leadership

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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
April 15, 2015

How To Lead A "Creative Team"

Ten years ago, when I first began creating High Voltage Kids Ministry curriculum, I remember being scared to death.  I had never tried ANYTHING like this before and had put it off for many years already.  You see, I had felt God leading me in this direction but wasn't willing to take the leap.  When I finally decided to jump, I assembled a team of 10 of my best leaders in a room, and we proceeded to craft the very first High Voltage release, "Got Questions?"  It was a wonderfully collaborative process, and the end product was amazing. When it […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 1, 2013

Book Review: "Connecting Church & Home" by Dr. Tim Kimmel

"Strong churches don't make strong families.  Strong families make strong churches." - Dr. Tim Kimmel What is the center of your Family Ministry strategy?  Is it safety and protection from the dark influences of this world?  Is it reaching unchurched families through evangelism?  What drives your ministry to kids and families? Dr. Tim Kimmel offers a one word answer in his new book, "Connecting Church & Home." That one word:  GRACE.  Dr. Kimmel suggests that God's grace can and should be what encompasses everything we do as a church - especially ministering to families. Kimmel begins with the book with a challenging […]
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 […]
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 […]
December 31, 2012

Where In The World Is Brian Dollar?

2013 is going to be an exciting year.  I have been honored to be asked to speak at several incredible conferences and events.  I would love to get a chance to meet you and connect! Just thought I would pass on some of the dates and locations I will be in 2013.  Hope to get a chance to meet many of you in person! North Texas Kids Pastors Retreat; Jan. 4-5, 2013; Dallas, TX;  keynote speaker and multiple breakouts  more info INCM’s Children’s Pastors Conference;  January 16-19, 2013;  Orlando, FL; multiple breakouts more info Oklahoma Kids Pastors Retreat; Jan. 25-26, 2013; […]
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!
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 […]
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 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 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 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 […]
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 […]