Browse Category

Kidology Coaching

Time to P.P. in your ministry

Time to “Partner with Parents” in your ministry!

Those of us who say we minister to the family need to really stand back and ask ourselves, “Do we really minister to the family or are we more about being successful on just the weekend?”

Look at our prep times. Are we prepping to mainly show off the wonderful and creative ideas that flow from our choice of a curriculum? Or, are prepping resources to go beyond just the weekend?

Do we know what the needs are of not just the kids or the students, but what about the needs of those guardians who spend more time carrying the weekend experience further? What tools do they need? Guardians of those kids and students are looking to the church to help them do a better job at being the priest of their families. They need more than just a take-home paper (or should we call it a floor mat?).

Time to ask some real questions. Here are just a few to get you started.

  1. What are the parents “real” needs?
  2. What do we offer at this time that really address these needs?
  3. What do I have in my tool box of ministry goodies that I could easily bring out and make available for families?

Sometimes we try to offer up just an explanation of what we taught on a certain day and call it good. We expect that the parents will take that 1-2 minute explanation given at the door on their way out and build on that throughout the week. Wrong!!

  • Are you providing daily ways through social media, email, snail mail, quick videos etc. to continue to set the parents up with quick ideas that would be age appropriate for them to use?
  • Have you created a Facebook group or some connection spot for parents to network with other parents and receive encouragement and creative ideas to being the priest of their families throughout the week? Through a group like this, you also have access to their thoughts, troubles, struggles, and questions. You also have access daily to pour into families vision of what it can look like to live a Deuteronomy 6 family lifestyle.
  • Providing information over age appropriate children’s phases. I do this through Kidology Coaching.
  • Have you ever hosted an open house to show off your leaders who pour into the families but also opens up a communication time to hear what families are needing?

This post is to only serve as a starting point. The important thing is that you will start to ask the questions and then design your churches plan to execute on the ideas and needs of your families.

Families want to be successful, will you truly help them do exactly this?

Busy with ThanksLiving

Sunset Buildings

It has been a long time since I have posted a new blog post as of this posting today. The reason? I have truly been busy with ThanksLiving.

What is ThanksLiving? It is truly living every day with thankfulness. My life is truly packed with so much of thankfulness I have just been making sure I stay appreciative. Does this mean everything has worked completely the way I want it to go all the time? No way. Does it mean nothing negative has taken place? No way. Does it mean I have had no struggles? No way. What it does mean is that I have chosen daily to commit myself to staying Thankful, and mindful for all that God has given me even during the hard times.

I recently ran into this story that I think says it the best of what I have chosen to do and the result it has had. Enjoy.

There was a small business owner whose clothing store was threatened with extinction. A national chain store had moved in and acquired all the properties on his block. This one particular businessman refused to sell.

“Alright then, we’ll build around you and put you out of business,” the new competitors said.

The day came when the small merchant found himself hemmed in with a new department store stretching out on both sides of his little retail shop. The competitor’s banners announced, “Grand Opening!” The merchant countered with a banner that stretched across the entire width of his store. It read, “Main Entrance.”

Three ways going pro helps kids grow spiritually

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

helping kids go pro

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.

5 Steps to becoming a mentor

Mentor word cloud

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.

Jump start your children’s ministry with job descriptions

charging cables

Andy Partington is one of my Grad students of Kidology Coaching and the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana. You can find out more about him at www.andypartingtonblog.com

All good things begin with a plan. Filling a spot in children’s ministry is no exception. Here are some tips to help you create a super job description for your ministry that will help you define, explain, and ultimately sell this job to the right person.

Here’s the Hook

Every story I’ve ever loved hooked me from the beginning line. In your job description start out with a brief introduction that really speaks to what the job is about. The truly passionate volunteer will read this brief, paragraph long opening and want to read more.

Let’s say you need a Game leader for Kid’s Church. Your introductory paragraph should definitely mention phrases like “opportunities to play with kids”, “stir excitement and light-hearted competition”, or “helping kinetic learners to grasp the lesson with both hands.” (It’s an active job. Use lots of action words!)

A good hook will help you to reel them in with the rest of the facts. The introduction is also the place to lay out the ground work for all the detail stuff to follow.

Benefits

“You mean, I get something for volunteering?”

Before you tell them all the stuff that they have to do, let them know what they get from serving. If they’re going to be privy to firsthand knowledge, if they’re going to be part of a dynamic team, if they’re going to get to lead the parade of ministry success, these things need to be listed here in order for them to see that being a part of this ministry means something, and has some pretty neat perks too.

Responsibilities

Alright, you just laid out all the great swag that they’ll get from serving. Now, it’s time to tell them what they’ll actually be doing. A well-defined list of responsibilities not only keeps a volunteer on task, it lets them know right up front what’s expected of them. Also, laying out these responsibilities from the top will keep you from having to redefine and re-present them again and again.

Time Commitment

People are busy. Giving your volunteers a heads up on how much time they’ll be spending in a given field will help prevent burn out and let those special Children’s ministry champions plan ahead on giving the right amount of time to be successful.

Length of Commitment

Sometimes volunteers need a season of down time. It helps to give a set time that they’ll be serving. This can vary by position. A Sunday School teacher could work anywhere from a quarter to a full year. A nursery volunteer could roll off each month. Don’t hesitate to put this in writing. If the volunteer is passionate about the ministry, they can always sign-up for a longer commitment.

Training and Equipping

It’s very important to let your volunteers know that they’ll get the training and resources that they need to do the job well. This part of the job description is the perfect place to let them know how you’ll have their back. It also gives them an idea of how much time they’ll be spending in meetings, conferences, and training seminars.

Qualifications

What are some of the commitments that you’re asking your volunteers to present?
In your job description, let your volunteers know what skills they need to have to successfully complete the task.

Special Qualifications

This is a great place to list those special passions that you’re looking for in your next children’s ministry teammate. This is that final spot to really lay out the type of person that will be used in your particular ministry or program.

Growing in times of ministry drought

Growing in the Seasons of Drought blog picture

Dawn Farris is one of my Graduate Coaching students and 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

Children’s Ministry, like many other forms of ministry, can be prone to seasons of drought. Many of us who serve as children’s pastors or volunteers often endure long seasons where we don’t attend worship services (because we are teaching), aren’t being poured into (because we are pouring into others), face continual shortages of team members (because of enough reasons to warrant another blog post), wear too many “hats” serving in too many places (because of the same shortage of team members), and are often overlooked by leadership and adult ministry with an “out of sight out of mind attitude.”

While many times creativity, enthusiasm and growth are the song we sing, many other times fatigue, discouragement and disillusionment take over. We can become dry, weak and in danger of burn out.

This past week I have been on vacation with my family, and we have driven through many areas affected not only by drought, but also by the stress of high temperatures. Grasses in most areas were dry, brittle and brown. But in a few places we saw patches of lush, green fields. The reason? Irrigation systems.

Some farmers were using irrigation to make sure that their crops were being taken care of and continued growing in the midst of harsh, hot, dry, stress inducing times.

As a kidmin leader, I love a good object lesson, and this one was too easy to pass up. In the dry, drought or stress filled seasons of ministry we need to be sure that we are being spiritually irrigated.

So the question of the day is, “How do we keep growing in desolate times?” Here are a few examples of how we can stay hydrated in dry times gleaned from our family vacation.

1) Faith–Trust God to fill you. Stand on His promises that He will care for you in hard times. Don’t give into the temptation to believe that your circumstances can’t or won’t change. Those plants weren’t worried about being watered, and we can trust God to take care of us in dry times as well.

2) Prayer–Pray for wisdom, strength, and refreshing. Then keep praying that God brings workers for your fields, encouragement in these end times, and joy through your trials. Just as God provided a farmer to hydrate the fields we can trust God to provide people in our ministries—after all, He was the One who told us the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few and that we should ask Him for workers for the fields.

3) The Word–Take in the living water of God’s Word DAILY. It’s so easy to skip a little time here and there and not even realize it. Like the farmer daily irrigates his crops, be sure to take time, and make time to let God’s Word refresh you.

To be honest, sometimes droughts pass quickly, but there are times when it takes a while before the drought will pass. But we can still grow, and even flourish when we allow ourselves to be spiritually watered through on a consistent basis through faith, prayer and the Word of God.

The only 4 puppets you will ever need in ministry

Puppet Kids

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

Puppets are expensive and can put a heavy burden on your already labored ministry budget. But fear not, there is a way to continue to build your puppet ministry with very limited funds. You only have to think in ensemble format.

The ensemble is one of the most effective tools used in modern narrative today. Watch any sitcom and you’ll see ensemble put to use. They even have their own category on all the major entertainment awards.
How does this impact you and the dusty half used puppets in your resource closet?

In the ensemble format you’ll notice some recurring characters. There are four types that have existed from the first dramatic writings all the way to today. Dramatic theorists call them the four humours: Phlegmatic, Melancholic, Choleric, and Sanguine. Using these four types and your best puppeteers, you can put on almost any presentation needed in your ministry.

Here’s a breakdown of the four humours:

Phlegmatic: The everyman. This character can often be used for narration. He’s the well-balanced guy in the bunch that either tells the story or helps find a solution to the conflict presented by the other three characters. Kermit the Frog has a great phlegmatic personality and is usually seen as the leader of the muppets. Bob the Tomato can also be seen as a phlegmatic personality, balancing the sanguine of Larry the Cucumber. Which leads us to…

Sanguine: The dreamer. The comic relief. The foil to the straight man. Kids love the Sanguine. In early dramatic theory , the sanguine has an overabundance of passion and that causes him to bubble over with personality. Every situation needs a clown and the audience needs someone to lighten the moral. For this, your sanguine is your go to guy.

Melancholic: The victim. The worrier. This is the character that usually makes their entrance after someone utters a line like, “Hey, did you hear about…?” or, “I can’t believe what happened to…?” There’s going to be a conflict and someone has to bear the brunt of it. That’s going to be your melancholic.

Choleric: The hot head. The villain. In most tales there has to be someone who is a cautionary tale or an example of how not to do things. That’s the Choleric. He can easily be interchanged with the Sanguine. The difference is in intentions. The Sanguine means well and is usually just trying to have fun. The choleric either doesn’t know any better or just plain doesn’t care.

These personality types can take either gender. They can also be anthropomorphized animals or objects. The sky is truly the limit. But keeping your puppet ensemble true to these character types will help you do more with less. Kids will also start to look for certain puppet characters that they relate to and will totally believe them in multiple roles as long as you stay within the character confines of the four types.

My challenge to you is to look around you and notice the four types. Can you find them in your favorite shows, movies? Maybe even in your friends? Once you begin to identify these characters see how they fit into your puppet presentations and start writing for your ensemble.

Actions for guaranteed improvement

walking around mentorship

That title makes a strong statement, but if this one BIG idea and the suggestions that follow are committed to you will experience guaranteed improvements regardless of what level you may be operating at in your ministry.

BIG Idea:
Live out Management by walking around. This idea is extremely important and a must do.

My yard outside my house has really reinforced the lesson of “management by walking around” for me. To have a great yard, you have to walk it and pull even the small weeds. If I spend a little time every week walking my yard and pulling weeds that I notice, my yard stays healthy. Once I stop and the weeds don’t get attention, they come back and begin to choke out the health of my yard.

So to keep up a healthy yard or a healthy ministry we must practice “Management by walking around.” Here are some results that you can experience –

1.Showing your team you do care about them because the interest you will show in them by the questions you ask about them and what they are doing. This will create a stronger team.

2. Helps you create tailored coaching and training times. You will notice several things that in your mind you will say, “I wish they would do it this way or that way”. They won’t be big things but they would improve your service and ministry that you offer to the people. You can custom fit solutions to what is actually going on in your ministry.

3. On the job training instead of waiting for the end of year review and dragging all the cold and old stuff out. Now it can be done in real-time.

What would add to this list?

It’s OK to give up in children’s ministry

3D character holding chain together - isolated over a white background

Amazing and yet very sad when you can watch a children’s pastor move from one ministry to another children’s ministry and they sink terribly at the new one.

As many of you know I have moved from my last church to my new one here in Des Moines, Iowa as the Family Life Pastor for First Church of the Open Bible. Making this move from my last to my new has caused me to look at my ways, systems, processes, and challenging me to also “Let Go” of some great things that I would have used at my last church to pick up some new ways for my new church.

This is what has me thinking through the terrible mistake many children’s pastor will make as they too make their new moves into a new ministry. I have never seen where the children’s pastor wasn’t knowledgeable enough to succeed or could have learned to do the new, it was they didn’t want to “Let Go” of the old and comfortable for the new, exciting, and challenging.

To avoid this you need to learn about your new place of ministry. What are the things you need to know? Being an efficient and effective learner will reduce your window of vulnerability to loss. Here are a few things I am personally spending time on:

Before I even arrived:
* Read up and asked questions of my network about this church and the team members who are here.
* Spent tons of time talking with my new Senior Pastor
* I created a list of questions that help guide my learning once I got here.

Right after I arrived:
* Met with my direct reports and we settled on how we would communicate.
* I listened and arrange myself to be in places where I could here volunteers talk. They would all bring their own perspective to what each of the problems and strengths were here.
* I would also in this step re-do my questions some as I was able to target them more specifically because I was armed with more knowledge.
* Always kept my senior pastor in the know of what I was thinking. In this piece is where I started to learn of things I had to let go of to pick up some new stuff.

After being there for a bit:
* Met with key parents and got their ideas and feedback
* Met with the kids and got their ideas and feedback
* Talked with the community people and asked what they knew or thought of my new church
* Met with area children’s pastors
* I would also in this step re-do my questions some as I was able to target them more specifically because I was armed with more knowledge.

I find for me if I spend the right time asking the right questions I will soon discover I need to let go of some old tried and true things that are comfortable, and pick up some new and unknown ways to help the ministry God has blessed me to be part of. If you don’t, the result is never good.

Starting new Family Life Pastor position finding Break-even Point

20140703-085616-32176362.jpg

For those who may not know or who have not been following me long, you need to know I have had the opportunity to start a new position in Des Moines, Iowa at First Church of the Open Bible. I thought as long as I am starting a new position I might as well journal the journey.

There are a ton of great books out there on every topic but not many if any on the practical how to’s of when starting new at a medium size church, in another state and for me even a different denomination as i am going from Assembly of God to Open Bible.

So let’s begin!

There is such a thing as what I would call a “Break even point”. This is a point when new leaders have contributed as much value to the new ministry and church as they have consumed from it. Being a consumer when you first start is natural seeing that this is what many call the “Honey moon” time as well. During this time everyone is your friend, helping you in every way, you can purchase items more frequently, you can get information, etc.. The goal even as nice as this Honey moon period may be is to not camp here. Gather and move on.

When 210 CEO’s were asked for their best estimates of the time it takes a typical midlevel manager in their organizations to reach the “Break even” point, the average of their responses was 6.2 months. With this being said, it should be our goal to accelerate the time spent here to get out earlier than most. Doing so will help us create value sooner and that will lead to stronger influence into the lives of those we lead.

There are 2 types of people that you want to secure for yourself pretty quickly and they are:

1. Environmental atmosphere
2. Personal

Real quick, Environmental atmosphere people are those who can help give you the pulse of the environment in which you are working. These are the people that you want to hear from when you get ready to make your changes.

Then the personal advisers will help you keep perspective in times of stress. They will keep you accountable to your reasons of “why” you are doing this or that. They will serve behind the scenes and stay removed from the mechanics of your ministry due to their main ministry is your personal well being.

Have fun gathering these 2 types of people. Do this before you move much into changing anything. These 2 types will help you get to your break even point faster.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...