Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Infuse... What's it all about?

In early 2007 I got new marching orders for my life. The Lord gave me a fresh desire to take what I’ve learned about children’s ministry and leadership and pass it on to the next generation of leaders. I began to look for ways to do this in addition to my monthly audio leadership resource “the Club.” I added a couple of blogs, my own plus one with Ryan Frank. I began to host forums and discussion groups online and began to write for several ministry publications; yet I knew there was still something missing. It seemed like the more I did to mentor others the more people wanted me to come up with a way to personally coach and mentor them. For years I’ve been looking for a way to offer a mentoring service that’s intensive yet affordable for any size church. Then I stumbled on a way to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish for the cost of a four-day conference. When I first told my family about my idea they thought I was crazy. One of my daughters said: "Let me get this right 20 random #kidmin leaders are going to come to our house for 2 days? How are you going to make sure they are not weird?" That was a good question.

 Infuse has truly been a God idea. Mr. Webster defines infuse as: to instill a quality or skill in someone or something; to soak or pour into. This is what I’ve been searching for, a way to pour into others what it’s taken me years to learn so they can be better leaders and accomplish more in less time. Infuse is limited to 20 selected candidates each session. At this place in my life and ministry I'm so honored and blessed to be able to make this service available. Over the next few days we're going to look over all the information and details about this proven leadership resource. As you read my blog I hope you will ask the Lord if infuse is right for you. I’d love for you to prayerfully consider this investment in yourself, in your dreams and in your ministry.  I want to help you become the leader you want to be and pour into you the qualities and skills to make your dreams reality. I believe this is my chance to take what the years have given me so I can pass it on to the next generation. 

more to come...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why I Go to Conferences... Part 5-#CPC12 Orlando continued

The final day of #CPC12 started early again with some of my wonderful infusers helping me get set up for another busy day of teaching and helping others. My first workshop turned into my favorite of all the ones I taught. It was entitled "We're All In This Together- 10 things I do to network, lead, and learn from others." I enjoyed this on I believe I'm going to re-teach it on the my next theClub lesson in February. (Remember you can download theClub monthly audio leadership lessons free if you are under 30.) My next workshop is one of my life messages "How To Be A Problem Solver." This is one of my favorite teachings to teach.  With all my sessions behind me I still was not completely done, another new feature of #CPC12 was the Networking Lunches. I sat with a table full of leaders and let them pick my brain over lunch. My infusers also maned several tables. Isat there until people were all questioned out. I then headed over to the Kidmin Genius Bar. (Which I never made it to yesterday) When the exibit area shut down Julie and I ran to do a little shopping at the outlet mall then we headed back for the last session of helping folks at the Genius Bar. My good friend Jonathan Cliff and INCM board member came over and hung out and helped folks at the Genius Bar. The time flew by and the next thing I knew it was time to pack up and say goodbye to everyone.  I only had a few boxes to ship back to Nashville so the Kidmo Guys let me put them on their truck. Saturday we got up early and flew home. The plane was full of #CPC attendees all of us had one thing in common we were served by the staff of INCM and had a wonderful time and learned a ton. I am looking so forward to #CPC San Diego. You still have time to register.

I'll be speaking at 9 more conferences this year then I'm going to take a break from conferences in 2013 and only do infuse. I hope to see you at one or more of these remaining training events. For a complete list, click on this link.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why I Go to Conferences... Part 4-#CPC12 Orlando continued

Thursday got started with a bang I taught three workshops in a row plus hosted a table at the Networking Lunch. The 3 workshops were Stretch-Structuring Your Ministry For Growth- (Based off my new book.), Leading Multiple Ministries, & Raising The Abilities of Those You Lead. Want my notes? You can download them here. I never made it to my booth or the KIDMIN GENIUS BAR. Thank God the infusers were there and had everything under control.
My family and I got to be a part of the afternoon General Session with my good friend Reggie Joiner. It was so good to catch up with him back stage, Reggie knocked it out of the park that afternoon as he always does. Before Reggie spoke Michael did an interview with my family. I am honored to have a family like mine. Julie and I have worked hard to reach the kids who lived at our house as well as the ones at the church. I have always felt my family was my greatest sermon. Unknown to me, Michael had asked Yancy to write a song for me and perform it for everyone. It was wonderful. Here's what she wrote...


When your heart is filled with gratitude,
What do you say?
Do you write a letter or pick up the phone,
So they'll hear it right away?
Cause there's one whose always been there since my very first breath
There's a lot of thank yous now overdue that are running through my head

It's not just what you said but how you chose to live
You've made a lifetime of memories
And your time is well spent

Cause you taught us to Love, love one another
Love, love God's people and Love God's word with all our heart
Do what's right at any cost Give, Give with open hands
Fight, press on to win this race God made for you
Do what He has called you to
If every child had the parents I have, the world would be much brighter

It's not about being perfect or always right
You're the first to admit you're still learning and lay down your pride
but You care about your family and this world God made
and we're all better because of the seeds
you've planted each day

It's not just what you said but how you chose to live
actions speak louder and your volume is cranked to ten

Cause you taught us to Love, love one another
Love, love God's people and Love God's word with all our heart
Do what's right at any cost Give, Give with open hands
Fight, press on to win this race God made for you
Do what He has called you to
If every child had the parents I have, the world would be much brighter

thank you for believing in me and saying I'm proud of you
and all the things you gave up so my dreams could come true

There’s a part of me that’s just like you
And I want to make you proud, the words you spoke brought life to me
and I want to thank you now

Cause you taught us to Love, love one another
Love, love God's people and Love God's word with all our heart
Do what's right at any cost Give, Give with open hands
Fight, press on to win
This race God made for you
Do what He has called you to
If every child had the parents I have, the world would be much brighter

If every girl had the daddy I have
This world would be so much brighter

©2012 Dried Rose Music (ASCAP)

Michael and the INCM then awarded me the first ever Legacy Award for my lifetime achievement in children's ministry. It was one of the most humbling days of my life and one I'll remember for the rest of my life. I was so blessed and honored. Thank you so much INCM!
The service ended with everyone having a night on the town, my family and I went out to celebrate together then when we got home my good friends Sam and Sandra Luce came over and hung out until I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. There was still one more day and I'll tell you about it later.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I Go to Conferences... Part 3-#CPC12 Orlando

#CPC12 in Orlando was my first conference to be a part of in the New Year. I was so excited to be a part of this year's event. Michael Chandley and the staff of INCM had really worked hard making some changes to the event. When a friend asks for your help this old country boy isn't going to turn them down. I'm not sure how many CPC's I've attended. I've attended more than I've missed since 1980. I've seen a lot of changes over the years! some of the changes I've seen has not thrilled me but the changes I saw in action @ #CPC12 were the best I've ever seen. I love the new look, the new website, the phone app and more but one of my favorite changes were the launching of the 5 Inititiatives of INCM...  The five initiatives are meant to identify bright spots in the church worth replicating. They are a starting point for beginning to set an international standard for Children’s Ministry. Obviously, no one person or group can fix everything that is broken in kidmin, however the INCM is encouraging all of us in children's ministry to work together to focus on key issues that will make a lasting impact. Here they are:

1. Impart God’s truth to this generation

2. Provide a safe and relevant environment
3. Communicate with families
4. Network with a community of leaders
5. Pray for the international children’s ministry community.

My #CPC12 experience started on a high the day before we were to leave for #CPC my favorite team the ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE won it's 14th College Football National Championship. After that big game and trying to prepare for my workshops I found myself up all night. I couldn't sleep.  The next morning we loaded the car and headed to the airport. Julie, Whitney, Yancy, Cory & Sparrow were going in a day early so we could play at Disney before we went to work.

Wednesday morning we set up our booth spaces as well as the KIDMIN GENIUS BAR. The Genius Bar was an idea I came up with @ the KIDMIN EXPO that my good friend Roger Fields hosted in Lexington. Chandley saw it and wanted me to do it at #CPC. This was a co-venture of CPC & Jim Wideman Ministries. Several past and present infusers volunteered their time to come down and offer free advice and help to all the attendees.  It was hard to set up for all the people coming by to say hi. One of my favorite things about CPC is it's like a giant KIDMIN family reunion.  As soon as the exhibit area opened the Genius Bar was busy. (Another set of infusers are coming out to #CPC12 San Diego to help me help KIDMIN folks there.)
We talked and prayed with folks until the exhibit area closed. I was ready for bed because I had a big day ahead of me on Thursday. But if I went home right now what I learned from networking, and spending time with old and new #KIDMIN friends would have been worth my trip so far!

more to come...                                                                  

for more about #CPC12 checkout this great recap video

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why I Go to Conferences... Part 2 Revisited

I still attend conferences for these same reasons. Number one to learn. Number two to network and meet people and number three to find resources and helps to aid my ministry. But I’ve also learned two more important reasons to attend a conference. The forth reason I attend conferences are that it is good to get away and listen to God. Jim can’t you hear God in your own town. Yes, but there’s some real benefit to leaving the cares and responcibilities of the local church and just get away. It’s really the same benefits of getting kids to get away from their normal lives and go to camp and listen to God. Some of the most important conferences in my life that I attended were not life changing because of the information I learned or received but because of what God confirmed or spoke to my heart. It’s good to get away and listen, to pray to expose yourself to different or new thinking and let God so a work in your heart.
I also attend conferences to be exposed to bigger thinking and vision. I believe that there is nothing more contagious than a God inspired, Spirit lead vision. I’m the type learner that it helps me to see something with my own eyes. It’s easier for me to grasp by seeing than just hearing or reading about it only. Seeing a big vision in action has always helped me to catch the vision. I think that big vision is easier caught than taught and that being exposed to a larger vision than what you presently have and open your eyes to the possibility of “I can do this too!”
         Just a few weeks ago I had the previledge of attending #CPC12 in Orlando. It was one of the best conference experiences I've ever had. Over the next few days I'm going to write about my CPC experiences and some of the highlights. I'm looking forward to being at #CPC12 in San Diego, if you have not made up your mind to go, I hope you will. You still have time to register.
still more to come...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I Go to Conferences...Revisited

I started to entitle this post “Confessions of a conference junkie!” You see my name is Jim and yes I am a conference-a-holic! This is where I hear you say “Hi Jim!” I’ve been attending conferences a long time, a really long time. Now that I add it up, I’ve been attending some type of conference every year for almost four decades. Big ones, small ones, one day ones, multi-day ones even “come spend a week with us ones” and then if that was not enough I started speaking at conferences in 1980. You would think this would scratch my conference itch but then not only did I keep attending conferences and speaking at conferences I started hosting conferences that only lead me to the hard stuff , organinizing and putting on conferences. Yes you could say I have a serious conference addiction.
            Conferences have played a big part in the formation as well as the success and longevity of my ministry to children.  The first conference or seminar I attended was shortly after being drafted to minister to children, it was a puppet seminar put on by Puppet Productions and it immediately made a huge difference in my ministry. There was something about the experience that just made it easier to grasp the concepts being taught. Seeing what they were presenting in action plus being able to purchase much needed supplies and props was a huge benefit for me. I started seeking out other conferences to attend locally in my city. It didn’t matter to me what denomination or group was putting on the event if I could learn just one thing that I didn’t know before the conference I viewed it as a success. As I started applying what I was learning the next thing I knew others where asking me to come teach what I was learning. The first additional benefit I realized was that not only conferences where a great place to learn they were an even better way to help you connect and network with others who shared similar interests and callings and who where also on a quest of growth and excellence.
          The first national children’s ministry conference I heard about was the Fellowship of Christian Magicians Conference. (It was much more than magic, there were workshops on every type of ministry performance methods to children there where back then) I wanted to attend so badly but my church did not have a conference budget so I remember getting the brochure listing the workshops and workshop speakers and after the event I looked up some of the presenters phone numbers and called them and asked them about their workshops and asked for any notes or cassette recording they had I could get my hands on them. One of the people who took my call and sent me his notes was Dick Gruber. Dick thought I was some” country bumpkin” from the south calling him up asking him to teach me “how to do clown ministry over the telephone.” Not only did I find out what I wanted to learn but it was the start of a wonderful friendship. (32 years later I got to mentor one of Dick's sons in infuse for a year and a half, what a honor!) In fact, most of the dearest and best friends I have on this earth I met at a conference. 
more to come...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Is The Loneliest Number, That You'll Ever Do!- Part 2

My first experience with the fruits of doing a job alone came in 1983. My children’s church room had been used for a reception the night before. Everything was in its place except a few eight-foot tables. I thought to myself, Why wait on help? I began to move the tables by myself.
When I went to lift the second table, I lost my grip and dropped it on my foot. As I was hopping around in pain, one of my workers walked in. If only I had waited five minutes. That day as I taught class with my foot in a bucket of ice, I kept thinking how dumb I had been. Later I went for X-rays, and for the next several weeks I had a constant reminder of what happens when you try to be the Lone Ranger.
When you delegate it allows you to accomplish more and helps others fulfill the call of God on their lives by using their God-given gifts. One of the reasons our ministries don’t grow the way they should is because we have not made room for others to get involved. Here are ten steps to being a good delegator:

1. Be willing to let someone else help you. The first thing Jesus did when He began His earthly ministry was recruit helpers. If the Son of God needed help, we need a bunch of help!

2. Identify the things you are doing now that others can do. There are people in your congregation that need to be needed more than you need helpers. When you make a list of things you are presently doing that others can do it releases you to do what only you can do. When you are doing in ministry what only you can do is when you will hear, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”
3. Organize your ministry. Make job descriptions and flow charts for workers before you even have them.

4. Look within the church for faithful people. If you have workers who have proved themselves faithful turn more over to them. Jesus said in Luke 16:10, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,” Remember to coach, train, and model to your workers what you want them to do.

5. Identify the abilities and gifts of each person.
6. If you don’t have a volunteer ready to put to work, do what the military does - draft! Look you those who are not involved in any ministry and ask them to help you. Don’t wait for volunteers to come to you, go out and get them. There was not one volunteer among the twelve disciples. If Jesus drafted, why don’t you?

7. Don’t ever do anything by yourself. Train new workers by taking them with you. When they can do the job without you, let ‘em. (Then they can take a new worker with them, and you can find someone else to train.)

8. After you have turned a task over to someone make sure you inspect and evaluate what they’re doing. Remember to be understanding and motivating. Workers do do what you expect they do what you inspect!

9. Don’t forget to check in with each key person. A simple call or memo lets people know that you care about what they’re doing. Be a coach. Help them grow and make improvements. Be an encourager!

10. Tell people how much you appreciate them. Without them you couldn’t be as effective or accomplish the things you are doing for the Lord. Workers who feel good about themselves do a better job. Saying thank you is always the right thing to say.

After you begin to delegate, you’ll have to change your organizational structure. The one thing that I know will never change is that I need to make changes constantly. I realize now that I used to like to be the one who was working harder than everyone else. But I’ve leaned that it’s better to work smarter than to just work harder.

Well, what are you waiting for? Start today to build your dream team. You don’t have to minister alone in children’s ministry. Go delegate!

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Is The Loneliest Number, That You'll Ever Do!

Have you ever found yourself ministering day after day taking care of routine jobs and doing what you feel God has called you to do, then you look around to discover that you are all alone? You try to cope with the pressures and challenges as best you can, but no matter what you try, you are still by yourself? “If only I had some help,” you say.  Everyone has been in a place where they need more help. There was a time when I felt I was a training camp for other ministries. It seemed like whenever I would have a worker trained so I could turn over responsibility to them, they would get transferred or change churches. Then I’d be right back where I started - all alone. 

I had to learn that Jesus meets all my needs according to His riches in glory. Meeting all my needs included my need for workers. Jesus is your source for everything. Jesus told us to ask the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers or workers (Luke 10:2). Jesus wouldn’t tell us to ask if He wasn’t going to send us what we asked for.

Even if you don’t have those laborers yet, you must remember that you are never really alone. Jesus is always with you. Jesus promised He would never leave you or forsake you, even if every worker you have quits or moves.

Not only is Jesus with you, but He is for you. He wants you to succeed. God’s will for your ministry is growth - spiritually and numerically! If God is for you, who can be against you?
At one time or another, everyone in ministry has felt like they were doing all they could, but there was more that needed to be done. Moses found himself in the same spot. In Exodus 18, he discovered first hand that he couldn’t do what God had called him to do alone. From morning to night, he judged the people, but it was impossible for him to do it all.

Had Jethro not stepped in to give Moses some advice, no doubt Moses would have frustrated himself into an early grave. Jethro taught moses the secret of delegation - Do the things that only you can do, and let others do the things that they can do.

If you’re going to be a good delegator, you’re going to have to admit that other people can do a good job too. Oh sure, maybe they can’t do it as good or as fast as you can, but you didn’t always have the experience that you do now. Other people won’t gain that experience if you don’t give them a chance.  You have to be willing to let go. Jethro didn’t advise moses to turn the responsibilities over to just anybody. Many churches hold on to the verse, “Whosoever will, let him come.” If they can find someone willing, they’ll dump everything on them. But Moses had to find faithful and able men.

Certain people are capable of handling more than others. Exodus 18:231 says that some could oversee tens, some fifty, some hundreds, some thousands. There are faithful people in your church you are capable of handling different amounts of responsibility. When you find them, ask “What can they handle?” The things? Fifty? Is there just one thing you’re doing that someone else could do? If you allow others to do what they can do, you’ll be free to do what only you can do.  The folks Moses needed were already there. If God has called you to do something, He will also provide the help to get it done, but it’s up to you to use it. If you don’t give people something to do they won’t stay around and watch you work.
More to come...