Aug 21, 2014

Generation Touchscreen

Who's leading the way in a new generation of kids who use touchscreen more often than a keyboard?

The kids in your early childhood rooms!  The use of touchscreen apps for kids under five is accelerating.  

A recent study shows that 38% of kids two and younger have used mobile devices, up from 10% two years ago.  47% of three to five year olds are able to navigate a smartphone and 57% can operate at least one app.

Ownership of tablets among families with preschoolers has increased from 8% to 40% in two years.  The amount of time preschoolers spend with touchscreen tablets has tripled during this same time frame.  The average infant or preschooler spends 15 minutes a day with a touchscreen device.  Infants and toddlers spend twice as much time with tablets as with books.

As the prevalence of tablets and smartphones increases with kids under five, more kids entertainment companies – including Nickelodeon and Disney - are expanding in the mobile preschool space.  Here are the top 5 apps that are connecting with Generation touchscreen.

1. Disney Story Central – Disney
2. PlayKids – Movile
3. Endless Numbers – Originator
4. Little People Player – Fisher-Price
5. Disney Junior Appisodes – Disney

The preschoolers you are ministering to truly are digital natives.  Are you prepared to connect with them? 

Aug 20, 2014

The silent killer of children's ministries

There's a silent killer of Children's Ministries.  What is it?  SILENCE!

Watch out for these silent killers...

Silent kids.  Kids learn more by talking and interacting than they do by listening.  Your classrooms should be noisy places.  Train your leaders to stop saying, "Sit still and be quiet" and to start saying, "Let's talk about this together."  And...make sure you choose a curriculum that is written in that style.

Silent volunteers.  If you're not getting feedback from volunteers, you're either not asking for it or they don't feel the freedom to share it.  Open up the lines of communication.

Silent guests.  One of the best ways to improve your ministry is by getting feedback from first-time guests.  Create simple tools that guests can use to give you feedback about their visit. 

Silent parents.  If parent's aren't talking with their kids during the week about what they learned on Sunday, then kids' spiritual growth will be stagnate.  Provide tools and pathways for parents to disciple their kids and emphasize it constantly.

Aug 19, 2014

An Inside Look at Our Fall Volunteer Training Event

School is back and fall is fast approaching.  Fall is a season of growth for most churches with everyone returning from summer vacations and getting back into a regular routine.

It's important to prepare your volunteers for this season.  Many of them are re-engaging after being in and out for the summer.  Hopefully you have new volunteers coming on board as well.

It's a great time to have a training event.  This Saturday, we will be having a training event for all our volunteers.  Here's an inside look at what we'll be offering.

Aug 18, 2014

The Top 10 Mistakes of New Children's Ministry Leaders

Here's 10 mistakes I made when starting out in children's ministry 25 years ago.

I share these in the hope that it will help someone else avoid making them.

1. Not focusing on learning to lead adults just as much as you focus on learning to lead kids.  You can be amazing at leading kids, but if you can't lead adults you will have a hard time in children's ministry.  Spend time learning how to lead adults.

2. Trying to do it by yourself. 
Try to be Super Children's Director and do it all by yourself.  You'll last about two months.  It's not what you can do, it's what you can empower others to do.

3. Thinking busyness equals effectiveness. 
You can run your hardest all day on a treadmill but you'll stay in the same spot.  Focus on a few things and do them really well.

4. Talking more than you listen.
When you're first starting out, you think you have all the answers.  Success comes when you reverse that and have all the questions.

5. Making changes too quickly. 
Change should be a process not a surprise.  If you're entering a new ministry, make changes slowly.

6. Not building bridges to other ministries inside the church.
Don't be a silo.  Reach out to the other leaders and ask how you can partner with, serve and support them. 

7. Not making sharpening your people skills a priority.
Ministry is all about relationships.  Get good at navigating them.  Especially when it comes to dealing with conflict.

8. Trying to build a team with need instead of vision.
People are drawn to vision.  Appearing needy has the opposite effect.

9. Forgetting about parents.
Parents are the biggest influence on kids.  Always think parents.  How can you partner with parents and equip them to disciple their kids?

10. Not being self aware.
Get to know yourself.  Especially find out what your blind spots are by asking others.  A better you = a better ministry.

What are some other mistakes new children's ministry leaders make?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Aug 15, 2014

25 Signs You're Still a Kid-At-Heart

If you're a children's ministry leader, someone has probably told you, "You're just a big kid at heart." 

That's a good thing!

There are 2 skills I believe effective children's ministry leaders have.

First, the ability to lead adult volunteers.

Secondly, the ability to connect with a big kid-at-heart. 

Here's 25 signs you're still a big kid-at-heart.

1. You get just as excited as your kids when you're at Disney World.
2. You play with the toys your kids got for Christmas.
3. You still spend a lot of time playing video games.
4. At church, you'd rather be in children's service than adult service.
5. You don't just chew blow bubbles.
6. You build sand castles at the beach.
7. You still go down the slide at the playground when you get a chance.
8. You like to eat the same cereal as your kids.
9. Sometimes you order a kid's meal.
10. You still get really excited about your birthday party.
11. You know the names of at least 4 shows on the Nickelodeon channel.
12. You eat Lunchables.
13. You still get cotton candy whenever it's available.
14. You have an urge to jump on the bed when you stay at a hotel.
15. You look for the shapes of animals or characters in the clouds.
16. You go in the toy store when you are at the mall...even when kids are not with you.
17. You play practical jokes on your friends and co-workers.
18. You hate brushing your teeth...and sometimes don't.
19. Sometimes you watch cartoons with your kids.
20. You eat the same candy as your kids.
21. You watch Wizard of Oz every time it comes on TV.
22. You watch Charlie's Brown's Christmas every Christmas season.
23. When you're washing the car with spray them.
24. You get really excited when you see water balloons.
25. You love serving in children's ministry!

Remember...growing old is mandatory...growing up is optional.

Share some other signs you're still a kid-at-heart in the comment section below.