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Adjust Your Lens

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Ministry

Over the past 4 weeks I’ve visited four different churches.  Each church dramatically different from the other in terms of environment, community, and worship style.  And yet there were consistencies that were very helpful/impactful to my first-time attending family.

Here are some notables from a few of the churches:

  • Directional Signage! Once we walked in the building it was obvious where to go to check in kids.  The signage was eye-catching and the check-in space easily accessible.
  • Security! It is obvious how much a kids ministry values security when they employ a nametag policy.  Only allowing access to certain areas of the kids space to those wearing parent receipts or volunteer nametags.
  • Environments! I’ve seen some spaces that look nothing like school, daycare or home.  I love seeing the many ways creativity is employed to make a space unique for kids.  Don’t forget to get on your knees and look at your space from their perspective.  What would you add… or change?

And a few things to check into:

  • Human Signage – In one church the layout was so odd that we walked down a hallway that wraps around the main auditorium.  We walked for a few minutes without encountering a person or open kids room.  I almost thought we were headed the wrong direction.  Some ‘Human Signage’ would have been highly beneficial.  A quick smile, friendly greeting, handshake or just general availability to assure us we’re headed in the right direction.  Many times we can’t do anything about our physical space.  So we find creative ways to accommodate.  Employing some of those volunteers that are natural “huggers and shakers” can go a long way toward resolving the quirky facility challenges.
  • Inviting Entries! Wish I could come up with better verbage for this, but it’s late.  :)  It boils down to asking yourself… are my rooms inviting from the threshold?  What entices a kid to want to enter the room?  What tells them that if they don’t cross that threshold, they’re missing something B-I-G?  I think I’m guilty of assuming that the fun things in my elementary space would entice any kid.  I’ve been reminded that if they can’t see it from where they stand on the other side of the door… they may never know what they’re missing.  It doesn’t have to be boisterous, or loud, or obnoxious.  In fact, it’s better if it isn’t.  It just has to be enticing.
  • Opportune Moments! One church we visited forced the parents to stand in the lobby while they’re child is called downstairs from the kids space.  Though the process was fairly efficient, they missed an opportunity to communicate in a unique way.  As the parents stood in line a flat screen television hanging on the wall in front of them sat completely blank.  What information regarding your ministry would you love to communicate in that 2-3 minute time frame?  Companies pay big bucks for a 30 second commercial before of a captive audience.  This church had 180 seconds.  Missed opportunity.

One of the best things to do for your ministry is to adjust your lens and view it from a completely different perspective… a new family perspective.  Put it on your calendar and make it a priority at least 2x a year.  Walk through your space… entrance to exit… and ask yourself, “If I were a new family, would I know where to go, what to do, or what to say?”

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Celebrating Wins_the ‘Hole’ I keep stepping in…

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Leadership, Team Building, Volunteers


If you were to have a moment with any of the people I lead (staff or volunteers) you would learn far more about me than this blog reveals.

Though I know that statement doesn’t shock anyone, I think it’s worth stating. Please don’t be deceived by the ‘me’ represented on this blog. It’s only a part of who I am… as a leader, as a parent, as a wife, as a Christ-follower. It only tells part of the story.  And typically the parts that make me look good.

Now that that’s out of the way. Can we get a little ‘real’ here?

I stink at celebrating.

I mean I’m really bad at it.

I’m spending some intentional time asking why I don’t celebrate well… why I move past events, accomplishments or moments of success so quickly. For years I’ve blamed it on ‘drivenness’.

“I’m just driven. That’s in the rear-view mirror. There’s more to do. Let’s charge ahead!”

Though that may be true, the problem is I fail to take a moment to honor those around me who gave above and beyond expectation. I fail to recognize those who brought organization, creativity, clarity, focus or fun to the process. I fail to embrace the people that came together merging their individual talents to create an unbelievable team.

And this failure of mine is too big to ignore. This ‘hole’ I keep stepping in is a hindrance to my ability to lead for 3 reasons:

What’s Rewarded is Repeated
It’s a classic truth that we learned as toddlers… whether we realized it or not. A parent learns that if they want a certain behavior repeated, they reward it. You may not remember your personal potty training journey, but I would suggest that the majority of this reading audience was potty trained using some sort of reward. Do I need to go into further detail here?

Translating such a timeless truth to my leadership context today… when I take time to reward and recognize a great act, I have a far greater chance that act will be repeated. Not just by the person I recognized… but by others around them that want to be recognized too!

Recognize those who are doing what you want to see everyone doing.

Recognition Increases Buy In
When I sincerely recognize someone’s hard work… creative idea… extra effort… I gain a little more of their heart. People want to know they are doing a good job. And we help them to know when and how they are doing by recognizing their efforts and celebrating their wins.

The critical part of this exercise is the sincerity. It doesn’t work if you aren’t sincere. If you can’t be sincere… don’t say anything.

Celebration Creates Unity
Celebration creates synergy. Synergy creates momentum. And any coach knows… teams with momentum win. Teams that celebrate increase scores on the scoreboard.

It’s one thing for the leader to recognize a great job. It’s another level of health when members of the team celebrate each other.

So, here is where you can help me.

What have you found successful?
Leave a comment below and help make me a better leader. :) 


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