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 & 2 Book Giveaway: Don’t Quit by Jessica Bealer & Gina McClain

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Hey ministry leaders! Have you checked out this brand new book—Don’t Quit: The Best Things in Ministry Come Over Time. This is the latest leadership book from Orange and I want you to check it out.

Share this post on social media and I’ll send two lucky winners a copy of the new book! 

Here are some of my favorite quotes to give you a taste of the great content:

“At times, you will question your calling, but don’t sacrifice your mission for the security of the easily maintained. Take a risk and watch God move.”

“Every action you take, every event you host, and every procedure you have in place is your strategy in action. If your strategy is not moving you closer to your goal, then the strategy is not working.”

“God has big plans for His church and He’s willing to use anyone to accomplish them. The only requirement is obedience.”

“Limitations don’t have to be negative. Many times, they can be catalysts for creativity.”

“Unrealistic expectations paired with a fear of failure make for a disastrous combination, a dumpster fire waiting to happen.”

“Creating a common language that both conveys your values and unites your team is deceivingly hard. To be memorable, it has to be clear, easy to say, founded in vision, purposeful, and have a touch of cleverness.”

“God never intends to leave you where you are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s time to start looking for another job. What I mean is that you should be consistently growing in wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and capacity. A great leader is never content with the status quo.”

“You’ve got to own your development, set your pace, get accountability, and invite inspiration.”

“Awareness of growth opportunities means you will be prepared to respond when God is moving in the heart of your volunteer. Knowing when a leader is ready for more is great. Knowing where you can give them more is strategic.”

“We don’t lead in a bubble. When we decide to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t need to grow, everyone around us suffers. But when we choose to remain on the wall—to face what needs to be faced, open ourselves up, and become ridiculously teachable—those we lead are inspired to do the same. Grit is contagious.”

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Camp KidJam: A Valuable Gift for Your Church

 

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Does your summer camp contribute the strategy of your church? Are you looking for a camp solution that your students will love, and your small group leaders will love even more? Last year, I explored Camp KidJam and found it to be the complete package I was looking for in a summer camp experience.

Camp KidJam Is Built on a Strategy
Camp KidJam is part of the strategy developed by Orange and designed around the principles of 252 Kids. Students will grow in wisdom, faith, and friendship and the lessons learned will flow seamlessly into your weekend environment. Camp KidJam is built around the small group model so after every Jam Session, you will have the opportunity to make the lessons personal through a designated small group time.

Camp KidJam Develops Leaders
Both students and small group leaders experience leadership training. While students are participating in challenges and tracts, SGL’s get a chance to recharge and discuss tough ministry questions. Students sign up for tracks matching their interests and are challenged to grow musically, athletically, or creatively. These intentional leadership opportunities are a unique element of camp that both SGL’s and students love.

Camp KidJam Delivers A Quality Program
If you asked your students today to name their favorite experience from camp last summer, could they remember something? Camp KidJam creates unique memories that will bring a smile to your student’s faces. From the Awesome Sauce Leader to the full worship experience, your preteens will create memories that will last a lifetime. The skits and teaching time will leave students at the edge of their seat wanting more.

Camp KidJam delivers a top-notch program that is a proven gift for your church. The students will grow closer to one another as they grow in a personal authentic faith and the small group leaders will thank you for being a part of the week. To learn more about Camp KidJam check out http://campkidjam.com and also watch this highlight video from our experience last year.

Leading When You Are Running on Empty

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“If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.” John Ortberg

You matter to God, not just the work you do, or the ministry that you fulfill, but YOU matter to God. He is your provider and can meet your every need, He is your guide and can give you wisdom when you’re feeling lost, and He is your savior, who is your perfect superhero. You matter to this God, and He loves you.

And life happens. Ministry can lead you to a place where your motivation and drive feel like a dry desert, screaming for water. And the work doesn’t stop. Just because you are broken or feeling hollow doesn’t mean that everything can be put on hold. Right now, you might be running on empty but you still have to lead.

It might not be you but sometimes the soul of a leader needs help. So how do you refuel your soul in the midst of the chaos? Here are three quotes from the greatest leader of all time and a few challenges to help you lead when you are running on empty.

1. Soul Fatigue

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” – Jesus in John 15:4

If you are finding that your spirit is drained or tired maybe you need to focus on the Word and abide. Abide is a verb meaning to stay, remain, continue, or wait. To abide in Christ embodies a relationship with Jesus. It’s not asking the question, “Did I read my Bible today?” but rather, “Did I spend time staying connected with my Friend, today?” It’s not just praying before a meal, but honestly talking with your Father about your struggles and heart.

First Tip for Soul Fatigue: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10. At this to your calendar as a reoccurring reminder. Pause, reflect and refocus because this time is topping off the tank in my soul.

Maybe for you, it’s the first thing you do in the morning.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

Second Tip for Soul Fatigue: Read the Word. Go on Bible Gateway and start The One Year Bible.

In order to lead others, you must first make sure that you are abiding in Christ, connected to Him, and allowing Him to refuel your soul. So before we move into the next point, Abide in this verse. These are the words of Jesus:

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

To abide in Christ is medicine to your soul fatigue.

2. Soul Insignificance 

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20

With all authority and with the promise of being by our side, Jesus charged us with the mission of reaching the lost, and that is by no means insignificant. If your spirit lacks worth or you are struggling to feel valued, remember that Jesus has placed a high calling on your life. When our soul is struggling to find meaning we must remember that we serve a God who knows the number of hairs on our head and who meets all of our needs according to His riches.

You exist to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Part of loving your neighbor is to open the door and introduce your neighbor to the God who loves them, and this is one of the most significant things we can do.

First Tip for Soul Insignificance: Step into your calling. Here’s what I think, maybe the reason you soul is feeling insignificant, is that you are failing to step into the mission that God has called you to. When do you feel most alive? What is the burden that God has placed on your heart? The way Andy Stanley puts it is, “What breaks your heart?”

Second Tip for Soul Insignificance: Share your faith. And no, I’m not talking about teaching the Bible lesson to the kids at church, I’m talking about talking with someone who is far from God and sharing with them the hope we profess. Yes, you are busy, but what is more important than making a disciple? Who is the last person you discipled? Can you name them, and how long has it been?

Stewarding your time and energy towards discipleship will energize your soul.

3. Soul Filth

Kill the Spider: Getting Rid of What’s Really Holding You Back by Carlos Whittaker

He spent decades trying to figure out how to be a “better person.” Time and time again, he strived for holiness only to get caught in the web of destructive habits, behaviors and thought patterns.

In Kill the Spider, Carlos shows us that it’s not enough to try and “stop sinning.” He teaches that knocking out deep-rooted habits and issues comes by treating the issue, not just the symptoms.

The greatest teacher of all time, Jesus, helps us out when it comes to discovering out soul filth. In Luke 6:45 Jesus says,

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

If you have not dealt with the sin in your life, then this will be reflected in your words and actions. Unrepentant sin causes a leader to have a short fuse, say things they will later regret, and lose the trust of those they are leading.

It’s been said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” 

You can go through the motions and focus on surface level issues, but if you want to truly begin leading then you need to repent and get your soul right with God.

First Tip for Soul Filth: Confession – Talk with a counselor, coach, or mentor about the cobwebs in your life and determine the spider that you need to kill. Stop putting it off. Right now you could send a text and say, “Hey Richard, we need to talk. Can we meet Tuesday at lunch?” I know you’re busy but unless you make a plan your good intentions will always just be a future plan. Start that plan now and take your first step.

Second Tip for Soul Filth: Think the Word. My mentor, Jim Wideman has challenged me to take every thought captive to obey Christ. I have scripture memorized to put my spiders in their place. So here’s your tip, think the Word. Before leaving this room, use google and find a verse that speaks directly to the filth in your soul. Write it down and begin committing it to memory.

4. Soul Distractions 

Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

I actually want to push back a little on this being busy statement. I think we have more time available than we give ourselves credit for. We overestimate how busy we are because we are so distracted.

Do you have an extra 5 minutes? What most people do…is fill ANY downtime, with their phone in their hand distracting them.

CBS News reported in 2012, 75 percent of Americans admitted to using their mobile phones while in the bathroom.

The time U.S. users are spending in mobile apps is continuing to grow; according to new data released in March by analytics firm Flurry, we’re up to 5 hours per day on our mobile devices.

So, is your soul distracted? I realize this is a weird week for your schedule but how many hours do you think you’ve been on your phone this week?

To find this information, iPhone users with the at least ios9 software can go to the ‘Settings‘ menu then select ‘Battery‘ (green icon), wait for it to load. They can then see a breakdown of their activity in the past 24 hours or 7 days, for example, with the apps they have spent the most time on at the top of a list, and the least popular at the bottom. Click the clock to see how many minutes or hours you have spent.

Android users, download the app “AntiSocial”

First Tip for Soul Distraction: Redeem the Distraction. Instead of trying to find the very last post on the bottom of that Facebook feed, read something that fills your soul tank. Instead of trying to amass more friends on social media, write a short prayer to your best friend. Later today when you pull your phone out to fill a void, recognize that and realize that only Jesus should be filling that space.

Second Tip for Soul Distraction: Set a time budget. What would it look like if next year when we pulled up the time we spent on our phones our number one app was the YouVersion Bible? Take a step in the right direction now by maybe saying that you won’t allow yourself to spend more than X amount of hours on such and such an app. Clear out this distraction, your soul doesn’t need it and there are more important things for you to spend your time on.

In order to lead for the long haul, you must continually get back on track and refuel your soul. Remember to abide in Christ, remember the significant mission He has called you to, deal with unrepentant sin, and remove distractions.

Probably one of the greatest tips that I can give you is a question that Jim challenged me with that has continued to roll around in my head. He asked:

“Has there ever been a time in your life where you were more in love with Jesus than you are right now?” And if the answer is yes, it’s your responsibility to fix it.

 

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88 Leadership Quotes and Questions from #D62017

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Greg Baird – @GregJBaird

“The Church is divinely designed to develop leaders through the discipleship process.”

Ephesians 4:12 “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry…” What does an equipped saint look like?

Are the few doing the ministry for the many? Or are the few equipping the many for the ministry?

Do new believers get called and sent into the mission upon conversion?

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Ron Hunter – @ronhunter

“Disciples is not an event, it’s a way of life.”

“Isn’t it interesting what God can do with an hour if it is given unto him.”

Do my conversations connect influentially with my kids?

If our kids dressed in the armor of God the same way we do as parents, will they be protected?

“Our roles as ministry leaders is to help parents connect with their children.”

“Face to face is confrontational but shoulder to shoulder allows an atmosphere for tough topics.”

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Christina Embree – @EmbreeChristina

“Discipleship at home was not about doing more but inviting Christ into what we were already doing.”

“Brushing your teeth can become discipleship. Parking far away can be discipleship. Hearing sirens can be discipleship.”

“The most ordinary thing becomes the sacred thing when Christ is in it.”

“Christ can take the most ordinary, mundane thing and make it sacred through His Holy Spirit.”

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The Skit Guys – @skitguys

“The truth about the little ones we get, it’s God idea, and our responsibility.”

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Dr. Gary Chapman – @DrGaryChapman

“As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

“The time to prepare for marriage is not after you get engaged, the time is now.”

Does this rule keep the kid from danger? Does it teach positive character trait? Does it protect property? Does it teach the child responsibility? Does it teach good manners?

“The question is not do you love your children. The question is do your children feel loved?”

What if my children turned out to be like me? What if they handle anger the way I handle anger? Love spouse how I love? Drive a car the way I drive? Work with the same ethic? Talk to others? Handle conflicts? Respond to drugs or alcohol? Same quality relationship with God? Handle money? Treat in-laws? Treat their children?

“Children are far more influenced by our model than our words.”

“You won’t have any problem with your children forgiving you if you’re willing to apologize.”

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 4

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Dr. La Verne Tolbert – @drltolbert

Who is your most memorable teacher?

As we look to teach like Jesus, how do we exemplify the Christian character?

Do we have a relationship with those we are leading? Do we pay attention to their needs?

How well do we use the baptism and communion and the church calendar as teachable moments?

“Jesus was sensitive to time. Jesus had a scope and sequence to His teaching.”

Why is it that we only teach auditory?

“In John 3-4 Jesus ministers to Nicodemus and the woman at the well. The uttermost to the guttermost.”

“We must not be too busy that we cannot pray.”

“A church without children is a dying church.”

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Dr. Richard Ross – @richardaross

1/2 of kids leave the church, but what about the 1/2 that stay. Why?

“If we pay attention to those who stayed, it might cause us to change the perspective of why we do what we do.”

“Spiritually lethargic parents create spiritually lethargic kids. Spiritually alive parents produce spiritually alive kids.”

“Teenagers who leave High School with little love for the bride will eventually wander away from the Groom.”

“The goal of family ministry is families who love God, love people, and make dimples of all nations.”

We tried replacing parents with the professionals for 60 years. So how’s that going?

“Those kids who stay [in church] come out of homes with moms and dads who are spiritually alive.”

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Dr. Vern Bengtson –

“Data showed parents having substantial influence on their millennial children’s faith formation.”

“There are more years of shared lives between grandparents and grandchildren than any time before. Grandparents are influential.”

Should there be a singles group for 65 year olds? Widow support group? Session on facing death?

“Don’t forget the seniors. Most churches do.”

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Candace Payne – @candacepayne

“Joy is a byproduct of a deeper work, hope.”

“May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace that you may abound in all hope.

Jesus is our hope. It’s found in a person.”

“Stop doing ministry without God!

Stop working for God, without God.”

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

“There is a beauty in only depending on what the spirit can do.”

“We’ve got places to be, and the first one is in His presence.”

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Michael Bayne – @michael_bayne

“Why do pastors spend so much time day-dreaming about the future church and not focusing on their present church?”

“If your dreams for your future church are hijacking the passion for your current church, there might be a problem.”

“What God has entrusted you with is critically important.”

“You get no credit for the time you spend coveting another church.”

Have you ever seen God’s people not complain or the complain free church?

“Lead like you’ll be there forever because you are responsible forever.“

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Dr. Eddie Moody – @EdwardEMoodyJr

“We need to prepare our kids for bad things, for the storms of life.”

Psalm 46 “When the mountains are moved into the heart of the sea.” “If God says He will be there in this time than we should expect this time to come.”

“In the U.S. 5% of kids will have one parent die before the age of 16.”

“Acting like pain and suffering doesn’t happen doesn’t serve our children well. Equip them. They can handle it.”

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Dr. Timothy Paul Jones – @DrTimothyPJones

“If all you get is the kids, you won’t have the parents and then eventually you won’t have the kids either.”

“Provide every child a family in faith.”

“Make a phone call to say; thank you, can we pray for you, how can we pray for your child, and thank you!”

“You aren’t doing it for results, you are doing it because it’s right. Your goal is faithfulness. The results belong to God.”

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Joshua Straub – @joshuastraub

“I made a conscious decision that the pattern of divorce in my family would stop with me.”

“I didn’t need to be the pastor of a megachurch to reach thousands of people. I just needed to be a parent.”

“Prayer doesn’t just change the generations that go after us. Prayer changes the generations that go before us.”

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Michael Covington – @m_covington

Are you too comfortable in your church?

Are you lacking the results you desire from your message because the way you deliver it is too comfortable?

“Any ministry or organization that lacks a clear focus of message…may need to bring themselves back to that time when they were brand new.” Do you remember that time?

“The right tone at the right time is a grace delivery method.”

How can your words be gracious if they don’t have the right tone?

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Kristie Christie – @kristievos

Why do we believe that happiness comes when we get more?

“College students today are about 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

How do we teach kids empathy? “Talk to your kids about life being hard.”

“People matter more than things. Our entitlement is not setting us free.”

Why does it matter what you choose? “Allow kids to feel the consequences of their actions as we walk beside them. They can make a big difference and they can make a big hurt.”

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Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell – @josh_mcdowell @Sean_McDowell

“When I started doing this…the dead sea was only sick.”

“God can use all of us regardless of our backgrounds.”

“If you really seek after truth, I believe you’ll find Jesus, ’cause he is truth”

“Don’t reject something because it’s the faith of your father. Reject something because it’s not true.”

“Pornography is the number one barrier to apologetics today.”

“The number one thing that causes a child to stay pure from sexual immorality was deep religious beliefs.”

“Rules without relationship leads to rejection.”

“Truth without relationships results in rejection.”

“Lord, never again, do I want to put my family before my ministry. My family is my first ministry.”

Why re-write this new book? “Truth never changes, but its critics do.”

 

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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/)

Dan Scott: Make the Tween Years a Bigger Deal

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Dan Scott: Make the Tween Years a Bigger Deal.
@danscott77

The role of music in Dan’s life and how he got there.

We get to work with kids and this will change the directory of their lives.

Something will happen during these years that will set them on a course.

What are we doing to make the moments huge to assist in the transition?

There is something happening in the life of a fifth grader that makes them think they are might be done with church.

What is a preteen?

No one agrees on this definition? Early onset of puberty. Not just physical but mental changes.

Today we are looking at the 10-12 years old. Just a Phase. A phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence a kid’s future.

In-between Phase – Physical changes – Growth spurts, puberty.

Mental changes:

Elementary kids think like a scientist. What if questions.

Concrete and literal thinkers.

“There is an Icecream store around the corner.” Thinking literal corner.

“Inviting Jesus into your heart.” Thinking, Ewwww.

Middle Schoolers think like engineers.

More abstract.

Paul saying always be joyful. Think about Paul being in prison. Think about the state of mind. Connecting ideas and concepts.

Magic age is 11. 5th grade spring semester. Don’t talk to them like kids. They are perceiving it like we talk down to them. Preteens think like scientists and engineers at the same time.

Changing Emotionally and Spiritually

Not always linear and sometimes the steps forward and one step back.

Elementary Students Provoke discovery: So they will…trust God’s character and experience God’s family. Like the proverbs. It doesn’t always work out like we thought. Principle vs dynamic truth.

Middle Schoolers: Provoke discovery. So they will…own their own faith and value a faith community.

Changing Culturally and Relationally:

Crisis in this 4-5 grade phase: Friendship- Do I have friends? Help them learn how to develop friendships. Emotionally hurt and made a concrete evaluation of that hurt. Because we are not getting along anymore we are not friends anymore. When parents argue, they are getting a divorce. When they miss a field goal they don’t think they can play anymore. They go to the concrete. Starting to realize they don’t like everyone and are not liked by everyone. Teach them how to be friendly even when they are not friends.

Crisis in 6th-grade phase: Puberty. Girls average age 10 and 11.5 boys. Who do I like? Who likes me? Gain stability. Hormones and emotions. Wrapped into their identity. The church should be a place where no matter what a child or middle schooler walks in and knows that someone likes them.

What should we do:

Engage: Their Interests

Affirm: Their Personal Journey

Engage the 4th/5th grades to let them know that what they like is cool. Not a time to be pessimistic. Engage them on their level.

Affirm the 6th grader in their personal journey. Let them know that we are in this together.

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The Preteen World
Pop Culture – They are now their own taste makers. I’m going to listen to my own music because I’m done with adult contemporary. They are getting into popular culture and popular culture is getting into them. They know more youtube stars than they know movie stars. Youtube, Spotify. We have to be careful about what they are being exposed to. Be careful and open. Just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Start with Rhett and Link and follow the rabbit trail to dude perfect. What social media are they looking into? Digital Natives growing up in a smart world. Speak to Siri and Alexa to find out anything they want to find out. They might not ask a parent about sex but they might ask Alexa.

Education –

Group projects. What people bring to the table can be frustrating. They are doing way higher level thinking than we were doing as kids.

Evaluation
Synthesis
Analysis
Application
Comprehension
Knowledge

From bottom to the top of the spectrum.

From what and when, to how, and then to why.

Help students wrestle with the content we are teaching them.

Evaluation: Take one thing and put it into the context of another. Move from Sunday to Monday.

Motivation and Currency

Fun Matters. They want to laugh and enjoy themselves.

Autonomy: Not absolute freedom but giving them three good choices and allow them to pick. They will own the learning process and it becomes their learning.

Friendship: Relationships are important. Consistent small groups matter. Programming will fade. They return week after week because of the friendship that the small groups cultivated in their circle. Relationships over time matters.

A Preteen Strategy
#1 Environments: When a child walks into this space for the first time their brain lights up. Week two they think it’s cool, week three they don’t notice. Nothing has changed but the brain recognizes it and they think they will hear and learn the same thing so they turn it off. Sometimes when kids don’t pay attention it’s their fault other times it’s our fault. Cue the brain that something is new so that it cues the brain. Help them personalize the space. Chalk wall. Plywood tables with markers. Help them create the environment. Continually changing the environment and they create it. Soft lighting, stage lighting. Focused attention on a certain spot. Get them by themselves as soon as possible. Ikea furniture, Ikea lamps, Xbox in the hallway. It doesn’t matter because it’s their space.

#2 Content: “I want them to go deep.” The definition isn’t more information but putting that information into a different context. Allow kids to wrestle. Ask the question. Let them wrestle with the answers to help them figure out what they need to do to make this week better and to make their faith grow. Wrestle, personalize, and do it in order to learn it.

#3 Large Group: Host and Storyteller. Entertainment and sermon. With preteen, there is a communicator. They look at the content through the lens of himself and it becomes a more personal and authentic talk. Storyteller is more like an actor where a Communicator is more of the pastor.
#4 Small Group: Attacking the question heads on. There are activities because discussion does not work for every preteen. Many preteens are not full abstract thinkers so they must start concrete before abstract. A hook the abstract thought.

#5 Home: Life with a preteen can be exhausting. Don’t want to talk on the drive in the car. Mom and dad need help because no one is prepared. We gloss over all the awkward in our own minds. Specific devotionals that they can do throughout the week. Take Sunday to a new place. Wrestle with faith skills. Prayer activity. Faith Talk. Bible Navigation. Worship with your life.

Transitions Matter!

Help parents with the transitions from elementary to adolescence.

Transition activities. Wanted in the next instead of kicked out of the current.

Students are literally stolen. Here’s a t-shirt, we are going to middle school.

We want those kids to feel wanted. Building anticipation is okay. Letting kids wait is okay. Don’t rush them to the next phase. 5th graders should not be with 8th graders, they are completely different beings. It’s dangerous and they can’t handle it. They will do anything to fit in.

SmarterKinderLouder.com/252Preteen

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