Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion

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Don’t you just love seeing a family come together around Jesus? I love seeing a family take the time to sit together, open up their bible and have a spiritual conversation. And this is God’s intent. God established the family as the primary spiritual leader for children, 1400 years before the church was ever established.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Parents are to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children. Impressing the love of the Lord into their hearts every day of the week. But then when it comes to one of the biggest milestones of faith, the salvation discussion, what most pastors do…is grab hold of the reigns and take over. But why? It’s not our role. And we will never know the heart of a child better than their parents.

What could happen spiritually for a family, if instead of a pastor taking over and leading their child to Christ, we empowered the parents in this faith milestone? This could truly change the culture of a family and be a moment that brings them together focused on God.

Many people grow up and doubt the decision they made for Christ as a child. What if that’s our fault? And what if we could do something about that today to change the lives of those in our church, forever?

So how do we do that? How do you help a family through the salvation discussion?

First: Identify conversation triggers
What happens in the life of a child that triggers a spiritual conversation or the desire to give their life to Christ? Ofen times we see kids begin to ask questions through communion. When they see someone take the Lord’s supper it sparks questions. Another trigger can be the baptism of friends. They wonder why their friend is making such a big deal of getting dunked. They begin to ask why and this can lead to many more questions. Another trigger is definitely the death of a loved one. They begin to grapple with the brevity of life and wonder what exactly happens when we die. After you have identified triggers, it’s time to do something about it.

Next: Help parents leverage these triggers for a family discussion.
Resource your parents with scriptures to read with their children and consider even making them an easy to follow guide. Provide questions for parents to ask their kids to further the conversation. Find resources like “The Baptism Book” and make these resources easily accessible.

Third: Help parents share their own salvation story.
Encourage parents to make their faith journey visual. Challenge parents to take their kids to the church or place where they accept Jesus as their personal savior. Motivate parents to bring in other people who were influential in their faith journey. And if going some on a trip or bringing people into the conversation is not an option then at least encourage the parents to bring a prop that helps share their story.

Fourth: Make the salvation discussion easy for families.
In your ministry, there are many different backgrounds and different depth of conversations. Consider creating different on-ramps for families to have an in-depth conversation. At our church, we have Family Baptism Classes. These classes create a family-centered structure where we help parents win by creating a user-friendly discussion guide. We provide everything a family will need from scripture, questions, and answers, to supplies, food, and props to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure you end the class by providing the next steps and give the family an easy on-ramp to the next thing.

Fifth: Encourage them to widen the circle.
Help families take full advantage of the people they have around them who are willing to help disciple their children. Bring in the outside voices to speak the truth. Point to different voices such as a small group leader, coaches, grandparents, and even other staff members.

Sixth: Make it memorable.
This is the biggest decision a person will ever make but we often fail to make it memorable. Consider recording a video testimony of the student and give gifts or keepsakes they can hold onto. Provide a new bible or devotional book. Print off a baptism certificate marking the date. Record the baptism and make a baptism video available for the family. Encourage families to save cards, write notes, record the moment. Find ways to capture the moment and share these moments with the family.

Finally: Follow up
Does your church offer a Next Steps class? Is this something that a family could go to together to learn more? Mark your calendar to celebrate spiritual birthdays year after year. And maybe even follow up with more Scripture verses for them to look at to continue growing and learning.

Salvation is why we do what we do. This is making disciples, who will go and make more disciples. So let do our part in ”Helping a Family Through the Salvation Discussion”. Let’s make this the priority it truly is.

For additional resources check out the following:

Baptism Guide

Baptism Scripture List

Baptism Certificate

10 Questions for a Child Who Wants to be Baptized

How to Host an Innovative Silent Event

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Are you looking for an event to draw students in and build momentum for your ministry? A silent event is a one of a kind event mixing technology and music to create a high energy atmosphere of community. Students wear wireless headphones and tune into their preferred channel, so at one venue there can be multiple styles of music being enjoyed simultaneously. Even if some of your students don’t enjoy dancing, they might really enjoy people watching and just singing along. With a little research and planning, a silent event might just be the next big event for your youth ministry!

RESEARCH EQUIPMENT

Not all headphones are created equal. With a tech-dependent event, failing to research the rental companies can make or break the entire night. When we hosted our Silent Event we used the highly recommended Silent Events® Company (HTTPS://WWW.SILENTEVENTS.COM) and were blown away by their plug & play ease of use and attention to detail. We rented light-up headphones with 3 channels so students could choose which of 3 songs they wanted to listen to. Our students enjoyed controlling the volume of their headphones and it was crazy to see the wave of color change in the headphones as a song grew in popularity.

If renting the complete system is out of your budget, consider renting headphones that do not light up with only one channel or wireless receivers where students can plug in their own headphones.

Watch the videos and read the tutorials to fully understand how the equipment can work for your event.

PLAN YOUR VENUE

Does your regular meeting space create the environment for which you are striving? Maybe you need to switch things up and add special lighting or decorations to your room. Or maybe you can take this event off campus and bring your students to a unique venue for their unique event. You might also consider hosting two events in one night to get the most use out of your equipment rental.

For our junior high students, we hosted a blacklight rave in a large, dimly lit room in the church and asked everyone to wear white. The students showed up to a room filled with black lights, optional blacklight face paint they all took advantage of, and the glowing LED lights on each individual’s headphones. Later that night, for our high school students we threw a throwback party in an old mansion downtown and asked the students to wear their best throwback outfit. Having two events in one day allowed us to rent a smaller number of headphones, keeping the cost down.

Bring your best party planners into the making of this event to ensure your venue adds to the fun.

CREATE MULTIPLE PLAYLISTS

Renting the highest tier headphones, the unique technology allows for your students to listen to one of three channels. If you want your event to flop, only pick songs that you enjoy. If you want success, get help in creating your playlists. Ask students for input and research lyrics to avoid embarrassment. You have so many options to choose from so you might want to create a theme for your playlists.

At our silent event, we had these three playlists:

Party

Random

Throwback

If you click: The Party Playlist you will see these are generic songs with more modern dance options.

The Random Playlist is weird and fun songs to switch things up.

The Throwback Playlist includes popular songs from past decades.

Let your students know that if they don’t like a certain song they can change to another station on their headphones. Pay attention to how the songs will flow through the night and make sure you save a crowd favorite to end the night on a good note. Our last song for our high schoolers was “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and the entire group sang it together at the top of their lungs!

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Reach Your Goal

In youth ministry, there is always a goal behind your events. If you are using a silent event to bring in new students, how are you going to collect their information and get them plugged into your youth ministry after the event? If your silent event is to build community, how will you further leverage this technology to bring people together and how will you measure if it was successful?

The goal of our silent event was to unite and build up life groups, so in order to attend students had to be involved in one of these faith communities. At the event, we leveraged the technology by creating a Mp3 Experiment where students participated together in their small groups in an audio adventure. Students listened to synchronized instructions to complete humorous coordinated tasks. We started the night with the Mp3 Experiment, which made for an easy transition into the dance music. For ideas on creating your own Mp3 Experiment check out the amazing work of Improv Everywhere.

A silent event might just be the innovative event you have been looking for in your youth ministry. Take the necessary time to research and plan to ensure this event is something your students will love. If you’ve seen a fresh event that you would like to share with our readers, let us know in the comments!

(Originally shared to the Youth Specialties Blog at https://youthspecialties.com/blog/host-innovative-silent-event/)

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5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie

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Can you remember the last faith-based animated film that you enjoyed in the theater? Yeah, me neither. That’s because the last major release animate faith-based film was the Prince of Egypt in 1998! But that’s about to change because, on November 17th, The Star will be released nationwide!

The Star is an inspiring and uplifting story of the birth of Jesus, told from the animal’s point of view. My wife and I had the opportunity to prescreen this movie and were pleasantly surprised by how funny the whole film was. You will enjoy The Star just as much as your kids so buy your tickets now.

Here are 5 Reasons Why The Star Is a Must-See Movie:

1. The Star can bring the story of Jesus to people who will never enter the doors of a church.

2. When we purchase a ticket, we are voting for what we want Hollywood to produce more of and we need more animated Bible stories for our kids.

3. The Star has the potential to positively impact your church, your community, and our society.

4. The Star will help you organically return to the reason for the season.

5. When a little girl cheers, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” after The Star Movie, you know it’s an inspiring story the whole family will enjoy.

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

Get your tickets here: http://www.thestarmovie-tickets.com

Book Review & 4 Book Giveaway: The Impossible by Joyce Smith

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There is no denying the power of story. When you read a story of amazing faith, it captures your attention. You lean in and begin putting yourself in the shoes of the author. The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection by Joyce Smith shows readers the power of prayer as a mother pleads with God to save her son.

The Impossible pulls readers in by reminding us that our lives can change in a moment. Joyce Smith writes, “I’ve heard about these scenes. I’ve seen them in plenty of movies. But never would I have imagined that the one sitting in a hospital waiting room and needing consolation would be me. I didn’t want their pity, I didn’t even want their words of comfort. I yearned for—I needed—their prayers.”

As Joyce approached her lifeless son, she pleaded with God. “All of a sudden, everyone and everything in that room faded away and it was just me and John and God. With a voice that I thought was quiet, but that actually bellowed through the room, down the hallway, and throughout the entire emergency room, I declared, ‘I believe in a God who can do miracles! Holy Spirit, I need you right now to come and breathe life back into my son!’ I sobbed an exhale and closed my eyes. And in that instant, I heard the sound of a miracle. Beep…beep…beep…John’s heart monitor—and John’s heart—sprang back to life.”

This moment in time will impact everyone who comes in contact with John Smith. Pediatric critical care physician Jeremy Garrett said it best when he explained, “There was no controversy in the sequence of events. If we put it into a medical algorithm, we’d say, ‘Patient’s dead. Mother prayed. Patient came back to life.’”

This book will be available beginning November 7th and you can find it on Amazon.
For more information, please visit: www.theimpossiblebook.com

To be entered into the drawing for one of these 4 books: Share this post to social media!

 

Valuable Life Lessons from Mom: Yes Be Yes

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Did your mom say short repeatable statements that have stuck with you through the years? Maybe they were just silly little phrases like, “Someday your face will freeze like that,” or  “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Growing up my mom quoted either the Bible or Benjamin Franklin. She would quote Franklin saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “A place for everything, everything in its place,” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And she would quote the Bible saying, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” These were simple phrases, but over time they shaped my character.

James 5:12 says, “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.” This verse teaches the value of our words and from it, we can draw a few life-changing principles.

When you say you are going to do something, do it. 

Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” If we want to resemble our Father, we must keep our word.

As a Christ follower, we are called to honor our commitments so never make a promise you can’t keep. If you forgot about an important meeting, don’t promise to remember in the future because your memory will let you down and mistakes will happen. Instead, repent and determine steps you can take and systems you can put in place to plan better for your next meeting.

When you give your word, keep it. 

James 1:26, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” Keeping your word matters in both the big things as well as the small. If you commit to selling a phone online for one hundred dollars but then someone offers to pay more, do you fulfill your commitment to the first buyer or do you try to make a little extra cash? Your integrity and honesty matter more than any amount of money.

To be a high-level leader you must be trusted. And to be trusted, you must have integrity. When you say “yes” to something, this will most likely mean “no” to something else down the road. Be ready to keep your word even if it might cost you something later.

When you speak, speak truth.

Proverbs 12:22 says, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.” When you are telling the truth or making a promise, avoid the extra jargon and simply let your words be true. When you are a person of integrity, you don’t need to swear by anything or make an oath, you just give a straightforward answer. James 5:12 says, “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.”

My mom was wise to teach me to “let my ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and my ‘No,’ ‘No’” because it set me on the path of integrity. Is there a verse you are repeating over and over to your kids to set them down the right path? If not, consider adding James 5:12 to challenge them in their honesty and integrity.

Why Your Team Needs to Break Away From the Daily Grind

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With so many pressures all weighing in on you at the same time, how could it be even possible to break away? It might seem like taking a few days away from the office would cause everything to crash down, but maybe this time is exactly what you need for your team to reach the next level. When you understand the benefits of time away with your team, it will be easy to see why you need to make this a priority.

When you get away, you connect with each other.

Deeper relationships are formed through extended connections and shared experiences. The moment you and your team break away from the office you begin a shared experience. The travel along the destination can lead you to new discoveries about your team. You will see how your team reacts during detours or when you are deciding what to eat for dinner. Something as simple as seeing who drives the van and how that decision is made can provide insight into your team. As you sit around the dinner table, your conversations can move past the superficial to gain a better understanding of what motivates each member of your team. These connections will transition into the office, break down silos, and propel your team forward.

When you get away, you connect ideas. 

In the office, most members of the team are doing their own work. Breaking away brings people together who each have different points of view and life experiences. As you work through topics or as you sit through a teaching session, each member of your team will hear things from their own unique perspective. When you begin to brainstorm or talk through takeaways, your team can connect ideas in a way that works best for your organization. As you dream through possible futures your unique backgrounds can connect ideas that would have otherwise never fallen in line. Time away can really put legs on a dream and take your team to the next level.

When you get away, you connect with God.

Maybe you’re like me, and for some reason, you see God in a new perspective when you are in a new environment. Maybe your team gets away to the mountains and you gain a deeper appreciation for the magnitude and majesty of our Creator. Maybe your team gets away to the lake and you see how God is peaceful and His burden is light. Or maybe your team gets away to the city and you see how God is at work in so many different lives and that He has a big plan. You might also be like me and enjoy the change of pace where time away seems to bring about a revival in your soul. Simply being in a new environment with your team may allow you to hear from God in a new way. Maybe a speaker at a conference says something that captures your heart, or maybe just sitting on the porch swing with your team helps you see that the pace of your life needs to change. Time away might just be what your team needs to get away from the busy and hear from God.

Without intentionality, breaking away with your team will never just happen. Look at your calendar, sit down with a budget, and begin to make a plan. Maybe your team will attend a conference like the D6 Conference for family ministry, or maybe your team will just drive down the road to a coffee shop. Either way, begin making a plan today so that you can connect with each other, connect ideas, and connect with your Lord.

(Originally shared to the D6 Family Blog at https://d6family.com/team-needs-break-away-daily-grind/

Breakout Notes from #D62017 with Michael Bayne and Brian Haynes

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Pacing Change – Michael Bayne – @michael_bayne

If people get left behind, are we really leading? Are we just a loud voice or are we actually helping people take steps?

Change is a must in any family ministry setting. We are all leading change…
Spiritual Growth: People have to change
Parent Partnership: Our ministry has to change.
Empowering the home to be a place of discipleship: The home has to change.

The right pace leads to lasting change. You don’t just want your dreams to last today. 

The wrong pace leads to 2 extremes…lack of momentum or confusion. When you don’t move fast enough you create a place where your leaders don’t see progress and get bored. They question if you have a vision. When you don’t move slow enough you create a place where people disengage.

Pacing change really hinges on our ability to be patient.

“One thing people in my Infuse mentoring and coaching program always tell me, it blows them away how patient I am with change. It’s because I realize that anything of value takes more time to build. The difference between a five-story building and a little lean-to is the value, and it is going to take a lot longer to build that five-story building.” – Jim Wideman

In Joshua 2, you can see the best leaders in scripture were able to look ahead and strategically said, this is a big deal, let’s get as much information and plan this out. Our problem isn’t faith, as ministry leaders, we haven’t thought through the strategy for the best environment where God can move fully. Joshua picked carefully, the right people, the right volunteers. Joshua paced forward. He looked ahead to figure out his next steps.

“Pacing change matters because we are leading people to a spiritual place full of promise and full of resistance.”

When planting the church. Spend hours, and hours and hours working through all of the next steps.

Before your Start…

Create a Map – What are the challenges coming up? Where are you starting from and where are you going? Your strategy ultimately determines the success of your ministry.

“Human nature is to need a map. If you’re brave enough to draw one, people will follow.” Seth Godin

“Your strategy impacts your success almost more than your heart does. Sometimes we forget this in ministry.” – Carey Nieuwhof

Vision and energy are not enough. Vision is the spark but the plan protects the vision.

Before you Start…

Gather the right team. Not just doing ministry aimed at people but doing ministry with people. Good strategies for change are focused on the right people at the right moments. Think through your staff and volunteers, who do you have on your team?

“Good strategies for change are about focusing on the right people in the right moments.” – Carey Nieuwhof

Surround yourself with the right people to enact change or the change will fail. Who to put on your team: People with passion, people who are servants, and people who you trust. Who to avoid on your team: People who complain, big talkers who are little investors, and the inconsistent.

Pacing the Change…

Limit the Scope of Change
For your to lead effective change you have to choose what not to change. Change leads to progress but it also causes stress. Too much stress will cause people to disengage and doubt to the point where they walk away.

Launch Change at the Right Time
Success and Timing are powerfully linked! You need to make sure you time your changes to have the maximum success and maximum engagement with the target audience.

“Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.” Steven Pressfield

Make Sure Change Does Not Detract from Weekly Excellence
People are attracted to excellence and will endure change one some things when most other things are stable and thriving. What are you good at? Leverage what you are good at to have an opportunity to lead change in another area.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10

Keep Your Leadership Informed
When you keep your senior leaders informed then you give them info and vision to share with opposition when they go above your head. People opposed to your change will go above your head because it’s easier. Your opponents don’t want to hurt you but they love things to stay the same. Your team can be in sync and can answer the questions being asked of them. Don’t allow your pastor to be caught off guard.

Connect With Complainers and Lovingly Cast Vision
(embrace how we should respond not how we want to respond)
We have to make sure that we don’t take opposition personally. A change will bring friction and goal is to address the friction in a way that is kind, clear, and patient.

“Loud does not equal large and volume does not equal velocity the loudest people affected by a proposed change are those who are most opposed. The more opposed people are, the louder they tend to become.” Carey Nieuwhof.

Celebrate Intentionally
You look ahead at your plan and plot out a few places where you will celebrate with your team. Celebrate intentionally and with purpose. We want to be purposeful partiers! Celebration keeps the team on a mission. People want to be part of a winning change.

Adjust and Learn Along the Change Process
Don’t wait to make changes when you are leading through change. Make adjustments to your lessons learned as you advance the mission. People rally around leaders who are committed to solving problems.

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Push Through Resistance
Lasting time demands patient effort and encouragement if the change has a chance to merge into the culture.

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Building Teams – Seven Questions to Answer Before You Hire a New Staff Member –  Brian Haynes – @brian_haynes

Question 1: “What are we doing really?”

If you asked your leadership team this question, would you get 5 different answers? The work that you have to do is slow. You need to gain alignment with mission, vision, values, and strategy before you go into the hiring process.

What is your goal? Understand how everyone’s job contributes to the mission.

Vision is where we are going. The more you can spell out what you are doing, the better you can onboard people into your leadership team as well as volunteers at every level.

Values answer the question, “Who are we?” What are we all about?

Strategy answers the question, “How are we going to do this?” The lead pastor holds this piece. When you answer this question it frees everyone up in the downstream.

Question 2: “How do we staff to do it fruitfully?”

Hire to shared values. Don’t hire to strategy because strategy changes. Values also play into longevity. Has this person already done what we are doing before? Does this person value the same things we value?

The way you find this is to look at the fruit of their lives. Find ways that you have expressed this value over time. If he is inwardly focused he will tell you what he has done within the church. If he is externally focused he will tell you what he has done in his personal life. Is this person a love your neighbor guy or a love your church guy?

Question 3: “Who am I looking for exactly?”

Now we are looking into specific skill sets. What do they do? What is their competency? What is their education? What is their culture fit?

Don’t just ask this question in your own head. Ask key people you are working with already. Latch onto the themes being communicated from your team.

Question 4: “How do I search properly?”

First search in-house. You’ve seen these people grow, develop, and change.

Next look outside of the church. Start with your network and if you need to look through a search committee. Share the load of the work. You can also use a search firm but they often cost a lot of money.

Question 5: “How do I onboard a new team member effectively?”

As they come in, they need clearly written documents for salary, benefits, and team structure. Create clear job descriptions. Money doesn’t have to be the last thing that you talk about. If this number is a deal breaker for you, just let me know, I want to be upfront. When you are onboarding, everything needs to be in writing.

What are the expectations? In year one, here is what I’m expecting in your role. Help your family transition well, build community, join a group, cultivate 15 new leaders, etc. Put this in writing and come alongside the hire every 2-3 weeks in a casual way to ask questions.

Is the space set up and ready for him? If they have an office, is it set up and do they have the tools ready to start the first day? Computer? Email? Business Cards?

Question 6: “What staffing mistakes do ministry leaders/churches make notoriously?”

Sometimes we hire a professional instead of a discipler. In a company, you hire a pro to create a product. In a church you onboard a discipler.

We hire to strategy instead of values. The strategy can change and values stay the same.

Neglecting to hire champions to church and home to the highest level. Don’t compartmentalize this area because ministry is both church and home not just at a building. We miss it if we hire a great preacher but he can’t connect the church and the home. It comes from the top.

Neglecting to develop leaders from within intentionally. Not just swapping sheep from one church to another.

Avoiding necessary endings. When you have someone on your staff who is pulling the other direction or becoming toxic you need to cause a necessary ending. *Henry Cloud Necessary Endings Book. Help them find a different way of living out their calling. Give clarity and love. “I love you, and I know what I’m about to say is going to hurt.” Sometimes you need to say these 3 things need to change and next month we are going to see if you are making progress. You might also need to say, “You have 30 days to change your negative vibe, and here are the 3 things that you need to change.”Make it uncomfortable and hard because if they want to work through it they will be so much better on the other side and if not then they will move on. Trust your gut but test it with clear conversation.

Question 7: “What should I do when I hire erroneously?”

We ran out of time for this question.

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Developing a Winning Family Ministry Team – Michael Bayne – @michael_bayne

Change that lasts is not only owned by you. You have to stop leading like a mega phone in isolation shouting where you are going. Link arms with other people on your team and empower them to be what God called them to be.

Equipping the saints means actually letting them lead and giving away leadership

“Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12 NLT

Your ministry will grow to the level of your leadership ability. Yo have to figure out what your leadership level is and continue to develop yourself as a leader. You aren’t done. You haven’t arrived.

Stop Leading Alone! You Need A Team!

One of the ways you can be abetter leader is to stop leading alone. You need a team. The easiest way to improve your leadership ability is to gather people around you who can fill your leadership gaps.

“Your ministry will grow to the level of your leadership ability. It will center on your strengths and will buckle under your weaknesses.”

Why do I need a leadership team?
Because I will hold back the ministry I am called to lead)

If I’m going to be a part of your thing, then I want to do something. I want to be challenged.

If you only attract loyal followers they will let you run yourself off a cliff. Leaders will see things that need to be changed. They will loyally run the ministry into the ground. The group leader might not be the best communicator but on the long run they’ll catch up.

What does a leadership team look like?

“A leadership team is a small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieving a common objective for their organization.” – Patrick Lencioni

Not everyone can be on your leadership team. A team can be too big. When the team grows beyond 6 it gets difficult. Every team has a head coach. A team without a leader is not a team.

Jesus built a team and empowered the team.

“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.” Mark 1:16-20 (ESV)

Jesus get’s two people who are out doing the work and calls them to follow Him. He then goes to those who are fixing the nets and not out doing the work to follow Him. He calls people from different perspectives to join His team.

Jesus was immediately thinking beyond himself when he launched his ministry. You need to think about who will carry on when you are done leading in your current role. Lead for the future through a team!

When you build a team you can stay healthy and your ministry can get healthy.

If you want to grow bigger, you need to structure bigger. – Carey Nieuwhof

If you want to get healthy, you need a healthy structure – Michael Bayne

Chasing big leads you to think short term. Chasing healthy leads to processing growth and long term sustainability. You also need a team that will come along side you and remind you that you aren’t as big as you think you are. You need people that come beside you and let you know they have your back.

When you build a team you add influence, gifting, and encouragement to your ministry.

Not finance. Not Strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both became it is so powerful and so rare. Patrick Lencioni.

Look for people outside your current volunteers that are good at what they do outside the church and invite them to leverage their ability in the church. Look for people who you are afraid to ask and go for it. Look for people who have strengths you don’t have. Look for people who you enjoy being with. Look for people with servant hearts. When you build a team invest in them first so they can invest in others.

“The key lesson: humanity and connection are trumping the desire for corporate scale.” – Seth Godin, We Are All Weird

People need to know they are not being used. Burnout and disillusionment follow manipulation.

Your team gets your first thank you. Your team gets all the credit.

Your team gets to celebrate first. Your team gets to have access. When you have big news, always make sure your team knows this first. Let them come into the next meeting celebrating. You can’t give everyone complete access but you must give a few people complete access.

When you build a team you give away real authority and influence. Don’t ask people to come and be a part of things if you aren’t going to allow them do do something. Let them make decisions for you. If they decide to use blue cups instead of red, who cares. Let them lead. Say things like, “ don’t know if that’s going to work but let’s try.”

“Responsibility without authority only brings frustration and never leaves fruit that remains. You must dare to trust people to represent you well.” – Jim Wideman

You must allow your leaders to make mistakes.
You must allow your leaders to care for and lead people.
You must allow your team to have real input into ministry direction.
You must invite your team into regular evaluation.
Leading the team to win.

Winning teams are characterized by…
Progress
Communication
Trust
Evaluation
Celebration

“Great teams make clear and timely decisions and move forward with complete buy-in from every member of the team, even those who voted against the decision. Patrick Lencioni

Do you have people fighting agains the winning team characterizations above? When these things are not happening you may have the wrong team or inherited the wrong team. Time does not heal disfunction. Have the hard conversation. Have the courage to empower the right people with authority and move people pulling against you into roles with less influence or onto another team. Get the right people in the right seats on the bus.

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How To Align Church and Home For Effective Generational Discipleship –  Brian Haynes – @brian_haynes

Simplicity matters. The guy working and living a busy life needs to know just a couple of things. Where to go. What to say when there. And resourced to make it happen. Behind the scenes it can be complex with systems running but in the front it needs to be clean and clear.

Total alignment requires clarity.

Doctrinal Clarity – there is a thread from the beginning to the end that aligns the home and faith community.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Proverbs 22:6
Matthew 28:19-20
Ephesians 6:4

Discipleship is a two-sided coin: Church and the Family. If the church and family are to work together to equip the generations, we must have a common path on which to walk. We call this the path of Legacy Milestones and it is our desire to focus everything that we do to help people mature along this path.

Philosophical Clarity – Without clarity you pull in opposing directions. How you do things is forged in doctrine. The church comes alongside the family.

Missional Clarity – What are we doing? Our mission is making disciples who make disciples.

Values Clarity – Who are we? Share values cause us to move in the same direction. Christ in me. We are family. Love does.

Vision Clarity – What direction are we going? How are we going to do that at the end of the day?  City Station

How do we do it as a staff?

Shared Strategy: http://legacymilestones.com

Milestone 1: Parent/Child Dedication.
Milestone 2: Salvation & Baptism
Milestone 3: Preparing for Adolescence
Milestone 4: Purity for Life
Milestone 5: Rite of Passage
Milestone 6: High School Graduation
Milestone 7: Life in Christ

Celebrate Milestone: Milestones can best be described as “an event, preceded by a period of instruction from parents, which celebrates a spiritual development point in a child’s life.” We believe that these Milestones are critical markers in the life of every individual and these Milestones help to provide a clear path for Spiritual development throughout all of our ministries.

Faith talk: At least one time a week. Faith Talks are intentional times set aside at least once each week for conversation around the Scripture with your family. We see this as a priority because we are convinced that spiritual training takes place one step at a time in the context of everyday life. While leading Faith Talks, relationship is your priority, the Bible is your handbook, and life is your classroom. For parents with young children, Faith Talks are the primary vehicle for leading your children along the path between each milestone.

God Moments/Stories: God moments are opportunities to teach our children spiritual truths informally as God moves in their lives.  These moments can appear at any time, such as a good question from an inquisitive child or an unexpected blessing of family provision.  We must be careful to capture these God Moments for the sake of discipleship.  Our families need to see that God is working in the world and by capturing these moments we provide clear evidence of this reality.

How do parents self disciple?
How to have faith talks?
How to have God Moments?

The secret to Milestones is #7. Real life begins and grows in relationship with Jesus Christ.  From that relationship, a Christ-follower grows in each Core Competency throughout the journey.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

How do we build bridges to the home?

Equipping – An annual event called parent summit. One Saturday, 9-3pm, Speakers and then seminars on each milestone.

Resources – It doesn’t have to be a huge book store. You need to be pointing parents in the right direction to self disciple.

Easy Wins – If you’ve never had a faith talk with your kid and all of a sudden feel like you need to be leading, the first ones are so hard. Give them easy on ramps that are mostly successful.

Technology – Apps, Social Media, etc.

Secret Sauce of Effectiveness

Lead Pastor has vision for generational discipleship.
The conversation is alive in every small group. How celebrated a milestone this week? Who had the best or worst faith talk this week? Any God moments you’d like to share?
The conversation flows out of worship services.
Every group leader carries the DNA of generational discipleship.
Modeled by ministry leaders at home.

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Leadership as Discipleship – #D62017 Breakout Notes

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How many of your churches have a discipleship plan?

How many of your churches have an intentional leadership development plan?

If we are to “go and make disciples” then our ministry will only go to the depth of our discipleship so increasing discipleship focus ought to be one of our highest priories. If everything rises and falls on leadership then our ministry will only rise to the level of our leadership so increasing leadership focus ought to be one of our highest priorities. Both of these are important, we need leaders in our churches. But have we focused on developing leaders at the expense of discipleship?

The Church is divinely designed to develop leaders through the discipleship process. Leaders ought to be developed through our discipleship process. What if leadership development took place within the context of our discipleship process?

Possible differences between Leadership development vs. discipleship.
Discipleship: I learn to live like Jesus
Leadership: I learn to lead like Jesus
Discipleship: Primarily about character
Leadership: Primarily about competencies
Discipleship: Leading self
Leadership: Leading others
Discipleship: Cultivating intimacy with God
Leadership: Cultivating influence with people.

Ephesians 4:12 “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry…”

What does an equipped saint look like?
Loves God/loves others
Exhibit Godly character
Doctrinally sound
Kingdom builder
= Influencer 

An equipped saint becomes an influencer. Leadership is influence.
We are developing others to become influencers.

Cultivating a Leadership as Discipleship Ministry:
1.  Model true discipleship.
2. Commit to leading a disciple making ministry.
3. Create a discipleship pathway.
4. Equip the Saints for ministry.
5. Cultivate leaders being discipled.

Seven questions to determine if you have a disciplemaking culture:

1. Are the few doing the ministry for the many? Or are the few equipping the many for the ministry?
2. Do we spend the majority of our time equipping, training and developing leaders?
3. Is it apparent that every member is to be a full-time minister in your church?
4. Do new believers get called and sent into the mission upon conversion?
5. Do you celebrate those who leave to start new works?
6. Is there shared leadership within the local body?
7. Do you intentionally create vacuums for other leaders to fill?

The Disciple Making Pathway
Needs to be simple.
Needs to be systematic
Needs to be sustainable

Congregation (Worship Gathering) – A disciple should gather together with the corporate church body for weekly worship. During this time, believers are equipped and edified for the work of the ministry through expository preaching of the Word.

Community (Life Groups/Small Groups) – This mixed-gender group of 10-20 people is the starting point for relationships, spiritual growth, and service both inside and outside the church. Friendships are formed in this context for future D-Groups (Discipleship Groups).

Core (D-Groups) – These are gender-exclusive groups of 3-5 people who meet for 12-18 months. The maturity of these groups is measured by the M.A.R.C.S. of a healthy D-Group.

Crowd (Engage the World) – Through divine appointments and relational evangelism, a disciple engages non-believers with the Gospel by forming intentional relationships in their workplace, neighborhood, and community.

Resource- Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger

@GregJBaird #D62017

How to Recruit Lifetime Small Group Leaders

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Volunteer recruitment is most likely one of the hardest and most time-consuming aspects of your job. You never have enough helpers to get it all done, and when you are finally getting to that place of calm, someone asks if you have time to talk. What if you could walk over to the wide open back door and leave it only partially cracked? Imagine what it would be like to have a team of committed small group leaders instead of a mismatched group of babysitters. Sounds great, doesn’t it? What if most of your small group leaders actually served for years and years? What if they even considered themselves as lifetime volunteers? Let’s talk about how to recruit those kinds of volunteers. Here are a few basic principles to follow:

ENLIST TO A CALLING

Your job description can be found in Ephesians 4:12, “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Your goal is to prepare your small group leaders to minister to the kids and their parents so the church will grow in wisdom and holiness. As you are building your teams, your goal is to intentionally join them together, so that they resemble the body of Christ, not Mr. Potato Head. When someone is willing to serve wherever needed and they are a gifted teacher, avoid the temptation of filling your worship leader vacant spot, and actually place them in a teaching role. Find their best fit. Get to know your team through a strong on-boarding process and solicit feedback during placement to verify they can see themselves serving in this capacity long term.

EXPLAIN WHY THEIR ROLE MATTERS

When you pressure small group leaders to serve out of guilt, your temporary motivation will only take them so far. Show them how the role of a small group leader is carrying out the great commission found in Mathew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Point to specific examples and show small group leaders how they are building the church and expanding the kingdom each and every week. Most people serving in the church can point back to a leader who showed up and influenced their spiritual journey. You have a group of influencers who are making a difference in the next generation, so take the time to remind them of this impact.

FOSTER A FAMILY CULTURE

Sundays can be challenging. It comes with the territory. After a long and difficult morning at church, it might be tempting for a volunteer to quit (who hasn’t been tempted to quit?). It’s easy to quit a position but it’s hard to leave a family. When you work to connect your team, the members of the team begin to work together and belong to one another. Romans 12:4-5 explains it like this, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Placing the right people in the right positions in an organization built around groups can help nourish this family culture.

MAKE FREQUENT AND INTENTIONAL INVESTMENTS

The secret recipe for keeping your long time volunteers around is to continue to show love to them by making deposits into their lives. Hebrews 10:25 challenges us saying, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Investment is not about giving your small group leader a five dollar coffee gift card, but sitting down with them around the coffee table. No longer is it about the small group leader simply showing up and doing okay but it’s increasing their abilities and equipping them to become engaging disciple makers. When you see small group leaders have a gifting beyond their current position, show them future next steps. And whenever you see a small group leader who needs a break, give them time off with an intentional plan to bring them back on the team.

In the last paragraph, of the last page of Jim Wideman’s book, Tweetable Leadership, he says, “Be a lover of God’s people. The ministry is all about relationships. People matter! I believe the time we spend empowering and encouraging people is never wasted.” For you to recruit lifetime small group leaders, you must enlist them to a calling that fits their gifting, connect them with one another, and continue to love them through intentional deposits in their lives.

(Originally posted to Children’s Ministry Online at http://childrensministryonline.com/how-to-recruit-lifetime-small-group-leaders/)

17 Leadership Lessons and Questions From TSF

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The Solomon Foundation was created with you in mind—whether you are an investor looking for a fixed rate investment opportunity, or you are just starting to save money with our low-minimum investment. Perhaps you are the pastor looking for a partner in ministry, or the church planter needing funding for a facility where your ministry can grow. The Solomon Foundation serves churches through many facets and recently I had the opportunity to attend their executive pastor and financial manager conference called “What’s Next.” After spending two days in beautiful Colorado, here are 15 leadership lesson and questions that I am pondering on my flight home.

1. “Jesus is always better.”

2. Do you currently belong to something meaningful in God’s kingdom? I want to always be a part of His work. This must become my prayer.

3. I need to be praying for Spirit movement and for God to draw people into His church.

4. Does your staff understand the role of the different teams? Do your teams stay within their team roles? Do your team members respect each other’s roles? “You can have a good strategy in place, but if you don’t have the culture and the enabling systems that allow you to successfully implement that strategy, the culture of the organization will defeat the strategy.” Richard Clark.

5. What is your church’s culture? Does the culture of the church match the culture you speak about? Who gets to set the culture? Who is the consumer of your culture? Do you know if your culture is successfully leaking into your community?

6. Is your worship attendance declining? How does this month’s average worship attendance compare to the same month of the last few years?

7. Does your church produce evangelistic fruit? As a general rule, a healthy church will reach at least one non-Christian for every 20 in worship attendance.

8. Are unrealistic expectations of pastoral care a growth barrier to your church? Healthy churches view pastors as equippers for the members to do the ministry. Who gets called for a hospital visit?

9. Is your church fun? Jesus made it possible for us to radically enjoy a relationship with Him and to enjoy His creation. Do you like going to your church? Do you staff members like worshipping there?

10. Is your church reproducing leaders at every level? Do your staff members have a growing apprentice? Can your staff and your key leaders write down the mission, vision, and share next steps on a napkin?

11. What is your average attendance to staff ratio? Tony Morgan from the unstuck group recommends an 86:1 FTE ratio and most others say somewhere between 75:1 to 90:1 depending on your church.

12. What is your average staffing costs as a percentage of the total budget? On average churches fall between 45%-50% of the budget and benefits comprise of 8-10% of the total.

13. Do you have an established hiring process? How are you making sure your candidate has the ideal character, competence, chemistry, and calling for your church? Does your candidate pass the lunch test? Have you checked the references they didn’t list? Is there a group in this decision making process?

14. We are living in a time of five living generations and we are starting to see the 4th generation taking on the leadership of the church. Millennial worship is a very different expression than generation X. How do we get there? What steps do you need to take to become more relevant to the generation you are trying to lead.

15. The Dot: The age group of people that your church is most effective with.

The Sweet Spot: The five-year gap on either side of your Dot that is the sweet spot that connects with your audience. Every church is on a continuum and we need to apply pressure to the left side of the dot to stay relevant. How are you pushing young people to the front of the line and how are older people raising up the younger leaders? Be smart on how much pressure you apply. Know how much you can lead the group and bend them without breaking them. Can you expand the Sweet Spot to maybe 7 years on either side? “Leadership is making people uncomfortable at a rate they can tolerate.”

16. Secondary adulthood is where they retire at 65 but live so much longer. How is the church using the treasure trove of people who don’t need your money but still want a job? Those in second adulthood are self-starters, dreamers, and get things done.

17. Maybe prayer isn’t what we think? Could it be that prayer is just being with God? Could it be that prayer is trust in God?

Hopefully, these lessons and questions get you thinking about the church you are either leading or a part of. Which of these questions stirred something inside you?