Saturday, April 30, 2016

Important Truths About Leading - Let the Joy Show!

First of all, I'm telling you the answer . . . joy! Yes, joy!

Now for the question. How can you tell if you are serving and leading in your strength or in God's? I know you know the answer - especially since I started this post with the answer!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Safety Alert - Phones Are Pretty Much Everywhere

One thing we have to keep in mind in our Children's Ministry; even at the top of our list of things we must do, is the safety of the children in our ministry. This means we are resolute about running safety checks, background checks and following up with references for each and every person working/serving in the Children's Ministry as well as for each and every person who volunteers to serve.

It also means we keep an appropriate child/adult ratio in our classes, we do not let married couples serve together without another unrelated adult present and we have child safety polices we train all our volunteers on each year.

However; there is another very important thing we must do to keep the children safe . . . something you may not have considered. Pretty much every adult and teen - and even some children - in your church have phones. This means pretty much every adult, teen - and even some children - in your church have cameras which they carry with them everywhere they go.

Why does this matter? Because it means they have these phones - and cameras - when they are in the restrooms and other places where the children in your ministry may be as well. How does this impact your Children's Ministry and being certain it is a safe place for children? Consider the following . . . 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Legacy Grandparenting Summit - Please Plan to Come & Bring Grandparents & Church Leaders With You!

As church leaders, we have many "groups" of people to focus upon - children, youth, college-age, singles, couples, parents, grandparents . . . definitely no shortage for sure! But, if you read this blog, you likely focus on children - and maybe families as well. 

So, for you, including grandparents in your, "definition" of the word "family" makes a lot of sense. Grandparents have the unique opportunity to influence their grandchildren for Jesus. They are people who tend to be some of the strongest prayer warriors for their grandchildren and are often the people grandchildren are able to talk with about how they feel and what they are facing in their lives. If they have focused on intentionally building a relationship with their grandchildren, grandparents are often people who are able to talk with their grandchildren about God and His Word and have them listen to them, because of the relationship they have with them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

D6 Days - Check It Out!

D6 Family
One of the best uses of your time as a Children's Ministry pastor/director/leader is to engage, equip and encourage families to pass on a heritage of faith to their children. It is, after all, the blue-print God laid out for us to follow - just look at Deuteronomy 4 and 6.

So, as you do this, be sure to include grandparents in your "definition" of "family", because next, to the parents, grandparents often have the biggest impact on and are able to influence their grandchildren the most for Jesus. 

With this in mind, I want to let you know today about an amazing opportunity you have next week to learn more about engaging and equipping grandparents. D6 is offering a free online conference next week called, D6 Days. They say; "Each spring, we provide this free conference consisting mostly of previously recorded backstage videos with leaders like yourself to help train other leaders for generational discipleship and introduce them to the concepts of Deuteronomy 6."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

God's Leading . . . Are You Sure?

I often hear people in children's ministry talk about how God is leading them in their ministry. Often it is shared with the goal of taking their ministry in a different direction. There certainly may be times when God is leading us to go in a different and new direction, but we need to be careful to distinguish between God's clear leading and our own wants. 

There is a lot of "power" with being able to say, "God is leading me to . . . " because how does someone "argue" "against" God and His "leading"? Consider the following thoughts -

Monday, April 25, 2016

Don't Miss Out on the Blessings!

As I said in my last post; "EVERYONE who believes is part of the body and has something to offer." I wrote about the people who you might "pass over" in your mind as you think about who to recruit for your Children's Ministry, so now I want to consider a few of the blessings from involving people who have extra challenges . . . 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

EVERYONE Who Believes is Part of the Body & has Something to Offer!

When it comes to volunteers in your ministry, most of them are probably people who you would describe with the word, "normal". By this I mean, they likely are people who have no serious illnesses or physical challenges. But, who might you be missing out on by not including those who have "challenges"? Who might be able to serve even if they have an illness or physical challenge? When you think about recruiting, are there people who you "pass over" in your mind, because they have an illness or physical challenge? If so, think about the following . . . 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pray for the Volunteers You Have!

I've been talking about recruiting by keeping the volunteers you already have and said to, Take the Time - and Make the Time - to Know Your Volunteers! and Support the Volunteers You Have! When I talked about recruiting new volunteers I talked about how we need to pray and ask the Lord of the Harvest to send volunteers.  Yesterday I mentioned being sure you have a prayer partner for each volunteer, so, today I want to focus more on praying for your volunteers and to encourage you to make praying for the volunteers you have a top priority - consider the following -

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Support the Volunteers You Have!

For the past couple days I've been talking about The Best, Easiest and Most Fun Way to Recruit by keeping the volunteers you have and being sure you Take the Time - and Make the Time - to Know Your Volunteers! Today I want to focus on supporting your volunteers. 

It can be so easy to be so caught up in trying to be sure you have your "bases covered" by having enough volunteers, you do not think you even have time to focus on supporting the volunteers you have. But, if you do not provide the support volunteers need, you will probably find you are always recruiting, because you will not be able to keep the volunteers you have. Consider the following -

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Legacy Grandparenting Summit

For the past five years on my other blog - grandma's cookie jar - I've been writing about being grandparents who pass on a heritage of faith to our grandchildren. During this time, I'm posted a fair amount here on About the Children's Department about how important it is for the church to engage grandparents to do this as well.

This past Summer I was invited to be part of a new ministry . . . the Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters. Our vision is to engage, equip and encourage grandparents to pass their faith to their grandchildren and to help churches do the same with the grandparents in their ministries.

Take the Time - and Make the Time - to Know Your Volunteers!

Yesterday I wrote about the benefits of keeping the volunteers you already have, so today I want to write about one way to do this . . . take the time - and make the time - to know your volunteers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keep The Volunteers You Have By Encouraging and Thanking Them!

I've been writing about recruiting volunteers and while I focused most of the time on recruiting new volunteers, the easiest - and best way to recruit is by keeping the volunteers you already have! One way you can do this is by encouraging your volunteers . . . 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spiritual Gifts - How Do We Use them and What Difference Does It Make?

I've been talking about Spiritual Gifts this week - why God gives them to us and what they are. Today I want to talk about how we use them and the difference it makes when they are used - which of course, has a lot to do with recruiting!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

So . . . What Are the Spiritual Gifts?

Yesterday I wrote about why God gives us gifts, so today I want to take a few moments to look at what the gifts are which God gives to us! 

If we look in Ephesians 4 we can see what most of them are; "As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other.Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us. Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say, 'When he went up to the highest place, he led away many prisoners and gave gifts to people.' When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10 This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe. 11 Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12 so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him." Did you see the gifts in this passage? They are:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Best, Easiest and Most Fun Way to Recruit!!!!

I've been talking about recruiting and while I think everything about recruiting is fun, there is one way to recruit which is the best, the easiest and the most fun ever . . . and the most effective. 

What could this be, you ask? Retention. Keeping the volunteers you already have! If you are successful at keeping your volunteers then your recruiting demands will reduce significantly. So, lets look at this - keeping the volunteers you already have and consider the benefits of retention!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Spiritual Gifts - Why Does God Give Them to Us?

When a person becomes a Christian God's Word teaches He gives "gifts" to them! So, why does He give gifts, what are these gifts, how do we use them and what difference does it make? How does knowing these answers relate to recruiting? 

These are great questions to consider and we will be looking at these questions and answers for a few days - particularly in relation to how they apply to recruiting!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Prayer for Volunteers . . . (re-run)

I've been talking about recruiting volunteers for your Children's Ministry, so today I want to remind you about one of the most important parts of recruiting - asking God to send us the "laborers"/volunteers we need for our ministries!

As I've said a "few" times, I firmly believe no one cares more if we have the "laborers" we need in our ministries than God does. God went to great lengths and sent Jesus, so we could be forgiven and learn to know and walk with Him. Clearly this is a message He wants others to hear. We need volunteers in our ministries, so we are able to reach children and families. These are simple facts. This means we need to make praying and asking God to send us the laborers we need a regular part of our prayers! Consider the following . . . 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Focus - Depend on & Trust God . . . for Volunteers!

As we continue to think about recruiting, let's think about focusing on depending on and trusting God. We can not give to others what we do not have for ourselves. If we are not growing spiritually, we will not be equipped to help our volunteers grow spiritually. If they are not growing spiritually, how can we expect the children in our ministries to grow? 

Sometimes it is easy - too easy - to focus on the "things" we need to do and lose sight of the thing we really need to be focused on . . . knowing and walking with Jesus. Check this link for a personalized Scripture prayer from Psalm 86 for us to focus on which encourages us to depend on and trust God. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Touch Bases on Planning Your Volunteer Recruiting Month!

When it comes to recruiting, I believe taking a month which focuses upon challenging your church to think about becoming involved as volunteers in your children's ministry, is a great way to get the attention of the people in your church. To help you with a month of recruiting, I have eight complete plans with themes and more to help you fill an entire month of recruiting -
  1. "Finest Hour"
  2. "For Such a Time as This" 
  3. "Tell Me Again"
  4. "Lifesong" 
  5. "Hand in Hand"
  6. "For Future Generations"
  7. "Glorious Day"
  8. "Meant to Be"
So . . . if you are planning to focus a month on recruiting for your Fall Ministry Team, look over each of these theme/plans and choose one for your recruiting month theme. Then consider the following ideas for implementing your plan to focus on serving with the Children's Ministry!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Remember: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When it comes to recruiting and dealing with your volunteers please remember, actions speak louder than words. If we say one thing, but do something else people will notice. Regardless of who we are, we all are accountable for our actions; but when we are in ministry we bear a stronger accountability.

I once heard a pastor preach about how he was "terrified" he would not live up to James 3 where it says, "teachers will be judged more strictly." But, then his words did not match his actions. He said one thing, and repeatedly did something else. 

I think it can be far too easy to say one thing and do something else - we have to be intentional about being aware of what we say and what we do, so the two "match". And, if we discover our words and actions do not match, we need to immediately do whatever we need to do to make things right; unlike the pastor I knew who refused to take responsibility and did all he could to make others look like they were the ones who were doing something wrong.

Do not let this happen in your ministry. On a personal level we have to be sure our walk and our talk match, but in ministry we have to be ever so much more careful to be certain they match. When our words and actions do not match we are certain to cause pain.

So, keep the following in mind . . . 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

When You Recruit Remember Why You Serve!

Why do you serve in Children's Ministry? What do you enjoy the most about serving? What is the most amazing thing which has happened while you served in Children's Ministry? What have you learned about God while serving? How have you come to know and walk with God more by serving? How has God worked in your life while you served in the Children's Ministry? When you recruit, don't forget to remember these things . . . and share them with others in your church!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Truth About Burn-Out!

A couple years ago I was invited to write about burnout for K! Magazine/KidzMatters; so since I'm talking about recruiting at various times through the remainder of this month, and burnout is a big deal in recruiting, I thought I'd share part of the article with you and provide the link for the full post on the KidzMatter site.

"I do not believe burnout is really a problem in children’s ministry. Stay with me for a minute as I explain. When we, or a volunteer, are tired from serving, instead of identifying it as, 'we are tired', we call it burn-out. Or, when one of us experiences frustration because we are serving on our own or took too much on for us to be able to handle, instead identifying it as we are doing too much on our own, we call it burnout.

There are other examples, but the point is, burnout is not really the problem. Misidentifying, or even not identifying, the problem is the problem. When we fail to correctly identify the problem, we can’t solve the problem and sadly, the end result is, people leave ministry and do not experience the joy God has for them when they serve. This is a true tragedy.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Are You Afraid Of?

When it comes to recruiting volunteers, what are you afraid of? Yes, I said, "afraid". So often people in Children's Ministry seem to almost "hate" recruiting, or at least strongly dread and dislike it.

Which leads me to my question; what are you afraid of? Are you afraid people will say, "No" when you ask them to serve? Are you afraid you will feel "awkward" if people say "No"? Are you afraid you won't have the volunteers you need and then worry about how to "cover" the "bases"? What are you afraid of?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Resource for Grandparents - Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters Facebook Page

One way you can engage, equip and encourage the grandparents in your church to be intentional about passing on a heritage of faith to their grandchildren is by letting them know about resources which area available to help them do this. Today I'm very happy to let you know about one resource you can share with them . . . the Legacy Coalition - Grandparenting Matters Facebook page.

On this facebook page they will find new posts every day to help them with information about resource available to them, encouragement to pray for their grandchildren - and Scripture prompts to do so, specific ideas about how to pass on their faith . . . and so much more!

You'll find it at this link - please share it with the grandparents in your ministry!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Real Family Ministry Which Engages, Equips & Encourages Grandparents - Grandparent Conference

When you think about "Family Ministry" at your church, what do you think about? Children and parents? Yes, Family Ministry absolutely involves ministry to and with children and parents, but it also needs to include ministry to and with grandparents, because they are second only to parents in their ability to influence and impact the lives of their grandchildren. Since they have this great influence, why wouldn't we want to include them in our ministry to and with families?

There is a new movement taking place across our country where churches are being called upon to engage, equip and encourage grandparents to take seriously God's call upon them to impact and influence their children's children. Most churches have ministry to parents and to senior saints, but the group between these two groups is mostly ignored and left to themselves. Consider the following information about grandparents . . . 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Summer Minute to Win It!

I love Lindsey Whitney's ideas for "Minute to Win It" for church and her Summer Edition gives even more ideas to help you hold your own "Minute to Win It" at your church! As I wrap up my, "Family Ministry on a Shoe-String" ideas, I thought I'd share this post again with you. You will notice Lindsey's post was written when the TV show was a current show, but if you google "Minute to win it games", you'll find quite a few links with directions for games.

Thank you Lindsey for allowing me to re-post these articles from your site - Growing Kids Ministry. Please be sure to take a minute to check her site for more excellent ideas for your ministry!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - We Have Talent!

For several days I've been talking about Family Ministry possibilities you could offer the children and families in your church . . . all on a shoe-string! I have one more idea for you . . . you could plan a "(your church's name) got talent" show and involve children and families in sharing their "talents" . . . you could even do this in conjunction with your picnic in the park for "entertainment" at your picnic! 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Family Picnics in the Park!

If you are looking for something you could do to engage children and families in your church and reach out to your community at the same time . . . all on a shoe-string budget, you might try offering Family Picnics in the Park! Think about the following - 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Family Ministry on a Shoe-String - Family Service Squads!

When we think about Family Ministry we most often tend to think about providing ministry opportunities for the children and families in our church and community, and while we certainly want to do this, Family Ministry can also - and should also - include opportunities for our children and families to serve others! We can serve others "on a shoe-string" - consider the following ideas . . .