All posts for the month March, 2010

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How can you be creative, innovative, relevant and have fun?  We’d better answer these questions as these are crucial for survival in the #KidMin world.

Ask kids their opinion

I don’t care how or where – just meet with kids for 10 – 30 second and ask their opinion about current trends, fads, and especially your ministry and programs.  And BTW: get ready to have your bubble popped.

Ask your leaders what they are seeing

If your leaders are parents, consumers, TV watchers, surf the internet, have a job, leave their homes, have neighbors, go shopping or do life – they have a valuable opinion and observations that will be different than yours.  They key there is “different” than yours.  Don’t be offended when they don’t agree or have a different opinion.

Go on a field trip and take a camera

Too many pastors/church leaders rarely leave the four walls of their offices to see the world around them.  Hit the local toy stores, video game shops, activity centers, kid-friendly stores and places where kids party.  Take a camera, notepad and a few others with cameras and notepads.

Kid-Friendly Media

Kids watch a lot of TV – go to Kid-friendly channels and watch what these kids watch.  Go to the Kid-Friendly websites and surf what they surf. A little research will tell you what these kids listen to – download it. Find out the latest in books and magazines – read ‘em!

Networking with other #KidMin leaders

Twitter, Facebook,,, local groups, and face to face/one on one meetings are invaluable!  I’ve said it before:  Get with the leaders of the churches that are the next level size so you can learn what it takes to get there… look to the churches that are about the same size so you can trade ideas that might be more “easily adaptable”… And (ready for this?) Look to the churches that are smaller than yours so you can see the drive, hunger and innovation they have to get to where you’re at now.

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Yes my #kidmin friends, it’s true: I have posted a free Easter object lesson over at the online bookstore.  It’s a chemical-science-amazing-fun kinda thing. The lesson is from my book “More Incredible Object Lessons”.  And all I am asking is that you take the free lesson and consider purchasing something else at the bookstore.  Are you assuming that this is a shameless plug for my resources?  Yes! It’s a shameless plug for my resources.  I don’t do it very often – this is why I feel no shame.

You can get to the online bookstore here – thanks for your support!

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So I was thinking back to a sermon that was once preached and then re-preached many times by other Pastors… the sermon title and concept was along the lines of “What if every Church-Goer was Like Me?”  And the sermon went on to  implore the congregation to ask them selves the following questions: What if everyone in this church gave like me? Served like me? Worshipped like me? Had the same attitude as me? (name your quality here) like me?  The point was then presented: Would this church have an abundance of resources or would this place be broke? Would this church have more than enough workers and volunteers or would we be closing the nursery and shutting down ministries? Would this church be full of incredible worship that usher’s in the presence of the Holy Spirit or would this place be dead? And so on…

So, my questions to the many #KidMin peeps that are out there that peruse this blog are these:

What if every #KidMin Leader was like me?  What would the entire world of Children’s Ministry look like?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught the Word like me?  Would kids all over the world be learning the Word and walk away from childhood knowing how to apply it?  Or, would they know a lot of games and understand the importance of candy incentives?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught on praise and worship like me?  Would the power of God overcome as kids entered into the very presence of an almighty God? Or, would they know a lot of actions and fun lyrics?

What if every #KidMin Leader Lead like me?  Would there be armies of volunteers that are equipped as leaders to take these kids to the next level? Or, would there be a world full of burned-out one-man shows?

What if every #KidMin Leader prayed like me?  Would kids and the many CM leaders in your ministry know that they are covered in prayer and follow your lead? Or, would you constantly feel defeated and your team sense that there is no hope?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught stewardship like me?  Would we have a generation of kids that understands the value of the tithe, faith-filled giving and generosity so we could advance the Kingdom? Or would you have a world of kids who expect to know what’s in it for them?

What if every #KidMin Leader taught on missions like me?  Would you have fervent prayers for missionaries and a lifelong, infused sense that those on the field need support in every way – would there be future missionaries? Or, would kids never know what it takes to reach others just like them in places where the gospel needs to be preached?

Please don’t think that I am above giving away prizes as incentives, or that I hate fun lyrics and engaging actions, because, I do that stuff!  Please don’t assume that I don’t like to have a good time with kids in my church – read the post on how kids interpret their world… I’m simply advocating that we go a step further – no, several steps further. Realize that ministry to kids happens now so we can secure the future of the church.  Go ahead and add to the list if you care… but continue to ask yourself: What if the #KidMin Leaders, all over the world were just like me?

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So the last post was a challenge to Lead or Senior Pastors to appreciate their staff and interact once in a while with the team on an individual. The results, in theory would drum up morale, boost confidence and make leaders feel like a million bucks!  So, did it work? As far as I know, a handful of Lead or Senior Pastors read the post. I received positive e-mails from a few and one scathing “who do you think you are” e-mail from one.  Whether or not this challenge was carried to fruition is a result I’ll never know about.

But what about you? Yes you! The Children’s Ministry Leader-type person reading this now.  Did you read between the lines? Did you pick out the stuff that applies to you in the last post?  I’m not just referring to the times I mentioned “Children’s Ministers”.  Did you identify yourself as a leader who needs to take these precious opportunities to pass on the love?

If you didn’t, this challenge is for you.

And what if you did read the last post… and the lightbulb went on, and you said to yourself: “I should do this!”  Did you, then proceed to do it?

If you didn’t, this challenge is for you.

What would happen if you, the leader, made a point to approach each of your key staff, individually – paid or volunteer – and told them… no – expressed to them how valuable they are?  There is something special about being told by the person above you that you do a great job.  If you’ve ever been on the receiving-end, it makes all the difference in your week!

What would happen if each of your key leaders received a thank your note or card in the  mail?  And, it was handwritten by you?  It’s a challenge that will be an investment of time and effort – but the pay-off could be huge.  And by the way – don’t hand it them when they show up. Ever since we were kids we anticipated something coming in the mail. It’s like a surprise, a breath of fresh air… and not a schedule for the nursery!

What would happen if you found a different way, each month to build-up, edify, encourage and thank those key leaders in your CM?  It could be a letter, a note/card, e-mail, phone call, personal interaction in the hallway, out to lunch or coffee, a small gift… figure it out… you’re a #KidMin leader – you’re creative!

What would happen? Well… you tell me.

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An amazing thing happened to me after church on Sunday.  My Pastor passed me in the office hallway and said something to the effect of:

“I saw you in there today with the kids.  You do a great job. I wish I could get up there more often to see you do your thing.  Thank you!”

There was some more small-talk and then off we went our separate ways for the day.

So, why was this an amazing thing?  Here’s why:  Most Sunday’s, I go home feeling like a thousand feet tall because the “Sunday morning kids ministry” is my element!  I thrive in that element and am at my best.  I’m not bragging here, just telling you what makes me tick and what I’m passionate about.  This past Sunday, however, I went home feeling like I was a thousand feet tall AND walking on clouds.  Why?  Well, one reason is that Karl Bastian showed up, snapped a bunch of pics and posted them along with like, 20 tweets braggin’ up my church’s facilities… but beyond that – it’s simple really:

My Pastor invested in me for 30 seconds and let me know he noticed me.

Why is this amazing?  It’s amazing in the fact that it shouldn’t be amazing.  But the fact that it happened when it’s not the norm in churches, grabs my attention.  (Am I making sense here?) Please be aware that my Pastor is very good at paying compliments and notices his whole staff.  But, it’s not the case with every Pastor in every church.

I personally know of Pastors that pay compliments from the platform but never really say it to staff member’s faces – “church politics”.  Places where staff feel as if they were never noticed, just tolerated.  At a seminar, an older Pastor stated during his session that he was already paying his staff, so they didn’t need compliments and “thank you’s” for doing what they were expected to do anyway.  I still love these guys… but, they all have one thing in common: They go through a lot of staff members.

Pastor, if you’re out there and you’re reading this… Here’s the challenge:

  • Notice your staff this week.
  • Stop and talk to them for 30 seconds.
  • Tell them when they’re doing a good job.
  • Say some “thank you’s” – When is the last time you sent a thank you card to a staff member?
  • Pay them a few compliments

Trust me, you’ll see a difference in the loyalties and the attitudes.

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