Friday, March 30, 2012

Our new book wants to go on tour...

The other day I blogged about the new book from Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, me and 5 other wonderful Children's Pastors from Infuse 2.2. I'm so excited about this book! I believe it's going to help a lot of people. 

I've been getting a lot of emails asking when it will be ready to be shipped here's what we're thinking.
1. First the book is going on tour. If you have a blog and would like to review it for us apply here.
2. During the blog tour I'm going to give out extra copies for some bloggers to give out to their readers. (Don't you love a good contest?)
3. Then April 25 you can get your hands on one officially at a special discounted price @ the Orange Conference. We're also going to be doing a book signing.
4. After Orange you can order yours @ or from any of our Amazon stores. It will also be available on e-book and Kindle.

Be on the lookout for more details coming soon!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thanks For Your Vote In The Kidmin Blog Madness!

When I was in my 20's I just wanted a chance, in my 30's I wanted to make a difference, in my 40's I wanted to teach others and pursue excellence, in my 50's I want to leave a legacy and help pass on what I've learned, not sure what the 60's will bring but one thing I know I want to still be hands on doing ministry to children, students, and families in the local church.
I don't want to spend my life telling people what I use to do I want to still be in the game not watching it or just talking about it.

When I was young I did want to accomplish great things for God somewhere on the journey I started caring just as much about helping others see their dreams come true as I did my own which caused my dreams to also come true. I do want to pursue excellence in what I do but nothing brings me more joy then encouraging, training and empowering others!

Here are some relationships I value...
1. I want to be known as a man who love God and His Word!
2. I love my wife! Other than Jesus she's the best thing to ever come into my life.
3. I love my family, my girls are my bright spots and the loves of my life. The greatest gift Yancy ever gave me was making me a grandfather. My grandson is amazing!
4. I love my Timothy's those kids who are in the ministry because of my ministry. I'm so proud of these folks! It's hard to believe their are hundreds of these now!
5. I love my friends! I am thankful for all the ministry friends I've made. I want to be as good of a friend to these folks as they have been to me.
6. I love my staff and the people of my church.
7. I am so thankful for my infuse folks. It's been amazing to see how the Lord has brought these folks into my life. It's been the most fulfilling thing I've ever done besides work in a local church!

This year for the third time I got to participate in the Kidmin Blog Madness which was the brain child of Ministry To Children's Tony Kumar. In 2010 I made it to the sweet 16, in 2011 I made it to the final four. 2 of the other 3 were infusers, this year I also made it to the final 4 but this year all 3 of the others have an infuse connection. I thank each of you who voted for me in the other 2 rounds but please don't vote for me against my infusers. I want one of my kids to win! Vote for one of them. I feel like I've won just by having these 3 in my life, any one who you pick deserves to win it, they are 3 of the brightest young guns I know. So thanks everyone for your love and support and for helping me make it to the final four. Thanks for allowing me to have a voice into your lives. I do hope you'll consider letting me help you be the best leader you could be. I'd love to coach you in infuse or infuse lite. I can't promise you a spot in next year's Kidmin blog madness but I can promise I'll love you, support you, and teach you everything I know if you want it bad enough to learn it!
Congratulations to Jenny, Jason, and Anthony you are a blessing to me, thanks for making me a better leader because you are in my life!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another great post...

It's not by me but by my fellow infuse coach and buddy Sam Luce. This is another post every person in #kidmin and #stumin need to read and apply. So glad Sam is in my life.
Read it here!

The Next Infuse Book...

 Last week I went to my mailbox at our local UPS Store and loaded my truck with six boxes of my brand new infuse book...The Eric Trap- 5 things every leader has to get right. 

The first group of folks that will get their kidmin hands on them is the wonderful group of authors who helped me make this project available. How did I select them, well they selected me to coach them for two years in Infuse.  They are my second year folks of infuse 2 that I lovingly refer to as infuse2.2. These where some of the most creative and talented folks I've ever coached.

Before the second year even got started good they asked me if they were going to be able to do a book like the first good did. (Kidmin Leadership) Two of the members of this group had the idea for us to write a leadership fable. It's a story about a young children's pastor named Eric Newman. Eric makes a lot of mistakes in five key areas of his life and ministry. Because of his actions Eric feels trapped. I think most of us in kidmin can identify with Eric's story but the authors also offer some practical help to avoid the same kind of traps.

Here's what some of our friends who we let read the book had to say...

Every leader in your organization (staff or volunteer) who has even a remote desire to control things can benefit from The Eric Trap - please don't limit this book's audience to people who serve in children's ministry.  This book provides us with a dead accurate description of the dynamics of ministry, coupled with practical, insightful principles that can guide any leader out of the leadership traps we place ourselves in.  Jim, Sam, Kenny and their team write with clarity, power and insight that make this book hard to put down.  I think this book is great.  The topics talked about here are not just Kidmin issues, but also Student ministry issues and even Senior Pastor issues. (it's why most churches don't grow past 100 people).  This is a leadership book! Well done!

Carey Nieuwhof
Senior Pastor
Connexus Community Church

"The "Eric Trap" takes ministry leaders on a dark, serious, and scary journey into the world of working in a church and balancing your priorities.  It was eerie how much the story mirrored my own story in so many ways.  I believe the "Eric Trap" can be a game changer for those willing to shine the light into the dark places of their own pastoral lives.  It's on the other side of change that the insights gained from this book pay off in a rich way!"

Jonathan Cliff
Next Generations Ministry Pastor,
Trinity Church, 

From the very first introduction of the book with the story of Eric I was engaged. Without a doubt leaders will identify with different aspects of Eric's story and the "Eric Traps" we have all either faced or experienced in ministry. If you are a children’s, student’s and/or family ministry leader I would encourage you to get this book. This book will bring clarity by helping leaders see what is important and showing that when you make a deposit in others God will build you & the ministry you serve in.
Jim Wideman, Sam Luce, Kenny Conley and the entire team do an amazing job to identify how you as a leader can rise higher and help you avoid the pitfalls that challenge leaders in ministry. I highly recommend "The Eric Trap" !

Craig Johnson
Pastor and Director of Ministries
Lakewood Church

more to come...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eight Relationships That Matter In Ministry-Part 4

#4. Know your leader...We exist as Children's Pastors to help our pastors.
Here are 4 things you have to know to know your leader well

1. Know your pastor’s heart and vision. This has to do with "what"..What are his dreams? What has God called him do? What are his goals?

2. What’s his philosophy of ministry? This has to do with "why"...
Why does he want to accomplish the what's? There's lot's of ways to accomplish the what's but if you don't understand why your leader thinks what they think you can't get them what they want. Seek to understand how they define things and understand that all actions come from our our thinking. Knowing how your leader thinks and what they value helps you to understand your leader's philosophy of ministry.

3. Know your leaders leadership style. It's important to be yourself but as a person under authority as well as someone who exists to represent our leader in the areas we oversee we must lead like them but also be true to our self. This is where "how" comes in. How you do what you do matters to your leader. Be a student of your leader's style of ministry.

4. Model your pastor. This is where you put the "what, the why and the how" together and turn the three into action. The proof of knowing what, why and how about your leader causes you to model your leader well. You can't represent your leader if you are not willing to model them Jesus said if you’ve seen me you have seen the Father. Now there's an example of modeling your leader.

The title children's pastor can't be found in the Bible. We come under the office of the pastor we exist to represent them to the children and families of your church.

more to come...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What you build speaks louder than what you tweet. |

My good buddy and fellow Infuse Coach posted something I hope everyone in this #KIDMIN universe would read and follow. Way to go Sam! Thanks for this wonderful reminder! What you build speaks louder than what you tweet. |

Monday, March 19, 2012

I made it to the 2nd Round

Vote Here
As I wrote on an earlier post...each March, Tony Kumar @ MINISTRY-TO-CHILDREN.COM hosts a tournament of children’s ministry bloggers. It starts with a field of 68 and then they let the readers decide who will advances to the next round.  With your help I made it to the 2nd round. I am honored that you would vote for me and my blog.
Remeber this is all just for fun. Round 2 will close on Sunday March 25th and the top blog in each bracket will advance to the final 4. Please vote for me. I'm the #1 seed in the Eastern Regional and up against 3 strong and gifted #kidmin bloggers.  I'm also excited because all 6 of my infuse folks also made it to the 2nd round of this KIDMIN Sweet 16.  The only bad thing is they are going head to head. I hope you'll take a minute and vote for them too when you vote for me. They are... Kenny Conley (Ministry to Children) and Jenny Funderburke in the Midwest Regional, Sam Luce and Jason Martin in the West, Jared Massey (Smalltown Kidmin) and Gina McClain in the South.
Thanks again for helping me! Remeber you cn vote every day. Thanks so much!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Need Your Help With Some Blog Madness...

Each March, Tony Kumar @ MINISTRY-TO-CHILDREN.COM hosts a tournament of children’s ministry bloggers. It starts with a field of 68 and then they let the readers decide who will advances to the next round.  
Each year this blog has been nominated and thanks to wonderful readers like you, it's done very well. It's a tremendous blessing to know that people enjoy what I write.
This is all just for fun. This round will close on Sunday March 18th and the top four blogs in each bracket will advance. Please vote for me. I'm the #1 seed in the Eastern Regional. I'm also excited because 6 of my infuse folks also made it to the KIDMIN BIG DANCE. Kenny Conley (Ministry to Children) and Jenny Funderburke in the Midwest Regional, Sam Luce and Jason Martin in the West, Jared Massey (Smalltown Kidmin) and Gina McClain in the South.

Eight Relationships That Matter In Ministry-Part 3

#3. Know yourself
In May of 2007 the Lord gave me a new assignment for Him. During that transistion a couple of dear friends introduced me to a wonderful tool. It is the Path Element Profile or (PEP) by Laurie Beth Jones. This tool reveals the 4 Elements of Success which are Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. In each of us you find all 4 elements in different amounts or intensities. This tool helped me more than anything I have ever used to understand the natual lens I view life before I put on the corrective lens of God's Word. Understanding my lens helped me know myself. It also helped me to understand how to communicate with others.
Each element also has strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these also helps me to know what to work on and deserned the proper actions required. As I have gained understanding about myself it has also helped me to guard my heart. God's Word tells us that above all else we should guard our hearts this is not a one time thing but must become a way of life.
You’ll never lead others if you can’t lead yourself. What have you done to know yourself better?
Would you like to take the PEP test? You can order yours here. Please be sure and send your name and email in the comments when you checkout

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eight Relationships That Matter In Ministry-Part 2

2. Know your family. 
Just because you have a family doesn't mean you know your family. I believe that for us in ministry our relationship with our family is the greatest sermon you’ll ever preach. My good friend Reggie Joiner says it this way..."What happens at home is more important than what happens at church. Every educator knows that those who have help with school work at home have an advantage the same thing is true when it comes to learning spiritual things. This morning I was listening to Mark Batterson speak and he said something that hit me hard He said "I want to be famous with the people who know me best my family." I love this! I would rather be respected by my wife, my girls and their husbands, and my grandson than anyone else. I would rather win my family than the world. That doesn't mean I don't care about the world I do but I have a target group I must aim at if I'm going to hit it. How do I do this...
 For me, it starts with Adoring my spouse. I learned years ago whatever you did to win their affection is what you need to do to keep their affection. Remeber why you put a ring on it! Go on dates, hold hands, open the door guys. Treat her like the queen that she is!
Make family time and off days special. I've worked hard to make Saturdays and Sundays special for the kids of my church I also want to work hard making the time I have with the kids of my family special! Give your family both quality and quantity time. Make it the best it can be and give them all the time you can possibility give them. With all the buzz these days on the importance of reaching the family don't forget to reach yours. Family ministry starts at home for me. I think it should for you too.

more to come...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Eight Relationships That Matter In Ministry

 I’ve heard it my whole life, “It’s not just what you know but who you know that counts.” I believe you should learn as much as you can. But I've also found out that knowing the right people and learning what they know can be highly beneficial. In my 35+ years of ministry I have come to understand that the Ministry is all about relationships!

Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all nations. I've just not found a way to do that without a releationship with the person you are discipling. In fact I believe you can’t make disciples without a relationship. (And the deeper the relationship the better)  I love meeting the people I’m going to spend eternity with so this lesson is an easy one for me to live out. You've heard me say this before..."The lowest form of leadership is positional leadership." I have found when people know you and know you have their best interest in mind as well as the organization best interest they will gladly follow you. So over the next few days we're going to discuss eight key relationships that determine the quality of your leadership, no matter what type of ministry or size of church you are serving in. Here is whom you should know…

1. Know God. I shouldn't have to say this to folks who minister at church but it's true. It will really help your ministry to know God!  It will help every part of your life! One of my favorite questions to ask myself and those I lead is "Has there ever been a time in your life where you were closer to the Lord than you are right now. If your answer is yes, you are the only person who can fix that!

 Make time with the Lord daily. Appointments work! My life is so crazy I can't keep a standing set time each day to pray and read my Bible but I do have a standing reminder at the end of each day to look at tomorrow on my calendar and set an appointment to be with the Lord. You can keep those kind of appointments because you set the time base on each particular day's agenda. Another thing that will help you know God is to go to church! I'm talking more than to go there to work and give to others you need to go to a worship service and take in. Ministry is just like a checkbook. You have to make deposits first and minister out of your overflow. The more I worship him and learn about Him and His thoughts the better I know Him!

More to come....

Friday, March 09, 2012

I'm a blessed man!

I love being a dad! I love my wife! You don't have to be around me very long to know that I love my girls and their husbands! I'm also pretty smittened by my grandson! He's mighty special!
I'm also proud of all my Timothy's and "church kids" who have allowed me to be a spiritual father! As I think about my life today all I can say is "I am a blessed man!

Psalm 112:1-3 (NIV1984) says: 1 Praise the LORD.
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.
2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

I'm so glad not only that I made Jesus my saviour my Senior year of high school but I'm so glad each day of my life I get to choose him to be my Lord and Master.
Today once again I choose Jesus' way for my life and I choose to find great delight in His commands!

That's my prayer for you parents, leaders & friends! Fear the Lord and find great delight in His commands!

I can't believe how sweet people have been to me lately. Down threw the years I've been honored by churches I've served and several organizations and Kidmin publications, they have been so kind and I appreciate their love but earlier this year my friend Michael Chanley and the INCM did something very, very special they honored my whole family. I could not be who I am without  my wonderful wife and children! INCM interviewed my family and presented me with the first ever LEGACY AWARD for my lifetime achievement in Children's Ministry.
Chanley asked Yancy to write me a song. This truly was the greatest gift I have every been given by anyone other than Jesus himself.

Here are the words she wrote and sang for me...

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)

I never thought I'd hear a summary of everything I've tried to teach and live for my family in a song but the truth is we all do. It's in the song of your family's lives. 
I am one blessed man because of Jesus and I pray today you choose Him and His commands!
Take it from an old guy your children and family will be blessed if you do and you will be too!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wanting God's Best For Your Children-Part 2

Here are 7 steps for use to pass on to parents how to desire God’s best for the inhabitants of their homes.

1. Establish who’s the king of the castle!

Joshua 24:15 says “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

What does this look like for your family? (It’s more than attending church once or twice a week! It’s getting involved on a daily basis. Every educator knows that the students whose parents are involved in their education do better! What changes need to happen for Jesus to be the king of your home.

2. Parents set the example…(it starts with you!) The church cannot do this for you. The church has it’s part to play.

Deuteronomy 6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Be an example of living the scriptures. Be an example of serving, going to church. Let your children see you praying, speaking the word, and needing the Lord!

3. You home should be a place of learning God things!

Deuteronomy 6: 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

It’s our job to take back the time you have with your children. This calls for consistent, intentional actions, Watch out for mix signals and too many voices in your home.

4. Keep your marriage strong. If you’re not married, keep your relationships pure. INCLUDE JESUS IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP!
Establish house rules that line up with scripture-

Ephesians 4:32 is a great place to start…Be kind to one another,tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
A second is…Don’t let the sun go down on an agreement.
Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Remember it’s your job to model love /true love, to your children!

5. Be willing to parent each of your children differently…

This doesn’t sound fair… All kids are not the same…
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 
"That way he should go" is different for each child.

Be willing to let some things go… (Major on the majors…, minor on the minors…) Your child may never make an A in Biology…
They make not ever make their bed automatically without being told.

But they need to love the Lord with all their heart, and all their soul, and all their mind. (This was number one at the Wideman house over anything else!)

6. Have fun as a family.

Laugh together, sing together, play together, read together, eat together, pray together! Invite God in the middle of all good times!

Proverbs 17:22 (MSG) “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; 
 gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

7. Make church, small group, youth group, & serving a priority…

Hebrews 10:25 (CEB) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

A great habit to develop is as soon as you get home…talk about what your learning as a family!

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE RIGHT DECISIONS, It’s never too late to prioritize and create a plan to help the families that you serve and the children at your house to desire a deeper relationship to Christ and to truly love the Lord with ALL their heart and ALL their mind and ALL their strength!