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Posts by Gina

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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Rules of Engagement for the Non-Confrontational

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry

Originally posted 2012-01-24 09:44:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


I would argue that the most consistent skill that can make you or break you in any industry is your ability to work through conflict. In today’s market success hinges on your ability to work through conflict. Thsoe who fear it will avoid confrontation at all cost. While others are energized by it and therefore seek it out. Neither of these are the winning camps.

Although I might argue the benefits of a leader that generates a little conflict among their team, this conversation is centered around our natural tendencies toward or away from conflict.  Whether you find yourself in the former or that latter category, your willingness and ability to work through conflict is the very thing that can hold you back or propel you forward.  The direction is entirely up to you.


I believe every person CAN lead well through conflict by embracing the value of confrontation, the gift of collaboration and the price of humility.


The Value of Confrontation

Last week I was sitting in a meeting with a member of my team.  As we talked through some different ideas regarding our Preschool ministry and how we engage kids in our weekly Storytime I found myself getting more and more energized as we challenged each other’s thoughts.  It was an open dialog with agreements and disagreements.  I was challenged to think differently in some areas and more resolved in my stance in other areas.


My days are filled with conversations like this.  And I’m grateful for them.  They make me a better leader and they keep the ministry moving forward.  But I remember a day when I would avoid these conversations.  I didn’t want to be challenged in my thoughts and ideas.  I received them as personal digs on my ability or dissent of my vision.  I had this warped sense that if I was placed in charge then I should divinely have all the answers.  It wasn’t that I believed no one else should contribute ideas.  But that mine (of all of them) should not be dismissed.  If they were…. then what was I good for?  It wasn’t that I thought everyone should agree with me.  I just didn’t want them to tell me!


Needless to say, this is a poor way to lead a team.  And I paid dearly for it.  I could give multiple examples of conflict avoidance over the past decade. The longer I avoided conflict within my team, the more trust eroded.  It’s like skating on thin ice.  The ice will finally give and everyone standing on it gets soaked.


The thing that never changes about hard conversations is that they’re hard.  Plain and simple.  I don’t think they ever cease to be hard.  Whether you’re pitching and idea, producing a solution or offering up guidance we’re relatively attached to our own thoughts.  We like them.  Which is why we present them.  To have them shot down or dismissed can sting.  But you can get accustomed to the sting over time.  In fact, I believe you can learn to embrace the sting.


Because the benefit of confrontation far outweighs the negatives.  When people are free to express their thoughts in the safety of a collaborative environment you get more contributions.  When you have more thoughts contributed you find better solutions.  When you find better solutions the teamwork mentality increases.  The momentum you gain is like a drug… and you can’t get enough of it.


Here’s a great exercise.  Ask yourself this question…

What stops me from embracing confrontation?


Take a minute and write out the words, phrases/thoughts that come to mind.  Don’t attempt to structure.  Just write.  This is strictly for your benefit.  When the thoughts stop you stop.  Then put it away for 24 hours.  At the end of 24 hours, pull out that piece of paper and read it again.  Look for common themes/words.


Then ask yourself this question…

What could happen if I embrace confrontation?


Again, scribble out your thoughts.  Single words or complete phrases… doesn’t matter.  Just write.  When you’re done compare the two pages.


As you lead over time your team will reflect your leadership.  Which page do want to be the testimony of your team?


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Measuring Success in Children’s Ministry

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry


Last month at the Orange Conference I had the opportunity to teach a breakout session called Measuring Success in Children’s Ministry.

You can imagine the interest around trying to measure what we do and determine if we’re successful. There are so many things we do weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually to achieve our mission as ministry leaders. And though our ministry contexts look different, our denomination affiliations (or lack thereof) vary, our strategies and approaches differ… at the end of the day, we all share a common goal.

The question we constantly wrestle through is simple yet remarkable challenging.

How do we determine that our ministry activities are effectively leading people toward a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father?

In the session, we highlighted a few of the ‘common’ methods of determining success in ministry:

  • Attendance/Participation
  • Feedback (Positive or Negative)
  • Number of Decisions/Life-Change

These are good things to measure and (candidly) these are metrics that should be logged and tracked over time. However, these methods alone don’t show a complete picture for the success of our ministry.

And if we’re truthful with ourselves, the reality is inescapable. We don’t really know the effectiveness of our ministries for years to come.

If you think about it… we don’t really know the effectiveness of…

…Preschool ministries until the child transitions to Elementary.

…Elementary ministry until the child transitions to Student ministry.

…Student ministry until that student transitions to what’s next.

But, what if there was a way to measure our ministry in a way that allows us to nimbly adjust & improve our outcomes?

Last year our staff read the book 4 Disciplines of Execution. One of my biggest takeaways was the concept of Lead and Lag Measures. Methods by which we measure success can fall under two different categories: Lead Measures and Lag Measures.

A Lag Measure is the measurement of a result you are trying to achieve. By the time you get the data the result has already happened.

A Lead Measure is a predictive, influenceable action that foretells a result.

The methods referenced above (Attendance, Feedback, Decisions) fall under the Lag Measure category. They don’t influence the outcome. They reflect it.

In order to successfully measure our effectiveness in ministry, we need to incorporate both Lag Measures & Lead Measures into our evaluation process. In addition to the metrics we track from one week to the next, we need some predictive, influenceable actions that foretell the results that we want.

A great example of the difference between Lead and Lag is the difference between the app MyFitnessPal and the scale.

Both are tools to help you determine your success in gaining or (more likely) losing weight. But the key difference between these two measurement tools is that one is a Lead Measure while the other is a Lag Measure.

Let’s look deeper:

On my journey to regain my 20 year old figure (insert canned laugh), I start by determining how much weight I want to lose. Then I make a plan that looks something like this:

  1. Eat Healthy
  2. Exercise
  3. Measure

Once a week I’ll step on the scale to find out if I’m on track. The scale is a Lag Measure because it can only reflect my success from the previous 7 days. I can’t go back and adjust my behaviors from the previous 7 days based upon what the scale tells me. But I can certainly make adjustments for the future.

Lag Measures are helpful and important to the process of evaluation. But by themselves, they are not as effective.

Now, if I use MyFitnessPal in addition to the scale… then I will log the food I consume and the exercise I do each day. At the end of the day MyFitnessPal gives me a predicted outcome 5 weeks in the future based upon today’s activities… “If every day were like today, in 5 weeks you’ll weigh…”

MyFitnessPal is a Lead Measure because it measures my behaviors and allows me to make adjustments with each meal I eat. It’s predictive and influenceable.

Paired with the scale, my chances of success increase dramatically because I can make adjustments as I go so that the number reflected on the scale at the end of the week is closer to my goal.


Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could measure all our ministry activities in such a way that we could say…

“If every week were like this week, next month we will be…”

“If every month were like this month, in one year we will be…”

“If every year were like this year, in 5 years we will be…”

At Orange, we believe that’s possible. In fact, in addition to the Lag Measures that are typically used, there are 5 Lead Measures we can use to measure our ministries for effectiveness. Orange calls them Gauges. Here they are with brief descriptions of each:

Gauge #1: Integrate Strategy – Align leaders to lead with the same end in mind.

Gauge #2: Refine the Message – Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, memorable experiences.

Gauge #3: Reactivate the Family – Parents actively participate in the spiritual formation of their own children.

Gauge #4: Elevate Community – Everyone is connected to a caring leader and a consistent group of peers.

Gauge #5: Leverage Influence – Create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry.

The important thing to note is that depending upon our “seat on the bus” there are some areas we can influence and some we cannot. I’ve had great conversations with High School, Middle School, Elementary and Preschool leaders who look at these gauges and say,

“That’s great. But I only have influence over my area of ministry. This looks like a whole church strategy.”

And they’re right. This is a whole church strategy. But you don’t have to wait for your senior leadership to embrace this. Focusing on where you have influence is the best place to start.

How can these gauges help your specific area of ministry?

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When to add Ministry Staff_What do you do?

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry, Team Building

DeathtoStock_Creative Community9

I’m in the trenches this week putting pen to paper (figuratively speaking) trying to define a staffing matrix.

What’s a staffing matrix?  Actually… I don’t really know! It just sounds really good. :)

Here’s what I think it means. A matrix is a construct. Like a framework that defines structure.

My goal with defining a staffing matrix is to provide a framework we can follow to add staff (paid or unpaid) to our Children’s Ministry teams.

Essentially, I want a better way to determine when it’s time to invite someone on the bus.

Because my ministry world is multi-site, I am looking at a staffing matrix that will work with multiple locations of multiple size (i.e. attendance).

For ministry leaders reading this post (Student Ministry & Kidmin alike!), I need your input!

I’ve put together a survey to find out more about how ministry leaders (like you) determine when and how you add staff.

Would you help make my ministry better by taking 5 minutes and complete this survey?

Create your own user feedback survey

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Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Orange

Originally posted 2010-04-30 09:03:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We’re in the final day of  the Orange Conference.  Lot’s of great thoughts from people like Donald Miller, Reggie Joiner, Perry Noble, and more.  Inspiring breakouts by Jeannie Stevens, Jim Wideman, Chuck Bomar, etc.  Behind the scenes interviews of kidmin & stumin bloggers like Sam Luce, Cara Martens, Amy Dolan, Matt McKee, etc.

One more day to keep up with the awesomeness happening at Orange 2010… all from your computer.  Enjoy

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