Think Differently

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Steve Jobs and Apple made famous the phrase, “Think Differently,” but creative “out of the box” thinking is not limited to technology developers. It applies to children’s ministry too. Creative innovators see the world differently. They reject how things have “always been done.” They see things in a new way. Just yesterday I saw a car port in the Home Depot parking lot where most saw a cart bin. OK, that might not be children’s ministry – but are you constantly looking for ways you can see things differently? How can things be done differently? What new approach can I try? How have we never done it? Let me give you a great example from my good friend and amazing children’s pastor friend, Shelly Sexton down in sunny Florida. She recently brought me in to do some magic for a huge summer outreach she was doing call “Kingdom Hearts.” They rented a civic center, built a castle and brought in hundreds of kids and more volunteers than I could count to creatively share the Gospel with their community. Secure check-out in this unique setting was a challenge. The previous year they did it similar to how Sunday’s are done at …

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Is Your Kidmin in Survival or Creative Mode?

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I love Minecraft. For those who don’t know what it is, it is basically virtual Lego. I run an online community for my son and other kids to play in. (details) It’s fun! When you play, you get to choose between two basic game modes: Survival and Creative. In CREATIVE – you get access to all the pieces and can build whatever you can imagine! In SURVIVAL – you start out with nothing, and must find or build what you want/need. In Minecraft, the process and making things from other objects is called “Crafting” – you combine certain items to craft new items. For example, sticks and coal can be used to craft a torch. What does this have to do with Children’s Ministry? In ministry, we often start out in Survival Mode – we have to start from scratch. Nothing exists! We need to find volunteers, leaders, resources and supplies. We need to create spaces where ministry can take place… and as we build (craft), better options become available. We build upon past successes, learn from mistakes, all while watching out for Creepers and Zombies! These are roaming creatures that are constantly needing to be dealt with and repairs …

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FALL Checklist Time!

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Let’s work together! Fall is going to be here before you know it! While you may still have some summer events… soon the kids will be back in school, you’ll be raking leaves, and your annual ministry programs will be in full swing. NOW is the time to get a jump on the fall and head off some mini emergencies. Soon you’ll have all the usual Sunday morning crises you had last fall: New teachers wondering where things are Regular teachers asking where stuff is Supplies running out Equipment malfunctioning Backlog of applications and background checks New obligations someone assumed you knew about! Fill in the blank: _____________________ Take some time this week to make yourself a FALL CHECKLIST. I can’t write your check list because every ministry is different – but I can give you some suggestions based on what I’m thinking about for my own list. Use an afternoon, a lunch hour, or a quiet evening to think ahead. (Don’t just say, ‘That’s a good idea.’ DO IT!) In the classic Children’s Ministry Handbook, The Art of War, Kidmin Guru Sun Tzu writes, “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” Which simply means, preparation is everything. He …

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Making Meetings Matter

Coffee cup, standing on the daily organizer.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Two things in life are certain, death and taxes…” perhaps he should have added “meetings.” We went into children’s ministry because we love ministry to kids… and yet, we find ourselves in a LOT of meetings! I am amazed at the number of meetings children’s ministry leaders have to attend. I’ve had friends share with me how overwhelmed they are by meetings. A few have told me they have over twenty meetings a week. One said, “I’m being meetinged to death!” So when I started my new children’s pastorate one of my first orders of business was to make sure I got control of meetings. Not only did I not want to attend more than necessary, but I didn’t want to meet my own leaders and volunteers to death. So I asked a few of my friends for their tips on meetings, and developed a set of rules that would guide the meetings that I called. At my first team meeting, I established the following guidelines. Perhaps you may find them helpful. You are welcome to use and modify as you need for your own ministry: Team Commitments and Roles When there is not a …

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Principles for Powerful Programming

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I recently had a vision casting meeting with our elementary volunteers. Currently, my church runs a good program. The kids are dropped off in various rooms. Then they travel to a large room for some corporate worship before traveling back to their separate rooms for a lesson. There is a lot of loose time and transition time. My goal was to pitch that we have very little time with these kids to make an eternal impact—so we need to make every minute count. So I presented some goals we will aim for this fall: Goals for this Fall: We want every child who comes to Kids Rock to feel noticed, loved and welcome! We want to make Sunday the highlight of their week! We want guests to come back because they had a great time and made a connection. We want kids to leave having learned something NEW and life-changing. These are goals everyone could agree with, easily. But how do you make them a reality? You have to create a program that has some pop and power and that pulls the kids along. It can’t drag and it needs to have clear direction, purpose and it be intentional. There …

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