KidMin Thoughts

October 4, 2017

This Is Why Real Success Often Feels Like Ultimate Failure

If you’ve ever failed, then be of good cheer...you are just like Elijah! Think with me for a second back to 1 Kings 18. Elijah and King Ahab are atop Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal are facing off against Elijah to decide once and for all whose god has ultimate power. The prophets of Baal make utter fools of themselves, spending nearly the entire day doing everything they can think of to get Baal to act in their favor. Of course, Baal isn’t real, so nothing happens. Elijah then steps up to take his turn. He has a truckload […]
October 19, 2015

One Of The Best Stewardship Decisions A Church Can Make

God has entrusted to each of us a certain amount of time, money, and talent.  What we do with these resources is called stewardship, which is the “wise investment of resources in order to reach the maximum amount of return.”  George Barna, the nation’s leading church demographer, found an astonishing fact while doing research on evangelism.  He wrote: “We discovered that the probability of someone embracing Jesus as his or her Savior was 32 percent for those between the ages of 5 and 12; 4 percent for those in the 13- to 18-age range; and 6 percent for people 19 […]
September 3, 2015

3 Practical Keys That Will Transform Your Kids Church Experience

As Kids Ministry leaders, it’s our passion to help children become life-long followers of Jesus.  It’s about getting kids excited about the Word of God.  After being in kids ministry for over 23 years, I’ve also developed a passion to equip other teachers to present God’s word with excellence so that it leaves a lasting imprint on the minds and spirits of the children we minister to.  In order to do so, we need to work with a curriculum that holds keys to unlock doors of opportunity to create a transformational kids church experience. The big question is: What makes kids […]
May 20, 2015

A Great Way To Get Your Kids Leading Adults In Worship

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 Preschool and Elementary Kids Departments.  The children are in charge of the entire adult 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 […]
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 17, 2015

Inspiring Movie - "Where Hope Grows"

Not too long ago, I had the privilege of being given a private screening of an upcoming faith-based movie, "Where Hope Grows."  My wife, Cherith, and I were very moved and very impressed.  I will admit to being a "Christian Movie" skeptic.  I have been burned so many times by movies that were written and produced by Christian companies.  You know what I am talking about - cheesy plot lines, cheesier acting, low-budget production, and over-the-top religious themes that are meant to please a Christian-Only audience.  Well, "Where Hope Grows" is NOT that kind of movie. The movie centers around […]
December 10, 2014

What Does God Think About Your Child?

In each of the gospels, we find Jesus pouring himself into the lives of children.  Many times, the disciples and religious leaders tried to chase the kids away and pull Jesus back into “real” ministry.  But Jesus corrected them: “Let the children come to me, do not forbid them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).  Even when crowds of people gathered around Jesus to be touched and healed, He stopped to lay hands on children, hold them in His arms, and bless them. We sing “Jesus Loves The Little Children” for a reason.  Throughout […]
September 19, 2014

Are Church "Fall Festivals" Actually Counter-Productive?

Two years ago, I wrote a post that caused a lot of discussion.  I thought I would revisit the subject since this blog has grown by well over 10,000 monthly 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
September 30, 2013

How To Improve Safety And Security In Your Kids Ministry

One of the greatest needs and focuses of any Kids Ministry should be that of safety and security.  After all, we are entrusted with the most precious lives that mean the world to every parent who drops them off in our care.  If we do not do our due diligence in providing a safe a secure environment for the children, then we are not demonstrating the value that we claim to place on them. Many of you are aware of my friends at KidCheck.  Well, they have developed a powerful child safety video and guide for organizations caring for children.  […]
August 22, 2013

How The Internet Has Changed Kids Ministry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A81IwlDeV6c#at=1212 I ran across this family video (originally released on VHS tape - remember those?) the other day. It was produced in 1997 and was intended to teach kids who to use the internet. From this video, you would assume the only purpose the internet was to give kids a hands-on education. Of course, we realize just how much the internet has evolved since 1997. Very little was mentioned about internet safety. In this piece that spans over 25 minutes, a mere 12 seconds was dedicated to teaching kids internet safety. My, how things have changed. I certainly did my […]
June 27, 2013

Should Kids Pastors Talk To Their Groups About "Gay Marriage"?

With the news yesterday of the Supreme Court striking down the "Defense Of Marriage Act", the topic of "Gay Marriage" is once again a major story in the news.  No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground.  It's hard for a Christian parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic. I received a question yesterday from a fellow Kids Pastor asking my opinion on whether or not he should "address" his Kids Ministry on the topic of Gay Marriage and/or […]
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 […]
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 13, 2013

What Are Babies Thinking?

This TED talk was very intriguing for me.  Anyone who considers Children's Ministry (particularly Nursery Ministry) as merely "babysitting" will be shocked to hear that babies take in and process so much more information than we ever could have imagined.  We are imparting the TRUTH of God's Word into their minds and hearts.  We must be more and more determined to make God's TRUTH come alive for the babies in our nursery! [ted id=1241] Question:  Should we be more intentional about leading children on a learning JOURNEY by allowing them to discover God's TRUTH rather than simply be TOLD?
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]