Leadership

The Lead Small Culture Book Club

I am really excited to start this new year off by joining many other kidmin and youth min. leaders (last time I checked it was over 900), as we read through Creating A Lead Small Culture together through an online book club. I have already read through this book once fully and the second time was a brief synopsis for another leader in a smaller church looking to implement Orange philosophy and the 252 Basics curriculum into their program. The book is full of great tips on how to connect your leaders with the kids they serve on a deeper level and how they can partner with parents so that together they can create more opportunities for spiritual development and deeper understandings on how God is at work in their lives everyday.

Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere.

Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their kids and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids and teens to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

Here is how my next eight weeks are looking.

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As I started Session One today I have already had a couple questions jump out at me and cause me to strongly reflect how Life Groups (We use Life Groups instead of Small Groups in the hopes that these groups will continue to grow together and do life together), function in our kidmin department.

The very first question is a tough one for many leaders because they simply want kids and parents to attend everything possible that happens within the church walls.

If kids only show up at church one time a week and experience one environment or participate in one activity, where would you tell them to go?

Wowzers, yep they said what every leader dreads to ask, or even think about. The thought that a family or a child might only pick one of the many great things that your ministry does. I have been wrestling with this question for months now:

How do we plan our ministries better to help families leverage their time together so that they spend more time as a family?

Think about it:

Kids ministry is one day, or night,
Youth Ministry is on one or two other nights.
Men’s ministry happens,
Women’s Ministry is another,
and church is on Sundays,

oh yeah don’t forget about after school activities and extra curricular activities.

Add all those days up and well you have one very exhausted and overwhelmed family.

Your greatest asset to building faith in the next generation is not your Bible study, worship band, facilities, or budget. The most valuable resources you have to help people see God are the people in your church who know God. (pg. 33)

How do you react to that statement? With relief? Hesitation? Excitement? Explain Why?

What are your biggest obstacles when trying to connect every kid with a consistent adult leader?

What are some of your ideas so far for overcoming those obstacles?

Those are the main questions that I am going to be wrestling with this week. I want nothing more for my kids in our kidmin than for them to experience God through the caring adults that are in their lives. That is how they will understand who God is, how we works in their lives, and how He loves them unconditionally. By learning about God in a relational context I hope that our kids learn about a relational God that wants to have a consistent two-way relationship with them.

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The Truth About Kids And Social Media – Speaker’s Spotlight Blog

 

The benefits that Amy Jo Martin points out in her must-read book, Renegades Write The Rules may surprise you – it’s an important read for anyone trying to understand social media.

As most of us already know, there are clear downsides with kids using social media and this topic has been covered for years. Cyberbullying, privacy , and identity theft are only a few negatives that should be considered. Just as we teach our children how to ride a bike, we need to teach them how to navigate social media and make the right moves that will help them. The physical world is similar to the virtual world in many cases. It’s about being aware. We can prevent many debacles if we’re educated.

Question: What are the benefits of kids using social media?

via Speakers’ Spotlight – The Truth About Kids And Social Media.

Ad of the Day: Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat | Adweek

“From my first at bat until my final out, you helped make me who I am,” JETER

There will never be a player that earns as much #RE2PECT as Jeter. This is a sad week for any baseball fan as we gear up for his last game.

You may hate the Yankees, but I truly will never understand a baseball fan who says they did not like him. You may hate the plays that he pulled off in the field against your favorite team, or hated that clutch November home run, but Jeter made baseball better.

These ads explain it all.

via Ad of the Day: Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat | Adweek.

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices : All Tech Considered : NPR

This is a great article. I have been wrestling through this issue with a few ministry friends lately.

How are you as a parent balancing your screen time with real time?

“One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off,” she says, “was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents’ attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry.”

via When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices : All Tech Considered : NPR.

The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo

I finally came across the highlight video from the Orange Conference I attended in the spring time. Have a look at the video below for only a small sampling of why this might have been the best conference I have attended in years.

The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo on Vimeo

via The Orange Conference 2014: Highlights on Vimeo.

Launching a New Ministry Year : Notes and Highlights

This past Sunday marked the first week that our elementary students used the 252 Basics curriculum from Orange and from the leadership side of things we could not have been happier with the outcome. Here are a couple of my highlights from our launch weekend.

1) Our set for this month. We were given some used doors to use from a family on our staff to use as well as all the hinges and screws to piece them together to make dividers. We used these to bring the theme from “Opportunity Knocks,” (the title of this months series) to life on stage. The idea from Orange was very Monsters Inc. and our tech. team went with that and used lighting to make them all blue and green.

Another great thing that came from this set happened by sheer coincidence. The theme for our church’s Global Missions Conference that runs from September 7-21, 2014 has a very similar look to it. We found this out after we planned the doors for our stage in a meeting with our worship arts department.

Kidmin Sept. 7.1 (2)

Nations GMC   2) We taught the students a new song this weekend from the CD “Movin’ Me” from Amber Sky Records. This CD is a must own for any #kidmin programs. It is upbeat, catchy and full of great songs for students and parents to learn. My wife and I play this CD at least once on every road trip since I picked it up in May. We taught the students one of my personal favourites from the album “Let It Be Known.” 

3) We made some changes to the sign-in and sign-out policies for our children’s ministry that were greatly received from our parents and congregation. We had ushers and greeters to help us with these transitions so it was a smooth transition.

4) We have implemented a props cupboard for our storytellers and hosts. This was very handy for the first lesson that included safari hats, sunglasses, a shovel and a stuffed carrot to name a few. this should help us stay organized and to help us gather props for upcoming weeks. 

Our children’s ministry department loved the flow of our large group with the bottom line, memory verse and lesson. It flowed well and kept us on schedule for the whole morning. 

A great first week.

Thoughts Heading Into A New #Kidmin Year

As we get ready to launch our children’s ministry for a new ministry year this week I am taken back to these words found in Playing For Keeps by Reggie Joiner & Kristen Ivy.

 

We don’t experience worth because we are loved once,

but because we are loved by someone over time.

We are not motivated to action by one phrase,

but by words that move us over time.

We don’t understand the word through a single event,

but through a collection of stories over time.

We don’t know we belong because of an invitation to something,

but because we have been welcomed in a tribe over time.

We don’t discover how to live in a moment,

but we live when we experience the joys of life over time.

I find these words to be a challenge and a focal point for the upcoming year. As students enter into their place of worship this year are they experiencing love, hearing words of encouragement, listening to stories that will change their lives and welcomed into a life group?

All of that so they can see and understand the joys that come from living a life that mirrors Christ and shares the gospel with their friends and family.

I am pumped for this year and I truly hope that none of our kids miss out on the fact that they are loved by God and their life group leaders care enough about them to share a large story with them all year so that their life will change forever.

 

Books on my shelf

10629658_10152205019986370_6670124045181772431_nThe books that I have recently finished, or I am currently reading. Also on this list would be “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek which I blogged about here.

 

What books are you reading right now?

 

Everyone wins when a leader gets better. – Bill Hybels

 

#ThinkOrange: Our #kidmin is changing colours this fall.

This September our #kidmin program is turning Orange and using the 252 Basics curriculum. I have found myself overly excited about this transition since going to the Orange Conference back in May. I am excited for a few reasons:

  1. The amount of content that will be available to our parents and families throughout the week. This will include Parent Cue, 252 Live, and more. It also means that more families will be talking about Jesus throughout the week. A win on all levels.
  2. The added responsibility and content for our tech team. Our tech team is full of students that have wanted more ownership over the content on Sunday mornings. Even though the content is still prepared ahead of time they will have the opportunity to pull it up at home experiment with it and make the visuals their own.
  3. The added role of a host on Sunday mornings. This will allow some of our volunteers the opportunity to use their dramatic skill sets to help the storyteller bring the Bible to life every Sunday.

The one thing I have not enjoyed about implementing Orange has been the constant need to justify our choice to other #kidmin leaders from other churches I come into contact with. Whether it is their preconceived feelings about what Orange brings, or their desire to have full control of the content that they bring to their kids many leaders have asked me the same question in one way or another,

“Are you worried about the lack of Bible content in their lessons?”

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I have heard this in the last three months. In a way I find it heartbreaking and I always feel as though one of our team’s core responsibilities in being questions. That responsibility is presenting the Gospel to our kids and allowing families the opportunities to live out the Gospel in their homes each week. When I get asked that question about Orange I feel as though I am being asked whether or not our team is capable to bring the Gospel message to our kids.

Orange is creative in ways that I could never be, or would take me hours to produce and summon from within myself. Those hours of creativity that this curriculum saves me allows me to add Bible when I need to, (I personally think that Orange provides just as much Bible content as many of the other curriculums out there do) for my volunteers, or for family specific content. I have also gone through Bible college for Biblical Studies and as a leader in a church realize that part of my job is to add in Bible wherever I need to.

So when I hear that question asked to me what I really hear in my head is,

“Are you prepared to do your job and teach those children in your care how to live out the Gospel message of Jesus?”

The answer is of course. I also realize for me the question goes way farther than what curriculum do I use and I probably take it way to personally, but I am always surprised when I get it.

I am excited for September and what 252 Basics will add into our ministry. I truly believe at this point that the benefits of this curriculum choice will be felt in the lives of the children in our ministry for years to come. As a children’s pastor you cannot ask for anything better than impacting the lives of the kids and families in your community.

#GLS14 Session 1 Notes – Bill Hybels : “Hard-Fought Leadership Lessons”

“Pretty much everything that matters in this world, rises and falls on leadership.”

With those words Bill Hybels opened up the Global Leadership Summit this year and immediately I was hooked. I love listening to Bill as a teacher because you know he speaks from authority, passion and experience. Add into that a great deal of vulnerability and rawness to the stories he shares and you have a great recipe for an opening session. The summit would be built on the idea that humility will be the key to learning between business and church leaders over the next couple of days.

Bill’s prayer – “Speak to us and we will listen and obey.”

Question: Is all leadership intensely spiritual? (True or False)

  • Leadership falls in feelings and spirit. (How it makes you feel and how it moves you to action)
  • All decisions and objectives are hinged on how it makes you feel.

Question: Leaders are visionaries by definition? (True or False)

  • Adrenaline comes with progress made towards a vision or objective.
  • However, vision can soon consume us and change the mood and feelings of the team we are leading.
  • This can cause struggles in how the team feels towards you and the vision as a whole.
  • High visionaries have a hard time understanding the feelings of their team.

Often leaders with the highest level of vision and passion have the lowest level of awareness and passion for the spirit of the team they’re leading.

*Questions that I had personally is how do visionaries handle issues of their heart? Where is the split between personal feelings and the feelings that are sole intended towards their vision? How easy is it for them to differentiate the two?

Do we ask our workers to work more while we care  less?

THE KEY IS THAT GOD CARES ABOUT PEOPLE NOT THE VISION

  • Don’t make people pay because of your fire for a vision. People come first!

 

5 Key Commitments To Make

  1. Use an outside firm to question the engagement level of your staff
  2. The entire executive team has to own the “turn-around.
    1. The culture of the organization will only be as healthy as your Sr. Leader desires it to be.
  3. Get real serious about training everyone on staff who manage people.
    1. People join organizations, they leave managers.
  4. Raise the level of candor in the twice-a-year performance reviews.
    1. Three words to use in reviewing staff
      Stop (doing some negative desired behavior)
      Start (doing something different)
      Continue (praise)
    2. Every staff member wants to know how they are doing and if what they do matters
  5. A ruthless commitment to resolving relational conflict regardless of how scary it feels.
    1. In the average Christian organization 54% are engaged in their work and excited about their work. 30% in the corporate world.

“Great leadership is by definition relentlessly developmental.”

Five key ways to develop a new leader.

  1. Put them in high-challenge roles
  2. Assign them to a short-term task force
  3. Give real-time feedback
  4. Provide them with coaches mentors
  5. Offer them classroom courses and seminars

Short Term Task Force to see how well emerging leaders can handle themselves in real work environments.

  1. Success and failure both need to be an option
  2. They need to be given full charge
  3. Wide variety of people on the team and that they have the opportunity to work with.
  4. Real pressure of a looming deadline.
  5. The end of the project needs to be reviewed by a Sr. Leader of the staff

Resourcefulness is a key trait for any leader.

  • Figure it out… And don’t call me. (this would become the inside joke of the summit)
  • How do we put new leaders into situations where they don’t know what to do?
  • When was the last time that you gave an emerging leader an opportunity with a short term task force?

John 10 – Two types of shepherds

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

  1. A) Hirelings – They don’t care about the flock. Look out for themselves first
  2. B) Owner – They care about the longevity of the team and vision of the organizations.

 

We need to start mastering the art of discerning these two types of team players as leaders.

This will allow us the opportunity to start training up LEGACY LEADERS

  • Legacy leaders want to give their one and only life to a cause bigger than themselves.
  • Legacy leaders work for the grander vision.
  • Legacy leaders are the only ones wiling to pay the price to fix a broken culture.

These leaders will be the ones that care about the grander vision?

*What do we want theses legacy leaders to work towards? What vision are we pointing them towards and saying “Figure it out”

The danger with the hirelings is that they would have learned to put their own goals and objectives first from someone,

  • Is it you?
  • We have raised up a generation of leaders who are “me centric.”

No leader will ever drift into being a legacy leader. They need to be trained and raised up by mentors so that they can truly see the grander vision instead of a vision that they interpret as being grand.

 

Question: Have you given any thought to your legacy plan? Are you training any legacy leaders to take over your visions?

 

James 1:12 – Legacy and endurance

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The grander the vision the bigger the price tag.

  • Have you built an endurance plan into your vision?
  • How are you going top keep your heart and soul solid as you peruse the grander vision?
  • How are you going to preserve the hearts and souls of your team in the pursuit of the vision?
  • Have you thought about…
    • Burn-Out
    • Family time and care
    • Spiritual – Do you still have time for Sabbath and scripture.

Do we make time to not be a leader and seek out being a follower of Christ?

Do we make time for solitude breaks? What is your solitude plan?

 

Do you feel “Exhausted, discouraged and at the door of hopelessness?”

As a leader we need to be humble enough to call for help.

Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.