Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More about my new book...Kidmin Leadership

Really? Another book on leadership? You’ve got to be kidding me. Aren’t there enough out there already?
No, not really. Just like you can’t get enough love stories and cookbooks, you can’t get too much leadership help when you are involved in kidmin (kidmin is the Twittertm hashtag used to denote children’s ministry). You see, leadership principles are a dime a dozen these days, but help which specifically targets children’s ministers and how they can manage the change in their ministries is priceless. That’s what this book is all about.
I had no idea when God started dealing with me back in 1995 about teaching leadership to the children’s ministry world all the wonderful doors and possibilities He would open for me. In September of that year, I was on vacation in Nashville when God first gave me the assignment to teach leadership to kidmin folks. I remember thinking, If I’m going to teach leadership, I need to be the kind of leader others can look up to.
My mom had always told me, “When you point your finger at others, never forget there are three more fingers looking back at you.” So before I launched my monthly audio resource theClub, I knew I needed to be sure I was modeling all the principles I was going to teach. This called for immediate change.
I couldn’t immediately change others or bring instant change to the organization I was leading. In fact, I still can’t. But I can always change me! With every change I made, I saw fruit around me and in my own life. Each change in me bettered my ministry and my leadership abilities.
One thing led to another, and since I was already on the conference trail speaking at national events to thousands of leaders, I began to incorporate leadership principles into my teachings. I explained that children’s ministers only work with one group of children, but their everyday duties involve three groups of adults: parents, adult workers, and other staff. A lot of the kidmin folks I ministered to didn’t like the idea that how they related to adults had everything to do with their effectiveness with kids. Some told me they would rather learn about puppets and balloon sculptures, but every tool or teaching method has its place. Without leadership we are just educators, entertainers, or as I have heard it called “edutainers.”
Whether you like it or not, your ability to communicate with parents and bring them on board to disciple their children takes leadership. It also takes scores of adult workers and volunteers to effectively minister to large numbers of kids. Leadership is required to be able to recruit, train, and lead effectively. 
More to come... Be sure and order your copy at a special price here online from JWM.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Little Memorial Day History

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee. In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem: She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it. Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

Yesterday, I was so touched by the way World Outreach Church led us all to remember those who gave their all for our country. The color guards, the field drum, the trumpet, the video images were beautiful. I am so thankful for a church that helps me remember the main thing about main things! Please take a minute today parents to pray with your children for the families of those who have lost love ones and teach your children what Memorial Day is all about!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A little calendar planning love for you my friends!

My good friend and fellow infuser Kenny Conley posted an article over on his wonderful blog Children's Ministry Online that made me proud I also wanted to make sure all my blog readers caught this one! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kidmin Leadership

What happens when you combine:

·                A mentor and coach who for more than thirty-five years has successfully trained hundreds of thousands of local churches’ children’s and youth leaders;
·                Twelve kidmin leaders from various denominational backgrounds, a range of leadership levels, and a variety of life expe­riences;
·                Two years of an intense iron-sharpening-iron program which included more than twenty mentoring phone calls, four retreats, and count­less hours on a private forum at cmconnect.org?
That’s simple—this book!

Kidmin Leadership focuses on the top-twenty principles all leaders need to know. This book compiles the experiences of a select group of kidmin ministers who have dedicated a substantial amount of time to being mentored by renowned kidmin minister and leadership coach Jim Wideman. Topics include: knowing God’s will, self-leadership, priorities, thinking in steps, how to do what you don’t want to do, visioneering, team building, caring for others, and much, much more. Kidmin Leadership brings together more than a dozen voices who all write from the same heart. It’s a leadership resource you don’t want to do ministry without.

Here’s what others have said about Kidmin Leadership:
“Even beyond the words and messages in this book, the very idea behind this project is significantly pow erful. Jim Wideman’s books and talks have profoundly influenced kidmin. In these pages, you’ll read timeless principles he teaches that have been put into practice with much success. This book should give any kidmin leader great hope that if they put these things into practice, they’ll see success as well.”
–Kenny Conley Next Generation Pastor| Gateway Community Church| Austin, TX| www.childrensministryonline.com

“There are lots of leadership books out there, but when I come across one that is written by kids’ pastors for kids’ pastors, it gets my attention. I love the fact that this book is not full of theories; it is full of actual experience founded in biblical truth. Every chapter provides a different perspective that cumulates in one voice calling children’s pastors and church leaders alike to up their game and lead; because what we do is eternal, and the Gospel demands it.”
–Sam Luce Children’s Pastor| Redeemer Church| Utica, NY| 

“A book written for leaders by leaders, but not just any leaders—these are ones worth listening to. This is an incredible resource that will save young kidmin leaders like myself time, energy, and pain.”  
–Dustin Nickerson Childrens Ministry Director| Mars Hill Church Bellevue| Bellevue, WA| www.dustinnickerson.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Identifying Your Next Level

Since I began the children’s ministers leadership club over 15 years ago I have talked a lot about going to your next level and helping volunteers find their next level.

But how do you do that?

The first step is to determine where you want to go. I’ve found I can’t determine my present level until I determine where I want to end up. Study the leaders you esteem. Set goals for where you want to be as a leader. The best thing I can do for those I lead is to help them set goals! If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.

The second step is determining your present leadership level. If you don’t know where you are right now, you’re lost. Remember you’re never as wonderful as you think you are and things are never as bad as you think they are. It’s always somewhere in the middle. Be realistic by taking time to examine and rate your efficiency and abilities in every area of your life. I evaluate my life in four main areas. 1. My spiritual life. 2. My Family 3. My Finances, and 4. My work efficiency, innovation & excellence.

One I have determined where I want to end up and I’ve identified where I think I am I must identify the steps needed to go from one to the other. These steps are my next levels of leadership. Lately I’ve realized that all levels are judged by performance. Here are my secrets for upping my performance, I learned them from my personal trainer.

1. Test the weight. Determine if the task you or other are managing is light, medium, or heavy

2. Adjust the weight where it is challenging yet manageable. There’s time I add responsibility but there are times I make it lighter

3. Don’t go it alone take a spot or a lift up (Get help) Read a book, make a phone call, get a coach but never be too mighty to ask for help.

4. Once you found a task or performance level manageable add more each set. If you don’t push yourself to raise the bar you won’t.

5. Don’t do the same exercises (Mix it up) same actions bring same results.

6. Set new goals constantly. I love to shatter my personal best. Remember the goal you had yesterday will become old hat as you keep improving as a leader.

Your thinking drives performance. What you do is controlled by how you think. My trainer is always watching and correcting my form in the weight room. Don’t be afraid to make corrections to your actions by thinking different.

I ask my self these questions on a regular basis:

1. How bad do I want to improve & grow?
2. Do my actions prove it?
3. Do I have time for everything I want to have time for?
4. What’s robbing me from the time I need to have?
5. Do my wants line up with the leaders above me?

Never be satisfied with where you are until you have achieved your goal and have finished your race. Everyone has a next level. There’s always a next level if you don’t grow weary in well doing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Volunteers Are Looking For In A Leader

Here’s what I know about Americans give them a cause and a hero and they’ll rally around them both. As a Children’s Ministry Leader you have a cause. And guess what? Jesus wants to use you to be the hero. You not a true leader if no one is following. I believe there are seven things volunteers are looking for in a leader.

1. People are looking for a leader with vision. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Have you ever noticed losing teams don’t sell much merchandise. But everyone wants to identify with a winner. When you show up with a God inspired vision people will hook up and run with it.

2. People want a leader who possesses strength. 2Timothy 2:1 says “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” What this is telling us is that we can be confident in our calling as a children’s ministry leader. God equipts those He calls. We must possess the strength Jesus gives. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

3. People want a leader with a plan. If a general has a battle plan and a successful coach has a game plan why do we in children’s ministry think we can succeed without a plan?

4. People want excellence. Only 38% of parents in America say clergy are doing an “excellent” or “good” job. That tells me 62% of parents think excellence is missing.

5. Volunteers want to be informed. Communication is a must. Hosea 4:6 tells us “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Do your helpers know your vision, purpose, plan & structure? Communication is hard work it doesn’t happen on it’s on. I use brochures, newsletters, calendars, meetings, e-mail, and websites , just to name a few.

6. People want to be a part of a real move of God. Half of all Adults in America agree that “most churches are more interested in raising money than helping people.” One of the most asked questions I hear is “How do you get parents to not think of your ministry as baby sitting?” That’s simple, Don’t baby sit. Are kids getting saved. Are they lovers of the Word? Do they live what they learn? Don’t play church, have church!

7. People want a leader who doesn’t rely on past accomplishments but still leads. An up to-date leader points others to their next level.

What have you done for your volunteers lately. Keep pointing the way, setting the pace and be the leader others want to follow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Winning The Confidence Of Those You Lead

The lowest form of leadership is positional leadership. Just because you have been placed in charge of a
a ministry doesn’t make others automatically follow you. If you want others to follow you, you must win or earn their confidence. Volunteers won’t follow you just because you have a title they must feel that you are worth following because you are good for the organization.

Here my top ten list to win the confidence of the volunteers you lead. #1 Believe in yourself. No one wants to follow an insecure leader. At the same time you can put too much confidence in yourself. I know lots of Children’s Ministry leaders “I’d like to buy them for what they are worth & sell them for what they think their worth.” The key here is to be confident that Jesus has called you to be a leader. #2 Be upbeat and not discouraged or overwhelmed. Here’s some advice I’ve learned the hard way. Things are never as bad as you think, & you are not as wonderful as you think you are either. Be passionate and enthusiastic. Remember Nehemiah 8:10… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” If the task is too big for you, don’t let anyone know that, no one wants to rally around a defeated leader. #3 Carry yourself like a winner. Always look your best and dress for success. Know how to clean up well when you need to and don’t be silly. #4 identify your present leadership level. How would rate yourself as a leader? How would your volunteers rate your leadership? If you are a five, sevens and eights can’t look up to you. You must grow as a leader. Ask yourself these four simple questions and your on your way to your next level. What level are you now? Where do you want to be? What do you need to do? What steps can you take to begin? #5 Become a student of leadership and keep growing in your abilities. Always be reading. Listen to leadership teaching and mentors. Discuss what you are reading & learning with others leaders. Ask questions from people your recognize as an excellent leader. #6 Be an example of Godly Character 1Tim. 4:12 tells us “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Being an example will cause you to be someone worth following regardless of your age or experience. #7 Earn the confidence of the level of leadership above you. If those above you believe in you it will speak volumes to the volunteer. #8 Set the example of hard work. People who work hard always get my attention and respect! #10 Bear fruit. The more good changes and right decisions you make will cause everyone to see the benefits of your leadership. No one can argue with fruit and accomplishments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking Ahead and Pointing The Way

One of the most intriguing professions in the world to me is forecasting the weather. Sometimes they miss it but most of the time they get it right.
Mr. Webster defines forecasting as “to predict a future condition or occurrence; to calculate in advance by forethought and foresight in planning.  These are not just descriptions and duties of a meteorologist.  It’s also the responsibility of a leader of volunteers.  Are you accurately predicting future conditions and occurrences by advance planning and careful calculations? Here are twelve steps to become a leader who can look ahead and point the way God wants your team to go. 

 Number one know where you are headed.  Dare to dream.  Habakak 2:2 tells us we need more than just a vision we need to make it plain.  In other works be specific.  Number two know where you are.  I think you must evaluate everything from the needs of the kids, your workers, your budget, the policies and systems, even your thinking. Number three know where you’ve been.  What’s the history of your church and it’s children’s ministry.  Study the numbers, the accomplishments and the challenges. Number four know what others are doing.  A smart leader studies the success and failures of others. Attend a conference, visit their facilities, learn from everyone you can learn from. Number five get God’s plan for your ministry.  Here’s what I know God’s plan always works.  There is a difference between thus sayeth the seminar speaker and thus sayeth the Lord! Number six develop the plan.  God doesn’t lead us in leaps and jumps he leads in steps. Number seven Communicate and execute the plan. Start with the level of leadership around you. Next teach the plan in detail to the next level of leadership. Number eight give yourself a test.  Stop and evaluate. Are you on a pace to hit what you are aiming for?  Number nine teach and make corrections to your team.  Teaching brings definition. Teach on what you have learned through evaluation.  When you correct, correct in love! Ten, set the pace and be the leader. It’s simple leaders must lead.  If you call yourself a leader and no one is following behind you you’re only taking a walk. Eleven, keep momentum and energy moving forward by planning in advance.  Think ahead.  I try to stay nine months ahead. Last but not least- out work everyone.  Work smart, come early, stay late, accomplish more and work hard.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Leading By Encouragement

Leadership is a fascinating study. All of us want to be better leaders. When I was younger I thought there was only one way to do things, my way. The older and wiser I become I have come to understand there is more than one way to do things. That’s also true with leadership. There are different ways or styles of leadership. One of my favorite ways to lead volunteers is to lead by encouragement. Three things I have learned as a children’s ministry leader are: 
1. People need to be needed. 2. People need to be helped to the next level. 3. People respond to encouragement!

If people respond to encouragement, we must learn to lead by encouragement. How do we do this?

1. Realize God has gifted people to help you. Ephesians 4:8 says, “When he (Jesus) ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” Jesus has ascended, and every person in your church is part of mankind. The way I read this verse, every Christian has at least one gift to use in serving others, glorifying God, and building up the Body of Christ. So far I have yet to meet a person who couldn’t do something in ministry. Let others participate in the ministry. Make room for helpers. God gives us what we make room for. You can’t lead by encouragement if you are insecure. Don’t be threatened by others’ gifts, talents and abilities. Insecurity is based on the lie, “God has not placed you where you are!”

2. Believe in people. I believe God equipts those he calls. None of us know as much about something when we first begin doing it. Experience makes a difference. It’s harder to believe in new volunteers. But that’s a risk that I’ve learn makes a difference. I am so glad some of the leaders I’ve served took a chance on me. We must do the same for others, take a chance. I have discovered that people will accept correction better when they know you believe in them. Let others know they can do what you’ve asked them to do. If God has placed a call, a desire, an assignment on your life to do for Him, then He believes you can do it! If He believes you can do it, who are you to tell Him you can’t?

3. Communicate your love and care for those you are leading. Be a friend to your volunteers. I know what you are thinking. “I don’t have that much time to be friends with all my volunteers.” I don’t either but I make time to show myself friendly. Rejoice with them and cry with them. Get involved in their life every chance you have. Show an interest in them and their big picture. It always pays to say thanks and to show thanks. Watch your workers and catch them doing things right. Support your volunteers and be their biggest cheerleader.

It’s your choice to choose to be an encourager! Yes I want to lead by example, yes I want to lead by vision but everyday I ask Jesus to help me to be the kind of leader who leads by encouragement!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spoiling Your Volunteers

I love being spoiled. My wife has spoiled me for over 32 years. My daughters have spoiled their dad all their life, my employees spoil me at the office on a regular basis. Because I like it so much I want to spoil others. A great goal for any kidmin leader is to purpose in your heart to spoil your volunteers outside their classrooms as well as in. You’ve heard me say this before, you gain those you serve. It’s a spiritual law. Christ Jesus came to serve not to be served.

 Here’s my top 10 List for you to stand out in your church as a leader who serves their volunteers 
1. Return all phone calls and answer all emails quickly. It’s hard to believe that this one step will single handily set you apart from most busy leaders in America. It’s also the best way I know to communicate you care about those who serve you
When you are at your desk answer your phone. If you have voice mail change your message to inform people if you are unable to return their message quickly. Also if your phone is not answered by a live person always leave your extention number. When you’re calling others especially their cell phone find out whether your telephone call is welcome or intrusive. Always ask if it’s a good time to talk.

2. Remember to say please and thank you. These two words are still magic words to cause volunteers to feel appreciated. Always write a personal thank-you note for special favors within two days. When you can write a personal note when you sign your name on form letters. 

3. Never miss a deadline. If it looks like you’re going to be late, negotiate and change it. If you can’t change it, get some help. Never promise performance unless you can deliver. Always under promise, over deliver.

4. When you communicate in person communicate with eye contact. Always look people in the eye. Call your volunteers by name.

5. Solicit criticism and accept it without being defensive. I constantly ask others how can we improve what we do. Smart leaders listen to their volunteers. 

6. Repent quick. Never be afraid of saying “I’m sorry” or I apologize”, Admit any error immediately. Report it to the person who can solve or repair it the fastest.

7. Before beginning any discussion, clearly state the purpose, the desired outcome, and the key objective. Before entering a serious negotiation, decide what you are willing to give up.

8. Keep up to date on the latest technologies. Learn as much as you can on new developments. Supply your volunteers with whatever resources, equipment and materials that they need to excel.

9. Raise everyone’s educational and interest level by distributing a timely article or clever quotation. Show your volunteers you really care and buy them a copy of one of my books.

10. Don’t plan too many meetings. Use other ways to communicate other than meetings. Desire to be a family church that allows for family time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vision Casting-part 3

4.  Create a plan to bring your vision to pass. Planning must always go before action. You’ve started with the end now go to the beginning. Determine exactly where you are. Now begin to think in small manageable steps or short-term goals. Focus on each step in the process being careful not to move too quickly or to skip a step.

5.  Create structure to make it happen. Structure is the key to being able to move in the direction God wants you to go. You know where you want to go, you have a plan to get there now you must identify the people, positions, and giftings needed to pull it off. It’s not enough to just write job descriptions you need to also create policies and develop systems to make ministry reflexive.

6. Communicate the vision and plan every way you possibly can to your key leaders and staff! This is where you take what you’ve done so far and give it away. Casting vision is hard work and cannot be accomplished with just one method or part time. Speak it, put it in a brochure, make banners, and show pictures that explain it. Use video, interviews, and take every opportunity to communicate and explain your vision as well as your plan. This includes meetings! Spend time with the level of leaders directly under you and help them make your vision their own. This is an important step because they will impart your vision to others and you will not be alone in the vision casting process. This is something you must develop as a life habit and must become a part of your life-style.

7.  Teach it all to your workers.  What do I teach? Teach and explain your philosophy of ministry. Teach on your mission and overall goal. Teach your structure.  If your workers don’t understand how authority works they won’t be people under authority. I also teach vision specifics. Things like what I want each child to become after they complete each ministry within our children’s department. I teach my plan in steps so it can be easily followed and understood.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vision Casting-part 2

So how do you successfully cast your vision in a way that others grasp it and own it? I’m glad you asked, let’s look at seven steps. Here's the first three...

1.  Start with discovering your vision. Pray, dream and hear from God firsthand what he wants for the children’s ministry you lead. I love to be still before the Lord and imagine the possibilities and His desires for my ministry. Ask and you shall find. When I draw close to Him, He always draws close to me. Ask him for a picture of the end result.

2. Now, write it out. Take those thoughts and dreams and turn them into words. You’ll never turn your vision into reality until you’ve turned it into words. Habakkuk 2:2 is a great verse. It says, “Write the vision down and make it plain so they that read it can run with it.”  As I write and study the vision I compare and examine my leadings by the written word of God.

3.  Simplify it. That verse in Habakkuk not only tells me to write the vision down but to also make it plain. I try to put it into a single sentence if possible. If not one sentence then two or three at the most. Let the main thing be the main thing. How comes in your plan what you need to concentrate on now is what.
Run it by someone who does not help in your ministry to make sure it is simple enough for them to understand it, Now write in down, keep it before you, write it on every publication. Commit it to memory and talk it up every time you are before people.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Vison Casting

You’ve heard me say this over and over again. “If you aim at nothing,
you’ll hit it every time!” I believe you’ll never see your dreams and vision come to pass without a clear understand of where you are going, why you want to go there and how are you to get there.

Vision is important. Every Christian leader knows by heart “Where there s no vision people perish.” I like to say it this way, “Where there is vision people flourish. I think in every list I have ever come up with in one of my leadership club lessons it’s started with… “Start with your vision.” To me all a vision is is to identify how you want your ministry to end up. With this in mind in children’s ministries there is a vision in each age group or ministry that makes up the overall vision.

Vision casting is simply, communicating the vision so others make your vision their own. Why is this so important? Vision determines action and outcome. Over the past 33 years I have thought many times about quitting children’s ministry. In the early years it was every Monday, in my forties it was to become a senior pastor. So why didn’t I quit? It’s simple; my vision wouldn’t allow me to quit. Then I realized something if my vision wouldn’t let me quit, if I could put this vision into others who help and serve they wouldn’t quit either. (You can read all about this in my book “Volunteers That Stick.”
more to come...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I've always been a mama's boy. I love my Mom! My Mom is one of the most caring, loving and fun people I have ever met. She loves people and loves life and has passed both of those gifts to me.

My wife is also an amazing Mom. It's been easier for me to work and be successful outside the home because of how she cared for our kids and ran our home. The reason we are as close to our kids as we are is because of her. Whatever any of us need she's there providing support! She is simply amazing and such a God sent.

On this Mother's Day I am thankful not only for the woman who birthed me and who raised me by herself for most of my childhood and the wonderful wife and mother of my children that I've shared over 32 years with but I am thankful also for the newest mother in my life, my daughter! It has been a blast watching Yancy be a Mom. The way she looks at my Grandson I see that love in her eyes that only a mother has and it's so cool. 

So Happy Mother's Day ladies, may you know you are love, you are appreciated, and you are special!

This Mama's boy loves you bunches!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Motivating Workers With Thanks

Tonight we are having our annual Worker Celebration. It's one of my favorite events of the year. When I first met the WOC folks was when they attended a conference I was hosting in April 2006. They ask if I could come and help them with their new building and they booked me for December 2006 and also May 2007. By the time I showed up in May 2007 to speak at the Worker Celebration I had begun a new chapter in my life.  Who new that in just 7 months later I'd move to Tennessee. Tonight will be my 5th Celebration in a row. My good friend Johnny Rogers is going to be speaking and I'm excited about kicking off our new recruiting year. I think one of the best way to motavate others is with thanks! Having a Celebration is just one way here's some others...

It is always the right thing to do to give thanks and be thankful.

It’s not just a seasonal thing. It should be a way of life for the Christian. Not only should we practice thanks living but we should also practice thanks giving. All of us like to hear thank you that includes your volunteers.

Here are some practical ideas to motivate your workers with thanks:

1. Begin to say it. Get in the habit of saying thanks. If the Apostle Paul can tell people he thanks God for them every time he thinks about them we can too! Walk around before service & thank workers personally. When you are in front of a group of workers- say thanks. Be on the lookout by catching people doing things right.

2. Begin to write it. The best purchase any children’s leader could make is a box of thank you notes. Write a heartfelt note to your leaders when they’ve done something thanks-worthy. A couple of times a year as well as after every major event send a letter to say thanks. Even a form letter is better than no thank-you at all. Always sign each letter personally and write a short note to personalize it.

Don’t forget Christmas cards, Valentine cards, Birthday cards and Anniversary cards. I’ve found that when I write a personal note on all reports, forms and checklist workers complete so they know you read them and know what they are accomplishing.

3. Begin to show it. Candy treats and little sayings are cute but nothing says thanks better than letting your actions speak louder than words. Things like special worker parking places, breakfast for your volunteers and their families before your earliest service, Worker Appreciation Day as well as a free CD of the service they work shows volunteers you really appreciate them.

4. Invest in them. Plan a retreat or special training event for your workforce that includes training, inspiration, and fun. Bring them as a group to a conference or seminar. Give them training products as gifts. I’m always purchasing books and teaching CD’s for my workers. If a book has blessed you bless someone else with it. I gave every key leader and coordinator in my ministry a copy of my book “Children’s Ministry Leadership-the you-can-do-it guide” sure they enjoyed the book but the fact that I invested in them spoke volumes to them. But the greatest investment is when you give them your time. I take key workers with me all the time; I look for ways to invest myself in them constantly.

It’s never the wrong time to begin to show thanks!

Make thanks giving and thanks living a part of your yearly calendar planning. Look for every opportunity to say thanks, write thanks, show thanks, and invest in your children’s ministry team! 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Today Is The National Day of Prayer

At noon today my church is going to have a special service for our community. I love being a part of a church that makes prayer a priority! I hope you'll stop for a few moments where ever you are and pray for our nation, pray for our leaders, pray for our troops, also pray for your local governments, including our police and our firefighters. Even if you can't join with us, or others, your prayers make a difference!

This is what I know...

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Why I Go to Conferences... Part 4

This blogger segregation really underlined what I was teaching on in my next breakout "Aligning The Children's and Student Ministry Departments." I think this was the best breakout I did at Orange. I had over 1000 in attendance and it was very humbling. I later hosted a lunch that featured churches who brought a group to Orange. I spent a lot of time with Student Ministry folks at the lunch and then also that night at the Student Ministry Meet-Up at Dave and Busters. The highlight of the day came with another non-Orange learning opportunity by having breakfast early with Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, Matt Mckee, Gina McClain, and Jonathan Clift. Sam and Kenny set this up long before the conference. It was wonderful meeting with these 5. The next day I started with another breakfast with Matt Payne and his student pastor then I did by final breakout of Orange 11 "Recruiting Secrets That Work" It was received well but I've never taught on recruiting that didn't get a good response.  The big highlight of the day came by me getting to spend time with Anthony Prince and JC Thompson. These are two young guns I've been watching and learning from online but had never got to really spend any time with. I was impressed in fact I can't wait to spend some time with both of these guys again. I also got to spend a little time with the Granger guys. (Looking forward to learning more from DC and Ted.) After a quick trip back to the hotel to pack Julie and I loaded the car grabbed Sam Luce and took off for Tennessee. Usually after a conference I am worn out but Orange 2011 energized me. The only thing that was missing for me was any Reggie time. I learned what I wanted to learn and got to connect with some amazing leaders. I can't wait until Orange 2012!