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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Interviewing the Mirror: Allow myself to introduce… myself

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I’ve had the recent opportunity to be thrown into the world of interviews.
We’re in the process of wrapping up interviewing and hiring a new administrative assistant who will provide support to our Children’s and Student ministry programs.

We’re taking steps toward becoming a church that’s staffed a little more “Orange.”
It’s pretty exciting.

The last three weeks of phone calls, interviews and call-backs have inspired me to apply some of our team’s learnings to our areas of ministry.

Over the next few posts, we’ll take a look at some questions we should be asking ourselves and our ministry areas as we gear up for the launch of our Fall programs and initiatives.

Today, I encourage you to introduce yourself.

Think about how your ministry might begin a job interview.  If it were asked to simply “Tell us about yourself”… what would it say?… what should it say?
You need to be able to answer this question with brevity and confidence.  Can you do that?

Each weekend, your programs have a chance to make a first impression on a family… are you being intentional?

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in Kidmin, Resources

 

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What to do with a Brett Favre

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So, Brett Favre is on your children’s ministry team… what should you do?

First, and foremost, don’t panic!
Your Brett Favre wants to succeed… it’s now your goal to get this leader to a place where they are helping your team and not distracting it.

Now, you may not be able to get your Brett Favre to a place where he can ever beat the Dallas Cowboys (Jonathan Cliff… I’m not sure what the ministry parallel is to this. We await your wisdom in the comments section),  but you can get to a place where having Brett Favre on your team makes your ministry better and more effective.

Brett Can’t Be the Best Player on Your Team

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As long as your Brett Favre feels as though they are carrying your team, they won’t be able to take direction from you and they’ll maintain a diva-esque personality.  If you are committed to keeping this leader on your team, you need to invest heavily into another team member and give them the keys to an area of your ministry.  In the same way that the Minnesota Vikings’ offense will continue to showcase Adrian Peterson… you need to be able to showcase someone on your team that you trust can carry the load.  This will help define your Brett’s role in your ministry area – it’s not about them… it’s about the team that they are a part of (and, ultimately, it’s about serving Christ).  Surround Brett Favre with talent, and he’ll be more likely to conform to the team.

Brett Favre Needs to Win

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Brett Favre has always been the happiest and most effective when he’s on a winning team.  Your Brett Favre is no different.  If your Brett isn’t following your directions, try redefining what a “win” looks like for your ministry team.  When defining a “win” for your team, make sure that the results are things that your leaders can observe.  Maybe a “win” for your team is when a child can answer the two questions parents often ask when they pick children up: “Did you have fun?” and “What did you learn?”  Whatever your criteria becomes, make sure that you point out these victories to your team in large settings.  Brett Favre wants to be a winner.  He wants to be contributing to a winning team – you need to show him what a “win” looks like.

Brett Favre Needs Your Encouragement

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At the end of the day, Brett Favre is just like any of us.  When Brett feels like he’s the only one playing the game the way it should be played, the world becomes a lonely place.  You need to find out if your Brett Favre is in a Small Group, a Bible Study, an Accountability Group… whatever it is that your church has to keep its members engaged in the church community – your Brett needs to know that he’s not alone.  By building strong friendships in the church, your Brett will be less likely to leave your ministry for the one down the road.  With a commitment to the church community, your Brett will be more willing to put his ego aside for the sake of the team.  However, if your Brett feels as though he is on an island, expect him to operate outside of your leadership.

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Your ministry team is made up of an assortment of characters and you have been called to work alongside them.  At times, that means we need to invest more heavily into team members.  Other times, we need to set high expectations and hold our team accountable.  There are even times when we need to have a leader over for dinner to let them know that we care about them and that they are not serving in a bubble.  Whatever the next step is for you and your team, hopefully this series has helped you out.

What are your experiences with having a Brett Favre on your ministry team?  Are there other tips that you’d like to share with the community?

Post your thoughts and comments in the comments section!

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2009 in Kidmin

 

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How Did He Get Here?! (and who IS this person?)

Yesterday, in light of Brett Favre’s signing with the Minnesota Vikings, we took a quick look at our ministries to evaluate if we had anyone on our teams that look a bit like Brett Favre.

If you answered “yes” to any of yesterday’s questions, then you first need to know how in the world your “Brett Favre” got to be the person they are today.  Going forward, you’ll be better off if you know who you’re dealing with.

There are 3 major events that have helped define your Brett Favre.

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Brett Favre Lives for his Passions

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July 24, 1990

Brett Favre was a Senior at Southern Miss when he was involved in a near-fatal car accident. Near his parents’ home in Mississippi, Favre flipped his car three times and came to rest against a tree. During the ambulance ride to the hospital, Brett was able to talk to his mother.
“All I kept asking [her] was ‘Will I be able to play football again?’” Favre recalled later.

Your Brett Favre may not have been in a car accident like the real Brett Favre, but, at some point in their life, they’ve had a pivotal moment when they looked to their passions and gifts to help them overcome an obstacle.  For Brett, his passion for the game of football drove him to recover quickly from the surgery that removed 30 inches of his small intestine… later leading his team to a come-from-behind victory over Alabama merely 6 weeks after his accident.
For your team member, it may have been a rough spot in their marriage or job.  It may have been an unexpected diagnosis.  They may have felt as though they’d lost control over something in their lives.  Whatever that incident was, pouring themselves into ministry helped them find enough joy and encouragement to push through that hard time.  They feel as though their passion saved them.

What you need to know: If you take away what they’re passionate about, your Brett Favre might feel as though you’re stealing their life away.  Their passion has defined them.  For better or for worse.

Brett Favre Has Been Successful

Green Bay's QB Brett Favre rests the championship trophy

January 26, 1997

Brett Favre led the Packers to their best season in decades during the 1996 season, winning his second consecutive MVP award in the process.  The season culminated in a Super Bowl XXXI victory – a game in which Brett threw for 2 touchdowns, ran for 1 and completed a two-point conversion.  In 1991, the year before Brett would begin taking snaps for the Packers, the team posted a 4-12 record. In 5 short years, Brett Favre led one of the NFL’s storied franchises to their first league championship in 30 years.

Brett Favres come into the picture during a down season in a ministry area.  They usually begin as a back up or an assistant.  They experience hard times, but often work hard during those times and begin to find and define success in their ministry area.  Other leaders, inside and outside of their team, describe your Brett Favre as a “success story” and Bretts often become the face of the area they’re involved in.  Most of these accolades are deserved… though, at the time, those in leadership are not quite aware that they’re creating a problem for themselves down the road (though, to be honest, the leaders who help create Brett Favres are typically only around during their glory years. You usually come into the picture later on).

What you need to know: Because your Brett Favre has had success, they are more likely to stick with the methods that they were using during the time of that success. New leaders often look up to the Brett Favre in your ministry area.  Your Brett Favre is often known and looked up to by those on other teams.  This dynamic will almost always make it difficult to transition this leader out of their leadership role.

Brett Favre has been a Constant

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Sept 27, 1992 – Present

Brett Favre became the Packers’ starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 1992 season. He has started every game of every NFL season since that day.  Brett has played through injury and tragedy.  Brett is dedicated to playing in every game that he can… sometimes, playing through severe pain in order to do so.

There are team members whose names are written on your schedule ever-so-lightly in pencil.  You hope they show up… but, you make back-up plans in case they fall through.  Your Brett Favre doesn’t need a schedule.  Easter Sunday?  They’re there.  VBS?  They’ll run the craft station… all by themselves.  You or your wife expecting a baby?  This leader can stand in the gap until you return.  The Brett Favre in your ministry area is often known for their constant presence.  This presence has secured their place in the hearts of those around them.  But… a funny thing happens when you ask your leaders to sign on for another term of commitment – this leader hesitates.  There are times when they look at you as though they’re offended you had to ask… there are other times when they’ve failed to sign a commitment card.  Yet, for all of the drama they create behind the scenes, their teammates see them as a rock of stability.  Calling them “flaky” won’t win you any fans.

What you need to know: Your Brett Favre only pretends to be flaky for two reasons.  1) They feel as though they have served long enough that they are above verbal or written commitments.  2) They need to hear how much you NEED them.
Your Brett Favre is not actually flaky.  They are a constant… especially when you wish they weren’t.

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You need to know the history of your Brett Favre before you decide how to deal with them.

Remember those questions you thought about during yesterday’s post?
Now that you know a little bit about your Brett, during our next post we’ll talk about how to deal with them and turn them into a great team member.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in Kidmin

 

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Is Brett Favre on your team?

Favre1, August 3

Do you have Brett Favre on your ministry team?

Take this quick self-examination to find out:

  1. Do you have a team member who always leaves you uncertain of their commitment?
  2. Do you have a team member who, if asked to step down from their role, would move on to any church that would take them on their team?
  3. Do you have a team member who is still thinks that the methods they used in 1997 are still your best options?

Now, I’ll admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for Brett Favre. Watching him take the field and rock the defense of the Raiders after his dad’s passing in 2003 was one of the greatest sports moments I’ve seen in my lifetime. I don’t change the channel or fast forward the TiVo when commercials w/ Brett come on. Brett has overcome so many challenges in his life that he’s always the easy guy to root for.

But, the Brett Favres of the church world aren’t always the best teammates. Brett Favres are not always the guy/gal you should build a team around. As a coach, Brett Favres may be at a point in their career where they might not listen to your direction.

This week, WestCoastCM will take a look at what to do if you find out you have a Brett Favre on your team.

Tomorrow’s post: How did he get here?!

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2009 in Kidmin

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: Top 10 List

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Here’s the list, in its entirety:

10  Choosing to Cheat (Andy Stanley)

9    Creative MYK (www.creativemyk.com)

8    To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father (Donald Miller)

7    Yancy (www.yancynotnancy.com)

6    Nick Magazine (from the creators of Nickelodeon)

5    Too Small to Ignore (Dr. Wess Stafford)

4    Curious George  (2006)

3    The Jesus Story Bible (Sally Lloyd Jones)

2    Think Orange (Reggie Joiner)

1    Collaboration

Want to weigh in?

If you feel like we missed something, share your additions in the comments section.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2009 in Book Review, Kidmin, Resources

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #1 The Collaborating Community

There is not a book on any of our shelves that can replace the resource that we are to each other.

We live in a time in history when ideas can be exchanged in real-time across hundreds, if not thousands, of miles via text, voice, picture, or video.

There is a movement in our field to embrace the idea of collaboration and, if you’re reading this right now, you’re a part of it.  30 years ago, when guys like Jim Wideman were still cutting their teeth in children’s ministry, they could have never imagined the resources we’d have at our fingertips today.  You are a part of a movement that has been called to mobilize the Church.  We are called to tell others to take ministering to kids seriously.  We are called to be innovative and to strive for excellence.

Your best resources are the other leaders reading this post right now.

Let me share 5 ground rules for what collaboration looks like… and what it doesn’t look like.
(thanks to Sam, Gina, Matt, Jonathan and Kenny for helping me understand and truly believe what I’m about to write…)

  1. We’re all experts. God has called you to serve where your serving.  That’s a pretty big deal.  You are the only one who has expertise in being you, in your ministry context, at your age and stage of life.  Your voice carries weight.  Feel free to speak like you have ideas the rest of us need to hear.
  2. We’re not experts. Writing, commenting on, or moderating a blog doesn’t make someone an expert.  And, remember the whole, “We’re all experts” thing I just mentioned?  We all also fail.  Often.  Don’t take yourself so seriously that you can never be wrong.  You can and will be wrong… and the world will keep turning.  And we’ll keep listening to your ideas.
  3. Size doesn’t matter. Small churches and large churches are all part of Jesus’ church… we all have things to learn from each other.  Numbers should never be the main topic of any discussion.  There are appropriate times and places for number discussions.  Don’t assume that you know when and where those are – those rules are often fluid.
  4. Share your ideas, not just your victories. It’s easy to talk about the Gospel presentation where 39 kids accepted Jesus into their lives.  It’s a little tougher to talk about the time when not one child made a profession of faith.  But, here’s the thing – what we sometimes consider failures, God wants to redeem as victories.  It’s always best, when collaborating, to share ideas before you actually try them.  Someone may have insight that makes your idea better.  Write your ideas on Napkins.  Don’t taken them too seriously.  Share them.  You may have been given an idea for someone else to use.
  5. Stop Lurking. There’s a rich man in your congregation who is taking $137 out of the offering plate every time it gets passed in your church.  He comes to every service and does the same thing.  Then, he goes down the street to the church that starts 15 minutes after yours and does the same thing.  He’s become so rich from this scheme that he makes more in interest in one day than you and I make in income in a year – combined.
    Now, obviously, that man doesn’t exist.  Except he does.  And it’s you.
    There’s a good chance that, if you’re reading this right now, you’ve been here before.  And you’ll come here again.  And you check out the other kidmin blogs in the area.  And you probably rarely (if ever!) share your ideas.  You need to give back to the offering plate.  You don’t have to start your own blog or own your own space to do it.  Simply find a community and start sharing ideas.  Start giving back.  Unless you want to be a lurking jerk.

The community of children’s ministry leaders that we have access to is our best resource.
We’re waiting for you to join in.

Want to get involved?

Get involved by commenting on this blog, one of the blogs listed to the right of this page, by creating a Twitter account, or by joining the CMConnect Community.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2009 in Kidmin, Resources

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #2 Think Orange

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I came away from The Orange Conference this last year with all sorts of shifts buzzing through my mind.

You can find some of those thoughts here.

My biggest “wake-up” moment came for me weeks later as I finished my first pass through Reggie Joiner’s Think Orange.
I needed to reevaluate everything that I thought I knew about children’s ministry.

I could take up a lot of space laying out everything I LOVE about what is essentially my new Children’s Ministry manifesto… but, I think Jonathan Cliff does the concepts some justice in his series of Think Orange posts here.

The Church-at-large exists to equip families to reach the next generation with the Gospel of Jesus.  It’s taken me 8 years of Children’s Ministry to finally hear that message and respond – I’m excited to see where that philosophy of ministry takes our team.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2009 in Book Review, Kidmin, Orange, Resources

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #3 Jesus Storybook Bible

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For years, I’ve wanted a Bible that could fill the gap between a board book like Baby Bible Stories about Jesus and a chapter and verse Bible like The Adventure Bible for Young Readers, NIrV.

With the Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones has not only created a book to fill that gap… she’s written my favorite book ever.

Here’s the story of how God created Adam and Eve, as told by Sally:

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I’m at a point now where I can’t read the creation story without thinking of it as a love story.  Thank you, Sally Lloyd-Jones.

When I have parents come up to me and ask for a Bible recommendation, I almost always put the JSBB in their hands.  I preface it with a statement that goes something like this: This retelling of scripture won’t teach your kids Bible verses to remember… instead, it will weave the story of Jesus into the nooks and crannies of the narrative of God’s Word.  This is the best story time Bible I’ve found.

It’s hard for me to not rank this #1 on my list… but the next two have radically changed the way I think about Children’s Ministry.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2009 in Book Review, Kidmin, Resources

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #4 Curious George (DVD)

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There’s only one DVD in my top 10… and it’s not the new VeggieTales video that just was just released.

Sorry, Big Idea… but church people are going to own your product whether they should or not.  You’re a given in our culture.

Instead, I want to point you to a little gem that you may or may not have watched when it was released in 2006… Curious George.

Curious George is a familiar character to most all of us.  But, the colors and visually stunning artwork in this theatrical release will flow off the screen and into the heart and mind of any Children’s Ministry leader looking to redesign or re-imagine their ministry environment.  The night after I watched this movie for the first time, I dreamed in colors I had never seen before.

This DVD now sits on my shelf as a resource for any team members who want to take on a decorating or design project.  After seeing the scenes below play out with color spilling off the screen, I’m not sure how anyone could not be impacted by this cute movie about a Curious monkey.

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Posted by on August 7, 2009 in Kidmin, Resources

 

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Top 10 Children’s Ministry Resources: #5 Too Small To Ignore

I recently had the privilege of being a part of a group blogging project over at ElementalCM.org.

The book we reviewed together, Too Small to Ignore, was written by Dr. Wess Stafford, President & CEO of Compassion International.

Rather than tell you why I think it was an amazing book, I’ll link to a chapter by chapter review written by some of my favorite ministry collegues.

The generous people who contributed to this group blogging project:

Daniel Bigler
Aaron Delay
Bonnie Deroski
Penny Hunter
Sam Luce
Liz Perraud
Anthony Prince
Lorraine Seaman
Christen St John
Henry Zonio

Here are the links to each of the reviews:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

This book will open your eyes to the importance of advocating for children and lending voice to those who are often marginalized in the church and in society.

Then, when you’re done reading the book, open it to chapter 14 and place it on your Senior Pastor’s desk.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Book Review

 

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