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Family Ministry Gauge to Measure part 2

If you have not read part one jump over there first.

Now, if you have read it but need a recap of the first 2 gauges we talked about to help all of us to improve, here is that recap:

Gauge 1:  Strategy Gauge: Making sure you have aligned your systems and processes so that your staff, your leaders, and your parents lead with the same end-in-mind.

 

Gauge 2: Experience Gauge: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences. You don’t want people to leave without feeling like they were a part of an experience. It is that experience that people share around the water cooler on Monday.

Now for the third Gauge:

Groups Gauge: Here is where you want to make sure you are creating a culture that truly grows and develops leaders who serve in your ministry. Self-reliance is one of the greatest threats a church leader can face. It overestimates your abilities and diminishes the impact of your team. So develop your teams!

Volunteers matter. A community is formed there. There is an importance in serving in that ministry. There is also an importance of “prioritizing small groups at every stage of life”.

Life examples:
1. Place preschoolers in small groups to connect parents.
– parents want to know the people who keep their kids to know their kids
– in the toddler room, small group leader in the room is connected to 8 kids. Everyone cares for every kid, but that leader has 8 kids to follow-up on and care for. Changes everything about communication.
– small groups help little people understand the big idea of God they can’t see by connecting Him to their concrete worlds
– in small groups, kids learn from leaders how to pray and talk to God.
– with parents, you are working against parents’ sense of apprehension. Relationships take that away!
2. Place elementary kids in small groups to help them understand faith and lead them to take the next steps toward Christ
– most of what we learn foundationally, we learn in elementary school.
– help apply big ideas from the Word to their lives. Never just teaching to teach. Never just covering information.
– relational investments in kids give influence to both parents and kids.
– creates a consistent environment to learn bible skills and spiritual habits
– safe and relational environment for kids to ask questions about trusting in Jesus
3. Middle school: help them personalize their faith.
– a place to belong. they are looking for their pack.
– A safe place to discuss challenging issues
– challenge kids by application of scripture
4. High school: give another adult voice
– the greatest gift for a high school parent is another adult pointing them in the same direction
– in the middle of the crowd, they don’t want to be alone.
– challenge students to put faith in action
If you start small groups in high school, kids won’t be comfortable. That’s why you start in preschool years. Most importantly, start with whatever and wherever you are. This group gauge will look different between small and large churches. The basic difference is: in a small church, you don’t need to break the church down smaller. Use the gathering times you may already have to carry out the group’s gauge. In a large church, you need to break the church down into smaller groups for everything explained above.

 

I hope you see the importance of this “Group Gauge”. How may you change and improve your group gauge in your ministry? Why do you see this as a valuable thing to do?

Impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others

I ran across this video (from TD Ameritrade) that shares a healthy twist to the classic Harry Chapin song “Cats In The Cradle.” 

It provides a vivid picture of the impact a father’s investment has in the lives of others. I also want to send this out to some friends as a reminder to them being new dads, that there is no greater investment outside of your personal investment into your relationship with Christ or with your spouse that you will make that is more important than that in which you make into your kids.

“My child arrived just the other day.  He came to the world in a usual way but they’re were planes to catch and bills to pay so I moved my meeting (and) saw him walk that day.

He was talking before I knew it and as he grew he said, “I going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going be like you.”

My son turned 10 just the other day.  He said, “Thanks for the ball dad.  C’mon let’s play.  Can you teach me to throw?”  I said, “Right away.  I’ve got stuff to do but that can wait today.”  And he ran outside and smiled ear-to-ear and said, “I’m going to be like you dad.  You know I’m going to be like you.”

Well he came home from college just the other day, He said, “I can’t thank you enough for paying my way.  What I’d really like dad is to borrow the car keys (and) take you to dinner and discuss my dreams.”

I’m soon retired (and) my son’s well on his way.  He came by with a question just the day, “I need your advice dad with what to do when I become a father just like you.  Become a father just like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon.  “When you coming home dad?”  “I’ll be home at 10:00 and we’ll get together then.  You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Interviewing High Potential Ministry Candidates

Interviewing

It is exciting times here at my church, First Church. We are seeing a ton of great things happening at the time of writing of this blog this morning. To focus on just one of those items I now have the privilege, being my pastors’ executive pastor, of assisting my lead pastor in interviewing new potential candidates. Yes, we have hired recently a new Harvest Bible Institute Pastor (we have an accredited Bible School starting at our church in the fall of 2017). Then we also hired a new facility building manager and now we are looking for a new worship pastor.

In this process, it has been confirmed some lessons that I have learned over the years about high capacity leaders that you want on your team really do things differently. This applies even when they interview, and you can see this through their questions and their answers to your strategically asked questions. I will take on today sharing some of my questions and what I learn from asking each one.

  • What were the things in your last position that energized you the most and what zapped your energy the most? 

This is kind of easy to see the benefits of asking this question. Some of the obvious takeaways would be seeing what gifts and tools they will be bringing to the table and the areas that they would prefer to stay away from. Areas that people gain energy from they will choose to stay there more often than the areas they don’t gain energy from. How much of the areas that drain them are really parts of the ministry they are applying for? While answering this also keep listening for a humble spirit especially when they are talking about their areas that they gain energy from.

  • What were the problems areas for you in your past position/ministry and do you see any of those potentially being here in this position? 

This is about adaptability. Listen to what problems they identify and how did they adapt to them? Problems will always be in every ministry/position but how does this potential person adapt to the challenges?

  • If you were hired for this position, what would be your game plan for the first 3 months?

Here is a question that will show a couple items about the interviewee. First, it allows the person to showcase some of their creativity. Secondly, it allows you to see how much they have researched your church and the ministry they are applying for. High capacity leaders do their homework. This is an area for the person to show you what specific things they know about your church, the good and the bad. One more thing this can show you is how well have they grasped what success would like in this role.

There are a few more strategic questions I enjoy asking, but, I will leave it at these for now. Some of you may be thinking, you just gave the questions you use in interviewing and people can prepare better now. I would say, you are correct! Bottom line is, High capacity leaders are prepared and do their homework. So if they have found this post and can benefit from it, they should be rewarded for doing their homework.

What questions would you add to this list?

New day in ministry with a virtual assistant

I have entered a new season of ministry here at First Church DSM. I went from being the family pastor to being the executive pastor of family and ministry operations. For the first time since I started in Full-Time ministry back in 1992, I feel a little out of it as I try to figure out what I am doing now and the best way to do it.

In comes, the greatest tool my church could have allowed me to have. What is that tool you ask? Her name is Laura, my virtual assistant from Belay. Take out the part of her not physically being in my office area at the church and not being able to run an errand or two, Laura has been the best ministry gift from my church to me in this new position.

It has only been 2 weeks so far but Laura and I have really started dialing in how we can work the best with one another. I’ll describe some of the tools and ways we are using them that would benefit anyone working with an admin, virtual or physical. Let’s begin.

Slack is where it all starts for us. We use slack instead of texting. Organize your team conversations in open channels. Make a channel for a project, a topic, a team, or anything—everyone has a transparent view of all that’s going on. For sensitive information, create private channels and invite a few team members. We use Direct Messages just like you would a text. Then in slack you can take a conversation from typing to face-to-face by starting a voice or video call in any Channel or Direct Message. Make one-on-one or group calls right from Slack without needing to open another app or share invite links.

Trello is where we put our projects as we work on them. A Trello board is a list of lists, filled with cards, used by Laura and I. It’s a lot more than that, though. Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.

Dropbox is where we will put all finished projects. For example, every year we run an Easter outreach. We will communicate with one another through slack, and add team members into that slack so we will have a one stop talk area for all things Easter that year. We will track all that communication over projects and due dates etc that we keep in an Easter Trello board. Once the budgets, ideas, checklist, vendor information, brochures created, and so much more we will take all of that and place it in our Drop Box Easter folder so that next year we will just go to the Easter folder and have a great starting point.

Evernote is more of our personal file cabinet.Big ideas, little details, and everything in between. Anything that matters to you can be captured in a note, ready for when you need it. Surfing the web and find a great article or blog that you enjoy, web clip to Evernote. get an email you want to file that is from an actual mailing list you want to be part of email it to your Evernote account. Take a picture of something you see that you want to remember later for a possible new stage design for your church, add into Evernote. Want the business card from the person you are meeting with but tired of having all these loose business cards or not having them ready to use when you need them, take a picture and add it into Evernote. Then have all of this and so much more available in real-time from any of your devices. That there is the real kicker for this tool. Available and searchable at any time even with pictures.

Lastly, Laura and I are finding that using doing a weekly zoom call to touch base “in person” keeps us in touch with the tone of what is going on for all week through slack, Trello, dropbox, and evernote. Belay has done a fantastic job of matching me with an assistant that works like I do. Even after they give you one they follow-up over the next couple weeks as well to make sure it is all going well. They interviewed me and found out my personality and made sure they gave me an admin that would fit.

Bottom line, it’s a new day in ministry with having a virtual assistant.

First day as Executive Pastor and other wonderful firsts

Working in office situation

 

Yesterday was the day. A day that was a day of new beginnings in many ways.

    • I started as my pastors first Executive Pastor. My official title being: Family and Ministry Operations pastor.
    • My first time after 25-ish years of full-time pastoral ministry being a XP.
    • Started with a new VA (virtual assistant) who is from Belay.
    • Started to put in place a communication strategy with tools and reasons for each.
    • Started a new coaching friendship with my new XP coach, Kevin Llyod

How many great starts can a person handle? I say 5 was good for one day. Over the next few days I will continue to unfold these new starts and how they are going. The future is going to be bright.

Here are just a few of the resources, tools and more that I will be writing about due to these great “first”.

 

Ministry lessons learned from Underwear and a Toybox

When I was younger I can always remember that dreadful time when I had to go shopping with my mom and she would tell me how she had to go get some new underwear. Please no, not the new underwear time!!

Off we would go into the women’s underwear aisle we would disappear too. The whole time all I could do as a young 6-year-old boy would be look down at the floor and wish we could get out of there. Everything there made me feel uncomfortable. I knew I would never find anything that I wanted while we were in those aisles. I had no conversation that would be joined, thoughts or opinions to give, basically, I knew I was about to be as miserable as a 6-year-old boy could be for the next 15 minutes or so.

Now come with me to this toy box I have in my office.

Every time, I meet with families in my office and they have younger kids as they enter my office those kids will lock their eyes upon this toy box that I have and immediately go to it and start to play. I have yet to really have to tell any child that the toys are for them to play with, they just know. While they play, the parents and I will meet. I love watching the kids play with their imagination being set free build new worlds, conquer territory, cook at the fanciest restaurant in town, entertain Kings, and Queens and so much more.

What lessons did I learn from these experiences? The lesson of an atmosphere. In all of our ministries, and churches we are creating either an underwear type experience for kids, students and yes even adults or we are creating a toy box time for each.

When visitors come, do they feel miserable? Uncomfortable because they can’t give anything or that everything around is irrelevant for them?

Let us all try to strive for those toy box experiences for people. People will know as soon as they come into your ministry if there is anything for them or not.

How will you change your environment to be more welcoming to those who just come in?

Ministry Staff Accomplishing More

clock

Often in ministry, we tend to feel we don’t have as much time as we need to carry out what needs to be accomplished. The truth is, you do have enough time to do exactly what you choose to do. We have the same amount of time each day as the greatest leaders that we know or have heard of.

So why does it feel like we never get what we know needs to be done accomplished? Why is it that these great leaders we are thinking of seem to carry out so much more? They have learned to put the right people in the right seats and know what Exodus 18:21 says is true.

Exodus 18:21 it says: “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens”.

For too long too many in the church have thrown anyone into leadership. The proof can be seen as we continue our dependency on mass recruitment from the pulpit, newsletters, bulletin inserts etc.. We also promote people out of areas of their strengths because we concern ourselves more with the positions we need to be filled over who God has made them. Then we get disappointed when they don’t live up to what we were expecting or needing. It’s not fair to them or those we put them over. We are exactly designed for the results we are getting.

Let’s re-examine who we put over what. Leaders of 10’s will lead 10’s not 50’s. Leaders of hundreds will lead hundreds not thousands.

Fewer Ministry Staff can do more if everyone is in their right places and developing their 10’s, 50’s, 100’s or 1000’s.

Some resources I have enjoyed recently and think you may too.

Carey Nieuwhof – 5 things Every leader should tell their top leaders.

Nick Blevins Family Ministry Podcast. This podcast is one that has a few that had sparked many thoughts, so I am not going to list just one or two. Click on over and subscribe to hear all of them if you work in children, youth, or family ministry.

Tony Morgan and then there is Tony’s Vital Signs book

doing more with fewer podcast.

How do you learn who should be in what seat in your ministry?
Do you have officials of 50’s and your holding them accountable for the 1000’s?

Leave your thoughts, comments and any resources you have found good to further this conversation.

Stop wasting your on loan opportunities

ipad-stock-trend

The Pareto principle of 20/80 really does apply in ministry as well. Actually, because of the eternal outcomes we deal with, I would say it applies even more!

Look over your past week and see how you spent your time? How much went into eating lunches with friends? Working on the computer to build a better data-base or write another policy manual? Creating t-shirt designs for your youth or children’s ministry? Looking for that perfect app that will solve all of your problems? Watching T.V., enjoying your favorite hobby with all of your Christian buddies? The list will go on and on probably with all the diverse activities that we all take part in.

What if…we not only knew that we needed to invest 80% of our time into the top 20% of activities that we are in because that is what gives us the 80% of return, but we actually lived this out? What would happen if we understood that God has loaned us every minute we have here on earth to carry out what He wants to see happen?

Read this and give it some thought.
Matthew 25:14-30 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Are you really investing your time into the things that matter? Or are you burying the time that has been given to you through activities that do not pay off? They are not in the 20% that will give back the 80% return.

Stop wasting your on loan opportunities. Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience.

Back to school and Back to blogging

sitting at desk with computer

The summer of 2016, where did it go?

During summer in Take TWO Family Ministries it was a whirlwind of incredible activity, and, a ton of fun.

Here are only a few of the fun times had by all.

Soccer Camp.
soccer camp 2016 503x503

Marriage Scavenger Hunt. (For the record my wife and I won this one with another couple from our church, the Underfers)
Marriage scavenger hunt 2016 503x503

Kids Camp
Kids Camp 2016 500x503

Family Service week with KidzTurn
KidzTurn at First 2016 503x503

Stay tuned as I will be getting back on a regular schedule for posting blog post.

My ministry day with my iPhone


I still get amazed what we can accomplish today with just our phones. 

Today, I’m going to take us on a brief trip of my day in ministry with just using my iPhone. 

  • Started the day off with using my Bible (YouVersion). 
  • After that I went into my weather app to see what kind of weather I was going to get today. 
  • Easily.Do to check for birthdays and send out text or email cards to them. Also get to see the status of all my packages coming and going. Then get a quick overview of trending Instagram pictures from my friend and the Instagram community. One of the last nice things I enjoy about Easily.Do is it gives me an update of any emails I need to respond to. 
  • Next I move into Trello to check on all my group projects. This handles all my project management. 
  • Throughout the day I am in and out of Evernote. It serves as my electronic brain. 
  • Dropbox is the same with me going in and out all day long as it is my sharing tool with others. 

I am amazed at all that I can and do with my iPhone daily. The apps mentioned are just a couple that I use first thing in the morning. This post would turn into one very long list of I was to mention everything that I use. Even this post was made on my iPhone.

What apps do you find the most valuable to your day? 

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