Who You Are Matters! 3 Ways To Develop Your Character

If you were promoted based on your character, how far would you go? Or to put it another way, if someone were to look at your heart, what would they walk away thinking about your character?

If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me. – Dwight L. Moody

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve. – Jeremiah 17:10

Our character matters to God and he knows who we really are. One of the keys to living a fulfilled life, and a life that with a solid reputation, is developing your character. Here are three easy to read but hard to apply steps for developing your character.

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Change your thinking – Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Evaluate not just your thoughts but why you are thinking those thoughts. Identify faulty thinking and then align your thinking up with God’s word. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to take every thought captive to obey Christ. And Philippians 4:8 says to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Where does your thinking need to change?

Check your motives – Why are you sharing that post to social media? Why did you bring up that story in your recent conversation? Who are you trying to impress? Jesus warns us in Matthew 6:1when He says, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” Check your motives, not just in your relationships but in all of your work. Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Ask yourself why you are doing the things you do. Make adjustments to give God the glory and remove yourself from the pedestal that rightfully belongs to God.

Reinforce your integrity – Your character takes years to develop but a moment of weakness can lead you astray. What guardrails have you put up in your life to stay on the right path? Where are you weak and what have you done to strengthen and protect these areas? Proverbs 10:9 shows us that it’s just a matter of time before weak integrity is revealed when it says, “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.” If you want to strengthen your integrity you must spend time focusing on God’s Word. Psalm 1:1-2 says:

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

Where are you susceptible to fail and what are you doing to protect your character?

John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” Who you really are matters to God, your family, and your community. Do something today to change your thinking, check your motives, and reinforce your integrity.

4 Stories of Messy Leadership (And Why You Need It)

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There was a time in your life when someone gave you the opportunity to try what you are currently doing. Maybe they saw a glimmer of hope or maybe you just asked to help, but someone opened the door to messy leadership and allowed you the opportunity to fail. In Tweetable Leadership, Jim Wideman writes, “Most people forget they haven’t always been able to do what they are able to do now. Someone let you sorry all over a group of people and get better. You need to return the favor and believe in others.”

In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” And in the very next verse, Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to begin doing ministry. These disciples might not have appeared fully ready to lead but Jesus uses broken people to fulfill His mission. When you embrace messy leadership, you are giving broken people a chance to answer God’s call on their life. We must give our volunteers the same chance we were given even if, in our eyes, they might not appear ready.

Embrace The Rookie

When the rookie walks up to you and asks how he can begin serving on your team, embrace his eager heart. He might be learning the stories for the first time as he prepares each week, which means he will have fresh insight. He might be nervous to pray for the first time in front of the group, which will remind you how many in the room might be feeling the same fear. And even though the rookie might start out as a door greeter, maybe one day down the road he will be leading this ministry. When a new volunteer begins serving on your team they can help open your eyes to how a visitor experiences church for the first time. Solicit feedback and give the rookie opportunities to shed a fresh perspective on your ministry.

Encourage The Nervous

Most people list public speaking as their number one fear. When someone builds up the courage to take the stage, find ways to praise all the things they did right. Eventually, the nervous worship leader will loosen up and their gifting will shine through. The nervous teacher who becomes too deep and begins saying words like “millennial dispensationalism” may eventually relax and teach so that kindergarteners actually understand. The first time these fears take over don’t criticize or belittle your nervous leader, instead, point out what they did well and give them a few tips on how to improve. Soon, you will have a team of leaders, all functioning within their own gifting, which will allow you to do the things only you can do.

Equip The Busy

Maybe you have a CEO on your team who can only give two hours a week or maybe it’s a teenager who is trying to balance school, sports, and a part time job. When you are trying to equip the busy, things might get messy because your CEO might not lead the way you had in mind and the high schooler might bring a little too much chaos to the small group. Just because people are busy doesn’t mean you don’t have a place for them to use their gifts to build the kingdom. When you equip the busy teammates, you find ways to fit ministry into their schedules. You might need to tweak expectations or communicate in a different mode but when your busy volunteers are equipped they can bring a high level of professionalism or maybe a needed shot of energy into your ministry.

Empower The Unique

When an overzealous rockstar is looking for a place to serve, it might get messy, but you should bring him on your team. This rockstar might be too much for the adult worship service but he might be just what you are looking for with the kids. The class clown might be a distraction in Sunday school but when you put him in a costume and give him a purpose, he might just become the perfect host. And the tech genius who works behind the scenes to make sure things are running smoothly might not ever teach a lesson on the stage, but if you empower him to lead your sound booth you might help him find a great fit for his gifting. When you look at their gifting and give the unique a chance to lead, you can make the church actually look like the full body of Christ.

Jesus is in the business of using messy people to accomplish His great work. Let’s do our part of embracing, encouraging, equipping, and empowering the church to reach the next generation.

(Originally shared on the D6 Blog at http://d6family.com/4-stories-messy-leadership-need/)

Spiritual Adulthood: How old are you spiritually?

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If your pastor looked you in the eyes and asked you this question, how would you answer? “How old are you spiritually?” I believe we would all like to say that we are further down the road then we were last year but how much have we really grown? Have we spiritually grown up from a crawling infant to a toddler? Are we confidently walking like a kindergartener? Has our relationship with God matured past the acquaintance phase to a friend? Could we define the relationship as best friend? Are we still battling the same temptations and losing or are we growing stronger in living in the Spirit?

Today, I simply want to leave you with a few scripture passages for reflection. I’m asking God to use His Word in a powerful way to help you reflect and grow.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:11-14

45 Awesome Drop of the Hat Activities from I Love Kidmin

You finished teaching, but there are still 10 minutes before parents pick up their kids! What do you do?

Recently on a webinar with Ryan Frank, we talked about how sometimes we need to stretch the clock. Ryan shared practical time-fillers and activities to do at the drop of a a hat and then challenged the kidmin community to share some of their own ideas on the I Love Kidmin group. Here are 45 awesome drop of the hat activities that you can easily add to your kidmin tool-belt.

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_k

Random Fun

Beanboozled. Russian Roulette with candy. Maybe you will enjoy a peach flavored jelly bean or maybe it will taste like barf. Yum.

Cap It. Water bottle flipping game but with objectives and boundaries!

Heads or tails. A coin flipping game where kids guess by putting their hands on the head or tail. Guess right and stay in, guess wrong and you’re out!

Head, shoulders, knees, cup! Follow the instructions and be the first person to grab the cup.

Minute to win it! Sixty seconds to complete takes using random items from around the house. Here are 30 examples.

Giant cup stack. Play the cup stack game but consider giant cups or buckets. Fastest stacker wins.

Mannequin challenge. Have the children freeze in place while you play a worship songs and capture the video.

Teaching or Review

True/false chair: Think musical chairs but with true and false questions!

Books of the Bible team challenge. Books are listed on craft sticks in baggies. one for OT one for NT. Challenge each team to put one set in order the fastest.

Globe beach balls. Pass the ball around and wherever your thumb lands, pray for them.

Tic tac toe review. Dividing class into 2 teams. Ask questions, team 1 tries to answer. If they are correct, they get the x, if wrong, the question goes to team 2. First team to get 3 in row wins.

Family feud. Play with whatever you were talking about in large group.

Review game or Bible trivia. Get bean bags that you toss and the kids race to pick up the bag and bring it back to you in order to answer the question.

Share missionary stories. Update the kids on what the church is doing oversees.

Bible drill

Get Them Moving

Freeze dance. Play music while the kids dance and when the music pauses all the kids must freeze in place. If they take too long then they have to do 10 jumping jacks.

Chicken in the hen house. Partners will make shapes using their body. Last to complete are out!

Impossible shot. Create a very challenging challenge for students to take turns trying.

Ship Shore. Very similar to simon says but directionally focused.

Musical chairs

Four corners. Use a mega dice or colors to switch things up!

Simon says / Jesus says. Follow the directions and the more the leader laughs the for fun this game will be for the kids.

Red light/green light or wax museum. Don’t let the game leader see you moving! 

Crows & cranes. The leader calls out either “Crows” or “Cranes.” This let’s you know if you are the tagger or the person being tagged.

Indoor snowball fight. Either buy fake snowballs or wrinkle up paper and throw them at each other. Consider adding a twist like capture the flag or protect the president.

Hip hop to it! Have all the kids hop on one leg while playing Christian hip-hop if they stop they are out, if they switch feet they are out. Winner is last one hopping.

Get Them Quiet

Silent ball. Leader counts down, “3, 2, 1, silent” and passes the ball to another person in the play area. Drop the ball, make a bad pass, or make a sound and you’re out.

Guess the time – Choose a time like 60 seconds and everyone tries to guess how long that is. Start the timer and kids hope up when they think 60 seconds is over. Time doesn’t stop till last kid stands. Note time when first kid stands just to react

Sleeping lions. The room of kids go to sleep and the lions try to get them to wake up by telling jokes or being silly. Anyone who wakes up becomes the lion.

Doggie, doggie, who stole your bone. Similar to heads up seven up but with an object that the kids go get.

The Quiet Game. Teams have to sit absolutely still and quiet for a timed period. Anywhere from a minute to five minutes.

Community Building

Icebreakers

Throw and Tell Balls

Team building activities

Who Am I? 

Sit down if…

Train-wreck

Easy Classroom

Pictionary

Hangman

Parachute games

I spy

Rock, paper, scissors and creative variations. Egg, chicken, eagle.

Relay Games

Feather blowing competition: kids try to blow one another’s feathers off a table using a straw

Juggling contest

Keep the balloon up

Consider using lesson review words or phrases in these games.

What would you add to this list?
Comment below AND post to the original Facebook post by clicking HERE.

How Can You Leverage Technology With Your Child?

Are you amazed when a young child knows how to use your smartphone better than you? Have you ever asked a teenager to fix a computer problem? Kids and students growing up today are referred to as digital natives. A digital native is defined as a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age. For this next generation they have never needed directions to get somewhere, just an address, and if you asked them to grab a tablet they would never go to the medicine cabinet. Technology is being integrated into every facet of their lives. So how do parents leverage technology to build relationships with their kids? With the help of the reThink Group, I want to share with you how to leverage technology through the different phases of childhood.

In the preschool phase, we embrace their physical needs. When it comes to technology we need to enjoy the advantages of technology so they will experience boundaries and have a positive experience. Begin setting screen time limits and establish screen-free times and screen-free zones in your house. Say things like, “Playing on mommy and daddy’s phone can be fun, but you always need to ask us first.” As a parent, remember to be a positive model by being present with your kids. Capture the moments, but don’t be so distracted by sharing them online that you miss them in the moment.

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In the elementary phase, we engage their interests. We need to help elementary kids explore the possibilities of technology so they will understand core values and build online skills. As kids are approaching sixteen they are looking forward to their license but have you set the expectations for your elementary child on how and when they can receive their “technology license”? Say things like, “Google can be amazing, but it’s very important that you don’t ever Google without me” and “We’re here to help you learn how to use technology in a safe and fun way. That’s why we have to know your passwords and what you’re doing with your phone. As you get older, you’ll gain more freedom. But for now, we’re in this together.” As a parent, use technology to play and connect with your kids, they will love this!

In the preteen phase, we affirm their personal journey. As kids are growing up and becoming teenagers we need to utilize technology to collaborate a plan so they will respect limits and strengthen social abilities. Preteens desire freedom online, but they are not ready for it yet. Create clear limits and expectations when the time comes for giving your student a cell phone. As students become teenagers and you help them start social media accounts, do this together and always know the passwords. Say things like, ”Will you show me how to set up my own Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc? I want us to be able to follow each other. But I promise not to comment on your pictures.” “Have you run into any jerks online lately? Read or seen anything that made you feel bad or uncomfortable?” As a parent, don’t make privacy something you’re taking away from them, but rather something you’re working toward as a team.

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In the teen phase, we mobilize their potential. As students are moving through their high school years we need to expand their potential so they will establish personal boundaries and leverage online opportunities. If your student has earned your trust then consider giving them more freedom with technology, but if not then help them see how they can work towards this privilege. Say things like, “If someone looked at everything you post online and tweet, what would they learn about who you are?” “I know it’s tempting to use your phone while driving. I’m tempted to do it too. Can you help keep me in check about not using my phone while driving? And, of course, I’ll do the same for you.” As a parent, encourage your student to plug into online hobbies that will help them use the gifts that God has uniquely designed them with. 

As your child is moving through the phases remember that the goal of technological responsibility is to leverage the potential of online experiences to enhance offline community and success.

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Join #OC17 as We Discover What It Means to Be for Our Neighbors

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Have you ever heard a short phrase that changed your perspective on ministry? Maybe you’ve heard three little words that challenged your thinking and helped you become a better leader. Over the last three years, these short phrases have been the theme for the Orange Conference: “Monday is Coming,” “It’s Just A Phase,” and “Say Yes to the Next Generation!” At this year’s conference, we will discover what it means to be “For Our Neighbors.”

What would happen if the neighborhood around your church suddenly decided…

Your church is somewhere they can build solid friendships

Your church is a safe place for their kids to talk about important stuff

Your church actually helps when something goes wrong in your community

Your church can help their family win at being a family

Your church answers the questions they are really asking

Your church gives them hope and a reason to believe

What would happen if those of us who are in the church simply decide…WE ARE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS

What would the church look like if we…

shifted from thinking like insiders to caring for outsiders?
redesigned our services around serving?
prioritized love the way Jesus did?

As Christ followers, we need to have the reputation for being people who love their neighbors. In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” And in Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus commands, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

When you attend you will discover how to capture the heart of families who never attend church, rally volunteers to reprioritize how they care about kids and help parents in your community win at being a family. Consider attending this year’s Orange Conference to discover what it means to be for our neighbors!

How to Have a Successful Family Service

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Imagine the entire church family coming together to worship God. Both young and old, standing shoulder to shoulder with the same teaching and shared experience. Creating a family service that appeals to all generations is possible. With a little planning and a lot of forethought, you can create an opportunity for the families in your church to worship together. With families on the same page, spiritual conversations will be easier the next time the family gathers around the dinner table. Kids can see their parents model worship. As the families in your church grow together spiritually, you will begin to see the fruit grow in each home. To have a successful family service you will need to think about each element of the service through the eyes of each family member.

Keep the ages and development of kids in mind.
You will want to create a family service that is engaging to both the preschooler and preteen. Think through a variety of teaching options such as games, videos, skits, and illustrations. You can engage kids of different ages by the use of mystery and fun props. Keep in mind that generally, the attention span of kids is equal to their age. Therefore breaking your service up into three- to five-minute blocks will help re-engage kids of every age. Having smooth transitions is key to keeping kids wanting more, so make sure all elements of the service flow without dead time. Specifically for the teaching time, you need a skilled leader who can bring a story to life for all ages. In your planning meetings, make sure your team of game leaders, skit actors, storytellers, worship leaders, or whoever is on stage thinks through how the kids in the room will engage in their service element.

Keep parents in mind.
If you engage the kids but lose the parents, the family is unlikely to return for a future family service. The use of humor is often the best way to engage parents. Even if the humor goes over the heads of some of the kids, when their parents are laughing they will lean into whatever is happening on stage. Parents love to see their kids having a good time as they learn at church. A family service can also be a great time to model a family having a spiritual conversation. Show the parents how they can creatively teach their kids as they sit at home or drive along the road. As you are wrapping up the service, help parents see their next step and give them easy ways to win at home!

Keep those without kids in mind.
When most churches host a family service there will be people without kids who show up to be a part of the church family. Those without kids and even grandparents play a key role in the church community so remember to keep them in mind when planning a family service. Through the variety of teaching formats, there will be something in the service that challenges them. Communicate to this group, helping them see how they can apply the message to their workplace or neighborhood. And remember, fun appeals to everyone in the room, so work hard at creating a fun environment where everyone can learn.

Keep those without parents in mind.
Whether your family service is during a major holiday or Sunday morning, there will be someone without their parents in the room. Maybe it’s a teenager who drove to the church by himself, or maybe it’s a ten-year-old whose mom passed away last year. Don’t make it extremely awkward by telling everyone to turn to their parents and interact. You can address the parents in the room, and you can pull parents on stage for games, but keep those in mind who do not have their mom or dad by their side.

When you work hard to create a successful family service that appeals to everyone in the room, you will create a memorable moment for the church. You can spark spiritual conversations around the dinner tables in your entire community. Start the conversation today, and begin to dream about what a family service might look like in your church.

(Originally posted to D6 Family at: http://d6family.com/how-to-have-a-successful-family-service/)

If you would like to connect online through a 30 minute zoom call to talk more about how to have a successful family ministry service click this link: https://calendly.com/coreyrayjones/30min/