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Team building

60 seconds does not equal 6 months

young man to hold up clock with hand

This will be a short post but one that I am learning the value of more and more each time.

Time for a confession. Often times I will have thoughts, ideas and plans percolating for months and become so excited to share these new directions or developments with my teams. Then I arrange the meeting and bring out the news! I watch the faces of those I have sprung this great stuff onto, wait for it…wait for it….Nothing?

What is going on? Maybe I need to rephrase it, so reforming the delivery of the news and still nothing. I can feel myself getting a little upset. Why are they not as excited as myself? Do these people understand how great this is? How many problems we have just solved? Why the lack of excitement?

Here is the lesson I am being reminded of…60 seconds does not equal 6 months. I have had 6 months to chew on and think through, and develop this great plan, my team has had 60 seconds.

Take your team with you. If you end up with the 6 months then when you deliver the great news, allow their seconds to grow and don’t expect more than a 60 second response.

Nuggets taken from Seeds conference prt. 2

seeds conference 2015

This year attending the Seeds conference via Live StreamPass was great. It cost my church a fraction of the price for me to go and attend, travel, food, Hotel etc.. Instead I was able to watch from many places of my choosing ranging from a couple local coffee shops, to my porch.

Just as if I was there I picked up some great nuggets of wisdom, insight, and definitely quotable tidbits. I want to list some more of these below and hopefully you will find them as good as I did. You can also go to my first post with even more goodies that I picked up over here

* Good people rarely leave healthy organizations. @patricklencioni

* Teamwork allows us to build the healthiest possible organization.

* Jesus is LIFTED UP when you do things with excellence!

* How to make your church healthy:
1. Cohesive leadership team
2. Create clarity
3. Overcommunicate clarity
4. Reinforce clarity

* Discipline 1 of creating a healthy organization – Establish a cohesive leadership team

* Discipline 2 and 3 of creating a healthy organization – Create clarity and over communicate clarity.

* Over communicate clarity, people need to hear this over and over.

* People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed. @patricklencioni

* Vulnerability is the best opportunity for growth. This only happens if the leader goes first

* When people in your organization can be emotionally buck naked with each other, it changes your culture for the better.

* “A healthy organization is one where people come and know that there’s NO politics.”
-Patrick Lencioni

* What makes Chick-fil-a special is not the sandwich it’s the culture.

* “People walk through walls of fire for leaders who know who they are.” @patricklencioni

* When we don’t recognize constructive conflict as good, it ferments conflict around them as people.

* You need to be competent, not perfect.

* If you have people who aren’t willing to grow then you have to be willing to let them go #leadership #churchgrowth

* If people don’t WEIGH in on a conversation/issue, they won’t BUY in. So don’t just SHARE info w/your people, let them SHAPE it.

* The primary source of accountability is the people on your team, not the leader of the team.

* Behavioral accountability trumps result accountability in #leadership & healthy #organizations.

* “As leaders we have to have the courage to hold leaders accountable for their behavior.”

* Minister upward, with the same love and dignity as we “minister-downward.”

* “My department is fine, your department isn’t my concern” it just takes one hole to sink a ship!

How to have a “Sent-sational” Kidmin Team


Guest post by Dawn Farris who is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris

I put a new “Scentsy” wax cube in the warmer in my office today. I hadn’t used one for quite a while, but the cold weather and gray skies made me want to warm up my space and my attitude. A sweet mix of peppermint and a little left over something or other was noticed by everyone who came by.

“Hmmmm. Something smells nice.”

“Oh, wow! Your office smells great.”

“What smells so good?”

The aroma in my office was sending some good vibrations throughout the church for sure, for sure.

Then a little later in the day I was Skyping with my friends Todd and Andy. We were chatting about blogging and we got on the topic of the attitudes and how we need to always be careful that we are conveying an attitude encouragement, humility and equipping rather than complaining, criticism or negativity.

As I got ready to head home for the day, I went to turn my warmer off and realized that our attitudes, and the attitudes of our teams, need to be a bit like that Scentsy.

A great attitude is like a pleasant aroma. It can literally change the atmosphere in a room–or a ministry.
How does that happen? A “scent-sational” kidmin team comes from individual “scent-sational” attitudes and efforts–from each member choosing daily to have attitudes like. . .


. . . regardless of our circumstances.

When we live out these types of attitudes, individually and collectively, people will take notice, they will be drawn to us and we will be a “pleasing aroma” not only to others, but to the Lord. We will not only be a “scent-sational” team member, but a “scent-sational” team.

So let’s get praying, let’s get choosing and let’s get using God’s power to permeate the space around us with the attitudes of Jesus as we serve together to be not just “scent-sational,” but sensational kidmin teams as we share Jesus with the children around us.

If you want your team to fail, then practice these ideas.


There is a ton written on leadership and what to do if you want to succeed. I thought seeing that there is so much coming from that end with nothing resulting from it, I would try the reverse psychology idea and write from the other direction in hopes of some better results.

If you want to see your team fail then keep setting those impossible goals.
“Big Hairy Audacious Goals” are amazing in terms of getting people to really go beyond where they thought they could, but set too aggressive a goal and a leader can make it impossible for the team to succeed.

Leaders have to show credibility by creating goals that are compelling but not impossible. A good metric is that everyone should feel the goal to be about 10 percent out of their reach. Much more, and the team shuts down at the beginning because the members think success can’t possibly happen. You as the leader may know better but if the team feels it isn’t possible you have now gotten to far ahead of them and the results are never good when this happens.

I have always heard it said that if you let your team know you are a few steps ahead, you are the leader. You let known that you become too many steps ahead you will become the martyr.

If you want your team to fail then keep measuring the wrong things.
Measurement ties back directly to the goals, as well. There’s a lot of human behavior that goes to work every week in ministries, but it goes to work attempting to do something. Make sure that they’re clear on what they’re supposed to do. You can’t blame the construction crew for building to the blueprints and not liking the house. Proper measurement helps decide whether the efforts or the underlying goals are off.

A related problem is the manager who embraces optimism and hates hearing bad news. Employees will tailor their reports to better fit the expectations and prejudices of the leader. That may be comforting in ways, but the practice will undermine all goals and performance.

There’s 2 things that I think you should keep doing if you want your teams to fail.

What would you add?

Power of Praise


The power of praise can sometimes be the most overlooked tool in our children’s ministry tool belts.

This tool of Praise has the ability of transforming our perspectives, strengthening our mission and values, and energizing us when we feel we have nothing more to give. Throw a sincere praise to any of us or our team and watch energy and enthusiasm begin to show up from what seemed like empty vessels just seconds before.

There is a big difference between delivering sincere praise and manufactured praise. Know your team and the people that make up the team so it is easy to deliver to sincere praise. Here are the ingredients of sincere praise as I see them.

* It must be genuinely heartfelt to be believable.
* Supporting praise with detail makes it easier to reproduce critical behaviors.
* Coming from a person of great respect makes it more impactful
* Receiving it regularly and not just once a year makes it much more valuable
* Timeliness is critical for praise to have its greatest impact

These are a few of the ingredients that I feel are powerful to have when giving praise. What are some other ingredients do you feel are necessary to have in praise being given to you? What are some of the ingredients you also have included in the praise that you give to others?

Share from whatever experience you may have.

How do you show volunteers they are important

Thank You

I read a lot and hear a lot of kidmin folks talk about volunteers. A person can’t hang out in circles of kidmin folks very long without hearing people claim they need more volunteers. Visit churches and see bulletins full of request for volunteers, clever commercials created asking for volunteers. Maybe you are even one of these ministries as well?

The sad note is, many are set up to make the new volunteer feel important and needed but the tried and true volunteer who has been faithful for years feel forgotten and more like a mule just plowing as usual. Maybe you have fallen under this category?

If we continue to treat the tried and true volunteers as though they are not important then we will never really end up with any tried and true’s because they will continue to leave. Yes we may draw in all the new ones but the back door of our volunteer ministry force will be so large we will never keep up with the demand. Create a volunteer appreciation person. This person will naturally have the gift of hospitality and administration. They will totally focus on creating and implementing a process to cover all of our volunteers both publicly and privately with appreciation.

Whether you have you been with us for a long time, short time or just joining our SFLCKids family, we have you covered. Why? Because we truly do care about you!

What about you? What is your way of loving on your volunteers? What message do you send about the importance of volunteers, being with you for a long time or new?

Team building the Nehemiah way part 3

Software: Microsoft Office

Depending on how you landed on this page, allow me to urge you before reading this post to start over on part 1, then go to part 2, then come back here to finish with part 3.

In Nehemiah’s third part of building successful teams, Nehemiah kept the teams focused on the big picture and their part in it. The people didn’t need a retreat, or an offsite conference. They needed to get the rocks out of the valley below and placed in the wall, and to finish the job before their enemies could organize.

In pursuing this great task Nehemiah went through what many of us go through as we pursue task that are bigger than ourselves. Here are just a few of the potentially crippling issues that arose but Nehemiah dealt with each one capably.

* The people had to be reassured against violent threats from their enemies, so Nehemiah posted guards so the work would continue (4:16-18).

* Relational problems erupted, so he took corrective measures (5:6-8).

* Enemies sent messages to set fear in their hearts (6:1-9).

Working through these problems and brushing aside distractions, Nehemiah kept everyone focused on the Bigger picture and their part in it.

God used Nehemiah to carry out a huge task through teams. I know that God can do a lot through you as well if you will take the time to follow the same steps that Nehemiah followed.

How are you keeping your teams focused and involved with the big picture and their part in it?

Team building the Nehemiah Way part 2


In Team building the Nehemiah way part one we discussed how he started with the big task of rebuilding the wall. You can read it here if you have not had the chance yet.

Now onto the second thing I see Nehemiah did in building teams that would see success.

Nehemiah set forth a lofty goal—rebuild the entire wall. This was a difficult task. It was a genuine BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). The priests and Levites could never do this alone. The job was too big for any one person or any single family. No other leader had been able to pull it off. All the people needed to work together to make this happen. The task cried out for many high-performance teams.

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.—Nehemiah

What lofty (BHAG) goals are you pursuing? Challenging your teams to?

Have you allowed ministry to become just the day in and day out type stuff?

We serve such a big God who wants the whole world to know about Him. It is way too big of an assignment we have all been given for life to be just business as usual.

Team building the Nehemiah way

team rock faces

Nehemiah is a great biblical example of someone who achieved incredible even jaw dropping success through teams. The protective walls of Jerusalem were in shambles. The people were divided and treating each other poorly. Yet Nehemiah rides in and helps the people rebuild the walls around the entire city in only 52 days! Here’s how.

First, he made sure he had a group that was committed to a common purpose, goals, and
approach and held each other accountable. They knew they could carry out more as a group than they ever could alone. Even though the officials, priests, and nobles ruled the city, they were not this kind of team I just described. They were simply a group of leaders by title. Nehemiah quickly figured out that the natural teams in the city were the family units, priests and Levites, and people formerly from the same geographic region.

These leaders could pull together their people into teams quickly and effectively. He divided the work into more than 40 sections along the wall and brought together family leaders and officials to get it done. (Check out the long list of real teams in Nehemiah 3:1-32.)

How do keep your volunteers committed to a common purpose, goals and approach?
Have you learned to truly spot the leaders in your church?

Letting go of unproductive habits part 3

Thinking more is better

More is not always better. In fact, in many cases quality beats the quantity.

One way I would look at quality over quantity is moving from being the jack of all trades and the master of none. In this wonderful world of today with all the great networking and diverse teams that we are able to put together there really is no reason anymore (I’m not sure there ever was except we were all made to buy into that myth at one time) to have the thinking of being the one person show anymore. Discover your 20% that really allows you to contribute 80% of the results that only you can give. With the other 80% that you don’t need to be the go to person, opens the door for others who God has equipped with the gifts of some of that stuff being their top 20%. What a blessing to help “hands” to be the hands, or the “feet” to be the feet, or the “head” to be the head.

Here is another place I am recommending to focus on quality over quantity. Your team. I do understand this may not settle well for some who read this and some may even be thinking how can you discriminate against some of the team, but I would like to challenge you to think this over before coming to a judgement too quickly.

With your team I believe that not everyone on your team all have the same desire or interest to be involved at the same level. This is perfectly alright, so why is it not alright to invest in your top 20% who say they want to be there by giving more of your limited time and resources to them. I believe I see this is exactly what Jesus did knowing that His time here on earth was limited, as is ours, and He needed to set up something that was going to out live His time here on earth. Jesus had His 3, Peter, James, and John. Then we know that Jesus had His 12 Disciples (which the 3 are part of that group as well). Jesus had his 70 (or 72 depending on what translation you are reading because some manuscripts have 70 and some have 72).

Luke 10:1-2 – After this, the Lord chose seventy others and sent them out in pairs ahead of him into every town and place where he planned to go. 2 He said to them, “There are a great many people to harvest, but there are only a few workers. So pray to God, who owns the harvest, that he will send more workers to help gather his harvest.

Focusing on the things for you personally or on team members that bring the biggest rewards is a good strategy to be used your in life.

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