Nov 28, 2014

Satanic Coloring Books for Kids in Schools?

"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."  
- John 10:10

The Satanic Temple in the Orlando area has requested permission to distribute their coloring book in local schools.  The coloring book depicts children performing Satanic rituals and drawing pentagrams.  You can see the coloring book at this link.

The Satanic Temple is a loosely-organized national group that has formed an alliance with atheist groups to make a statement against the practice of allowing Bible distribution.  Their goal is for either Bibles to be banned from being distributed in schools or that they have equal access to distribute Satanic materials like the coloring book.

One things is for sure...we are a spiritual battle for the heart and soul of the next generation.  We must go all out to reach kids.  Remember.

'In the race to a child's heart...the first one there wins."

Nov 27, 2014

20 Reasons I'm Thankful for Children's MInistry Leaders

Today I give thanks for children's ministry leaders everywhere.

Thank you...for your heart for serving.  You are an extension of the heart of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve.

Thank you...for working behind the scenes to prepare crafts, clean toys, buy goldfish crackers and put together curriculum.  Children's Ministry wouldn't happen without you.

Thank you...for seeing into the future of the church and investing in it's leaders.

Thank you...for loving kids even when they are having a bad day and are being difficult.  They feel your unconditional love and it marks their hearts forever.

Thank you...for being the arms of Jesus hugging a child whose parents are going through a divorce.

Thank you...for leading kids in worship.  You help them connect with their Heavenly Father.

Thank you...for making new families feel welcome.  Your smile is a big reason why they return.

Thank you...for serving when you've had a crazy week and are tired.  That's the weekend God uses you the most.

Thank you...for listening to prayer requests for dogs, cats, and goldfish.  You're showing kids that God cares about even the smallest details of our lives.

Thank you...for encouraging the single mom who's having a hard time balancing everything by herself.  Your encouragement means more than you know.

Thank you...for your passion to teach kids God's Word at the most critical time in their life.

Thank you...for choosing to teach the kid's class over sitting comfortably in an adult class.

Thank you...for changing diapers so a parent's life can be changed as he listens to the Gospel in the adult service for the first time.

Thank you...for staying 30 minutes longer than normal with a child after the service so his parents can talk with the pastor about struggles they are facing.

Thank you...for helping kids memorize God's Word.  It will pop back into their mind one day when they are in college and are about to make a moral decision.

Thank you...for your faithfulness to teach even when it seems the kids aren't listening.  God's Word never returns void.

Thank you...for investing in my kid's lives.  You are one of the reasons why they love Jesus now as adults.

Thank you...for speaking purpose and life into the child's life who is being bullied at school and feels worthless.

Thank you...for whispering a prayer over the baby you are holding in the nursery.  Your prayer makes an eternal difference.

Thank you...for reading my posts, sharing your wisdom through your comments and being my friend in ministry.  I am thankful for you!

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with joy, good memories and love. 

Nov 26, 2014

10 Secrets to Growing a Huge Children's Ministry

Want to grow a huge children's ministry?  Here's 10 secrets that will help your children's ministry explode.

Go where lots of people live.
If you're going to grow a huge children's ministry, you have to be where there are lots of kids and families.  I am thankful for every church that ministers in a scarcely populated area.  We will not be rewarded for how many kids we reached, but for our faithfulness.  That being said...if you feel God is calling you to reach lots of kids, then go where they are.

Focus on those who are not attending. 
Keep your focus not on the number of kids who are attending, but on the number of kids in your community who are not attending.  That is the number that should keep you up at night.  Yes, we have thousands of kids coming each weekend to our services, but compared to the number of kids who live in our community, it's just a drop in the bucket.  We must stay consumed with reaching kids and families who are far from God.

Make room.
If you are going to reach lots of kids, you must have room for lots of kids.  If your space is 85% full, you will plateau until you build more space or start more services.  Don't let the size of your building be the determining factor in the size of your children's ministry.

Build a great volunteer team.
A huge children's ministry has the foundation of a great volunteer team.  The strength and size of your children's ministry depends on the strength and size of your volunteer team.

Teach kids to invite others.
We've had over 4,800 first-time guest families register for our children's ministry so far this year.  The vast majority of them were invited by another child or family who attend our church.  Constantly encourage kids to invite their friends and give them tools to do so.

Give first-time guests a great experience.
Families decide in the first 8 minutes if they are going to return to your church or not.  Go all out to make those first 8 minutes an experience they won't forget.  This includes great customer service, making them feel loved and comfortable, helping them get to their rooms, etc.  Excellence leads to growth.

Stay small.
The larger you get, the smaller you must get.  In other words, you have to help kids and families get connected to a small group of people who will know them and care for them.  People stay because of relationships and this happens in small groups of people.  Children's ministries that grow huge find a a way to maintain a "small church" feel. 

Be willing to change.
Children's ministries that grow huge are constantly evaluating, tweaking, and improving what they do.  They are grounded in the truth but are willing to change their methods to reach today's kids.

Realize it's not your job.
It's not your job to grow a huge children's ministry.  It's your job to simply reach kids and families for Christ.  You want to know how to grow a huge children's ministry?  You go out and you reach one family.  And then you reach another family and another family and another family and another family.  One day you'll look up and there will thousands of those kids and families that have been reached and are attending your church.

Stay humble. 
When you realize it's God's job to grow the children's ministry, you will not grow proud or take credit when it happens.  You will realize it's much bigger than anything you could accomplish on your own.  This leads to a humble Godfidence that is constantly dependent upon Him.

What are some other keys to growing a huge children's ministry?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Nov 25, 2014

A Great Thanksgiving Tradition Idea for Families

A big part of our calling as children's ministry leaders is to equip parents to disciple their kids.

Holidays are a great time to do this.  Parent's attention is naturally more focused on their family and they are very open to ideas that will help them establish spiritual traditions with their kids.

Here is an idea that we shared with the parents in our ministry.  I have personally implemented this with my kids and it has helped us create some great spiritual memories for Thanksgiving.

Nov 24, 2014

1 Big Thing Successful Team Builders Give Their Volunteers

Successful team builders show their volunteers RESPECT.

Studies show that respect ranks above even recognition and appreciation.  When volunteers know you respect them, they will go the distance with you.

Respect is rooted in how you make people feel.  You are either making your volunteers feel respected or disrespected.

Here are some practical ways to give your volunteers respect.

Listen to them.
Show your voulnteers that you respect their opinions and ideas by actively listening when they are talking to you.  Ask questions and then really listen instead of just thinking about what you will say next.

Ask for their ideas and input.
Be proactive in asking your volunteers for input and ideas to improve the ministry.  In this post, I share some great ways to do this.  When volunteers know they can contribute, it communicates respect.

Always show them kindness.
It's not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it.  I remember an incident years ago, when I was stressed out and spoke unkindly to a group of our volunteers.  As soon as I said it, I saw their countenance drop and knew I had made a mistake.  I apologized and thankfully they forgave me and continued serving.  It was a great learning experience for me.

Return their phone calls and emails.
Have you ever left someone a message or sent them an email and never heard anything back?  It made you feel disrespected, didn't it.  Return phone calls and respond to emails within 24 hours.  

Give feedback privately.
Correcting a volunteer in front of other people makes him or her feel disrespected.  Ask their permission to give them feedback and then do it 1-on-1.  Give them steps they can take to improve or adjust what they are doing.

Doug Conant became the CEO of Campbell's soup in 2001.  The company was in decline and had lost half it's market value.  Doug turned the company around.  A few years later, the team members were setting all-time performance records.

The secret?  He showed them respect.  This included Doug writing over 30,000 personal thank you notes to team members.  When people feel respected, they flourish.

What are some ways you show your volunteers respect?  Share with us in the comment section below.

Nov 21, 2014

Ever Wonder Where Generational Names Come From? Here's the Answer

I'm sure you're familiar with generational names.  If not, here are the most popular. 
  • Silent / Greatest Generation - born between 1927 & 1945
  • Baby Boomers - born between 1946 & 1964
  • Generation X - born between 1965 & 1980
  • Generation Y / Millennials - born between 1981 & 2000
  • Generation Z / Boomlets - born after 2001
Obviously the names reflect characteristics of their time in history and what shaped them.  If you want detailed information about why they received their name, you can read about it in this post.

But did you ever wonder WHO comes up with the names and how they stick?  Here's the answer.

Peter Francese , a demographic and consumer markets expert,  says Baby Boomers were the first named generation to exist.  The Greatest Generation that fought in World War II was named retroactively.

It all started when the Census Bureau referred to the years between 1946 and 1964, during which birthrates rocketed up from around 3 million a year to over 4 million a year, as the "Post War Baby Boom."  Hence the name "Baby Boomers."  This would be the first and last time a generation's "official" name would come from a government organization.

The rest came from ad agencies.  Ad agencies wanted a new name they could use to target the next generation of consumers.  So they began throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck.  Some names stuck and some didn't.

What was the deciding factor?  Whether or not media organizations started using the name.  If media groups like the Associated Press or Reuters picked up the name, then it stuck.

And that's how generations get named.