Jan 20, 2020

Legos at Church

Have you seen the new Lego show that's coming to television?

It's called "Lego Masters."  Below is a short promo. If you are reading this by email, you can access the video at this link.

In the latest edition of the annual Rooster Money report, kids (ages 4 to 14) were asked what toy they would most like to be given or purchase.

At the top of the list was Legos.  Numbero Uno among kids.  That's a toy trend we can't afford to ignore.  Kids love Legos.  Legos can be used to build anything kids dream about and it allows kids to explore and be creative.

Legos help kids develop motor skills.

Legos can help kids learn cooperative play.

Legos give kids a sense of accomplishment.

Legos help kids learn persistence.

Legos help kids explore.

Legos help kids be creative.

Back in 2017, I did an article about 4 big lessons children's ministries can learn from the Lego company.  You can access that article at this link, if you'd like more insight into using Legos at church.

Lots and lots of kids will be watching the new Lego show.  This makes for a great opportunity to bring Legos into your lesson and use it to teach Biblical truth.  Let's talk more about that and share a few ideas.

Use Legos to help tell your Bible story.  What if you had your groups build a character or set to go with the Bible lesson?  A lion for Daniel and the lion's den?  A cross to remember Jesus died for our sins?  Noah's ark? 

One Sunday I was teaching the 4-year-olds.  The lesson was about the church.  I got down on the floor with all the preschoolers and we worked together to build a church building out of Legos.  I followed that by asking where the church was.  They pointed to the church building they had just built. 

I responded by saying, "You did a great job with building that, but that's not the church.  The church is people.  People like you and I who come together to worship, to encourage one another and to see our relationship with Jesus grow stronger.

Use Legos to help kids develop collaborative skills.  Yes, you can build something fun by yourself.  But building something with other kids is even more fun.  You can work together to build something grand.  Everyone adding Lego pieces.  Brick by brick is laid with multiple hands.  Showing you can be stronger and more efficient together. 

When you attend church, it gives you the opportunity to  collaborate with other believers.  It gives you the opportunity to give your money as a church to something bigger and better than you could do alone. 

Use Legos to help promote consistent attendance at church.  Make Legos a regular part of your pre-service play time.  Get your volunteer leaders and your kids together to play with Legos.  This will help your leaders better know and connect with the kids in their group.  And when a child is known and loved (and missed when they are not there), their attendance will be much more consistent. 

Use Legos as part of your volunteer training.  I have a teacher training that uses Legos to equip and encourage and connect volunteers.  You can get it at this link.

Use Legos to help kids move truth into their long-term memory.  Here's a strategy that really works well for helping kids remember the main point you are trying to get them to remember long-term.

Connect your Legos to the main point of the teaching.  Here are a few examples...have the kids use the Legos to build a one way sign.  Help them remember that every time they see a one way sign they can recall that, "Jesus is the one way to heaven."

Or you could have the kids build the Tower of Babel and share with kids that when we try to go our own way and not follow God's voice, we end up with a mess.  Then every time they are building a Lego tower, they will recall that lesson and remember to trust God and obey Him.

One more example. You have the kids build a bridge.  Then you share with them that Jesus is the bridge back to God.  Then every time they cross a bridge, it will trigger that lesson in their minds. 

Any Lego fans out there?  What are some others ways you can use Legos at church and at home to illustrate Biblical truth?  Share your thoughts, insight and ideas in the comment section below.

Jan 17, 2020

An Inside Look at a Really Cool Children's Ministry Building

Last weekend, I was at Lake Pointe Church in the Dallas area.  They have an amazing children's facility.

I've often said, "A good children's ministry building will make your ministry seem better than it really is and a subpar facility will make your ministry seem worse than it really is.

While there is no substitute for the people (nursery volunteers, preschool teachers, elementary small group leaders, etc.) who serve in children's ministry, the physical space where you have your ministry does matter.

One of the biggest advantages of a cool children's area is that it says to parents, "Children matter here.  This church invests in the next generation.  The people here care about my children enough to create a nice space for them."

As you look at these pictures, I pray it will spark some creative ideas that you can use or create in your own children's ministry.  Everyone can do something.  Take what you've been given and run with it.

I've shared before that years ago, I was the children's pastor in a small country church.  The children met in the basement.  I mean, we are talking about a smelly, ugly basement.  I had a handful of kids that were attending, but I felt we could do more.

I had no budget.  Been there?  So I worked with what I had to turn that basement room into a kids' clubhouse.  I went and got some tree branches to put around the room.  I took some old wood and put it around the entrance door.  I found some old kids' toys to scatter here and there.

And guess what happened.  We begin to grow. The free decorating I did made a difference.  Kids were excited about coming to the clubhouse.

The point is this.  Use what you've got, while at the same time take some bold steps to improving your kids' area.  You'll never know what will happen if you don't ask for financial support from the church.

Do something to enhance your children's area.  You can do a lot with paint.  You can do a lot with some props you have laying around.  Enlist some help.  There are creative people in your church who would love to help you update or remodel the children's ministry space.

Enjoy the pictures and may it inspire you to work toward improving your children's ministry space. I've also included some pictures from their student ministry building which is phenomenal as well.

Jan 14, 2020

Time to Start Planning for Easter

You just finished putting away your Christmas lesson stuff and now it's already time to start planning for Easter.  This year Easter falls on the weekend of April 12 and will be here in just a few short weeks.

Easter is one of the weekends when lots of people come to church.  Want to know how many people you are ministering to each month?  Your Easter attendance is a good measuring bar.  Everyone shows up at the same time.  Even your CEOs (Christmas and Easter Only) come to church.

Easter is also an incredible weekend to share the Gospel with kids and families.  Easter is all about Jesus rising from the dead so we could have eternal life with Him.  It's such a great opportunity to reach people.

But you've got to be ready.  Your content on Easter Sunday should be fun for kids while at the same time clearly sharing the Gospel with them.

That's why I created an Easter lesson entitled "C.S.I."  It stands for Christ Scene Investigation. It is highly interactive and immediately captures kids' attention.  Use this captivating lesson and your behavioral issues will go away on that day
  • Kids are invited to join the C.S.I. Team to investigate if Jesus rose from the dead. They examine three scenes to look for clues, collect evidence and talk with eyewitnesses. The evidence will lead them to make a decision about whether Jesus’ resurrection is true and if they want to enter a relationship with Him.
  • This lesson is also a great way to teach kids apologetics for the resurrection. It takes kids on a deeper diver to help them know why we can know Jesus rose from the dead.
  • Includes a ready-to-print evidence recorder book that kids use during the investigation.
Here's a testimony from a church who used this lesson last Easter.

I had to tell you we used CSI this past Easter. The kids absolutely loved it and my volunteers raved about the depth of discussions it opened up with the kids. After service, every kid I saw was super excited to tell the adults all about the experience. So I wanted to say thanks for all the hard work and excellent job of making a program that was video based and actually interactive and then sending out the scripts so we could investigate alongside the kids. (many Kids asked how Captain Crunch'n'Munch was able to see them and had to investigate the TV we were using.  -Fay Haataja from Cloquetchurch.com
Delivered Electronically - Instant Download at the link below.

  • investigative I.D. badge for each child (ready to print)
  • evidence recorder book for each child (ready to print)
  • graphics for posters, promoting, etc.
  • slide graphics for Power Point, Pro Presenter, Media Shout, Key Note
  • interactive lesson videos
  • lesson plan that can be used in large group format, small group format, traditional classroom format or mid-week format
  • lesson connects with all learning styles
  • lesson incorporates hands on, experiential learning
  • games that bring together fun and learning
You can purchase all of this for only $29. Click this link to get more info and to order. 

Click here to see a lesson sample.

Click to see a sample of the C.S.I. student investigation booklet.

Below are some of the video samples from the lesson.

Jan 13, 2020

I Have No Idea

This past week, I went to the store to get the oil changed on my car.  Not wanting to wait in line, I got to the store at 8:00 am.  This was the advertised time they opened.

I walked inside to check-in with the employee in charge. Only problem, there was no one at the counter.  I sat down and waited.  20 minutes later, an employee finally walked in.

Not only was she 20 minutes late, her facial expression said, "I hate being here, don't bother me."

I said "good morning," but all I got in return was a grunt.

I don't know what is going on in her life or if she is just naturally grumpy, but she has no business being in a customer service position.  After I finally got checked in for the oil change, I asked her where a specific product was in the store so I could go and get it while waiting for the oil change to be done.

Her response, accompanied with a "don't bother me look," was this.


And with that proclamation, she turned around and went back to her computer.  I was left to fend for myself.  No help.  No effort.  No acknowledgement.  And yes, it ticked me off.  I didn't show it, but I was feeling it inside.

What does it mean when someone at a place of business says, "I have no idea" and leaves you hanging?

I HAVE NO IDEA says I'm not interested in helping anyone if it's inconvenient for me.  People and their questions are a bother to me.  An interruption.  And I'm definitely not going the second mile for them.

I HAVE NO IDEA says I haven't been trained properly.  When I compare this "I have no idea" attitude against the customer service I get when I'm at Disney, there is no comparison. 

And why is that?  Because the Disney employee has been trained to never say, "I don't know."  They are taught to help with a smile and if they don't know the answer to say, "That's a great question.  Let me find out for you."

I HAVE NO IDEA says the person is in the wrong role.  Employees with a bent toward having a sour attitude should never be placed as a greeter or any other role that involves interaction with people. 

I guess the "I have no idea" experience does have one positive side.  We can learn some lessons from it.

Here are a few takeaways:

Place volunteers in the area of their giftedness and personality.  Often times, we are desperate to fill a vacant spot and so we place a new volunteer in the role...even if it's not their sweet spot.  When that happens, they will have a difficult time and will not thrive.  And it can hurt the ministry because of their attitude or lack of skills for the role.  And it's not their fault...as leaders, when that happens it is our fault.  Remember this...
Don't place volunteers where you need them.  Instead, place them where they need to be.
And where they need to be is where they are gifted and enjoy serving in.  When you place them in the right role, they will thrive.  And when you place them in the wrong role, they may end up with a sour look on their face.

Set volunteers up for success by training them.  When you don't train them properly, you are setting them up for failure.  The lady had obviously not been trained about what to do when someone asks a question she didn't have an answer for.

Train your volunteers in key areas and give them specific steps to take when something pops up that they are not familiar with.

Here are a few examples of training topics:
  • Smile.  Smile.  Smile.
  • Never say "I don't know."  Instead say, "That's a great question.  Let me find out the answer for you."
  • Never point.  Instead, always walk guests to their classroom.
  • As soon as a new guest steps in line, acknowledge them and let them know you'll be right with them.
  • Create a culture that believes the second mile should be second nature. 
Provide feedback and coaching for volunteers.  The person she reports to should have observed her in the role and then provided feedback.  The goal should be to help her grow and become a better employee.  

There is an art to giving feedback.  Check out this article where I talk about this.  Follow the steps provided and you can become a pro at giving constructive feedback.

I pray the words "I have no idea" will never be heard in your ministry.  Stats show that people decide if they are going to return to your church in the first 8 minutes.  The last thing you want is for a new family to spend those 8 minutes wandering around and trying to figure out things on their own since no one wanted to take the time to help them. 

p.s. Here are two great books that can help you train volunteers and provide great customer service for families.

The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams

If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry
Your turn.  What are some areas that you train your greeters and check-in volunteers in?  What do you have your volunteers say when someone asks them a question they don't know the answer to?  
What other customer service tips do you know about?  Share your ideas and insight with us in the comment section below.