Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
- Did our event help small groups grow spiritually?
- Did our retreat help small group leaders connect with teens?
- Did our event help small group leaders lead teens toward a relationship with Christ?
- Did our event help small groups have real conversations about the Bible, Christ, about life?
- Did our retreat set up small group leaders for stronger community in our weekly environment?
Monday, February 27, 2012
- I am thankful that after 14 years of serving together in the church my wife and I have a healthy marriage and we still love serving at Grace Community Church.
- I am thankful my 2 girls (Kozbi and Kelyn) know that Dad is a pastor, love the ministry we lead, and already find ways to serve at church. They growing followers of Jesus and I am so thankful for all the small group leaders at church that partner with my family!
- I am thankful that God has surrounded me with amazing adult leaders who invest in teens every week through small group at Relevant Student Ministry.
- I am thankful to be able to do events and bring former students back in to speak, lead worship, and help with small groups. It is such an honor to see teens leave our ministry and follow Christ as adults.
- I am thankful to be able to partner with families in our city as their children grow into young adults.
- I am thankful to serve with a church that empowers and supports our family ministry team to rethink how all of this stuff is done. We are in a constant state of innovation and I love that my church encourages us to keep pushing the limits.
- I am thankful for a network of leaders across the country that are dreaming of new ways to do student and family ministry who I get to call friends. I am inspired by people who refuse to give up on the next generation.
- I am thankful to have friends in my life that are outside my ministry setting. Friends really matter.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Getting better is hard! We all want to see improvement in the ministries we lead but it's strenuous work. Raising the bar is difficult in any organization but it begins with raising the expectations of the people on your team. It starts with your key staff and volunteers choosing to do the needed work to improve. When you look around and decide that normal is not enough you have to raise expectations for everyone around you and you can't give up. Most of the time we raise expectations, someone complains, and then we lower them again. Improvement only comes when we push through complacency. The truth is most of us forget that leading people toward Jesus is the most important thing we can do with our lives. In 100 years what we do with Jesus will be the only thing that matters. We view ministry as a nice option, a thing we do on the side when in reality it's what matters most in life. We raise expectations because seeing the lives of kids, teens, and college students transformed by Jesus Christ matters. We raise expectations because partnering with parents matters. We raise expectations because mentoring the next generation is the heart of life change. We raise expectations because next week may be the week for someone to discover the unfailing love of God for the first time. Never apologize for raising expectations, it really is the only way to improve.
Friday, February 17, 2012
- Young leaders are in process // We have to remember that young leaders are on the journey and are still figuring out who they are. Who a young leader is today is not who they will be a year for now. We have to be patient and keep investing because they are in process.
- Young leaders will make mistakes // Empowering young leaders can get messy. They will make bad choices. Sometimes they say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes they really make some bad mistakes. It's our job to walk them through the consequences and push them forward as they heal. A young leaders current mistake has the potential to teach a lesson for a lifetime.
- Young leaders need the freedom to question and dream // We have to give young leaders room to question and tear apart our organizations (respectfully of course). Jesus is the only thing that is unchanging! Sometimes young leaders need a break to get away and think. Sometimes they will not agree with the direction we choose to go with the ministry and that is fine ad they are fine as long as they have a voice.
- Young leaders need real opportunity and responsibility // At some point you have to choose to give young leaders opportunity but with that you also have to give real responsibility. Leadership is hard work and it comes with real responsibility. We help young leaders grow when we give them both and see what happens.
- Young leaders need mentors // Every young leader need someone to hear them and someone to push them. They have questions that they need to process with you. They have ideas that need careful shaping. They have dreams and need direction. Mentors walk with young leaders and simply remind them they have someone in life that believes in them.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
- Meetings >> Evernote and Wunderlist are 2 apps that have dramatically helped me be more efficient in meetings and in follow up after meetings. I use my iPad in every meeting I'm in because I always want to be able to write notes down and mark dates down in my calendar that will then automatically sync with my MacBook.
- Speaking >> Yep, I use my iPad every week when I speak. I can make changes right up till the point of going on stage and then delete things for my next talk.
- Thinking and Dreaming >> The iPad has some amazing apps for brainstorming and drawing and I don't lose what I have created because I can send the documents to Evernote.
- Slowing down >> When I go home I leave my MacBook at the office. For some reason it feels great to leave work at work. There are things I can only do at the office and it allows me to be very intentional about when I bring my work laptop with me. My iPad allows me to feel a separation from the office but still have many tools with me to be very productive at home.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
- The right structure can keep you from being afraid of growth. The wrong structure can keep growth from happening. Improving your structure can allow growth to continue. What you do now really is going to matter later.
- As you establish your organizational structure, you can create a growth structure by asking, “What can we do now that we would be forced to do when we are double or triple our size?”
- The moment you get comfortable and let your people get comfortable is the moment you turn back into a maintenance structure.
- I’m not married to anything but my wife. If there’s a better way to do it, then let’s do it the better way.
- People follow people with a plan. Planning always needs to go before action.
- The devil attacks busy people by getting them to do stuff they have no business doing. You are the only person who can control your priorities.
- Responsibility without authority only brings frustration and never leaves fruit that remains. You must dare to trust people to represent you well.
Monday, February 13, 2012
- More than Dodgeball
- Coach Shef
- Youth Leader Stash
Friday, February 10, 2012
In 2011 I went to the first pre-conference day I have ever been to at any conference. I never thought I would be a "pre-conference" kind of guy but it ended up being my favorite part of the Orange Conference last year. Session after session I was able to slow down, meet other leaders, have meaningful conversations, and learn about some issues that I might miss when the conference starts. Kendra Fleming is an amazing leader and these are the notes from one of her conference sessions which focused on motivating volunteers. This session is ministry GOLD so check it out...
Motivating volunteers is a constant challenge for every ministry team. How do we keep our leaders tuned into our mission? How do we keep volunteers energized? This morning Kendra Flemming reminded us that what motivates volunteers connects back to what attracted volunteers to our ministry in the first place. Of course none of us are motivated by the same things but these are 7 principles that attract volunteers to our ministry and can keep our teams motivated.
We are initially attracted to things that are visually appealing // Some volunteer connections are bound in relationship but many times we are drawn in simply the look and feel of an environment. Branding, clear communication, and environment matter.
We are naturally attracted to excellence // No one wants to feed time, energy, and talent into something that is mediocre. Be committed to progressive excellence.
We are increasingly attracted to things that are celebrated // What we celebrate becomes attractive to our volunteer teams. Celebrate what matters most.
We are relationally connected to dynamic communities // Excellent leaders attract other great leaders. Dynamic attracts dynamic.
We are selfishly attracted to things that are personally beneficial // leaders stay when they are serving and growing at the same time. Make sure your volunteers are growing and being rewarded!
We are attracted to fun! // Environments that are fun, where we laugh, attract people! We have to create margin for fun.
We are ultimately attracted to leaders and organizations with integrity. // Know what we value and live what we value
These attraction factors help to motivate our volunteers. The end goal is to empower volunteers for the long haul. Motivated volunteers are going to thrive and serve longer. What are you doing to motivate your team? In this list of 7 is there one that stands out?
Thursday, February 9, 2012
If you are processing how to get your team together and on the same page them this conference might be a great place to start. Sure, you will still have questions. No, there is no magic ministry bullet. Yes, ministry is hard work. The Orange Conference will simply help you find ways to accomplish more together.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
2011 was a year that pushed our family ministry team to make some big moves. God used the Orange Conference to help us see the direction we needed to go, and God used a specific breakout, led by my friend Tom Shefchunas, to help me see we had to get better are empowering volunteers to lead ministry and not just fill roles on Sunday. Here are my notes from that session. They still inspire me months later so check out these ideas from Tom about freeing volunteers...
"Freeing your volunteers." That statement can mean a million things and it really sounds good when you say it. This afternoon Tom Shefchunas helped us wrap our minds around creating ministries full of volunteers who are pumped to be there, using their talents, and seeing progress. Many of our ministries simply just have volunteers serving out of obligation. Freeing volunteers means we are actively create a culture where leaders thrive. Freeing your volunteer team is not about changing people it is about changing the culture. Here are some steps to creating that kind of culture...Resolve yourself that this will take time. // You don’t see a culture change your realize it has changed, change takes time. Changing a culture takes intentional long term attention and focus!
Get great people in the room. // organizations have to get the right people on the team, the right people off the team, and the right people in the right seats. Nothing defines your team like the people on your team. A healthy culture can push people to be more! Look for people with time (willing to give their time), mature faith, and character.
Decide this is not your ministry // Leadership is a stewardship and I am just leading once small part of it. We often build our ministry around our personality with no other foundation of a volunteer team. Not a good idea. Will my ministry outlast my time leading it? We have to empower team to the point when we leave it moves forward with strength!
Simplify your strategy and define the volunteer’s job and role. // If you want your leaders to feel like they are important give them something important to do.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
There is nothing like a conference with your team to inspire, refuel, and provoke change! With the Orange conference coming up in a few months and time to register, this is the perfect time to plan a conference for your team. We have done this several ways here with our family ministry team but every time we have had a mix of staff and volunteers with us. Every time it's paid off in big ways. When we go as a team we make sure and create time to connect with each other, space for each other to have alone time, and time to network with other leaders. When that combination happens we all gain more from a week together. There is a kind of synergy that can happen when a team of leaders (preschool, children, students, and college) get away to a conference to dream together. Here is what we see happen every year when we get away together...
- Our team is inspired >> Taking time to learn from other leaders is inspiring. There is something inspiring about discovering we are not alone as we strive to reach this generation. When we get away as a team we have a better shot of getting the inpsiration we need to keep fighting.
- Our team is refueled >> Something powerul happens when our team slows down to hear God's Word taught, pray together, laugh together, and worship together. Conferences are great places for teams to slow down enought to allow God to refuel our souls.
- Our team is usually pushed to make changes >> Sometimes you just need a different perspective in order to see needed change. So many times God has used time away at a conference to help our team embrace needed change. Conferences are safe places to think through ideas that might lead to changes that could lead to ministry momentum.
Monday, February 6, 2012
When do you need a curriculum partner? Right now! Don't get me wrong, I love that so many kids and student pastors are creating amazing curriculum for the ministries they lead. We create some great stuff with our team here at Grace Community but one idea we embrace is that the right curriculum partner can make sure we have time to do ministry and not just write great resources and material. I know many of you love to create, write, and develop resources but you still need to partner with an organization you believe in. We partner with several great organizations that create some amazing products that help us be better are sharing the gospel with this generation of kids and teens. This is not a post for any specific organization. You need to find an organization that you believe in and an organization that will listen to you when you have ideas. You need a curriculum partner. Here are a few reasons why...
- You need a strategy not just curriculum. // You need a plan not just another Bible study. Partnering with an organization that makes great curriculum helps you find a plan you believe in.
- Great curriculum takes hard work to create. // Great curriculum takes intense work from many people. Make sure as you are creating resources that you are balancing your need to focus on other needs in the ministry.
- You need to avoid tunnel vision. // We all then to write and teach about what we are most passionate about. Having a curriculum partner ensures that we are pushed to teach with a wider perspective.
- You are in the people business not the resource business. // Your volunteers need you to lead, not just create resources. Volunteers are never cool with us not returning emails or calls just so we can perfect the wording on that teaching script! They need you. Your church needs you. A curriculum partner can help you to have more people time.
Amy Fenton Lee: www.TheInclusiveChurch.com
Wayne Stocks: http://WayneStocks.com and http://Kidmin1124.com
Cass Brannan: www.CassBrannan.wordpress.com
Michael Bayne: http://www.MichaelBayne.net/
Jenny Funderburke: http://JennyFunderburke.com
Tom Pounder: http://www.MinistryBlackboard.com
Henry Zonio: http://KidminAndCulture.com
Nick Blevins: www.NickBlevins.com
Amy Dolan: www.LemonLimeKids.com
Steve Cullum: www.SteveCullum.com
Ben Read: www.IntentionalStudentMinistry.com
Kenny Conley: www.ChildrensMinistryOnline.com
Dustin Valencia: www.AbrahamChronicles.com
Paul Mannino: www.OrangeDad.com
Jeremy Lee: www.WonderfullyAwkward.com
Jason Chenoweth: http://jasonchenoweth.com
Benjamin Kerns: http://www.averageyouthministry.com
Jonathan Cliff: http://www.jonathancliff.com
Friday, February 3, 2012
- Jim Wideman / www.jimwideman.com
- Kenny Conley / www.childrensministry.com
- Sam Luce / www.samluce.com/
- Adam Bayne / www.adambayne.wordpress.com/
- Dan Scott / www.danscottblog.com/
- Jonathan Cliff / www.jonathancliff.com/
- Joy Bowen / www.impulsivejoy.com/
- Kendra Flemming / www.insidenorthpoint.org/kids/
Thursday, February 2, 2012
In addition to doing the work of ministry, one major benefit of the program is that seminary tuition will be included. Clarksville is 45 minutes from the new Nashville campus of Southern Seminary. We’ve already had staff members (myself included) who have worked full-time at Grace and attended classes concurrently. And as I said above, I believe that this is a great way to learn and do ministry: in the classroom and in the “lab.”
We’re receiving applications now, looking to have residents in place by August, 2012.
If you’re interested, just head right HERE and start the application process. If you know someone who would fit the bill, send this info along. If you have any questions, we’ve tried to answer the most frequently asked HERE.
We’re stoked about this program, and are convinced it will be a great benefit to a great number of young leaders.