#OC18 Breakout Notes

 

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Leading Your Team to Go Further Faster – Nina Schmidgall

Challenges to overcome at any size:

Under 250: 

Volunteer driven, few paid staff

Limited budget

Challenging facility

25-1000

Teams of volunteers led by staff

Communication challenges around how decisions are made

Changing leadership structure 

1000-2000

Leadership by policy and procedures

Ministry silos

More vision than time or budget to accomplish

At this size, you MUST rethink policies and procedures. No longer work on a case by case basis. 

2000+

Multiple leaders/stakeholders involved in decisions

Everything must scale across multiple environments

The pace that leads easily to burnout/turnover.

How do we lead faster and further? How do we steward what God is doing? And how do we put things in place to help us scale? 

Growth = move from doing ministry to overseeing ministry to advising ministry. 

Resource Recommendation – Empowering Leadership Michael Fletcher http://a.co/5Ngt7es 

With each transition in growth, elders move from doing ministry to overseeing ministry to advising ministry. Likewise, pastors must change from what Fletcher calls the “shepherd model,” in which he or she is the go-to person, to the “rancher model,” in which the pastor must “embrace the idea of sharing ministry and leadership with others.”

1. Invest in your team

How do you care for and challenge your teams? How are you making the team better for God’s purposes? 

Resource Recommendation

Radical Candor: Kim Scott http://a.co/2eVzfpZ 

Care about them personally. 

Challenge them directly. 

Don’t complain, it’s called management and it’s your job. More of your job becomes management as your church grows. 

“We undervalue the ‘emotional labor’ of being the boss.” – Kim Scott

Have your team go through the Strengths Finder. Help position them in a way to maximize their teams. 

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron http://a.co/eUc18OO 

You are going to be able to move further faster if you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your teams. 

Value time spent together, include spouses and kids. Annual play and pray retreat with spouses and kids. Sunday-Tuesday. Go away to retreat together. Kids becoming best friends. High investment but natural and authentic relationship. 

Spring get together. Christmas parties. Team and their families spending time together. 

2. Define the Win

Bigger than just pulling off Sunday. 

Your team should have compelling answers to these questions:

What is your target?

How will we know when we hit it?

How does this fit into the bigger vision of the church? 

Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” 

TED talk link: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action 

Define the Win: 

Maximize your investment in kids
Make Sundays Excellent
Partner with Parents
Develop meaningful relationship
Encourage missional hearts

To encourage and support families to share an authentic faith with the next generation. 

3. Cast the Vision

Keeping everyone moving in the same direction is harder and more complex the larger you grow. The tyranny of the urgent will trump vision unless you are intentional. 

Over-calendaring and over programming will derail what you are about.  

There are activities vital to your vision that you can ignore and not feel immediate consequences.” Henry Cloud – The One Life Solution

Focus on why the vision matters

Why cue can’t keep doing it the way we’ve always done it 

Why we can’t stay where we are

Why change will be worth the effort

Visioneering: Your Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Personal Vision by Andy Stanley http://a.co/58l7G7A 

4. Execute the Plan

Have people on the team who will create the vision and people on the team who will make it happen. Balance the team. 

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy http://a.co/do8iZva 

“Execution is the missing link between aspiration and results.” 

A systematic process of defining how and what and follow through. 

5. Guard the DNA

When you are new to a team, step back and look for those who are guarding the DNA. 

Vision Leaks

Think of it like cold spring water in a pale. Slow drip but eventually you are left standing with an empty pale. 

What is your process for onboarding new staff members and volunteers? 

Hold the line on serving once a month because of how much you need to guard the DNA. That time commitment represents meaningful relationships. 

How do you guard the DNA? No one likes meetings but if you don’t have your people in the same room from time to time then vision will leak. Get the right people in the right room. 

Sometimes you need to just stick with the same plan and find a better way of executing it. 

Guard the DNA

Implement it.
Repeat it.
Refine it.
Repeat it.
Evaluate it.
Repeat it.

6. Involve the Team

It really will be better if we are all in it together. How do we involve our team? 

Jesus final instructions from Matthew 28:19 were not step by step instructions. He stated the end goal and gave room for the people to be involved. 

Leaders need guidelines. 

Paint a goal and direction for people. 

Transfer control vs. transferring ownership. 

“People will support a world they helped create.” Dale Carnegie  

The main job of every leader is to:
Identify
Develop
Deploy
other leaders

Call everyone staff. They are just either paid or unpaid staff. 

Set a culture of shoulder tapping where they know who they will invite who they will be developing and inviting. 

Author and leadership consultant Michael Fletcher says these types of leaders can’t simply be “bought” nor can they be hired off of someone else’s “assembly line.” These types of leaders have to be built through a leadership pipeline.

The answer for more leaders is ALWAYS a culture of leadership development. 

7. Celebrate the Victories

Look for the stories and share them.

Small personal encouragement and thanks. 

Large and critical feedback when above and beyond. 

How can experiment and become more intentional?  How can we do facebook live or help share stories? How can we elevate the work our volunteers are doing to win? 

As your team becomes bigger and more spread out the stories can help share the vision of your ministry. A Win Celebration. 

Celebrate Victories: Personally, Privately, Publicly. 

“Find ways your leaders are winning. Nothing motivates a leader like knowing their hard work is recognized and appreciated.” 

God, scale your church so that your glory can be made known. 

@ninaschmidgall #OC18

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When Parents Win—practical Ideas For Nextgen Leaders – Kara Powell

How many of you are parents in this room?
How many are parents of teenagers?
Why is it important to help parents win? 

1. When Parents win…kids faith wins.

1 in 2 drift. They graduate from great youth groups and drift from God and the church. 

4 out of 5 of those who drift, intended to cross well. 

When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.” Christian Smith

From one of the vastest studies.

“We can’t out-teach what you teach at home. We’re not that good.” Davide France

Never too early. Never too late. 

2. When parents win…your church wins. 

No major Christian tradition is growing in the U.S. today. Some are growing steadily and some outside of the US are growing but not inside the US. 

Growing Young: Churches that aren’t shrinking and aging, but are growing in involving and retaining young people (ages 15-29). 

6 more commitments that these growing young churches have in common.

Keychain Leadership
Empathy Today
Jesus Message
Warm Relationship
Prioritize Everywhere
Best Neighbors
Jesus-Centered Communities. 

What prevents us from helping parents win? 

One reason is parents attitudes. Parents view the church a lot like a dry cleaner. Bring their spiritually dirty kids to church, check them in, and then come back 70 minutes later and check them back out spiritually clean. 

We allowed them to believe this lie. 

We have toxic attitudes about parents and what it means to partner with parents. 

This is a toxic thought: “My idea of partnering with parents is getting them to help with our ministry.”

Define the win to help parents win. 

THE WIN = Help parents be more connected to the faith community so they are more intentional at home. 

How are we supposed to do this? 

Paradigm: Every parent can do something more. Take a baby step forward. 

Think of parents on a continuum. 

1. Searching – The goal is to help them rethink church
2. Participating – The goal is to help them get more integrated into the church.
3. Applying – The goal is to help them to be ever more equipped at church.
4. Leading – The goal is to help them be involved in developing others. 

Determine where parents are in this paradigm and help them take just one step forward. 

Imagine your family or a family you know won a trip to Disney Land. Now, it’s too much to see in one day so you have to plan. Just like a Disney land, you need to “map it”

MAP IT

Meet: Which characters do you want to meet. Who do you want to get pictures with and connect with? We at church need to help families meet and build relationships with transformative people. Family is a team sport so help them have the right kind of team. 

The 5:1 Ratio. Have a team of adults surrounding them. Out of 13 youth group participation variables, #1 was integration relationships. Not one leader for 5 kids but 5 adults for each young person. Not 5 small group leaders, just 5 adults that surround a young person on their team. What if your church became known as a place that helps families meet and develop these kinds of relationships? 

The shortest distance between your church and a parent is a small group leader. Help parents start with who they know. Look at the relationships your family already has and turn up the dial to make it more intentional. There’s one group of adults with an untapped potential; senior adults. How do you foster this relationship so that parents win? 

Special connection for parents of special needs kids. Face to face as well as with technology. 

What about single parents and blended families? 

Add: How do you add experiences, the right rides and the right shows. Add the important experience that makes up the day at Disney. Family life is just a bunch of little moments with the possibility to build warmth into a family. 

Moments build warmth. Warm is the new cool. Whose thermostat matters more – the parent or the child? Far more about what the kid perceives. 

Your church equips parents to ADD. In the view of the big family calendar, how do you carve out moments of warmth? Shared family experiences at church. This is a big labor commitment. 

The power of serving together. Very few institutions create opportunities for families to serve together. There’s nothing more powerful than helping families serve together. Look at where you are already asking families to serve and make a special invitation for the families to serve together. Maybe even just the first Sunday of the month. FYI List – Free tools at FYI Booth

Prioritize: Prioritize your time. The right amount of rides, snacks, downtime, rest. Help families prioritize their time. Is it more important for quantity time or quality time? 

“It’s the quantity of the quality time.” Reggie and Carrey  

Your church cues parents to prioritize. Tangible handholds. Spell things out to help them win. Parent Cue App. Help parents prioritize “car time.” 

Some parents prioritize “bedtime.” Figure out the rhythms that work for your family. 

What rituals do you do? 

Mealtime

What if my child doesn’t want to spend time with me? Unpack this question one at a time with a family. 

Identify: What are the kids into? Do they like car rides? Fast rides? Help parents really understand what’s going on with their kids in the phase they are in. 

Your church reactive parents to identify what is important to their child. 

Sparks: Every young person is created in God’s image. Help parents understand their child’s spark and fan those flames and create more divine embers so their flame grows. 

But there is a warning we need to give parents. A lot of parents lose because they have an easier time connecting with one of their kids spark more than another. When children perceive favoritism the child will distance themselves from the parent in everything important to the parent, including faith. 

Talk: Talking about the rides during and afterward. As we talk about it, we cement the experience for days, weeks, and months to come. The same is true when it comes to faith. We need to help families have good conversations even with topics they are hesitant to bring up. Like doubt. 

Doubts Happen. 70% of kids (admit) in your youth group have significant doubts about their faith. It’s not doubt that’s toxic to faith. It’s silence. Help parents have good conversations. These questions start in elementary school, often 3rd grade. Your church resources you to talk. 

If I could fully explain God, then God wouldn’t be God. Teach your parents and help them know the phrase, “I don’t know, but…”
I don’t know, but…how about we get together and talk more about this later.
I don’t know, but…let’s study this together.
I don’t know, but…here’s what I do know about God. 

Give parents discussion questions. Give them questions to start before Sunday. 

Share your spatial journey. Invite parents to share their faith walk. Share YOUR faith journey. 

MAP IT is not a secret!!!

What we do in ministry is too hard to do without parents, and what parents do at home is too hard to do without the church.

@kpowellfyi #OC18

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Creating Culture: Building A Thriving Nextgen Team

Nextgen can be lonely. You’re the boss and in the middle of the structure or organization. Find a sounding board or tribe. 

Kenny Conley: Mission Church
Cindy Fiala: Impact for 1000 Generations
EJ Swanson: Woodside Bible
John Huber: Westside Family Church
Nina Schmidgall: National Community Church
Gina McClain: Faith Promise Church
Kevin Monahan: 12Stone Church

Text 512-914-0922 to join the nextgen tribe text.

It doesn’t matter what your strategy is if you can’t get your culture right because your wheels will just be spinning. 

Culture: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization a corporate culture focused on the bottom line

What does a unhealthy culture look like?

Cindy: Lack of vision. Different goals between ministries where you have different departments going towards different goals. 

EJ: When teams don’t work together. When there is a disinterest between the student ministry team and the kid’s ministry team. We are going to own the line between the phases. When big kids or student events they go and work together. Kidmin leaders have a sense of how to keep kids protected and student ministry leaders need this. 

Gina: When creativity and ideation are at a minimum. When conversations are taking place about the problem but not with the people who can fix the problem. 

John: Unhealthy culture can be revealed when there is a personal agenda that goes against the team agenda. How is the chemistry? How will you fit into this team? 

What is a really healthy culture? What does this look like when culture is thriving? 

Kevin: It’s fun. Ministry and life are too short to do it with people you don’t like. If you aren’t laughing with your team while you are working then there is something wrong. There is a time to be serious but we underestimate the value of fun. 

Cindy: When it is safe to laugh at yourself. We can’t take ourselves that seriously. A healthy culture respects everybody and we fight for our relationships. Fight for each other and not against each other. Triangulation and gossip are toxic. Pass it up but not sideways. 

Nina: Be for each other. Build a culture where we are setting each other up to win. Do you serve a God of abundance or scarcity? Learn about their personalities and maximize them. 

How do you define culture? 

Gina: Craig Groeschel defines it as what you expect and what you allow. It’s in the allowances that degrade our culture over time. If culture is falling apart then trace it back and you will find there is something that you allowed to happen. When problems are taking place but is being talked about with people who are not there to fix the problem. When you allow that to take place, you need to move closer to it, investigate, learn how it could have played out differently, and have very specific questions about how it should have gone because that’s not how we are to function as a team. The phrase, “That’s not who we are” is powerful when leading your team. 

John: Help new staff members understand our values. We live on the side of the solution, so when you have a problem you have better thought out what possible solutions are for the team. If you have a problem with someone else, you need to go to them before you come to us. Gather the team to talk through our vision and values as a team. Set it at the beginning. 

When you hear your team talk about one another, where do you draw the line between venting and gossip? 

Cindy: 6 Organizational values. Fight for our relationships. Push complaints and frustrations up instead of sideways or down. Whether paid staff or unpaid staff, you will need to know the organizational values and sign a covenant. You can vent in my office, but not outside. 

Kevin: When someone comes to him he flips it on them. Why do you think they are so comfortable coming to you with the gossip? The exciting part of this is to shut down the passing of poison. Sometimes there are things that need to be processed and it’s not gossip so a conversation in place might need to take place. Have you talked to the other person about it and have you prayed about more than you’ve talked about it.

EJ: If you pretend to be half as concerned about the task as the problem then you can accomplish double. With gossip, you have to just go right after it. The further you are apart from the easier it is to gossip. Work together and accomplish twice as much. 

What are some of the things you expect? What have you lead or seen other churches do really well to create a healthy culture? 

Kevin: The Monahan Ten. 10 expectations Kevin has as a leader. Give an instruction book about what and how to communicate respect and care. Make the problem the problem not the person. Document everything. Don’t bring me a problem that you can solve. You need to help the team to understand you without having to guess what you prefer. Create a culture of approachable. 

Gina: Church values or staff values that clearly define the culture. Answer the question what does right look like? What is the test of this? How do you measure that staff value? What does right look like on a high level or low level? Equipped to have more strategic conversations. Clarify the actions you want to see lived out. 

Nina: This can also give you permissions. With the value, everything is an experiment, you create room to innovate or fail. Create pathways to innovation. 

John: It starts with us. Unity is a big thing if you want to go somewhere stronger and faster. Live out the vision. You are not above picking up trash or cleaning a toilet, model servanthood. 

Culture is often set by what we allow. What have you allowed or seen allowed that create an unhealthy culture? 

Gina: Productivity over teamwork. When you allow someone to be toxic because of how productive they are. 

Cindy: Freakout creates unhealthy expectations. Recognize the leaders who freak out when things go off center. Our job as leaders is to be the calm leader always. Don’t allow freakout with addressing it. 

Kevin: Allowing your own weaknesses to go unchecked. Not allowing feedback. “The wounds of a friend can be trusted.” Proverbs 27:6. The aspect of staying somewhere too long. When someone is there for a paycheck or for another reason and we allow them. When the horse is dead, dismount. Not walking in and firing them but having a difficult conversation. 

John: If you don’t deal with it, it ultimately comes back to you as a leader. 

EJ: When we allow the wrong person to manage our risk. The leadership above us believes we are managing risks for our organization. Know, is this the right missions trip, the right thing to say, the right time to change a policy. We have to manage this. Currently in our culture, what situations are we putting our leaders in? Are they in a car with a young person? Don’t allow leaders to manage this risk, that buck stops with us.

How do you recreate culture after you allowed something?

Gina: When you have a worship leader who can’t sing. The way she engages in worship is good but when you don’t want to have that hard conversation. When you mute her microphone. Everyone in the room knows she can’t sing and we are just waiting for you to have the conversation. The rebuild begins when you admit you allowed the issue, change, and make a plan. Sooner is better than later, and but is better than vague.”  

Culture creation. We all inherit culture, how do we get proactive in creating healthy culture? 

EJ: Will Hutcheson said, “Let’s blue sky this…dream as far into the sky as we can.”  

Kevin: Communicate it. Half of the job is going into a room and repeating yourself. Correct when there is drift. Celebrate it. Unmet expectations are cause for disaster. If people are guessing your culture then your culture is unknown. Good Birds. When staff turns in things that they see staff doing. Win prizes or cash. Celebrate those in different departments. Dirty Bird: Mock you for. When someone says something on social media, too bluntly or makes a mistake that you want to celebrate the mistake. 

EJ: We budgeted without the opportunity to create a new culture. A zero-based budget that is set the same. This means if you want to change a piece of who you were, you can’t change mid-year. 3 years ago setting aside 10% of the budget. Craig Groeschel “We ask our people to do unreasonable things so we see unreasonable results.” Creative and creating new things building culture. Don’t allow the repetitive boring ministry. 

Nina: Finding out who you really are. Show me your calendar and your checkbook. This is a true reflection of what you really value. Do your budget and calendar replicate the culture you are trying to create. Do you budget for a relationship with your staff? “Playing it safe is risky” if you believe that then do you have room in your budget and calendar to innovate and try new things? A win celebration culture where you celebrate the wins of the previous weekend. Stay invested and celebrate what God is doing. 

John: Get creative quarterly. Pair up the different ministry areas so they get to know each other. Not for business but for a relationship. When all hands on deck weekend or week, over-communicate the expectation. 

What do you do when you want to create a culture on your team but the church culture is lacking? (Or when there is an unhealthy culture in another team?)

Kevin: Lead by example. Create something simple that starts with you and your team. Create a healthy culture within your team and others will want to be a part of it. Warning: Don’t go against the culture of your senior leadership. And sometimes you can’t go along with the culture and you’ll have to move. 

EJ: Summer local middle school and high school missions trip. The missions department doesn’t support underwriting local missions but they serve their dream centers. No money spent on this but needed them too because of the growth. Figured out the win for the missions department, to increase short-term missions trip for the adults. So they challenged the parents of this group to go on a missions trip. When you figure out the win for them, you can get them on board with your team.  

Nina: In relationships, we can’t control others but we can control ourselves. Under promise and over deliver. Don’t tell another department no but rather we can’t do that but what we can do is. Do what you wish they would be doing. 

Any advice on being on staff with your spouse? 

Nina: Sherry and Geoff S book. Hard when you want to push or advocate for your spouse but on the other hand be very careful about the perception of some sort of in or leverage in a different place. The staff has to feel we are equally for them. Doing ministry together blesses the church. Be careful to create roles for your marriage. No ministry on date nights or “upstairs.” 

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What’s A Reasonable Budget – Jim Wideman

You can always be a better steward. 

Remember, God is your source, not your church. 

Want Jim’s Notes? Text: kidmin to 66866

Definitions change. Big and busy change when from week to week. 

Everyone does ministry better when they are on the same page. Align your thinking when it comes to a reasonable budget with leadership. 

How much is enough? 

How many of you are in charge of fundraising? 

How many work at churches where fundraising is of the devil and you are not even allowed to do it?

Not all budgets are created equal. 

3 Kinds of Budgets

1. Spending guide (estimate)
2. Allocated or Fixed
3. Capital Expenditures (if we can)

Budgeting Myth #1
Just because you raised more than budgeted or people designate to a particular ministry or project doesn’t mean you get to spend it. 

So, what’s a reasonable and effective budget? How do you build, grow, and maintain a budget? 

Tony Morgan says 10% is a healthy student population but I know very few student ministry pastors who get 10% of the budget. 

What is your cost per child per week (%)? 

Planning always has to go before action! 

Two ways at the start of the budget to start. Look at the church you have or believe God for the church you want to have. 

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28 ESV

Start with your calendar! How can you start the cost of the year before you start the planning process. 

Do you have student activities and kid activities coming out of the same pay period for parents? Can you stagger these events so they don’t have to choose which child can go? 

Get the book: Beat the Clock –  http://jimwideman.com/product/beat-the-clock-successful-strategies-for-time-management/ 

Add Essentials First

1. Curriculum for weekly programming (under $.50 per child per week)
2. Music from Amber Sky (under $.05 per child per week)
3. Props, extra visuals for Large Group (under $.50 per child per week)
a. Early Childhood $0.50 per week
b. Elementary $0.50 per week
c. Students $1.00 per week 

Special Event Curriculum & Other Programing

1. Christmas Jingle Jam $169 or 3.38 per person = $06.5 week
2. VBS $25 per child or $.50 per week
3. Weekly Subscription $239.88 or $1.20 per person per year or $0.3 per week
4. Other programs
5. Totals so far
a. Early Childhood $1.57 per week
b. Elementary $1.66 per week
c. Students $1.38 per week

“It’s all about kids getting the Word of God.”

Supplies (25% of curriculum cost)
(if you want to build a pad double) 

1. Arts crafts (EC $0.27, Elem $0.29)
2. Snacks EC $0.27, Elem $0.29)
3. Students suppliers $0.35
4. Students Food $3.00
5. Totals so far
a. Early Childhood $2.088 per week
b. Elementary $2.21 per week
c. Students $4.70 per week 

“I’ve had to lock up the goldfish so the youth pastor wouldn’t eat our preschool supplies.”

Go negotiate the year supply of pizza or CFA so you have a set price for the whole church. Get a price per pizza or sandwich so if you are getting 10 or 1000, you get the same price all year. 

Believe God for the finances of your ministry. 

D. Workers
1. Background checkS $35 X20 =$700 $.014 per child per week
2. Worker Shirts $25 X 25 = $625 $0.12 per child per week
3. Appreciation, snacks, etc 12 X $216 = $0.50 per child per week
4. Orange Tour $99 X 12 = $.023 per child per week
5. Meeting Costs $1300 = $0.25 per child per week
6. Training Cost $$1300 = $0.25 per child per week 

Ask someone, “Are you looking for a tax write-off and have advertising money? Pay for my VBS and I’ll add your company name to the back of the VBS shirt.” 

“Look for people whose spiritual gift is giving.” 

Can you handle volunteer growth? 

Jim has learned that woman are often cold at church. Offer a long sleeve worker shirt or hoodie. 

In many churches, we want workers but we don’t celebrate the accomplishments of workers. Don’t go onto the next event, hand out donuts and make a big deal of them. 

7. Totals so far ($1.49)
a. Early Childhood $3.57 per week ($15.47 per month)
b. Elementary $3.70 per week ($16 per month)
c. Students $6.18 per week ($27 per month) 8. Per year 

8. Per year

9. Let’s compare 

Nearly two out of 10 families are spending more than $1,000 per month on elite youth sports according to the USA Today. https://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/2017/08/23/USATODAY/USATODAY/636391023373229973-082417-Youth-Sports-ONLINE.011.png 

Administration

1. Date Base
2. Follow-up
3. Printing
4. Mailing
5. Software
6. Subscriptions
7. Paper
8. Cards/ post cards 

Jim tries to get the church to cover subscriptions under the overall church budget. 

Following up with people is vital. Use check in systems to identify pastoral care. When someone is out 2-3 weeks call them and say, we notice you have been out and we just want to see how you’re doing and see if we can pray for you. 

Postcards are effective and inexpensive. Send at least two a year so that you can at least keep your mailing list updated. 

F. Professional Development
1. Conferences
2. Coaching Cohorts – YouLead
3. Consulting, Individual coaching 

G. Special Events (Transportation, Guests)
1. Camps
2. Big Days
3. Activities
4. I believe in Guests and the momentum they bring. 

H. Capital Expenses (Over and above regular budget)
1. Office equipment
2. Environments
3. Furnishings
4. AV Equipment 

You can live on planet earth, not be a millionaire, and still, have fun. 

If you don’t eat at nice restaurants on your own budget, then why would you do this on your churches budget?

If you have a TV that has a bulge in the back…you need to get rid of it. 

Church is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. In the building of your budget look long term. If you are faithful in the small things, God will make your ruler over much. 

What’s next? 

A. Be content ( Philippians 4:11)
B. Remember it takes time to implement change
C. Be frugal, be a good manager and steward
D. Believe God (Phillippians 4:19)
E. Thanks so much for coming, let’s pray 

God is your source, not your budget. 

The bigger the boat the more water it takes to turn it around. 

Treat God’s money like it was yours. Are you tighter with the churches money then you are your own?

God gets money to you when you know the right way it goes through you and you steward it well. 

@jimwideman 

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Notes from #OC18 Main Stage 1 & 2: Jon Acuff, Gerald Fadayomi, Danielle Strickland, Reggie Joiner, Doug Fields, Andy Stanley

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We Can Do More Together

Jon Acuff

“It’s easier to say something than to do something.”

How do you beat shame? Relationships. 

We can do more sounds like an order. Together, changes this. 

You can be “we” without being together. 

“Together means putting aside our small stories for a bigger story.” 

What happens when you tap into the potential of what kids are really like? 

@JonAcuff #OC18

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Gerald Fadayomi

If you could only pray for one thing for the next generation, what would it be?

We can do more together…When we treat each other like the next generation is watching. 

“We look at children and know they can do more. We believe in the next generation.” 

Jesus prayed for Unity. John 17, that we would be one. 

Jesus could have prayed for anything for the future church. He prayed for unity.

Jesus knew that a fractured church could not united a divided nation. 

Our unity affects His credibility. 

37M churches 2.2B Christians. 

Can you imagine what could happen if we started moving in the same direction? 

A united church is a culture-shaping church. 

Unity is not uniformity. It’s setting our differences aside to make a difference. Finding a common ground for the common good. The realization that we can do more together. 

@GeraldFadayomi #OC18

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Danielle Strickland

“The thing to do is to grab the kingdom of God and start living that future now.”

“Wake up! Jesus is knocking. We’re better together if we live the future now.” Danielle Strickland

@djstrickland #OC18

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Reggie Joiner

We can do more together when we keep doing what seems impossible. 

It’s not what you build that matters. It’s what happens in you. It’s what happens to you. 

How we work together will change how a generation sees God. 

When we look around in our communities…name what is broken. 

“If we as leaders don’t do something about what is broken in our community we forfeit the right to have influence in our community.”

“If we as leaders don’t do something about what’s broken in our communities, we forfeit our credibility.” 

We are responsible regardless of our position. 

How can you leverage what you have? 

“Leverage whatever status, influence, resource, privilege we have for those around us.”

Proximity changes perspective. 

“If you want to be the leader that you need to be in this generation, you’ll have to go see for yourself sometimes.”

“If you’re not getting close enough, you’re not going to be the caring and empathetic leader that you need to be.”

“Everybody Nehemiah needed to rebuild was already in the town.”

“Nehemiah put parents in the gaps in the walls to fight for their families.”

“When you see moms and dads standing the gap fighting for their sons and daughters, it’s a different kind of battle.” 

Nehemiah made the parent the champion. Think about how the kids will remember this. 

“Don’t stop doing the work you’re doing together. It matters.” 

“You keep doing what seems impossible, and you’ll do more than you’ve ever done. Then expect to see God, but not the God you expected.“

@reggiejoiner #OC18

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Doug Fields

We can do more together when we recognize we can’t get there on our own. 

When I go to dark and lonely places I forget this principle, we is greater than I. 

“Healthy discipleship requires leaders to play together.” 

When we work closer together, there is a greater chance of discipleship, a greater chance of faith development. 

“What makes you a team is when you rely on one another.” 

“If you want to transform your church culture, rely on one another, believe that we is greater than I.” 

@DougFields #OC18

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Reggie Joiner

We can do more together when we speak up for those who are marginalized. 

“If traffickers can target vulnerable girls for trafficking, why can’t the church target vulnerable girls for redemption?” @djstrickland 

“One of the first ways you participate in injustice is to choose not to see it.”

Want to know how to help empower vulnerable girls? Start here: braveglobal.org

“There’s nothing that forges unity more than mission.” #OC18  @djstrickland

@reggiejoiner #OC18

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Andy Stanley

We can do more together when we lead the church to stay focused on what matters. 

What’s the faith of the next generation worth? Everything!

You don’t have to go to church to hear preaching…it’s on demand. 

“When you lead as a team with one voice…what matters most matters more.” @reggiejoiner #OC18

Once upon a time, one won. 

One: Jesus modeled it. Everyone was welcomed. People who were nothing like Jesus, liked Jesus. 

“The one thing we all have in common is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

“Of all the things that Jesus could pray for, He prayed for our oneness.”

“Unity is mission critical and more important than theological correctness. We are defined by the way we love one another.”

The One Another List:

Forgive one another.

Accept one another.

Care for one another.

Encourage one another.

Submit to one another.

Restore one another.

Carry one another’s burdens

Bear with one another.

We are to one another, one another 

“Imagine a world where people were skeptical of what we believed but envious of how well we treated one another.”

“God does not show favoritism.” 

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” – Acts 15:19

Let’s not make it unnecessarily difficult to believe in Jesus.

“Concessions are legitimate for the sake of peace.” 

Are you more concerned about who’s in office than who’s in heaven?

“Will we prioritize oneness over our politics?” 

ONE is an invitation to embrace the one thing we all have in common. 

“If your theology separates you from sinners like you, you may have some work to do.”

@AndyStanley #OC18an173-efeb3e88-0967-4ffa-ac9f-7c2a1a06b77f-v2

3 Helpful Questions To Improve Your Workday

Of the 31,102 verses found in the Bible, which verse comes to your mind more than any other?

For some people, it might be John 3:16 as a reminder that God loves us and has a plan. For others, it might be Psalm 23 as they look to God as their shepherd and provider. Or maybe it’s Philippians 4:13 as you lean into God as your strength.

For me, Colossians 3:23 seems to be a constant reminder that I live and work for God:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

This verse impacts not only my workweek but also reminds me to offer the little daily tasks up to the Lord.

A similar is found in 2 Timothy 2:15-16 where Paul writes

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.

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Here are three practical challenges from these truths.

1. Work for your True Boss. You probably have a boss or board to which you are held accountable. Ultimately, our authority is not our employer who gave us a job but the One who gave us life. If we work hard and gain the approval of our boss at the expense of our True Boss, then we have missed the mark completely. Ask yourself, “Am I more worried about the approval of my boss or my Savior?”

2. Be an approved worker. Do work you would be proud to show off to God with an attitude to match. Work on projects that are rooted in what is true and find ways to give God glory through your tasks. Be a positive light in a world full of darkness. Lift others up, don’t look for credit, and be humble. Don’t complain and finish mundane tasks with joy. Ask yourself this question, “Is God proud of my work?”

3. Work on what’s right. If you are given a task that goes against God, remember who your True Boss is and do what is right. Work in such a way that people see you are made in the image of God. Work hard and diligently and be known as someone who avoids worthless and foolish talk; someone who actually gets the job done. Ask yourself, “Am I working on what’s right or just engaged in mindless talk?”

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord!

How the Orange Conference Changes My Perspective Every Year

 

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Did you walk away from your last conference changed? Every year, the Orange Conference has a theme where speakers look at the same topic from different angles to help attendees gain a changed perspective. Over the years we have been taught to “Say yes to the next generation,” “It’s just a phase, don’t miss it,” “Monday is coming,” and “To be for our neighbors.” These themes have radically impacted my life and ministry.

In addition to these themes, each year God has spoken a word to my heart that shifts my outlook.

an173-9b2456b8-47b0-41a1-bddb-a952c92327f3-v2In 2014, I walked away knowing that I needed to work on myself. In order for me to say yes to the next generation, I needed to be a better example and leader.

“The biggest leadership challenge I have is me.” – Jeff Henderson

“Every book you read is worth 2 years of life experience.” – Mark Batterson

“Competency isn’t the issue. Character is.” – Carey Nieuwhof

“Leaders, ask yourself, ‘What is it like to be on the other side of me?’ ‘How are you to work for?’” – Jeff Henderson

“You replace yourself by developing others, not by replicating yourself.” – Jeff Henderson

“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.” Parry Noble

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In 2015, I was challenged to know and act like every week matters. It’s just a phase, don’t miss it, helped me see not only the development of each of the kids but that I was missing opportunities to make an impact with each Sunday.

“100 years from now, the only thing that will matter is a kid’s relationship with God.” – Reggie Joiner

“If you’re the parent of a 9th grader, you only have about 200 weeks left before graduation. Make it count.” – Reggie Joiner

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” – Josh Shipp

“Children’s leaders, you aren’t keeping kids so that adults can go to church. You’re discipling children who will be the Church.” – Reggie Joiner

“Small Group Leaders, there is great power that comes with showing up every week.” – Reggie Joiner

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In 2016, I realized that I was so worried about filling the kids with the head knowledge that I missed what mattered most. Monday is coming helped me see that I was teaching in a way that kids forgot the moment they left the room. I must connect Sunday to Monday.

“It’s not a question of: Will Sunday impact Monday? It already does. The question is: Will we be part of that conversation?“—Jon Acuff

“It’s not: How to we get them to come to us on Sunday? It’s: How do we go to them on Monday?“—Jon Acuff

“On Sunday, grace is expected. On Monday, grace is a surprise.”—Jon Acuff

“Following Jesus will make your life better and will make you better at life.”—Andy Stanley

“When it comes to my personal connection to the local church, it’s simple: the Church saved my life.”—Andy Stanley

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And last year, 2017, I walked away realizing that I allowed busyness to get in the way of loving my neighbor. I must be like Jesus and invest my time in those who are different than me.

“Instead of seeing busyness as a badge of honor, maybe we should see it as a brokenness.” — Doug Fields.

“Some of your neighbors feel like you don’t love them because you act like you don’t like them.” —Reggie Joiner

“If there’s any entity that should lead the way in treating everyone like they’re invited to the party, it should be the church.” —Reggie Joiner

“Young people can download thoughtful preaching but they can’t download thoughtful mentoring.” —Kara Powell

“You can’t dismiss people and be in love with God.” — Andy Stanley

“Your love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by how we treat those around us.” — Andy Stanley

“We’ve got to stop acting like discipleship is about information, and realize discipleship is about relationship.” —Reggie Joiner

“Busy is the enemy of neighborly.” — Doug Fields

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Now is the time to register for the next Orange Conference. I really hope to see you there!

Sign up and begin praying today to not only be move through the theme but also open yourself up for God to speak to your soul. REGISTER BY FEBRUARY 15 TO SAVE $50!

Waiting with Great Anticipation For The Savior

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Can you remember the anticipation and excitement you felt as a child waiting for Christmas? You saw Christmas lights popping up around town, you heard parents whispering about gifts to come, and you counted down the days until Christmas morning would finally arrive. This nervous anticipation caused you to be on your best behavior as you yearned for Christmas day.

Before the birth of Jesus, mankind was waiting for the Messiah or promised anointed one to come and save them from their sins. Prophecies were written 200 to 1000 years before Jesus was born and the people anxiously anticipated His arrival.

They knew prophecies such as Isaiah 7:14, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Because of Micah 5:2, they knew the Christ would come from Bethlehem; “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” And they understood that Jesus would come through the bloodline of David from Isaiah 9:7, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

There are over fifty predictions specifically about the Messiah’s birth which Jesus fulfilled.Peter Stoner, a professor of mathematics, helps illustrate the improbability of one man fulfilling these predictions by looking at the odds of one simply fulfilling eight prophecies. Stoner’s conservative estimate is one in 10^28. That’s 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! To make an even more conservative number, if you were to divide it by the estimated number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) the odds decrease to “only” one in 10^17, or 1 in one hundred quadrillion.

Peter Stoner helps us understand the magnitude of this number by writing:

Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up the one silver dollar that has the special mark on it. What chance would he have of getting the right one?” – Science Speaks: An Evaluation of Certain Christian Evidences

And that’s just eight prophesies!

These prophecies all came true through one man, Jesus. God’s plan for mankind was to send His son to save the world. As you anticipate this coming Christmas, remember the anticipation people felt for a thousand years before the coming Messiah. Set aside time to read through Luke chapters 1 and 2 to remember the coming of the promised Messiah.

Register Now for #OC18 – We Can Do More Together

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“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa

Momentum is never an accident. It happens when everyone on the team is moving together in ONE direction. If you want momentum you have to stay focused, clear, and synchronized about what matters most.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What matters most matters more.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Parent and volunteers move in the same direction.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Your core message becomes clearer and louder.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What you do every week makes a greater impact.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…The next generation wins!

There is a unique kind of momentum that happens when everyone in a church leads together as ONE VOICE. OC18 will be an opportunity to re-imagine the potential you can have as ONE VOICE

“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.” Romans 12:4-5 (NLT)

Register today to join me at this year’s Orange Conference in Atlanta, April 25-27. 

 

 

Bonus: Enjoy a #OC18 phone backdrop!
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22 Leadership Quotes From the #NYWC17

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For the past 48 years, thousands of youth workers gather for training, networking, encouragement, soul care, resources, and much more at the National Youth Workers Convention! Here are 22 leadership quotes that I believe will speak to your heart.

“Let’s start measuring #youthministry careers in decades instead of months.” @joshuagriffin

“If you think someone is hopeless… fail trying – don’t fail watching.” @bobgoff

“The real power in our ministries isn’t the how; it’s The Who.” Mark Yaconelli

“The degree of your intimacy with someone can be measured by the length of time you can be silent with them.” @richvillodas

“How we form our days, is forming us.” @AnnVoskamp

“Stop being Jesus’ lawyer. He doesn’t need one and you suck at it. Just love people.” @bobgoff

“God is killing me softly, with His love.” @efremsmith

“Insecure leaders will never bring out the best in others.” @DougFields

“Christianity can be awkward and confusing but Jesus is compelling” @kpowellFYI

“Love everybody, always. And start with the people who creep you out.” @bobgoff

“We will never reflect the image of Christ to the world unless we see the image of God in everyone.” @AnnVoskamp

“God produces great fruit in the times of the desert.” @richvillodas

“If you are hearing a voice over your shoulder and it isn’t saying ‘beloved,’ it isn’t Jesus.” @bobgoff

“Have a childlike faith, not a childish faith.” @bobgoff

“What we do with our love is where we are in our faith. We’re rivers, not reservoirs.” @bobgoff

“Can you be who you needed when you were younger?” @thebradmontague

“We must help teenagers understand The Great Commission: It’s going to people who look different and calling them family.” @efremsmith

“People don’t follow vision…they follow availability.” @bobgoff

“Lean into the community around you.” @joshuagriffin

“I believe your work is the most important work on the planet.” @thebradmontague

“Remember that taking a sabbath is important. It’s a commandment just like don’t kill someone. Those commands are both equal and need to be followed!”  Mark Yaconelli

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 #NYWC17

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#NYWC17 Conference Seminar Notes with Mark Oestreicher, Mark Matlock, and Steve Argue

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Understanding Teenage Brains

Mark Oestreicher
In what ways might teenagers uniquely reflect the Imago Dei, the doctrine that asserts humans are made in the image of God? Understanding the uniqueness of adolescent development (which really means understanding teenage brains) is critical to effective youth ministry. In this seminar, we’ll look at how teenagers’ brains work and what that means for your youth ministry.

How to maximize ministry:
Most important thing you can do is spend time with Jesus, ministry flows out of your authentic relationship with Jesus.
2nd understanding teenagers and specifically what is going on in their brain.

Adolescence is both a developmental reality and a cultural phenomenon.
Youth culture and external pressure of experience put onto teenagers that is molding and shaping them or just the physiologically side. It’s both. Nature and nurture. Creation stuff. What is God’s creation intention when he created the teenage brains? Basic transformation of the brain and part of God’s design. It’s good at its core.
Culture: why belonging is the lens teenagers view the world. Informs belonging. Where can I belong and that will tell me who I am. Not like when we were kids and asked were to I belong and that shapes and forms who I am. Now it’s the other way around. More and more isolated today. Isolated world from adults. Hard to move towards adulthood because we removed the onramps to adulthood.

The Context: Physical Change

Teenage changes are started in the brain. Hormones released that set off other changes.
2-4 years following the onset of puberty is 2nd largest in terms of the quantity of change in the terms of a human but most significant because awareness of the changes they are going through. Disorienting, confusing, wonderful and terrifying.

One word to describe teenagers: Change
In change: Anxiety and fear. Excitement. If you have agency or choice then you are more excited. This is the everyday experience of teenagers. They see it in the mirror. Kind-of cool and terrifying at the same time. They think they are developing wrong and that is normal. Some short blip while others it sticks with them for years or a lifetime. Too tall, too thin, too whatever. If Christian kids, imprecations for God and belief system. Imply at a subconscious level, God has messed up with me. They are asking, “Does God care? Does He even know?” 
Normalization language into conversations. Seems weird and crazy, but its good and everything will work out.
Illustration of “leg hairs must grow best in the dark.” Wearing jeans all summer long to make leg hairs grow in.
The trauma of the girls hitting puberty before boys. Cultural reality. Age has dropped for the onset of puberty.
1900’s was 14.5 years old for girls.
70’s was 13 years old.

The name of the numeral is not a good measurement of if they are a teenager or not. #Thirteen

Now the average age now is 10 years old. 2-year bell curve. 80% from 8-12.
The short answer to why: Food. 75i(sh)% is the food bad camp with preservatives and modified foods.
25 diversification of food. Globalization and not just our backyard gardens.
The US has the lowest of any country in the world.
Most research is on girls because of the first period.
Another big reason is that girls talk and boys don’t…and the boys lie.
Boys are on average 18 months behind the girls. Not just when the sex-bits are changing but the brains changing.
Girls are cognitively more advanced than boys in this age.
Dropped and extended. Was 18 months long. Now ages 10 to 30-year-old adolescents.
Early ad 10-14. Late teenage or middle adolescence 15-20. Late adolescence of emerging adult 20-30.
When do you take full responsibility for yourself? 20 year spread where we as a culture take full responsibility.
Stanley Hall described it as a time of storm and stress, rebellion, and moody. Built on a faulty assumption that has been debunked.

A developmental capacity and developmental permission.
Who am I?
What do my choices mater?
Where do I belong?

God’s puberty gift: Cognitive Change

Get the gift of the ability to think abstractly. The world is revolutionized.
Dormant muscle (brain capacity), never used before and the capacity grows into usefulness.
Illustration: Inability to move thumb after major surgery.
Abstract thinking is basically thinking about thinking.

Speculation – wrestling with what if and why questions. Journey to Christlikeness. No longer black and white.

3rd Person Perspective – considering what other people think of me or what other people think of someone else or even an idea. Preteen and child perceive their own perspective and put that into another person.
Put a 7-year-old in front of a mirror and describe self, will say what she has heard.
16 year old is mostly speculation about what she thinks other people think about her.
Literal leap of faith vs. figurative. Make it concrete so that you can bring them to the abstract.
I think I want to become a Christian but I’m afraid to jump off the tower. The girl thought it was literal.

“MarkO wanted me to share about how I lead a lot of people to Christ but that’s not what really happened…God lead a lot of people to Himself through me.”
An incredible clash of abstract thinking.

Implementing:


Emotional implications.
Wild emotional rollercoaster ride. They want to hang out with you and think you’re great and then they hate you.
Preteens and children have a small primary pallet of colors of emotions. Teenagers have a giant pallet of colors that they don’t understand. It takes years of practice before they really understand Color Theory (understanding and interpreting emotions) They often paint why to bright and bold (girls) everything extreme bright and bold or they mix in all the colors too much (guys) and get beige. Cray to observe but imagine what it’s like to experience it. You feel the emotions that are huge but you don’t even know what those emotions are. We are called to normalize this experience.
Hit a button where the teenager explodes in emotion, think, “She’s showing me her brain.” John 10:10 Jesus promises us to give us life to the full. Because we are made in the image of God we have been given emotions to have the full and rich emotions of life. You had little kid emotions but are growing into adult emotions so that you can have the best life. It’s taking time to get used to emotions. Once you get used to them you will experience this full life.

Relational Implications
Teenage friendship has abstract thinking. 
Children and preteen friendship are based on proximity.
What are you thinking about me right now? Who has power and who doesn’t?
Teenagers build a friendship by affinity. Like or value the same things. 
Teenagers are developing a new way of forming friendships and relationships as well as an upheaval of losing friends because it doesn’t fit the new qualifications for friendship but also have not figure out the new thing. Social death risk when hanging out with old friends.

Genderalization
Girls tend to form friendship groups of 2 or 3 girls. Can’t sustain 4 or more. They will break into 2 and 2 or vote someone off the island. Girls have extremely high value on vulnerability and intimacy and this can’t be sustained in a large group. Get included in or voted off because of this.
Girls are friends because we talk about stuff together
Boys not about vulnerability. 16-year-old boys use about 5k words a day. Girls 20k words a day.
Boys extremes of an affinity group, together because of the things we like to do together or the other extreme of just being alone. They haven’t figured out the process so they are alone and lonely.
Boys are friends because we do stuff together (or did one thing together once.)
Host opportunities for boys to do things together.

Spiritual Implications
What we talk about in youth group is very abstract.
Childlike faith is praised, childish faith is not.
Faith needs to grow and change in the teenage years.
The backpack of faith with tinker toys. Systematic theology of beliefs. God answers prayer but it can’t be a selfish prayer and I really have to mean it. But then he finds out his grandpa has cancer. If I have the faith of a mustard seed then I can move a mountain so he prays that cancer mountain. But then his grandpa dies and his belief system is challenged. The scaffolding erodes. Questions and doubts are good and we can walk alongside teenagers.
Think Thomas and Jesus. Jesus doesn’t let him off the hook. He helps him process the doubt. Not a shaming but an encouragement. We processed this and now you can set it aside. Your doubts are a gift to you. Normal. Essential to faith development. Let’s find something better to replace your doubt.

Some New Findings

Preface: Do we see teenagers as a problem to be solved or a wonder to behold?
90% of adults in our world see teenagers as a problem to be solved. Broken and problematic.
We spend time telling them what they are supposed to be like and they are good at falling into the norms. We can change this and give them a new norm.

15 years ago, the medical community had a misunderstanding. Thought brain was developed by 6 or 7. MRI taught us that it’s not finished developing until the mid-20’s.

Physical maturing = Age 16
Knowledge maturity = Age 18-20
Wisdom maturity = Age 25

Two primary areas that are underdeveloped in teenagers
The Pre-Frontal Cortex – Logical and Rational part of the brain.
“the frontal lobe” 4 lobes x 2. What separates us from animals. CEO or executive office. Hire order thinking.
The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for decision making, wisdom, propitiation, impulse control, planning, empathy, organization, focus.
Wonder to behold. Teenagers are not incapable of these, they just struggle. How can we help them with this? How might the struggle actually be a benefit? What might God have intended it this?

This must be a good thing.
We are risk adverse but teenagers are really good at trying new things in order to figure out how things work. This is a strength.

Temporal Lobes
Responsible for emotional understanding and interpretation (among other things)
Showing emotions on someone’s face. Generalization. We would get 8-9 right and girls would get 5 right and boys would get 2 right.
Emotional interpretations. We need to help students with this.
Be a surrogate temporal lobe. What emotion do you see on his face? I think what is happening is this, explain.

Neuron Proliferation and Winnowing
Prior to puberty, the brain grows additional million’s of neurons. Weird spike before and after puberty. Electronic Superhighway.
Dismantling of neurons. Use it or lose it principle. Those used will stay in play and those that don’t are dismantled and repurposed.
The brain is hardwired for the rest of its life. Think accents and the age 14. Childhood accent is hardwired and stays that way forever.
How are you stewarding the hardwiring of the brains of your teenagers and their faith? What are you doing with this opportunity?
How are we hardwiring their brains?
Stuff them full of the right information or do we want to hardwire their brains on how to pursue God, process doubts, experience God.

Amygdala. The lizard brain. Responsible for fear (and anger)
Highly developed amygdala. If you allow that part of the brain to be overly developed then you can’t logically process what you have fear about.
Haunted house, you know logically it’s a person in a costume but in that moment the amygdala is going crazy.
Fear-based faith. Understand God as wrathful and judgmental. Lean to legalism.

Anterior Cingulate
The Anterior Cingulate rests between the prefrontal cortex. Buffer zone.
Fulcrum between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.
Understand God as compassionate and loving. See the needs of others.
Have a thriving faith and understands a caring and loving God.

Newest Brain Research

#1 way to grow the Anterior Cingulate is through prayer and medication.
8-10 minutes a day 6 days a week. Measure the Anterior Cingulate activity. At 2 month mark noticed a 50% increase in the strength and ability of the Anterior Cingulate. This is how prayer changes us. Prayer changes the brain. It grows the Anterior Cingulate and allows you to understand God as compassionate and personal as well as seeing the needs around you. The second way to grow the Anterior Cingulate, a distance second, is through faith-based singing. A consistent and regular practice of prayer and medication. Actually sing it out loud and you will rewire your brain to the way it is supposed to be. Maybe our number 1 priority is to help teenagers develop a practice of prayer, medication, and singing. We’ve got to be Anterior Cingulate superheroes!

Book for further study: How God Changes Your Brain

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What Research Is Telling Us About Flouring In Ministry

Mark Matlock

Millions of dollars have been spent researching how ministers flourish, but do you know what the findings are and how to implement them in your life? We’ll look at cutting-edge research from Notre Dame’s Flourishing in Ministry project along with recent research from Barna and practices recommended by Full Strength Network to help you thrive.

Brotherhood Mutual: Not directly doing ministry but aligned with kingdom values. Not reduce youth Ministry claims, just want to help. Insurance goes up, what could be used for ministry is going to insurance. Churches suffer deeply and often divide or split. Harm to the neighborhood and reputation of Jesus. Brotherhood mutual turning 100 and want to give something back to the church. Want to create an organization that can help ministers and their families thrive. In August, they launched Full Strength Network: Strengthening pastors and their families.

Findings from my conversations with pastors.
Tweeted out a survey about being burned out and 36 hours later 200 responses.
Would you be willing to have a 1-hour phone call about responses? 70 share experiences.
10 interviews. 60 others sent them a link to share the story. Some responded.

Barna on the state of pastors.
On the whole, people are doing well and experiencing health. Questions to see risk and see many are at risk. Positive net effect but a sense of fragility.
And those who were not doing well were really not doing well.
Also found the aging of pastors. Median age was 44 and in 2016 the number was 54. We don’t have younger pastors coming into the pipeline.
The financial collapse in 2008, they couldn’t retire because of a strength of finances, and they are holding onto their place longer.
Youth ministry pool will be pulled.
In Christian Colleges the numbers are low because it’s not an attractive field of work.

Surprised by Pride

Seen it happen to others but didn’t believe it could happen to them.
They believed initially it would pass and they didn’t realize how far in they were.
After repeated appeals, they would believe that they needed to listen.
Relationships help us identify and see when we enter into these moments.

Isolation

The number of friendships outside of the church congregation.
Don’t know where to turn to in their greatest moment of need.
Most didn’t even feel they could talk with their spouse about it.

The Power of Human Contact

What transformed their lives or brought them into awareness was the relationship with a person.
They couldn’t read anymore. They could watch TV and be present at sporting events but when it came to actually reading they lost that ability.
Am I aware of the fact that I might be in need?
Am I able to sit down and read?
Am I feeling more alone then I’ve ever felt before?

The Science of Pastoral Wellbeing Matt Bloom

Hedonic Well-Being – Daily happiness.

Daily Affect (affect=modes+emotions)
Life Satisfaction
Losada Ratio (5 times more positive experiences than negative experiences. Observing couples and predicting longterm)
Succeed vs. Failing. Have more daily wins than losses. You can create more wins in your daily happiness. Cooking dinner.

Eudaimonic Well_Being – Thriving.

Sense of meaning and purpose
Ability to invest one’s resources to attain cherished goals.
Clean knowledge of one’s knowledge, skills, abilities (Strengthfinder and assessments to discover who you are)
Living authentically, being able to live in accordance with one’s true self
MCORE – https://motivationalcore.com 27 motivational themes. Why we do what we do. There 6 themes that showed up in the top of all but two of the youth pastors surveyed. Are we training correctly to begin with? Experience the Ideal. 36% had this in their top 3. Motivate to make concrete something that is an idea of value inside of you. Might be an idea for an event or the ideal in Jesus Christ. Clear knowledge helps you thrive. Bring the skills you need and build the team to thrive.
You can change yourself: Add skills to add to reach the goals. Do I need to add skills?
Adapt the environment: Use knowledge, skills, and abilities the reach goals. Do I need to change?
Select new environment: Go where you can accomplish the goals. Do I need to move?

The line between positive and negative sacrifice
The sacrifice of Jesus is one of the reasons we have gotten into ministry. We entered into a vocation of self-sacrifice.
Thinking you are a superhero. What will these students do if I’m not there or if I don’t respond to them?
Be mindful and check in with yourself to see if you have crossed the line.
We can only sacrifice to the amount that we are connected to the vine. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Articulating Your Narrative

Write down your experiences.
We have many ways to know and remember things. Story unites what we cautiously and unconsciously know. This brings healing to our brains. Confess your sins is telling the story and in the process, it brings healing to your brain. Biologically and spiritually.

Mindfulness

Take a minute to breathe.
Scripture reading.
Pastors who practice spatial disciples had less risk matrix for burnout.

Pastors who regularly practiced meditation or contemplation–almost every day–had lower levels of burnout, reported experiencing less stress, and had higher levels of both daily happiness and thriving. – Matt Bloom

Help You Monitor Your Wellbeing
Connect to Strengthening Resources
Receive Confidential Assistance when they need it

Build Narrative Presence: Taking the time to write down a story. Share it with a community or one person. Interact with a story.

Resources:
Read Flourishing in Ministry – Emerging Research Insights on the Well-Being of Pastors
Sign up for this community to Champion your Growth and Wellbeing 

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You, Parents and Your Post High School Students

Steve Argue

These days, it takes longer for young people to “adult.” This phenomenon is raising new questions for ministry leaders and parents as they reimagine parenting for emerging adults. These parents are seeking advice, resources, and support as they forge new relationships with their children. In this seminar, we’ll highlight key topics pertaining to emerging adults and offer helpful insights for parents. We’ll address the questions parents are asking: Is taking a gap year a good idea? A Christian college or secular college? Is college a hostile place for Christian students? What do I do when they come back home? If you’re a leader seeking resources for your students’ parents or a parent of an emerging adult, this seminar is for you.

Emerging adulthood.
The path to get to adulthood is much further than it used to be.
If my kids are at home longer, what does that mean for me?
If it takes more education and longer, how do I coach them through that?
If they are getting married later, how do I parent them?

Questions: ‘Would you reply “yes” or “no.”
Have we always had emerging adults?
Emerging adults and millennial are synonymous.
Emerging adulthood is a problem in society.
Emerging adults feel like adults when they get a job or become a parent.
30 is the new 20.
A college is a good place for Christian, emerging adults.
Emerging adults are leaving the church.

The judgments we make on young people are usually based on assumptions and expectations that we have on them. 
If you’re not making a judgment, someone you are working for, an elder, a parent, or someone does have these judgments.
There is an ambiguity around how we are supposed to support an emerging adult.

Perspective

What do we mean by emerging adulthood? ESA
18-29
“Begins with biology and ends with culture.” Santrock 1990.
This is changing though.
Biology: Young people are entering into puberty younger and younger.
Culture: Is changing. Most adults do not see younger people becoming adults until their late 20’s. 18 vote but not drink until 21.
No longer a transition of 5 years, but 20 years. This is no longer transitional but two decades of life.
Your role as a pastor in a young persons’ life is powerful. You are relationship force they need during this time.
Early, Mid, Late, Extended Adolescence.
Arnett, 2000 18-29.

Growing up looks different
More and more expectations are being placed on young people. Generations ago with a high school diploma, you can get a job and a pension.
More education, more responsibility, more involvement, more competition in global jobs.
Less and less support is being offered. Not always for the benefit of them but for the benefit of themselves. Support so that schools have a higher graduation rate, not necessarily for the students. Is it possible that we love bigger youth ministries because it is powering the business of the church?
The Gap is Social Capital: Used to be in the positive, but around 1970 we entered into a social capital deficit. Hire expectations with less support.
Ripple effect with a higher rate of unemployment. Higher school doubt.
Acknowledge that the deck is stacked against the emerging adults

Five main features of EA’s.
Identity explorations, instability, self-focused, feeling in-between, faced with unparalleled possibilities.
Instability: The difference between a fire drill and a lock-down drill.
Self-focused vs. selfish. If my world is unstable and my development is unstable, where is my attention going to be? On myself so that I don’t blow it.
Feeling in-between: Not college ministry…do they go in singles ministry? They are in-between in areas.

Identity Formation: 
Love: What relationships look like.
Work: What is their vocation
Belief: What is the belief system I have and how do I hold that?

“Adulthood” for EAs
Not marriage/job
Taking responsibility for yourself
Making indecent decisions
Becoming financially independent

Same icon but with a different interpretation. So staying home with parents because they want to become financially independent.
Cues of past generations are different for the adults today.

A Tension – Our expectations need to change

“It takes time to grow up today” Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

“Emerging adults must use this period wisely.” Meg Jay

What and how they know:
Intellectual

The starting point. Trying to tell their colleagues the examples and illustrations they use need to connect with this generation.
Beloit College Mindset List 2021

Perspective Taking
Binge Watching/Studying
Watch TV everywhere except TV
The first generation educated by video
Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland FL 60M library with no books there.
How do they learn?

Paradox of Privacy
Can hide everything from parents online
Aware of massive mining of data. NSA? Facebook?
Who do they trust?

Diversity and Commonality
A generation that has grown up with ethnic and gender diversity as bot normal and desirable
With the emphasis on diversity…what do they see as having in common?
What does a community church mean to an emerging adult?
How do they connect?

Political Polarity
This generation for who police polarity has always been normal.
These students were born six years after the Cold War and during the super ascent of Cable TV narrowcasting.
How do they dialogue?
How do we seek to understand each other?

Sexual Assault
This generation will enter college during a time when concern about sexual assault is at an all-time rise.
Rising female empowerment, opportunity, and role models.
How do they perceive roles and relationship?
How do I treat my neighbor?

“When I was your age…”
(never say this phrase ever again) We say this to try to connect but the moment we say that they are thinking it was a different world.
This shuts down the sensitivity that we need to say to emerging adults. We need to seek to understand.

What they Feel:
Emotional

Smith 2009. Lost in Transition
Emerging Adult Psyche
Optimistic and lonely
Overwhelmed
Disconnected on their own
Anxious and worries

Pause for a moment and ask if any of this is going on. A perpetual feeling of always being behind.

Emerging Adult Hurtles:
Poor moral reasoning
Damaging sexual experiences
Mass consumer materials
Civic, communal, and political disconnection.

Activism is more on the twitter feed than actually doing something. Not joining massive movements but local grassroots organizations. How many causes come across your social media feed on a given day?

“Tell Me More…”
A place for conversation. A place away from technology. A place away from distractions.
Pause long enough to engage.
How did you navigate that?
What do you think you are going to do next?

How do they relate to one another:
Relationally

Emerging adults’ relationships with parents changes
A lot of parenting books are strategies of how to get your kid to do something without any skin in the game for the adults.
Learner: 14-18 Adolescent stage. How to take responsibility. How to do things on their own.
Explorer: 18-24 Education stage. Choose their own adventure.
Focuser: 24-30 Decisions stage. Discovering what is most important to them and where they want to go.

Relationally, who are we to become as our kids move through these phases?
Learner: Saw parents as Teachers. Give agency to help them grow and learn.
Explorer: Move from being a teacher to being a Guide. Come alongside. Moral support. Times we take the lead, times we walk alongside.
Focuser: Parents become the Resource. Exercise patience and keep our mouths shut for when they come to us.

What is your role in this situation? What should you be doing as a parent?

“I’m here…”
For you. This is not a static statement, it’s dynamic. It’s moving and repositioning around the emerging adult.

Parenting those leaving high school
College or no college? Future success and future debt. Does the training go to a job that exists in the future?
Christian College or Public College? It depends. A college is an option but not the only option. Online options, community college options, no college options.
Preparation (not gap) year? Maybe. Preparation year or find yourself year. Focus year. Most people are up for it but parents are rarely.
We put undue pressure on ourselves that colleges push.
Give each other grace and young people grace.
Key to preparation year: It needs to have a goal and process. What’s the end result?
Help the students envision why this college or why this place.
Think long and hard about the debt young people are collecting and the pressure this will add to their life.
College is a good investment if you use it in the right way.
Taking out debt without finishing a degree is hurting. On top of that, when they marry they add on even more debt.

Parenting and Pastering those ages 18-23
Communicate good news to those, where they are at.
Year 1: Daily Life Management
Year 2-3: Existential questions (work, love, belief)
Year 4: What’s next…

Emerging Adults and Faith

Faith:
Faith -> faith-ing – a verb life quality. We Faith. Dynamic, changing, and looks different tomorrow. Doubt is a friend of faith, rather than an enemy of faith. Embracing faith for their own. When or if they walk away, it’s not the end, it’s a gut-wrenching step in their story.
Intellectual
Emotional
Relational

Questions:
Intellectual question can lead to relational fallout
Meaning making, not rebellion
Ask: “What do you believe that you don’t think I believe?”
New questions need new resources.

Doubts: We shut them down, not so that they feel better but so that I feel better.
We communicate, why did you leave us.

Contagiousness:
The anxiety we feel is about our own faith.
We must address our own faith journeys, not fix theirs.
Their journeys will not be ours (and our journey will not be theirs)

“Parenting is an improvisational and courageous act.” Steve Argue
Article: Connecting with college students over break: they’re bringing home more than their laundry.

Emerging Adults + Churches and Parents’ Voices

The million dollar question – What are you doing with EA’s? 
EA’s who stay and go
Transition(s)
Formation forward and backward
Defining the relationship (yes, DTR) – Who are you and who am I?
Once defined, we know how to move forward. KidMin, defined very well. YouthMin, decently clear. Post HS has no definition. So what do we do? Create another program because it makes me feel good although the relationship hasn’t changed. This is formation backward not formation forwards. We are so worried about our young people being in the church that we pressure the church because we don’t know what to do. Short-term fixes to a long-term problem. We see you as a contributing member, you have a voice and a talent that is worth investing in, your ideas are often better than ours, we will fund you and hold you accountable because we believe in you and your perspective. Who is going to believe in them? They have the ideas. We have the capital. As a church, we need to recognize the fact that sometimes they leave the church as an act of faithfulness. Not that our church is bad or drifting off to nothingness but that sometimes we have other needs and can’t meet theirs. Maybe we send them to the people or organization that can help them where they are at. If the goal is to keep them in our seats we missed the point. Give them tools to go to their next step. It’s not that they are leaving the church for the wrong reasons or that if we keep them that we are right. We might be doing them a disservice if we keep them when we should send them.

If you ask an emerging adult what they want they will describe youth group.
When we give them what they want, we are not giving them what they need.
We are putting off the inevitable which is inviting them to be become fully invested members of our faith community.

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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.

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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