Feb 21, 2017

20 Funny Things Only Those in Children's Ministry Know About

Thought today we'd take a look at the humorous side of children's ministry with "20 Funny Things Only Those in Children's Ministry Know About."  Hopefully this will bring a smile to your face and lighten your load a little today.  Be encouraged. There's nothing like serving in children's ministry!  Wouldn't trade it for any other ministry in the world!

1. The correct pronunciation of baptism is "bababatized."

2. The go-to-answer for any review question when you get stumped is "Jesus."

3. Getting asked by the cashier at Target or Walmart or Costco why you are buying 50 bags of cotton balls.

4. Having the church janitor mad at you after an event.

5. Wanting "Larry and Bob" to be nominated for an Oscar award.

6. Getting to the end of your service before the adult service is ended and finding ways to stall until it's time for parent pick-up.

7. Oriental Trading. Enough said.

8. Vomit comes in lots of different colors.

9. Praying for healing for cats, dogs and goldfish.

10. Laughing when adult ministry says summer is a slow ministry season.  VBS really stands for "Very Busy Summer."

11. Being out of breath after a worship song because of the motions.

12. Offering comes in coins, not bills.

13. Sunday best attire is a t-shirt with a children's ministry logo on it.

14. A security name tag stuck on something other than a shirt is almost impossible to remove.

15. When one person has to go to the bathroom, everyone has to go to the bathroom.

16. Never studying Revelation for a lesson you're preparing.

17. When one baby starts crying, all babies start crying.

18. 3rd grade boys never run out of energy.

19. If there is a balloon in the room, rest assured it will pop right in the middle of your lesson.

20. Puppets are great expositors of God's Word.

Your turn.  Add to the fun.  What are some things only us in children's ministry know about?

Feb 17, 2017

Fresh Ministry

This week during one of my quiet times with God, I read this verse and a word jumped out at me.

"The meek shall obtain FRESH joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel."  Isaiah 29:19

I don't like stale bread or any other kind of stale food.  And I'm sure you don't either  There's no comparison between stale bread and fresh bread, is there?  Don't you love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven?  Or the taste of fresh, hot rolls with butter dripping down the sides.  Why settle for stale bread when you can have fresh bread?

I wonder how many times we settle for stale ministry?  A stale relationship with God?  A stale vision?  A stale program?  A stale event?  A stale service?

Here are some signs things are stale...
  • You talk more about what God has done than what He is doing.
  • Attendance is waning.
  • You are doing it simply because it's what you've always done. 
  • People yawn at the vision. 
  • The baptistry is collecting dust. 
  • Bible reading is something you endure rather than enjoy.
  • The past is dictating the future. 
  • Volunteers are serving out of duty rather than delight.
  • Few, if any, tears for the lost are seen. 
  • Smiles and laughter in the hallways is rare.
  • You sense yourself just going through the motions. 
  • No one wants to leave their comfort zone. 
We don't have to settle for stale.  God wants to give us fresh joy!  Fresh ministry!  Fresh passion!  Fresh vision!  Fresh anointing!  Fresh spiritual food!  He's already got it baking in the oven for you. He's just waiting for you to ask for it! 

Feb 16, 2017

Insight About Millennial Parents

There are over 77 million Millennials (ages 18 to 36) in the United States.  They comprise 24% of the population.  Millennials are less likely to marry than previous generations, only 21% have tied the knot compared to 42% of Boomers at the same age.

But not being married is not slowing them down from having children.  While just 21% are married by the age of 36, 56% of Millennials have children and by the age of 34 the percentage rises to 83%, whether they are married or not.

Millennial parents have their own unique generational values that you need to know and understand if you're going to reach them and their children.  Let's look at some of these to better understand the Millennial mindset.

Millennial parents are diverse.  They are more ethically and racially diverse than any previous generation.  44% of them are non-white - including 19% Hispanic, 14% African American and 5% Asian.  By 2050, it is expected that the Hispanic and Asian populations will grow by 167% and 142%.  This means that the children of Millennials are already 50/50 white and non-white.  71% of Millennials say they appreciate the influence of other cultures compared to only 62% of Baby Boomers.

Churches and ministries that want to reach Millennials and their children must reflect their diversity in their advertising and content.  

Millennial parents invest in their children.  Millennials have grown up in an age of difficult financial times.  This has made them price-conscious and savvy when it comes to spending their money.  They look for shopping deals and ways to save money.  The top 20 apps used by Millennials are either retail or discount-focused.

While they are careful about how they spend their money, there is one thing they will open their wallets wide for...their children.  Millennial parents outspend Gen X parents on child-friendly products.  And when it comes to spending money on their children, quality trumps quantity.  Millennials are 14% more likely than Boomers to pay a premium for an innovative new product and 22% more likely to pay extra for sustainable brands.  They want to know how things are made, where they come from and who made them.  

Churches that want to reach Millennial parents and their children must offer focused, high-quality programs and events that are done with excellence.  More than ever, if you provide a great environment for children, you will grab the attention of their parents.  Millennial parents are willing to drive across town for a great children's ministry even if it mean by-passing nearby churches that don't offer great children's ministry.

Millennial parents live and breathe technology.  It is a big part of their identity.  They have grown up with cable, internet and cell phones.  And they are very good at adopting new forms of media.  Here's an example.  They are strong magazine readers - even stronger than Boomers.  But much of the reading is done digitally.  40% of Millennials use a TV but with a connected device.  They are still consuming content, but in ways they can customize.  Customization is a big part of the technological future of Millennial parents.

Churches that want to effectively connect with Millennial parents will keep up-to-date with technology and use it to communicate with them. 

Do you want to reach Millennial parents?  The key is going to be continually seeking to understand their unique characteristics and approaches to parenting and adapting our ministries to meet their needs.

Feb 15, 2017

Are You Empowering Your Volunteers? This Quick Test Will Tell

As ministry leaders, our job is to empower volunteers to do the work of the ministry.  Ephesians 4 is clear about this.

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ."

It's not about what you can do in ministry, it's about what you can empower others to do.   

Want to know if you are empowering your volunteers?  Here's an easy test that will tell you.

How well does the ministry operate when you are not there?  If it runs smoothly and doesn't miss a beat, then you are empowering your volunteers.  If it falls apart, then your volunteers are not being empowered.  When you are empowering your volunteers, you should be able to step back into the shadows and everything runs as normal.  In fact, if you are doing a great job at empowering your volunteers, then the ministry should not just maintain when you are absent, but it should make progress and move forward.  

Are you hesitant about being away from the ministry because you're afraid things will not go well?  Are you looking for more ways to empower your volunteers?  Join us for a live webinar this Saturday, February 18th, to discover key ways to empower your volunteers.  Gina McClain, children's pastor at Faith Promise Church, will be sharing how to empower your volunteers to own the ministry. Gina is a dynamic leader who has build a great volunteer team.   She will add great value to your ministry. 

You will also receive an ecopy of my newest book entitled "The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams."  In this book, I share how we built and empowered a team of over 2,600 volunteers. 

You can register for the webinar at this link.  Below is also more information.