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.