Feb 10, 2016

25 Valuable Pieces of Advice for KidMin Leaders

Here's 25 pieces of advice for KidMin Leaders.  My prayer is it will be a help and encouragement to you and your ministry.

1. Ask more questions than you give answers.

2. Surround yourself with people that you want to be like.  You will become like the people you spend time with.

3. Spend more time equipping others for ministry than doing ministry yourself.

4. Keep re-casting the vision.  Vision cast yesterday that is not revisited today will be forgotten tomorrow.

5. Focus on doing a few things well.  Less truly is more.

6. Be a servant leader.  People don't follow a title...they follow someone they know cares about them.

7. Your most important ministry is your family.  Let your schedule reflect this.

8. Never make important decisions alone.

9. Do the small things well.  Excellence is found in the details.

10. Say "thank you" to your volunteers every week.

11. You will get hurt in ministry.  Don't get bitter or try to get even.

12. Don't focus on being successful.  Focus on being faithful.

13. Great teams are built one person at a time.  Invite people to join your team every single week.

14. Never stop growing.  Always be reading, asking questions and stretching.

15. Always be thinking about how you can influence parents.  If you really want to change a child's life, you have to influence his or her parents.

16. Provide first-time guests with an exceptional experience and they will return.

17. One of the best things you can develop is your people skills.

18. Focus on being "productive" rather than being "busy."

19. Evaluate...evaluate...evaluate...all the time.

20. Stay humble.  Always be aware of what you still don't know.

21. Find a pace you can maintain for the long haul.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.

22. Find your identity in Christ, not in your ministry.

23. Learn to lead adults.  You can't succeed in children's ministry if you can't lead adults.

24. Make change a process instead of a surprise.  Bring people along.  Timing is everything.

25. Your passion will determine the passion level of the ministry.  Lead the way.

Your turn.  What other advice would you give children's ministry leaders?  Share with everyone in the comment section below.

Feb 9, 2016

Great Leaders Bring Purpose

Leadership is about more than making decisions, giving good speeches or coming up with great plans.
Leadership is about bringing purpose. It's rallying people to something that's bigger than themselves.
How do great leaders bring purpose?

They move beyond telling people what to do and help people see "why" what they're asking them to do is worth doing.

They help nursery volunteers see that they're helping parents find Christ.  They help preschool volunteers see that they're investing in kids' lives at the most critical time.  They help greeters see that they're preaching a sermon with their smile and "welcome."  They help elementary volunteers see that they're help kids begin a relationship with Jesus.

Great leaders also bring purpose by keeping people focused on it.  The natural tendency is to get bogged down in the minutia and lose sight of the purpose.  A great leader constantly takes people back to the purpose.

Great leaders bring purpose by sharing the stories.  They show people how the purpose is changing people's lives.
We have the greatest purpose in the world...sharing the Gospel with boys, girls, moms and dads. 
If you want to be a great leader...point people to the purpose, keep people focused on the purpose and tell the stories of the purpose being fulfilled.

Feb 8, 2016

10 Simple Ways to Immediately Improve Your Children's Ministry

Here's 10 simple things you can implement that will immediately improve your children's ministry.

#1 - Add music in the hallway.  Having music playing in the hallway when families are coming and going will greatly enhance the mood and atmosphere.

This can be as simple as using a portable CD player or iPod with a speaker.

#2 - Fresh paint.  Can't afford to remodel or theme out your children's area?  A simple coat of kid-friendly paint can make a world of difference.

#3 - Ask parents how long you should wait before paging them if their child starts crying.  This takes the guessing out of it and will immediately help new parents feel at ease when they are dropping off their child in the nursery.

#4 - Send handwritten notes to guests instead of emails or form letters.  In the day of technology, a handwritten note is gold and shows people you really care.

#5 - Have your greeters at the doors after the service.  Ask your greeters to be at the doors after the service to tell people good-bye as they are leaving.  This extra touch will make a huge impact.  People remember their last few moments at church and this will make those last few minutes memorable.

#6 - Give guests a special sticker or name tag to let volunteers know they are new.  Volunteers will then know to give these kids extra attention and help them feel welcome.

#7 - Have a photo spot for families.  A simple backdrop with a few props will provide a great place for families to capture a memory.  Change out the backdrop based on the season.

#8 - Start a Facebook page for parents.  It's free.  It's easy.  It's a great way to connect with the parents in your ministry.

#9 - Ask someone who normally isn't in the children's area to come and be a mystery shopper.  Ask them to make a list of their observations and ways you can improve.  Having outside eyes look at your ministry will provide you with valuable feedback.

#10 - Meet with a group of kids and get their feedback on how to improve the ministry.  This simple meeting will give you valuable tips on how to take your ministry to the next level.

Your turn.  Share some simple ideas you've used to improve your children's ministry in the comment section below.

Feb 5, 2016

Free Teaching Notes from Metro Children's Ministry Conference

Each year a group of children's ministry leaders gather for the Metro Children's Ministry Conference.  They are from the largest churches in the SBC and influence thousands of kids and families.

I was invited to invest in them and shared 4 sessions this past week in Orlando.

Below are the topics I spoke on with links to download the notes.

The Difference Between Good & Great Children's Ministry Leaders

If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry

The Urgency of Reaching the Next Generation

Leaders That Last...How to Go the Distance in Children's Ministry

Feb 4, 2016

Free Teaching Notes From the Power Up Children's Ministry Conference

Each year in Southern California, hundreds of children's ministry leaders gather for the Power Up conference.

This past week, I had the joy of investing in these leaders.  I shared two breakout sessions - 12 Keys to Helping Kids Become Lifelong Followers of Jesus and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry.

I also brought a keynote in one of the main sessions entititled "Consumed by Grace."  If you'd like to see the notes from these sessions, you can click on the links above.

Praise the Lord for the children's ministry leaders in Southern California who are passionate about reaching the next generation for Christ.

Feb 3, 2016

3 Investments Effective Children's Ministry Leaders Make Every Week

Time is your greatest investment and there's no shortage of things vying for it, is there?  That being said...where are you investing your time each week? 

Where you choose to invest your time will determine your effectiveness in children's ministry.

There are 3 areas that I believe are the best places to invest your time as a children's ministry leader.

I recently shared this quote from Rick Warren and I believe it is so true.
Years ago I stopped worrying about how to grow our church and instead focused on growing me.  As I grew me, our church grew.
First and foremost, invest in yourself each week.  Yes...we are supposed to put others before ourselves...except when it comes to our own spiritual health.  Proverbs reminds us what our #1 time investment should be.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.          Proverbs 4:23
Everything flows from your relationship with God.  Everything.  Stop investing in yourself spiritually and you'll have nothing to invest in others.  Oh...you may keep going through the motions...but it will be a shallow, empty facade.  Don't fall into the trap of being so busy working for God that you don't have time to spend with God.  Spending time with God is the best investment you can make with your time.

Remember...it's not what you can do...it's what you can empower others to do.  Spend time pouring into your volunteers...especially your key leaders.  I talk more about this in THE LAW OF THE FEW.  This will enable you to reproduce yourself and accomplish so much more than you could accomplish by yourself. 

Which one of your leaders will you have coffee with this week?  Which one of your leaders will you give feedback to this week?  Which one of your leaders will you hand a book to this week?  Which one of your leaders will you write a personal note of encouragement to this week?  Which one of your leaders will you email a great article you read this week?  Which one of your leaders will you meet with and give teaching tips to this week?  Which one of your leaders will you pray with this week?  Which one of your leaders will you give more responsibility to this week?

The success of your children's ministry rises and falls on the strength of the volunteer team you build.  This means one of the top investments you can make with your time is inviting people to serve with you.  Week in and week out...asking people to join your team.  When it comes to building a volunteer team, there is no magic formula.  It's done one ask at a time...one person at a time.

Check your calendar.  What is it saying about your time investments?  Your time is precious.  Invest it wisely.  Invest it in yourself, your leaders and building your team.  

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  Share your thoughts about this with us in the comment section below.