A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a CPC Conference in Orlando, FL. It was an incredible few days of lessons, speakers, worship, networking, and prayer with fellow kid’s ministry people. There was such a vast amount of information available, that I’m nervous I’ll forget it all and not even get to share it with teachers and helpers in my department. A teacher told me that if leaders are provided an opportunity to go to such an event, it would only be fair to share what we learned! Otherwise it’s a waste of resources. What is the point to learn and be inspired and then keep it all to ourselves?
Anyways, there were 5 initiatives that were focused on at this conference:
1. Impart God’s truth to this generation
- Under His direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy, growing, and full of love. Ephesians 4:16
- The objective is HEALTH (big doesn’t mean healthy). The result is GROWTH. The means is an intentional discipleship process. Doing things on purpose. Key element: balance.
- Intentional discipleship: purpose, process, people, pathway.
- Random activity can be motion with no meaning. Move from random activity to intentional discipleship.
- Spiritually healthy child: belong, grow, serve, share, worship
2. Provide a safe and relevant environment
- Relevance is being aware of your culture and being willing to adapt in order to effectively communicate and connect with your audience.
- Adapt the METHOD, not the MESSAGE.
- Relevance rarely naturally exists. It requires INTENTIONAL EFFORT.
- Relevance isn’t about the latest gadgets and toys, but about CONNECTION.
- “Survival goes not necessarily to the most intelligent or the strongest, but to the one that is most adaptable to change.”
- Those who do not reinvent, become relics (ancient, historical)
- Steps to reinvention: Re-Evaluate (current situation). Re-Think (The better you think, the better decisions you will make. The better decisions you make, the better actions you take. The better actions you take, the better results you get.)
- Why…. What if….. Restructure…….Re-Engage
3. Communicate with families
- Flyers get tossed to the ground. Not appealing enough, too much information, parents don’t know where to start.
- Little card with 1 question per week to prompt spiritual discussion (45 seconds!) ex: What is your favorite worship song? What did you learn about Paul today?
- If parents are given small tasks, they will feel more enabled to accomplish this task.
- Email: if parents want extra connections, emails, etc., have THEM provide you with their email address. Don’t force information/resources on them. Make them take 1 step.
4. Network with a community of leaders
- Don’t do everything by yourself. Learn from others.
- “Shared brain”
- Three connected points: 1. Delegate everything: plan with a team, focus on strengths, replicate yourself. 2. Partner with others: successful ministry, partnering & vision = discipleship. 3. Align you vision: alignments with God: align with leadership
5. Pray for the international children’s ministry community
The rest is a random compilation of notes.
You can’t get to where to you want to go if you don’t know where you ARE.
The longer you stay in the same situation, the less you notice what needs to be done.
We are in a society that subcontracts everything:
- teaching kids about God, spiritual talks
- subcontracting spiritual discipleship to church members
- what kids get at church is all they get
- how do we help mom & dad help kids have those conversations?
We have a generation of “lost” kids who don’t know about Jesus, don’t care about the truth of God or for Christians. A generation of “christian” kids who don’t live for Jesus. They are OVER-ENTERTAINED and UNDER-CHALLENGED.
- Scriptures: share it over and over and over again. Memorize it.
- Sharing Stories: we have to be willing to be vulnerable to share our personal stories. Give room for kids to share stories.
- Field Trips/Kids on a mission while you’re there: clean up, leave better place than what you had.
- Be on mission yourself: is it possible to call our kids to do something we’re not doing?
“But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
Volunteers come and go –> committed communities never leave.
“You will be effective with kids, if you learn to lead adults.”
- Being a leader means I need to make all decisions.
- Changing curriculum changes ministry.
- Children are my ministry.
- I need to change everything.
- Because I’m called to ministry, God will fill gap at home.
- I need to get everyone on the same page.
- Our goal is to EMPOWER OTHERS to make decisions.
- Systems or culture problems often masquerade as curriculum problems.
- You do ministry with people that do a small but pivotal part of life of kids.
- Need to change things strategically.
- Your family is your PRIMARY ministry. *If you lose your family, you lose your ministry. God will fill gaps in church that we can’t.
- Invest your time in people that believe in you and vision that God gave you.
Ask: Do I believe in my leader and/or his vision?
If not, you need to “free” your future.
Mission (why) + Vision (what) + Values (what’s reality) + Strategy (how)
Need to know WHY. When you start with “why”, what and how make much more sense.
Why do you need volunteers? To release their gifts, to grow church, to trust Jesus more than yourself
Why do they need you? To grow them spiritually (they would feel used otherwise) to pour into them relationally, thank them incessantly, specifically.
DDD: Discipline Deficit Disorder
Kids walk away from faith because they never got it.
Make an intentional positive environment! Be safe, courteous, engaging, and consistent (kids matter EVERY WEEK, not just on special events, VBS, etc.)
Make kids feel welcome:
1. Talk to them how they talk to you-if they’re shy, be shy, etc.
2. Make fun of yourself
3. Stoop down to their level
4. Stay up on kid culture
5. Give them things
6. LEARN their names
7. Greet kids before their parents
Role of leader
- help others develop relationship with God, in tune with God’s voice
- foster passion in the team
- can change temp in the room, tension & fear turn into vision, vitality & hope
- servants influence more than direct; inspire more than instruct
- Don’t just copy somebody, be original!
- view curriculum as a resource, NOT a roadmap
- do you have infrastructure for this resource? should you?
- cost/value analysis: is it worth it?
- potential benefits/risk
- does it fit our culture?
- is it sustainable?
- can it be road tested? (samples, trial period)
- what are churches around NOT doing? what is the need other churches not meeting?
- consider the source: is there a rush to change? is God giving an irrational desire to do this?
- No one can see the truth until you are born again (think: Nicodimus)
Two questions to ask kids after church:
1. Did you have fun?
2. What did you learn?
5 Components of Healthy Church
- Connect element (God, others [new kids], weekly emails for parents?)
- Go! (share faith) associate action with message, application for memory
- Serve: there is a lot I can do, but I can’t do everything. Enable kids to be leaders today
- Growth: How do you determine if they grow in their faith? engage volunteers –> OWN the lesson.
- Worship: something that starts with you, important aspect of any ministry for personal kids’ growth
Whatever you are showing in lesson to kids, use PERSONAL EXAMPLE. (miracles of Jesus= share miracle in your life)
Until you can say “FOLLOW ME” you cannot say anything at all. Our kids need to see us real, authentic, consistent with living out the gospel.
Look for opportunities to have OTHERS share their personal stories.
Give room for kids to encounter the living God.
- Being thirsty for lost souls: name 2 kids who need Jesus; kids pray for it (each person has 2 people they’re thinking about)
***Are we so focused on teaching a lesson that we don’t give room for Holy Spirit?
When was the last time we prayed an earnest prayer with our team?