Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3 Signs #1- The Volunteer Team

The first sign of a "Healthy Kid's Ministry" is the Commitment that is made to the Volunteer Leadership team. From time to time I am asked by others in Children's Ministry how I know whether or not what we are teaching or communicating is really sinking in. That is tough to gage with kids. With a teenager, you can usually get a good idea about the status of their spiritual life (sometimes simply by checking the status of their Facebook page). You can see Junior High and High School students going on Missions trips or attending retreats and special events (because they want to, not because their parents have signed them up).
With children's ministry, I can usually evaluate the rate at which our kids are grasping what we are teaching by the enthusiasm of the volunteers who are leading their classes. I have never had a volunteer come running out of a classroom on Sunday morning after service saying, "I am so excited, I had five kids who wouldn't sit still or pay attention." In fact, the opposite is usually the case. They will come to me and let me know how awesome it is that they get to serve, and that today in their class they had 5 kids invite Jesus into their heart.
I try to evaluate my leadership team on a pretty regular basis. If they are excited to come to class each week, it usually means that they are enjoying what they have the opportunity to do. Happy teachers are almost always better teachers, and better teachers equal kids who are learning in a fun and exciting environment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3 Signs of a Healthy Children's Ministry

I have been asked occasionally what it is that makes a "healthy" children's ministry. I think that isn't exactly an easy question to answer because it is something that is relative to the setting you are in. For instance, some would say that a healthy children's ministry is a growing children's ministry, but I would argue that is not always the case in a community that is in decline. There are however three things that I have consistently been able to see in children's ministries that I would describe as healthy: a commitment to the volunteer leadership team, an emphasis on discipleship and a focus on missions.
Each of these attributes are fairly simple, but extremely vital to the health of the kid's ministry. Over the next few days I plan to unpack each of these statements and explain why they are so important.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Pittsburgh Steelers

I know that the title of this one might polarize some people. After living in Dallas, Tx for nearly 4 years, I have come to find out that there are several people in this world who don't share my enthusiasm for the greatest NFL Franchise of all time. That is ok, in fact I am perfectly fine with fans of other organizations who don't like the Steelers, but I heard something this morning on the way into work that caused me to like the Steelers even more.
Mike Tomlin, the Head coach of the Steelers was being interviewed by Mike & Mike of ESPNRadio this morning. The hosts were asking Coach Tomlin about his teams success without their starting QB Ben Roethlisberger who was suspended for 4 games because he violated the NFL's player conduct policy (whether you think Big Ben is a good or bad person is irrelevant to this discussion). Coach Tomlin said that "we are measured by winning and it is never graded on a curve". He was letting the interviewers know that his team knew their responsibility was to win football games, no matter who was "under center".
What if we as church leaders operated like that? What would it look like if we built our ministries not on personality but on teams? Ministry today is so personality driven, it is easy to think that everything rises and falls on one key player. A lot of times, this is true, and the loss of a key team member will set the team back for a little while, but what if we built our ministries with the depth of a major league bull pen? When the "starter" stepped out, we would have someone right there ready to step in. Just a thought!
Go Steelers!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

10 Things-Teams are Great

I have been and always will be a huge proponent of teamwork. (Currently every time I say that word I have a song that pops into my head, if you have a preschooler, it probably pops into your head as well-"What's gonna work, TEAMWORK! Go Wonder Pets").
It is no secret that a great team will always beat a great individual. Sports, business, and ministry provide plenty of examples of teams triumphing over individual super stars, so I will not belabor that point here. However, more times than not, teams don't function at their highest potential.
Why is that? I think there are several reasons why teams sometimes falter. Teams are just like families. If they are not a priority, then things will begin to fall apart. From what I can tell, these are 7 keys to a great team:
1. Loyalty- The team has to know that everyone has the support of everyone else on the team. Does the team really have each other's "backs"? Or are they more worried about themselves and what they are doing and how they can further themselves?
2. Trust- Trust is huge on teams. Can you say the final 10%? Or is there always just a little bit you go without saying because you are afraid of how the other person will react?
3. Collaboration- In a great team, everyone needs to feel like they are valuable enough to give input to the team. Their input doesn't necessarily have to be used, but they need to feel safe to give it.
4. Fun- I have been on teams that have been so much fun that I can't wait to get back to the team, and I have been on other teams that cause me to want to stay away. In order for a team to be healthy, they must work hard, but they must play hard as well.
5. Growth- Healthy teams are always growing. They might not be growing in numbers (as a matter of fact, I think once you get to a certain point, adding people to the team will actually take away from productivity), but they will be growing together. For instance, our Team here at Hope takes regular opportunities to grow in our leadership by attending conferences and watching videos together. There is something huge to be said for attending a conference together as a team.
6. Communication- This one may actually be the most important, because without it, nothing else is even possible. Teams have to be able to have open lines of communication that travel in both directions. If the leadership team is only communicating "down", then the team will suffer for it.
7. Transparency- This one isn't quite as obvious, but it is just as essential. There are times, in business and in ministry, when leadership must make tough decisions. Most of the time when one of these decisions is necessary, a potential difficult situation can be averted if the leadership team will make clear the reasons for their decision. Sometimes this isn't possible due to the confidentiality of things, but if the leader has made it a habit to be transparent in other things, then the team will "TRUST" the leadership enough to know there is a reason for their decision.

I love teams, and I think that God has called me to serve on teams and do my part to help the teams that I am on to be healthy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 Things-The Individaul

Very early on in ministry I learned an unusually difficult lesson. I had a very serious issue with a volunteer that had to be addressed immediately. I was somewhat new in ministry so I went to my Pastor to find out how he wanted to the situation handled. I will never forget the words he spoke to me that day. This was a key volunteer in my ministry, and I knew without a doubt that he needed to be dismissed, I just wasn't sure how to go about it. My pastor said, "No matter what Scott, you must always remember that the individual is more important than the ministry." It took me a few minutes to understand exactly what he was saying. I grew up playing sports and always knowing the exact opposite to be true. The team is more important than the individual, and no one player is above the team. This seemed to be the exact opposite of everything that I knew, so I asked the Pastor to explain what he meant. He took the time that day to teach me that the ministry that a volunteer is a part of, though valuable, is not the most important thing. What they do for me is no where near the most valuable part of them.
I think we lose track of that when we get caught up in our flow charts and our job descriptions. Don't get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of knowing what you need people to do, and where you need them to do it (In fact, I just examined every area of Adventure Kidz to see where we could use more staff, turns out pretty much everywhere has availability). The problem comes though when we lose sight of the individual and all we see is another spot on our chart filled.
My pastor taught me that day that every person has value and deserves to be treated fairly and with respect. He taught me that just because I had to ask that volunteer to step down, didn't mean that I needed to cut him off from the church and banish him entirely.
No matter how large our ministries grow, they will always be made up of individuals. People deserve to be treated as individuals and not just another spot on our flow chart that we have filled.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 Things-Read to Succeed

Let's face it, there are a lot of things that clamor for our time in the ministry. Most of the time, when I come home from the office or from some activity, the last thing I want to do is pick up a book and spend an hour or two reading before I go to bed. I would much rather pick up a remote, shut my mind off, and watch an hour or two of some mind-numbing form of entertainment (I have to "some" because it is entirely dependent upon who gets to the remote control first, if it is me it will be something on espn...if Sarah gets it though, it is likely to be some form of a reality show).How different would we be as leaders though, if we would put down the remote and pick up a book? I have been mentored by some of the greatest leaders of my generation simply by reading what they have written. Reading is an investment. It will cost you time, energy, and probably a little bit of money to read on a regular basis; but it is an investment that can pay almost immediate dividends. I have been struggling with an issue at church, and I will go home and pick up my reading material for the night, and a completely workable solution will be right there on the pages I am scheduled to read that night (almost like a God-thing or something).
I have been asked on more than one occasion, what should I read? So, here is my top ten list (in no particular order) for books that you should read if you are in a ministry leadership position:
1. Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley
2. Confessions of a Pastor by Craig Groeschel
4. Leading from the Second Chair by Bonem & Patterson
5. In a Pit with A Lion by Mark Batterson
7. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton
8. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni
9. Leadership Gold by John C. Maxwell
10. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

I have intentionally only listed one book from each of these authors. Most of them have multiple works that have shaped me as a leader and helped to cultivate thoughts and visions in my life that have brought me to where I am today. A book that just barely missed this Top Ten List is Tony Dungy's latest book The Mentor Leader. Maybe because I have only read it once and I just finished it about a week ago. There was so much to unpack in that book that I think I will be rereading it soon.
No matter what you choose to read, start making reading a habit. It can dramatically affect you and your leadership abilities!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I love you too Daddy

I have a two year old little girl named Myah who is possibly the cutest little girl in the entire world (when she wants to be). Lately she has been on this kick of looking up at either me or Sarah and saying "I love you too." Pretty stinking cute, and it really melts my heart every time. As I was spending some time in prayer though, I got to thinking. That is kind of how God must feel each time we decide to stop and spend some time with Him.
The Bible is clear, Romans 5:8 says it this way: "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us." You see God is calling out to each of us in so many different ways, trying to share his love with us. He is just waiting for us to stop for a moment and look up and say, "I love you too." Being a dad is teaching me so much more than just parenting, it is teaching me about my relationship with my heavenly Father.

10 Things-Everything Rise and Falls

For years I followed the quote of "Everything rises and falls on Leadership" as a principle to live by. Basically, what this statement is saying is that everything your organization does is a reflection of your leadership. I still feel this statement is true, but after spending time with my pastor about a year ago as he was talking to college students at Southwestern about church planting, I have modified it just a bit. Now I believe that "everything rises and falls on relationships." John Maxwell reminded us many years ago, that if you don't have any one following you, you aren't leading, you are only taking a walk. Leadership ultimately comes down to influence and your influence is relying on your ability to build relationships with those you are tasked with leading.
For some, forming relationships comes easy. They are gifted with the ability to establish bonds with people rapidly. For others this process is more like a "root canal." It is awkward and sometimes painful, but it is necessary if we are going to establish a healthy relationship with those we lead. Here are 3 hints for forming relationships with your team:
1. Learn about who they are outside of church. What are their hobbies and interests? What is their family like? Where are they from? (When you do this, find some way of recording this data, because if you are like me, you will not be able to keep up with all the info you get).
2. Spend time with the team. This is essential if you are a new leader coming in, but those of us who have been around for a while can't forget it either. When I first got to Frisco, I spent time with the team in place to allow them a chance to get to know me and give me a chance to get to know them. This has been crucial to the long term growth of our ministry and our team.
3. Listen to them. Your people don't necessarily need you to use every idea that they send your way, but they do need you to be open and receptive. They are usually the ones in the "trenches" doing the work. They have a first hand knowledge of the challenges that need to be addressed. They might be able to provide some valuable insight to finding the solution.
If you will value the people you lead and your relationships with them, you will get the buy-in you need to make the changes necessary for your ministry to go to a new level.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Random Thoughts...

As I sit here watching the blue par steadily move across the screen in Final Cut Pro as it renders video and listening to the rain pound against the window of my office, my mind begins to wander a bit (it is not like I can do much as I wait for this video to render).
A few things I have been thinking about lately:
1. My little girl just lost her first tooth. Ouch, I guess she really is growing up no matter how hard I try to keep it from happening. She is in Kindergarten too.
2. This could be a really rough year for my Steelers. With Big Ben out for the first 4 games, it could make for a long season listening to the Steeler haters talking all their trash.
3. I love teams, I think that a good team of people will out shine the "one man" show any day of the week. Not even the greatest players in the world can compete alone. Teams are vital.
4. Friendships are an important thing to have. I should do more to develop solid friendships than I do.
5. I am blessed with the most amazing woman for a wife. I have had to have the kids a lot lately because she has been working and doing stuff with the church. I don't know how she manages all that she does, and still keeps her sanity. She is unbelievable.
6. Waiting on God's timing is hard for me. I think that is what God has been trying to teach me lately and I am obviously not a very good student.
7. Trusting God is getting easier and harder at the same time. Not sure if that makes sense. I feel like it is getting easier and easier for me to trust God with some things, but more and more difficult to trust him in other areas.
Got to go, video is done rendering, back to my editing!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

10 Things-Average is Easy

After 10 years of professional ministry I can honestly say that I know how to do a kids church service. I have written my own lessons for more than 500 kids church services and I know what works and what doesn't. That is unfortunately not such a good thing. You see it has become very easy to "wing it". I have learned over the last few years that "Excellence is hard and Average is Easy". To often in ministry I think we do things out of habit or tradition. For experienced kids pastors it is very easy to look at our services and say they are "good enough" even when we know we can do better. I really don't want to have average though. Maybe it is the competitive strength in me (see Now Discover Your Strengths), but I want to be the best. It is that way in pretty much everything I do, I can't help it. That is the way God wired me, and I think it is the way that He wired every single leader I know. Excellence isn't easy though, in fact most of the time it is hard. When I am writing and creating a kids church service, it is easy for me to throw something together in about 2 hours or so. But to make it great, to make it more than average, I have to commit huge chunks of time to writing, prayer, and study. Isn't that what the kids and God deserve though? My absolute best. I don't ever want to settle for average, I want to always push through and go for excellence so that I can be the best for God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

10 Things-Someone will always Feel Cheated

Ministry can sometimes be a "break-neck" speeds. It seems that there are times when I can physically not get everything done that needs to get done in the time that I have. This can lead to a couple of different scenarios playing out.
Scenario #1- Because there is so much work to be done, I begin working 85-100 hour work weeks to accomplish everything that needs to be done. This will allow me to accomplish most of my tasks, but there will inevitably still be things that do not get done.
Scenario #2- Because there is so much work to be done, I work as hard as I possibly can for a reasonable amount of time each day, and when that time is up, I go home. This will allow me to accomplish most of my tasks, but there will inevitably still be things that do not get done.

Let's face it, if we are doing ministry the right way, more often than not there will always be items left on our to do lists that we never make it to. You can work yourself to exhaustion, and though you might accomplish everything today, you will not have the energy needed to accomplish tomorrow's tasks. I read somewhere that the most productive week of almost every employees year is the week that is right before they leave for vacation. At first, this didn't make sense to me, but then I paid very close attention the next time I was preparing to leave for vacation. Suddenly I was accomplishing so much more. Instead of the one week's kids church lesson that I had to write, I was able to write 3 weeks lessons (one for that week, and 2 for the 2 weeks that I would be gone). I was able to communicate with my entire leadership team and let them know what their responsibilities would be while I was away, and I was able to accomplish about 3 weeks worth of work in that 1 week. So, what can we learn from this: That we should go on vacation every month :) Not really. We can learn that when we have to, we can work much more effectively and efficiently when we have to, so why not work that way all of the time?
I read a book by Andy Stanley called Choosing to Cheat about 3 years ago that radically changed my thoughts about the "ministry". I would highly recommend it to every new minister, and every veteran minister as well. In it, Stanley talks about the tensions between work and family. Reading his book made me realize that there is only one man in this world who my babies will call Daddy, there is only one man who my wife will call husband, and no one else can handle those responsibilities for me.
I have to find ways to "Cheat" at the office (read the book, it certainly isn't what it sounds like initially) so that my wife and kids will never feel cheated. A slight disclaimer here would be that there are "seasons" of ministry which will require me to "cheat" at home a bit because of what is going on at church. If I have done my job at home prior to the seasons, then they will be only that, seasons, and not catastrophes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

10 Things-Aim at Nothing

I have learned that in ministry and in life it is very important to have a target that you are aiming at. I have a hard time just floating along in life. I am the type of person who really enjoys accomplishing things. If you have read Marcus Buckingham's book Now, Discover Your Strengths you will understand what I mean when I say that I am an "Activator". I don't really enjoy sitting in long meaningless meetings that I feel are wasting valuable time. I am really the kind of guy who sees what needs to be done and decides to go do it. Sometimes however, this has gotten me in to a little bit of trouble.
You see, you have to have a target (a goal). If you don't know where you are supposed to end up, how will you know when you have arrived there? Ministry and life are both this way. I can have a great event from an "outsiders" perspective, but how do I know if has truly been a great event if I don't know what that event was supposed to accomplish?
Let me give an example: Each year, like most churches in America, we do a Fall Festival. There are many different names and ways of doing this event, but for the most part, they are all held in the Fall and involve both candy and games. Our's is usually held the Sunday before halloween (mainly because there is a major mark up on the inflatable equipment we rent if we use it on halloween). When I first came to Hope, I had to make the decision on the validity and necessity of doing the Fall Festival. I wanted to make sure that I was not just adding an event because "this is what we have always done" (I value tradition, but I don't see the validity of spending an enormous amount of money on something just because we have always done it and little timmy will be very upset if he doesn't get his free candy from the church this year).
We decided that our Fall Festival would be an outreach event to the community where we did not "shove" the gospel at them as much as we provided them a "safe and relaxed" opportunity to come on our campus and experience the LOVE of God. We also wanted our children's ministry and church to have the opportunity to SERVE the community around us.
This is our target, without having a clear target, we would just be throwing a big party every year with no real purpose. Parties are great, but I don't think they are a great way to spend the "kingdom resources" of both time and money!
Always have a target that you are aiming at, because when you don't, you will never truly know what you have accomplished.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


What does it really mean to YOU? Sometimes I hear people use that word and say things like: "We have such a great TEAM?" I hear them say that, and then I hear crazy stuff like, "we will not clean up after him any more" or "I am sure that HE DOES" in a very sarcastic tone. So, what does team really mean? I guess I am confused.

10 Things I've Learned-Never Do Ministry Alone

I have learned a ton of things, but this one I learned very early on. Never Do Ministry Alone. This one is kind of stolen from Jim Wideman, he is a great leader and has an incredible teaching called the club, check him out here He has several great resources for kids pastors and leaders.
I think the theory behind never do ministry alone is more about training others to do the work of the ministry than it is about having help with what you are doing. There are times when I am doing ministry that would be valuable for others to learn. For instance, why go to a hospital visit alone when I can take one of my volunteers with me. Why build a set for kids ministry alone, if I can bring in a few people to do it with me. With both of these examples, the time I get to spend with them is as valuable to me as the amount of help they provide me. Many times, those moments of working side by side with someone provide opportunities for me to speak into their life. It is great when God opens those doors, and it only happens because I do my best to "Never do Ministry Alone."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Events- Camp

Kids camp is probably the single greatest week of my ministry year each and ever year! I love camp, I can't think of another opportunity that I as a children's pastor have where kids can be pulled completely out of their routine and dropped into an environment where God is the center and spending time with him is the focus.
We have developed a pretty good camp over the last few years. This summer was our 3rd year in a row to do our own camp. This year we saw 208 campers and 52 staff go with us to Adventure Quest. The reasons for camp are clear: We put kids in an environment where they can focus on God, we get to spend hours of time building relationships with kids, and we have the chance to see God do some incredible things in the lives of kids!
I love Camp!

Friday, August 27, 2010

10 Things-Attitude is Everything

There is a great book that I was given to read when I was still in college and was interning with a children's pastor, The Winning Attitude. It was written by John Maxwell and it speaks directly to the importance of a positive attitude. I have re-read that book at least a half dozen times over the last 10 years. It is one that I would certainly put in the hands of every new Children's Pastor.
So often we think that our talents and abilities are our greatest assets in ministry, and while they are important, our attitude will truly make us or break us.
On more than one occasion a poor attitude has gotten the best of me. I have been swamped with ministry and stuff, and I have not focused on what is truly important. When this happens, my attitude can deteriorate very quickly. It usually starts as I allow a few negative comments to slip out of my mouth. It really doesn't matter who I am talking to, I know the minute that I slip up and I have a choice to make. I can remove myself from my current situation and go get my heart right, or I can allow the poor mood I am in to continue to linger. The big problem with allowing it to linger is that attitudes are very much contagious. My poor frame of mind can quickly infest my entire team. I have to make sure that I am keeping my "head in the game" and making sure my attitude is where it needs to be. When I do that, it really doesn't matter what problem comes my way, with God's help I know I can handle it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 Things-Less is More

Early on in ministry I think that I felt a need to prove myself to people. Talking with young ministers, I think this is a pretty common problem. I tried to do as much as possible. I am pretty sure that we did almost every single form of Children's ministry possible. Bus Ministry, Side Walk Sunday School, puppet teams, human video teams, Boys ministry, girls ministry, game nights, kids church, and tons more were just the start of the ministry that we tried to have. As I have matured, I have learned a pretty simple concept. Believe it or not, I have a limited amount of time in each day. 24 hours is the absolute most time that any one of us has in any given day. I have learned that it is not my job to cram as many ministry opportunities as possible into our ministry, it is my job to make the things that are in the ministry as excellent as possible.
Let me explain this with a few examples. Just like time, budgets are also limited (depending on where you serve, they might be severely limited). If I have $100 to do ministry, and I choose to use that $100 on 10 different events, than each event will get $10...make sense? Ok, what if I were to decide to only do 2 events instead. Now, each of those events will get $50 instead of $10. Suddenly, I have free up the resources I need to do these events 5 times better than I would have before. It is the same way with my time/energy. I can only give 100%. If I choose to have 10 things going, than they will each get about 10% of my energy.
What I am trying to say is if I can focus on 4-5 things and make them excellent rather than having 10-12 things that are average, than Less really is more!
The hard part comes with trying to decide what the 7-8 things that I am suppose to stop doing are :)


Our second summer event is Vacation Bible School. I know what you are thinking. Not exactly a new and exciting event that no one has ever done, but for us, it simply works. I have heard a lot of children' s pastors who are against Vacation Bible School because the people in their cities travel around from VBS to VBS looking for "cheap childcare" for their kids. I know this is also true here in Frisco, but we do it anyway for these reasons:
1. Scripture tells us that God's word does not return "void". Why wouldn't we want to take every opportunity we have to share Christ's love with the kids of our community. I know that we in the church world like to get the most "bang for our buck", but what greater investment could we make than sharing the word of God with a child. Do I really need to rehash all the studies of the importance of accepting Christ as a child?
2. For us it works as a great first step for people to experience our kid's ministry. We had 800+ kids on campus each day this year for VBS. There were more kids here each day of VBS than we had on Easter weekend!! Needless to say, many of them were visitors. I am not sure of the exact number, but we registered around 1000 different kids for this event. We have seen dozens of families come and experience Hope as a result of their initial experience at VBS. Sounds like a pretty good return on investment to me.
3. There is no greater way for us to get new volunteers flowing into our kids ministry. We require a massive volunteer staff to pull VBS off effectively, and most of those volunteers are new to working with kids at Hope. We get them on board for a week, and many of them stick around and help us out on a regular basis afterwards. It is awesome to hear people tell their stories of how working VBS helped them connect to Hope and to the kids ministry for the first time.
4. We do a family night at the end of VBS each year (on Thursday night because we only do a 4 day VBS). This is a huge opportunity to have moms, dads, grandparents, and brothers/sisters come to the church. This year we ran two services and gave away a ton of prizes. This was a great opportunity for our Pastors and staff to show the community that we really do care for them.
I have always used Group's VBS curriculum. It is well done, and allows for kids to move from station to station. We really enjoyed VBS this year. Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

10 Things I have learned

I have been in full time kids ministry for more than 10 years now, and I have been able to learn a few things along the way. Some of them would not be very appropriate to talk about in this setting, but all of them have helped to shape me into the leader that I am today. Here are the top Ten Things that I have Learned:
1. Less is More
2. Attitude is Everything
3. Never do Ministry Alone
4. If You aim at nothing, you will always hit it.
5. Someone will always feel cheated.
6. Excellence is Hard/Average is Easy
7. Everything Rises and Falls on Relationships
8. Read to Succeed
9. The individual is always more important than the ministry.
10. Teams are great when they work.

Hopefully, over the next few weeks we will dive into a few of these.
Each of them might seem simple, but they are huge to me. I use each of them on an almost daily basis.

Schoolz Out Days

This event is designed to be a fun way for kids to get to know each other and members of my leadership team. The event runs from 8:30-4:30 on Tuesday-Thursday, and it happens the first full week that kids are out of school.
This year for day 1 we created our own "waterpark" here at the church with slides and squirt guns. It was a huge success and the kids came back on day 2 ready for more fun. On Day 2 we took the kids to a place called Main Event. It is an arcade/bowling/laser tag facility that the kids really enjoyed.
The final day we spent at Hawaiian falls water park. This was the highlight of the week, and I was really glad we made the decision to go there for Day 3 this year.
Over all, the event was a tremendous success. We had 125 kids registered, and I was turning kids away over the last few days leading up to it.
This event is strictly for fun. We don't provide any scholarships for this event, and it is aimed at kids 7-11 years old.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Events

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, this summer of ministry has been incredible. We saw tremendous growth in all three of our summer events. I like to have three events for summer because they allow me plenty of time spend with kids and develop those important relationships between them and our team.
The three events that we do are as follows: Schoolz Out Dayz (June 8-10), Vacation Bible School (June 28-July 1st) and Adventure Quest Kids Camp (July 25-28).
As you can see, the events are spaced out just far enough apart that we have time to get ready for each of them, and moms and dads don't feel like their kids have something they have to do every week of summer.
Got to run for now, but on Tuesday I will begin explaining the purpose of these events (each one serves a different one) and try to explain what they entail.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I most not be a good blogger

Wow, so I guess it has been a while. Not that anyone probably reads this anyways, but I think I should probably start blogging again. I have had one of the most difficult summers of my life while having one of the most productive ministry summers of my life.
Never thought those two would go hand in hand. I have seen some unbelievable highs and lows in the last 4 months and every time I think that things are starting to level out, another one hits.
I am tired I think more than anything. Physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually tired. I think I have gotten to a point where I can see clearly the few things that are truly important in my life and I want to make sure that I am living by the priorities that need to guide me.
I hope to blog more over the next couple of weeks. There are some pretty exciting things happening with AK, and I want to do my best to communicate clearly all that God is doing in and through me. I would certainly covet your prayers during these exciting times though.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 More Quit-Yippeee

OK, so Yippeeeee was not exactly my initial reaction. I found our on Sunday that one of the members of my 3rd Service children's ministry team was stepping down for a while, and then, on Monday morning I got an email from two more volunteers in the 3rd service, letting me know that they were stepping down for personal reasons as well. Normally, 3 volunteers would not be a very pleasant loss, but in 3rd Service, those 3 Volunteers represented half of my Kids church Staff.
SO, what am I to do? Well, the only thing that I can do is practice what I preached for almost 2 weeks in Kenya. I have to begin recruiting like Jesus did, find people who will be the right fit, and then work hard to train and grow them into the people that God has for this group of kids. It will not exactly be fun, but it will be a challenge, and I love Challenges!!! So here we go.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Just a few of the pictures that I can't seem to get off of my mind! Thanks God for allowing me the opportunity to serve you in Kenya for the last few weeks.

Struggle #2

The Next major struggle that every kid's ministry faces is the struggle for validity, let me explain. Often times in ministry, the leadership and membership of the church tends to see the real ministry as what happens within the Adult Sanctuary. They have a heard time viewing children's ministry as important or even anything more than a "necessary evil". By evil I mean that it is looked at as a ministry that they have to have, but one that is just a sort of money pit. Leadership realizes that they must have a Children's ministry, but only so that the adult ministry will be more successful, or so that the church will be more appealing to visitors.
I would argue that this way of thinking is not only wrong, but unbiblical. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." How often do we put children aside so the "real ministry" can happen? Jesus himself wanted us to make sure that kids were ministered to. He understood what we sometimes forget, "Christianity is only one generation from being extinct!"
I am thankful to serve at a church that values kids and kids ministry. Hope has been a great church that cares for the spiritual health of the entire family! I pray that we can lead the way for other churches to follow and truly validate Children's Ministry!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Struggle #1

As I have spent the last few days in Kenya, I am becoming increasingly aware that all churches face the same problems. It really doesn’t matter the location of your church (or even the time zone you find yourself in), it comes down to a few basic struggles that we all face.

Struggle #1 Volunteers- I have yet to find a church that has every volunteer it could possibly need. I have found a few that think they do, but that illusion is usually dissolved rather quickly when you begin digging deeper into their situation. On the surface, it is easy to appear to have it all together, but most of the time there is more than “meets the eye”!

I have been spending time with the leadership team of a church here in Nairobi called ICC (International Christian Centre). Their leadership is struggling to develop teams of volunteers, and I have been helping to guide them through some discussions on how they can better minister through teams.

Jesus worked on a team. He knew that nothing great is ever sustainable if it is built on the shoulders of one individual. Think about it, not even Michael Jordan ever won an NBA Championship without the help of an incredible supporting cast. Too often in ministry we see people with the “Lone Ranger” approach. They think that a ministry built on them will serve them best, but who wants to see years of hard work crumble when they leave for another ministry opportunity? Does that bring honor to God? Or would God receive greater honor from a ministry that doesn’t skip a beat when a key leader steps aside?

I know that God has called me to lead teams. It is part of who I am and it is what I love to do. I pray that my passion for teams will spread through ICC and churches around the world so that we can reach even more kids and families with the love of God through teams of people who are committed to serve!