New Year. New Me. And This Time, It’s Personal

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You can see the difference in a leader who is just showing up and a caring leader who shows up predictably to create a safe community. There’s an obvious difference between someone reading off a script and someone who has crafted an engaging, relevant, and memorable experience. And you can feel the climate change in a ministry when the leader goes from checking off another Sunday to aligning a team with a common language and strategy. The difference comes, and things begin to change, when you make it personal.

In the early church, when the believers form a community, the writer of Acts says: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer,” (Acts 2:42, NLT). This year, make it personal by deepening your devotion. Leave behind excuses, take off the masks, and get real with your community. Steward well the gift you were given in being a part of the local church. Don’t just tell people to join a volunteer team or life group but model what it means to make community personal.

Paul challenges us to make our work personal when he 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,” (2 Timothy 2:15, NLT). This year, make it personal by working for the Lord. If you work only to find the approval of your pastor you might be tempted to cut corners when not being supervised. Work on both the big projects and the minor details with a heart full of worship.

Paul also offers some encouragement when he says: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up,” (Galatians 6:9, NLT). We all know how long most New Year’s resolutions last, but most people don’t make their commitment personal. As leaders in the church, we realize the impact we have in this next generation. Let’s make the mission personal and not get tired of caring for people.

This year can be a time of both personal and professional growth but it begins with you! Will you take on Orange Conference 2019’s theme and make it personal?

(Originally shared to the Orange Blog at: http://orangeblogs.org/orangeleaders/2018/12/20/new-year-new-time-personal/)

One Christmas Gift from Orange You Need Now

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Every year the Orange Conference is a huge gift to ministries around the world. The work they put into creating a strategy and plan shapes churches and helps us all do ministry with excellence. The Phase Project is one gift that I wish every ministry leader would lean into and learn from.

Orange defines a phase as, “A timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.” If we want to influence the next generation we need to understand their development and study their culture. To leverage the time we have with a student we need this research-driven project to impact our thinking.
Do you know when attention span increases up to 45 minutes, and the average girl begins puberty? Do you know the phase when “unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where you kid shouts, ‘Look at me.’” Are you trying to disciple students in the phase when “friendships shift, grades count, and interests change so often your teenager has to explain, ‘This is me now.’”

The Phase Project helps us understand how to make disciples on their level. In the elementary phase, kids are thinking like scientists and they rely on what they can observe. To help these kids mature in their relationship with God we need to tell one story, use real illustrations, and make it fun!

You have probably heard, you get about 40 hours in a year to tell that middle schooler everything they need to know about God, Jesus, faith, forgiveness, grace, love, life, and eternity. So what’s the plan?

“How are you going to influence the spiritual direction of the average child or teenager when you only have a few minutes every other week? You could increase your time with each kid if you…build a Christian school, show up for dinner at their house once a week, start a 6 a.m. Bible study before school, bring back lock-ins, crusade against competitive sports on Sunday, force every parent to sign a 52-week contract, or add mid-week programming. Or you could rethink your strategy to make the most of the limited time you will have at every phase.”

Take time today to take advantage of the Phase Project gift Orange has made available to you by checking out the Phase Webpage. And if you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you get your ticket now for Orange Conference 2019 because I’m sure this year’s conference will be a huge gift to you and your ministry!

The Orange Conference – It’s Personal #OC19

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What is your all-time favorite movie scene? Is there a scene that instantly comes to your mind that includes both inspiration and a man on a horse? 

One of my favorite scenes is found in the classic movie Braveheart. Specifically the scene with William Wallace’s speech to his army right before he leads the Scottish countrymen to fight. The Scotland men, coming from all sorts of backgrounds are united under the one voice of William Wallace. William makes this battle personal for Scotland fighting against their enemy England. There is a spur of action, passion, strategy, and precision. 

If you have ever been to Orange Conference, you have felt this exact same emotion. With energetic worship, passionate speakers, dynamic breakouts, and Seriously Night you will be ready to go to battle for your students, church, preteen, or junior higher. 

Orange Conference is the speech before the fight that William Wallace (Reggie Joiner) gives to the Scottish (attendees) and that is the amazing thing about Orange Conference. This gathering of 7,000+ people makes the fight personal. The Orange Conference is not the fight for Scotland (the church) this is our pep rally before the fight. Let’s make it personal. (Insert William Wallace voice here) Jesus made a difference because Jesus made it personal! Let’s do the same!

Registration opens on October 18th! Don’t miss this gathering. Don’t stay on the fence. Instead, come and find the inspiration you need to fight the good fight and finish the race.

It’s Here: Orange Tour 2018 Session Notes

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We Can Do More Together – Joseph Sojourner – @iAmSojourner

“We can do more together.” As you look at those words see more. 

We – plural. We weren’t made to go through life by ourselves. 

Can – positivity. Mindset and perspective where I won’t let my hope be robbed. I have all I need in Christ who strengthens me. 

Do – practical. We need action steps. We need a plan and a strategy. Let’s set that plan into action. 

More – potential. What we see all around us when we look into the eyes of a student. Use your voice. You can do so much more then you see. 

Together – partnership. You don’t have to look like me or believe what I believe but we can still build something together to make the world better. 

Look what we can do when we are holding each other accountable. Will you fight for the people that God placed in your life? In a cruel world that wants to isolate us and make us take sides, know that we found love and can do more together. Maybe you can do more together. 

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We can do more together when we act like the future is now – Danielle Strickland – @djstrickland

Out of the chaos of creation, God begins to speak. Lean into the chaos. Jesus wants to speak in this spot, in this mess of a world that we live in, to bring beauty. 

Marching through blood ally to string quartet music. We’re getting married, want to come? There’s a wedding and we’re invited.

Talking with the guy in the dumpster and wanting him to know a couple of things.
1. This is real. It was really happening.
2. He was still invited. The reception wasn’t done. 

You know who is never invited to the wedding, that guy. It wasn’t too late and he was an invited guest to the wedding. 

When the church started there were no longer these great divides but doing life together and it was a sign or wonder for the people. From every tribe, every tongue, and every language. God has a plan for this world that will unite the world where we will realize we are better together. It’s for real, and you’re invited. 

Jesus is knocking on your dumpster and saying this is real. What God’s plan is for the world…is real. The question is, “How are you going to get out of the dumpster?”

If we really believed that Jesus was Lord and His Kingdom will come then we don’t have to reach into the past, we can reach into the future. We can pull that future into the present. We can live that dream right now in real life. If the future, our future with Jesus looks like every tribe, tongue, and gender. What would happen if we lived it now? What would happen if we were the people who climbed out of the dumpster of fear, comfort, and apathy? 

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We can do more together when we act like the next generation is watching – Reggie Joiner – @reggiejoiner

There is a generation watching you. There best chance to determine if this is really real is how you live this out.  How we work together will change how a generation sees God.

In the story of Nehemiah, the people lived in those conditions so long that they didn’t see the conditions they were living in anymore. They lived in those conditions so long that they could not imagine how anything would ever change. 

We don’t want a generation sitting in the ruins of your community. Nehemiah was bothered by the generation not taking it seriously and becoming so disillusioned. 

If God is so amazing then why don’t we stop talking about it and do something?  

A great place to start is to simply name what’s broken. If we can’t name the problem, we can’t fix the problem. 

Nehemiah called out the security and vulnerability of the city. Don’t be in denial mode. About the public schools, the worst part of the community.

You don’t have influence when you’re right about what you believe. You have influence when you care about people. When any church ignores what’s broken in their community, they foreign their right to have influence with their community. 

Nehemiah prayed and admitted the problems and said please help me God because here I go. 

Decide to do something.
“I was cupbearer to the King.”
He was admiring what he was not. He was not a priest or spiritual leader of Jerusalem but just to make the king happy. 

You aren’t responsible for a generation’s view of God because you are a pastor but because you are God’s people. You don’t have influence because you are right. You have influence because you care. Volunteers, this isn’t your job, you’re just a cupbearer. Leverage what you have so a generation can know God. 

Go see for yourself!

Nehemiah leveraged what he had and put it at risk and then he did something. If you’re going to understand the situation you’ve got to go see it for yourself. Drive around town and see what the problem is. When you go see for yourself, it changes everything. Get up close and personal with the situation. 

Build the church by pushing other people into the spotlight and not on a personality. When the “personality” leaves the student ministry unravels. If I don’t get up close and personal, if I don’t show up, then I won’t be the right kind of leader. If I go there, I will have a better understanding and people will follow me. Where are you going to see for yourself? 

“Proximity always changes your perspective. The closer you get, the better you can see.” – Reggie Joiner

If enough churches get close enough, to the marginalized it would change the way we do what we do. If we get close enough we get bothered enough. If you get close enough, this won’t be babysitting. There will be a relationship and you will care when they aren’t there. Everything changes when you get close enough. Invite a generation of leaders who have been sitting on the sidelines to begin doing something about the problem. Don’t measure success by how many people show up but by how many people are engaged on the frontlines. 

Give every kid an adult who will show them who Jesus is. 

If we can get a consistent leader in the lives of the kids in this town, it will change this town. If we try we will reach a greater impact on the communities. 

“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17 NIV 

Do something you don’t know how to do.

If you’re going to work together you are going to be asked to do things you don’t know how to do. 

How we work together will send a message to a generation that is watching. We are living in a very unique time and sometimes we need to recognize that in this story all that was required was for people to roll up their selves and accomplish something. 

No spiritual assessment test. They just did what needed to be done because that was the calling. Because of the risk of not doing the world. What you do, when you get on the front lines with kids and teenagers, is the most important job on the planet. 

Everyone that Nehemiah needed to do the work that needed to be done were already in the town. They just needed clarity, vision and a reminder as to what was at stake. Maybe there are people around you who with a little clarity will show up. 

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Stop Recruiting Start Retaining – Darren Kizer – @darrenkizer 

The vision for ministry has often outpaced the staffing. Maybe the issue isn’t the teams but that I don’t know what I’m doing. Begin to dream and ask, “What if you didn’t have to recruit?” 

In every organization there is a pocket that has more volunteers then they need. There is a culture where their volunteers are recruiting their volunteers. Focus on making sure they get what they need to make it happen. 

There’s something better than just trying to survive Sunday and then there’s something better than the Saturday night texts. 

4 Stages Of A Makeover

Stage 1 Makeover: Foundation of Four Before

Excellence – Excellence in how you interact with people. The resources there for them. Without excellence, you will always struggle to have volunteers. You have to say, “I”m going to ensure that their experience will be one of excellence.” Do the absolute best with what you have. If you said you would do something then you did it. Their role is what you said it would be. 

Mission – We have the most important mission, changing lives for eternity. The further they are from the conversation, the more you have to remind them of the mission. If in the parking lot they need more reminders. If they come on Tuesday afternoon, they will have a hard time connecting. Link the mission to what they did. 

Appreciation – People don’t necessarily want appreciation events and stuff but to be appreciated. With volunteer appreciation Did you love them or do a tactic to keep them. 

Invitation – If you expect volunteers to volunteer you will be disappointed. It’s not their job to sign up. They should be servant leaders but we can’t just put that on them. It’s not, “how come they’re not” it’s our job to show what needs to be done. From the pulpit, they will do their time but then feel like they don’t have to. Don’t play the guilt card. 

Stage 2 Makeover: Stop Recruiting…Start Retaining – Darren Kizer – @darrenkizer

What we need is a shift in our focus. Don’t forget about the crew. If it depends on me to do this, then we will be limited. Make sure the culture of volunteerism is something they are running towards and want to be a part of it. 

Restaurant – If you have a great experience, you might invite someone to it. If a bad experience then they will tell people not to go there. Inside your organization, there is a conversation going on about volunteering. We have to get our culture to a place where volunteers love it and want to bring a friend. You are the best volunteers I know and you probably have some awesome friends. Who can I help you talk to about coming with you and getting on board? I’m having a great time and the two of us doing this together would make it even more amazing. 

Celebrate their Significance – What they do matters. Give up a possible volunteer for the individual and the church if it’s a better fit. 

Provide First-Class Support – The resources are there to do the job you asked for them to do. Their small group materials, their place to meet, and their communication pieces. Sending materials out the day of is not giving the resources early enough. Professionals will leave because they would treat others better. Equipment should work. Supplies should be there. 

Fuel Meaningful Connections – Biggest bump the quickest and cheapest. An unspoken social contract that when I volunteer for you, I will get a new friend. Meet people, they will be kind, and I’ll get a new relationship. If after 2-3 experiences they didn’t get a new friend then you didn’t keep your word. Lean into this. Volunteers gather in a clump and talk because they want a relationship (or they’re scared). Tweak how you are doing things so they are meeting people and having a relationship. 

Empower Their Passions – Help people grow and move. Not serving in one spot for ten years but what’s the felt need in their life that their volunteerism can help. When volunteering for you they will win at home and win at work. Equip them with tools and techniques to win. 

Stage 3 Makeover: The Volunteer Question – “Is it worth it?”

If it doesn’t feel worth it, they will do their time but then they are gone. As a leader, help them answer that question, “yes.” The event that you want them to be at better be worth it. They said no to something else to say yes to you. In saying yes to you they will later be asking the question, is it worth it? Be ready to share stories. Understand the win. How it connects to the whole. Let them know that what they gave up for this is so worth it. 

Stage 4 Makeover: Lead So Small Groups Win

Evaluate and prioritize things so small groups win. Yes, we need someone in the parking lot, but it’s so that small groups win. Small group leaders aren’t more important but the small group winning is more important. Move resources and vision cast with this end in mind. What do they need? What is keeping them from winning? When the small group wins, communicate it through all the layers so that they know how they helped the small group win. 

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We can do more together – Jeff Henderson – @JeffHenderson 

Volunteerism is everything. How do we raise the bar? 

If you don’t have thriving volunteers, you really don’t have a thriving church. 

“Digical” – marrying the digital and physical world together to help volunteers win. 

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We saw you winning and we want to show you that you are winning. 

We didn’t sign up for easy, we signed up for worthwhile.

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We Can Do More Together When We Help Parents Win – Kara Powell – @KPowellFYI

Does your church help parents win or does it help parents help your church win?

When we look at parents do we see them as Checkbooks, Chauffeur, Chaperones?

If we looked at your phone to see the last 3 times that you messaged a parent was it for something you needed or something you thought they needed? 

You don’t have to like every parent for every parent to have more influence than you. Guardians, step-parents, foster parents, incarcerated parents, divorced parents, non-tithing parents, Pinterest perfect and Pinterest failing parents. Every parent. 

Parents, we can’t out teach what you teach at home, we’re not that good. The best way to see kids win is to help parents win. When parents win, kids win. So let’s help parents win. 

I have such a great hope for what God can do through God’s people. The typical church in the US is shrinking or aging. Growing young church prioritize young people and families. 

When parents win, the church wins. 

Would you like a free resource that you can have access to right now for parent ministry: Text “Talk” to 66866

Parents will have more influence than you because…
Parents will know more than you’ll ever know.
Parents will have more time than you’ll ever have.
Parents will be in their kids’ futures when you’re not.

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If you want to help parents win, you have to care about what parents care about. Kristen Ivey – @Kristen_Ivy

Sometimes if you’re not in the world of parenting, it’s easy to get focused on your ministry and forget the everyday reality that parents are living in. 

The Top 10 Issues Parents Care About:
1. Bullying/cyberbullying (61%)
2. Not enough exercise (60%)

3. Unhealthy eating (57%)
4. Drug abuse (56%)
5. Internet safety (55%)
6. Child abuse and neglect (53%)
7. Suicide (45%)
8. Depression (44%)
9. Teen pregnancy (43%)
10. Stress (43%)

All of these concerns really have one thing in common: Their kids future. Every parent cares about a kid’s future. 

Parents care about education. The right school, the right teacher, and the right learning. 

Parents care about activities. Not wanting something else to do on Sunday but because they understand their kids will learn something in sports that they will not learn anywhere else. Perseverance, discipline, teamwork, develop a passion. 

Parents care about relationships. That they have a friend and are not alone. That they will have good relationships. 

Parents care about finances. That their kids will know how to deal with money and will get a good future job. 

It’s not that parents are apathetic and don’t care about their kids, it’s that they are focused on other things. It’s not that they don’t value church it’s that they don’t see how the church will contribute to their kids future. Is church as important as the pastor says it is? 

Church leaders care about a kids faith. They are focused on what matters most, the gospel and will unintentionally send a message that we are about the gospel and you guys take care of everything else. We care about their faith and one book and you get everything else. We take what’s spiritual and separate it from every other day of the week in a kids life. 

When we separate what happens in the church from what happens at home…we minimize the potential of what the church and home can do together. 

When we separate what happens in the church from what happens at home…we undermine the potential of faith to intersect a kid’s everyday life. 

It’s our job as a church to begin caring about what parents care about. Take what is spiritual and help it to connect with everything else. 

You have to leverage a parent’s concern about their children’s future, to position them as champions for their kid’s faith.

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Leverage the family to become the champion. – Reggie Joiner – @reggiejoiner

In Nehemiah, the people began to get tired and now they hear the rumors that there is going to be an attack and all the work they are doing is at risk. How do we get going in the right direction? 

Nehemiah 4:13 “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.”

Leverage the family to become the champion. The vision became personal. 

When you make parents the champion…it increases the odds for the child.

No one has the potential to be a champion for a child’s faith, like the parent who cares about that child’s future. Nehemiah believed in the parents enough, he wanted them to be the champion of the story. The enemy decided not to attach. Why? Because they saw moms and dads standing in the gaps for their sons and daughters. 

When you make parents the champion…it builds trust with the parents. 

When you make parents the champion…it improved relationships in the home. 

If parents can’t explain your strategy, then parents aren’t doing it.

We want to help every parent become more intentional at home and come connected to a community of faith. 

Meet People

Add Experiences 

Prioritize Time

Identify Needs

Talk Together

The parents who did show up where the parents who didn’t even need it. We program to engage those who are already engaged. Make the disengaged parent the champion. 

Doing programs for parents who already come is not enough. Figuring out how to engage the disengaged parents is where we need to focus. Make parents the champion and change the story. 

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Growing Your Church Through Family Ministry – Jeff Henderson – @JeffHenderson  

What has changed in the church was that before family ministry was secondary to adult ministry. This is one of the best times to be in family ministry. 

Plant a thriving growing healthy community. One of the best ways to grow the church is through family ministry. 

Elementary kids can’t drive themselves to kids. When kids get parents excited about waking up for the church, this is a game changer for the church and the family. You create wonderful environments for children. 

2 questions for your team to wrestle with.

1. What do we want to be known for?
This is our vision. When people in the community talk about us, this is what they say. It can’t be two or three sentences long. 

Coming Soon Gwinnett Church. Jeff didn’t want the sign to immediately make people feel like they didn’t belong. He wanted something broad enough to let people know what they were for and that they could be a part of it. They decided on #ForGwinnett

2. What are you known for?
When these two questions line up you begin to grow. You create a sales force for free. You get positive word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is still the most effective and powerful form of marketing. People are experiencing your vision and when you deliver on that vision people talk about it and it grows. 

When there is a gap between what you want to be known for and what you are known for you feel a tension. Not talking about perfection, just trying to shrink the gap. 

Not just ministry globally but ministry specifically. 

Middle school ministry example: We want to be known for giving students an opportunity to have a faith of their own. Are middle school students experiencing that? 

For High School: We want to be known as the best night of the week. 

What do we want to be known for with “the parents” “the elementary kids” “the community.” 

Eat More Chicken. You have no idea how long it took CFA to come up with these 3 little words. This is hard work. Carve out time to think through this. 

Be for the customer. How do you define the customer? The student, the volunteer, the parent? Be focused on what the customer wants. 

On most businesses and social media, the past 10 posts are most likely about what is happening inside the walls of the business. For Gwinnett church, they always post about the customer and the community as well as the church. If a business was a person, most businesses would be considered a narcissist. Customers are far to savvy for that. We’re better than them and we are only concerned about ourselves. Our vision should be that we are for you, we can help you. When was the last time you liked a volunteers Instagram post? When did you comment on their stuff? Not monologue but a dialogue. Be more engaged with them than talking about yourself. 

In UpStreet they are talking about self-control. Not just talking about what the pastor is talking about, but talk about what is happening in the children’s ministry. Most emails strategies for the church are terrible or non-existent. One of the best things you can do to grow the church is to grow the email list by adding value to your email subscribers. Lean more into email than social media. Just a couple weeks ago Facebook changed their algorithms. When you hit post you think it’s going to everyone but now it’s going to very few people. Facebook and Instagram can’t change your email algorithm. 

Church email is not to inform, inform, inform.
What is your current open rate?
What is the click rate?
If you grow your email open rates you will grow your church attendance, especially if you talk about family ministry. 

Starting next week, emailing UpStreet. Parents, if you want your kids to have more self-control this week, try this….. and in October we will be talking about this in UpStreet. (And for more on self-control join us at Gwinnett church. Send emails with value, send an email with value, send an email with value and then a request. Will you forward this email to someone who this would be helpful too? 

Most family ministries are underfunded. Most churches only have one person who wakes up in the morning thinking about the church’s finances and that’s the lead pastor. What can I, the kid’s pastor, do to come alongside you to help fund this vision?  The kid’s pastor can give stories. 

Most offering moments are a huge opportunity to leverage stories of ministry. 

My responsibility in fundraising is to make the ask. Their responsibility is to make the answer. 

For the community, we need to have an outward focus. Try Facebook advertising experiment. A few weeks ahead, target families in your community. Give families helpful resources. We want to be known for helpful content that encourages their kids and helps them be a champion. Do this for people in your community, whether you do this or not. Highlight and feature people in the community who are making a difference even if they don’t attend your church. This is adding value. 

One of the most important things you can do for you is to stay inspired. Remain inspired. How rested are you? Are you maintaining a sustainable pace? How are your relationships? Do you have someone who has the type of relationship where they could call your spouse to see how you’re really doing? How are you letting the Gospel be for you first? It’s okay to be tired, it’s not okay to be exhausted and burned out. 

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We can do more together with Lee Jenkins, Sam Collier, and Reggie Joiner – @LeeAllenJenkins – @SamCollier – @reggiejoiner

Racial Issues were always at the forefront of everyday life. It’s always been there, just now we have social media. Been more discouraged about racial unity in the past 3-4 years then he has ever been. At the time of discouragement, God brought people into his life so he knew he didn’t have to do this alone. 

We are called to bear each others burdens. 

The systemic issue today. Still followed around in a beauty supply store or a proximately white restaurant. 

The perspective changes everything. Proximity changes everything. Made to feel like family immediately. A radar for social justice issues. 

What can the white church learn from the black church? 

Our theology is deeply connected to our sociology.
Not just about heaven and sound good but connected to everyday life because historically everyday life has been difficult. Jesus is a deliverer. A burden bearer. Not just salvation but need Jesus every day of our life. Collectively this is in a different way for the black church. 

It seems like every message comes back to hope. That we are a light for the generation. That Jesus should be a part of the solution to the problems you are facing. You will hear about life’s issues. The way the gospel is preached is different. 

Social justice is a Gospel Issue.
Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” 

Jesus stepped on this planet and cared for people in a social way. If you ever get accused of caring about the community in a way that you are compromising your belief, that’s a compliment. That looks like Jesus. Jesus stood up for women, the poor, the marginalized. 

Most important is: Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself.  

The white church has an issue with combining social justice and Biblical values. “Never Would Have Made It” social justice issues impact. The Gospel has to inform. 

We have extraordinary churches and leaders that you can learn from. A lot of black people are coming into white spaces but not a lot of white people are coming into black spaces. They won’t come to our conferences and our churches. Black, Mexican, and Asian folks coming into the white environment but we need to see this go both ways. Not just minorities coming into a white environment but white people come into a black environment and appreciate the differences. 

Check your phone, if you don’t have people that are different than you, you’re probably not growing as much as you need to and you aren’t understanding what God is calling you to. 

When you are the majority culture you can stay within your comfort zone. You can live out your whole life without dealing with minorities. But as a ministry, you have to learn how to deal with the majority to be successful. You are missing out on humanity. You are missing out on what God created when you don’t have cross cultural and cross racial relationships. Not just on your platform but in your relationships. We really can make a difference together. 

Nehemiah 6:3 NIV – “So I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Keep working together, regardless. 

This isn’t your fault but it is your problem. We don’t think your racist, we just want to know if you’re anti-racist. 

Treat each other with the right kind of respect. 

Expect to see God. But not necessarily the God you expect. 

The way you work together with other church and each other matters. What if the generation changes how they see God because they see how you treat each other. 

It changed what those outside the walls believed about God. 

Nehemiah 8:17 NIV – “The whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.”

It changed how an entire generation listened to God. 

Nehemiah 8:3 NIV – “He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”

Don’t get the order wrong. When this group of people worked together then people paid attention to what God said. After they started acting like the people of God then they listened up. 

If you want this generation to listen, invite them to do something significant. 

The Orange Tour Is Now A Huge Gift to Parents

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You probably heard about the Orange Tour, but do you know about Parent Cue Live and Lead Small Night? Orange Tour is a one-day event in 17 cities across the country and the night before, parents and small group leaders have the opportunity to engage in practical and fun training.

Parent Cue Live is a two-hour experience where Orange will help parents become more connected to your community of faith and more intentional at home. Every parent desires to better understand their kids, engage with them more intentionally, and learn how to dialogue with them about critical issues.

For less than the cost of dinner and a movie, Parent Cue Live will help you…
REDISCOVER what your kids need most in every phase
REPRIORITIZE how you engage with your kids every week
REIMAGINE how to dialogue with your kids about critical issues
RETHINK ways to partner with a church to impact your kid’s future

At Lead Small Night, we’ll talk leader-to-leader about practical ways to impact the lives of kids and students at every phase. Small Group Leaders will rally around a common language that helps them win in leading the next generation.

Your Orange Tour ticket includes registration to not only this event but also to the night before! Make sure to mark your calendar to attend either Parent Cue Live or Lead Small Night!

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Book Review & 2 Book Giveaway- Caught In Between by Dan Scott

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Are your preteens getting lost in the transition from childhood to adolescence? What if you could stop losing kids and instead engage them through a preteen environment intentionally designed to help them own their faith? What if your environment offered preteens the tools they need to move forward with their faith into adulthood? 

In Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out, Dan Scott shows readers how preteens think. Their brains are changing, they face school stress, extracurriculars are demanding their time, and all the while they are being bombarded by digital media. In the midst of this chaos, the church can be either a place that feels irrelevant or a place that adapts to fit their needs. 

This book is a practical resource to help you rethink preteen ministry. In our teaching, Dan challenges us to think, “How does what we share impact the rest of their week?” He shows us, “Our job is to move preteens from learning facts about the Bible to finding themselves in the Bible.” And he explains, “Our goal is to emphasize how the Bible relates to today while honoring why the passage was written in the first place. 

After giving us insight into the world of a preteen, Dan shows readers how to plan, prepare, and launch a preteen ministry and then he offers worksheets and checklists to keep you on track. Caught in Between is a resource for pastors and volunteers who desire to build a strong preteen ministry in their church. 

To buy your copy, just click the link: Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out.

To be entered to win a copy, just share this blog post and tag me (@coreyrayjones) and I’ll be mailing out two copies within the next 10 days. 

Does Your Team Have Momentum? #OT18

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Is your team all working towards the same goal? What would happen if everyone began moving together in one direction? At this year’s Orange Tour you can bring your team and begin seeing what would happen if you began speaking with One Voice. 

Parents and small group leaders are working toward common goals . . .

Staff and volunteers are compelled by a common vision . . .

Those who have influence are speaking a common language . . .

The church and the home are connected by a common strategy . . .

An entire community is inspired to champion common values . . .

#OT18 will be an opportunity to re-imagine the potential you can have as One Voice. 

Check out this video and then go sign your team up!

 

#OC18 Session Notes for Dr. John Townsend, Sam Collier, Lee Jenkins, Reggie Joiner, Carlos Whittaker, Virginia Ward, Louie Giglio

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Dr. John Townsend – @drjohntownsend

4 Common Blindspots for Leaders
Having it all together
Tasks before relationships
Conflict avoidance
Harsh (internal) judge

Gather somewhere between 3 and 10 of the right people and say:
‘If you see me doing anything that would drive my life, my family, or my leadership off a cliff, can I trust you to tell me way ahead of time.’

What’s the abbreviation for Blind Spots? 

Sam Collier – @SamCollier 

The best way for us to find our voice is to help someone else find their voice.”

“A mentor shows up in critical moments to speak timely truths in a relevant way in a critical moment with relational capital so they can receive it.”

“Preachers inform, mentors transform”

“Mentors transform. sponsors platform.” 

Lee Jenkins – @LeeJenkinsGroup 

If we don’t confront something, then we can never cure it.

Like winning the Olympics with an asterisk by your name…The asterisk on America is how we have dealt with the issue of race. 

Step across your racial comfort zones. 

The church should model racial unity to the world.

Be humble enough to be wrong. 

We can do more together when we act like their problems are our problems. 

Carlos Whittaker
Virginia Ward
Sam Collier
Lee Jenkins

We can’t be every tribe, nation, and tongue in heaven if we are not here on Earth. @vawardwow

Challenge everyone who is watching, to go home and have the conversation. @loswhit

One of the biggest disconnects we have going on is a lot of my white friends don’t see there is a problem. @SamCollier

When you accept us as a friend or person you must accept our pain too. @LeeJenkinsGroup 

We have to start acting like we are invited to the party and we need you to know we want to be there. 

This can’t be won on social media, it will be won through relationships. – @reggiejoiner

There are so many of us in this room, and a lot of us feel this way, we are sorry. And in that position we want to say, tell us what to do. – @reggiejoiner

Read John 4 about how Jesus went to her, stepped into her world, valued her, asked for a drink of water to put his Jewish lips on her Samaritan cup. For a person in power to say I need something that I can get from you. 

Listen and believe what we are saying. 

Believe us. We really aren’t crazy.  

Befriend us. Establish a relationship.

Gain compassion. 

Stand up for us. Stand up for righteousness and God’s standard. 

Internally build relationships with people that look different, sound different and think different. 

Intentionally demonstrate to others what this means. 

Louie Giglio – @louiegiglio

If there’s anything that unites us, it’s the song of worship that we sing.

This is leadership 101: ‘Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.’

If we all collectively set our gaze on Jesus, it draws us together.

Salvation always results in worship. Salvation’s end is worship. Our destiny is worship where every tribe, every nation, every language, every people are in one gathering by the power of the Lamb and the finished work of the cross.”

It’s always about God, it’s always been about God, and it always will be about Him.

Sin makes us dead, but Christ makes us alive.

“God brought us from death to life. Not from bad to good. But death to life!”

It’s in the spirit of following Christ Jesus that there is the possibility of unity.

Worship is a weapon because it gets our gaze back on the God of heaven.

You’re not David in the story of David and Goliath.

God is inviting us to wake up and to look up and realize there’s another hero in the story and it’s not me and it’s not you.

Depression is big, but Jesus is bigger.

I want to invite us as a church to speak the name of Jesus more.

#OC18 Session Notes for Josh Shipp, Kristen Ivy, Tom Shefchunas, Ryan Leak, Dr. Deborah Tillman, Jon Acuff, Jen Hatmaker, Kara Powell, and Reggie Joiner

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Josh Shipp – @JoshShipp

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids over time. 

The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: http://a.co/8VNNDBh 

What kids will not talk out, they will act out. 

I never thought there would be at least one adult I could turn to.

Being a safe place is both about protecting a kid from circumstances out of control and simultaneously giving the gift of helping them feel the things that are under their control. 

90% of adult drug addicts begin experimenting with drugs before the age of 18. 

Every kid is one choice away from becoming a statistic.

Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Kids spell trust T-I-M-E

When kids are going through something difficult, they don’t turn to an organization…they turn to someone.

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Kristen Ivy – @Kristen_Ivy

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are different.

The point of our small groups isn’t just to make kids belong, but to give all of us and our wild, eccentric differences a place to belong.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you see yourself differently.

If you want to discover yourself, you have to get close to people who are different than you.

In the church, we get truth perspective. 

Truth is real, but perspective is different.

So often in the church, we forget that there is a difference between truth and perspective.

We, as a finite people, cannot tell the story of an infinite God alone.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you show the world what love is. 

Our differences are an opportunity…a platform to show what unconditional love looks like.

“Our differences are what make the world such a vibrant place.”

What you do for kids and teenagers matters. But what you do only matters because of what someone else in this room that’s wired

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Tom Shefchunas – @Coachshef 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are hurting. 

Where there is no strategy if there is no sacrifice.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice our felt need to say everything so that what is most important can clearly be heard.

Read the gospels over the next 90 days and ask yourself 3 questions: 

What did Jesus choose to say and not to say? 

How did He choose to say it?

When did he choose to say it? 

Jesus and the woman at the well.

When: After had built a relational bridge strong enough to support truth. 

How safe do we want to be? 

Wanting to be a safe place and being a safe place are two different things. 

If we treat mental health issues like a sin issue, not a medical issue, then kids are NOT going to talk about it. 

What makes an adult safe? Her eyes when she listened to me. 

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Ryan Leak – @ryanleak 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for each other. 

UnOffendable: https://www.ryanleak.com/new-products/unoffendable-no-offense-none-taken 

Have you recently sat with someone who made the journey from lost to found? 

Taking someone from an outsider to an insider. 

Friends are like elevators, they can take you up, or they can take you down.

Lost and found people…have marriage problems. Unchurched people and church people…both have money problems. The outsider and the insider…often struggle with depression. 

The found person has an anchor for their soul. Following Jesus doesn’t mean you won’t have any storms, following Jesus means you have an anchor for your soul.

Lost people can actually admit they have problems. 

The message was “Come just as you are.” But then the message became, “Get your act together.” 

What if we created weekend experiences for people that were in pain. Wouldn’t we find ourselves reaching outsiders and insiders who were just hurt.

Can you admit when you are blowing it?

Is your church a safe place for church people to talk about their junk?

Pretending will never do anything for your soul and it won’t do anything else for anyone else either.

To be a safe person:
Vulnerability: Humble yourself long enough to just sit with people. 

Can you imagine if we humbled ourselves long enough to sit with people?

Compassion is knowing your darkness well enough to sit in the darkness with others. -Brene Brown
Authenticity: 

When we really get authentic, we become allergic to short responses. I’m going to become a person that doesn’t allow people to sweep things under the rug.

We need to remember that WE need Jesus just as much as the people we are trying to reach and serve.

Confidence

Can you be trusted with others confidence? 

Grace

Don’t judge them, help them.

I don’t care about the brand (of our church), I care about the person. 

There’s a whole lot you can do to be a safe place for someone.

If she has the courage to tell us, we must have the courage to help her.

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Dr. Deborah Tillman – @DeborahLTillman

We can do more together when we give every preschooler a better foundation. 

What caught your heart and imagination to work with preschoolers? 

We have to think of young children as little human being. We really need to instill everything. We have to look at the child as a whole being. The more we sow into a child as a full being, the more they will reach that full potential.

We’ve got to care about early childhood because what we do today matters.

Why does community matter? Because preschool teachers feel alone. 

Everybody in this room as the power to leave a legacy. What will matter is that you spent time with a child. 

“The true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela 

We all can treat children better. 

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Jon Acuff – @JonAcuff

We can do more together when we help parents be more intentional at home. 

Parenting is hard because sometimes it’s hard to be honest with people. 

Empathy: Understanding what a someone needs and acting on it. 

If you understand what a parent needs and do not do anything about it, you lose them forever. 

When a kid tells you a secret, the first things we need to say is “thank you for telling me”

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Jen Hatmaker – @JenHatmaker

We can do more together when we help parents be more internal at home. 

The Family Road Trip Continuum:
Patient optimism
Irritated intervention
Terrifying cereal killer
Quite acceptance

Barna tells us that by the time kids in our ministries are 29 years old 80% of them will be gone from the church. 

Kids are struggling to connect with a mostly modern church. 

Students need to be able to wrestle with truth without being shamed or we will lose them. 

If we want to reach and minister to parents on the margins of faith, we need to reach their kids. This is the front door to redeeming the culture for Christ. 

The top 4 things students long for: Community, social justice, depth, and mentorship. 

Your students crave healthy mentorship. 

A nanny can offer temporary care…but a parent is charged with raising their kids in Christ.

You are spiritual fathers and mothers to kids. 

For today’s kid, the very best way to lead it is to live it.

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

If kids are just coming to church to be entertained, they will almost certainly leave at 18. If we don’t give them a foundation of JESUS then we are not giving them anything. 

For today’s kid, the best way to lead is to live it. Well done trumps well said! 

Nothing is more important than reaching the next generation, nothing.  

The church is only as strong as the buy-in from the next generation.

May our legacy be that we raised up a generation of kids that loved God passionately.

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Kara Powell – @KPowellFYI

Growing Young: http://a.co/eDYwdqF 

We can do more together when we help parents Bre more intentional at home. 

Does your church help parents win? Or does your church help parents help your church win?

We want to change the way we view and relate to parents. We want the church to be the first place parents go when they need help. If you want to change how parents see the church, maybe we need to change how we see parents.

You don’t have to like every parent for every parent to have more influence than you.

Parents we can’t out-teach what you teach at home. We’re not that good. 

When parents win, kids win. When we help parents thrive, kids are going to thrive. 

Parents will have more influence than you because…
They will have more time than you will ever have.
They will be in your kids future when you are not. 

Text Family to 66866 for free resources that help parents win. 

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Reggie Joiner – @reggiejoiner

We can do more together when we communicate a clear plan to parents.

If I were to ask the average family in your church to explain your strategy, what would they say? 

If you can’t explain your strategy, parents aren’t applying your strategy. 

One change they made to the brochure. A map and a schedule for the brochure. This one change moved the response from 3% to 30%. What is the map and schedule for you and parents? 

We want to help every parent become more intentional at home and more connected to a community of faith. 

What does it look like in your organization to become “more?”

What does that look like? How do you help them win? 

Your church is more strategically positioned to help a parent win than any other organization. 

What is your elevator presentation, “this is what we help you do?” Or what is your lunch presentation to partner with parents? What is your Sunday presentation? And what is your building presentation? When they walk into your building what triggers them to win as a parent. 

MAP IT

Meet people

Add experiences

Prioritize time

Identify needs

Talk together 

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#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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