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Posts Tagged "kids ministry"

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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“Every moment is a…

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Ministry, My Life, Parenting

…teachable moment.”

That’s what I was always told. And I believed it for a long time. That’s why conversation at the dinner table looks a little like this…

Keegan: “I had the most FUN at Enrichment Class today!”

Mom: “Really, honey. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. So, what did you do?”

Keegan (swallowing): “We builded this cool tower out of these fat, flat sticks.”

Mom: “The word is ‘built’, buddy. Not builded. That’s cool. Do you mean you used tongue depressors?”

Keegan: “No, mom. They were flat, fat sticks.”

Mom (chuckling): “They are tongue depressors, son.”

Keegan: “Oh”

Everyone returns to their meal. Keegan is corrected in the proper etiquette of table manners, and the correct term for those ‘flat, fat sticks’. But we heard nothing about how the tower was built, why he enjoyed making it so much and what else he thought he could make with those ‘fat, flat sticks’.

Not every moment is a teachable moment. Sometimes you just need to let things slide. Would you enjoy talking to someone that constantly corrected you? Probably not.

Kids give you numerous opportunities to teach them.

Pace yourself.

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Building Faith Skills in Kids (4 of 5)

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Orange

Talking about the 5 skills to establish faith in our kids.  Catch the first 4 here.

Faith Skill #4: Articulate Faith

Create a safe place to discuss and wrestle with what kids believe.  This is key for our kids to make their faith their own.

Not just as parents, but as individuals, we can fear doubt.  We are scared of questions.  Sometimes it freaks us out when people question their faith.  We think we might lose them forever.  They might go off the deep end.

“Just have more faith.  Have more faith!”

I’m not discounting faith.  It’s a vital component to your relationship with Jesus.  But in order to make something your own, sometimes you’ve got to wrestle it down yourself.   I appreciate a good sermon, but I value scripture more when I labor through, question and digest it myself.

Give people in your home the space and the safety to question.  Have less faith in your explanations of God… and have more faith in the work God is doing in the midst of the wrestle.

Some of the best parenting advise I’d ever heard came from a 23 year old single man.  He said…

Talk less.  Pray more.

Do questions make you uncomfortable?  Do you allow people to question and wrestle with their faith?

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Confessions of a Kids Pastor

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in My Life

As a pastor I confess that my job can get in the way of my family.  It’s an ongoing challenge to ensure my family comes before my ministry.  There are moments I do that well… and moments I do not.

Last week I had a moment that I did not.

Though numbers are not the focus, we certainly track attendance as a barometer to help us determine the success/effectiveness of an event.  With goals set, we chase those ‘carrots’ all year long with the best intentions.  One such goal is to maintain strong attendance in our discipleship program from August to May.

Why do you need to know this?  Setting the stage, I guess.

Last week was the first week of school.  Josie started the 1st grade.  She was puh-umped.

All day school… Lunch in the cafeteria… more nervous energy than she knew what to do with.

It was also the first day of KONNECT.  (KONNECT is our kids discipleship program.) Now that Josie is 6 years old, she gets to participate in KONNECT.  Again, she was puh-umped.

After picking the kids up from school, we ran some errands, horked down grabbed some dinner and headed off to church.  Josie was borderline psychotic clearly tired by the time we arrived at church.  She’d had a few melt-downs since leaving school.  I debated on the wisdom of sending her to church and thus being up 2 hours past her bedtime.  I envisioned the following morning and the probability of outbursts that register on the Richter scale.

Despite the wisdom of just keeping her home and allowing her opportunity to rest, I took her to church.

Why?

Numbers.

If she wasn’t there, it would count against our numbers.

Like I said, sometimes I do a good job of putting my family first… and then there are moments like these. 

(Cue music as she is crowned ‘Mother of the Year’)

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Great Question! Who has an answer?

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Orange

Last week during…

we discussed the 5 essentials to the Orange Philosophy.  My friend, Cathy Heitzenrater, asks a great question.

Hey Gina – How are some ways we can implement more orange strategy in churches with an Uber Simple Church structure?

This is an excellent question.  One to which many of you could contribute some excellent ideas.

So, who’s game?

How would you respond to Cathy?

Leave a comment and let’s offer up some great ideas together.

BTW… I met Cathy at the Orange Conference last year.  She’s fun.  If you want to talk to her out on Twitter, click here or friend her on Facebook, click here.  If you want to meet her in person… you have to come to the Orange Conference 2010.  You can click here to sign up.  She’ll be there.  She’ll make you smile.  🙂
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