Blog 2

November 6, 2017

The Undeniable Benefits Of Longevity In Ministry

Just a few days ago, October 31, 2017 - I celebrated the fact that 18 years ago my wife, Cherith, and I came to Arkansas to be the Kids Pastors at First NLR.  What a ride it has been!  We have been blessed to serve under two incredible pastors, Dr. Alton Garrison (the first 18 months) and Rod Loy (the past 16.5 years).  To serve on such an incredible team (many of whom have been along for MOST of the ride as well) is more of a blessing than I could describe. There's something to be said about longevity in ministry […]
October 4, 2017

Communicating So Kids WANT To Listen (FREE VIDEO LESSON )

I am super pumped to share this FREE video lesson with you!  How would you like to learn some of the great principles and practices used by some of the most dynamic and effective communicators? Well, now you can!  In this video, I share some of the best tips and practices that I have learned in my 25 years of Kids Ministry!  It's a FREE video lesson from my Online Video Course called: "ACCELERATE: Boosting Your Ministry Effectiveness."   Here's the FREE VIDEO LESSON: [vimeo id="234919493"] Want MORE helpful videos like this?  You can find them in my  Online Video Course […]
August 26, 2015

Make Ministry Simple, Not Easy

Today’s post is written by Jeffrey Kranz and sponsored by Disciplr, a new interactive curriculum platform for KidMin leaders. Check out their free ebook for Sunday school teachers! It’s a blessing and a curse to be a leader in this day and age, isn’t it? It’s a blessing because it seems like almost every area of life is getting easier. It’s a curse because you’re expected to make things exponentially easier for your volunteers, too! That makes sense, though. Almost everything is getting easier. I can’t remember the last time I had to ask for directions. (Thanks, Google!) I can […]
August 24, 2015

4 Reasons The Kids In Your Ministry Are Misbehaving

We've all been there.  It's Sunday Morning, and you are ready for an awesome day of ministry to the kids in your church.  But, things just didn't go according to plan.  Johnny wouldn't stop throwing paper airplanes, Suzi wouldn't stop talking to her neighbor, and the Jones kid decided to bring a laser pointer and virtually blind you while you were teaching.  It seemed like the entire class had obviously eaten a dozen powdered donuts for breakfast and were on a major sugar high. Now, when this happens you have a choice to make.  You can get angry, threaten to […]
July 31, 2015

Brain Science & The Bible: Are They Enemies?

I will never forget sitting in the company of a preacher while I was in Bible College.  This preacher railed against Science and technology.  He viewed them as vehement enemies of the Kingdom of God.  He firmly believed that any sort of connection between Science and The Bible was a lie. Growing up in a Spirit-led church community, I often heard arguments against "those churches who plan and prepare their services."  It was believed that those who use their human minds to plan Church services were "not allowing God's Spirit to lead them."  The assumption, of course, was that God […]
July 15, 2015

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT About My New Book

I have been working the last two years on my new book, "Talk Now And Later: How To Lead Kids Through Life's Tough Topics."  I firmly believe this book is going to be a GAME CHANGER for all Christian Parents! Children today are being bombarded by messages that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. Parents (and grandparents who are now parenting their grandkids) feel completely overwhelmed as they try to navigate the difficult waters of conversation with their kids about very difficult topics.  That’s why I wrote this book!  To help parents and grandparents lead kids through topics like […]
June 29, 2015

A Children's Pastor's Response To The Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that marriage between homosexual couples would be legally recognized in all fifty states. No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground.  It’s hard for any parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic. Many Christian parents have struggled with the question, “How do I talk to my kids about this?” Likewise, many Children’s Pastors have struggled with the question, “What is my responsibility in this? Should I […]
June 1, 2015

T.H.I.N.K. Before You Post/Tweet

Rarely does a day go by when I don't open Social Media and see tweets and posts from Christians that I read and wonder, "Did they even take a nanosecond to think what those who see or read this will think?"  Posts like: “I’ve never met such a hateful & cold-hearted person in my life.” “You know how to put me in the worst mood possible.” “I’ve put up with this [stuff] for too long. I’m tired of it.” “The more you talk, the more convinced I become that pushing you down a set of stairs would solve a lot […]
May 1, 2015

Are You Teaching Your Kids A False Gospel?

I am at Awana's "Vantage Conference" and had the privilege of listening to a legend of Children's Ministry, Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales and What's In The Bible?).  Phil told a story that gripped my heart. Ted Turner (media mogul and founder of CNN & TBS) is an outspoken critic of Christianity.  Most people know this.  In 1990, speaking before the American Humanist Association, Turner proclaimed that "Christianity is for losers"...and this isn't nearly the most provocative thing he has said about Christians.  Many know this about Turner, but not many know the story behind his anti-religous sentiment. Ted Turner dreamed […]
April 22, 2015

FREE Family Ministry Conference? Yep, It's True!

FREE stuff is great!  Everybody loves FREE!  Free coffee, free candy, free toenail clippers with your neighbor's company logo on it - you don't care...because it's FREE!  We love FREE! Every once in a while, something comes along that is FREE, but is also something you would be willing to pay for...and pay a LOT!  That something - is the D6 Days Family Conference! It's a new online event that you don't want to miss out on.  Rally up your team and inspire them with over 23 sessions from some of the best speakers in the world.  This is perfect for […]
March 31, 2015

How Do You Know If You Are Called To Full-Time Ministry?

Several weeks ago I received an email from a fellow Kids Ministry leader.  He asked, "Can you help me as far as my calling?  How did you know you were called?  How can I affirm my calling?"  Such great questions - and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated.  I wanted so hard to give the "right" answers to his questions - so I kept thinking and thinking (and putting off writing about it). I finally realized that there really isn't a "right" answer.  However, I can share from my experience and the experiences of others to share […]
March 12, 2015

Are You A Secure Or Insecure Leader?

Security is the main ingredient of healthy relationships.  You need healthy relationships with others in order to fulfill the call God has placed on your life.  As a Kids Ministry Leader, your goal is to raise up others to join you in the vision of raising the next generation of life-long followers of Christ.  If you are not secure in who you are and who God has created you to be, you will (consciously or not) poison your relationships with the people God puts around you.  My pastor, Rod Loy, challenges our entire team to evaluate whether or not we are […]
February 2, 2015

3 Reasons Your Lead Pastor Just Doesn't Get It

I hear one statement a LOT as I travel and speak to Kids Ministry Leaders all over the country: “My Lead Pastor just doesn’t get it!”  In some churches, there seems to be a real divide between the senior leadership and the Kids Ministry Pastor/Director. Most Kidmin Leaders I talk to feel that the reason for the strain on this relationship is almost entirely the fault of the Lead Pastor. They forget that every relationship is a two-way street and haven’t considered the following three reasons why the Lead Pastor doesn’t “get” Kids Ministry. 1.  He doesn’t know what’s going […]
January 26, 2015

Do You Suffer From #Kidmin Tunnel Vision?

I will never forget the Staff Meeting where I confronted my Pastor about why I wasn't made aware of the big Missions opportunity that the rest of the staff seemed to already know about.  I let him know how upset I was that "those of us who are in Children's Ministry and aren't able to be in the Sanctuary on Sundays shouldn't be kept in the dark. My pastor kindly asked me, "Brian, did you not read the bulletin the last few weeks?"  I had not.  "Did you read the letter I sent home to every household in our church?" […]
December 22, 2014

Too Many Pastors Are Overweight

I figured that headline would get your attention.  But, sadly it is true.  Certainly not all, but an overwhelming majority (76%) of pastors (male and female) answered a recent poll that they would call themselves "obese."  In addition, many of them don’t feel confident behind the pulpit, don’t feel attractive to their spouse, aren’t taking a day off, have trouble sleeping, are lacking exercise regularly, and have minimal know-how to fueling their bodies. I can certainly say that not too long ago - I was in the same boat.  I finally came to the realization that change was never going […]
December 3, 2014

3 Things I Tell EVERY Volunteer

Part of the process for joining our Kids Ministry team is a personal sit-down interview with me, the Kids Pastor.  I want to personally know every person who serves on our team - whether that is in an up-front or behind-the-scenes capacity.  During this interview, I always stress three important principles that I hope will guide their decisions while serving in ministry: 1)  Always Strive For Excellence We try to live Colossians 3:23 on a daily basis:  "Whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. Do it for the Lord and not for men.”  In every part of […]
November 17, 2014

How To Kill An Invisible Gorilla

OK, now before the folks at PETA start picketing my blog - let me explain. Ever heard the expression "monkey on my back"?  It refers to a problem or irritation that just won't seem to go away.  A looming deadline, a staffing issue, a recurring problem.  These "monkeys" can be irritating. However, I am not talking about those little "monkeys" in this blog.  Have you ever woke up with such heaviness, such a weight bearing down on you it's like a 900 lb gorilla sitting on your chest?  You know that you have something huge to face today - a […]
November 3, 2014

The Most Rewarding Ministry Program I Have Ever Started

I was looking through some old photos this weekend and came across the picture above.  It's a shot from thirteen years ago that features our 2001 C.I.A. team.  C.I.A. stands for "Christians In Action."  C.I.A. is our Summer Discipleship/Leadership Program for 4th & 5th graders.  As I looked at it, I realized that two of the eight members of that team are on our Pastoral Staff here at First NLR. C.I.A. has been one of the most effective programs I have ever started in my 23 years of Kids Ministry!  We just celebrated our 15th graduating class.  The graduates of CIA […]
October 31, 2014

The Unmistakable Benefits Of Longevity In Ministry

Today is October 31, 2014.  It was exactly 15 years ago that my wife, Cherith, and I came to Arkansas to be the Kids Pastors at First NLR.  What a ride it has been!  We have been blessed to serve under two incredible pastors, Dr. Alton Garrison (the first 18 months) and Rod Loy (the past 13.5 years).  To serve on such an incredible team (many of whom have been along for MOST of the ride as well) is more of a blessing than I could describe. There's something to be said about longevity in ministry - especially longevity in […]
October 2, 2014

4 Proven Ways To Get On Your Boss' Good Side

Everybody wants to be "in" with the boss.  Nobody wants to be on the outside looking into the boss' inner-circle.  You want to be someone he trusts.  You want to be someone your boss will call on when he needs feedback, when he has a new initiative he wants to start, or when he wants to bounce off a new idea. As a Children's Pastor, it is so important to me that I have a strong personal relationship with my boss - my Senior Pastor.  I think that is something that every staff pastor would want.  The problem is, we often behave as […]
September 7, 2014

How To Handle Parents Who Don't Attend Your Church

Some time ago, one of the children who attends our church (but his parents do not) told me, "I didn’t come last week because my dad doesn't think it’s important.” I recognized what he was doing.  I asked him, “Did your dad actually say that he doesn't think church is important?” The boy said, “Well, no, but since he didn’t bring me, he must have something against me coming.” I quickly responded, “Wait a minute.  We can’t draw that conclusion.  Give your dad a break.  I’m sure he was just busy and couldn’t make his schedule work out.  After all, […]
September 2, 2014

Do You Struggle Getting Volunteers For Your Ministry?

Do you struggle getting volunteers for your ministry?  If you do, you are NOT alone!  Survey after survey tells us that recruiting and keeping volunteers is one of the biggest struggles for EVERY Kids Ministry Leader.  Well, I have an incredible opportunity for you that will help change that statistic. My friend, Ryan Frank, was a Children’s Pastor for 15 years and is currently the CEO/Publisher at KidzMatter.  He has created a FREE 4-part video series on how to recruit and keep amazing volunteers.  The video series is called “Volunteer Breakthrough."  In this video series, Ryan unpacks 10 Laws he […]
August 20, 2014

5 Things Every Ministry Leader Should Be Doing With Their Family

This week I got an email from a fellow Kids Pastor.  It said, "How hard do you push your children? On those days when someone from the church has been extremely rude, or when a party took place on a Saturday night and Sunday morning my kids show up and have to clean before worship service can even begin, or when they are just plain TIRED. Everyone gets frustrated from time to time because we are dealing with humans.  How do I, as a mother, know when I'm pushing them too hard.  The LAST thing I want is for them […]
August 11, 2014

10 Common Mistakes Church Staff Members Make

If you work (or have worked) on a multiple member staff at a local church, you know that it is not always easy to maintain unity and cohesion among the team.  Much of the reason for that are some of these common mistakes made by church staff members.  Browse the list and give yourself a check-up... 1)  Competing with other staff members. In staff meeting, they look for opportunities to shoot each other down.  They make the mistake of thinking that to make yourself look good, you have to make them look bad.  That’s not a team. 2)  Using “cut-down” humor […]
July 28, 2014

Three Words That Will Energize Your Ministry

There are three words that will energize your ministry.  No, it's not "Drink More Coffee!"  Although, on a Monday morning after a LONG Sunday, I can see where that would certainly help!  The three words that will energize your ministry:  ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY! OK, so it's the same word repeated twice!  But, having a high level of energy can transform a normally boring and routine Kids Ministry into a thriving one.  Just about everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, […]
July 21, 2014

5 Ways Twitter Can Instantly Enhance Your Ministry Effectiveness

Twitter is not exactly "new technology" since it was founded almost ten years ago on March 21, 2006.  Many Kidmin Leaders are already using this Social Media tool on a daily basis, but I also know many who have hesitated.  Some thought it was a passing fad, while others are just intimidated by it.  Still others just "don't get what the big deal is with Twitter." I use Twitter daily.  I use it for a variety of reasons.  It gives me a tool to have unprecedented connectivity to so many of my networks (friends, fellow laborers, and other leaders).  If […]
July 13, 2014

10 Children's Pastors I Don't Follow Anymore

[guestpost]This week, I am away at Kids Camp.  So, I have invited a couple of my good friends in Kids Ministry to share some guest posts on my blog.  This a guest post from my great friend, Ryan Frank, who is the CEO of KidzMatter and a Vice President at Awana Clubs International.  He blogs over at RyanFrank.com.  But, most importantly, Ryan is a leader's leader.  Ryan is giving away  some great video training at RyanFrank.com.  I encourage you to go sign up so you start receiving them.  They are inspiring, informative, and transformational.  [/guestpost] I love children’s pastors. I have given much of my life to equipping them and […]
July 7, 2014

Kids Ministry "Meatloaf"

A mother was making meatloaf with her teenage daughter, a ritual they've been doing together for years.  As part of the tradition, the two chefs cut the end off one side of the meatloaf before putting it in the oven.  One day, the teen asks, "Mom, why do we cut the end off the meatloaf before we put it in the oven?" Taken by surprise, the mom began to think.  She really wasn't sure of the reason, but she had observed her own mother do this many times when she made meatloaf.  So, the teen and the mother called up Grandma to […]
June 30, 2014

Should Kids Ministry Leaders Drink Alcohol?

The other day I answered a question that was posed in a Children's Ministry forum that I belong to.  "How do you all handle seeing Facebook posts of your adult volunteers drinking or bar hopping?"  There was definitely a diversity of opinion among the members of the group.  So, I thought that this would make a good blog post and a healthy conversation. Before I get into it, let me make something perfectly clear:  This is my opinion.  I am not declaring doctrine, nor am I telling you what your standards should be.  I am simply sharing my personal thoughts on the […]
June 25, 2014

VIDEO - "How To Communicate So Kids Want To Listen"

There's nothing worse than trying to communicate to a group of kids who aren't paying any attention to you.  As a matter of fact, if they aren't listening - then you aren't really communicating!  In this teaching, I share some of the things I have learned when it comes to communicating to kids in large groups, small groups, and one-on-one.  I pray it is helpful to you! https://vimeo.com/98355521 If you like this video, please do me a favor.  Leave a comment below.  Which of the pointers I shared made the biggest impact for you?  What is ONE THING you can do starting […]
June 12, 2014

Starting A Kids Ministry From Scratch (An Essential Resource)

If you have ever had the daunting task of having to start a Kids Ministry from scratch (as in NOTHING, ZILCH, NADA), then you know it can be exhausting.  It's all you can do to keep from pulling your hair out and losing your marbles.  That is, until now! My friend and fellow Kids Pastor, Trisha Peach, has developed a LIFE-CHANGING resource:  "Your Children's Ministry From Scratch."  It is the definitive how-to book for anyone who ministers to children, whether volunteer or paid staff.  It's funny, poignant and interactive! Trisha's book, “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch” is due out this summer 2014. […]
June 10, 2014

6 Reasons You Aren't Creative In Your Ministry

I hear it all the time from so many Kids Ministry leaders.  It's the six words that should NEVER come out of your mouth…“I’m just not a creative person.” Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways such as, “How do you guys at High Voltage Kids Ministry do what you do?”“I could never do that!”  “I wish I could be more creative, but I don’t have it in me.”  “Why are some people creative and others aren’t?” The 6 reasons most people aren't creative in their ministry?  It's because they believe the six words I stated above:  "I'm just not a […]
June 9, 2014

How To Know The Difference Between Being "Careful" And "Fearful"

I can't tell you how many times FEAR has kept me from stepping out and doing something big for God!  Fear is a powerful emotion and many times is a major deterrent to us accomplishing what God has called us to do. Some people pretend not to be afraid.  They talk big, but they aren’t fooling anyone. Others redefine it.  They claim, “I’m not afraid. I’m just being very careful.”  In his book, Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley compared “careful” and “fearful.” Careful is cerebral; fearful is emotional. Careful is fueled by information; fearful is fueled by imagination. Careful calculates risk; fearful avoids […]
June 4, 2014

3 Reasons You Need To STOP Telling Everyone You Need Help!

Picture this:  It's an average Sunday Morning in church in Anytown, USA.  The kids are bouncing off the walls, the crowd is buzzing, and the energy is palpable! Suddenly, the silence is broken with a booming voice echoing through the halls. It's the voice of the Children's Ministry Director.  She's talking to a group of people whom she sees as possible volunteers.  Then, the words come out - "We need HELP!  We are overwhelmed!  We have so many kids and not enough workers!  HELP US!" This is perhaps THE most ineffective way to recruit new team members.  There is nothing […]
May 28, 2014

How Do You Say "Goodbye" To Your Ministry Kids?

"Don't leave me!  You're gonna be sad you're not in Kids Ministry anymore.  You're gonna miss me so much you will hate Student Ministry.  You're gonna want to be back here!"  These are the words I once heard a Kidmin Leader tell the 5th graders who were promoting.  I don't think he realized just how insecure this made him look.  It was all about him, not the kids. We all go through it:   the bittersweet moment called "Promotion Day."  All of the children you have poured your heart and soul into are now too old for Kids Ministry.  It is […]
May 26, 2014

5 Keys To Remember When A Child Has A SERIOUS Prayer Request

"Pastor Sharon, will you pray for my Dad?  He just got arrested for doing something really bad to my sister." These words are devastating to any Kids Ministry Leader.  Sadly, in the society in which we live - these words have become much more common than any of us want to admit.  How you and your Kids Ministry volunteers handle situations like this could be absolutely KEY to the long-term spiritual, physical, and emotional health of the child involved. This past week, I taught my Kids Ministry staff about communicating with kids one-on-one.  One of the questions I covered was: […]
May 22, 2014

One Of The Best Tools For Ministry Networking Ever Created

I am a big fan of networking.  What is networking?  It is simply connecting with other people who share the same passion and purpose that you do. There are many reasons why networking with other Children's Ministry Leaders is a wise idea: INSPIRATION - You can get inspiration from what they are trying in their ministries.  Who knows?  God may use someone else's idea to spark something in your mind and heart! INFORMATION - Getting together with other Children's Ministry Leaders helps you find out what all is out there that you might be missing.  Curriculum, Music, Illustrations, Outreach, etc.  Swapping […]
May 19, 2014

Are You Stealing From Others For The Sake Of The Ministry?

It was a hot Summer afternoon in Dallas, Texas in 1993.  I had a flat tire - and no spare.  I locked my car, left it on the side of busy I-35E in the middle of rush hour traffic, and started running to the closest service station about 1 mile away.  I got there, bought a cheap spare tire, and rolled it back down the hill to my car.  I had only been gone approximately 20 minutes. When I arrived, I found my back window broken with glass all in my back seat.  I looked inside to find that my […]
May 13, 2014

Who Is Really In Charge Of Your Weekly Schedule?

There are two ways you can live:  Proactive or Reactive!  You can either float through your work week responding and reacting to whatever life throws at you, OR you can live ON-PURPOSE according to a plan you have set.  One produces peace and productivity, the other produces stress and procrastination. Obviously, stuff happens.  Things come up.  You can’t plan for everything. But, I have found that it is a whole lot easier to accomplish what matters most when you are proactive and "begin with the end in mind." (see Stephen Covey's "7 habits of Highly Effective People") One of the […]
May 6, 2014

How To Talk To Kids About DEATH And TRAGEDY

I remember exactly where I was the day the Columbine Massacre happened in 1999.  I couldn’t believe the news.  Never before had we seen that kind of devastation and tragedy on a school campus.  Years later, I remember exactly where I was the moment I learned of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  I was shocked at the death toll, rocked by the devastation that had been caused by this killer who took the lives and futures of so many innocent children. Perhaps you remember the thoughts that went through your mind.  Like many, you might have had the thought, […]
May 5, 2014

5 Things That Will Destroy Ministry Momentum

We all love those moments in ministry when everything seems to be clicking.  The team is rocking, the place is growing, the numbers are climbing, and the morale is as high as its every been.  It's what many leaders call "The Big MO" - a.k.a. MOMENTUM! Momentum in ministry should NEVER be taken for granted.  You never know how long it will last.  You want to make the most of it and capitalize on it.  If you aren't careful, you might lose it.  Here's a quick hit list of some of the biggest MOMENTUM KILLERS. 1)  PRIDE - There is nothing […]
April 30, 2014

Should Kids Ministry Take The Summer OFF?

I hear it all the time from Kidmin Leaders:  "We're taking the Summer off!"  "We are canceling Kids Ministry Services during the Summer and just having kids sit in 'big church' every week!"  While I completely understand the rationale that goes into these decisions (hard to get volunteers during Summer, difficult with so many families on vacation, etc.), here are a few reasons why we DON'T take a Summer Break for Kids Ministry: 1)  Momentum - It's a precious thing in Kids Ministry.  We see it in all around us – an almost inexplicable energy that propels a team to victory, […]
April 28, 2014

Are You An Effective Communicator?

I was in a meeting the other day where the presenter had a lot of good information.  It was strong stuff.  However, I looked around the room and noticed - NOBODY is listening!  They were all on their phones, checking email, daydreaming, or doodling.  It wasn't because the presenter didn't have good, solid information to share.  It was because he was a POOR communicator.  If he had put half as much effort into his presentation as he obviously had in researching his info, it would have turned out much differently. When you step in front of a group (whether that […]
April 22, 2014

Can I Be A Good Dad & Pastor?

GUEST POST by Michael Bayne (of ParentMinistry.net) This is a post that I struggle writing because there is no way I am getting nominated for “Dad of the Year.”  I am learning on the go the same way all the rest of you are as parents.  The question I am wrestling with is can I be a good pastor and dad? I ask the question because I know every pastor, minister, and lead volunteer out there wonders if they are giving the best they have to the ministry they lead at church and ministry God has given them at home.  […]
April 15, 2014

Should I Tell My Pastor About This?

"Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?" It's a question that most staff members struggle with.  "When is the right time to share information with my Lead Pastor?"  Naturally, you don't want to be a pest and "bother" him.  At the same time, you don't want to hold onto information that may be vital to the church for a long time and deprive him of the opportunity to respond in an appropriate way in the appropriate time. Here is a good list to follow when deciding "Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?" that […]
April 8, 2014

3 Important Ways To Help Kids Develop A Heart For Worship

Worship is an important part of the Christian life.  It is a time of devoted focus toward God, expressing our love to Him.  In order to develop a heart of worship in children who are new in the faith (or young in age), there are some practical steps you should take. 1)  Understand each child’s journey into worship As a Children’s Ministry Leader, we need to take the children on that Sunday’s journey to the place of worship.  Understand that every child is coming from different places into the worship service.  This includes the personal atmosphere that each child brings in with them.  Some […]
April 2, 2014

"Consequences" In Kids Ministry

In a recent post, I explained what our discipline policies are for Kidmin.  Several have asked me to post our "consequences", so here you go! If you want kids to follow your "rules," then you MUST  follow through with established consequences.  Consequences help kids own their behavior and teach them to make better choices.  Here are the established steps we follow when applying consequences. 1.  Remind the child of the rule they have broken. - Often, kids just "forgot" and acted before thinking.  Have grace for those accidental mistakes. 2.  Official Warning - Say, "OK, now this is your ONE […]
March 26, 2014

3 Steps To Better Classroom Discipline

Discipline is a hot button issue for people who work with kids.  While public and private school systems have five days a week to instill a discipline plan with students, the church typically has about one hour per week to do the same thing.  It's important to have a clear system in place.  The last thing you want to do is expect volunteers to come up with their own discipline plan without guidance or expectations. 1)  Keep it CLEAR Successful Discipline comes down to two words:  CLEAR EXPECTATIONS There is no way that kids can be expected to be held accountable to […]
March 19, 2014

3 Keys To Adding MORE Volunteers To Your Ministry Team

It's a question I get on a regular basis:  "How do you get folks in the church to volunteer when they think it is the Children's Pastor's job to do the ministry?" This is one of the most difficult tasks of a Kidmin Leader - Recruiting Volunteers.  I can tell you, there is no magic formula.  The only way to recruit successfully is by CONTINUOUS hard work and adherence to a few key principles.  However, there are three important keys that I live by.   Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team of leaders to serve the […]
March 3, 2014

Our NEW Kidmin Stage - Why We Did What We Did

Four weeks ago, we tore down the Kidmin stage we had used for the past decade.  It was a tough decision.  So many memories of many kids' lives being changed around that stage.  However, it was time.  If you want to know WHY we tore down what seemed to be a perfectly good stage, see THIS POST. Yesterday, we unveiled our NEW Kidmin stage.  It is a significantly different approach.  Many have asked what made us go the direction we went, so I thought I would document our thoughts here.  Of course, I understand that every environment depends heavily on […]
February 24, 2014

The Key To Limitless Creativity

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I like to write about creativity.  It's a passion of mine because I know so many people who sell themselves short when it comes to creativity.  Many have decided that "creativity is a gift reserved for the few."  This is simply not true - not if you serve GOD! Even the most creative human minds are finite.  The term finite means “having bounds or limits; not infinite; measurable.”  But God is infinite.  He is “far above all,” not limited by any boundaries at all.  When we draw […]
February 17, 2014

The Poison Of Procrastination

As I’ve talked to hundreds of people involved in kids’ ministries across the country, I’ve observed that there’s an epidemic of procrastination.  We excuse it in all kinds of ways, but all our reasons lead to the same result.  Yes, you have to be quick, and you never know what a kid is going to say or what kind of crazy thing will happen next.  But many kids’ leaders believe their enthusiastic personalities and the spontaneity of their ministry give them a license to walk in unprepared.  They try to get by, doing the least they can do, and it […]
February 10, 2014

Questions To Ask The References Of Kids Ministry Applicants

Safety and security are a BIG deal in Kids Ministry!  If the children are not safe and secure AND if the parents don't feel like the kids are safe and secure, you may never even have an opportunity to minister to those children.  Safety and security should be a high priority for EVERY Kids Ministry. Hopefully, each of you have a practice of requiring an application and background check for every volunteer who wants to work on your team.  Something that you may not do - ask for references.  On our application, we ask for three references of people NOT […]
February 5, 2014

Why I Destroyed My Kids Ministry Stage

This past Sunday, at the end of our Kids Ministry service, I had over 50 volunteers grab sledgehammers, jigsaws, and various other power tools - then DESTROYED my Kids Ministry stage.  We did this even though we had one of the coolest, most colorful, thrilling Kids Ministry stages out there.  In fact, when other Kids Pastors learned I was destroying it - they couldn't believe it!  They said, "Why would you want to do this?  Kids Pastors come from all over the country to check out your stage.  It is overwhelmingly powerful in its presentation.  It's something that most of […]
January 27, 2014

Longevity In Ministry - The Benefits

This past weekend I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Power Up conference in Southern California.  I was so blessed to meet two incredible individuals, both over 80 years old and STILL actively involved in Children's Ministry.  What truly blew me away was that even after 60+ years in Children's Ministry, they were both at a Conference ready and eager to learn. At this same conference, they honored a couple, Ron and Judy Radachy (pictured above), who had served 35 years in an inner-city ministry in Hollywood, CA.  It was such a blessing to see two […]
January 13, 2014

What Do You Consider A "WIN" For Your Volunteers?

This past week, I was asked by a fellow Kids Pastor - "What do you consider a WIN for your volunteers?" I shared with him my thoughts and thought I would share them with you as well. Kid-Connection - When a volunteer gets to the point where their main focus when they are in Kids Church (or other area of Kidmin) is to connect with the kids that are present, rather than the other adults that are present, then we have a WIN!  We push our team to engage every child they can, learn their name, and find out what […]
January 8, 2014

How To Deal With Impatience

Our culture breeds impatience.  Most of us have memories of feeling impatient from our earliest years.  You remember how you felt at Christmas, don’t you?  You begged your parents every day to let you open a present days (or even weeks) before Christmas.  You couldn’t wait to find out what was in those pretty packages. I have to admit that I’m not very patient.  I’m one of those people who stand at the microwave tapping his foot, wondering why the two minutes to cook a burrito is going by so slowly! I hate to wait in traffic.  I like to […]
December 23, 2013

Kids Ministry F.A.T. C.A.T.S.

The last few posts have been about the importance of building a team, but once you have made the choice to do ministry as a team, then you need to make sure you choose the right kind of people to be your Kidmin team members.  It’s not about just “getting a warm body to sit in this classroom with these kids.”  You want your team to be remarkable.  You want a bunch of F.A.T. C.A.T.S.! F – Faithful When you assemble your ministry team, look for those who are faithful.  Faithful people show up when they say they will, they […]
December 16, 2013

Five Reasons To Have A "TEAM" Approach To Ministry

I have made a decision that I never want to do ministry alone.  Whenever possible, I try to make sure that I have someone with me.  If make a home visit, I bring someone along.  When I am speaking at a conference, I bring someone with me.  When I am visiting a child in the hospital, I bring someone along.  Every chance I get I want to add to the ministry team God has called me to lead. Reasons to have a team approach: 1)   Avoid Burnout If you insist on being "the man" or "the woman" in your Kids […]
December 9, 2013

Will You SLOW Down Or FALL Down?

It's the holiday season.  Christmas parties, outreaches, end of year budgets, family commitments, dinner parties, shopping, shopping, shopping...the list never ends! There's a reason why people use the phrase "hustle and bustle" when speaking of the holiday season.  It's the nature of the beast.  There's not a lot you can do about the stress and speed that the holidays bring...or is there? Something very important I have learned from my pastor (who learned it from Bill Hybels) is that there is a direct correlation between the SPEED of our lives and the DEPTH of our souls. There are seasons in our lives when […]
December 5, 2013

Eight Effective Ways To Partner With Parents

Family Ministry is slowly becoming the norm rather than the exception in the nation's growing churches.  Kids Ministry Leaders are finally coming to the realization that God has not called them to be the "Superhero" and primary spiritual in the lives of the children in their church.  Instead, they are recognizing the need to partner with parents, equipping them to step into their God-given role as primary spiritual leaders in the lives of their kids. You may ask, "But how?"  Many churches WANT to start this process of partnering with parents, but just have no idea where to start.  While […]
December 2, 2013

4 Important Questions To Ask When You Make A Huge Mistake

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? *  You get caught off-guard by a parent who is upset about an issue regarding their child - you respond in a less-than-professional manner and really let your "humanity" show. *  You miscalculated the possible attendance to a big event (by over 100) and you don't have enough food, supplies, or volunteers to pull it off. *  You left your preparation for Kids Church until Saturday Night, then get hit with an unforeseen emergency.  You end up walking into Kids Church with NOTHING planned - and EVERYONE knows it! All of us face […]
November 21, 2013

Run YOUR Race (Marathon Lessons pt. 5)

When I began this journey, my goal was to "finish a marathon."  I didn't have a goal to beat a certain race time or another racer.  I just wanted to finish! What happened along the way is just part of human nature.  I joined Nike Plus and started comparing my average minutes/mile with others.  In the half marathon race I ran during my training, I sprinted the last mile - all in an effort to BEAT a woman across the finish line.  My focus shifted from trying to complete a goal to trying to WIN the race by beating the […]
November 18, 2013

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat (Lessons from my marathon pt. 4)

When I set out to start training for my full marathon, I didn't put a lot of thought into how I would train.  I simply jumped on runnersworld.com and downloaded the most commonly used training program.  It basically focused on running four times per week, slowly increasing total miles run each week.  It was a common method, so I assumed it would work best. Well, it didn't.  Each time I got to the 13-14 mile range in my training, I suffered from the I.T. Band injury I spoke about in my second blog post on this series.  I began to […]
November 15, 2013

Think Small (Lessons from my marathon pt. 3)

Ever set a BIG goal?  If you are like me, you tend to choose HUGE goals that seem to overwhelm you.  Our tendency is to become emotionally overwhelmed by the audacity of the goal - sometimes resulting in abandoning the goal because "it is just too big." I was determined not to allow this to happen to me during my marathon training.  Keep in mind, I was trying to go from NOT running at all to running a marathon (26.2 miles) in only 6 months.  That's pretty audacious!  So, I took an approach that translates very well into just about […]
November 14, 2013

"Don't Quit!" (Lessons from my marathon pt. 2)

I began training for my marathon in March 2012.  I was growing stronger, getting faster, and covering greater distances.  I was feeling so "ready" that I decided to sign up for a Half Marathon a month and a half before my FULL Marathon was scheduled.  I was told to take it easy in this race, but of course I pushed myself further than I should have.  I ended up injured. I injured what's called the "I.T. Band," a tendon that connects your hip and your knee.  It made it impossible to run over 4 miles without sudden, sharp pain.  I […]
November 12, 2013

Lessons I Learned From My Marathon (pt. 1)

On November 2, 2013, I completed my first marathon - at the ripe old age of 40.  I definitely would not encourage anyone to wait until they are 40 to run their first, but I wouldn't take anything away from my experience.  It was an experience that changed my life - both the race and the training I went through to get there.  I learned a lot of lessons through this marathon. Over the next several blog posts, I would like to share with you some of those lessons.  I don't expect most of you to ever actually run a […]
October 28, 2013

Are You A "Self-Aware" Leader?

"What you can't see, you won't change!  What you won't change will become a habit!  Your habits will become a lifestyle!" Ever seen a situation like this:  A Children's Ministry Leader is convinced they have it going on and that their entire team respects them.  However, when you listen to their team and watch how they interact with them, it is obvious that their team has no respect for them.  The Children's Ministry Leader is convinced things couldn't be better.  The team is convinced things couldn't be worse. Leadership is hard.  If it were easy, everyone would be a stunning […]
October 24, 2013

They Are Not JUST Kids!

My friend, Mike Johnson (Director of Childhood Leadership Development at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX) recently posted this message.  It is a powerful reminder that every parent has the small window of opportunity to impact their kids for the Kingdom.  In fact, the window is even smaller than you might think.  Enjoy this message from Mike and be CHALLENGED to make the most of every opportunity you have with the children you serve! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEsqAs_LiZY#t=17
October 15, 2013

Is Your Pastor A Private Detective?

Accountability is something we often want from others, but we rarely want to give to others. On a ministry team, accountability is crucial for things to run smoothly. We understand this when it comes to those who are under us in the organization, but we don't always treat it with the same respect when it comes to our OWN accountability. I made a decision long ago to have a habit of offering accountability instead of forcing my pastor to require it. I don’t know of any senior pastor who enjoys going into private detective mode and tracking down any member […]
October 10, 2013

Raising The Bar: Expecting MORE From Your Team

“I can’t get my team to come to meetings, so I just don’t schedule them.”   ”I wish my team were more committed.”  ”I want to raise the level of my team, but I am afraid of losing good people.” I hear statements like these from Kidmin Leaders all the time.  They want to take their team to the next level of commitment so they can accomplish more for the Kingdom, but they are afraid that if they expect more, they will lose people off of their team.  And, they are probably right. Anytime we raise the standard and expect more […]
October 7, 2013

Are Church "Fall Festivals" Actually Counter-Productive?

Last year I wrote a post that caused a lot of discussion.  I thought I would revisit the subject since this blog has grown by over 1,000 readers since then, and many of you were not able to be a part of the discussion. For my first twenty years in Children’s Ministry, I planned and hosted a “Fall Festival” (a.k.a. “Harvest Party”, “Hallelujah Night”, “Fall Fest”, “Family Fun Fest”, “Trunk or Treat”, etc.) at the church where I was serving.  These events generally were seen as a fun Family Event that served as an “alternative to trick-or-treating and Halloween.” The […]
August 12, 2013

Do People Trust You?

Trust is critical and is the foundation of any relationship.  Whether that be in your family, ministry, church, or work - trust is what makes every relationship work.  Often, we assume that others should just NATURALLY trust us, but it rarely works that way.  You have to do your part to build trust. If you want to build a strong level of trust with your team and others, here are several practices you should put in place: *  Keep your promises - do what you say you will do. *  Tell the truth - the whole truth, all the time, […]
July 29, 2013

Ten Effective Ways To Show Appreciation To Your Volunteers

Leading a volunteer ministry can be difficult.  Volunteers sacrifice their time away from their families, their jobs, and their other responsibilities and interests.  They are not required to stick with you or your kids ministry, so you want to make sure that you are proactive in showing them your appreciation. Here are ten effective ways you can show appreciation to your volunteers: 1.  Say it publicly Every opportunity you have: in a meeting, in front of the kids, in front of the church, in whatever public setting you are in - brag on your team.  Thank them for their tireless […]
July 22, 2013

Becoming A SLAM-Grandparent!

Yesterday was a very cool day for my wife, Cherith, and I. It was the day we discovered we are now "SLAM Grandparents" at First NLR. We became the Kids Pastors here in 1999 - nearly 14 years ago. "SLAM" is the name of the Elementary Kids Church service we began when we got here. Yesterday, it was an honor to welcome several children into "SLAM" who belong to Anthony Kennedy, one of the kids that were in that original group. I am about to celebrate my 14th year as Kids Pastor at First NLR. I have been blessed to […]
June 24, 2013

3 Tips To Help You Be The WORST Leader You Can Be

There are so many posts and books about "How To Be A Better Leader."  I've written a few and have read even more.  So, I thought I would take a different route and give you a couple of tips on how to be a bad leader - in fact, the WORST leader you can be! 1)  Be Unpredictable If you want to be a bad leader, make it hard for your team to know what you want, what you think, or what mood you will be in.  Volunteers hate it when they have to guess what you feel is the […]
June 10, 2013

Are You Missing The Trees?

We have all heard the phrase, "They can't see the forest for the trees."  This usually refers to someone who is so totally focused on the individual problems, issues, or difficulties of life that they fail to see the BIG picture.  While this can often happen in the life of a Kidmin Pastor/Leader, I believe there is a VISION failure that can be even more devastating. Sometimes, as leaders, we are missing the TREES for the forest.  We become focused on the BIG picture (the forest) and we lose sight of the trees (individuals).  Ministry is not ONLY about the […]
May 28, 2013

Ten Rules For Dealing With Others

I am sure most of you have heard of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.  He is one of the more famous authors and motivational speakers of the 20th Century.  He had "10 Rules" that he operated under when dealing with others.  I thought it would be interesting to see how many of these you are practicing on a daily basis in ministry: 1.  Learn to remember people's names.  People's names are important to them.  Forgetting a person's nameis often taken as a sign you are not interested in them. 2.  Relax and be a comfortable person to be with.  Make sure […]
May 21, 2013

"Helping Kids Deal With The Tornado Tragedy"

We are all in shock and disbelief about the tornado tragedy in Moore, OK this week.  Like many, you might have had the thought, “Wow.  That could have happened here.”  And, it’s true.  Tragedy knows no boundaries.  It does not discriminate between people.  Tragedy can hit any community, any family, any individual, at any time. Aside from tornados - there are mass shootings, terrorist attacks, Earthquakes, and other tragedies that eventually strike every family.  The death of a loved one.  An accident that permanently injures someone.  The sudden loss of income due to layoffs or being fired.  These are the […]
May 14, 2013

You Can Take It, But Can You Dish It Out?

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who was extremely negative.  It was from someone who disagreed with an approach I was taking in ministry.  I was not surprised to hear from someone who disagreed with me as I always invite dissenting and opposing opinions.  I want to grow by hearing from those who see things from a different perspective. This email was different.  It was in response to the reader seeing the above graphic that was featured in our Children's Ministry newsletter around Easter weekend (featuring a bunny and eggs). Here is the email in its […]
May 6, 2013

The Forgotten Value Of Asking Questions

I have observed over the years many Kidmin Leaders make the mistake of "arriving" in ministry.  They achieve a certain level of "success" and decide they know it all (or at least all they care to know). When this happens, they move into protectionism.  They are constantly trying to protect their reputation as a "knowledgeable and capable leader."  I have watched as these leaders begin to sink because they are not willing to do something that could help them keep rising in leadership - ASK QUESTIONS. Admitting you don't know it all and asking others for their input is difficult […]
April 16, 2013

Three "Creativity Killers"

Creativity is a MUST in Kids Ministry.  It takes creativity to capture attention and illuminate the gospel to a young mind that is bombarded with flashy, glitzy attention-grabbers all day from a world whose message is less than spiritually healthy. We all want to be more creative, but we often fall prey to one or more of the three CREATIVITY KILLERS in ministry... 1)     PROCRASTINATION There’s an epidemic of procrastination in Kids Ministry.  I can’t believe how many times I hear people saying that they don’t even begin to start their preparation for Sunday until Saturday Night. Nothing will kill […]
April 9, 2013

How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen

This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at an event called Illuminate.  This event is put on by my friend and fellow Kidmin Blogger, Kenny Conley.   It was an incredible time of pouring into a great group of leaders! I did a workshop on "How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen."  I thought I would share some of the thoughts I shared with those leaders. How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen: 1.  When teaching the lesson or telling a Bible Story, have your Bible in your hand.  I never want kids to think God’s truth […]
March 18, 2013

Five Habits Of "On-Time" Leaders!

Time is precious.  We only have so many years on this Earth, only 7 days a week, and only 24 hours in a day.  Sadly, too many leaders waste MUCH of the time they are given.  When you waste time it can have a negative impact on your leadership and your relationships. I challenge you to adopt the five habits of the "On-Time" Leader! 1.  Arrive ON TIME!    If you are supposed to meet someone for lunch, be at a staff meeting, or attend an event - arrive ON TIME!  When you arrive late it sends a message to the […]
March 4, 2013

The "Atomic" Easter Disaster

It was one of my very first events at my new church.  Sadly, I was focused more on impressing them with my amazing creative ideas rather than providing a safe and secure environment for the kids. We have very little grass on our property for an egg hunt, so I got permission to use a vacant lot that was across the street from our church.  Now, I didn’t realize it would be a good idea to provide a crossing guard – or even a crossing area for the families to make it safely over to the lot.  So, it was […]
February 25, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Sometimes, we exaggerate the good things to look a little better to impress people, and we downplay the bad things so we don’t look so foolish.  Both of these are, in fact, lies. Partial truths are also partial lies, designed to “save face” by giving enough truth to avoid outright lying but not enough to expose our stupidity and sin.  Tell the truth—the whole truth, the first time.  It saves a world of trouble. I scheduled a meeting with one of our team members for 10:00 in the morning.  At ten minutes past that time, he wasn’t there, so I […]
February 18, 2013

Are You Doing YOUR Job?

As Kids Ministry leaders, we are passionate about our area of ministry.  We work hard and focus on creative ideas to reach more and more children for the cause of Christ.  This is wonderful!  This is what we SHOULD do. Often, that laser focus and passion leads us to ignore other very important and fundamental needs in our church.  We must remember that, although our PRIMARY focus may be Kids Ministry, the BIGGER role we play is that of a member of our church's pastoral TEAM. I was speaking at a church in Texas several years back.  The Kids Pastor […]
January 21, 2013

How To Avoid Kidmin Tunnel Vision

In my previous post, I shared the dangers of Kidmin Tunnel Vision.  This is when you get so laser focused on Kids Ministry that you fail to keep the BIG picture of the WHOLE church in mind.  Today, I want to share how you can avoid falling into this trap! It’s not enough to sit back and expect your pastor or other staff members to make sure you’re vitally connected with the entire scope of the church’s life.  That’s your responsibility.  Here are some steps you can take to Avoid Kidmin Tunnel Vision: 1)  Read every available piece of information. […]
January 14, 2013

Do You Suffer From Kidmin "Tunnel Vision?"

I will never forget the Staff Meeting where I confronted my Pastor about why I wasn't made aware of the big Missions opportunity that the rest of the staff seemed to already know about.  I let him know how upset I was that "those of us who are in Children's Ministry and aren't able to be in the Sanctuary on Sundays shouldn't be kept in the dark. My pastor kindly asked me, "Brian, did you not read the bulletin the last few weeks?"  I had not.  "Did you read the letter I sent home to every household in our church?" […]
January 7, 2013

Question EVERYTHING!

Effective leaders are constantly questioning the status quo.  They don’t settle for “what’s always been done.”  They never say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”  They are constantly questioning methods, practices, and strategies to ensure they are taking the best possible approach. If you are going to be an effective leader, be willing to question EVERYTHING in your ministry – even the things that you think are going wonderfully!  You say, “Wait!  I thought I was supposed to live by the motto ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!’”  Here’s the problem with that.  In ministry, oftentimes something has […]
November 12, 2012

Becoming A "Kidminnovator"

I was privileged to be invited to speak at INCM's CM Leaders Conference this past September.  My topic was "Kidminnovation:  Unleashing Creativity in Kids Ministry."  For those of you who were unable to attend or watch it on their LIVEstream, here it is: [wpvideo q902UIKv] After you watch the video, please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Thanks!
November 5, 2012

Are "Fall Festivals" Counter-Productive?

For the past twenty years in Children's Ministry, I have planned and hosted a "Fall Festival" (a.k.a. "Harvest Party", "Hallelujah Night", "Fall Fest", "Family Fun Fest", "Trunk or Treat", etc.) at the church where I was serving.  These events generally were seen as a fun Family Event that served as an "alternative to trick-or-treating and Halloween." The typical "Fall Festival" usually looks a bit like this: It is a family-oriented celebration/party. It may have costumes. Games are played. Contests are held. Food abounds. Music blares. Everyone enjoys themselves. Certainly there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a Fall Festival on its […]
October 29, 2012

The "5 by Five" Approach To Setting Priorities

As a Kidmin Leader, there are a ton of responsibilities you have to juggle on a daily basis.  Those who are tasked with overseeing Nursery, Early Childhood, Elementary, Family Ministry, Outreach & Evangelism, and all of the other departments that often fall under the leadership of the Children's Ministry often have a difficult time keeping everything straight. Time management is difficult.  Keeping "the main thing" in perspective is equally as difficult.  How does one organize and prioritize the week without losing sight of the details and ultimately failing to get some things done that MUST be done? There's not a […]
October 15, 2012

The Kidmin "Secret" Weapon

If you're looking for something that will take your Kids Ministry to new heights, I have the answer for you.  If you're looking for that one ingredient that, if you add it, will make an immediate impact - I can tell you exactly what it is. Prayer.  Now, I am sure you are thinking, "Brilliant, Brian.  This is not new news."  True.  However, that doesn't mean it is not one of the most effective disciplines you can have as a Kidmin Leader.  Too many forget this, and rarely use prayer to its fullest potential. We cannot be prepared and enabled […]
October 8, 2012

Thinking For A Change

Some of us haven’t made any changes to the way we approach our ministry in a long time.  If you are still doing ministry the way you were the first year you started, then it’s time to think differently.   "Thinking For A Change" takes some intentional focus.  Here are a couple of thoughts to help you become a better thinker... How to be a better thinker: 1.    Set aside thinking time. You will never be a good thinker unless you plan to.  You need to set aside time in your schedule that is distraction-free.  Take the time to think through […]
September 24, 2012

How Do You Handle Leaders Who Lack Energy?

Everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else. If you are a full-time Kidmin Pastor/Leader you know that you have NO EXCUSE not to have energy on Sundays (or whenever ministry takes place for you).  However, some of our Kidmin Volunteers struggle with this.  They work 5 days a week, run like crazy for their families on Saturday, and on Sunday it is tough to have the energy they need to make a great […]
September 17, 2012

Reach Out And Touch Someone

There is power in TOUCH.  We are born with the need to be touched.  Studies show that if we are not cuddled as babies or children, we do not develop as well. One author says, "Touch is a sense with unique functions and qualities ... Touch affects the whole organism."  She says, "Touch is ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact, and it affects nearly everything we do.  No other sense can affect you like touch." I've seen bumper stickers that ask, "Did you hug your tree today?"  I'd like to see a bumper sticker which reminds us to […]
September 11, 2012

Improving Your Serve

The great Chicago preacher, Dwight L. Moody, once said, “The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men he serves.” One of the most important traits of anyone in ministry is having a heart for serving others. Ministry is all about serving others.  It’s never been about getting the glory, the kudos, or the spotlight.  Jesus himself was the ultimate servant.  He said, “The Son of Man did not come to the Earth to be served, but to serve.” As we minister to children, we’ll be required to do things that are out […]
August 13, 2012

Helping Parents Teach Their Kids To Make Wise Decisions

We all want our kids to be wise.  We train them, talk to them, model for them, do everything we can to instill Godly wisdom and practical intelligence in their minds.  We hope and trust in the scripture we have quoted numerous times throughout our trails and tribulations of parenthood: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 The question still remains…how do you GUARANTEE that your child will walk in the way they should go?  How do you GUARANTEE that all of the […]
August 3, 2012

CM Leaders: THE Destination For Kidmin Leaders this Fall

Children's Ministry has always been full of individuals who have a passion and gift for loving, reaching, and teaching children.  Our kids need those who are gifted in teaching and pointing the way to Christ in a way that captivates their heart and motivates them to become life-long followers of Christ. However, the role of Children's Pastor/Kids Ministry Director has significantly shifted in the past decade or so.  The qualifications and expectations for those leading the Children's Ministry Departments has moved from "must be great with kids" to "MUST be a leader of leaders."  There's just no escaping it.  If […]
July 9, 2012

Three Reasons You Might Be Losing The Boys In Your Kids Ministry

I came across this TED talk the other day, and it very much intrigued me.  For those unfamiliar with TED - it is a gathering place for some of the smartest and insightful people on the planet.  Every day, there are new talks (5-15 minutes in length) that vary in topic from psychology to art to science to quantum physics.  They are found at TED.com. This particular talk is by Ali Carr-Chellman, an instructional designer and author who studies the most effective ways to teach kids and to make changes at school.  In this talk she pinpoints three reasons boys are […]
July 2, 2012

It's Not WHAT You Say, It's HOW You Say It

Words are powerful tools in the hands of a Kidmin Leader.  You can use them either intentionally or haphazardly.  It is important to remember when typing an email, crafting a letter to parents, or putting together a promotional piece for your next big event - words matter. Zig Ziglar, a legendary motivational speaker, gave an unforgettable example of the power of emphasis.  By changing the emphasis in the following sentence, it can take on several entirely different meanings and implications:  "I didn't say he beat his wife." I didn't say he beat his wife. I didn't say he beat his […]
June 26, 2012

Book Review - "From Hectic To Healthy" by Craig and Mary Jutila

About a month ago I received a complimentary autographed copy of Craig and Mary's book.  I was excited to dive into it because I had already read the first chapter via a free download on their site.  Let me just say, this book is a life-changer. Like many of you, I have been blessed by Craig's ministry for the last decade or so via his position as Kids Pastor at Saddleback to his incredible leadership materials and teaching resources at Empowering Kids.  I was saddened when I heard several years ago that Craig was having a difficult time, but was […]
June 18, 2012

Stop Being So Defensive!

Defensiveness is an issue that causes a lot of harm in mentoring relationships - or any relationship for that matter.  When we are challenged, confronted, or questioned as Kidmin leaders - sadly we often respond with a knee-jerk, reflex response that does more harm than good. For years, my insecurity caused me to struggle with being defensive.  Under the hurt feelings and protests is a deep sense that I’m not adequate, personally or professionally—or both.  No one is above correction, and we can all learn to handle it with grace.  Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of controlling my […]
June 4, 2012

MOMENTUM KILLERS

We all love those moments in ministry when everything seems to be clicking.  The team is rocking, the place is growing, the numbers are climbing, and the morale is as high as its every been.  It's what many leaders call "The Big MO" - a.k.a. MOMENTUM! Momentum in ministry should NEVER be taken for granted.  You never know how long it will last.  You want to make the most of it and capitalize on it.  If you aren't careful, you might lose it.  Here's a quick hit list of some of the biggest MOMENTUM KILLERS. 1)  PRIDE - There is nothing […]
May 29, 2012

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt 3)

And now, the exciting conclusion to the blog post series, "Six Questions To Ask Yourself Before Implementing A New Idea In Your Kids Ministry."  Here's what we covered in pt. 1 and pt. 2 of the series: 1)  "Have I Prayed About It?" 2)  "What Does My Pastor Think About The Idea?" 3)  "Does The Idea Resonate With The Hearts Of My Team?" 4)  "Do I Have The Support Of The Parents In My Ministry?" QUESTION #5 - "Do I need God's power to accomplish this idea?" This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself as you evaluate […]
May 21, 2012

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt. 2)

In my last post, I shared the first two of the Six Questions to ask yourself before implementing a new idea in your Kids Ministry: 1)  "Have I Prayed About It?" 2)  "What Does My Pastor Think About The Idea?" Now, we continue with Questions 3 & 4: QUESTION #3 - "Does the idea resonate with the hearts of my team?" After your pastor gives you the go-ahead, consult with your ministry team.  These people have the same passion as yours to impact the lives of the children in your church and community.  Share the plan with them while your […]
May 15, 2012

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt. 1)

Sometimes, we overestimate our own creativity and cleverness.  We think we’re so smart that we know exactly what we need to do in a given situation without consulting God or others.  It's a sad situation that I see repeated over and over in Kids Ministry. This post will be the beginning of a series of posts dealing with SIX QUESTIONS we must ask ourselves before implementing a new idea.  Often, we can get in such a hurry to implement a "crazy clever" or "amazingly creative" idea that we have for Kids Ministry.  I have had many such ideas end up […]
May 7, 2012

Four Words You Should NEVER Say

I hear it all the time from so many Kids Ministry leaders.  It's the four words that should NEVER come out of your mouth…“I’m just not creative.” Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways such as, “How do you guys do what you do?”“I could never do that!”  “I wish I could be more creative, but I don’t have it in me.” “Why are some people creative and others aren’t?” The truth is everyone has creative potential.  We sell ourselves short thinking that creativity is some mystical ability that few are blessed with. A large part of the problem is […]
April 30, 2012

How To Know When It Is Time To Leave

It's one of the toughest decisions you will ever have to make:  Leaving a church you have been serving as a staff member.  It's a decision that should NEVER be made cavalierly and never without much prayer and consideration. I have seen many staff members leave too early and short circuit what God was wanting to do in them during a process of seasoning and learning.  But, I have also seen many staff members stay longer in a situation than they should have.  By doing so, they ended up hurting the church and their family in the process. Certainly, you […]
April 16, 2012

"The Eric Trap" Book Review

I am very pleased to be able to talk about The Eric Trap, a new book written by Jim Wideman, Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, and several others.  I received a copy a week or so ago and immediately began diving into it.  I have to say, I was blown away by it. Here are the things I LOVED about The Eric Trap: 1)  It is written as a leadership fable. If you are not familiar with this style of writing (a la Patrick Lencioni, Ken Blanchard, and others), it is told as a fictional story of Eric Newman.  Eric is a […]
April 10, 2012

Computer Brains

I have to admit - as a Christian kid growing up in the 80s I was a big Petra fan.  The other day, the song "Computer Brains" from Petra's "Beat The System" album came on my iPod.  I started thinking about the truth of that song.  It was powerful. Here's the truth:  our minds are like a computer.  Remember the old computer acronym, "GIGO" (Garbage In, Garbage Out)?  You have to be very careful when you program a computer.  Even the smallest error will produce flawed results.  In other words, the results produced by the computer will be no better […]
March 12, 2012

Setting Ministry Goals

We all want to grow.  We all want to get better at our job, our ministry, our calling.  Although the desire to grow is common, actual growth is not so common.  I think one of the main reasons we fail to move from intention to actual growth is because we don't set clear, definable goals. Vague intentions almost never take us to a desired destination.  It’s not enough to identify an area that needs attention.  We then need to ask God for a vision of what it will be like to achieve the desired growth in this area.  When you […]
March 5, 2012

The Power Of Praise

As a Kids Ministry Leader, you are in the business of being a PEOPLE BUILDER.  Your goal is to help others reach their full potential of who God wants them to be. Every person we meet, we either give life to or we take life from.  You know what I'm talking about, don't you?  There are people who encourage you and when you are done being with them you feel built up.  Then, there are others who you feel torn down by. Successful leaders are people who have mastered the art of building others up. There are few ways to […]
February 27, 2012

Don't Just Feel It, Express It! (Gratitude)

  Gratitude is an important component of any leader's life.  Gratitude keeps you grounded, realizing that the world does not revolve around you.  Gratitude helps you avoid the dreaded "entitlement mentality" - the idea that you deserve all the good that comes your way simply because you are so cute and special. Gratitude is important for relationships.  People WANT to be around others who are grateful.  Most people avoid those who are ungrateful or selfish. Gratitude is important for your own mental and physical health.  Did you know: "A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are […]
February 20, 2012

What Are You Afraid Of?

Fear is a reality in all of our lives.  If you say you don’t have any fear at all, either you’re a liar or a psychopath—neither of these is a good option!  Some of us can’t admit our fears because they’re so terrifying we can’t face them.  Denial, though, never leads to growth, peace, joy, love, and strength. Fear is a barrier between us and the things God is calling us to do.  It keeps us still when God wants us to move, keeps us quiet when God wants us to speak, and causes us to shrink back when God […]
February 6, 2012

Offering Accountability

Accountability is something we often want from others, but we rarely want to give to others. On a ministry team, accountability is crucial for things to run smoothly. We understand this when it comes to those who are under us in the organization, but we don't always treat it with the same respect when it comes to our OWN accountability. I made a decision long ago to have a habit of offering accountability instead of forcing my pastor to require it. I don’t know of any senior pastor who enjoys tracking down any member of his staff to check on him […]
January 30, 2012

Drop The Excuses

We all have our favorite excuses why we haven't done the things we know we should do.  Taking risks, expanding our horizons, making significant life and habit changes - all of these things are held back by our favorite excuses: *  I'm comfortable with the way things are, so I don't really need to change. *  I'll probably fail, so why even try? *  It'll take too long to change. *  People will criticize me if I try this. As I write in my book, I Blew It!, excuses are perpetual blinders.  With them, we can stay stuck for a […]
January 26, 2012

Is Your Greatest Strength Also Your Biggest Liability?

In my book, "I Blew It!", I write about a crazy story where I ended up accidentally wearing a Keystone Cop hat on stage during the most serious moment of our Easter Production.  I had tried to be funny backstage and ended up forgetting I was wearing the hat.  It's hilarious to read, but wasn't so funny when it happened. My greatest strength in kids’ ministry was my sense of humor.  The children loved it, and the volunteers enjoyed it, too.  I was able to play goofy characters like Skittles, the Candy Rapper, and a host of others.  I was […]
January 17, 2012

You Got Served!

I was privileged to spend some time at INCM's Children's Pastors Conference in Orlando last week.  It was an incredible conference!  If you have an opportunity to go in the future (there's another one happening in San Diego in February) I encourage you to make it happen! One thing that struck me the entire week was the level of service I received from the INCM staff as well as the Disney Resort staff where the conference was held.  While setting up our booth in the Exhibit Hall, we were approached multiple times by a member of the INCM staff asking, […]
December 27, 2011

Making The Most Of Your Mistakes

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION: "How do you respond when you really blow it?" I am excited to announce that my brand new book, "I Blew It!" will be released next week (you can pre-order it now by clicking here)!  In this book, I document the BIGGEST mistakes I have made in Kids Ministry and how YOU can avoid them.  Since I started talking about writing the book, many have asked me, "How did you keep from giving up when you made such huge mistakes?" or "How were you able to use your biggest mistakes to move forward instead of backward?" It's […]
December 19, 2011

Have You Prayed For Your Pastor Today?

Last week I had the privilege of traveling with my Senior Pastor, Rod Loy, for a very important trip.  We were meeting with some of the leadership of our denomination to discuss the possibility of a VERY cool project that could make a major impact on Kids Ministry.  It was exciting! During that quick, 24 hour trip, I was able to be a "fly on the wall" of sorts and get a glimpse into the kind of pressure my pastor faces on a daily basis.  While I drove, his phone rang almost nonstop.  In that short amount of time he […]
November 28, 2011

The Procrastination Trap

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION: "I struggle with procrastination.  I'm a spontaneous type of guy.  Do you think that hurts my leadership?" - submitted by David As I’ve talked to hundreds of people involved in kids’ ministries across the country, I’ve observed that there’s an epidemic of procrastination.  We excuse it in all kinds of ways, but all our reasons lead to the same result.  Yes, you have to be quick, and you never know what a kid is going to say or what kind of crazy thing will happen next.  But many kids’ leaders believe their enthusiastic personalities and the spontaneity […]
November 14, 2011

Lessons For Kidmin From The Penn State Child Abuse Debacle

The news from the Penn State scandal has dominated the news cycle for the last week, and it has dominated my thoughts as well.  I couldn't believe the heinous crime that was perpetrated on young at-risk boys in such a public place for so long. There are many lessons to learn from this tragedy and it's aftermath.  We spent a good deal of time in our staff meeting today discussing this.  Here are some of the BIG lessons I believe we in Kids Ministry MUST learn from this: 1)  We must be VIGILANT in protecting His children. Every child must […]
September 6, 2011

Recruiting Volunteers pt. 3

picking up where pt. 2 left off - here is the conclusion of my thoughts on recruiting volunteers... 8)  Develop a job description and communicate CLEAR expectations. You can’t expect a volunteer to “just know” what they need to do.   When possible, give a complete list of expectations in writing to avoid confusion.  There is nothing worse than giving someone a job to do and not clearly communicating expectations.  The volunteer has no way to know if they are doing what is expected or not.  This breeds confusion, so communicate expectations ON PAPER so there is no question as to […]
August 29, 2011

Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 2

KIDMIN QUESTION: “When recruiting, how do you help potential volunteers respond out of the right motivation (God honoring, using their gifts, etc) instead of guilt?” - submitted by Donna Leupp in Peshtigo, WI Picking up where Pt. 1 left off - here are more principles to follow when recruiting volunteers for your Kidmin Team... 4)  Develop a ministry application for volunteers to complete. Sit down and put together an application that not only gathers pertinent contact information, but also asks probing questions that give you insight into the person you are considering.  What are their likes/dislikes?  What experience do they have working with kids?  What […]
August 22, 2011

Recruiting Volunteers Pt. 1

KIDMIN QUESTION: "How do you get folks in the church to volunteer when they think it is the Children's Pastor's job to do the ministry?" - submitted by Mike Benintende, N. Versailles, PA This is one of the most difficult tasks of a Kidmin Leader - Recruiting Volunteers.  I can tell you, there is no magic formula.  The only way to recruit successfully is by CONTINUOUS hard work and adherence to a few key principles.  In the next few posts, I will share some of those keys that I have learned.  Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team […]