top 100 blog sites and check it out. It can also give you some new blogs you may not be aware of that you may choose to enter into your feed reader.

Testing, Checking and asking Why?

Please excuse this test, I am only checking on some settings and making evaluations of what I have set up.

Here is a quick thought as I end this test. I find it helpful to occasionally pop in and run some test when I add new features to my blog and also check not only the new things but examine plugins that are already installed here as well to make sure that everything plays nice with one another. By running these test it has helped me to be the one to discover when things where not going as I thought they were and not have to hear it from a reader of the blog.

So how often do we run test, examine things that are not just the new things we are creating or introducing, but how often do we make sure that all of our created systems and processes are still running well with everything else? I heard a story once which I will share the brief version of it here.

There was a mom and daughter cooking the Holiday season ham together. The mom took the pan out and began to place the ham in the pan, but before doing so she chopped off the ends of the ham and threw them away. The daughter asking, “Mom why do you do that?” The mom replies, “I don’t know your grandma always did this”. So they both agree to try to find out the reason and call grandma. As they get grandma on the phone and ask her the question they are amazed and embarrassed as grandma gives the reason. Grandma’s reason…Because the ham was to big for the pan she and her mom used to bake the ham in.

In short, just as I am checking and testing this blog to make sure everything is running well with the old and new stuff, we need to know it is ok to question, test, and check what we do and why we do it. The reason people used paper cut outs with Popsicle sticks glued to them for puppets at one time does not mean that we still need to do the same now. Have you ran your methods through a check as to why you are doing stuff the way you are?

Spend some time today to go and do a systems check.

New Position Landmine #4 Expectations go both ways

Whenever you begin a new position regardless of what it may be always remember that expectations will go both ways. As you enter into the new position you will have expectations and the people who are already there will have expectations of you as well. So, it is extremely important as a leader to set the right kind of expectations.

In order to set appropriate expectations as you start a new position, make sure you do your homework. You should gather as much information as possible from a variety of people, those in the know and those who have a stake in your success. I recommend gathering information from those who may not be against you but they are also not for you. Explore your assumptions concerning which problems need immediate attention, how to possibly fix them, and how long it will take. This is all part of you taking control of your expectations.

Now to help manage others expectations as you enter, remember your reputation will probably precede you. Throughout your ministry areas people may have anxiety built up around some changes that they have heard you will do or that they expect you to do and often these can get blown out of proportion.
Based on years of experience, I have learned that one or more of my new colleagues might have questions concerning my qualifications and leadership ability. They might even think, “I am just as smart as he is. So, what does he have that I don’t? I am just as smart as he is, so what does he have that I don’t?” Or thoughts could go toward people thinking, “Is this new guy going to be a good leader for me?” We always need to remember that perception is a person’s reality and that we always see the world through a certain set of lenses which are made up with our expectations, preconceptions, and even self interests.

So, be aware of not only your expectations but remember that others have some for you as well. As you enter your new ministry, stay aware of what messages you are sending out. You will have to work hard to set appropriate expectations for you and those who are already there. But building this step in will pay for itself with a smooth transition for you and the ministry you are joining.

New Position Landmine #3 The Ministry itself

Here is one landmine that maybe I should have started this whole landmine blog post series with. This is a landmine that you would come in contact with right away and not even notice until it could be too late. This is one of those land mines that you see in the movies where someone steps on and then has to remain still until they can find an equal weight item to slide on and take the place of the person who stepped on it. Unfortunately that is in ways the same type of solution that is required here as well. If you find yourself on top of this land mine it will more than likely take another person to come and relieve you as well.

What is the landmine I am referring to? The new ministry position itself.

Often times I have seen and heard and even early on in my own ministry years the excitement of the new church you get to go to and minister in over whelms you and you become blinded with excitement of the new ministry, or the size of it, or the pay of it, new title or areas like that. You may even stop asking the hard questions, making yourself informed and instead just walk blindly into that land mine.

One of the results from this is not only will you have put yourself in a bad spot where the solution will end up you having to be replaced because you can not do what you should be doing or because the church you are moving to is in a bad spot that you never truly uncovered due to the lack of openly asking the hard and informed questions.

So, I encourage you to ask the hard questions in advance. Leave questions as open ended as possible for the new church to fill in the blanks, find out and listen closely to definitions of terms. Take time after you have left to think and pray and allow your head to clear from the wining and dinning that may have been taking place as you visited the church. Find yourself some honest people who will help you digest all that you are thinking and feeling, and make sure you allow plenty of time to think with your spouse and family.

It is these kinds of things that I finally did well when looking to come to Sheffield that I contribute such a great fit for my family and I being here at Sheffield.

New Position Landmine #2 Relationships

The relationship landmine usually detonates when the new children’s pastor does not do an adequate job of establishing and identifying key relationships and how they are interconnected throughout the church. The relationships that I am referring to are those who are stakeholders in your ministry. A partial list of important relationships includes:

* Involved parents
* Key leaders in your ministry
* Key leaders outside of your ministry
* Church board members
* Persons of influence in the membership

If you, as the new childrens pastor, ignore or fail to put enough energy into building the proper relationships then the probability of damage from this “landmine” is extremely high.

Another potential relationship landmine that can severely injure your efforts is poor follow through in communication. This can take many forms but the most common stems from the new children’s pastor not giving each individual relationship its proper importance.

This landmine can easily be navigated around by always remembering that relationship-building is the very essence of what Christ has called us to do.

 

 

Lead the way God made you book review

I have always enjoyed books about leadership, peoples gift sets, and children’s ministry. It brings great pleasure that with this book you get all three of those topics wrapped up into one well written book titled Lead the way God made you by Larry Shallenberger.

I found that Larry through his descriptions of each type of person that God has made, did a wonderful job of painting a very clear picture of not only team work and what it consist of, but also helps walk you through a self discovery of how God made you and where He would have you fit. Unfortunately due to the terms that Larry uses to describe each leadership style, I think that it may serve as a double edged sword as well. The terms come from the theater field which for me is a huge plus and very understandable. For some, this may work against the true greatness of this wonderful book and the content in it. I completely feel that if anyone will read this book and work through the terms used to describe the leadership styles in the end they will actually see the true genius of what Larry has accomplished in the direction he chose to write from.

In this realistic look into the many dynamics of children’s ministry leadership and where each of us fit Larry goes on to not just help each of us to find who God has made us to be but Larry also guides us into how to recognize who God made others to be and how we can all fit and work successfully on the team.

I have been a full time children’s pastor for 17+ years and have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as well as giving it to each of my volunteers over the years since the publishing of the book in 2005. This book has everything from simple language to challenging veterans in children’s ministry by building a plan to make our cast (volunteer team) complete.

What about you? How did God make you? How are you wired for leadership? Do you dream for your team? Do you keep things organized? Post here in the blog how you lead or how your team shares that leadership. And to make it worth your time to comment, I will give away an autographed copy of Larry’s book at the end of the blog tour, from a random drawing of all comments.

This is definateley one of those books that have made and stayed on my top shelf of must read books for children’s ministry. Allow me to help make it one of yours as well. So what are you waiting for, post now.

Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:

•June 30th – Joe McGuinness, familygeneration.com

•July 1st – Todd McKeever, toddmckeever.com

•July 2nd – Henry Zonio, elementalcm.com

•July 5th – Kenny Conley, childrensministryonline.com

•July 6th – Greg Baird, kidmin360.com

•July 7th – Wayne Stocks, stocksohio.com

•July 8th – Jonathan Cliff, jonathancliff.com

•July 9th, Wendy Douglas

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