Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for Leadership
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.
You just have to see this in person!
(Click on any image to view larger.)
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.
ABOUT | LOCATION | SCHEDULE | COST | BRING | REGISTER | WHY | VIDEOS | BLOG
PS: If you need this Summit and can’t afford it, please let me know.
So, did you watch the STATE of the UNION address by the President? Regardless of your political opinions, it is a good practice to stop once a year and consider the state of the union. How are we doing? What have we accomplished? What could we do better? Who can we honor?
Have you ever considering addressing the STATE of the KIDMIN?
Yes, you may use this graphic! Click to view larger.
Often we get stuck in a rut. We do the same things every year because… well, we did them last year. And the year before. And possibly, the year before that. Maybe you should consider doing your own “STATE of the KIDMIN” for your parents, leaders and volunteers. You could do a luncheon or simply a letter you send out. But similar to the President, share what has gone well, what could be done better, and honor some people who have served well. There is always cause for applause in the children’s ministry. And the good news is, there probably isn’t two parties in your kidmin you have to worry about “crossing the aisle” to appeal to!
So what is the STATE of your KIDMIN? Is it time to do some evaluating in what YOUR KIDMIN should do differently in 2014?
Consider: If you had to be elected to your leadership position, what would you do differently in the upcoming year to please kids, parents, volunteers or even….. you boss?
Just something to consider.
What do you do when you put a lot of hard work into an event or idea in ministry… and the end result is disappointing?
For Christmas Luke got a home made volcano. We were pretty excited about it and spent several days building it and looking forward to the final moment on the eve of our trip home when we would erupt the volcano.
The climax of the project, was, well, let’s just say it’s a good thing we all had a good sense of humor about it. Here is a video of the dramatic eruption!
As we laughed about our volcano disaster, it occurred to me that the same thing has happened to me many times in ministry. I got a “great idea” – put a lot of work and energy and time and often resources into bringing the idea into reality, only the have the final result be… well, disappointing.
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. You’ll have a great looking volcano that only fizzles. You can laugh about it, but more importantly, you can learn from it.
What are some of the lessons we learn in leadership from our flops?
- Ask, “Was this really of God? Or just me?” The answer isn’t automatically that you were off track with God – God isn’t always into big results, He is in the character building business, not the ministry building business – but there are times we have moved forward with something without any confirmation from the Lord that He even wanted us to pursue what we are so excited about. It can be a lesson to be more certain next time that He is asking us to do whatever it is we are so excited about. It may be the right idea, just not the right time.
- Ask, “Did I have others on board?” Similarly, you may have been the only one excited about it and been forcing it to happen. Others may have been acting excited so as not to disappoint you or discourage you (or bring on your frustration or irk) but in the end, they didn’t put the effort and energy into preparation and promotion that they would have if they had truly been on board with it.
- Ask, “Was this a distraction from what I ought to be doing?” Sometimes there is something more important we need to be focusing on, but it is less exciting, less enjoyable, or we plain just don’t want to do it – so we can find ourselves choosing to pour time and energy into something that “demands” our time so that we “can’t” do what we really should be doing. It can be a bit of self-deception not revealed until the distraction flops and the real problem is still there, and perhaps worse!
- Ask, “Did I take short-cuts?” Sometimes in our planning we let our excitement and eagerness cause us to short change the process and we don’t take the necessary time to do the job well. For example, in my volcano, what if I didn’t read the recipe right? In a ministry project we may skip asking for help, promoting properly, planning certain details, or clearing things that need to be cleared… all in our rush for the eruption we are so eager to see.
- Ask, “Could someone else have done this better than me?” One of the poisons of ministry is the belief “if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself.” Often, the opposite is actually the truth! When we want something badly, or enjoy something intensely, we often are more hands-on than is actually good for the project. If we let others who are more skilled than us take over, we may actually enjoy the results more!
If you’ve ever had a volcano fizzle – you are not alone. Don’t get down, laugh it off – but do learn from it. Next time, the results may be even better as a result!
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Everywhere I go I run into Kidology Members who ask me where they can get affordable Leadership Training and I am surprised how often they are unaware that they have access to FREE online video Leadership Training as part of their Kidology Membership.
I created Kidology Online Training specifically because I know not every leader can go to conferences.
Through these FREE streaming online videos every Premium Member of Kidology can learn what I’ve learned in my twenty plus years of being a leader and children’s pastor.
Then, to add to the learning experience, each training session has an optional add-on download kit that provides a RICH 30+ page PDF that goes even deeper into the material, has bonus material, a downloadable version of the video so you can go mobile with it or full screen and even gives you a PowerPoint so you can then, in turn, train YOUR leaders!
When you are done and compile all FIVE PDFs the sum result is the Kidology Handbook Leader’s Edition, your companion to the highly popular Kidology Handbook Teacher’s Edition.
But remember – while the download kits have a modest fee, the VIDEOS ARE FREE TO VIEW as a part of the Member Benefits!
There are FIVE Leadership Labs:
#1 First Things First – The foundational Leadership Lab that looks at why the most important aspects of ministry have nothing to do with ministry. Put first things first and you will not just survive in children’s ministry, you will thrive.
#2 Visionary Leadership – What does it mean to have vision? How can a clear vision for ministry increase your effectiveness? How do you get your volunteer team working together toward a God-focused vision?
#3 Kid-Focused Ministry Foundations – Let’s take a serious look at the foundation of your children’s ministry. At a time when creating a “fun ministry” has almost become the ultimate pursuit, its time to analyze where your focus should be.
#4 Partnering with Parents – If the very thought of ‘family ministry’ and ‘partnering with parents’ stirs up feelings of failure and discouragement, maybe it’s time to change the way you think about ministering to kids and parents!
#5 Define, Refine and Shine – Are you exhausted? Stress robbing you of the joy of service? Let’s learn how to evaluate your children’s ministry, while also looking at keeping your life organized.
AND THE BEST DEAL is to get all five AS A BUNDLE. But remember, WATCHING the online training videos – is 100% FREE for Kidology Premium Members.
So stop wondering where you can get quality insightful leadership training. If you are one of the thousands of Kidology.org members… you already HAVE access to leadership training!
All you need to do is take the time to watch AND LEARN! My life’s Mission and heart’s Passion is to Equip and Encourage Those Who Minister to children.
Please take advantage of these Leadership Labs. I can’t tell you what a difference they will make in your ministry. And if you are one of our scholarship ministries and need this training, let us know. We will make this material available to you at no cost. We trust your integrity when you ask.
Because Jesus Loves Children,
Pastor Karl Bastian
P.S. – And make sure you are tuning into my FREE podcast KidminTalk.com – and when you are ready to get really serious about your ministry, get yerself a Kidology Coach!