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15 Minutes for a more effective children’s ministry

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I think all too often we children’s pastors want a silver bullet to change our children’s ministries. We want to be able to read some book, hear some podcast, network with just the right person to hear our answer in what to do to make our children”s ministry successful. That is the million dollar question.

I have a suggestion to help get this done that requires 15 minute installments whenever you can. Yes just 15 minutes.

Stop reading this and go and make for yourself a list of let’s say 50-60 items that if you end having to wait for any reason you could work on these items. So next time you are between appointments, or your appointment ends early, or you can’t sleep at night or you get up a little earlier than normal or anytime at all that you have that extra 15 minutes, you pull this list out and pick from it an item to work on.

Over time, these moments of 15 minutes of what would have been wasted time begins to build momentum and items begin to get accomplished!

Congratulations, you are making your children’s ministry more successful!

What will be some of the items you have put on your 15 minute list?

When it is time to unplug

information-overload

I am writing this post due to a question that was posted on Kidology.org where Scott asked: “I am just exhausted. How do you all keep up with the information, blogs, tweets, Facebook, etc. and all the information that is out there.” Great question, so allow me to ask as well, How are you controlling the access to your mind? Is it intentional, thoughtful, beneficial? Maybe one of these suggestions below will be beneficial.

1. Take control of your attention span.

No longer is it the billboards, TV, radio and print advertising that zaps your attention. These types of distractions are decades or more old and you have developed some filters to help control your attention with these. The more illusive ones that we just have not acknowledged or given their due credit for being attention vampires are on our smartphones, tablets and computer screens.

Every app, game, search engine and access point is now an attention zapper, energy sucker. You think your productivity is dependent upon your ability to consume it all.

Time to acknowledge that anything and everything is findable in this world so you really wont miss anything by keeping up with all the blogs, apps, technology, who is saying what or what ministry is doing what. Accept that you don’t have to be plugged in all the time.

2. Guard your fortress.

Think of your mind as a bank–the place you store such valuable items as thoughts, dreams, skills and experience. So naturally, you need to protect it. Don’t leave your instant messaging on, turn those alerts off from Facebook, twitter, while you are participating in a meeting or creating a strategy. It’s OK to shut down your phone during times of high productivity that need your full attention.

3. Give yourself permission to have a digital escape.

OK, digital addict: Now that you’ve taken back control from the attention vampires, you can live a life of full control and focus. But what about all the fun? The ESPN scores, the Facebook status updates, the Words with Friends games?

Give yourself permission to take breaks to enjoy a digital escape. Apply the same level of focus to your digital escape: Close your email, stop your projects, shut your door and open your favorite game, social network or Instagram and work on some photos.

“There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Questions kept on my iPhone part 2

Here are the last 10 questions I keep on my iPhone so that when I end up around leaders who I may grow from, I can be the most productive with that time.

11. How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?

12. What is one mistake you witness leaders making more often than others?

13. What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

14. Do you set aside specific times to cast vision to your employees and other leaders?

15. How do you make sure the your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core values”?

16. Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and Web 2.0 has made on your organization or you personally?

17. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

18. What are you doing to make sure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

19. How do you discover where to place people for greatest success in your organization?

20. What are the top 5 questions you ask or would ask from another leader that you want to grow from?

If you have not read the first 10 questions you can read them over here.

Questions I keep on my iPhone so I can keep growing

I enjoy asking questions and learning from people. I find that I often end up around several leaders that I never planned on or knew that I would be around for the day.

This has caused me to create a list of questions that I keep on my iPhone and can easily pull up and use so that I will be the most productive in what is often times small amounts of time that I end up being around that leader.

Here are 10 of those questions I use.

1. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

2. Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?

3. Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values or vision? Why? How would this be seen to be true by an outsider looking in?

4. How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?

5. How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the “core values”?

6. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

7. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should have?

8. What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

9. What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

10. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

There are 10 of the 20 questions that I ask. I’ll post the other 10 tomorrow, but what questions would you ask?

Tuesday’s book is 5 Levels of Leadership

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I had finished another book by John Maxwell titled: 5 Levels of Leadership. I have found this book as with all of John Maxwells book very good. And as always when I am done with a book I ask myself how can this help me in being a better children’s Pastor?

Here is a brief overview of the book first. The 5 Levels that John talks about in the book are:

Level 1-Position. Anyone can be appointed a position but does not make them a leader.

Level 2 -Permission. People follow because they want to. You have developed trust.

Level 3 – Production. Here is where people will follow because of what you have done for the organization.

Level 4- People development. Here the leader becomes known to not just get things done but they invest in others and help them develop.

Level 5- Pinnacle. This is a level that only naturally gifted leaders make it to. Here people follow because of who the leader is and what they represent.

As I was rolling these levels over and asking myself how can this help me become a better children’s pastor I had a few thoughts.

In children’s ministry we lead a variety of people and usually a lot of them ranging from the kids in our ministries to the parents and even grandparents of each child. We have the opportunity to influence each one but our influence will shorten out if we are not working on our leadership. Each one of these levels are built upon the other.

The higher you go the more time and commitment it takes to advance into a new level. Because of the time needed it will create a change in how we must spend our time. When days were once filled with hanging with kids and having super soaker wars, we will find that often those times are replaced with us training teams to hang with the kids and have the super soaker wars while we work on leading the volunteers and investing in the parents for example. But never fear, there should always be some time still scheduled for that occasional super soaker war that you could show up in.

Each new level of growth will require new skills to be learned. My team building building skills that I had to learn when my team was a handful of people as compared to when my teams became a few hundred are completely different.

So there are a few things that I was able to take from this book and incorporate into my ministry to the kids, their families, and my volunteers. I do recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to go to another level in their leadership.

John Wooden is one I could learn from

It is Monday which means my goal is to write about someone who I could and would enjoy learning from. John Wooden is such a person as this. John Wooden, affectionately known as Coach, led UCLA to record wins that are still unmatched in the world of basketball.

John Wooden had devised his Pyramid for success which carried him to wonderful heights in what he set his hand to. I also think that it was John Wooden definition of success that he finally came to and taught it to everyone he led.

John also was a man who had some wonderful observations on leadership.

I will show a few here and then be done.

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to stay there.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything.

Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.

Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.

Little things make big things happen.

The best way to improve the team is to improve yourself.

Don’t mistake activity for achievement.

Discipline yourself and others wont need to.

The will to win means nothing without the will to work.

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Give credit to those who do little jobs in a big way.

Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished but by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.

The smallest good deed is better than the biggest intention.

You can’t make up for poor effort today by working harder tomorrow.

Now there is someone I can learn from. What about you?

Ways to improve productivity part 1

This blog has always been intended to “Equip and Inspire World Changers on their leadership journey”. Part of equipping world changers is to provide more proven ways to be a better task manager. This is what I am going to do again. Here are a few things that I use to help me stay as productive as I can be.

1. Use voice mail to increase efficiency. If you need uninterrupted time to finish an important project, voice mail allows you to identify who’s calling and temporarily screen out less urgent calls. If you’re in a hurry, leaving a voice mail message will let you avoid lengthy conversations punctuated by the usual social niceties.

2. Handle each piece of paper that crosses your desk only ONCE using the “6 D” System:
* Discard (toss)
* Delegate (route to someone else)
* Do (if you can complete it in three minutes or less)
* Date (put in your tickler file for future action)
* Drawer (project or reference files)
* Deter (get off the distribution list)

3. To avoid getting into a long, drawn-out conversation with Mr. Difficult or Ms. Chatty, call them during lunch. Chances are, they will be out, and you can leave a short voice mail message. Or call at the end of the day, when you know people are trying to get home and will be less likely to talk incessantly.

4. If you suspect you’re not using your time as efficiently as possible, use a Focus Journal (time log) to keep track of HOW you spend your day. Write down what you’re doing throughout the day and how long it takes— you may find that you’re wasting time in surprising ways.

5. Pay attention to your peak energy times. Force yourself to “buckle down” and do your work during this time; we are usually “up” and enjoy socializing and wasting time instead.

What other ones would you add?

M&M Ministry

I am posting this here for those who came to my last session in Springfield Missouri on starting a fanny pack minsitry / Miniature Missionaries.

I truly enjoy getting to hear the heart of those around the country and of all denominations as they share and prepare to reach all those they can for the Glory of God.

Thanks to those who came to my last session and who helped me bring the message in the closing of the festival. I love how in just a short time we can prepare to deliver a great challenging message to all of those in attendance. I also enjoyed hearing so many come to me and tell me how they would use that same skit we did at the closing in their services today.

Take care as we all reach more for God.

Quick KidMin lessons part 4

Hopefully you have picked up all three post previous to this one. If not, I would recommend on going back and reading all the previous ones and then continuing on with this one. But each one can stand on it’s own. So let’s continue.

12. Age isn’t just a number. Age does matter. Managing a Gen Y employee is different than managing a baby boomer. There are numerous books out there to read up on the differences but one I would like to suggest to you is titled New Breed. I found this to be a good book that started several discussion with my team.

13. Learn to view situations objectively. Just because you would or wouldn’t do something, doesn’t mean others are the same way. You are not trying to make your teams into you. You are trying to assist your teams into being the best ‘them’ that God has created them to be. There are more than one way to get things accomplished. Give them the task, the reason and even suggestions but be ready if they choose to get it done another way. If it doesn’t work, remember a previous lesson we have already covered named: Learn to forgive.

14. Life is short, and very easy to take for granted. Sounds like something you’d read in a self-help book, but true nonetheless. Life is temporary, and the only thing that matters at the end of the day is how you treated those around you. I have done a previous post as well called: It is about relationships that you may want to go and read as a supplement with this post.

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