Friday, April 30, 2010

PROCESS Orange 2010

It has been an amazing 3 days here at Orange 2010. I know some folks on my Facebook account will be glad when I stop talking about the conference. Well...sorry I won't stop talking about reaching this generation, it is just who I am and why I blog, tweet, FB at all. I had the honor of meeting some amazing leaders this week being a part of the Orange Leader Blog Team for the conference. These are blogs you need to check out if you are investing in the next generation. Thanks for tracking with me through the conference here on my blog and I hope you will check out these other leaders across the country. Check out their perspective...that is what a blog is...its a web journal and a perspective. Check these blogs out...

Matt McKee:
Amy Dolan:
John Saddington:
Kenny Conley:
Jonathan Cliff:
Sam Luce:
Gina McClain:
Kelly Dolan:
Dan Scott:
Michael Bayne: (oops that is mine)
Chad Swanzy:
Rick Smith:
Henry Zonio:

Continue dreaming, thinking, rethinking, and processing with us online. Don't stop fighting for the family...SERVING the family...loving kids/teens...and pointing people to Jesus, our hope, our savior! Thanks Rethink for an amazing week at Orange 2010.

7 principles for HEALTHY kid and student ministry

Healthy student and kid ministry does not happen by doesn't happen by just hiring a staff person to fill a position, building a new area for kids, painting the youth room black, our making a new logo. Healthy family ministry happens by being intentional. This morning at The Orange Conference Perry Noble, lead pastor at Newspring Church in South Carolina, talked about seven principles that guide their church when it comes to creating healthy family ministry. Trust me I have connected with their staff, been to one of their student services, seen their volunteers in action and they are a healthy team. Check out these 7 principles from Perry...
  1. Family ministry has more potential than any other ministry in the church.
  2. Healthy FAMILY MINISTRY must be supported by the senior pastor // cast the vision, be the cheerleader, fund the process
  3. Senior pastors need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. // get used to working outside the box, let your team dream how to reach kids today! Some senior pastors don’t want a move of God they can’t take credit for. UNLEASH YOUR TEAM! Learn from you generation behind.
  4. Environments matter // make sure you fund and create relevant environments for your kid and student ministry. Make their space as much a priority as the adult service. Environment can help a kid go next level with discovering the love of Jesus.
  5. Keep it simple // you have to make sure your family ministry is laser focused. We can’t do EVERYTHING if we want to be effective.
  6. Tension and conflict must be addressed //  people in kid/teen ministry compete way to much, we have create the practice of serving and loving each other as a team
  7. We have to have the right people in the right places // make sure people are serving in the right ROLES

Win tickets to ORANGE 2011

OK, this is my 600th post! No better way to celebrate 600 posts than giving away free stuff. Here is your chance to win tickets to The Orange Conference in is how!
List the top FIVE reasons you will be back for Orange ’11. Post your reasons to return on the Orange Leaders blog at

One winner, chosen at random, will receive FIVE tickets to Orange ’11!

Go to for details!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fight for your FAMILY

It's amazing to think that we could spend our life serving in the church and turn around and discover that our marriage is in shambles,  have no relationship with our kids, and go home to a house filled with misery. Tonight at The Orange Conference Doug Fields helped us process finding balance between our call to do ministry and our responsibility to lead and love our family. This life of following Jesus can't be defined only by what we say but it must be fleshed out in how we live.  We have to model what following Christ looks like in our everyday life. The sad truth is that many of us are so passionate about our job that we leave little room to invest in the lives of our spouse and children. How can we talk about the importance of family when we constantly throw our family under the bus and blame it on Jesus and churches we work for. The question we all need to wrestle with is, will we fight to gain margin so we have the time needed to SERVE OUR FAMILIES. When you leave your church people will miss you for about five minutes before they start looking for the next leader to fill your spot. When you abandon your family (physically or emotionally) you are leaving your family with a vacuum that really can't be filled or forgotten. How can we fight for our families? Here are some thoughts Doug shared tonight...

CHANGE the channel (listen to a new message)
  • Some of us are stuck on the channel of hearing the expectation of other people and making your family live up to that standard…CHANGE THE CHANNEL! Turn the dial and set your own family standards
  • This is the channel of unrealistic expectations
UNPLUG from church (set boundaries)
  • We have to stop being available to the church all the time…we must be FULLY PRESENT when we are home
  • You can change your location without changing your connection...set boundaries so you can engage
SERVE ice cream (go out of your way to make sure you home is a fun place to live)
  • Be fun and make sure your family has FUN (trips, time, games, LAUGH!)
  • Put as much work into making our homes fun as we spend making our church environments fun places for kids and teens to be!
If I’m going to expect families in my church to change...I will be waiting for a long time. I have to change and set the right pace for my family! I have to set the example.

Does any of this matter?

I know you have asked yourself that question! There you are serving in kids, preschool, or student ministry and you look around at the families you lead, the kids you lead, and your volunteer team and you find yourself asking...DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER? When I invest in this generation does it do any good. We get bogged down with the hurt and brokenness around us and we get frustrated because all the problems seem too large. This morning at The Orange Conference Chap Clark helped us work through the adolescent maze we face. In Chap's research he looked at the most influential voices in the lives of teens. You might think that friends landed at the top, or media, or school environment, or socioeconomic would be wrong...look at this list and it is in order of influence!
  1. Parents
  2. Non-parental committed adults
  3. Non-parental non-committed adults AND peers
  4. Media, Ecology
We always jump ahead and say...MEDIA is influencing our kids, MOVIES are shaping our kids, and FRIENDS are running the show. The research shows that family and caring adult mentors (that is you church leader / school teacher, athletic coach, mentor!) are the most influential voices that shape the life of a kid or teen! Wow, that is so encouraging. If you are investing in the life of a family, child, or teen you are making a difference. You are needed. You are wanted in the lives of teenagers even if it looks hopeless! Please don't give up. What you do matters!

think TEAM

This morning Nancy Ortberg talked about the power of team here at The Orange Conference. There is nothing more important than leading our team when it comes to leadership in our churches. There is also nothing that frustrates all of us more than leading our team. Why...because we want to make it work but what we find when we lead is HUMANITY which leads to STRUGGLE because none of us are PERFECT! That is the beauty of teamwork. Working with a team leads us to serve, to be vulnerable, to be real if we want teamwork to happen. Here are some some of the thoughts Nancy had about what people on teams need...

People on a team have to be given opportunities.
  • We have to empower team members opportunities that center around their giftedness not on ONLY what has to be done.
People need challenges
  • Every team will move toward stagnation.
  • Healthy conflict is a needed for the health and vibrancy of the team. 
  • In order to do conflict well you have to give people the chance to get messy with conflict. Conflict management is learned! 
People need an environment of relationships
  • People want and need to be known by their leaders!
  • People have to know us…we have to be open and vulnerable.
  • Relationships lead our churches to be the unstoppable force in the community!

Today’s Orange Leaders Challenge...THURSDAY!

The success of every leader is dependent upon knowing where to get your questions answered and knowing how to network with other leaders.

Today we will challenge you to do both. We have come up with a phrase, and the first two people to write the complete phrase on the Orange Leaders Facebook page (, will win!

In order to figure out the phrase, you will need to get a little help. Who can give you the most help on your Orange journey? Your Orange Specialist of course. Find the Orange Specialist for your state, and they will give you one word of the phrase. Then, connect with other leaders from around the country to find out the rest of the words. (Hint: Each Orange Specialist will have a different word. Orange Specialists are assigned by region of the country and curriculum.) You can use the blog, Twitter, and Facebook as well as networking, to connect with other Orange Leaders!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Opening Session @ the Orange Conference

4,200 people committed to serving and investing in the next generation gathering in one room with one heart is an amazing sight. The Orange Conference opened up with session 1 tonight and the tone was set to help us all rethink how God has called us to COLLIDE with our culture...with families...with kids...with those far from Christ. For the next 2 days we are going to process this together and I can't wait to see how God shapes all of us. Here are a few thoughts from session 1...
from Reggie Joiner...
  • When we collide with God, it changes they way we see God.
  • People far from Christ are asking...Will you still want to be my friend if I never choose to follow Jesus? 
  • We need to invite a generation of people into a dialogue so they can process what it means to follow Jesus. We need to walk with people as they work through FAITH.
from Mark Batterson...
  • If we are not careful we can stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory
  • We are all called to a CULTURE MAKING process. We want to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of their people…NOT JUST them be a part of our calling as a church!
  • If you want to think new thoughts…read new things, meet new people, go new places! 
  • Change of Pace +Change of place = Changed perspective 
  • We are educated way beyond the level of our obedience. We need more relationships and less education. We all need a relationship with people who are far away from God.
from Chris Wiersma
  • We’re not just simply called to HELP PEOPLE. We are called to COLLIDE differently with each other.
  • We are not called to just be generous…we are called to help people see the WONDER of Jesus Christ. To be FASCINATED with the chance to collide with those around us
  • Let’s squeeze our ego through the filter of a child, the humility and wonder of a child. BE REAL and collide with those around us with reckless abandon.
  • When we engage people…when we collide we are saying, I know you, I know your maker, I know your story, I know what the Gospel can do in your life
  • There are NO one-way relationships

Catching Volunteers UP TO SPEED

If you work for a church you manage many team of volunteers to make ministry happen. I have yest to meet any ministry making a difference that was not powered by and amazing team of volunteers! This afternoon I had the chance to hear Darren Kizer talk about the process of helping new volunteers get plugged into our ministries quickly and up to speed with our organization. Maybe the question we should be asking is how do we get ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS up to speed without cutting corners and cheating the process...Here are some thoughts from this afternoon...

People choose to volunteer because they are motivated by the idea of DOING GOOD. People continue to volunteer because they ENJOY WHAT THEY ARE GETTING FROM THE EXPERIENCE. What it takes to get them involved is different that what helps they stay for the long haul! Volunteers need...

Organizational Support / people need us to set the course and provide personal support and resources

Group Integration / people need a TEAM, volunteers need each other!

Participation usefulness / people need to know it matters; they have to see the WIN. ARE WE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Empowerment / people need responsibility and a real mission to achieve, real expectations and clear expectations

Some BIG Questions to ask your volunteers and yourself as the leader of a volunteer team…
I know what is expected of me?
Do I have the material and equipment to do my job?
Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best? Do I enjoy what I do?
Someone cares about me as a person?
Do my opinions count?
Is our team committed to quality work? (other volunteers doing subpar work drag down volunteers)

Becoming a better COMMUNICATOR

Great breakout this morning with Jamey Dickens, the High School Pastor at Buckhead Church, on how to become a better communicator with students. Here is the direction Jamey went this morning here at the Orange Conference...

If you want to be a better communicator BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Teens listen and buy in when they trust the people around them. They will listen to you when they know you or they know someone else who knows you!
If you want to be a better communicator FUNNEL YOUR PROGRAM
Make sure everything in your environment is helping teens move toward what is going to be taught.
If you want to be a better communicator FOCUS YOUR CONTENT
Say less to communicate more.
If you want to be a better communicator WORK ON YOUR SYSTEM
Make sure you have a system that works to help you plan and prepare every week.

What really stood out to me this morning was the power of building relationships as a enhancer in our communication. When people know you and trust you they buy into what you are communicating. Most of the time teens will not trust a communicator that they don't know or that one of their friends will not endorse. RELATIONSHIP helps every teenager let their guard down and trust us. The relationship factor is not about the student pastor knowing every kid in the really is about creating  a culture of relational health throughout your entire leadership team. We have to empower small group leaders to KNOW KIDS, to be INVOLVED IN THE LIVES OF THEIR KIDS. Youth have to build relationships with students, not just plan your program and  hope for better attendance and information transfer. We communicate because we want to see lives transformed. Transformation is relational...go for it!

Today’s Orange Leaders Challenge...FREE new book from Reggie Joiner!

The Orange Conference is just a few days away so we thought we would get you thinking "CREATIVELY" about family ministry! We want to give you a great new book on parenting so here is your shot! Creativity is key when working with families. So let’s see just how creative YOU are. Your challenge is to take the most creative picture you can think of featuring one of the BOOKS Reggie has written. Upload your picture on for us all to see. Be sure to mark it #orangeleaders to be entered in the contest. Today’s winner will receive 10 Parenting Beyond Your Capacity books

Go to for details!

Orange Conference WHAT?

Orange what...Orange Conference...what is that? Good question and since I am blogging from the conference all week and it is 7:50 AM (6:50 in Clarksville) and I am still not very awake I thought I would explain what we mean by Orange and why this is the Orange Conference. This conference is like none I have ever been to. This is a gathering of leaders who work with teens, college students, kids, preschoolers, and parents...all at one conference. When I first heard the idea I laughed and thought about worhiping with some of the preschool pastors I have worked with in the past with Steve Fee rocking it out and Francis Chan speaking. When I arrived that first year I was shocked by the unity and passion of leaders uniting behind a cause. Our cause at the Orange Conference is finding ways for the Church (yellow) and the the Home (red) to partner in order to invest in the lives of our children (children no matter what age ). The greatest influence in a kid's life is mom and dad. It only makes sense to partner with that influence as a church.

So this week is about just that...
How can can our churches and parents work together (PARTNER) to impact the lives of kids? How can we GO ORANGE? This time we are opening up the conference even if you are not here this week! Check out to watch the opening session tonight LIVE and to get a backstage pass to hear from some amazing leaders during the entire conference!

Here we go...going to be an amazing week!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We all have a plan laid out for our life, a preference, a Plan A that we pursue. We even ask God to jump in and help make our Plan A come to reality...maybe God even does help us see that dream become a reality. The question is what happens when Plan A does not work, our dream is crushed, and we find our self looking at or for a new plan. That new plan is our "PLAN B" and Pete Wilson's new book PLAN B helps walk people through the messy of process of finding God, hope, joy, and peace in the middle of a plan B that we really never wanted. Pete is a pastor and from that role comes the chance to see people in the midst of plan B moments day after day. People discover who they are and who they worship when plan B moments hit. What I like most about this book is that it is does not try to provide quick easy answers but rather reveals how God worked through scripture in plan B moments. The stories contained in scripture are about PEOPLE...PEOPLE just like you and me. Nothing special about Paul or Moses beside the fact that God used them to communicate truth to us all these years later. PEOPLE in scripture had just as many plan B moments as we have and Pete brings that to life page after page. I have already given a copy of this book to a great friend traveling through a plan B moment. Keep a few of these around because this is a book that can actually help people in the middle of the storm.

Monday, April 26, 2010

LIVE from the Orange Confernece all week...

So excited to be heading to The Orange Conference again in 2010 and this time I am joining a team of guest bloggers to help you stay connected and think orange in your ministry context. Throughout the conference I will be trying to share the BIG IDEAS that are being talked about in the sessions and the breakouts through twitter and here on the blog. If you are going to be at the conference please stop by and connect in the Orange Leaders Lounge...we really want to hear what is going on in your ministry and have the chance to think Orange with you as you lead in your church. Here are the breakouts I will be in this week...

How to be a Better Communicator in Front of Students
Leading Strategically from Your Strengths
Catching Volunteers up to Speed

Helping Adults Navigate the Adolescence Maze
Drawing Students into Healthy Community
Difficult Conversations in Leaders Circles
Aligning Parents to a Vision for Family

Check out everyone who will be blogging this year from Orange...AND make sure and stay plugged in into for live video from leaders across the country at Orange!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Kelyn!

God rocked our family when he gave us Kelyn! She is our little Godzilla and loves making us all laugh. Beautiful, smart, loving, and passionate are all words that help paint the picture of my little girl. Happy Birthday Kelyn! We love you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


What does sustainable youth ministry look like...get this book and you will be able to see some amazing insight into how to build a healthy student ministry. Most of us who work with teens want a thriving ministry, a large ministry, an engaging ministry, but few of us consider how to craft an environment that will last for the long haul. There are a few book that I think are must haves when it comes to youth ministry and this book made the list. Mark DeVries leads an organization called Youth Ministry Architects and has lead a student ministry in Nashville for 20 years. He has sat with church after church looking for how they can make their youth ministry grow. Asking how our student ministry can"grow" usually means that a group of church people want a bunch of teens to be happy, show up, get baptized,  and become the biggest ministry in town. Few churches start by asking what healthy youth ministry can be...few youth pastors are asking that. This book is a call to step back and examine what ministry to teens should and could look like. Over and over through the book I was reminded about lessons learned over my 11 years of serving teens and families in the local church. I was reminded of all the times I tried to take the shortcut and find the magic bullet to make things work better for our ministry. What I found through experience was that there is a path that leads to healthy long term health in student ministry. I also learned there is no quicker way to fail than to copy what someone else is doing just so you can advance the ministry. This book lays out clearly many lessons I had to lean the hard way. Experience is the best teacher, but it doesn't have to be your experience. If you are leading a student ministry click on the logo here on the blog and get this book ordered. This is a great resource for student pastors...CHECK IT OUT!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This week is the NFL draft and I heard a comment the reminded me of the power of STAYING when it comes to effective leadership in ministry. The Tennessee Titans general Manager said...we can take a risk on a younger player in the draft because we have a stable coaching staff that has been together form many years that can develop that player. Ok, I summarized that but you get the point...TEAMS THAT WORK TOGETHER, LONGER HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO LEAD IN A MORE EFFECTIVE WAY. Why...because leadership flows out of relationship. When you stay plugged into a church or organization for the long haul you build relationships of significance, you build trust, and create momentum that makes strong, consistent leadership possible. I am working on my fourth year here on the staff of Grace Community Church and I promise that leading from the stability of quality, trusting relationships is significant in my life right now. Parents know me, teens know me, kids know me and these relationships help create trust when I step out and lead our family ministry team in a new direction. When you lead you have to have people following you...when people know you they are more likely to come along for the journey! I will be the first to tell you that when you are young you will have many times where you find yourself in new leadership roles. You will have to move around to discover who you are, who you work best with, what your true calling is, but there will come a time to stay. When we choose to plug in and stay your leadership influence might just go to the next level.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Parents, don't just DO...BE

Last night our daughter was coughing really bad and my wife and I both knew we need to give her a breathing treatment...neither one of us wanted to stop 24 to do it but we needed to go help the kid have a good night of sleep. I ended up getting up, getting the machine, and holding it in place so she could breathe the medicine and not wake her up. Sitting there I was reminded that those of who are parented will DO anything for our kids when they need us. We are wired that way and it is important to be there and be active in our kids lives. I think sometimes we get caught in the trap of thinking DOING all this stuff with and for our kids is all they need. We get caught thinking accomplishing the DO LIST for our kids makes us the parents our kid needs. For some reason, I was reminded last night that our kids need us to BE and not just to DO. They need us to...

BE consistent (in our faith, our choices, our discipline)
BE hopeful (when problems arise in our family life)
BE patient (in a world that wants immediate gratification)
BE loving (as they watch how we treat others)
BE forgiving (as we model God's forgiveness to them when they make mistakes)

When we decide to BE ______(you insert the word) in front of our kids we allow them to see faith in action. Our kid's image of God is shaped by what we choose to BE not just by what we DO. Sure we know there is a link between what we do and what we believe but when we choose to live out significant virtues in front our our kid's we provide them anchors for what following Jesus looks like in the real HOME, at SCHOOL, at WORK! Please continue to do amazing things with and for your kids but never forget to BE.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Orange Conference 2010 iPhone App is here!

We are 8 days away from the Orange Conference! How did I know that? I opened my iPhone conference app! Did you hear that? I have a conference app for my phone. I am so proud of the Rethink Team for taking this jump and making an app for the conference. Just played around with it some and it has everything you need to stay up to date with the conference as you attend the conference because I know you are not going to miss this and I know you will get tickets today and find a hotel and I know you love this run on sentence that my English teacher can't do anything about! Take that English teacher! Seriously, I hope you will go download the app and check it out for yourself. There is still room for you at the conference and we would love for you to join us for ORANGE 2010!

Just so you know...the Orange Conference is a experience that gathers children, preschool, and student leaders together to think about what ministry with parents and kids looks like TODAY. When we talk about thinking ORANGE we are just referring to the idea of the church (yell0w) and the home (red) working TOGETHER (orange!) Think about breaking away and joining us in Atlanta for the conference or just the preconference in 8 days...whatever fits your schedule, we hope to see you there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Make a difference in the life of a FAMILY at GCC...

One of our core beliefs at Grace Community is that everyone was made to SERVE. God is doing an amazing work at GCC and we are seeing new people join us every week. With growth comes the need for more volunteers. We are looking for some amazing people to join our family ministry team as we invest in the lives of kids on Sunday mornings. When we make a difference in the life of a kid on Sunday we make a difference in the life of a family. We have amazing kid and preschool environments and we want to connect with you if you are looking for a place to plug in and SERVE. Come see us Sunday after one of the services check out what God is doing in the lives of families at Grace Community!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

THE UPRISING conference / Quest Community Church, Lexington KY

Spending the day here at The Uprising conference put on by Quest Community Church in Lexington, KY. I love getting to visit amazing churches that put on a one day conference...the one day conference gives a chance for leaders to refuel, dream, and catch the vision of a local church making a difference. Why take time to hit a conference...I LOVE TO LEARN! Seriously, if I am going to lead I have to learn from others making an impact. If you are out there leading in a church environment (paid or volunteer staff) make sure you get to a conference once a year. With that rant in the some great thoughts I heard today...
  • What if God wants to recalibrate our heart? Does god have can happen when we are willing. - Pete Hise
  • It's important to develop a philosophy of community before you develop a strategy for community. - Pete Wilson
  • What scandalized Jesus was that he welcomed EVERYONE. EVERYONE should be welcome in our churches and we have to be willing to embrace people even when others won't. - Pete Wilson
  • When people see hope, experience hope, embrace changes. The church was made to be  place of hope, Jesus brings HOPE. - Pete Hise
  • To reach our city we need to display a self sacrificing love to prove/exhibit the love of Jesus. They don't need statements or minor program changes...people need to see Jesus on display in our lives. - Pete Hise
  • We say to the people around us who don't know Jesus WE LOVE YOU but we act like we are fine if they go to Hell by the way we live and "do church." - Perry Noble
  • Our environments matter because they help or hinder people from seeing Jesus. - Perry Noble
  • Our passion, vision, and leadership flows from listening to God and doing what he says. - Perry Noble

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Does my TEEN need counseling?

Does my teenager need to see a counselor? I get asked that question at least once a month. The teen years are hard! Kids hit 5th grade and they begin to change into people we are not sure we know. Sometimes it is really hard to determine if our teen is moving through a phase or they are in serious emotional trouble. The truth is that therapy and counseling are finally normal parts of our culture and many times our families could benefit from bringing another trusted voice into difficult situations. Why? Many times when we are in conflict with our teen, fear for their future leads us to focus on surface issues (don't talk back to me, I told you not to wear that, you will obey me or else...on and on) instead of the real problems underneath. (stress, depression, worry, poor self image, etc.) This is where the counselor/therapist comes in...a neutral voice who can bring up difficult issues, provide direction, and help formulate a plan. When parents have a plan they are empowered to not give up and fight for the health of their child. So when do you bring a counselor into a situation with your family. Mark Gregston (go check our his blog and ministry at Heartlight Ministry) had some great advice in this month's Living with Teenagers magazine...
  1. When your attempts to engage him are met with no response
  2. If you suspect she is stating that "she wants to die"
  3. When you find that she has been cutting or engaging in self-destructive behaviors
  4. Any time his behavior is self destructive and your attempts o stop it are ineffective
  5. When he changes friends radically, experiences a major "shift" in thinking, or now dislikes all he used to like
  6. After any traumatic happening in her life
  7. When the "abnormal" starts becoming the "normal"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Need Volunteers...GO FIND THEM

We are in the middle of an amazing season of growth here at Grace Community Church. With growth comes natural demand on our infrastructure. We decided to add a 3rd service to our Sunday morning environments a while back and guess what...that extra service is growing. With growth comes the need to find new leaders to join our team. I use the term leader and volunteer almost interchangeably because that is what our volunteers are...they are leaders doing ministry every week. Leadership is service and if that is true than then role of the volunteers is the ultimate leadership role we have! We are wrestling through the process of adding new leaders to our team, training those volunteers, and continuing to strive for excellence while still needing more volunteers. Can it be done is the wrong question, IT HAS TO BE DONE! You may be in a strong position right now with your volunteer team but if you church has a heart to reach your city you will soon be in need of new leadership. Here are some principles that are guiding us as add leaders to our volunteer teams.
  • Recruit to a mission >> people follow vision and they want to know what your area is about. When we recruit we are not filling holes, we are asking people to join our mission of partnering with the family! We are shaping the next generation one kid and one family at a time. That is a mission worth joining!
  • Dedicate time to recruiting >> People are not going to fly out of the sky to join your team and have to block time out to spend on meeting with, emailing, and calling possible leaders for your team. Schedule it and make it happen all year!
  • Raise the bar >> make sure you let the people you are recruiting know what your expectations are. Be clear about what volunteering looks like for your team.
  • Make the BIG ASK >> do not be afraid to ask people top join your team! When it comes to investing into families we need the best and the brightest in our churches. Go ahead and invite high impact leaders in your church to jump on your team!
  • Pray >> how much time have you really spend talking with God about volunteer needs. He knows who you need and you will only gain God's perspective on recruiting volunteers when you make prayer a huge part of your effort to build your team.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can PARENTS trust us?

Parents are looking for partners to help in the adventure called RAISING KIDS. As a parent I never partner with people I don't trust. Trust is so important when it comes to the church / parents relationship. Can our volunteers be trusted to care for kids? Can we be trusted to value the families time? Can we be trusted to keep parents in the loop? Can our environments be trusted to engage kids? Can we be trusted to help kids learn how to make wise choices? These are all TRUST questions that every parent is asking when they consider partnering with the ministries we lead. Please understand that the TRUST ISSUE is a major factor when parents decide if they will involve their kids in our ministry. When parents trust us they will follow our leadership and partner with us. How do we earn trust?
  • Keep Commitments >> when we make commitments we have to follow through...nothing will break trust like breaking our word!
  • Be Consistent >> parents want to know we can be counted on week in and week out
  • Over Communicate >> email, Facebook, ministry websites, letters...make sure parents can get info about your ministry and make sure your team is accessible to them also. Parents need to be kept in the loop and they need to be able to get to leadership when they have questions.
  • Involve >> make sure parents always know what your values are and what you are communicating to their children. We make sure our parents have take home tools every week from our environment so they can continue the discussion and we have a monthly family experience that involves parents and kids TOGETHER.
  • Listen >> always always always listen to parents. (you won't agree with everything but PLEASE listen) Nothing builds trust like being heard and valued. Parents need a voice in your ministry...we are investing in their kids!
Trust with parents not's earned. How are you striving to build trust with parents in your church?

Saturday, April 10, 2010


So... what are you all doing this afternoon? Nothing?? GREAT!!! Bring your WHOLE family and come over to Clarksville First Church of the Nazarene for the First Annual Spring Sing & Bling - Benefiting Africa for Jesus!

Enjoy awesome musical artists including the Daniel Doss Band, Lydia Walker, Making Malorie and Engaging Pursuit. Special guest artist is Felicia Barton, former American Idol contestant and worship leader/singer/songwriter from Virginia Beach, VA. There will also be a silent auction with over 100 items from local companies for you to bid on with all proceeds going to Africa for Jesus.

This is going to be an awesome evening for an awesome cause! Don't miss out on a fun night with your family! I hope to see you all there!!!

What: Spring Sing & Bling - Benefiting Africa for Jesus!
Where: First Church of the Nazarene
150 Richview Road
Clarksville, TN 37043
When: April 10, 2010
Time: 4:00pm - 8:30pm
Cost: $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for kids (6 and under)
, OR you can gain free admission to the event by donating clothes and other gently-used items to our thrift stores. There is currently one location in Hopkinsville, KY, and a second location in Clarksville at 1810 Madison Avenue (Pal's Plaza). You can bring them the day of the event, or drop them off at the stores.

Friday, April 9, 2010

2nd chance?

After 5 months away from the game of golf Tiger Woods is back and playing at The Masters. This is Tiger's second chance with golf but his second chance with LIFE started 5 months ago. When all of his mistakes were made public months ago Tiger had a choice, he could face his mistakes head on or he could blame others and run. I am proud of Tiger for one thing...he faced his mistakes and took responsibility. Go ahead all of you who are casting judgment on this guy. We who call ourselves Followers of Jesus know how our leaders have done when given power and fame. We can all remember many amazing pastors/teachers who had it all and were derailed by moral failure. Tiger had power, money, and fame and thought he was above the game of golf and accountability. Well...he wasn't. I hope Tiger has a great golf comeback but more importantly I hope he has a great comeback in life as a person. I am selfish...I pray he finds Christ! I hope he fights for his marriage. I hope he learns to treat people with respect. I hope he can in the future reach out to help when someone else falls into the same trap. We will see. As a Dad I have no problem telling my kids one day that YES Tiger made some big mistakes but he tried to start over and took responsibility. This is his second chance...we all have had them and we all will need them. I am glad a caring leader in my past gave me a second chance.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

who is responsible for reaching the NEXT GENERATION?

If you are the only person on your staff thinking about how to reach the next generation you probably won't reach the next generation. Here is what might happen...
  • You will have no support to take the risks needed to reach the next generation
  • You will miss opportunities because you are blinded by the demands of week to week ministry to kids and teens
  • You will always be forced to give priority to the preferences of adults over teens and college students
  • When problems arise with kid, teen , or college ministry no one on your team will know why you do what you one will have your back
  • Your kid's/preschool ministry will be viewed as necessary babysitting so adults can do the important stuff
  • You will not be allowed to empower teens and college kids to serve NOW because they might not do things as well as a "mature" adult
  • I am pretty sure when budget time comes you will not have the support you need to gather the resources needed to reach the next generation
When it comes to reaching the next generation it has the be the overwhelming priority of the the entire church. Our greatest joy should flow out of seeing families, kids, preschoolers, teens, and college students love and follow Jesus with all their heart. Who's job is it to reach the next's our job...all of us! This week I have heard some amazing ideas about next generation ministry come from our co-pastors, small group pastor, and worship department. Great ideas from folks who are not on the family ministry staff...WOW! These are ideas that flow from a passionate team desiring to reach the next generation. If any church wants to reach the next generation the entire leadership structure better start caring, praying, sacrificing, dreaming, and doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Parents are looking for PARTNERS

The moment we become a parent we start looking for help. As soon as we see that child for the first time we realize we are way in over our heads. We quickly realize that we need help and we learn that there is strength when we partner with others who can help us raise our kids. Think about all the people we begin to partner with when we become parents...

We partner with the best pediatrician we can find...
We partner with other parents in play groups to find support...
We partner with a good school to educate our kid...
We partner with a daycare if we continue to work full time...
We partner with a coach to help our kid learn how to shoot or kick a ball...
We partner with a gymnastic teacher to help our kids learn how to be a gymnast...
We partner with a tutor is our child struggles with math...

Parents are looking for partnerships that can help their child and their family. We hope that parents begin to look to the church as a place to partner with when it comes to the spiritual development of their child. What if when a parent thought about how to teach their child character and faith lessons they automatically began to look for a church they could partner with? Not sure that currently they see the church as a needed partner in raising their kids but at Grace Community Church we are hoping that parents in our city see us as a partner for their family! We want to find ways to serve the families in our community. We want to help parents have significant spiritual influence in their kid's lives. We want to be a resource...PARTNER that parents an trust. If you are a parent out there please know there are churches out here trying to figure out how we can partner with you...YOU ARE NOT ALONE, we want to partner with you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

build a team

Never, never, never try to do ministry alone. Many times I see leaders (paid and volunteer) try to do way to many things in the name of IMPORTANCE. "These things have to be done." Many times I see leaders try to take on way to many responsibilities because they are the person in charge. When we choose to do ministry alone we cripple the future of the ministry we lead. The solo led ministry will die when the passion of the point leader runs thin or leaves. There is no hope for that ministry. Every healthy ministry will have a point leader and a team of leaders with specific responsibilities. Healthy ministry is done IN COMMUNITY by TEAMS of leaders! We were not made to be live in a carry responsibility alone. We were made to do the work of God together. I have had the pleasure of watching a a leader named Kent Hughes carry out team led ministry for the past three years here at GCC. Kent launched our preschool worship environment and it has been a huge success. Kent surrounded himself with an amazing team! Kent is a great leader because he has modeled the art of team ministry in several environments here in our church. The bottom line is that you can do more for the long haul TOGETHER. Who is on your team? Who are you empowering? What happens to your ministry if you leave? Build a team!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter (Saturday & Sunday) @ Grace Community...from my iPhone

Wow...I am blown away by how God worked this past weekend at Grace Community Church. Friday and Saturday were packed with planning, setup, practice and prayer. Sunday was overwhelming as we saw 3018 people some through the doors and hear the message of Jesus made clear in all our environments. After looking back on my iPhone I just wanted to share some of the memories from the day. Thanks to all our amazing volunteers for going all out to make the weekend possible. Thanks to all you who call GCC your spiritual went for it and invited your friends! I met so many quests Sunday! GCC staff...thanks for dreaming big and risking it all for God's Glory and to reach this city for Christ. God, thanks for changing the us new life in Christ!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

finding great WORSHIP LEADERS for kids!

Kid's (preschoolers and k-5 kids) need great worship leaders! Not people going through the motions but leaders who are passionate about engaging kids and leading them to express their hearts to God through song and dance. We have known this a long time with adults and teens but we settled for who we could get to work with our kids. Leading kids in worship is a talent, a gift, a work of art and finding people with the ability and passion is hard work. Getting up in front of kids can be intimidating, but we have to work hard to find, train, and resource worship leaders who will invest in this generation of kids. Finding great worship leaders for kids can be tough but IT CAN BE DONE. Here is where we have started when looking for great worship leaders for kids...
  • Look to your adult worship leaders and vocalists // We ask worship leaders to serve with us once a month and lead in three services that week. We found some of our best worship leaders on our adult worship team. (beware, just because they can sing does not mean they will connect with kids) They had never seen leading kids in worship as a option for their gift...when we raised the bar they joined our team!
  • Look to adults who have a passion for worship but might not have made the CUT for the adult or teen stage. // our talent standard/vocal standard for the adult stage is way high. There are some great worship leaders who may just not have that strong of a voice that would be amazing leading with tracks and in our kid environments!
  • Look to your student/college ministry // seriously some of our best worship leaders have come out of our student and college ministry. Their passion to serve and connect with kids is amazing. If you see a dynamic student leader consider if they might be a good fit for your kid or preschool environment.
  • Look to existing volunteers in your kid and preschool area! // we found some great worship leaders who were already volunteering and had a passion for leading worship.
  • Look FORWARD to kids who have grown up in your environments and get those kids dreaming about leading NOW!!! // we are already looking forward to seeing teens lead who have come up through our kids ministry here at GCC. We believe some of our best worship leaders are coming in the next five years!