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Having a team of people around you is great! I love the team members that I get to serve with at my church. They are all about ministry to kids and families… I am truly blessed.

But just having a team is not enough. You have to be willing to do some things, not just to keep your team… but to help them move to the next level.  I’ve assembled a list of some of the things you’d better be doing if you want your ministry to grow:

  • Pray for them.
  • Continually speak the vision of the house.
  • Continually interpret the vision of the house so KidMin Leaders can run with it.
  • Actually meet with them as a team on a regular basis.
  • Actually meet with them individually on a regular basis.
  • Find out that one key resource each of your team members needs, and get it for them.
  • Look for resources they’re not asking for, and surprise them with it.
  • Provide training and ministry enhancement opportunities.
  • Read through a book with them.
  • Set up regularly scheduled evaluation meetings for each member.
  • Promote them publicly (Brag them up around EVERYONE).
  • Remove team members who won’t propel forward.
  • Add to the team people who have proven themselves.
  • Show appreciation to each member.
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So, with the last post being said, let’s look at some ways to figure out what your Pastor’s vision for the church really is:

Ask Him
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it, but in my last post, I suggested that you  set a meeting and allow your Pastor to just dream in front of you.  Bring a notepad and pen, or even a voice recorder.

Listen to the Podcasts
Get online and download the last few months of your Pastor’s sermons and listen to them.  You’re going to hear his heart and direction.  Even if you’re getting into a church service on a regular basis, this will help you to review and get some better insight.

Look at the Preaching Calendar
If you will look at the calendar for the upcoming sermon series, many times you can see a direction in the coming year of sermons

Get Others Involved
Ask some other staff members and board members.  In other words, sometimes the rest of the leadership might have a good read on the direction thing seem to be going.

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Ok, this is totally hypothetical here – but, if you only had one minute left in your career as a KidMin; how would you spend it?  This extreme grabber is meant to get you thinking about making the most of every moment. Ephesians 5:16 is pretty straightforward about this point.

Would you call all your workers and thank them?  Send an inspiring e-mail/tweet/FB? Pray? Play with a puppet? What does the “MOST” of every moment look like in your mind’s eye?  Better yet, what does the “MOST of every moment look like in God’s Mind?

I’ll tell you what it looks like…

Read the Ephesians 5:8-17.  It mentions things like: Knowing what pleases the Lord, knowing His will and refraining from foolish deeds of evil.

Now, stop reading this blog and make the most of the minute that you have left.

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Stop Using that Rubber Chicken!

These kids are bored, sometimes, because, they keep seeing the same props over and over and over again. Sure, you bought that rubber chicken because you knew the kids would laugh when you pulled it out of your briefcase. And I commed you. Every #kidmin leader needs a rubber chicken! But ever since, that thing had shown up every time you need to illustrate the concept of fear, or anytime a character needed a funny prop to display. Maybe for you, it’s not a rubber chicken. Maybe its a flaming Bible, a fake brain, a decorated gift box or any other oddity or novelty item that has adorned your children’s ministry supply closet.

It seems easy to pull these props – it’s our default setting. “I need something extra here… hmm… ah ha! I’ll use this pair of jumbo sunglasses!” But are your kids seeing those jumbo sunglasses too often? Are kids already anticipating what your are going to use to illustrate a point? When you pull out that prop, are they saying “Oh, that again…”?

Look over your service planning sheets for the last year and count the number of times your commonly used props have been used. Is it time to store that away? Give it away? THROW IT AWAY?

I’m preaching to my self here, I know. But let’s all take stock of what we have. Be a good steward of it. Evaluate. Make changes.

Be blessed.

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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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With the economy in the shape that it’s in, no doubt, many churches are feeling the squeeze. I am in no way in doubt of what God can and will do.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Besides, His economy is different than ours.  In other words: God doesn’t really have an issue with money… but, He knew that WE WOULD.  That’s why the scripture talks so much about money and finances – the dangers, the benefits and our responsibility.

Let me state that I will continue to put my trust in Him that He will meet all of my needs – even my financial needs in ministry.  As a matter of fact: I believe that God is in the business of prospering His people with the very things they need.

However, this should not be license for me to throw money, with little, to no caution, at every problem that arises. Nor do I have the right to continue to make frivolous purchases without considering their impact on my budgets and ministries.  God still calls me to be a steward of what has been handed to me.

This really is the key to God supplying my every need and giving me an abundance of what I need: Stewardship.

Something significant that I am currently sharing with my staff is the real “defined” value of each purchase.  I talk about it in this way:

Let’s assume – for the time being – that we are serving in a church, where those who give, are giving a true tithe (don’t argue with me on the tithe – you don’t have a fighting chance!).  If this is the case and you are given a monthly budget of $1,000 for a particular ministry or program – that $1,000 really has a value of $10,000. Get the picture?  That $1,000 represents 1 third to 1 fifth of someone’s yearly income. OR… looking at it in a monthly perspective, 3-4 people had to work a full-time job all month just so we would have this money available to us.

What are the lessons here?  Not in any particular order:

First: Get the stuff you need – I mean, you have to operate somehow

We have to assume that church-goers understand that basic supplies are needed and simple bills must be paid in order to maintain a church.  If you need a supply and it maintains your ministry, there really should be no question about it.  Just find the best deal and roll like that.

Second: Plan ahead and look in every nook and cranny

Perhaps God has already met your needs in ministry and now it’s up to you to search for it.  Seek and you will find, means that you look until you get the answer. Don’t throw money at a problem where pre-planning, creativity, team brainstorming, empowering volunteers and looking at the resources you already have could help fix it.  Make a resource list of what is currently on hand and make it available so your ministry team knows what’s available. Be a good steward of what you have now and God can add to it.

Third: Do what you can until the finances come in… this is a form or stewardship!

God knows what He want’s to do in your ministry and He’s not bound by finances.  Dream big and let God show you how you’re gonna finance it.  Plan, calculate, talk it up and do what you can and He will meet you there.

Fourth: Spend it on paper first

This is the basic rule of thumb for any budget.  Dream, dream, dream and then write, write, write.  Show yourself, your spouse, your pastor, the board, and the Holy Spirit that you have a good plan for the finances that you will be entrusted with.

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