Sunday, November 16, 2014

November Thoughts

You just can’t turn the page on the calendar from October to November without getting in touch with all the many reasons I have to be thankful! I told boys and girls this my whole life if you can be thank-full you can also be thank-empty. My goal in life is to live every day full of thanks and to look for opportunities as I walk out my daily life o give thanks first to God and also all those He has placed around me.  I am so thankful for not only what God has done but also for what He is doing. 

November first marked a year of me being on staff at Northstar Church in Pryor Oklahoma and for him allowing me to serve Pastor Roy Evans (my dear friend) and the team their as Executive Pastor. November also marks a year of me getting to be a part of the Orange family and being an Orange Strategist for the reThink Group. Also October marked a year of me being full time with Jim Wideman Ministries which has been a dream I’ve had since I started JWM in 1983.  All I can say is God is faithful. He has taken such great care of me and has provided just like He said He would in His Word. I look back and am blown away with His goodness.

November also marks the nineteenth birthday of theClub Children’s Ministry Podcast. (This monthly audio resource started out as the Children’s Ministers’ Leadership Club on cassette.)
Back in August I changed the format where I am joined each month by some of the best #Kidmin leaders from around the #KIdmin universe. (For more information about theClub click here also if you are under 30 you can get theClub absolutely free!) Every chapter in every book, every article I’ve written and every lesson I’ve taught to leaders in conference and seminars has been from a club lesson. I like the new lessons better than anything I’ve ever done because of the freshness of the topics my guests have brought to the table.

I just got back from the Twin Cities Area where I got to connect with some old friends and also make some new ones. I’ve been doing events in Minneapolis since the eighties and it was so cool to be back. The first day there Julie and I got to reconnect with our dear friend Carl and Dee Lindelien. Carl has been deathly ill for over ten years and six months ago Jesus healed him. It was just amazing to hear what he had gone through and to see him up walking, eating and just being Carl. Carl was one of the most creative and innovative Children’s Pastors in the eighties and nineties. He was the creator of Charisma’s KIDS Church Curriculum as well as many other #kidmin resources. (I plan to write more about Carl’s story in the days ahead) I also got to hang with two of my Infuse Coaches and do a meet-up for some local #Kidmin. I was so blessed to get to see some more old friends and also make some new ones. What really blessed me the most was there were students from three area colleges who were studying to be Children’s Pastors. I also got to have some coffee with my lifetime friends Mark Harper and Randy Christensen.

After a quick night home I find myself on a plane writing this headed to Tampa for the last stop of the Orange Tour. One of my infusers is picking me up and we’ll have lunch with another #Kidmin I’ve never met before heading to the hotel and the church to get to see more #kidmin folks and also hang with more infusers from the area. (I also plan on writing about my Orange Tour experiences in upcoming post. So much blog material so little time to write)

On Wednesday I’ll go back to the airport but instead of me flying out Jason Martin one of my Infuse Coaches flies in and we will begin preparing for my 29th infuse retreat. Again I am blown away that I get to walk beside some incredible #kidmin leaders for six months of coaching and mentoring twice a year. (The next group will start in March 2015 and now is the time to get your infuse application in.)

Yesterday my family (both daughters, my son-in-law and my grandson) came over to see me and spend some time with me and my sweet wife which is the greatest honor and blessing a dad could have. My grandson looked at me and said come on G let’s go upstairs and me and you will have lots of fun. It just doesn’t get any better that that. 

So now it's the next Sunday, the retreat has come and gone so has Jason Martin and my oldest daughter and her family is coming over to eat lunch with us and I am truly thankful for all God has done for me!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Best of Both Worlds

This week I am so blessed that I get to speak at a #Kidmin Conference and sleep in my own bed. I am so blessed to get to do what I do. This year has been one of the most fruitful and effective years of ministry that I’ve ever experienced in my 39 years of serving the local church and in training those who work with young people. (For a complete look at my schedule for the rest of 2014 and 2015 check out this page.)
This week #Kidmin folks are invading Nashville to attend Lifeway’s Kids Ministry Conference, October 6- 8. I get to catch I-24 and take the short drive from Murfreesboro to downtown Nashvegas, on Tuesday, October 7 and spend the day teaching 2 workshops and doing a video interview with my good friend Michael Chanley. I’m excited about catching up with some #Kidmin friends who are speaking and attending and also making a few new ones. My first breakout is Organization For Those Who Weren’t Born That Way – @ - 2:45-3:45 – my second one is 7 Questions Every KidMin Leader Needs to Ask Themselves to Grow from 4:00-5:00 both are in Room CL 07. (Crowe Room)
No matter if you are attending #KMC14 or not I’d like to make my notes available and a great deal on any of my resources. During the conference you can order any of my books and resources and get the best price and free shipping here on my store, use the code: KMC14. You can get my notes by clicking here.
If you are at the conference please come by and say hi. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Say Yes To Personalized Training

This past weekend I had the priviledge to begin some personalized training with a church that I have been going to help and speak for 24 years. I have always loved going to this church over the years. The pastors have a real heart for sowing into their people! Everytime I’ve gone over the years I’ve learned from this church as well as what I was able to teach them. Everytime I go to speak in a local church I ask several questions to locate what would be the best topic to cover with their Kidmin Team. This kind of personalize training to me is one of the benefits of having me come to your church. This past weekend I was asked to do something I’ve never done before in addition to doing something for the entire Kidmin Team I was asked to spend the day with the Kidmin leadership staff. It was a great experience, it was like a mini infuse for 1 church. We started off with having each person complete a Path Element Profile by Laurie Beth Jones before I arrived then after a get-to-know-you Q & A breakfast at the church we jumped into understand the PEP and how to communicate better as a team and how to serve their leader better. The rest of the day was structured with things this team needed to know and understand to lead better. At lunch we took a break and as we ate together their at the church we did another Q & A as well as ended the day with more Q & A. The next time I come back which the church elected to take advantage of me consulting for a year rather than a 1 time event so I’ll be there 3 more time in a year. I know right where to pick up in this day of leadership training. I think one of the reasons my Infuse program has seen so much success is because each group I’m not married to what I’ve done before but customize what we do and cover based on the individuals that God brings to that particular group. Each have been different! That’s also true about the retreats I’ve done more than 20 retreats and they have all been different because I’ve tried to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us where we need to go.

The next day I observed what was happening in the Children’s Ministry first hand as well as promoted the Kidmin Team training event for new people to join the team in each service. Then at 1pm we did a leadership train for the entire Kidmin Team. The church provided pizza for everyone and we were done by 2:15. We did a drawing for some of my books and all together the church picked up 35 new workers. We went over what I had observed at lunch and on the way back to the airport and I’m looking forward to helping them formulating a plan to do all the things I saw. I love this partnering with a church. The Church has also decided to send the Children’s Pastor through Infuse this fall. (By the way this church has already sent a Kidmin through Infuse)

This by far was a wonderful weekend. I can away wishing more churches would make this investment in their people. When you considered how many people where touched and the personalization it was very affordable for the church. Add these individualized learning sessions plus infuse to Live To Serve, Orange Tour and the Orange Conference and you have arsenal of tools to help your team say YES to training.

I’d love to talk to you how I could help your church have some individualized training. Either a one time weekend or a year of partnering together. Email me with questions and about availability and let’s talk how I can help you train your team and help you see your ministry goals and dreams come true.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Say Yes To Training

I have never been one for putting all my eggs in one basket. I believe in conferences! I don’t know where I would be as a leader without the impact of conferences in my life and ministry. This past year most of my #kidmin and #stumin staff got to attend #OC14 I wish I could have sent them all! But someone had to hold down the fort. That’s why I’m excited about the Orange Tour this fall. Now every single staff member can attend a training event to learn to think Orange. I can also expose key leaders to what we’ve come home from a multi day event like Orange saying in a 1-day seminar. But I can’t get all of my volunteers to take off from work and attend during the week. That’s why I’m thankful for “Live To Serve” , here’s a low cost all day Saturday event I can get my workers to, where they are learning the same thinking and philosophy by folks who are walking them out each week in their local churches. I am so honored that I get to be a part of all 3 events. Now there’s a way to say Yes to training, it’s not just 1 event it’s both and! I want to encourange you to take a minute and look at the dates available for the fall and I hope you’ll do with your team the same thing I’m going to do with my team. Say Yes to training!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Infuse is not for everyone...

Infuse is not for everyone, that’s why there are so many choices when it comes to Children’s Ministry Training. But if you’re looking for something different, something with a proven track record, then infuse may be for you like it was for these three kidmin leaders just like you. Don’t just take my word for it see what these three have to say…

“Our church was growing. Our kids ministry was seeing more and more families each week. And I found myself in a transition of leading kids to leading leaders who lead kids. I wasn’t sure how to do it. I had heard about Bro. Jim’s INFUSE group and decided to apply. It opened my eyes to ideas and principles I had never considered. Not only that, but over the course of the INFUSE months, my leadership changed in my ministry and in my home. Understanding time management, living by principles, and seeing my role in the bigger picture, have changed the way I lead myself and others”. -Aaron, NC

“I have been learning from Jim Wideman since I first started in Children’s Ministry. He has influenced and shaped my life and ministry for the past 7 years. When I first heard about Infuse, I thought, “Why do I need to do that?” I’d listened to his CDs, read his books, and followed his blog. I wrongly thought that I’d heard everything he had to say. Boy, was I wrong. Infuse has taken the things I had learned from Jim to a whole new level. He has explained in detail the principles he has taught over the years but also, as he got to know me, spoken wisdom into my life where I needed to hear it, and pointed out areas in my life where I had wrong thinking so that I could correct it. Infuse has taken Jim from being a man of God who had mentored me from a distance, to a loving father who truly cares about me and is helping me take the steps I need to take to be a better leader, man, and follower of Jesus. I am so thankful for Jim and what he has done with Infuse, and will always look back on my time in Infuse as a game-changer for my life and ministry.” -Collin, FL

“Do you feel like your ministry is stuck? Could you use a few more volunteers? Do you need to grow as a leader? Then Infuse is for you! Infuse allows you the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest leaders in Children’s and Family Ministry, Jim Wideman. You know everybody does better with a coach. Bro Jim has a heart to grow and lead the next generation of leaders. His experience, advice and support will help you grow as a leader and stretch you more than anything you could ever dream!” -Clayton, LA

So what are you waiting for? Send in your application today.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Infuse works...

Here’s three more quotes about infuse that will show you the bottom line… infuse works!

“I was about to quit. I had grown frustrated, almost angry, and had lost sight of the big picture. We have all had or will have moments or seasons like this. I was in the middle of what I thought was a transition time. I was actively looking to leave my church and was convinced that I needed to find the place where God wanted me to be, even if it was without his help! In fact I had just flown back from an interview at a church where I had convinced myself God was going to move me.  
Then I started Infuse. From the very beginning of this coaching/mentoring program (it is really much more than that) Brother Jim has spoken truthfully and clearly into my life. There were many areas where I had wrong thinking about my church, pastor, and senior leaders. There were also things in my personal life that I was doing or not doing that were hindering my own leadership abilities. While it has not always been easy, Infuse has given Bro Jim the opportunity to point out these issues to me, and his ‘loving father’ approach has made it so easy to take what he is saying and know that it is for my good. If the voice of wisdom and the voice of God are the same thing, then God has clearly spoken to me through this program and allowed me to change what needed to change so I can be more effective for the Lord. I’m no longer looking to leave my church, God has changed my heart and attitude toward my pastor and leaders, and I have made changes in my life that are helping me lead myself, my family, and my ministry better. I’m now looking forward to the most fruitful season of ministry in my life and what God is going to do as I obey him and not my own desires. I would not and could not be in the place I am at right now if I hadn’t signed up for Infuse when I did.”

“Infuse is the BEST thing I’ve ever done for myself and the ministry God has given me! Brother Jim shares some great, very practical teaching and steps you can take to improve your leadership and walk with God immediately. Infuse allows this Children’s Ministry and leadership hero to become a Spritual Dad who is willing to pour all that he knows into you. If you have a desire to grow in your leadership and walk with the Lord, sign up for Infuse today!”

“Jim once wrote an article titled “Confessions of a Conference Junkie”. That was me! I have been to lots of conferences, training events, and local kidmin gatherings over the years. I even got pretty good about being intentional while I was there to connect with certain people and trying to learn from them. I never met a conference I didn’t like or at least a conference I didn’t come away with something from. But then came Infuse… 
Infuse is different than a conference. The wisdom, ideas and relationships you can get at a conference are great, but with infuse that stuff is just the beginning. Infuse helps you take the wisdom and know how to apply it to your life; Infuse gives you practical steps to develop and implement that great idea you have; Infuse takes surface-level relationships and turns them into what I believe will be lifelong friendships that grow deeper as you go through this process together. My greatest regret about Infuse is that I didn’t do it earlier. I spent a whole lot of money on conferences that were fun and exciting but in reality did very little for me or my ministry in the long run. Trust me, I still love a good conference and will still go to them, but for the time and money you would spend on a couple conferences in a year, you can do something that will set you up for long-term growth, success and consistency in every area of your life, and a plan to make sure you follow through on the things you learn.”

Want to be a part of the next infuse group tho September? Get all the info and send in your application today!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Here's what 3 Kidmin's are saying about infuse

If you want to be the best kidmin leader you can be, Infuse is the opportunity you are waiting for! From learning leadership fundamentals to being relationship driven, you will look at how you function as a leader and how to go to the next level in your leadership ability. Not only do you dive into valuable leadership books, but you also have access to one of the greatest children’s leaders of all time and he is right at your fingertips! Any question you have or situation you are not sure how to handle, you can ask away and work through the situation with a team of coaches who have walked in your shoes before. In other words, if you don’t sign up for Infuse 9, you are missing out on an opportunity to take not only your ministry, but your entire church to a new level of partnering with families and their children to make God the best part of their life.-Carina Shockley 7 Hills Church Florence, KY

Infuse 8 has been life changing for me both personally and professionally. When I started I was a bit embarrassed as I’ve been in ministry for over 25 years but had always struggled with both self leadership and with organizational habits. I was also embarrassed to ask for help and so instead I would just privately struggle and wonder if I could ever figure it out.
When my chance for Infuse 8 opened up I jumped at it and I’m so thankful I did. I have already learned to embrace the way God wired me and for the first time in all my life, I don’t feel ashamed of the way God made me as leader but instead I feel more determined to develop as a leader. I know some solid skills to get things done as well as some principles that will help develop other leaders that God brings into my life or team. It has always been a dream to be organized and well prepared for events and ministry and now I am seeing it as a reality. I am making strides in the right direction with clarity and intentionality. 

I would highly recommend, wherever you are in your ministry experience to consider Infuse to develop yourself, your skills, etc. It will change you! Even my wife is excited with all the changes I’ve made. She told me, “I don’t fully know what you’re doing but whatever it is, Don’t Stop!!” I am and will be forever grateful for everything Jim and the other Coaches us. -Tom Bump- Cleaveland, OH

"Infuse has been an incredible experience for me. Being that I am a young leader, I don't have a whole host of knowledge or experiences when it comes to being a leader in ministry. For a while I was just "getting-by" trying to learn from different resources. However, since I started Infuse, my leadership has gone to the next level and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and experiences and he's more than willing to share those so that other leaders can grow to be successful. Take advantage of the Infuse opportunity, you'll be glad you did.” -Lauren Wierzba, Demotte, IN

It's simple, to apply find out how you can be a part of Infuse this September.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Thus sayeth the Lord always works

Several years ago the good people at Ford Motor Company launched an advertising slogan that was quite catchy, (the fact that I still remember it proves my point) it was simple, and it was true. The slogan was genius “Ford has a better idea!” The same is true about God’s direction in my life. There is a big difference in the things I’ve done in ministry that where good ideas and the things I’ve done that were God ideas. God’s ideas always work and they are just better. Infuse is just one of those God ideas that has been a game changer in my life and life of bunches of kidmin leaders.
What I have found out over the last seven years is not everyone wants to learn as bad as soon leaders want to. Some try to learn on their own. Oh they read books, get some traing from a DVD or a Conference, they listen to podcast and read a few blogs but those who are truly serious get a coach. This is true in golf, it’s true in tennis even with sports among professional athletes, when they want to up their game they get a personal coach.
I’ve also found this true in the world of ministry. Last month marked the seventh year of the anniversary of the most major ministry shift I’ve known to date. God showed me once again his plans and ideas for my life was better than anything I could imagine or think of on my own. Once again, “God had a better idea!”
Infuse is the most unique kidmin coaching and mentoring opportunity on the planet. I wish I had thought of it, but it’s truley proved out to be a God idea! For all the details check it out on my website. Over this six month program you’ll learn effective process not given a pill. You’ll not only learn from me but from my fifteen coaches who have all spent more than two years in infuse being coached themselves, they are also doing ministry hands, now. You’ll also learn from the other infusers going through this process with you. There are four conference calls, two, two-day retreats here in Tennessee and a special online forum where you have access to me and the coaches daily.
Got questions? Email me. Over the next few days I’ll be posting what others have to say about their experience. I still have a few spaces for next group that will start September 1st, 2014 but you need to act fast and send in your application.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Why Behind The Wow -Part 3

I see it all the time, churches say we welcome kids we just need to keep our facilities multipurpose. Kids aren’t the only ones who use them. That’s true but if kids have shorter intention spans and learn better in a creative, exciting environment why not design it with them in mind and let the older more mature folks have their meetings, classes, and small groups in a room designed for the only age group Jesus said to let come to Him and to do not hinder them. When ever you hear the term multipurpose remember this is just a code word for adult decor!

I’ve been hanging out in churches for a long time and I don’t understand where church learners bought into the idea that beige was God’s favorite color. He sure didn’t tell Solomon to make the temple beige. It was a brute place not a dull one. Gold, silver, red and purple those are not in the beige family.

When you welcome children you do things with them in mind. When a church prepares for kids they also show families kids are important. I have been blessed to work at some great churches who put their money where they mouth was and showed by what they did that children and reaching families was a priority. Along with the decor add interactive features that you can use to make learning lasting and effective as well as just neat to look at. Security is also a way to show that kids are important. It shows parents and the community that you honor children. If Jesus honored and valued children so should we.

I had the privilege of visiting Disney World with my grandson not very long ago. As I walked through this “experience for kids and families” I thought to myself investing in kids has sure paid off for Disney. It also sends their messages loud and clear. We in the church can learn a lot from them. I want to put the wow in worship as we help kids experience God firsthand. I believe it can payoff for us, Jesus deserves our best and so do our kids.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Why Behind The Wow - Part 2

Being a good Southern Mama’s boy I want to use my sweet Southern “RedNeck” Mama to illustrate what it means to welcome someone. I was taught when you welcome someone you roll out the red carpet. If we were having company over growing up my Mom would clean like the Queen of England was coming over. She was mop, wax, vacuum, dust and get the entire house all shined up. Then she would start cooking. When my mom was preparing for someone special she went nuts to cook all their favorites. She would make an impressive spread. If she wasn’t sure what their favorites were she would go overboard to have choices so they would be treated royally. This seemed like a little too much work and going way too overboard until I went out of state to college. Not being able to come home like I went to an in state school when I came home Mom put on the dog for me. All of a sudden I saw all my favorite stuff being prepared for me. It was like my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled up into one. And there was always cookies and stuff to take back to school. All my buddies in the dorm where waiting on me, if I didn’t bring them home with me. The cool thing is I could bring them home. My Mom wouldn’t have cared. Her philosophy was the more the merrier! When grand kids came along she went from me and my wife and my friends being the guest s of honor to my girls (her grand kids)being the guests of honor. She went out of her way to make any time those kids were at her house special. Did my girls feel welcomed YES! Did they know what went on at Grandma’s was done with them in mind? YES! Did they feel special and that they we welcome? YOU BET CHA! As kids it was one of their favorite palsies to visit. They never put up a fight to go because of how they were welcomed and all the fore thought and effort that was done prior to their arrival. The crazy thing is it’s still that way today. If my Mom knows her grown grand kids are coming to see her all their childhood favorites are there waiting for them. She even has Grapico (this is grape flavor soda that can only be bought in Alabama.) and my girls only drink that stuff at their Grandmothers. Her great grandson is just three and she’s already starting to make him welcome.

We also saw this several years ago between adult restaurants and kid friendly restaurants. I remember taking my small children to a steakhouse. First we were seated in the back away from all the guests who did not have children. The kids menu was an after thought, yes they gave you some bad crayons but you could tell they were only serving children because they had to. This was not the case at McDonald's. Before they started targeting the fufu coffee crowd they went after the kids. They’re advertising was to kids. They installed huge playgrounds for kids, their food was packaged for kids but they even went a step further they prepared their restaurants to welcome and receive kids. They screwed the pictures in the wall. They ached their tables and chairs in concrete. If your kids spilled something at McDonald’s it sure didn’t upset them they had prepared their floors and walls to welcome kids. They would just blow that spilled milkshake out the door with a pressure hose. They were ready for kids. And because they welcomed kids and were ready for them the kids came and they got their parents and grandparents to come with them because kids don’t have driver’s licenses. It was sure not the food that got them there. It was the fact they welcomed kids. When we welcome children Luke 9:48 says we welcome Jesus. There are some wonderful speakers and musicians we could have at our church but if I had my pick of anyone I could have minister at my church I’d choose Jesus. By welcoming children and making our facilities kid friendly and a place designed and created with them in mind we are welcoming Jesus. When Jesus shows up great things happen.

more to come....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Why Behind The WOW!

Just because you call your church a family church doesn’t make it one. I can say I’m a car and sleep in the garage but it doesn’t make me one. The truth is no matter what churches say not all churches truly see the importance of teaching and training children and youth. I think our actions speak louder than words. 
At the same time I know churches who have spent thousands of dollars to “Pimp their Church” and yet what they offer families is just bright lights and smoke and mirrors. I am proud to say that I know more churches who are willing to do what they have never done before in able to reach children and young people in more effective ways. There are some amazing companies out there that can help transform your classrooms into kid friendly environments. It’s amazing what churches are doing to show kids they are special and to add some wow to  traditional church facilities. Each and every issue of this magazine you get article after article how to teach kids effectively and to help you build a wonderful team to fulfill Jesus’ commands to go into all the world and make disciples. But have you ever stopped and considered the why behind the wow?

First I would like us to look at a very familiar passage for us in Kidmin. Luke 9:48 tells us “Then he (Jesus) said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” This is a powerful principle that I think lots of churches don’t fully understand.
Mr. Webster defines making someone feel welcome as to “Receive and treat someone hospitably.” so what does it mean to treat someone hospitably in regards to an environment? Again Mr Webster defines this as “pleasant and favorable for living in.” There is a huge difference in an environment being tolerable and one to be “pleasant and favorable.”  When an environment is favorable it is preferred and done with who you are receiving in mind. If you don’t enjoy seating somewhere you don’t take in what is being taught. I learned years ago the heart can’t grasp what the rear end can’t endure. Creating a welcoming environment means more than creating a room or an area. It’s also about creating an experience. A learning experience where you remember what you learn. You can live what do can’t remember.

more to come...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Would you like my Orange Conference Notes?

This year at #OC14 I’m teaching 3 breakouts. Here are my notes for all 3.

If you are planning on attending, here is when and where you’ll find me at Orange.

•Wednesday, April 30- Pre-Conference 4, 3:00-4:00PM, Room 15 “Safety Systems”

•Thursday, May 1- Breakout A- 11:30AM- 12:30PM, Room 10 “Saying Yes To Saying No”

•Thursday, May 1- Breakout D- 5:30- 6:30PM, Room 1 “7 Questions Every Kidmin Leader Needs To Ask Themselves to Grow”

Not able to attend? I’ll be doing a live stream interview Thursday, May 1 3:15PM

I'll be at the Orange Specialist Reception Tuesday Night, The King of Pops truck, Wednesday during lunch to hang out with the Kidmin Tribe. Then Thursday night I'll be hanging out at the Late Night event at The John Maxwell Center at 9:30PM and The Blogger's Lounge during the main sessions.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Gather With New Friends—or Spend QT With Old Friends—at OC14

Whether one of your goals at OC14 is to make friends, or go deeper with your team, we want to help provide opportunities for you to do just that. Below you’ll find some great options to meet other leaders in your tribe, as well as some designated time to hang out with those you know. It’s an action-packed conference, but these are great times to stop and have a conversation, debrief, or just chat over coffee. Whatever works for you, works for us.

7:00-–9:00 p.m.
Gwinnett Convention Center Room 2
Please RSVP on the same page that you select your breakouts.
Curriculum partners who arrive to OC14 by Tuesday night are invited to attend our annual Orange Specialists’ Meet and Greet. Starting at 7:00 p.m., this is a special time for you to meet with your Orange Specialist, network with other church leaders and enjoy some refreshments. We can't wait to see you there!

After Hours Gathering
9:00–10:30 p.m. (Immediately after the last session)

Thursday at Orange Conference is jam packed with amazing and thought provoking breakouts and main sessions.  So we thought, wouldn’t it be great to provide an awesome space to hang out, decompress and process all of the transformational things that have happened over the course of the day with other leaders?  

After the fun of the last session, plan on bringing yourself and your whole team to 12 Stone Church (the John Maxwell Leadership Center) for a laid back night of coffee, dessert and chill time.  It’s just down the road at 2050 Sugarloaf Circle, Duluth, GA 30097.

We’ll have comfortable gathering spaces for entire ministry teams, plus designated spaces for networking with other Preschool, Children’s, Student’s, Special Needs and MarriedPeople leaders.  So, no matter what brought you to OC, or whom you came with, we’ve got a place specifically designed for you to hang out and debrief.

Expect to see and network with familiar faces from each tribe there, too, like Sue Miller, Jim Wideman Ben Crawshaw, Amy Fenton Lee, Ted Cunningham, Ted Lowe and Doug Fields.

This is the best way to end your day and get ready for all that Friday has in store!
We look forward to seeing you there.

Be There or Be Square.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Been Too Busy To Blog...

Busy is one of the words that the meaning just keeps changing. 

Busy |ˈbizē|adjective (busier, busiest) having a great deal to do: So many times over the years I just thought I was busy and the next thing I knew I was really busy. I learned several years ago that one of the good things about being busy is that it forced you to prioritize what you can do and what others can do. 

Over the last few months I've not only had to prioritize my life and how I spend my time but I've had to also learn how to say no to certain things and my blog was one of them was this blog. So why did I need to say no to blogging so I could say yes to seeing my family, 25 flights, 5 conferences, 6 consulting visits, 2 infuse retreats and 3 different infuse groups. 

I'm having the time of my life but the key is saying no so I can say yes to right stuff. Over the next 2 days I'll work at home training a staff in Virginia, then lunch with my wife and then meet a new Kidmin for coffee to encourage him. I'll also work on my church in Oklahoma and finish my breakouts for The Orange Conference then I fly out for California to help another church. 

So what is making you too busy for the things you should be doing? What do you need to say no to and what do you need to say yes to? I'm walking out balance in my life, my health, and going through the doors God opens and saying no to the ones that aren't God. I made a promise in 1976 that if Jesus would open doors for me to minister I would go through them. He's kept His end of the bargain and I intend to keep mine. So blessed!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Infuse Contest Winners

Last week I had a crazy idea to run a contest to give a way $3,500 in reduces and a free infuse session. So after over 100 tweets not counting all the retweets, only 7 #kidmin folks took the time to follow instructions (which is very important to me) and send in a video. I was looking for a funny one, thinking someone would get all creative up in here to win the the grand prize. But instead I saw people who really wanted to do infuse, they wanted to grow but there was no way financially. I know the difference in people who are cheap and those who are in need.  Last week one of my favorite infusers Amber Baker twitter about a Jon Acuff post about the importance of investing in yourself.   (it's an excellent post and something I've been saying for years.) So last night before I went to bed I thought I would up the prizes and scholarships to $5,500. I woke up this morning after one of the best night sleeps I've had in a long time. (Almost 11 hours) and felt like the Lord said give more.

Let's recap a minute my first full time Children's Pastor's Job was at a church of 1,400 for $50 a week. My budget for Children's Ministry not counting Sunday School Curriculum was $500 per year. God taught me at that church I could trust Him. (He paid for the birth of my daughter when we had no maternity insurance, dress shoes showed up on my desk in my size when I needed them and the parents of my puppet team bought me a 17 passenger Dodge Maxi Van and gave it to me and it was orange.) At every church since God has showed me He knows how to get blessing to me but He asked me to let blessing also go through me and to sow my seed before I look for a harvest. (You can't harvest crops where no seed has been planted!)

Just over 5 months ago I felt the Lord directing me to resign the best paying job I've ever had in the ministry and the first thing I started doing was sowing seed and getting it in the ground. I sowed cash,I sowed time and ministry into other ministries and I sowed some guitars to some folks who needed not wanted a great guitar. I have found in 40 years of following Christ that you just can't out give God! Yesterday I prayed and asked God for a 4 wheel drive pick up truck to leave in Oklahoma and to lead me to the right one. Today I heard give more and call it truck seed.

So I'm going to obey God...

I want to thank the 7 kidmin folks who sent in your video. I appreciate the kind words you had to say about me and the confidence you have in me as a leader, mentor and coach.

I have decided to award not 1 but 2 full scholarships

Congratulations to Corey Jones and Jen Burks!

But that's not all

Tom Bump, Layne Parrish, Ben Gurczynski, Wendy Schulz, & Jason Smith will each receive a $1000 scholarship as well.

So thanks for playing as well as learning with me. I'm excited.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Want to do Infuse for free?

Seven years ago when I began my Infuse coaching and mentoring program I had no idea that this would be the most fruitful and effective way to train leaders that I have ever been a part of. Infuse is more than just another conference or event. It's doing life together for 6 months with a group of people who want what you want, to be a better leader. If you want to be able to not just learn facts but be able to walk out what you learn in a fraction of the time of learning it on your own the hard way then infuse is for you. 

Each session I have given free spots to folks that Jesus has brought across my path. Sometime they've been from a conference or event I spoke at and God told me to sow into them. Some have been people who have reached out to me by email, twitter or facebook and God said bless them. The other day as I was praying I felt the Lord said "Give another session away in a contest." So that's what what I'm going to do, here's how you can enter.

1. Tweet this message between now and February 14th
"@jimwideman is giving away free #kidmin stuff including an #infuse session."
For every tweet and retweet I'll enter your name in a drawing for free books and resources as well as a few $500 infuse scholarships.

2. Email me a video telling me why you would like to do infuse and why you should be selected. It's that simple!

Please make sure your leader is in agreement with you being a part of infuse, they will have to submit a recommendation if you are selected. You will also have to complete an application.

You can find out all the details of infuse here. If you are chosen you will be responsible for your own transportation and lodging to and from the retreats and all expenses except the $1,500 fee.

So what are you waiting on? Let the game begin! I'll anounce the winner on February 15th, 2014.


Thursday, January 02, 2014

A blog post from a current infuser...

Here's what one of my current Infusers Susan Wanderer posted on her blog. This is what Infuse is all about! (And yes there is still room in both groups for 2014)

Imagine you are called out... called out on your junk... the junk you don't do well at all. Your weakness, your frailty, the places you feel most bare and vulnerable.
You know, the areas you love to talk about and brag on... the highlight of your life. Your great-play reel. (Pardon the sarcasm.)

I was called out on my junk... By the Patriarch in my field of employment.
I've read his books, seen him speak at conferences and respected the inspiring way He leads. It's obvious why this was truly the best-day-of-my-life. I was even wondering why I didn't buy a round of tequila for everyone (except for the fact that I don't drink tequila)... i'll choose a round of Georgetown Cupcakes instead! (which is actually part of the problem in itself)

Here is the story
This year, I participated in a 6 month coaching and mentor experience called Infuse. As a part of Infuse, we attend 2 retreats.

Our first retreat was made up of 26 Kids Ministers from all over the country. Jim Wideman was our incredibly kind & gracious host. For two solid days we were allowed to soak up the wisdom of this Kids-Ministry-Legend and his 40 years of ministry experience. We asked question after question after question to our mentor, who we all deeply admire so much. He never tired of the machine-gun style questioning. Jim always answered in his southern-drawl with honesty, deep sincerity... and a dash of wit & humor. Then the final question came before lunch... One of the men asked "What can we do to be better leaders?"
I grabbed my pen, in anticipation for what I was about to hear... I was sure he was going to explain the greatest leadership secret of ALL TIME. Something that would propel my leadership to heights unknown!
Here is how Jim responded:
You will be a better leader and people will respond to you better if you:
1. follow through
2. drop the weightWait, what?! Follow-Thru & Drop-Weight.
Seriously? This is the answer?
Two solutions... And they both stung...
1. Follow Thru... as in, I Don't.
Really, I am truly awful at this. My personality is bent towards ideation and creativity. I am a dreamer. Much to my delight and dismay, I spend much of the 24 hours I am given each day, dreaming of new ideas: for work, for my family, for any situation I see.... I dream.While it is exciting to be an ideator... it is also frustrating.
I absolutely, 100%, don't see details (if you say that with the voice of the sixth-sense guy, it sounds more daunting: I don't see details). It's maddening.
Thus, I have a horrible, bad habit of: Follow-Thru-Falling-Thru-The-Cracks.
It's one of my least favorite qualities about myself... And it was just pointed out. Joy.
2. Drop the Weight
At first I didn't think I heard Jim correctly... so I asked the guy next to me to repeat it... Which was awkward in itself... Simply because he was....
...the SKINNIEST-MAN-EVER. So I, the largest-woman-in-the-room ask the skinniest-man-ever to repeat what Jim just said. With the amount of non-eye-contact my fellow kids minister was giving me I then realized I had heard correctly.

I think Jim felt the need to rescue the skinny boy answering the fat girl's question so he repeated: DROP THE L-B-S. It was as if I entered a movie... it sounded like he said it in a really low tone and in s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n. I heard it very well this time.

And my heart sank. To a deep pit. The main thing I have struggled with since childhood had been said. The. Main. Thing.
I met up with a dear Nashville-friend of mine before my flight out the next morning. My eyes were burning with tears as I re-told the follow-thru & weight story of my weekend.
Tackling those two areas is like trying to undo 40 years of habits, bad choices & mind sets. It's not: Good morning! Lets drop some weight today! (Although, I do say that EVER SINGLE DAY to myself).

After the last several months of reflection, prayer, Bible Study & talking with confidants... I realize I have GOT to formulate a plan. I have GOT to live in obedience & freedom.
I have two choices:
1. Change. Put a plan in place. Allow God to be strong in my weakness. Do the hard work. Watch God move in Supernatural ways.
2. Stay the same. And in one year... I could have the grand opportunity to be more unorganized with follow through & even heavier than I am now.
So, 2014 MUST look differently.
I am putting a plan together... Praying I will actually follow-thru...
I'm a BIG talker... It's time to be a responder.

Thank you, Jim Wideman. Even when the truth hurts, you say it. Your heart is genuine. I am grateful for Infuse & for your ministry... for your honesty, passion for people & dedication to the Kingdom. The weekend spent at Infuse was a turning point for me. 2014 is going to be challenging... So Thankful God is strong.

I am so proud of Susan! It is the greatest honor of my life to do infuse. The next group Infuse 8 starts March 2014 the next one Infuse 9 starts September 2014. I'd love to have you be a part of infuse if you are serious about seeing real change in you!
What are you waiting for? Let 2014 be a year of no excuses!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

LOOKING AHEAD AND POINTING THE WAY- 12 ways to have a great New Year!

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 Children’s Ministry leader.  Let’s take a look at Moses in Hebrews 11:24-26 it says “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Let’s also examine Paul, in Philippians 3:13-14 it says, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Now Let’s look at you…”Are you accurately predicting future conditions and occurrences by advance planning and careful calculations? What's your forecast for 2014?

Are you focused on looking ahead? Moses did. So did Paul. If you are going to lead with success for a long period of time you have to master this! A leader must know where he’s heading, where he is now and how to get from where he is to where he’s going. This cannot happen without forethought, foresight and advance planning. Planning must always go before action. It must be intentional, consistent, calculated behavior that becomes a way of life for you. Last minute planners are always surprised. They are surprised with where they are, surprised with where they are going and don’t really understand what they did to get there. You can’t just work on the ministry you have without focusing on looking ahead at where you want to be in every part of your ministry.

We're going to look at twelve steps I have used to become a leader who can look ahead and point the way God wants you to go to others.

1. Know where you are headed. All a vision is is to end up where God wants you. This sounds pretty basic but why don’t you ask Him? Many times we spend more time in a conference or seminar than on our knees. You’ll never know God’s plan without asking Him. Dare to dream in Him. If people where no problem where would you put them, how would you use them. Start with the end in mind and plan backwards. Once you get a picture of what God wants be specific read Habakkuk 2:2. Make it simple to follow so you can give it away to others. A God inspired vision was meant to give away. A lot of people have asked me how did you lead one of the largest children’s ministries in the country. That’s simple I asked God where He wanted the ministry to go and did what He told me. I’d love to take credit but I can’t I was just following Jesus’ plan for our kids, our team and our families.

2. Know where you are. Be honest. Things are never as bad as you think they are and things are also not as wonderful as you think they are. They are always somewhere in between. You have to learn to evaluate everything especially the needs that need to be met. What are the needs of the kids God has given you?  What are the needs of workers? What do they need to know to raise their abilities? Evaluate your budget or count the cost. Evaluate your policies and systems. I don’t work on the church I have I work on the one I want to have.  Evaluate your thinking. All a stronghold is- is believing wrong information. Your thinking can make you or break you. Evaluate what is working and what isn’t. I work on my things to do list and my things “not to-do” list all the time.

3. Know where you’ve been.  Be a student of the history of your church especially the history of the children’s ministry. Know what they have defined as a win. Study the numbers. Attendance trends, and percentages. Know the thinking of past and present workers as well as what workers are needed. Look at the ratios in each class at each service. Have they ever been better? Why? I even study the budget. Study the accomplishments of past and present leaders and the challenges they have faced.

4. Know what others are doing. Learn to network with others. A smart leader studies the success and failures of others. Listen and read their materials, books and blogs. Study from a far. Learn up close by attending a conference. Don’t just attend sessions ask questions constantly throughout the entire event. Visit the facilities of others. Develop a relationship with other kidmin leaders on whatever level is available including e-mail, phone appointments, lunch, and/or hang out with them during a weekend or a single service. Tweet, text, Facebook and instagram. With those you want to learn from. Don’t ever think you know it all. Have a mentor, constantly read, and talk shop with someone you respect.  Always want to learn. Stay current with what others are thinking and doing now, not just what they used to do.
5. Get God’s Plan for your ministry. How does He want you to get to where you desire to be? Pray, get in the Word, and be led by the Spirit. Once you’ve heard how now brainstorm with the wise. Planning must always go before action but nor your plan get God’s plan. I have been blessed over the years with several awards in Kidmin; I wish I could take credit. I was just doing what I was told to do by God. If you ask he’ll answer and tell you exactly what He wants you to do.

6. Develop the plan by breaking it down in steps. The first step is the most important. What has to be done so the next step can be done is my favorite way to break it down. It’s important that you don’t try to do too much too quick. When possible always get others involved. You need the wisdom and input that comes from functioning as a team. You also want others to start taking ownership in the plan. It’s a win for you and the team.

7. Communicate and execute the plan. Not just now but also down the road and all along the way. Start with the level of leadership around you (your staff and/or key volunteers.) Next teach the plan in detail to the next level of leadership. Break it down with what each team member needs to know to walk out the plan as well as how to raise their abilities. You and this level must communicate the plan to all the other workers. How? Use every method available to you. Start with meetings for both informational and training. Add email blasts, newsletters and blogs. Communication doesn’t happen by accident it takes work.

8. Evaluate-Use your M.B.W.A. degree Study the numbers not just from this week but last week, last month compare to this month. Look at the same day from past years Are you on a pace to hit what you are aiming for? What are you looking for? I try to evaluate current trends, both downward and upward. What warning signs are you seeing where you can correct problems before they happen? Is your plan working? Do people understand what they should be doing? Learn to catch people doing things right. Keep an eye on your structure and your policies make sure your structure is a growth structure and not a maintenance structure. Policies can strangle or enhance growth.

9. Teach and make corrections- Teaching brings definition. Delegation without definition brings about a weird spirit. Correct in love. Teach on what you have learned through evaluation. This is something you must develop consistency in and never let up until you arrive at where you are going.

10. Set the pace and be the leader. My favorite definition of a leader is one who leads. Be willing to model what you want others to do. Do what you’ve never done. Aim at excellence, desire to be cutting edge whatever it costs you.

11. Keep momentum and energy moving forward. Look down the road and forecast what is ahead Think forward not just in the now. (My 2015 will be totally planed by June) Be a cheerleader of your team and your co-workers. Make things happen, instigate change!

12. Out work everyone- Work smart, come early,  stay late.  Accomplish more. Work hard “There may be others with more talent, or abilities but no one has to out work you

Once you hit what you were aiming at, look ahead and repeat the process until it's time to look ahead at the next new year…