Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 moves to make when implementing CHANGE

Over the next few weeks student, kids, and college pastors all across the country will be beginning new semesters, reaching new students, and partnering with new volunteers. Many of us will be making changes and change always brings tension. For the new leaders and new students they have no idea anything is changing because of course it is new! For our veteran leaders change can be a little difficult. Change is healthy for every organization but it also brings pain. No matter how big or how small the changes you will be making your team will always want to know why and you need to be prepared to lead them through the change. There are a few things to remember when implementing change this semester...
  1. Don't surprise key leaders // Make sure your key leadership know about changes before you hold your first meeting to introduce the changes. You know your key leaders, try not to surprise them. Connect with them and gain wisdom before you implement change.
  2. Ask for permission to experiment // Cast vision and explain your idea but when making changes ask your team to give you permission to experiment (admit you might fail!). They give you permission by supporting you as you make changes. Never take that for granted no matter how long you lead in an organization.
  3. Call people to a step of faith // "buy in" comes when the changes you make work. As a leader simply call your team to live by faith as you make changes. It's ok if your leadership team does not "buy in" 100% at first, call them to serve with faith!
  4. Listen to feedback // make sure your team knows they have a voice and can email you or call you with ideas and feedback about the changes.
  5. Lead strong but be flexible // If your changes work, great! If they don't lead strong by being willing to make changes and admit you might not have been correct

Monday, July 30, 2012

The best part about the Olympics...

The best part about the Olympics is that they only happen every four years. Seriously, what makes the Olympics great is that there is such a large gap in between the games. The gap in between games gives us time to actually look forward to these 2 weeks. The space in between games allows the host city to prepare for the games. The break in between games gives athletes time to prepare so they bring their best effort to the competition. The four year gap between the Olympic games is what makes the two weeks we are currently in so special for people all over the world. Here is a lesson all of us who lead in ministry could learn. Time between high impact events is perfectly fine and may even enhance your event. When we find something that works the first thing people ask is, when are we going to do that again? It takes courage to space high impact events apart because people always want more of a good thing. The problem is that people also can get burned out and tired of the great events create. If people are asking for more of something you are doing never automatically start doing it all the time. Make sure you space what you are doing out in a way that allows the people you are investing in to prepare, invite friends, and provide your team time to sure everything is done with excellence! Make sure everything you are doing through the ministry you lead is done with purpose, excellence, and spread out to best enhance your ministry goals.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Check out our OPEN HOUSE at Relevant!

In just a few weeks on August 8 at Relevant Student Ministry we will host our 2012 Open House for families to check out what we do as a youth ministry. We make this night happen for new families that have moved into our area, for new 6th graders, for incoming freshmen, and for other parents who just want to learn more about the goals of our ministry. When we started this last year we did not expect it to work but to our surprise it turned out to be an amazing night and a great opportunity for our team to hang out with parents. There are a few wins that come out of doing an open house before you kick off your fall schedule and here are a few...
  1. An open house lets you tell your story and share your values // we want people to know our story and our goals for the year. This is our shot each year!
  2. An open house allows you to connect and partner with families // anytime you get to hang out with parents is a big deal. This time allows us to set the tone of the year with families.
  3. An open house gives you time to meet new students before the rush // with a smaller crowd your team has a better shot to meet new students and make them feel comfortable.
  4. An open house nights gives you a natural spot to gather small group leaders for training // we have found this is a great night at our normal time and venue to train leaders and it allows small group leaders to meet new students. Double win!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do your kids have...sticky faith?

Summer is always a great time to catch up on some books that I need to catch up on and this summer I ran across a book every parent and family ministry leader needs to stop and read. I should have known that this was going to be a great read when I saw it was written by Chap Clark and Kara Powell. This is a book with a simple goal that is difficult to carry out. How do we help our children have sticky faith...faith that is significant...faith that lasts...faith that pushes them to follow Jesus with all of their life? Simple but very difficult! I hope you will pick this book up and give it a read. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Check them out and then go and download this book on your kindle!
  • Kids experience Jesus Christ when adults in the church give them grace, time, and genuine love with no hidden agenda.
  • How you express and live out your faith may have a greater impact on your son or daughter than anything else.
  • Many Kids Have Adopted the “Gospel of Sin Management”
  • Spiritual disciplines do not make us righteous because we do them, but rather they put us in a position to be drawn into trusting Christ more fully.
  • As parents, then, instead of concentrating on — and sometimes fretting about — whether and how our kids are living “righteous” lives, we have the opportunity to help them discover, access, and strengthen their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. In so doing, the righteousness they eventually display will be the product of the Holy Spirit.
  • The point is to build “social capital” into your child’s life, creating a network of caring believers who will pray for, mentor, and bless your children with their presence over the course of their lives.
  • Every child needs to be encouraged and to know that they are valuable and have unique contributions to offer.
  • Let’s be honest: parents lecturing kids hasn’t worked.
  • By far, the number one way that churches made the teens in our survey feel welcomed and valued was when adults in the congregation showed an interest in them.
  • What if we reversed that? What if we said we want a 5:1 adult-to-kid ratio — five adults caring for each kid?
  • Our vision is that kids and adults experience worship together.
  • leave your child with Jesus. Stick with Jesus always, and trust Jesus to always stick with you and your family.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Read the Bible? Why and where do I even start?

Yesterday I had the chance to speak at Grace Community and we talked about how when we encounter the Bible we should be driven to action. The Bible is living. The Bible is given to us to shape our lives and reveal the heart of the God we serve. We know we need it but it's very difficult to find a rhythm with the Bible in our everyday life. Anything worth having or doing ever comes easily. It takes work to integrate the Bible into our life and then live what we read out. You can watch what I said about the Bible here but I wanted to give a few ideas for anyone who was at GCC Sunday and wondering how they could get started engaging the Bible. Here are a few ideas that really help me stay on track and YES just like you I need help staying on track when it comes to taking time to read the Bible.
  • Just do it >> at some point you have to drop the excuses and just go for it! Make sure you start and start today. You need the Bible in your life so just start today.
  • Have a plan >> plans really help everyone. Use You Version on your computer or smart phone to find a reading schedule. Read a chapter a day. Head to a book store and buy a devotional. Find a plan to help guide your time.
  • Schedule time to read >> this is basic but make sure and plan when you will read. You have a calendar so book the time. It's that important.
  • Take away one big idea each day >> look for that one idea everyday. Pray and ask God to give you a big idea every day when you read and then look for ways to live it out.
  • Drop the guilt >> you will miss days so please drop the guilt and pick it back up.
  • Question, explore, and think >> you will encounter things that you don't understand. Keep questioning and learning. It's OK to THINK!
  • Drop the agenda >> keep and open mind when reading the Bible and let God speak to you. Don't read to find answers to your problems, read to find God in the middle of your mess.
  • Memorize when you find the jewel of truth >> when you find that verse that just stands out go ahead and try to memorize it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What does a GREAT mission trip look like?

I am right in the middle of two weeks of back to back mission trips with our student ministry. Week one was our high school trip to serve in New Orleans and this week I am taking a team of middle school students to Chattanooga. Our "serve" mission trips have been a cornerstone of our student ministry for years because every group we take never comes back the same. God works in ways while we are serving that are simply unexplainable. There are several factors that make a mission trip...great. Sure every experience is good but there are some things that make a trip absolutely great
  • The right size team >> This number varies but effective teams strive to maintain the right number for the team. Too many people and you will have people with nothing to do. Too few and your team will be stressed all week. The number is different for every trip but we work hard to find the right number for every trip and work toward that goal.
  • The right leaders on the team >> Great mission trips are staffed with great volunteer leaders. Make sure you have strong leaders on your team to set the pace, tone, and direction of the trip. Team leadership makes a mission experience go from good to great.
  • Time to rest during the trip >> This is so overlooked. Your team needs time to rest. If you are on a mission trip and you are working hard then you need time every day to stop and catch your breath. A rested team can lead with effectiveness when the pressure is on.
  • Time to process >> Every day your team needs time to celebrate, learn, and share. Powerful moments happen when you take time to let your team process together every night on a mission trip.
  • Challenge and hardship >> Yes every great mission trip has hardship and plenty of challenge. When you are sharing the message of Jesus, Satan will bring opposition to your team. Challenge drives us to humbly depend on God as we serve and unites our team.
  • Real responsibility for every person on the team >> Everyone needs responsibility on a mission trip. Every team member needs to feel that others need them there and others are depending on them. When everyone has real responsibility suddenly everyone starts asking God for help. That is right where we need to be!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rethinking High School Ministry // campus ministry

This summer our team is trying to rethink some of the aspects of high school ministry. We love serving high school students, and we are having success reaching them, but we feel like it is time to change a few of our strategies so we can make a bigger impact. We have been processing how we can make a bigger impact on the high school campus where teens are living life every day of the year. Even in summer teens spend a ton of time on their school campus. The question for our team is how we establish a presence on where teens are at. For our team campus ministry is going to look different than some other ministries doing contact work at schools. We love the work that Young Life does and we support them but most of our leaders have jobs that will keep them out of the school during the school day. We are going to try to do more on the high school campus through partnership and on campus events. Here are a few ways we are going to try to take our campus presence to another level...

  1. Football Tailgate Tour >> This fall we are going to hit 4 of our high school's for a tailgate tour. Food, games, t-shirts, yes it's gonna be great. This also allows middle school students to come since they feed into those schools.
  2. On Campus Ministry Support >> When teens who are leaders need help we want to support them. If they have an event to raise money for a cause we want to help them make the event better. Volunteers, publicity, or production support...we just want to be available.
  3. Volunteering for school projects >> We are going to try to get more of our student ministry small group leaders and parents involved with on campus events where volunteers are needed. Dances, Prom, Pep rallies, tutoring and are typical places volunteers are needed. We just want to be available.
  4. Spring Sports Tour >> Tons of our teens play sports during the spring. We are going to cookout at spring sports days and encourage our teens to pack the stands and invite their friends to support spring sports. We will see how our fall tailgate nights go and then determine how many schools we stop at!
The common denominator with all of these ideas is that it gives our small group leaders a scheduled time to be on a school campus and connect with teens. We view our time on the campus as a bonus and we hope this will help leaders block out more time to meet students on their turf. We also believe these ideas will help us keep good balance and not freak teens out by our presence since when we are at the school we are on their turf!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What in the world is FAMILY MINISTRY?

What is family ministry? Great question! After five years of leading our family ministry team at Grace Community Church I have been asked that questions often by people who see my title or hear our staff talk about serving families. Today I am going to join a ton of other family ministry leaders across the country doing an online Family Ministry Blog Tour. You can check out how they answer the question over the next few weeks by just checking out the tour site linked above! Some of these men and women are close ministry friends and you will love hearing their ideas. I guess I better get to answering the question...how do I define family ministry? What is it? I define family ministry as the effort of the church to partner with families in order to lead a generation of children, teens, and college students to follow Jesus with all their life. How we carry this out looks different at every church much the same as how the staff structure and leadership differs at every church. The one unifying element to true family ministry is the concept of partnership. The base for every family ministry plan is founded on the influence of the family (whatever that messy modern family looks like today!). God dreamed up family long before He chose a people, gave the law, created the Nation of Israel, sent a prophet, or revealed Jesus to our world. We simply trust God is honored when we partner with what He created. God wants to work through the influence of every family to lead this generation to Himself and we want to be a part of that process. Family Ministry at our church has led to a few anchors that guide our effort to serve families...
  • Family Ministry is the anchor for teamwork with our staff // if you serve the next generation in our church then you serve with one unified team who are all striving to partner with parents. Preschool, children's, student, and college ministry work on a team together and support each other as we serve parents and their children. We are friends and we are a team. Sure we serve different ages but we work together.
  • Family Ministry has helped our team focus // we realize that we can't do everything if we want to serve families with excellence. We constantly say NO so we ca better focus on doing a few things really well for families. Doing next generation ministry well requires focused effort and the concept of family ministry acts a filter who what we do and do not do. The questions becomes, is what are doing really helping parents have the best shot at modeling Jesus for their kids? That is a powerful filter!
  • Family Ministry has expanded our influence in the life of every child // When parents and ministry leaders are saying the same things, modeling the same effort to follow Christ, setting the same goals then Jesus gains more influence in the life of every child. When we help parents have resources, trusted mentors for their kids, and a safe place to ask questions then the church is having influence with the people who most impact the choices of kids. When we work together with mom and dad both the home and church multiply their effort to lead the next generation to Jesus.