New Year. New Opp’s

I’m pumped about the idea of “NEW” in a new year.  What an opportunity!  Opportunity to pray and plan.  Opportunity to grow personally.  Opp’s for best ministry practices to come to fruition.  I want to embrace all the NEW a new year has to offer.  Clean out the old and ring in the new.   Although it’s deep into winter now, spring will come.  That’s why farmers have decided on their seeds now to  before their fields are touched.   They are busy planning for harvest even in January.   Take a lesson from the farmer (hey it’s biblical too). Take time while this year is brand new to get your seed ready to sow.  Don’t just keep doing what you’ve always done. Your calendar may run away with you with the same old same old again this year if you don’t.   New opportunities are here in 2015 to reach kids and families with the Good News.  Are you planning for a great crop season?

What seeds do you have in hand?  Seed is first!   Most forward motion requires thought and challenges personally and in ministry. God loves it when we use what we have to see more come about.   The farmer is not dreading the difficult plowing and sowing time ahead because he is thinking about a great harvest.  The farmer is not afraid of hard work and you should make a note of that. Ministry is hard, but so worth it.   What are your harvest plans in 2015?    Like the farmer, you will be SO glad you worked and cultivated ministry when you see the harvest come in.

Four questions to help you plan for a harvest in ministry to kids and families.

What will you do differently to reach and grow your volunteers?   Be a learner on how to engage people to serve.  Start talking more, equipping more and asking more of your volunteers.  They are pretty amazing when in their sweet spot of serving and will show up!

What will you do to better partner with ALL parents in your church?  What about the “edge” parents who are distant? What about the invested parents?  Family ministry is  much more than just a family day event or fall festival.  It’s more than a paper handout recapping a service. Do you have a  master vision plan for your field of families?  Farmers do.

How can you  plan to better align kids’ ministry as a church?  Do you regularly meet and plan together as leadership team, or are you all farming your own field?    In the new year there is a bigger harvest opportunity when you team up.  Put away the ego’s and think TEAM in 2015.

What do you need to stop doing (ouch) so you can lean in and start something else that’s more effective?  (this may hurt a bit, but you will be glad you did).

Love to hear how this is processed by teams.  Happy farming.


2015: Better & Smarter

Who is pumped about a new year?!  It’s a new start.  It’s a new beginning.  And the best part is that with Jesus the future always looks bright, no matter what’s on your calendar.  We have hope.  We have peace.

Leading kids ministry is hard.  We don’t know what the new year will bring.  Plan ahead and take a moment to consider 5 things that can help you win as you lead Kid Ministry in 2015.

1. Reflect: What do you wish you had  a “do over” in ministry in 2014?   We all have “those” moments to recall.  Use reflection to re- think and learn from 2014.  Joys and sorrows count.  Reflect on the faithfulness of God.

2.  Be still:  Stop letting the ministry lead you. Where can you prioritize family and your time with the Lord?  Margins are to help us run the race we are in.   Prayer and devotion time carved out  is the only Source where you will gain strength from.  You are on a borrowed journey of leading ministry.  Remember this isn’t yours. Ask for a new vision for what you are to do in 2015.

3. Push:   God is all about using you as His conduit.   Dare to make changes you know need to happen.   Dare to cast vision and push for your community. How can you focus on those who have yet to come to your church? Set your ministry up so that ALL parents –wherever they are on their spiritual journey,  can WIN with their kids at your church.  Status quo won’t cut it anymore.  If you know there are changes you need to bring: go for it.

4. Organize:   Put people to serve in their strengths.  Do that and you can ask for a bigger commitment.  Get stuff OFF your plate  and allow others to lead in their strength.  Create a safe place for kids to come and give them the gift of a full time small group  volunteer to be in their life. Once a month volunteers are great, but don’t give them a role that a full time volunteer needs to be in.   Organize your team for a win in 2015.

5. Alignment:  Organize ministry service times so that student ministry doesn’t compete with a serve time for teens.  Sundays are “GO” time for youth to be used and valued in living out their faith by serving.   It IS ministry when a teen IS serving.  Mentor your teens and work WITH your student ministry team to create serve opp’s.    Kids LOVE teens.  Don’t miss out.

Your Own Curriculum

I have the pleasure of connecting with leaders from all over the US and Canada who want to reach families in the local church. Trust me, there are some amazing people are out there doing what you do every weekend.  You are NOT alone in wanting to draw kids and families to Christ, and help them grow in Him.  Sometimes a leader can feel isolated doing what they do.  That’s why connecting is important!

Once in a while I run in to the “we write our own” leader. They talk with buttons bursting about how their team is  “super” creative.  Having been in your shoes, I want to give you some things to consider.  There is a lot riding on that.  And what’s more, people get tired.  What if you could re-focus that amazing talent, and tons of your time spent creating your own curriculum?  What might happen?

Sometimes those who write their own lessons might need to check the ego. Writing your own ministry curriculum is great. I did it for years at a big church.  My ego was also great at letting people know how proud I was that we did that. (Like we had the market corner for what really needed to be shared). That’s ego.  It’s also a spinning plate which is exhausting after awhile (and I am a creative).  I was not open to consider how much time was going in to that process.  I never really took time to learn from others on what might be working as they used curriculum.  If we could sit down and talk I’d ask what you could do with those hours to elevate your volunteers or families instead.   You have such limited hours with kids and families.  Is that the best focus? Check the ego.

The other challenge I want to talk through are teams who compartmentalized their curriculum by service time. A bigger strategy would be to align your service times around the same theme.  With limited time you have, you are handing off a bigger opportunity to parents with consistency. Not repeating a same service time over again, but adding to the monthly theme.  Bigger win.

Be open-minded in this process.  We never bothered to really seriously consider how to customize a published curriculum to make it our own for Sunday mornings.  Again, I think pride and not budget was the source.  When I heard about Orange and how I could customize and edit lessons to fit our DNA of our church, I was intrigued.   Everything was online and doc’s were editable.  My creative flair, and ministry focused values could be added in.  Salvation messages, Biblical content,  and more could come alive.  Video’s were available that would engage kids that our team just could never produce quality wise.  Media helps engage kids.  We could also program multi service times with a common thread.  That’s strategy. And with extra time I could then turn my focus to building IN to my team.  We could  promote the entire application to help families.  I could attract volunteers with a clear guide for them of curriculum (and option for their own flare being added).  My energy came back.

How could using curriculum and customizing it help you be a better leader to your team and families?


It’s Opening Day Orange 2015

Every phase of a child’s life brings challenges.  Every stage is opportunity for Jesus to shine.  Who better than the church to partner with kids and families in each stage of a chid’s life? That’s why we’re super excited about the 2015 ORANGE CONFERENCE!  A family ministry conference like no other on the planet.   Make big plans to bring your ministry leaders.  Early bird gets the worm… aka best prices!  Be a budget hero and snag the opening day price!   Mark your calendar for opening day of registration TODAY,  THURSDAY October 09 with best pricing.  Let this be YOUR year to bring your team to a worldwide ministry gathering of people who love the Lord, and want to impact kids in the little time we have with them.   Each phase in a child’s life is amazing.  DO you lean in ?  Join thousands of leaders from all over the globe gathered to lean in to “It’s Just A Phase” to reach families at Orange Conference 2015.   See you there!

Network Age Parents

I’m always looking to learn from leaders who lean in to culture to help reach families, aren’t you?!  I viewed a recent interview on Inc magazine’s site by Reid Hoffman.  He had a lot to say about culture and websites and learning.   I’m always looking to learn from leaders who lean in to culture to help reach families.   The author made a  great point church leaders need to pay attention to.  Hoffman said, “We live in a network age. What are your plans for being found?”

It’s a  great question for your church to both consider and act on.   Your parents at your church are of a new breed with being wired. Everyone is communicating via a plethora of social media choices.   HOW are you leaning in to these amazing tools?    What are your plans for being found as a ministry that partners with parents?

Parents are on the go. They are pulled in many directions, and need info stat.  As with any mission field, you first look at how best to lean in culture you are reaching, right?!  So… if you want to reach parents in your church and community  connect using their language: social texts, emails or social media?  You should.  If you want to attract families,  enter their world to partner with them.

How about your website (gulp)?   Now more than ever, parents are most likely visit your website before visiting your church.  Is the first impression you give filled with outdated dissertation, doctrinal statements or elder photo’s (yikes)?   It really only takes about 10 seconds  to get a first impression of how important partnering with families in your church is.  What’s at first glance for parent to see? Is it outdated? Is it filled with  insider info?

Here are some key helps for a great parent friendly site.  Best church websites make it super EZ for a parent to gain info.

Keep it simple.  Lose the churchy words. Keep the site and info updated.  Simplify!  Phrases like: we love kids, or,  your kids will LOVE it here.  We have fun learning about God and His ways.

Your family ministry team needs to unite crib to college w/ a social media plan. What are your plans for being found?