Sam Luce does a great job in an article for the latest article of K Magazine of discussing the importance of the Kids Pastor's relationship with Christ.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The Single most important relationship that any kids pastor can have is his/her relationship with God. Bottom line is you can't continue to pour from a well that is dry. If I am not feeding my relationship with God daily, I am in danger of burnout, frustration, and a genuine dislike of people.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The next important relationship that every CP should have is with his/her family. I have two little girls (and a little boy on the way) who call me daddy. I have come to realize that there are a lot of people who can minister to the boys and girls in my church, but there is only one person who can be daddy to my kids.
Old school thinking says, "God, you take care of my family and I will take care of your church." Lots and lots of ministers went through life following this philosophy. Unfortunately many of them laid their families down on the altar of "the church".
I believe that God wants us first and foremost to be the shepherd of our own homes. What kind of kids pastor can I be if my own kids grow up resenting church and God because I couldn't keep my priorities in line with God's word.
I as a Kid's Pastor have to make sure that my relationship with my wife and kids is where it needs to be before I can even begin to worry about the church. To learn what the Bible says is expected of a person in leadership with regards to his/her family, just check out 1 Timothy 3. Pretty powerful stuff.
God help me to make sure my kids and my wife know that I love them.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The next vital relationship for every CP is that relationship he/she has with other Children's Pastors. I have a group of friends who are CP's in churches all across the country. My relationship with each of them is different. Let me give you a few examples of what I get from these relationships:
1) Friendship- I can't tell you how important my friendship is with these other Children's Pastors. It is awesome to know that I can always pick up the phone and ask any one of them to pray for me or my family. We do our best to make time for one another. If I am going through a rough patch in ministry or in my family life. I can call on one of them not necessarily for advice as much as for an ear.
2) Mentoring- I love to learn from my friends. I also enjoy sharing new ideas with them when they come along. We make it a habit to learn from one another on a regular basis.
3) Accountability- There are usually very few people in a pastor's life who will call them up and ask them the hard questions (questions about motives, thoughts, and integrity). It is nice to have a few people who aren't afraid to do that for me.
Scripture is clear, "As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another". We need relationships with other Children's Pastors that will challenge us and encourage us to be all that God is calling us to be.
Friday, November 6, 2009
The next Relationship on our list is with the Pastoral Team you work with in your setting. For me, that includes the following: a counseling pastor, a care pastor, a media arts pastor, a worship pastor, a youth pastor, a missions pastor, an operations pastor, and an executive pastor. My relationship with each of these individuals has to be on the right path, or Adventure Kidz will not be working at it's full potential. Let me give you a few examples:
1) The Executive Pastor and the Children's Pastor: In our setting the Executive Pastor handles all of the financial decisions, all dealings with the admin team, and a whole bunch of other "fun" stuff. If we are not working well together, or if I am not communicating clearly with him, there could be delays in purchases and other issues for Adventure Kidz. I am thankful for a good relationship with Mark. It helps to have an executive pastor who cares about kids ministry and sees its value/importance in the grand scheme of things here at Hope.
2) Youth Pastor and the Children's Pastor: This relationship tends to be very strained in most settings. Usually this stress is brought on by one of the following factors: competition for space, competition for resources (including but not limited to people and money), and a really ugly thing called jealousy! It is foolish for me as a kids pastor to allow any of these things to come between me and our Youth Pastor. Let's think about this for a minute. Each year where do the kids who graduate out of Adventure Kidz go? Duh, the Youth Ministry! So shouldn't I, if I truly cared about the kids, be doing everything I can to make their transition as smooth as possible. How do I do that? Simple answer is that I become his biggest fan (I might go into this more in future posts). I have to allow the kids in our Kids Ministry to see that he and I are good friends and we are working together. Anything less than a great relationship here does a severe disservice to our families and kids.
I have to be able to work hand in hand with all of the members of our Pastoral team. They can't be successful without kids ministry and kids ministry can not be successful without them!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
An essential relationship that every kids pastor needs to have is one with his/her key leadership team. I have 5 people who make up my Adventure Kidz Leadership Team. These 5 include my Girls Ministry director, my Boys Ministry director, my Early Childhood director, my Administrative Assistant, and my Volunteer director. These people are essential to the success of the kids ministry. I have to make time for them and make sure they know how much I value each of them. These are the people who I meet with on a regular basis, they are some of my best friends in ministry and in life.
I have to spend a significant amount of time with this group of people because they are the ones who have to know my heart and the reasons why I make the decisions I make. If my relationship with one of these people is even the slightest bit off, it could end in huge disaster.
Your setting might be different, either larger or smaller, but you must have a core team of leaders that you surround yourself with. No one can do ministry alone and no one can lead effectively by themselves. I work best in teams and this team is the one that I pour my time and energy into!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Everything rises and falls on Leadership. I have heard this (and said this) so many times, I think it has become almost cliche'. I mean how many John Maxwell books do you have to read to learn the importance of leadership in almost every area of ministry. I understand this statement and I actually completely agree with it, but I think it is missing something.
I had the privilege to join my Pastor about two weeks ago for a Church Planting Event he was speaking at at SAGU. He was sharing with a group of students there who had some interests in church planting. His topic was leadership and the importance of it in the beginning stages of church planting. He said,
"Everything Rises and Falls on Relationships".
As I sat there and listened, I had some time to process what he actually said. When you think about it, that is so huge!!! Everything that I do as a Kid's Pastor is tied to the relationships that I have and how I have developed them. I can't expect my leaders to know my heart if I haven't shared it with them. I can't expect to get anything accomplished at all if I don't have a good, "healthy" relationship with my Senior Pastor and the rest of the church staff. I can't expect the kids that I have the awesome honor of serving to grow spiritually if they feel like I don't value them personally.
Relationship in ministry is huge. Over the next few posts I will share the 5 most important relationships that I think Every Kids Pastor should have.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Just found out that I am officially Uncle Scott for the 5th time now. Joey Bland was born about an hour ago now. 6 lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long. Currently mommy and baby are both doing well. I am so proud of my little sister and her husband Kevin! Love them and wish I could be there to give my new nephew a hug!! (Times like these remind me how much I miss my Family)
What is the single greatest resource we have as Children's Pastors? I have read a lot lately on twitter and other CP's blogs about the top ten resources and the "toys every Kid's Pastor should have", but there is one resource that I can never live without-PEOPLE.
It would be impossible for me to have a successful ministry for the boys and girls of Hope Fellowship if I did not have the passionate, God-honoring team that I have. I am blessed to have a team that is truly committed to serving the families of Hope.
The question for me has always been, "How do I continually grow and develop this team to it's full potential?" If you are a kid's pastor long enough, you know that there are about a million things to do each week, so where do I find the time to 1) Recruit 2) Train 3) Encourage or 4) Communicate with more than 180 volunteers. There is no way 1 person can do all of this. That is why I have developed a brand new position for Adventure Kidz, the Volunteer Director. The Volunteer Director is responsible for anything and everything that happens with Volunteers. She (I only say she because right now the individual filling this position is a woman) assists me with every interview we have for new volunteers, she runs our New Staff Orientation Meeting, and she helps out with the recruiting process for all areas of Kids Ministry.
I have been blown away with the success of this position, and I will continue to post updates on the progress we are making.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have been a kids pastor for more than 9 years now, and I've been here at Hope Fellowship for almost 3 years. I feel like I finally have landed on a system for placing volunteers in classes. Here are the steps we take:
1. Potential Volunteer fills out a Ministry Application and turns it in.
2. My Assistant runs the background check and passes the application on to our Volunteer Director (more on this position in my next post).
3. Our Volunteer Director checks the references of the individual and makes the initial contact from us to them.
4. An interview is set with the Potential Volunteer and Me (I personally interview every volunteer who works with kids at Hope Fellowship, more on this in a future post).
5. The interview takes place and the New Volunteer is assigned a ministry position (they are then introduced to their direct supervisor in that new position).
6. The New Volunteer attends an Orientation meeting (we hold one of these the first Wednesday night of every month).
7. The New Volunteer begins their ministry assignment and the Volunteer director checks up with them (usually via email/phone) the following week to find out how they like it.
8. After 3 months, the New Volunteer is reinterviewed by the Children's Pastor to confirm their desire to stay in that class or to find out if another role might bette suit their giftings/interests.
This system is not perfect, we are still looking to develop it further, but so far it is working great!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
One of the coolest things I get to do as a Kids Pastor is work with volunteers! I have a few ideas for kids pastors out there who are struggling with ways to keep your team motivated:
1. Birthdays and Anniversaries- I had my assistant place the birthdays and the anniversaries of my entire kids church team on my calendar. This allows me to send each of them a quick note of encouragement on their special days.
2. Thank You cards- Saying thank you is the most effective thing you can do in my opinion for a volunteer. So often, we take volunteers for granted, but a simple note of thanks for a job well done goes a long way!
3. New Volunteer Process- We have a step by step process for every volunteer to go through to make sure they understand and they are ready for the commitment they are making. (I will talk more about this in my next post.)
4. Talk to them- I interview every volunteer in our ministry once a year. It takes forever, but it is one of the most beneficial things I can do with my time. It gives people a chance to let me know what they like and don't like about volunteering, and it lets them know that I value them and their contribution to achieving our goal.
5. Pray for them....I have a stack of Volunteer pictures that sits on my desk and I try to pull it out weekly and pray for each of the people who are serving our kids (bonus: this also helps me remember names!!!).
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wow, seems like a long time since I sat down to post anything...maybe because it has been. I have had a lot going on the last few months. Here are some of the things that I feel like God is teaching me:
1. Everything rises and falls on Relationships...heard my Pastor say this to a group of students just the other day at a Church Planting session he was doing. Wow, hit me right between the eyes. I feel like I have some pretty deep relationships with my team here at Hope. I know though that in order to go farther and go stronger, I am going to need to pour even more energy into those relationships.
2. There is a lot in a name...I have finally picked a name for my son (he is due in about a month and a half. His name will be Mason Scott Berkey. It only took me like 7 1/2 months to come up with it, but I really like it. I had it narrowed down to 3 names for about a month, I was so worried about picking his name. It is something that he is going to have with him forever and I want him to love it (a side note here would be that my dad said, "well you didn't name him sue, so he can't hate you to much if he doesn't like it." I thought that was pretty funny).
3. Teams are awesome!!! If you have ever read this blog, you know that I love teams...over the last few weekends we have had our Mpact and Champs sleepovers and it has been an awesome thing to watch those teams of leaders come together. Things are really headed in the right direction.
4. I love Hope Fellowship...I guess I always have, but lately I can really feel it. I love almost everything about it, especially my Pastor. The last few weeks I have been encouraged every time I have been around him. It is so awesome to serve a man of God that truly loves People.
5. Friendship is pretty stinking important to me...I know that is probably not the most grammatically correct phrase, but after some things happening I have realized that my friends hold a pretty important spot in my heart/life. There are few things that will get me angry faster than when someone is trying to mess with my family and my friends.
That is enough for now. I should probably try to start doing this a bit more often. Not sure why I haven't. Good night!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I don't usually work on Mondays, and it is amazing to me how quickly my body and mind can fall into habits. This week, I am working on a Monday because we are headed out of town to spend some time with Sarah's family. We leave Friday, so I switched my normal day off to save a vacation day. Wow, I am exhausted. My usual routine for Mondays is getting up (after sleeping in) and making breakfast for the girls. Usually we will run some errands and then it is back to the house for family nap time. I am really missing some family nap time right now :)
Oh well, the day is coming to a close, and we will be on our way to Colorado around 2:30-3:00 Friday morning.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Found out today that our third child will be a boy! I really didn't have a preference, my only prayer was that all would be good and the baby would be healthy, but now I can honestly say that I am really excited. I love my girls and I am looking forward to loving my Boy!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I think I could be one of the worst bloggers ever. Maybe because I don't really consider myself a "blogger". I watch others post countless twitter updates about new blog posts, and I think to myself..."I don't even have time to read that many blogs, how could I ever write that many". I guess this is a "season" of ministry and life that I am in right now. I want to be better than what I have been.
I do all kinds of things to help myself make this more of a priority, but nothing seems to work. I even set up a weekly reminder telling myself to post something/anything to get back in the habit. It is really too easy to ignore that reminder :)
Things have been unbelievable lately. I have had so many things happen since my last post, some good, some bad, some really ugly, but God is faithful (even when I am not so faithful to post to this blog), and He always sees me through.
I will do my best over the next few days to post some thoughts that I have had about life, ministry, and faith. Hopefully, whoever (if anyone) reads this will get something from it. God has really been showing me some things lately.
Gotta go to sleep now though. I am picking up breakfast for 130 of the world's greatest volunteers in like 6 hours.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Today was awesome!! I am blessed with a great team. Today, they really shined. We were missing a huge number of team members today, but the people we had, they were awesome. We had teaching team members filling in in classrooms, lead teachers going way above and beyond the call of duty, and a bunch of volunteers really stepping up. Great job team. I really love you all! PS
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
As I said before, I have been thinking a ton lately about a few of the leadership challenges that I am currently facing. I think we (Adventure Kidz) are sitting at a crucial moment in our journey. I pray all of the time, "Lord don't let me get in the way of what you want to do!" I want God to do incredible things for kids and families here at Hope and I know it is going to be crucial for us to lay the right foundation now, so that this "building" doesn't collapse a few years from now.
The right leaders: I need to have the right people on the bus...but what do those people look like and how do I need to train them. (big questions, if you are part of my leadership team, know that I am looking at you and evaluating you now:).
The right Places: I really don't want to put people just anywhere I happen to have a need. I want to get people into the spots where they will thrive. I think I am looking for a Elementary Director and a Volunteer Director. These are two positions that I feel will take us to a whole new level, never know though, we will see.
Pray for ME!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Summer time is a great time around a kid's ministry. Camp, VBS, and other fun activities make for a great time of getting to know kids outside of the normal environments! I am really looking forward to this summer. We have some great things planned for our kids and I know there are going to be some special moments for our boys and girls.
This summer we have three major events: Schoolz Out Dayz, VBS, and Camp. Each of these events serves a different purpose for us, and each requires an unbelievable amount of preparation. Going to be fun!
Friday, May 8, 2009
You know it has been a while when your mom tells you that you need to update your blog! :)
I have been swamped at church lately. I use the term swamped because it feels like I am constantly moving and going, but not getting very far at all. You know how it feels when your feet are stuck in mud. You can expend a tremendous amount of energy, and only move a few inches. I have felt that way a lot lately. When I take my eyes off of the mud though, and I stay focused on the direction that God has for me, I realize that I am traveling pretty fast. In the last two months (the time since we moved to two services) we have grown an average of 45 kids. That has taken us from the 375-390 weekend mark to the 425-440 weekend mark for kids. I know that doesn't sound like a huge jump, but that doesn't even take into account our Easter Weekend (573) and our Grand Opening Weekend (650). Those weekends were incredible. For Grand Opening we were blessed with the opportunity to have pureNRG. I was thrilled with their performance and their attitudes. They were great! (Madeline really enjoyed getting to know them as well, I haven't stopped hearing their cd.)
I think the swamp like symptoms are a result of some serious leadership challenges that I am facing. I have always staffed Adventure Kidz to be a larger ministry than what it currently is (for example when Sarah and I arrived here in January of 2007 we immediately began to staff for a kids ministry of 400, AK was only avg. about 275 at the time). It is my belief that God will only give us what we are capable of handling (I think that is somewhere in scripture!) and therefore, I wanted to do my part in preparing the way for more kids. One problem with this mode of thinking though: we have hit 400, now what?
Well, after some prayer and studying, I think God is wanting us to begin preparing for 650-700 kids. That is a significantly large jump. I have never been the leader of a ministry that large, and I know that it is going to take some "God" ideas to prepare us to do it. The first change that I think has to be made is with our Core Leadership team. Currently, we have 5 people who serve with me to lead AK. I feel like I need to reduce that number to 3. I want to have 3 people who each leads teams themselves... I just have to find the right people to feel those spots.
I will do my best to give you some more updates on this process.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I feel so blessed sometimes! Tonight was definitely one of those times. We had an Adventure Kidz staff meeting tonight to prepare for a lot of changes that are about to happen in kids ministry. It was great. We had an awesome turnout and a great time of learning together.
I think the best part was seeing the group come together and get to know one another. We are rapidly expanding our volunteer team, and I feel like it is important for all of us to be on the same TEAM. The group seemed to have great conversation and I am excited to see where the Lord takes us as we strive to live for Him and teach His kids!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
As promised, here are some pictures of the theming work that Planitbig has been doing for us.
Chris and the guys are really working hard to make our project look great. If you would like to know more, just shoot me an email and I can give you some info on what they are doing for us.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Got a phone call from a close friend a few hours ago, he is really my first "Timothy" in ministry. I met him when he was 13 years old and I was the brand new children's pastor at a church in Summerville, SC. His mom told me that he felt called into kid's ministry and wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help him learn what ministry was all about.
That was the beginning of a friendship that has grown tremendously over the last 8 1/2 years. Jonathon is now the Kid's Pastor at that church in South Carolina doing a phenomenal job. He called today to let me know that they were over 500 kids. It is awesome for me to hear this for a few reasons: 1. When I left SC a little over two years ago, it was my prayer that the ministry would continue to have an impact on the boys and girls of the community, obviously it is; 2. The team of people that we left behind still has a vision for greater things to happen in the lives of kids; 3. And the final most important reason is that a Young, Talented Kid's Pastor is "hitting it out of the park" for the kingdom of God.
I am really proud of Jonathon and Kimberly and all they have been able to accomplish. I know that Greater Things are yet to come and I can't wait to hear all about them.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The last few weeks have been an incredible series of experiences! Since my last post, our theming has begun. I will try to get some pictures up in the next few days. All I can say is that it is incredible. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with PlanitBig . Chris and Jason our true professionals at their craft, and Hugo and the rest of the team have made things awesome.
We also had a huge weekend last Saturday and Sunday. My Pastor gave me the opportunity to explain some changes that we are making with our children's ministry. When I finished, he allowed me to present a challenge to the people of Hope Fellowship for 100 volunteers. The people of Hope responded well, and we have 65 new volunteer recruits who are in process (I have already had interviews and placed 6 of them). This will go a long way in helping us prepare for the flood of kids we are expecting to come our way when we have our Grand Opening on April 19th.
These have also been extremely stressful times for me. With all that has been going on with the move and completion of the facilities, I have been putting in some long hours and doing a lot of extra work (all of the staff have been spending tons of extra hours here getting ready for the new facility, not just me!) getting things ready to go. On top of that, the electrical company wired our AV plugs wrong and zapped my church laptop (It had to be replaced) and when they told me that the problem was fixed, I brought my home laptop up here to run the service, and sure enough, ZAP! the problem wasn't quite fixed (the good news is I got two new computers out of the deal, the bad news is a huge headache).
All in all, stress and excitement, I have been able to see God's hand at work in this time of my life. I am blessed with a wife that understands the seasons of ministry and she knows that thee extra hours away will not last forever.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Moving is challenging! We had a huge group of volunteers show up on Sunday afternoon to help us move. Thanks to them, everything was moved in about an hour and a half. The only challenge was then sifting through all the stuff and getting the right supplies into each classroom. That is ongoing, though Helen got most of it done today with a team of volunteers.
I have always felt that Volunteers were the strength of the ministry, after these last few days I realize it even more. Thank you to everyone who has helped in this transition process!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Well, at least I hope it will be moving day! We are so close to the completion of our new elementary facility. This should be, our final weekend in our old space, for both Elementary and Early Childhood. We called for the certificate of occupancy today, and hopefully the nice inspector from the city of Frisco will come by and give us the thumbs up to move on Friday (the only day they do CO inspections here).
We have partnered with a company called PlanitBig to do all of our theming and I am super excited about what they are about to do. Their airbrush artists will begin the mural work on Friday afternoon, and the sculpture/styrofoam work will begin Monday. If you are looking for a theming company, Jason Mattingly and the guys from PlanitBig have been great to work with. They are a smaller company, which means less overhead/better prices. I will be posting several pictures of the process over the next few weeks as we move forward toward our grand opening on April 19th.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I have spent the last 4 weekends re-interviewing our entire ministry team. I have had conversations with almost every member of our weekend kids ministry team members. I think I have completed about 75 or 80 of these interviews. I am doing it for a couple of different reasons: 1. To make sure that we hear from people, what they like/dislike about what they are doing. 2. To get everyone on the same page, we are about to move to a new service structure, and I need to make sure that everyone knows what is about to happen. 3. To get people to buy-in. I am trying to find about 100 of our people who will commit to being a team member in either Early Childhood or Elementary. We need people to be Lead Teachers and Assistant teachers in Early Childhood, and to be Small Group Leaders and registration workers and teaching team members for kids church. It has been great hearing from our staff, what they like, where we can improve, and where we are getting it right.
I love serving with such a committed group of volunteers!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Had an amazing end to last week! I went with my Key Leadership Team from Adventure Kidz, and we spent a few days getting to know one another better and discussing the direction we will take for 2009.
I have an incredible team that I am so thankful for. Each of them brings their talents and gifts to the table to create a TEAM that is focused on doing great things for the kids that we are privileged to serve.
I would highly recommend this for any kids pastor who is trying to develop more of a sense of team unity. We did the retreat for less than $100, so even in an economically challenging time, it can be done.
To my team, Thanks for joining me, you all are incredible and a huge blessing to me and Hope!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Change- We are all creatures of habit, and one thing that no one truly loves is change. I guess that is not entirely true, we don't really mind change when we can see the obvious benefits that are headed our way, but when there is even the slightest bit of uncertainty, change can be devastating! I have found that the only way to avoid change though is to stop breathing! I recently reread John Maxwell's book "Developing the Leader Within You". In it, he has a pretty remarkable quote..."the only thing that stays the same is the fact that change will always happen". Not sure if I got that exactly right, but you get the idea.
As we face change, or as we "cause/carryout" change, keep these three things in mind:
1. Information is key...make sure that everyone is well informed about the changes that you are about to make. The more info that they have, the less uncertainty they will have, the less uncertainty = the less anxiety.
2. Listen...Listen...and Listen some more. Most people will get on board with the change you are proposing, if they feel like they have had a voice. It is the people who are not able to communicate their frustrations to anyone who will cause the problems.
3. Pray... before making any change or talking about any change, bathe the issue in prayer. It is only by the Grace of God that any change will succeed. We deal with people, and we are unable to impact their hearts the way that the Creator of their hearts can. Keep going to Him with the plan, and make sure that it is centered on His will!!!
For the record, change usually equals growth!!!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I was driving home from church the other day when my wife and I got to experience something pretty cool. Madeline, our 4 year old, loves music (she is always saying “turn it up daddy”) and she is starting to learn how to listen to the words of the songs that are on. She likes to sing along (remembering as many of the words to the song that her 4 year old mind can). We were listening to a song from the Passion CD “God of this City. The song was “Hosanna”, and I was almost brought to tears listening to my baby girl sing “ Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest”. I am pretty sure that she didn’t know what exactly she was singing, all she knew was that she was singing a praise song to her really big God. I went back and listened to the song one more time a little later, one of the verses jumped out at me. It said “I see a generation, rising up to take their place with selfless faith”. I couldn’t help but think of my little girls and all the children of Hope Fellowship rising up to take their place and do great things for the Kingdom of God.
Sarah and I are so blessed to be a part of the family of Hope Fellowship. Please join us and our entire kid’s ministry team as we pray for and raise up a “generation” that will soon “take their place” to do incredible things for God!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It is a brand new year, 2009 in case you were wondering, and it is time to start planning for the summer time. I love these times, when my team and I get to dream about the stuff that God wants to accomplish in the lives of our kids. We had an hour and a half meeting this morning talking about our three summer activities and how we plan to promote them. It is going to be a great year and I can't wait for what this summer holds. Gonna be fun!