Oct 23, 2020

Recently Tom Craven, long-time designer for Walt Disney World productions, shared 3 keys to making exciting moments and environments for kids and parents.

Tom was the leader of productions such as the Electrical Water Pageant, the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Epcot Center Lagoon Show and other creative projects at Disney.  

He also played a big role in the design, construction and grand opening of Walt Disney World, Epcot Center, Disney Studios, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. 
In this talk, Tom shared 3 keys to creating exciting moments and environments.
Here are a few notes that I took while watching this.  I would encourage you to watch it below.  You'll get lots of ideas from his talk. 

#1 - Inspiration.
  • inspiration can come from anywhere 
  • spread your net wider than your own circle

#2 - Creativity 

  • it is a team effort
  • it is not the domain of a single individual  

#3 - Faith

  • believe in your team members
  • trust your team members
Do you have our book "If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry?"  It's a must read for children's ministry leaders.   It's available at this link.  

You can also get a recorded copy of our "If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry" webinar.  In the webinar, we share more proven ideas how you can make your children's ministry "the place for kids" in your community.  It's available at this link.

p.s. If you can't see the teaching video below, it is available at this link.

Oct 22, 2020

What If We?

It's the little things done with excellence that add up to make a big impact.  I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to the dentist office.  Yes, of all places, at a dentist office.  I've been to many dentists over the years, but had never seen one with what I'm going to show you.  Ready?  Check out the picture I took from the dentist chair.

Yes. That's the ceiling you're looking at.  And yes, there is a TV mounted on the ceiling, so you can watch TV while you are laying on the dentist chair and looking up.  It definitely made the time go quicker during the appointment.  

It caught my attention and reminded me again that it's the small details that add up to a big impact. 

Exceptional ministries pay close attention to the details.  Everything they do is done with intentionality.

Do you want to improve your ministry by adding in some small things that will take you there?  Want to be a ministry that goes the second mile? 

Here are some steps you can take to find and implement some small details that will take your ministry to the next level. 

Ask "WHAT IF WE???"

Take every part of your ministry and ask this question - what if we???  

Go into every one of your ministry rooms and ask - what if we???

Look at your curriculum and ask - what if we???

Go into your nursery and ask - what if we???

Think through your guest services process and ask - what if we???

Go outside the building and look at your entrances and ask - what if we???

Meet with your praise team and ask - what if we???

Take a look at your events (VBS, Fall Festival, Christmas, etc.) and ask - what if we???

Look at your current way-finding signage and ask - what if we???

There is a place called Disney World - it exists because someone asked the question - what if we???

A man walked on the moon because someone asked - what if we???

There is show called Sesame Street because someone asked - what if we???

Mr. Rogers entertained and inspired kids because someone asked - what if we???

There are multi-site churches because someone asked - what if we???

There is a movie entitled "Elf" because someone asked - what if we???

There is ice cream because someone asked - what if we???

There is a store called "Build a Bear" because someone asked - what if we???

Every cool, awesome thing you can think of started with what if we???

Always be on the lookout for ideas from other ministries and places - then ask - "What If We Try This?"

Most of the things I have implemented in ministries came from ideas I got from other churches or places.

The Little Things Are the Big Things

From the Small Things Emerges Excellence

20 Little Things That Make a Big Difference 

Doorknob Details

Ask key leaders and parents in your ministry to answer the question - what if we???   Set up a focus group and do this with parents and key volunteer leaders.  I recommend doing this twice a year. 

Once you have your answers to the questions, make your action steps and go for it!!! 

You never know what great things may happen when you ask this one question - WHAT IF WE?

Oct 21, 2020

Covid-19 Kids...Growing Up In a Pandemic

Today's kids are growing up in challenging times.  One of the biggest factors is Covid-19.  The pandemic has significantly impacted the lives of kids and how they are growing up.
Kidscreen magazine recently released some stats about today's kids and how they are being affected by the pandemic.  Let's look at some of these. These stats and info. can be a big help as you are ministering to today's kids. 

WORRY about the Future:
  • 29% of families are facing financial strain
  • 27% of kids are struggling with the "new norm"
  • 22% of kids are worried about their family
  • 27% worry about their family's health
  • 17% are worried about their health
  • 26% are worried about their friends
  • 30% say they are bored all the time
  • 47% worry about how long they have to stay home
  • 11% say they feel sad or depressed
  • 10% feel stressed or overwhelmed
  • 7% feel mad or frustrated

ISSUES kids care about:

  • racism
  • gender equality
  • human rights
CONNECTIONS - how kids are keeping in touch with their friends:
  • 38% phone calls
  • 37% Facetime
  • 32% texting 
  • 28% Zoom calls
  • 27% video game chats
  • 23% social media
Other STATS:
  • 32% of parents say they have grown closer to their kids during the pandemic.
  • 1.5 billion kids have been out of school during the pandemic.
  • 75% of kids are still unable to access remote learning because they live in rural or poor households.
  • 60% of all pre-primary schools implemented distance learning options.
  • 25% of schools did not implement distance learning solutions.
  • 37% of parents say they've struggled to find a balance between teaching and work.
How kids are spending their TIME:
  • 27% are playing handheld games
  • 65% are using a smart phone
  • 82% are watching TV
  • 36% are reading books
  • 48% are playing outside
  • 19% are hanging out with friends
How kids are spending time with their FAMILIES:
  • 69% watch TV together
  • 67% cooking and baking
  •  62% playing video games
  • 61% playing cards or boardgames
  • 51% building things like Legos and models
  • 52% arts and craft projects


 Top 3 Brands for kids ages 6 to 12 years old:

  • YouTube
  • McDonalds
  • Oreo


What they are buying:

  • skateboards and scooters
  • art and craft supplies
  • language and art books
  • webcams
  • activity books
  • puzzles
  • ebooks
  • outdoor sports and toys

This is valuable information to know as we minister to kids and families during this pandemic.  Here's an example.  Since kids are worried and fearful during this time of uncertainty, a lesson about fear and trusting God would be very helpful for them.

Praying for God to give you wisdom and understanding as you minister to kids and families during these crazy times.

Oct 20, 2020

A Great Opportunity to Streamline Your Ministry

The pandemic has brought about so many changes for ministries.  

Online services for kids.  Virtual VBS. Safety and security at a whole new level.  Cleaning and sanitizing amplified.  

And most ministries have had to stop or postpone some of their normal programming and events.  

But, here's the deal.  Cutting back on the number of ministries and events may be a good thing.  

Here's why.  A large percentage of children's ministries were trying to do too much before Covid-19 happened.  

Too many programs.  Too many events.  Too many activities.  Too many classes.  Too many...you get the point.  

You see, there is a natural tendency to keep adding more programs, more events and more activities to your children's ministry calendar.  

You then reach a certain point where you are doing a lot of things mediocre instead of doing a few things with excellence.  When it comes to being effective, less is more.  

With the current situation we find ourselves in, this is a great time to streamline your ministry and narrow your focus to a few things that your ministry can do very well.    

What do you need to stop doing?  (or not resurrect after things return to "normal?")

What is giving you the most impact?  Move some of the resources you were spending on fluff to this ministry program or event.

Are your volunteers stretched thin because you're asking them to serve in more than one area?  Focusing your volunteers to serve at one ministry or event will bring the biggest return.

Perhaps you have tried to streamline the ministry in the past.  But you were met with resistance and lack of support.  Now is the time to adjust while everyone is expecting changes to be made due to Covid-19. 

Here are some strategic steps you can take to streamline the ministry. 

Make a list of everything you are doing as a ministry.

Take a hard look at everything.  

Ask these questions:

Why are we doing this?

Is it helping us fulfill our mission statement? 

Are we reaching and discipling kids and families thru this ministry?

Is this ministry bearing fruit?

How much volunteer capacity does it require?

If we stopped doing this, would a large percentage of our families be affected?

Is this ministry still relevant for today's kids and families?

Could the budget money we are putting into this be used in another area for a greater impact?

Set a timeline for the changes you will be making and communicate it to the appropriate people.  Changes should be an open book not a secret diary. 

Streamlining your ministry may be just the thing you need to gain momentum and reach more kids and families in your community.  

Have you gotten a copy of my new book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry?  Chapter 5 covers how to lead through change well.  It outlines the specific steps you need to take when you are making changes.  You can get the book at this link. 

Your turn.  What adjustments have you made during Covid-19?  How are the adjustments doing?  Are there any other insights you want to share about leading during a time of rebuilding?  Share you thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.