Before I left to go to the office yesterday, I told my 3-year-old son that I would play four games with him after work. Unfortunately, the day lasted much longer than expected and he fell asleep before I got home. I tried everything in my power to “wake him up” but he was wiped out from a busy day of playing. Finally, at 10:00 he came into the living room. I asked him about his day but he would barely talk to me. He sort of just ignored me. After a few moments I said, “Would you like to play Mickey Mouse Club?” He smiled and said, “What about the other three games?” He started sharing every detail about his day with me as we played with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the gang.
Pastors, our callings are filled with many responsibilities and pressures. If you have kids, they are longing for your attention. What’s your thing? My son and I play Mickey Mouse. What does your kid love to do? Are you doing it enough?
On another note…
I noticed that you can buy and sell used kid’s ministry resources online at http://kidminstuff.com. Maybe this is a way that you can raise some extra funds for 2012. Make sure you tell your children’s director to check it out.
I decided to buy an iphone after running over my previous phone with my car. It amazes me how quickly I can sync pictures, contacts and calendar information from my computer to my phone.
Wouldn’t it be nice if this process worked for syncing vision? In typical churches twenty percent of volunteers do eighty percent of the work. If the Pareto Principle is true, there is a good chance that your children’s director is rarely able to attend your Sunday morning services.
Possibly, many of you are casting vision in your sermons and some of your key leaders are getting left behind. Yesterday, I had a 15-minute meeting with my children’s director, Missty Brogdon, before church began. We didn’t really plan anything or talk about strategy; instead I shared some key points of my sermon that I wanted to communicate. We should keep our key team members informed about what is going on. Missty does a tremendous job week after week and it is my responsibility to make sure she is growing spiritually as she shares God’s love with our kids.
Your children’s workers are amazing leaders. They may be working “behind the scenes” but you can’t afford to let them get “behind in your vision.”
Happy New Year! I’m sure all of you are excited about 2012. Our local church is currently embarking on a journey of prayer and fasting. I’m sure many of you are also spending some extra time praying for God to do great things in the new year. As you pray, I would like to encourage you to pick up a copy of the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I read the book over Christmas Break and it brought me to my knees. The book really changed the way I pray.
As you pray for your church, please remember to pray specifically for your children’s ministry. Remember the following points about Circle Makers…
- Circle Makers realize that God is for them. God has great things in store for your children’s ministry. Attempt great things because God is on your side.
- Circle Makers understand that God’s promises can be applied to their lives. As you read the Bible, think of promises that can be applied to your children’s ministry.
- Circle Makers define their requests. The pastor of one of the largest churches in Korea once said, “God doesn’t answer vague prayers.” As you pray for your children’s ministry, be specific.
Pray, lead with vision and expect God to do great things.
Great pastors help build great teams. They are not intimidated by recruiting and developing smart, talented people who are passionate about making a difference. As we are working together to compel our local churches to have a passionate vision for children, it is important to help our children’s pastors develop their teams. We should make a conscious effort to help our teams become what God has designed them to be. Our next several compel blogs will be based on the book, “The Orange Revolution” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Gostick and Elton do a fantastic job of answering the question, “What sparks the first movements of a revolutionary team?” I would like us to think about this in the context of children’s ministry. Over the next few posts, I will be trying to apply some principles from their book directly to children’s ministry in your local church.
1. Revolutionary teams share a belief in their own ability to write the future. Do the members of your children’s ministry team think that their input matters? Do they feel involved in the decision making process? Are they simply relying on your children’s director/pastor for direction or are they playing a role in creating a positive future for your children’s ministry?
2. Revolutionary teams love one another. Does your children’s ministry team hang out together? Are they friends? Do they show concern or compassion for each other when a team member is struggling?
3. Revolutionary teams demonstrate personal competency. Do they trust each other? Are the team members on your children’s ministry team capable? Dependable? Reliable? Do they believe in one another?
These are some tough questions that we need to evaluate as pastors as we strive to connect with our children’s ministry teams.
*** Click here to listen to a session from the 2011 ICM that was about building effective children’s ministry teams. (Scroll down to the “Super Size Me” section and the speaker is Sandy Knowles.)
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I recently met a kid at an elementary school who was playing with Pokeman cards. I’m ashamed to admit that I had no idea of what the cards did and why they were so popular. After speaking with the young child, I walked away feeling completely out of touch with today’s generation of kids. I am just 35 so I can only imagine how difficult children’s ministry must be for those who grew up decades ago. Some of you never grew up with computers, text messages or ipads.
This week, I am praying for our pastors who are over 60. I know children’s ministry may be difficult when you are ministering to a completely different generation. Just remember, you are never too old to develop a dynamic children’s ministry in your local church. We are all here to work together. Caleb was still driving out giants when he was 85. Bold vision is not reserved for the next generation. At our last church, we approached a 60 year-old couple about helping us with youth ministry. At first, they were apprehensive but over the next couple of years they became valuable volunteers that made a difference in kids’ lives. Today they are youth camp directors.
I would love to receive some questions about children’s ministry from some of our more senior ministers. I may not know all the answers but we will work together to help you establish a thriving children’s ministry in your local church. We are here to connect with you!
How would you react if Jesus told you to go get a donkey? This is exactly what happened in Luke 19:30. Isn’t that a little weird? He didn’t really say why, he just told his disciples to go get it. Whose donkey was it? Imagine how crazy this experience must have been. Regardless, the disciples demonstrated their servant’s hearts by obeying the command.
Another time, in John 5:12, Jesus tells His disciples to go around and pick up the bread and fish that was leftover from His miracle of feeding 5,000 people. Imagine all the crumbs. Imagine the mess.
Whether it was picking up crumbs or rounding up donkeys, the disciples (the leaders of the church) were required to serve. Pastors, we must continue to serve as we strive to win today’s young harvest.
This week, I would like to share 5 ways that you can serve your children’s ministry.
- Prioritize children’s ministry in your annual budgets.
- Attend a children’s church service at least once a year on a Sunday morning.
- Mail your children’s pastor an encouraging card.
- Send your children’s pastor to a leadership conference.
- Pray with your children’s pastor.
Rick Warren once said, “Don’t expect people to be interested in your vision if you are not interested in their lives.” Take time to serve your children’s ministry leadership team. Let them know that you care!
Can you believe that 2012 is right around the corner? As you plan for next year, I would like to encourage you to check out the following podcast called baptism services for kids. This year at ICM, Kenny Conley taught a fantastic session on how to maximize the times that you baptize kids in your local church. He provided some great insights and ideas. The podcast made me realize that we are missing out on many great opportunities. You can also download a pdf version of the session so that you can take notes as you listen.
I hope you take advantage of this great resource.
We are praying for your children’s ministry.
ICM encouraged me to make family ministry a priority in my local church. Our children’s ministry now realizes that making an impact in the life of a kid is greatly enhanced when we also make an impact in the life of a parent. This morning, I read the following article “How to drive your kids away” by Reggie Joyner.
I thought the article was very insightful because I have a three year old son. Pastors, if you have children or grandchildren take time out to read the article and discuss it with your family. I want to encourage you to pass it on to other families in your church. Let’s be intentional about children’s ministry.
Compel blog – Spread the Word.
Budgeting during a time of recession can be very challenging. It takes a great step of faith to dedicate a significant amount of money to children’s ministry when other essential bills must be paid. I know how it feels to get to the end of your yearly budget with little or no discretionary income. Many churches in this predicament turn to fundraisers. As we begin connecting and learning together, I would love to hear some of your fundraising success stories. Many pastors really want to prioritize funding for children’s ministry but they can’t give what they don’t have. Will you take a couple of minutes to share what has worked in your local church?
Pastors can also consider eliminating ministries that do not align with their key priorities. Successful churches focus on doing a few things really well. Churches that try to do everything seem to lose sight of the vision that God has for them. When you are working on your church budget, ask yourself, “What are we spending money on that doesn’t directly contribute to our vision in a high-impact way?” This question should drive your budgeting process. Our local church has decided to place a financial emphasis on children’s ministry, youth ministry, small groups, Sunday morning services and missions. Simply redirecting funds allowed us to invest $7,500 into our children’s ministry budget.
I realize that eliminating ministries and redirecting funds can be very intimidating. Will Mancini, a church strategy expert, recently wrote an excellent blog called Strategic Alternatives to Shutting Down a Low Performing Ministry. If we really want Children’s Ministry to be a priority in our local churches then it must also become a priority in our annual church budgets.
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I hope God blessed your church in a powerful way yesterday. I prayed for you. I know God is going to continue helping us lead another generation that loves Jesus. I know you are very busy and I only have one short quote to share with you this week. Be prepared, it will change the way you think about your children’s ministry.
Joy Bowen made the following comment at ICM,
“Due to sickness, vacations and family activities the average children’s leader will only have the ability to impact kids for about 40 hours per year. A parent has over 3,000 hours per year to impact their child.”
At first, this sounded like a simple, common sense concept. Obviously, parents have more time with their kids than your children’s ministry team. However, if this is true, why are we not capitalizing on this opportunity? I believe that the church must make a conscious effort to partner with the family. This weekend, I picked up the book Think Orange by Reggie Joiner. The book gives practical ways that your children’s ministry can partner with families to make a lasting impact in the lives of our children and grandchildren. I will try to share some of the book’s key insights with you over the next several weeks.
Have a great week,