Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
It is always a delight to share with you the thank you notes I get from our Kidology Coaching graduates. (Always reprinted with permission – they desire others to know how the Kidology Coaching has changed there life.)
Barney Kindard and Amy Hardeman
This letter comes from Amy Hardeman, and it is our hope it will encourage those of you who may feel like the sides are closing in on them!
Are the walls closing in on you?
Thank you so much for establishing and investing in the Kidology Coaching program. For several years I had been a silent snoop on the Kidology website. A year or so after adopting a newborn from foster care, I will still feeling so overloaded with life and ministry and was having a hard time balancing it all. Before a baby, I had somehow managed to do it all, relying heavily on myself. One day when listening to a KidMin Talk podcast I started to consider the coaching program.
When I first took the plunge and decided to sign up I was feeling a lot like Princess Leia and her Star Wars in the trash compactor scene. From event to event, ministry crisis to crisis, it always seemed like the walls were about to close in on me. I felt overwhelmed by stress with things spinning out of control. In fact, I remember sobbing as I filled out the “Getting to Know You” form. Even just choosing to ask for help was such a big step and a big release from the burden I had been carrying.
At that time, little did I know what the next two years would hold for me: leaving our denomination to plant a new church, impact of the economy on our church’s finances, parenting challenges with our children adopted from foster care, major staff transitions, etc. In spite of all those challenging circumstances, I haven’t once felt like I was in a trash compactor in a Star Wars movie!
That is because I have significantly changed. I have changed my thinking, my mindset and my procedures. Instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed, I am more comfortable managing difficulties, when they arise. I have increased my skillset to handle these challenges. Instead of living in panic mode, I am constantly looking and planning ahead, reevaluating and making adjustments.
A big turning point in my coaching occurred when Barney came to see me on a trip to the Atlanta area. It meant so much to me personally, that he took time from his busy schedule to see me, hang out with my family, and just dream with my husband and I about what our children’s ministry could be. We had recently moved into a new building as a church plant and were just in survival mode. Thanks to his challenges and my investment project, we received over $2,000 in donations and transformed our boring children’s church room into “S.P.Y. Central”.
My church has struggled financially off and on through the years, so I have paid for my entire Kidology Coaching course myself. I also felt like the coaching was something I was doing for me. During some “lean” months, my extra funds were paying for apple juice and cheerios for the nursery. So, I sold crocheted dwarf beards and hats on www.Etsy.com for extra money to pay for my coaching. When you found out, you not only purchased one, you gave me helpful and constructive advice for how to make it better. I appreciated that so very much. All these things helped me to feel like I was truly a part of something bigger. Instead of being a “nobody” in a large organization with an untouchable leader, you make everyone feel like somebody.
Since that first visit, Barney has visited me two other times. Once in California when I flew in for a family funeral and most recently just last month here in Georgia. It was truly God’s perfect timing for me. I was so blessed to receive my graduation certificate in person. Having the opportunity to see Barney face to face, spend time together, to be affirmed and encouraged to dream about the future was absolutely priceless. I now know that whatever ministry opportunities come my way I am well prepared—thanks to his coaching. Our time together left me filled with hope for the future and knowing that He believes in me.
About half way through my coaching, I lost a significant amount of weight as part of a “Biggest Loser” contest at my church. Shortly thereafter, I picked up running to help continue my weight loss. I distinctly recall telling Barney that I had set the goal of running an entire 5K without stopping. As soon as it was out of my mouth, I regretted it. This was too hard! What was I thinking? Just six months later, I have just finished my first half marathon. My journey as a runner has been a physical manifestation of the changes that have taken place in me as a leader. Barney’s coaching has helped me to not just set a goal, but to evaluate, prioritize and do all the stuff it takes to get from setting that goal to achieving it. Just as in running as I grow leaner, I get faster and increase endurance, the more I accomplish in my ministry, the easier it gets, the more intuitive it seems. Although Barney hasn’t given me any running tips, when I crossed that finish line last weekend I was thinking of him and all he has taught me.
I give you my sincere thanks for the investment you have made in me. Today I am a better leader because of Kidology Coaching and look forward to continuing to grow through the graduate program.
If you feel the walls closing in, like Amy did, or simply desire someone to journey with you as you take your life and ministry to the next level, take some time to read through the links at Kidology.org/coaching and pray about whether this could be just want you need. We have several coaches ready for you!
One of my favorite things about the Children’s Pastors Conference is the Resource Center. CPC remains the ONLY kidmin conference that provides a level playing field for all resource providers and publishers. While publisher created conferences can be fantastic, I love CPC because there is no agenda other than equipping and encouraging. Enjoy the other conferences, but be sure to come to CPC where you can learn about all that is NEW and exciting in Kidmin. I especially enjoy meeting small ministries/companies that are just starting out and love helping them get the word out about what God has laid on their heart to create and share, often out of their own family or church ministry success. That is what gave birth to Kidology.org – sharing what I’ve learned – so I celebrate a place where I can meet others with that same passion.
Brandon, Barney and I ready to Equip & Encourage!
We enjoyed exhibiting – but we love to share what others are doing as well! Kidology exists to help YOU FIND what you are looking for, even if it’s not on Kidology.org – that’s our Mission!
Here is a collection of videos I did with my iPhone on a pole so you could meet these great folks and learn about what they are doing to HELP YOU in your children’s ministry.
Watch each one, they are short!
Egglo (for Easter!):
Awesome Video Stuff:
Sparkie Summer Program (no Awana club needed!):
Teaching Kids How to Pray:
I hope you will support these ministries by checking out what they are doing and if you can use what they offer, encourage them with a purchase! It is the best way to keep people innovating for children’s ministry!
What if your child challenged your beliefs? What if you child told you they had an experience that contradicted what you believed was possible? That was the experience of Colton’s dad, Todd Burpo (played by Greg Kinnear) in the story that has gone from best selling book and is now headed to the big screen this year.
When four year old Colton goes through emergency surgery he has an experience that is unexplainable in human terms. He is soon able to describe things that he shouldn’t know – and attributes the things he learned to a visit to heaven. Colton’s dad chooses to believe his son despite the disbelief and even ridicule it brings upon him and his family, even bringing his employment as a pastor to risk.
I can relate to the skepticism because I was not even interested in the book when it came out, considering it an attempt to profit off a story I didn’t believe possible due to Scriptures declaration that prophesy was closed. As a rule I don’t give much credence to “visiting heaven and returning” stories. I do believe that God can (and does!) provide supernatural experiences to Christians, as I have had such myself, but have always been hesitant to share those stories for profit, my own stories included – least I tempt God to never intervene in my life again is such a manner.
And yet, my skepticism of the book actually led me to surprisingly appreciate the movie all the more – since the natural skepticism that the audience may have for a story like this is not only welcomed, but embraced by the family themselves. That struggle to believe their son is central to the story – and yet, if true, the evidence he presents in the details and facts he describes, make clear, if it wasn’t heaven he visited, God surely gave him some kind of special experience, and if so, what is the lesson in that for him, and in turn, for us as well?
In the end, the answer to the question as to whether what Colton experienced, “Was it really heaven?” isn’t actually answered. The answer to that question ultimately isn’t important. What matters is that his family believed him and that heaven is real, and that God can and does reveal Himself to us uniquely when and however He desires.
But are we open to Him when He does?
The Bible says that we are to come to God as children. Perhaps that is because children have the openness and tenderness that is needed to see God and receive what He has to show us.
I highly recommend you go see Heaven is for Real. Don’t go as a critic. Don’t go wondering whether Colton’s story is real. Go wondering if heaven is real, and if it is, how else might God try to give glimpses to His creation that it is, so that we don’t stay so busy we miss out on that all important reality.
Enjoy the trailer:
Download excerpts from Colton’s parents new book at: http://heavenisforreal.net
Learn more about the movie at: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/heavenisforreal/
Next week I’ll be attending my 44th consecutive Children’s Pastors Conference. Though I’ve been to more kidmin conferences than can be counted. Sometimes I am privileged to get to do some Equipping and Encouraging as a workshop presenter or speaker – but usually I am just glad to be there to learn, connect, discover new resources and network.
Let me share some tips I’ve learned over the years about how to MAKE THE MOST of whatever kidmin conference you are attending – you invest a lot of time and energy and resources to attend a conference, you might as well be sure you get everything you can out of it!
#1 – Don’t try to do everything! This sounds contradictory to “getting the most” out of a conference, but conferences, by design are LOADED with opportunities to learn, connect and gather tools. However, if you attempt to DO everything offered, you may actually miss out on some of the best things there, or be moving so fast, you miss the people in the midst of the stuff to do. Keep in the mind:
The conference is there to serve you – you are not there to do what the conference has planned for you!
So be smart. Determine your goals, look over what the conference offers and if you need to skip a workshop session (or even a general session – gasp!) to accomplish your objectives, that is fine! Sometimes a one on one meeting with a key person may be more valuable than a general session with some famous leader pontificating over a bunch of stuff you’ll “Amen” but already know.
#2 Make the most of meals. Hey, you gotta eat – but you don’t need to eat alone, and trust the sovereignty of God to place you near some people that just may be exactly who you need to talk to. Of course you can, and should, schedule meals withe key people – but even when you just end up at a table with some folks – find out who they are. What are they looking for? Struggling with? Trying that is new? You’ll be surprised to discover you can learn as much from a table mate as you can in a workshop by some well known trainer. After all, notoriety doesn’t make someone more valuable. Having what you need is the key! And that person accross the table or standing next to you in line may just be the “secret source” of information you are seeking!
#3 Visit EVERY Booth in the Resource Area. Let’s be honest – some of the exhibit booths are pretty cool. They’ll have huge displays, wide screen HDTV displays and sound systems. The money they can pour into a booth must mean good sales from a super product, right? It also can spell: F.L.U.F.F. Often times I have discovered that the plainer, smaller more humble looking booths – while they may not stop you in the tracks, may actually have some fantastic resources in them, created by people who have put all their heart and soul and last penny into creating that resource after it worked at their church, and they are trying to share it with the world because it worked so great in their ministry. So make a point to visit every single booth. Even when you don’t think you need, want or have any interest in a booth, stop in and visit. After all, that is a brother or sister in Christ, right? Listen to their story. It’s not always about buying something – it may be about a connection later that you you’ll make between them and someone else, which builds the Kingdom of God!
#4 Interview Regular People. I know one of the highlights of a conference like CPC is you get to meet or see some folks who you look up to or who have really been a blessing to you – either through their ministry or the resources they have created. But remember, being well known is just an earthy attribute that means nothing in the Kingdom of God. I remember once when a fellow asked to interview me at a CPC. He had a list of all the folks he wanted to meet and get a few minutes to talk to. While I was honored to make his list, I asked him several questions about his own ministry. As it turned out, he had been in ministry longer than I had, had more kids, more volunteers, and more formal education at the time. I encouraged him by saying, “Sounds like you are the true expert between us!” And I proceeded to interview him about things I was struggling with in my church ministry. He got his questions addressed from me, but so did I! My point is, the expert you are looking at may not be teaching workshops, be at a famous church, or be published or have a blog/website. They may just be busy doing the work of the ministry and have a lot to offer you. How do you find these people? You get to know everyone who crosses your path at CPC – you’ll find treasures everywhere!
#5 Social Network Like Crazy. Use Facebook to post – add new people to your Friends – and I recommend Twitter too. Because at a conference there is usually a hashtag for the conference. If you don’t know what that means, it is a tag you put in ALL your tweets about the conference. At CPC this year the hashtag is #cpc14. If you put that in your tweets, not only will your regular followers see your tweets, but anyone who clicks on #cpc14 in anyone’s tweet will also see your tweets, whether or not they follow you! It increases your readership of your tweets. Plus, YOU should be following #cpc14 (or the conference hashtag) so you can read what others are tweeting and check to see if you are following the the #cpc14 tweeters, and if you aren’t – start! (This also applies to the children’s ministry hashtag #kidmin which is good all year around!)
#6 Collect Contacts Like Crazy. As you meet people, get their contact info. Build your network at a conference. You will be amazed how you will need and want this information later! If you collect business cards, add them to your smart phone asap. Under the “company” or “notes” you can put #cpc14 and something you remember about them for future reference. Remember, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know. And meeting new people and connecting is great – but you need to be able to extend that relationship beyond the conference!
#7 MOST IMPORTANT: Schedule Down Time to Read, Reflect and Rest. I remember when I got back from one of my first CPC’s and my senior pastor asked me, “When did the conference end?” When I answered, “Yesterday,” he said, “Then what are you dong back?” It was a subtle hint that I needed to add on extra time to process what I had learned, discovered and been exposed to. So I have often added on an extra day so I could just enjoy the resort/convention center without the crowds and slowly pray and process all that had happened the past few days. If you must get back right away, than plan a “day away” back home ASAP to go over your notes, all the paper you collect at a conference, and consider what changes you will implement. Much of what you hear/see at a conference will be things that excite you – but a lot of it is preaching to the choir – it’s stuff you already know. Other things won’t work in your situation back home. Some things you need to consider how to modify or adapt to your environment or church culture. This takes some time – and if you don’t make the time for it, all your conference “stuff” can end up on a shelf and no real change will take place in your ministry despite all the time and money invested in the conference. And that is not a good thing!
If you will be at CPC – please drop by the Kidology Booth and say hello. If you see me walking around, do not hesitate to stop me (even if I look busy) to say hello. If you want to chat – so do I!
Whatever conference you attend – make the most of it! Be intentional and connect with people. Remember, the Church isn’t the stuff that’s for sale, it’s the people doing ministry with us. So make connections that will last a life time. Resources are wonderful, but people are eternal.
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You just have to see this in person!
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Have you ever wanted to UNPLUG from the hectic busy pace of ministry life? That is the entire point of Yosemite Summit. It is a week where you are unplugged in every sense of the word. No computer, no e-mail, no phone calls, no work, no deadlines, no ‘emergencies’, no pressure. Better than a day off spent catching up on personal things – it is a complete break for the sake of complete rest and renewal.
I was once told by a very wise mentor, “Karl, you need to stop being a human doing, and learn to become a human being.”
That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is an annual cessation of activity. Too often we confuse busyness with what God is truly seeking from us. Not that we aren’t busy doing good things! But we get so busy doing these good things, that our relationship with God can grow distant, and soon God is wondering, why or who we are truly busy for?
Stopping, completely, once a year is an opportunity to recalibrate. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It is not a time of evaluating ministry goals and seeking a new “ministry vision” from God! It is a time of setting all that down and walking away from it.
Why? God did not save us to gain a worker. He can manage quite fine without us. (Something to consider when you are working so hard – God doesn’t need you!) He saved us that we might enter into a relationship with Him and get to know Him. If we are so busy working that we aren’t getting to know Him – than the working isn’t working. It is actually counter-productive to what God’s true aim is.
We are busy “making Him known,” but we forget the first half – “To know Christ, and to make Him known.” If we forget our relationship in the pursuit of the second half, we are then working to reproduce something that isn’t what God wants. No wonder many non-believers have no interest in becoming a Christian! They see a lot of busy-bodies, instead of disciples of Christ, men and women who walk with God.
To be in awe of God again…
So once a year I stop all the activity and simply walk with God for a week doing nothing else but enjoying Him. And I invite a small group to join me. It changes me and helps me continue that walk when I get back to my God-given work.
Will you join me this May? Only three spots remain.
Take some time and browse through the blog on YosemiteSummit.org – you’ll discover inspiration and the answers you have about this unique event.
I’m already praying for you… I just don’t know who you are yet.
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PS: If you need this Summit and can’t afford it, please let me know.