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coaching

5 Family Ministry Gauges To Continually Measure

I have a regular weekly habit of re-reading my notes taken over the years from conferences, books that I read, leadership meetings and seminars that I get the privilege of attending and more. I schedule 2 hours every week to do this. During one of these times, I ran into some notes from a Family Ministry conference that I attended. This post is an attempt to share some of these great nuggets that I still find important to measure that stem from attending this conference a couple of years ago.
The speaker, Terry Scalzitti, is a senior pastor at a church in Oceanview Baptist Church (Myrtle Beach, SC), but he spent several years doing “next gen” ministry in Florida. He started off his pre-conference workshop with Deuteronomy 6:6 to focus on why we do what we do.
A brief overview in an attempt to help start us all on the same page:
  • We all want to be better at what we do, because we believe that what we do matters.
  • You can leverage what is cultural, what is changing, to communicate what is eternal. If we don’t, we are the ones that look like a fool.
  • If you want to build something that lasts, you have to be willing to change what you build.
  • When you upgrade your system (when you’re willing to change), you highlight the mission in a clear way.
Now that we are all on the same playing ground, let me share the 5 gauges that Terry shared to help us do ministry better:
1. Strategy Gauge: Align systems so that your staff, your leaders, and your parents lead with the same end-in-mind? Sounds like common sense but poll all 3 of those groups sometimes separately and you may be amazed at the diverse answers you get.
Taking the time to Plan and think strategically as you work every week on moving the ball forward with the common mission and vision of the church can sometimes create a feeling of not being able to see the forest through the trees. Take time to strategically put some things in place to focus on the end goal, will lead to better steps along the way.
If the strategy isn’t improved…
  • Silo-Thinking becomes the mentality of staff.
  • Over-programming and competing systems dilute the effectiveness of the church.
  • There is no consistent forum to test and change ineffective programming. (As you test, keep the end in mind. Keep it constructive.)
  • Leaders and volunteers get disillusioned with lack of direction.
  • Parents struggle with how to partner with the church.
2. Experience Gauge: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences.
Terry stated, “I don’t want people to leave without feeling like they were a part of an experience.”
According to Leonard Sweet, an experience is:
  • Experiential
  • Participatory
  • Image-driven
  • Connective
How do we create this? We simplify, and we connect with our audience.
If an experience isn’t improved…
  • Parents and leaders will probably never teach the same truths as a synchronized effort.
  • The church is perceived as irrelevant. (People need to hear something practical. Know your audience.)
  • Individual leaders will tend to teach whatever they think is important.
  • A canceling effect happened to important core truths. (They need simple truths that are easy to understand and they can apply.)
  • Biblical truths are viewed as boring and irrelevant.
These are the first 2 of the 5 Family Gauges to make sure you are measuring, evaluating and testing. It is a firm belief of mine that all things important, we will measure and keep track of. If you want to test this, try and forget your wedding anniversary, or, stop measuring how many sweets you eat. You get the idea. Living the bigger picture of what God has for all of us is so important to me that measuring, changing and not giving up is of utmost importance to see the results that I know should and can be achieved.
Stay tuned for the other 3 Gauges…

Giving Effective Feedback

Giving good feedback

Most feedback I have received has never worked the way I hoped for or the way the person who gave me feedback thought it would work. 

Why? Because the feedback usually was only a personal preference of the person giving it. The feedback stays pretty generic. Feedback has nothing to do with the goals of the person getting the feedback. Share specific feedback. Share feedback that’s focused on the person you’re giving feedback to. 

Feedback is a leadership tool. 

Instead of starting with preferences, start with the idea of effectiveness. Instead of starting with you, start with them. 

Example: (Bad) I thought that task could have had better advertising. (This is personal preference and built around you not the one who is needing feedback).

(Good) If you and your team could have set aside more time to think through your advertisement plan. Do you think you would have experienced better results? (This keeps the focus on effectiveness not preference). 

Keeping feedback about the other person and their effectiveness, helps them to feel respected. Keeping feedback about your preference etc makes the other person feel they don’t measure up. 

Great feedback is about the other person not about your preference.

Am I being specific enough to give great feedback?

I’m too busy. A true death sentence.

I am way to busy. This is a death sentence.

I get the opportunity to coach many people into their next level of effectiveness. One common expression I hear too often is how busy they feel. This busyness is temporary and usually, comes right before their next level.

Here is the place I enjoy starting, in their daily routines. To take on this busyness we need to see what their habits are. To get to the next level we need to produce new habits and routines. Each level requires new tools, don’t stunt your growth by using this excuse: “This is the way that I am”. Yes, this “is the way you are now” at this level, but, you are attempting to go to a new level for yourself. You need to develop new ways and discover new tools.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. JOHN C MAXWELL ~”

Michael Hyatt over on his blog
“The problem is that most of us have used the same strategies for too long. They worked at some point, but we forget that we are seeing the world through our own unique lens—and that perspective can sometimes be limited. These adaptive strategies become a kind of “programming” we repeat over and over, even when it doesn’t fit the situation we are in”.

As you hear yourself begin to say that death sentence, “I am just too busy”, stop and think. Start asking yourself what new tools do I need to discover or new ways to develop so I can keep on developing?

Suggestions:
1. Read Michael Hyatt’s Magazine
2. Rescue Time. Keep a time journal of how you spend your time and theme your days
3. Get a coach
4. Listen to podcast

I’ll list some specifics if you just ask and let me know what area you want specifics in.

The Truth about your capacity

The truth about yours and mine capacity is that we should always be increasing it.

Traveling through a neighborhood recently where when I was a child I use to have a paper route. The homes were always the kind of homes that I dreamed of owning myself someday. Big driveways for many cars, several stories high, well-kept yards and more. I always enjoyed delivering the paper to the neighborhood. The tragic sight that I recently saw during this visit. Those same homes now several years later would not be anyone’s dream homes. Several yards tore up and dead. Driveways have more weeds growing from cracks in the driveways, and so many more changes that it no longer looks the same.

What is the big difference? The capacity of those new homeowners changed.

The homeowners had the capacity to take care of all their yards and homes. They later sold those homes to people who would move in and not have the same high-capacity in taking care of their homes and the result is what is the reality now.

Raise your capacity in whatever you are doing.

Some ways to raise your capacity in today’s world.

1. Read. Reading today can come in many forms. Information in today’s world is not something we have a shortage of.

2. Watch Videos. Plug into Lynda.com, YouTube,  Vimeo etc. Do a search for keywords that you want to raise your capacity in and stand back to be amazed at the number of videos available to grow from.

3. Join social networks. Join Facebook groups or pages, LinkedIn group, and the list goes on.

Bottom line. Today is the day to start raising your capacity. No excuses, there is way too many ways to grow.

 

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?

Herm Edwards speak on leadership lessons that must be learned

The following are Leadership Lessons That Mist Be Learned according to Herm Edwards. All quotes are from Coach Edwards.

“The only thing you can control, you be ready to go…” Take Personal Responsibility For Your Preparation

There Is A Limited Amount Of Opportunity. Take Advantage Of It. – “1,900 football players are professional football players. That’s it.”

Talent Is Never Enough – “Right now they got more experience than you. Nothing you can do about that.
You might have more talent but they have more experience.”

Providing For Your Family Is A Privilege – “It’s not a right but a privilege to play and coach in the National Football League.”

Unto Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required – “Talent, expectations, and production can sometimes be a curse. You’ve got so much talent you don’t live up to it.”

God Gave You Your Talent – “Talent, you didn’t earn it. God gave it to you.”

“You got talent but does the production equal the talent?..If you’re not a productive player then it becomes a curse.” Parable, of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30.

Don’t Waste Your Talent – “You’ve got an opportunity. Don’t waste your talent.”

“Expectations. A goal without a plan is a wish…What’s your plan to be a professional football player?” Take time now, to make a plan for your future, your career, your family.

“Nobody’s going to play for you. Nobody’s going to practice. You got to do that. You got to do all the work.” You won’t just happen to fall into your ideal future. You need to present it to God. Take time to listen to Him, ask Him what are the plans. Then prepare!

“This is where young players struggle. Priorities. Your habits create who you are.” Habits are serious. Little ones or big ones, they all shape you.

“If you’re not willing to change your habits, you’re not changing.” Be a change agent not just with your work or ministry, but with yourself.

“My priorities are real simple – My Faith. My Family. My Occupation.”

“When you leave this room today there are cameras watching you wherever you go.” You Are Always Being Watched. You are part of a larger team and we were paid for with a huge price. We are not our own. 1 Cor. 7:23

“It’s embarrassing (when a player gets in trouble).” Immature Behavior Is Embarrassing

Your Immature Behavior Affects All Of Us – “You think it only affects you. It affects everybody.”

“You think, ‘I’m all this.’ You ain’t all that.” Stay humble.

“When you get that jersey it’s rented. When you come out of the league they’re going to take your name off and give somebody else your number.” Lead and manage with an open hand.

“Everything you do on the field, and now off the field, it becomes news.” You Have More Influence Than You Know

“Nothing good happens after 12:00 o’clock…After midnight, something bad’s going to happen.” Don’t allow yourself to get into any compromising positions. Live above reproach.

“You get one girlfriend OR you get one wife. You can’t have both.” Stay faithful to your spouse.

“If you play for the Dallas Cowboys and you go to Philadelphia, you still got that one girlfriend or that one wife. Don’t screw that up.”

“You’ve been told.”

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.

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.

The Office – The whys and hows of my kid friendly space

Dawns office

Today I had some visitors in my office. As they came bursting through the doors they exclaimed, “Ms Dawn! You have the best office ever!! It’s just full of so much fun!”

Seriously, few more precious words could ever be said to me about my office. I have always wanted my office space to be a kid friendly place. Years ago, when I first got an office, I was the volunteer coordinator of our children’s ministry program. I didn’t want the office to be seen as “my office,” but rather “the office” where children’s ministry took place, where other volunteers and of course, kids were welcome.

So I painted the former closet now turned office a beautiful color of obnoxiously perky orange (Yeah, I was orange, when orange wasn’t cool!) and we let the fun begin.

I’ve moved office space since that time. After being asked to consider a color other than orange for my new walls, I chose a lovely shade of white—but added vinyl adhesive polka dots! And, there are the orange curtains, an orange desk chair, orange tractor seat stools and tall table. There is gum ball machine, some sponge balls, a partial Mr. Potato Head collection, bouncy balls, a mini fridge, electric fireplace, and a zillion other kid friendly attention grabbing things. (No, my office isn’t really that big, it’s just well-rounded!)

People often comment about how much fun my office is, although not always with as much enthusiasm as today’s guests, and it makes me smile to realize that my office isn’t just a fun place, but instead it is a place that kids can relate to, connect with and enjoy. When they feel those things about my office, they also feel those things about me. They gain a sense that I am someone who “gets” them, and that I am someone they can trust.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to bring a smile to a kids face through my office space:

1) Color. You may or may not be able to paint your walls some crazy color, but even if your walls are white like mine right now, you can still make it pop with some great accessories, wall art, press ons, curtains, furniture, etc. (Most of what I have come from yard sales or someone else’s left overs.)

2) Toys. Keep some cool toys in your office. They don’t have to be the latest; they just have to be something kids will relate to. Currently one of our kids favorites is a sparkly filled water bottle, some old hand puppets, and my paper clip holder (it looks like a lady and the paper clips are her hair—the kids love it!)

3) Snacks. I try to have something on hand like fruit snacks or granola bars. Need to talk to a parent? A snack is a great way to occupy their child. Want to get a child talking? Have them sit down over a pack of fruit snacks and chat about their day.

4) Fun Furniture and Office Supplies. From my orange tractor chairs to my zebra striped stapler to my stiletto shoe tape dispenser, kids love the creatively eccentric things they find in my office. I even have a polka-dotted broom that rests on top of a curtain rod. Why? I don’t know! I guess the question is, “Why not?”

So everyone now and then I look around my office and decide it’s time for something old to go out and new to come in. This helps to keep my view of ministry fresh, and keeps my focus on the heart of children and the precious responsibility given to us to help them understand how much Jesus not only loves them, but He “gets” them.

Todays post was brought to you by my friend Dawn Ferris. 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

Get the LEAD out – Strategic Execution

planning

When I was younger I would always hear from my parents, “Todd you better get the lead out!” I always wondered what that really meant.

According to the Free Dictionary it means: “get the lead out and shake the lead out
Inf. to hurry; to move faster. (This originally refers to getting lead weights (used in exercise) off so you can move faster.)”

Here is a quick formula to “Get the lead out” with your execution plan.

L=Leverage. Do you have the right people in the driver seats to carry out your strategic priorities?

E-Enviroment. Have you created the right atmosphere and culture that will allow your people the ability to support your priorities?

A=Alignement. Do each of your team members agendas move them toward your ministries final goals?

D-Drive. Does your team have the ability to quickly move once the first 3 pieces of this formula are in place?

In closing, maybe you answered no to some of the above formula, what then?

Well, if you said no to the Leverage piece then you will need to work on your Talent/Resource side.

If you said no to Environment, then you have a Cultural/Engagement issue.

If no to Alignment, then work on your Communication/Productivity.

Lastly if no to Drive, then your Speed/Agility.

So, want to succeed, Then Get the lead out.

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