Brian's Blog

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my amazing friends in the Kidmin Community!  Thank you for supporting this blog all year long!  My prayer for you and your family is that you will know God's peace, love, and blessings in a very real way this Christmas! Merry Christmas! Brian Dollar
December 17, 2012

Helping Kids Cope With The Newtown Tragedy

Tragedy knows no boundaries.  It does not discriminate between people.  Tragedy can hit any community, any family, any individual, at any time. Aside from mass shootings, terrorist attacks, Earthquakes, and other mass disasters, there are 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 every day tragedies and losses that parents struggle to explain and help their children through. This is a REpost of one of mine from the Summer: "How To Talk To Your Kids About […]
November 29, 2012

The 12 Deals Of Christmas

START SAVING ON DECEMBER 1st!!!! Christmas comes but ONCE per year - and the same goes with High Voltage Kids Ministry's now famous "12 DEALS OF CHRISTMAS" promotion.  They have been making a list and checking it twice!  The good news is - you can ALL be on the NICE LIST!!! They are so thankful for each of you who partner with them in ministry to children!  That's why they have chosen some of the BIGGEST deals of the year, wrapped them up with a bow (well, sort of), and got them lined up for TWELVE BIG DAYS of savings! […]
November 14, 2012

Children's Pastors Conference - Register and WIN!

I am really excited to be speaking at both Orlando and San Diego CPCs this year!  I am also excited that my company, High Voltage Kids Ministry, is an official partner of INCM.  If you haven't registered for CPC yet, you are missing out!!! WHAT IS CPC? CPC is the premier conference that focuses exclusively on children's ministry. You will spend four life-changing days with experts in children's ministry. You will hear quality speakers and performers throughout the conference while interacting with leaders who share your focus and passion. I hope to see many of you there.  Were you waiting […]
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 […]
October 1, 2012

New High Voltage Kids Ministry Website Launched!

You've waited patiently, now the moment has arrived!  Get ready for the greatest 48 hours in High Voltage Kids Ministry HISTORY!  Before you head on over to our brand new redesigned website to check out our NEW LOOK, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to take full advantage of the festivities. There is a very cool video you can check out right on the front page (as well as on the "About Us" page) that we know you will love.  It tells all about who we are and why we exist.  So, now to […]
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 9, 2012

Helping Parents Talk To Their Kids About SEX

For too long, the church has been silent on the issue of SEX.  Children (and adults alike) hear little to nothing on the subject of healthy sexuality from the church.  Part of the reason it is not spoken about from the pulpit is that it makes us uncomfortable.  It makes us uncomfortable because it rarely brought up in the pulpit.  It's a self-perpetuating cycle, so we consider it off limits. Many parents are so paranoid about their kids becoming sexually active, they foolishly think that by not approaching the subject of sex for as long as possible, they will somehow […]
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 […]
August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today, BRIAN'S BLOG turns 1 year old!  It was on August 1, 2011 that I posted my first "real" post.  Since then, I have watched God do many great things through this.  I have heard from many of the readers of the blog how a post has inspired, challenged, or changed you in some way.  I am very grateful for this opportunity. My goal has always been to encourage and equip other Kidmin Leaders to increase their capacity to lead their teams, parents, and kids.  I appreciate all of you who are a part of this journey! Wanna help?  Here […]
July 26, 2012

Helping Parents Talk To Their Kids About God

I have recently started a teaching series at our church called "How To Talk To Your Kids About..."  In this series, I am hoping to help parents engage in meaningful conversations with their kids about some very BIG and important subjects.  I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of these teachings with my blog readers. Feel free to use it to teach the parents of the children in your ministry  about the importance of having meaningful GOD conversations with their kids. “How To Talk To Your Kids About…God” My Mistake:  Not recognizing the role of parents as […]
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 12, 2012

"Kids In Worship" - Great Idea for Kidmin

This past Sunday we had our annual "Kids In Worship" experience.  I thought it would be good to share the concept behind this for all of you.  It is an amazing opportunity for the whole family. "Kids In Worship" is an evening of worship, led by our Elementary Kids Department.  The children are in charge of the entire service in the Sanctuary.  It is an evening of worship, led by the kids.  The entire family comes together for a night of singing and worship. We rehearse for months prior to this night.  Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 - […]
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 […]
April 6, 2012

I Started The Process Of Dying Today

I realize I might have startled some of you with the title of this post.  No, I do not have a sickness - nor am I physically dying in any way.  I apologize if I gave some of you a panic. Today, Good Friday, the day we remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross over 2,000 years ago - I began a journey with many people in my church.  It is a thirty day challenge called "LIVE DEAD." "LIVE DEAD" is a challenge to live life wholly for Jesus.  To die to self, knowing God will […]
April 3, 2012

Winners of the "I Blew It!" giveaway!

Thanks to all of you who participated in our big giveaway that ended March 31st.  Many of you helped get the word out and many new subscribers were added to the BLOG.  Welcome to everyone!  Here are your winners: Joe Hegedus of New Jersey Nancy Freiling of Virginia Pamela Bartley of Kentucky Neil Hancock of Georgia Lisa Grace Each of them are receiving a FREE copy of my book, "I Blew It!"   If you would like more info about the book, click HERE!  Keep your eyes open for more winning opportunities. In the meantime, help me spread the word […]
March 13, 2012

Are You Feeling "LUCKY?"

Hey friends!  When we did our TWITTER book giveaway last month, many of you asked me, "Hey!  What about us 'non-tweeters'?"  Well, this is your lucky day (er...lucky month). In honor of St. Patrick's Day (month), we are giving away 5 copies of my brand new book, "I Blew It!", to five followers/subscribers to BRIAN'S BLOG (chosen at random).  So, if you want to win - all you have to do is subscribe to THIS BLOG!  You can do so by following the instructions on the home page.  We will choose the winners on March 31st! Already a subscriber to […]
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 […]
February 2, 2012

Giving Away 5 FREE Copies of "I Blew It!"

Hey friends!  We are giving away 5 copies of my brand new book, "I Blew It!", to five of my Twitter followers (chosen at random).  So, if you want to win - all you have to do is search for @Brian_D_Dollar and follow!  We will choose the winners on Valentine's Day, February 14th!  What better way to show our LOVE!!??? Wanna help spread the word?  Copy and paste the following message into a tweet: Giving away 5 FREE copies of the new #kidmin book "I Blew It!" on Feb 14th.  Follow the author @Brian_D_Dollar to be entered. Please RT! That's […]