Share this Post

IMG_0292Rules are not a fun subject – but I believe they are necessary!

Regardless of the lack of actual comments on the last post – I was encouraged with the feedback from twitter, Facebook and with personal messages from friends, and fellow KidMin leaders. Hey, I even got a shout-out from the Kids Pastor at our church during children’s church while she reviewed the rules with the kids 🙂

Here we go with Part 2:

Consider Changing the Rules to Fit Your Needs

That’s why I have a rule that says: “Obey All Rules”. It gives us license that if we need to make a rule to help the kids learn, we will. If a leader has noticed a lack of participation with our worship times in previous weeks, he/she can say something like: “Today we are adding an extra rule… it’s called ‘Everyone Participates’. If it’s time to sing, we want everyone to sing, if it’s time to learn, we need everyone paying attention…”

Make Warnings & Consequences Fair and Helpful

You wouldn’t dismiss a child from your service with a harsh lecture in front of the other children should that child break a rule and it’s their first infraction…. would you? Of course not. It’s not fair.

Let’s face it: kids get excited and will respond with outward expression. If something exciting happens and kids exclaim: “WOW!” cool – it’s what we want. Right? We want children engaged – so make sure you and your leaders can discern when the breaking of rules is a reaction to what’s happening —OR— it’s a problem of the child just doing whatever they want and it’s distracting or interruption the service.

I tend to allow 2-3 personal, verbal warnings from a leader who is not teaching. After that, the child is moved back a row or 2 (I always try to move a child back —OR— off to the side if they are already a few rows back). This is usually serious enough in the mind of the child that they will try harder to follow the rules. If the child is still having a hard time, I have them moved to the very back row (we keep the back row of one of the sections reserved for this purpose). The child is told that before he/she can leave that they will need to have a short meeting with their parents and a leader.

There have only been a few rare cases in which we had to dismiss a child by calling their parent during the service.

By handling the consequences this way, it’s fair because the child gets to remain in the room and receive ministry and participate in worship. It’s fair because the parent get’s to part of the solution. It’s helpful, because the child is moved further back where fewer children will see that child if said child chooses to continue in their behavior.

Let me just state that there are at least 2 more parts to this subject – why so much? I guess I have a lot to say about it. Please feel free to share and comment.

Share this Post
Share this Post

It’s inevitable – Parent Confrontation

If you haven’t had to do it in your children’s ministry yet, then there’s probably something wrong. It doesn’t happen every week, but it will be a regular occurrence if you have to deal with discipline issues. There are some important factors to consider when confronting parents and having to explain a discipline issue. After-all, you don’t want to be known as the minister who is constantly a negative bearer of bad news or unpleasant to deal with.

Here is a concise list of the things to keep in mind if and when you will have to confront parents about their child’s behavior and actions:

  • Be respectful.
  • Look into their eyes.
  • Remember they are the authority figure in their child’s world.
  • Be clear and concise – explain what rules have been violated and the actions already taken.
  • Do yourself a favor ahead of time: have clearly communicated policies and rules in the classroom that both the child and parent are ALREADY aware of.
  • Be willing to offer an exception if it’s obvious the rules/policies were not known ahead of time.
  • Be forgiving, showing mercy and grace – Be willing to offer another chance.
  • Have a plan for moving forward with the child – If is this just a warning: what will the plan for the future be should we have trouble in the next few weeks?
  • Ask the parents to help you know what to do if the issue(s) ever surface again.
  • Pray a positive prayer over the Parent(s) and child before they leave.
  • Follow-up with the parent and the child later in the week.

What would you add to the list?

Share this Post
Share this Post

Everywhere you look there are ideas to be used in children’s ministry… just waiting to be unlocked! They could be hidden in the pages of book, the display fixture of a store, an interesting commercial on TV, during a conversation about a topic you never thought you’d be talking about, happening in a new song on the radio while you’re waiting for the light to change or in a moment of misfortune.

When you go out and about in your day, here are some ways to harvest those innovations so you can keep your ministry sharp:

  • Keep Your Eyes Open – always be saying to yourself: “What could this be? How can I use that? How could my church benefit from having/knowing about this?
  • Be Deliberate – Visit places that are interesting and unique… ON PURPOSE. There’s that one store in the mall that has unique displays. There’s that one park with playground equipment like no other. There’s that one 2nd Hand shop that always seems to gather interesting items.
  • Use Up Your Smartphone’s Memory – If you have a smartphone, you should be taking pics, capturing video, taking notes and recording voice memos of your surroundings and experiences. Invest in more memory if need be.
  • Catalog Your Finds – Evernote is a great way to organize the ideas and notes you collect so you can return at a later time to be creative. If Evernote is not a consideration, have a place to keep those ideas so they are not forgotten: Open a document program on your computer and keep a running list of those ideas… store pics and video on a hard drive… if nothing else, keep a notebook handy.
  • Visit The Bigger Guys – There’s that church near you that is bigger and has more resources at their disposal. Perhaps they have some innovations and things that could be adapted for your situation. They’re usually willing to share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Visit The Littler Guys – Often the drive of the newer/smaller church’s leaders pushes them to try newer things quicker… after all: Necessity is usually the mother of invention.  These guys have HAD to figure out how to solve problems; and in the process might have created the new process.
  • Empower The Team – You’re not the only one in your ministry that can do the aforementioned. Encourage your team to do all of these things! Bring it all together once in a while for a “Show and Tell” session: Everyone puts what they’ve collected over the last weeks or months their finds. Get out the whiteboard and start to map-out the finds into usable ideas whether your church or ministry ever uses them or not… you’d be surprised where these session might go.
Share this Post
Share this Post

Memorize It

Knowing what you’re doing is different than planning what you’re doing. Again, you can start collecting your ideas and putting together all the stuff to make the service a success. But, if you don’t know WHAT you’re doing in the moment… it can create a moment of confusion, embarrassment or the sense from the audience that you aren’t prepared for them.  Even though, some of these items may be similar to the earlier section on Preparation… this list really is really all about “knowing” your service.  Memorization in a kids service has very little to do with knowing each service word-for-word or action-for-action – it has more to do with knowing the details enough to keep things moving along for so the audience will stay focused for maximum ministry results.

  • Know and be able to quote the main scripture – you’ll want to reference back to it during your teaching times.
  • Know and be able to quote the main idea or key point you want the kids to walk away with… you can’t get something into a kids world until it’s in you’re first.
  • Make and use a schedule of the service – As I mentioned in the last post, I prefer Planning Center Online. It gives you ways to schedule each item in your service and assign it a time. You can also use it to schedule team members for each item.
  • Outline your stories, object lessons, gospel magic routines, illustrative sermons and even skits. It’s not necessary to have it all memorized word-for-word. But if you know the main points and can elaborate on them, you’ll be more confident as you teach.
  • When doing an illustrative sermon or when many props and visuals are being used in one service, put them in order of their use on your table, in your box or from left to right on the stage or presentation area.
  • Make your team aware of what props and visuals you are using so those items don’t get touched, moved or end up getting put away before the service starts (I’ve had it happen).
  • Put a bookmark in your Bible where the main Bible story is found. Mark the passage with a highlighter or red pen… You ARE opening your Bible with the kids and having THEM read Bible stories with you – aren’t you?
  • Make sure everyone understands their cues for their parts. Music cues, key words, graphics on the screen or knowing that “…immediately after such-and-such happens…”, is when the next person needs to be walking on stage will help keep transitions smooth.
  • It helps to have a rehearsal with others involved, even if it’s just a walk-thru of each thing happening in your service.
Share this Post
Share this Post

I like to network with KidMins… Why?
Well, I’m glad you asked.

Relationships Are Thicker Than Puppets

You may run out of money, forget about the lesson ideas you once had, damage equipment or download a virus… But the relationships will still be there. Because of those relationships, you will be encouraged. You will rub shoulders with veterans and the young, “hungry” kidmins alike. You will invest into their ministries, in turn, expanding your influence as well.

We Each Got Stuff The Other One Wants

Sometimes when I need a resource I don’t own, can’t afford or that’s not available anymore, I have a resource library spread all over my town. It’s called “Other Church’s Supply Closets”. So many times I can make a few calls or send an e-mail about that curriculum that’s no longer published or a prop I don’t want to drop $300 to use for one weekend… and more often than not, someone has what I need, sitting in their supply closet at church. (Just be careful that you are not making illegal copies or breaking the law if the original buyer has the right to use the resource in only his or her own church only).

Everything I’ve Ever Needed To Know, I Learned From Other Kidmins

I don’t have all of the answers, and neither do you. But If I can surround myself with people who know stuff that I don’t, I will gain the knowledge of those who have “been there” and “done that”. Even if that Kidmin is younger than me or has been in ministry a shorter time, their environments and experiences will be vastly different than mine… and there are answers in that somewhere.

Share this Post
Share this Post

Everything a kid tells you is important.

You may not think it’s important, but to that kid, at that moment, it’s the most important thing in their world.

We as adults have, over time, developed a filter called: “THE STUFF IMPORTANT TO ME” filter.  And we react accordingly.  If someone tells you something that is interesting to YOU or in some way creates a commonality – YOU naturally react with genuine interest.  YOU react with attention.  YOU react because YOU actually care.

But when someone tells you something that you have no interest in, you may try to react as though you care – because you don’t really want to offend the person trying to tell you something.  But you’re not really listening, are you?

When that child walks up to you and shows you his loose tooth… this is a big deal – no wait! It’s a BIG DEAL!  When she tells you that it was her birthday yesterday… it’s a BIG DEAL!  When a kids tells you that his family is taking him on vacation to “Happy World”, it’s a BIG DEAL!  When she explains that her dog is lost… it’s a BIG DEAL!  When they point to their new shoes… it’s a BIG DEAL!  You all know what I’m talking about. It happens all weekend long… and that’s a good thing!

But, how many times have you had one of these experiences only to usher that child to his seat and tell him politely that he can tell you later? After all, it’s time to start class, right.

To a child, you may be the most important person in their world at that moment that needs to know this information.  Your reaction will determine their significance at that very moment in THEIR WORLD. And if you’re the one who made them feel significant at that moment, you have earned their attention from that moment on.  Try it – I promise, it works!

Turn on your listening ears the next time you’re with kids and Be blessed

Share this Post
Share this Post

How’s that for a grabbing title?  If I’ve offended you… I don’t care (BTW, get the picture reference?)  But, here’s the real question: is it true?  Are you ugly?

OK, let me ask it the correct way: Are you U.G.L.Y.

It’s an acronym folks… meant to get you groaning and thinking at the same time.  Maybe this is the start of a movement of sorts.  Perhaps a conference could be birthed out of groaning and thinking at the same time.  I’ll either call it the “UGLY Gathering” or just “GROAN”. Either way – on with the explanation of the acronym.

  • U – United in Vision As a kidmin leader, you’ve got to be united in the vision of the house.  Read my earlier posts on vision problems.
  • G – Growing Leader When you stop learning, you stop growing.  When you’re not healthy, you stop growing.  When your focus is on someone else’s success, you’ll stop growing.
  • L – Life Giving Minister You have the greatest job of all time: to tell the greatest story of all time.  You need to be sharing that story with a passion that is contagious and will change the world of the people around you.
  • Y – Yielded to the Holy Spirit’s Leading You might be thinking that it’s my pentecostal roots coming through.  Nonsense!  It’s my initiative as a minister that’s coming through.  Apart from the leading and guiding voice of the Spirit, you’ll do yourself, your church and Jesus the greatest disservice: You will do a lot in you own strength poorly.

Now that I’ve inspired you today with my offensive acronym, get out there and UGLY-it-up!

Share this Post
Share this Post

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.

Share this Post
Share this Post

Performance Skills 102

Specific training to increase your on-stage professionalism

Catchy Title huh?

For some it could be intriguing and they are instantly hooked in, but for the most part I would predict that the title is confusing as the topic of on-stage professionalism is not usually talked about in the world of Children’s Ministry. In our preaching we focus a lot on content, our MC-ing being energetic and making our kids scream, and our performances either being funny or very heavy with the topic we want to teach on. It is not often you will get someone stand up and say “let’s get more professional”.

Now we are not talking about sub-contracting writers, hiring actors and a catering truck. Instead we are talking about working with what you have and taking what you do in your ministry, and sharpening your skills to make it more professional.

Today we are going to talk about something that affects the communicator – the preacher, the MC and the performer (especially on film). There is a phenomenon out there that can plague these people’s performances and most of the time they have no idea it is there. This is not something that makes the difference between a good or bad performance but it is the difference between a great and professional one. This phenomenon I have taken the liberty to call “The Glorified Um”.

When we were children and trying to communicate, a lot of the time we didn’t know what to say. So as we were talking there would be a lot of pauses and because we didn’t want to lose the attention of our audience we filled that pause with an “Um”.

“Mum… um…. can I ….. um…… can I….. um…… because i’m hungry…….. um…………… can I …… um…………have… um…a um…cookie……. um?”

As a child we believe that pauses are not good so we foolishly fill the spaces with that wonderful word “Um”. The word “Um” communicates that we are unsure of what to say next and/or we are not confident in what we just said. This habit is tolerated as a young child but as we grow it is often corrected by parents and teachers because they know that you will disadvantaged in areas of life, especially when it come to job interviews.

“Um…..I ….think… that …I….um….. I…..would ….um….be very good as um……….ummmmm…..a…um… salesman…um”.

Fast-forward to now and you are in Children’s Ministry and you are happy to report that your days of umming are now behind you. Or are they? Over my years of performing and being in ministry I have realised that the ‘um’ is not behind us but in fact it has evolved and it plagues our preaching, performing and MC-ing. The Glorified Um is in full force.

So what is the Glorified um?

The Glorified Um is a word or a phrase that you the presenter (the word presenter covers all aspects of preaching, performing and MC-ing) will use over and over again whilst presenting. This usually will not be in your script or notes but will come out when you are adlibbing or slightly deviating from what was rehearsed. This phrase or word will not just be in the presentation but stem out from the performers life and be heard in their everyday conversations. For example I once worked for a youth pastor who used to say at the end of many sentences “do you know what I mean?”

This is a classic example of The Glorified Um. Like an um it communicates that he does not know quite what to say next, he is not confident in what he just said and he is cheapening what he is saying by filling his presentation with a habitual saying. I can guarantee on his notes he did not write that phrase once, yet he said it over 10 times.

Now that must not be confused with The Confirming Phrase that is a specific phrase designed to give the audience a chance to confirm what they just heard. An extremely experienced preacher I know always says “Are you getting this?” The difference is that the second presenter deliberately chose to say this, whereas  with the first it just came out without thinking. You can also tell because the first also slightly slurred the phrase and didn’t deliberately pronounce each word.

The Glorified Um is not just phrases at the end, it can be words at the start. Phrases such as: ‘It’s like’ or the word “but” are common examples of this. This can also be found in duel presenters when they start their sentence by acknowledging the other person with the same “it’s true” or “that’s right”. Finally it can even make our way into our writing and you can have a whole play or video with the whole cast using the same Glorified Ums as you do and you won’t even notice.

So what do we do to fix it? The cure is very simple but involves a lot of work and some help.

1. Recognise that a Glorified Um is a problem that is not a part of a professional presentation. I said before you can still be a great presenter with one but you will not reach that level of professionalism with it.

2. Find out if you have a Glorified Um. Look out for it, listen and watch old presentations you have done and look at the people you are leading because if you have it most likely they will have the same one. The best way is to ask a close and truthful friend to find out.

3. Fix your general conversation. A glorified Um is your normal speech creeping into your presentation. Get those close friends to pull you up on it constantly until you realise how often you are using it. This is where it gets frustrating but the effort is worth it.

If you have a platform to present to children on behalf of God then you have a privileged opportunity and I believe you are expected to work on your talents to increase them. If you do the hard yards you will put yourself a cut above and I look forward to seeing where it takes you.

Have Fun


Share this Post
Share this Post

Discouragement comes at the oddest of times for those who are in the ministry.  Often it’s right after a major victory – wanna know why?  The devil would like you, in your own mind, to accept the idea that what just happened is now null and void, due to the crisis, or event(s) that showed up afterwards.

Other times, discouragement comes when nothing seems to be happening in your ministry – or, things haven’t been going right for a longer period of time.  In this case, the devil would like it very much if you felt useless, under-qualified, or obsolete in your position as a leader.

Don’t think for a moment that this wasn’t planned.  Our enemy is very strategic and is an expert at planning ahead.

Here are a few suggestions of how you can kick it into gear.  Why?  Because, kicking it into gear will get you out of your office chair, off the sidelines – or in some cases: up off the floor.

      1. Pray
      2. Go back and redraft the vision God gave you in the first place
      3. Make an appointment with someone you respect and tell them your vision – sell it to them!
      4. Revisit the victories your CM has won in the past year – now make a list of victories to win from this point on
      5. Go to every classroom and imagine something new that could happen in the next month
      6. Go to that bigger church in town and take notes, pictures and promo pieces and list what you could “borrow” and start doing it.
      7. If you are the bigger church in town – here’s an edgy idea: Go to the smaller church that is on it’s way up and see the drive, determination and vision that’s there.  What can you “borrow”?
      8. Talk to a mentor in CM
      9. If you don’t have a mentor is CM – get one!
      10. Get with your Pastor and get his fresh perspective on the vision for the church
      11. Have kids in your church do a survey to tell you what they really like about church and what they would like to do.
      12. Pray
Share this Post