Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Keys to an Exceptional Children’s Ministry

Today and tomorrow the Elementary and Preschool are devoting ourselves to taking our ministries to Mountaintop kids and families to a next level.  This morning we reviewed 10 Keys to an Exceptional Children’s Ministry.

Love Jesus.   This is non-negotiable whether you are a volunteer or on staff, upfront or working behind the scenes.  Team members without a passionate love for Christ will dilute your ministry.

Love Kids.  Liking kids isn’t enough.  Loving “the idea of kids” isn’t enough.  Your team has to be sold out in love with kids.  Loving kids means you are there for the kids and not to meet a need in yourself.

Recognize that there is a direct correlation between Children and Family Ministries.  You can’t minister to kids if you aren’t resourcing and equipping the parents.  Resources (time, energy, programming) should be spilt equally between ministering to the kids and the family.  Think ORANGE!

Know the “center of your target.”  Once you know the target, become an “expert” in the life and culture of your target.  What are they watching on tv, where do they shop, what’s important to them?  What are your “targets” developmental stages and how are the changes?

Pass the Baton Without Dropping.  Take a “long-view” in planning the “scope and sequence” of the development of a “disciple.”  Pay attention to the handoff between ministries.  Set the goal for what the “final product” is supposed to look like.

Spend Money Intentionally.  Everything we do conveys both explicit messages and implicit messages.  Environment is important and first impressions can only be made once.  Remember the medium is the message and people are paying attention.

Sprinkle Pixie Dust Whenever You Can.  Regularly and unapologetically spread a little “magic.”  The gospel message deserves our very best.  Engage the childlike sense of wonder and awe. (Glitter helps)

Customize Everything You Do.  Just because it works at Northpoint or Willow Creek doesn’t mean it works for you.  Make it your own.  Ask the “Cinderella Question:” Does the shoe really fit?  Relentlessly pursue finding the “shoe that fits.”

Clear Expectations, Accountability, Teamwork. Communication are Non-Negotiable.  One of my most defining leadership moments came when two trusted team members shared with me that they felt as if they were failing to meet the expectations I was poorly communicating!  Ouch!  Teamwork means investing in each other’s lives.  Expectations, Teamwork and Accountabilty can’t happen without open, honest and consistent communication.

a.     Make no assumptions
b.     Par is not your friend – the gospel business deserves better
c.      Look for opportunities to coach toward expectations

Bump the Lamp.  Make an internal decision that you won’t settle for “good enough” but will always do one extra step, even if it takes more time and energy and even if no one ever notices.  ( if you don’t know the phrase “Bump the Lamp: its a Disney creation – look it up – you will be glad you did)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sharing Good Advice

One of my favorite bloggers is Carey Nieuwhof.  Today he posted a great blog for starting 2012 that I’ve “cut and paste” to share here.  I love what he’s suggesting and I love that he has 21 items.  21 is my favorite number.  It’s 3 times 7 and the number of my favorite NASCAR driver from the 70’s (NASCAR fan was a phase I went through in middle school).  Anyone know the driver’s name?

Anyway, here are Carey’s 21  Random Ways to Make 2012 a Better Year:

1.  Believe the best about people. Make trust your default, not suspicion.
2.  Be on time. Great leaders are rarely late.
3.  Under promise and over deliver. Our tendency is to do the opposite.

4.  Stop blaming people. Just stop.  Your will start taking responsibility for yourself as a result.
5. Pray for your enemies. You will forgive them…and they will not be your enemies for long.
6.  Review the week ahead on Sunday night for ten minutes. Monday won’t seem nearly as intimidating
7.  Get up earlier. The early bird actually usually does get the worm.
8. Go to bed earlier. Stop falling asleep on the couch.
9.  Read the bible. Read at least 3 verses of scripture every morning, more if you’re up to it.
10. Never say “I don’t have the time.” Instead, say “I’m not going to make the time.”   It will change how you see time…and priorities.
11.  Smile. Most people look moderately unhappy most of the time.
12.  Clean your personal space. A clean desk, car or office makes you feel better about yourself.
13.  Give 10%.  Give away the first tenth of everything you make.  You’ll be surprised at how liberating this is.
14.  Pay cash (as in bills in your wallet) for discretionary items. You will spend less and save more.
15.  Exercise.  Enough said.  Just get moving.
16.  Do something for yourself everyday. People who care for themselves are better at caring for others.
17.  Read outside your area of interest. Apps like Zite and Flipboard even make this so easy.
18.  Automate what’s important. Schedule appointments with yourself for what matters.  Automatically take savings and givings out of your bank accounts.
19. Serve somewhere. People who serve others live longer and are happier.
20.  Show up prepared. Whether it’s a meeting or simply coming home, prepare yourself before you show up.
21.  Play. Most of us have forgotten how to play.  Rediscover it.
What would you add to this list?  What’s helped you the most?