Jul 28, 2014

Why Children's Ministries Must Adapt in the Social Media Age











Engaging in social media is no longer an option for children's ministries.  It is a necessity.

Social media is all about connecting with families and volunteers.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use social media to connect with the people in your ministry.

Parent Facebook page
Volunteer Facebook page
Text messages to parents
Text messages to volunteers
Email blasts
YouTube training videos for volunteers
Twitter account
Ministry blog

Most families and volunteers are already there and if you're not, they're waiting for you.  It's how they want to communicate with you.  Bring your ministry into the social age.  Don't get left behind.

Jul 25, 2014

5 Things You Should Never Delegate Away









Delegation is key to accomplishing your goals.  We talked about this in a previous post.  But there are some things that you shouldn't delegate away.

Vision
As the children's ministry leader, it's your job to cast vision.  Others can help the vision walk, but you've got to articulate it.

Philosophy of Ministry
What are the principles that will guide your ministry?  It's your job to spell them out clearly so the team will know the base for decision making.

Passion
Your team will never be more passionate than you.  You have to lead the charge forward.  You must be the thermostat not the thermometer.

Enlisting Volunteers
You should always be bringing people onto the children's ministry team.  You can't do this alone, but you must lead by example.

Appreciation
Write thank you notes.  Personally walk through the ministry and thank people for serving.  People need to hear it from you. 

Jul 24, 2014

7 Proven Ways to Get Kids Engaged with Your Lesson












Do you want to engage kids in your lessons?  Here's 10 proven ways.

Interactive Discussion
Encourage kids to discuss what you're teaching.  Ask open-ended questions.  Stop lecturing and start facilitating discussion. 

Hands-On Activities
Kids engage when you provide them with activities, crafts, experiments, etc. 

Push Play
When you push play, kids engage.  Use video clips to illustrate truth.  

Honor their Attention Span
Keep segments in their attention span range.  1 minute for every year.  Exmaple - 5 minutes for a 5 year old.  

Games
Kids love to play.  Games that teach will engage kids in your lesson.

Tell Stories
Everyone loves stories.  It's wired in our DNA. 

Use Visual Communication.
Today's kids hear with their eyes.  Use lots of pictures.

What are some other things you do to engage kids in your lesson?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Jul 23, 2014

Want to Improve Your Children's Ministry? Here's How...











Do you want to improve your children's ministry?  Here's how...

Stop doing so much. 

Churches and ministries that are growing are laser focused.  They do a few things really well.  Rather than offering a smorgasbord, they specialize. 

How do you determine what to stop?  Here's some questions that will help you determine what to put on your stop list.

1. What's not reaching new families?
2. What's being duplicated by something else?
3. What's spreading our volunteers too thin?
4. What are we doing just because we've always done it?
5. What's not well attended?
6. What are we spending budget money on that's not bearing fruit?
7. What are we doing just because a small group of families would get mad if we cancelled it?

Jul 22, 2014

10 Tips for Children's Ministry Leaders Under 30













I love pouring into young children's ministry leaders.  We currently have over 30 interns in our church that we are investing in.

Today I was riding with a couple of our interns and one asked me what I'd do differently if I were just starting out.  Great question.

I shared a few with him and I'd like to share some with you. (if you're over 30, you can read on as well)

Learn to lead adults.
You must be able to lead adults if you're going to be successful in children's ministry.  Sharpen your leadership skills.

Don't take things personal.
People will leave your ministry.  Families will get upset.  Volunteers will quit.  Don't take it personal.  It happens to everyone.

Do a few things well. 
Less is more.  Narrow your ministry programs to a few that are highly effective.

Become good at asking the right questions. 
Good leaders give good answers.  Great leaders ask great questions.

Develop your people skills.  
Children's Ministry is all about relationships.  Hone your people skills.

Read!  Read!  Read!
Read at least 2 books a month.  Pick books that will help you grow spiritually, grow as a leader, grow in your area of ministry, and grow in your relationships. 

Learn how to effectively manage conflict and navigate confrontation.
Study and learn how to use best practices in dealing with conflict and confrontation.

Be yourself.
Learn from others but don't try to be others.  God made you unique for a reason.  He wants to use you, not your version of someone else.

Pace yourself.
Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.  The best way to succeed in ministry is to stay in ministry.  Find a pace that you can sustain for the long haul. 

Know yourself.
Work on being self-aware.  Know your personality type, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your tendencies.  You can only improve what you know about.

What are some other areas that leaders under 30 should concentrate on?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Jul 21, 2014

The Best Length for Tweets (and other forms of coummunication)










Technology has brought us lots of great ways to communicate with parents and volunteers.

A key to good communication in today's culture is SHORT & SWEET.  If it's too long, people will zone out on you and move on.

So what's the ideal length?  Here's what's recommended for creating communication that actually gets read.

Headline: 6-8 words, 55 charactera

Blog post: 1500-1600 words

Email subject line: 50 characters

Facebook post: 100-140 characters

Google+ headline: 60 characters max

Podcast: 22 minutes

Presentation: 18 minutes

Tweet: 120-130 characters

Webinar: 15-20 minutes

YouTube video: 3-3.5 minutes

Remember...the average person is inundated with over 230 messages every day.  If you want your communication to rise above the noise, then keep it simple and short.