What If Your Team was Challenged to All Move Towards the Same Goal?

Ever notice how your team is working exceedingly hard, but pulling in different directions? How would your job feel if your team was challenged to all move to the same goal?

When your entire ministry team comes to one conference to learn, dream, and grow together you can be sure the office will feel the impact for years to come.

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At the D6 Conference, you will hear over 50 of the top family ministry speakers. Robby Gallaty will challenge you to rediscover your discipleship model. Brian Haynes will bring the clarity you need to build bridges between the church and the home. And Jim Wideman will help you think differently when it comes to successfully parenting over the long haul!

Instead of walking away from a conference feeling overwhelmed, the D6 Conference will inspire your team to get on the same page when it comes to equipping church leaders and empowering parents. Your ministry will be blessed as you incorporate Deuteronomy Chapter 6 into every day of the week. You will be encouraged as you network with other people building God’s Kingdom. And your soul will feel refreshed as you spent time worshiping, studying and learning how to intentionally impact every generation.

Over the years, I have been personally challenged with many impactful takeaways. Ron Hunter taught “The Slinky Dog is about leadership. Point the way, stretch and let the back catch up.” Robby Gallaty taught the KISS Method of evaluating: Keep, Increase, Start, Stop. And Christina Embree helped us all understand, “Brushing your teeth can become discipleship. Parking far away can be discipleship. Hearing sirens can be discipleship.”

If you are looking to grow as a Christ follower, spouse, parent, and pastor then I encourage you to join us in Greensboro, NC for the 2018 D6 Conference!

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You Lead Lab Notes from The Orange Conference #OC18

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Building A Comprehensive Plan From Birth To College by Cindy Fiala

 “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.” Deuteronomy 7:9

A thousand generations just because someone said yes. What you do matters! 

Watch out for ADOP: Attention deficit ohhh pretty 

Perspective: Sometimes don’t appear as they really are. From the outside things can look great but it’s all about perspective. 

Forced Perspective: a technique which employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. 

Forced perspective in our ministries or life only creates an illusion of what’s real, true, and reliable. 

With a few steps, we can create a desired destination that everyone and every system can lead kids and students to a unified common end in mind. 

Blameless Autopsy: By creating clarity and common vision you eliminate the vision vacuum of forced perspective. 

Take a step back and take a hard look at every part of our ministry. Without emotion, defense, blame. A scientific standpoint. 

Clarity and unity trumps everything. 

Church Unique: “The answer is having a vision that oozes, that is original, organic, zeroed in, and extravagant. When leaders start thinking clearly, engaging locally, focusing redemptively, and risking boldly, their church becomes an unstoppable force and an irresistible influence.” Will Mancini http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5269X.pdf  

What are we looking for in a Blameless Autopsy: 

Do we have one common end in mind in the totality of family ministry? 

Do you have a strategy or plan to get kids and students on a discipleship pathway? 

Are your teams aligned? 

Do you have consistent small groups?

Are you successfully partnering with parents?

Do you have good age grade transitions?

Are you celebrating milestones?

Are you mobilize students to serve inside and outside?

Are we being strategic to equip parents?

“Does your family ministry strategy align with your church strategy, vision, and mission?” 

Do you have silos? 

Have you set down and decided your values? Values are how people behave. 

Values will create your culture. 

Do you fight for the relationship?
Do parents know their roles? 

Are you in the weekly weeds of programming?
If you have a strategy, how well are you executing it? 

OC18CindyStrategy: The Five Essentials

Aligned Leaders

Engage Parents

Elevate Community

Refine the Message

Influence Service 

The Method of BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

Do you have a consistent NextGen meeting EVERY week:

30-minute meeting:

Win and story from this week? 

What are you working on?

Where are you stuck? (Connect offline)

5 minutes per person on the team to share.

Longer form meetings:

Work on the business, not in the business. 

Is someone on the NextGen team on the leadership team? 

One Voice: Church vision and strategy + Nextgen vision and strategy = Integrated strategy for 1000 generations. 

Life transformation happens in circles. A place where we can be authentic. 

What is regular attendance? Frederick Colorado is .8x a month. 

Everything we teach in early childhood they will ask questions about in middle school and high school. We must build a foundation. 

Help them learn how to interpret the word. Help the truth connect to their heart. 

Are we creating consistent opportunities for kids to serve both inside and outside of the church? 

Book Recommendation: Comprehensive guide to family ministry by Diana Garland http://a.co/gTc3Cet 

If a kid has multiple voices speaking in their live year after year and if that same student is serving alongside adults 98% will stick. But we don’t start this their senior year. 

Last Step: Put it all together. More than just our nextgen team. From the parking lot to the main platform, everyone in the church needs to know what your goal is for every student in your ministry. Know what the win is. 

What is the goal? A High School student will graduate living life on mission with a heart that belongs, a mind that responds, and a life that reflects Jesus Christ long after they launch. 

This goal informs our message, it informs how we speak to volunteers and everything we do or choose not to do. Allows us to have quick yes’s and gracious no’s. 

Jim Collins: The Hedgehog Concept

The Hedgehog Concept is developed in the book Good to Great. A simple, crystalline concept that flows from deep understanding about the intersection of three circles: 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine. Transformations from good to great come about by a series of good decisions made consistently with a Hedgehog Concept, supremely well executed, accumulating one upon another, over a long period of time. https://www.jimcollins.com/concepts/the-hedgehog-concept.html 

You can’t over-communicate vision!

Verbally, every time you meet. 

Through our actions and decisions

Printed materials

Social media

Automated messaging in your environments

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#229: Dina Dwyer-Owens—Why Values Matter – https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/dina-dwyer-owens-why-values-matter 

In every conversation you have you need to lead with your vision and lead with your values. Lead with your why.

Think of family ministry as a vehicle. All moving in the same direction. If a tire comes off the car is done. If a tire is flat we all feel it. We all have to be rolling together and in sync together. 

Free Resource: Creating Environments that help parents and kids fell welcomed! Text 1000GEN to 444999

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Discovering What Volunteers Really Want by Darren Kizer

Maybe I’m the problem? Maybe I need help to help volunteers to join the team? 

Leverage the opportunity to invite others onto the team. 

Always be answering the question: Is it worth it? Until we are consistently answering this question, we will never have enough volunteers. 

What a volunteer needs in preschool is different than what they need when working with Junior Highers. 

What do volunteers really want? And the bigger question is what do I need to do in order to give what they need? 

1. Owner vs. Renter

Volunteers want to follow a great leader. 

Think through a rental car. A whole attitude and mindset change. Your volunteers will sense your attitude and know if this is a rental gig for you or if you have fully bought in. Is it for the long haul? Are you working on something significant? 

Is this worth it? If it’s worth your all then it will be worth their extra. If your full-time gig ain’t worth your full time then how in the world will you get them to make an extra part-time thing become worth it? 

2. Right place vs. A place.

They want to serve in a place that fits. 

Honest and brave enough to not place them in a bad fit. 

You have a limited number of volunteers. If you get them wrong they will do their time and then leave. Every time you use a guilt card you will get volunteers but they will do the minimum and then they are gone. They will feel like they did their time and have checked it off. 

It takes extra work but will create the culture for future success. Renter vs owner is the difference between fixing a pipe vs putting duct-tape on the leak. Volunteers will either tell their friends to join or warn their friends to avoid your ministry. Make sure they are in the right place, even if it’s in a different department. The win is they stayed in your church, not in your area. It’s going to hurt you now but in the long run, it will pay off big. 

Elevate the culture of trading volunteers to find the right fit for the individual, not the ministry. Lead the way in making them win. 

3. Meaningful training vs. meaningless training

If they are skipping date night, missing a recital, or leaving the house, then you need to make it worth it, every time. 

It’s easier for me to demand a meeting then for me to figure out what they need in the comfort of their own home. It takes more work as the leader to communicate the same things to them without dragging them out of their homes. 

When you gather them together with your volunteers better be better spouses, parents, and employees. Because they attend your training they should be getting promotions at work. 

Leverage your connections to give them the best training. Who are the HR experts? Who can you bring in for 15 minutes to better navigate their role both in and outside the church? Invite them to your next training. 

Training for broken systems does not work. Don’t train them how to use the broken copier, fix it. 

4. They want authentic community. 

Make sure every volunteer has a friend. 

With your teams, help them schedule their time and frequency so that when volunteers are showing up they are calm and present to build relationships. 

Are you creating a culture where tasks are more important than relationships? Model authentic community. 

But, what’s the question for NextGen Leaders?

As a NextGen pastor, your “volunteers” are often your team. Would they volunteer for you? Do they feel “It is so worth it?”

We as nextgen leaders can make a terrible mistake and believe that recruiting volunteers is somebody else’s role. We have to model to our team and staff how to lead with care, concern, and love. Would your staff members volunteer for you if they were not an under an employment contract? Would they want to hang out with you? Is your relationship bridge strong enough? Would they follow your vision? 

If you default to the boss and employee relationship with your staff then your staff will default to boss and volunteer with their team. My job is to make sure you have the tools to reach the mission. 

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Actions Steps for nextgen pastors on a day to day basis. 

Ask: Is it worth it?

Architect an irresistible volunteer culture. 

Go volunteer in the community and see how it makes you feel as a volunteer. Find out what is in it for you as the volunteer. Discover how to teach this in your volunteer culture. 

Protect the culture with ruthless love. 

Budget. In the decisions that get made, make sure the volunteer culture is protected. If you lose your volunteers, this place is done. We are 100% dependent on the volunteers and making this change will cause them to feel like volunteer isn’t worth it. A bad experience sticks with volunteers, protect them with ruthless love.

Fight your way up the ladder. Sometimes you need to give another option or scenario where the church can win. Sometimes you need to draw the line and come up with a solution. Fighting to protect the culture in the long term is greater than the weekend event. Don’t sacrifice. 

Model Ito your staff (and friends). If you want your staff to be building relationships then model it to them by hanging out with them without an agenda. Make sure they have what they need to get the work done. It’s not okay to show up and figure it out while the volunteers are standing around, troubleshoot beforehand. 

Reinforce that small groups must win. ALL volunteers are important and have value. Small groups must win. The small group leader is not the most important but the small group experience is. You are not winning if small groups are not winning. All pieces work together to make small groups win. The further they are away from the small group experience the more energy you will need to help them win. Share small group stories with the parkers so they know how they are winning in the big picture. 

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Creating A Volunteer Strategy For Getting It All Done by Mike Park

As a NextGen leader, you’ve been entrusted with creating an environment where great ministry can happen. 

You’ve been really good at making cookies, but now you need to make a cookie business. 

The secret of NextGen ministry: We Need People. 

Exodus 18:17, “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good.”

Gather leaders and give responsibility.

How do we as nextgen leaders create great environments for our people? 

Great nextgen leaders ask great questions. Great questions lead to greater clarity, better strategy, and clearer vision. 

How do we communicate when we delegate? 

Small Tasks vs. Big Asks

Small tasks are the what, the how, the can you just go give juice to the preschoolers. We think if we give small tasks it will be easy and we will get more help. When we do a big ask we are talking about caring for and hydrating the next generation. Pouring this juice may help change the world for Jesus. When you pour juice you get to do it alongside a middle school and will have a great conversation. You can become a significant voice in the life of that middle schooler. Are we letting them know they are a part of something bigger. The smaller the task, the bigger the ask has to feel because the smaller the task the smaller the more insignificant they will feel. 

What you do is important. If you don’t do the sound right then the student does not get to hear the message that will change their lives forever. Paint a great vision of what the job looks like and more so what that job means. 

What can you invite people to be a part of? Maybe your leaders aren’t committed because you haven’t 

Is your Organization Chart helping or hurting your ministry? 

Leading it All vs. Leading in layers

Layered Leadership:
Accountability through shared responsibility.
Clear roles and responsibilities.
Better care and accountability
Increase two-way communication.
Systematic feedback and evaluation. 

When you layer leadership it creates space. People will imitate what you as the leader will celebrate. If you want to promote a welcoming hospitality celebrate it. Don’t just let it be the student pastor that oversees the volunteers, maybe you need a coach for middle school and another coach for the middle school. Create a structure where volunteers can flourish.

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How are we developing those we lead? 

What if instead of training we created a coaching program? What if someone was in the life of the volunteer, speaking into them on a regular basis? Help them process what went right and what went wrong. Help them know what a win is and if they are doing a good job. 

Instead of creating more training meetings create more training relationships. Take the seasoned people in your ministry and help point their attention to the new leaders. On a weekly basis, walk with them and coach them on how to lead a group. 

A Coaching Model:

Assigns ministry mentors
Offers regular support and praise
Conveys expectations
Sets milestones
Track growth. 

What’s our plan for advancement? 

When leaders come into your ministry, excited to serve and they see the vision under a great coach, what’s next for them? 

Who is the young person you are pouring into, and investing in for the next generation? 

Empowerment: The authority to make key decisions at critical moments. 

Retaining Volunteers vs. Empowering Leaders

Do we need to just get it all done while running on a hamster wheel? Did any of us go into ministry because we are excited about filling in spreadsheets? 

Everyone is in this room because someone empowered us to lead. Someone gave us the authority to make key decisions at key moments, probably even when we were not ready to make that decision. Who can you, as the nextgen leader, can you empower? Write down three names of people in your church that you want to empower. 

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Keys to Empowering Leaders

Keep your Focus on the Big Picture
Sort your Priorities and Let Go of the Trivial
Let Go of Perfection and Redefine Failure

You are tasked to create excellence across the board, but what if you look at excellence differently? What if excellence was empowering your team? 

There is a line that goes from birth through college and NextGen leaders own the line. How can we help our high school pastor own the line just as much as the preschool pastor? 

What are the things that only you can do? What are you doing that you could empower someone else to do? Maybe only you are able to sit with a family through a significant loss. If that’s you, do that well. 

Let’s say things are going well but your team is burnt out or their families are falling apart. Yeah, you hit your marks, but are you winning? Failure is when you create an environment that burns people out, where they don’t make time for God, where the people aren’t cared for. In the end, we need to love our people. John 13, love one another as I have loved you. 

“The task of the church is to serve as the best example of what God can do with human community.” Stanley Hauerwas 

What if our volunteers believed they were a part of this best example of what God can do with human community? 

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Volunteer Innovation Lab For NextGen Leaders by Nina Schmidgall

When we are talking about volunteer strategy for getting it all done, and managing a lot of teams, 

Every six months 40-50% turnover in volunteers because of the transient population of D.C. Assimilation of volunteers quickly becomes very important. 

Your ministry will never be perfect and neither will the people who lead it. 

We go through seasons, keep this in mind. 

Failure is doing everything yourself because you have a fear of others disappointing you. This fails to develop leaders and fails to create long-term ministry. 

Don’t Quit Book: A healthy team is one that has a clear direction.

The reason people start volunteering in ministry is usually different than the reason they continue serving. 

Make volunteers feel a part of something. At Nina’s church, all volunteers wear a branded t-shirt. If you lead a team you get a fancy zip up. 

The fifth Sunday of every month is Sunday Funday and they suspend curriculum and play. Moments together with the small group leader and inviting their friends. Hats for Sunday Funday to feel a part of something and celebrated. 

The Volunteer Project: Stop Recruiting Start Retaining by Darren Kizer: http://a.co/fcLZlTd

Single location vs multi-site location differences. 

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Start: What’s one thing you must start doing? 

Stop: What’s one thing you must stop doing?

Improve: What’s one thing you must improve?

What is the most difficult volunteer role for you to fill?

What is your biggest barrier to improving the volunteer culture or experience in your ministry? an173-efeb3e88-0967-4ffa-ac9f-7c2a1a06b77f-v2

Creating a Parent & KidMin Connection

Creating a parent kidmin connection

6 Ways you benefit when parents serve in their children’s kidmin

So you’re struggling to find enough volunteers for your kids ministry (it’s OK—you’re not alone!). You’ve created job descriptions and added titles to the flowchart. Now you’ve begun asking anyone standing around in the church lobby who doesn’t look busy if they’d like to volunteer. But you’re still coming up short. Let me ask you this: Have you ever considered a strong recruitment push toward the parents of kids in your ministry? 

No, I’m not talking about making another Sunday morning announcement, writing a newsletter article or adding a post to social media. I’m talking about actually sitting down face to face with parents and talking with them about the mutual benefit of serving in the very place where their kids learn.

There are great advantages for both the church and the family when parents serve in kids ministry. Unfortunately, they are hidden benefits, so doing our part to communicate them is vital to getting the word out. But when you do, you’ll find that your church will be healthier when parents serve alongside their kids.

Here are six great reasons that having parents serve in your kidmin is an advantage for you—and them:

1. Direct Access to Your Child’s Pastor

Most children’s pastors are busy. Each week they act as teacher, event planner, financier, stage designer and counselor, so it might be difficult for the average parent to simply sit down and hear the heart of their child’s pastor. When serving on the children’s pastor’s team, parents become part of his flock and the pastor will begin more intentionally to shepherd them directly. For example, instead of a dad awkwardly trying to find a way to let the children’s pastor know about his son’s surgery, he could—as a parent serving on the children’s pastors team—simply mention the prayer request in a preservice huddle.

2. Increased Family Time

With the growing pressure for kids to excel in school, the popularity of traveling sports teams and ever-changing family dynamics, it’s an understatement to say that families today are busy. In most churches, when a family arrives at church they immediately split up to attend church in their separate environments. But when a parent is serving in the kids ministry, the parent gets more time with his or her child. Parents who serve in their kids’ ministry are building memories that most other families will never get to experience.

What’s more, no longer will a kidmin event or outing pull the family apart. Because the parent servers as a volunteer who attends the outing, kidmin gatherings become a family event. That means the kids ministry in hour church actually can be a catalyst to bring families together.

3. Overflow of Sunday’s Lesson Into Weekday Life

When parents pick up their children after church, they usually ask them if they had fun and if they learned something. Unfortunately, the lesson often ends there. It’s not that parents don’t care about their children’s experience. But the conversation goes no further because of the parents’ lack of familiarity with the kidmin and the fact that most of them don’t personally experience the lesson.

This all changes when parents begin preparing for the lesson at the beginning of the week, when they laugh out loud during the skit, when they see firsthand the illustration the teacher presents, when they teach the lesson for themselves. During the week, parents will begin asking their kids if they are applying the Bible lesson they learned at church. This simple engagement leads to a learning opportunity by pointing them back to something they both experienced on Sunday morning.

4. Improved Ministry Effectiveness ]

Instead of creating a parent panel for feedback, simply recruit parents who can give you insight about your ministry’s effectiveness. Ask parents how the lessons are connecting with their kids and which illustrations are making the gospel presentation come to life. Ask the parents who are serving in your ministry to give you feedback on the first-time visitor process—and then empower them to improve the experience. The more diverse a group of parents you have, the more varied their backgrounds and experiences, and the more collective wisdom you’ll have to draw from.

5. Children Connected to Spiritual Mentors

When parents are part of a team of kidmin workers, they get to know the other small-group leaders. This allows them to strategically pursue ones who can help them speak truth into their children. Through consistently serving, parents will see that their kids are developing strong Christ-centered relationships that benefit the family.

It’s weird, but often parents can tell their child a hundred times to do something, without it sticking, but when another adult suggests they do something, it sticks the first time. Through relationships made with other leaders on their team, parents can comfortably find a mentor they trust to speak truth into their child.

6. Through-the-Roof Buy-In

Most people never become a raving fan or even an advocate for an organization until it makes a difference in their lives. Sure, the children’s ministry in your church is impacting the kids, but many parents don’t realize the difference it truly makes until they see it firsthand. And when they see it, their buy-in goes through the roof.

They begin recruiting other parents to serve just because they are talking about it in their small groups. Serving parents are in-the-know, and they naturally begin to ask other parents if their kids will be attending events. Some parents might even begin contributing financially to the mission of the church because of the impact your kidmin has had on their family.

Overall, your families and your church will be healthier when parents serve in their kids’ ministry. It might be your responsibility to communicate the benefits. But when you do, God will open the door to these conversations and create a parent-kidmin connection. So take some time today to craft a compelling vision that will reveal the hidden benefits of parents serving in your kidmin.

Volunteer Gift Guide from I Love KidMin

 

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Are you looking for a small thoughtful gift for your volunteers? Do you need a bulk supply with a limited budget? I asked the “I Love KidMin” Facebook Group for help and here is an ever-growing Volunteer Gift Guide. Comment your ideas and they may get added to this post!

Christmas Theme

Annie Double The last two years I did a Movie Night with the Redbox Code and popcorn and that was a huge hit (that’s why I did it 2 years in a row).

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Courtney Moseley Kirk Last year I gave each teacher gifts wrap, wrapping tape and a poem I found on Pinterest. I got the best response from them compared to years past. It was inexpensive and practice. https://itsalwayscrafttime.blogspot.com/2010/12/neighbor-gift-idea.html

Image courtesy of Brad Waggoner 

Melody McGuire Christmas socks tied with a ribbon and stuffed with candy.

Dema Kohen Advent Calendar/Daily devotions and activities. Give it every year to the families in our church as part of the Mahger Project activity. (https://www.amazon.com/Journe…/dp/1589978242/ref=sr_1_2…)

Megan McGarvey our staff has a fun photo shoot and makes a Christmas card! We also send a gift card with it. (but people love the pictures)

Jessica Pryer I’m doing fleece throw blankets. I found some for $2.50 a person, and I found Christmas themed ones for a little over $5 at Walmart. There are multiple patterns and colors. Fun present that I wouldn’t mind getting myself.

Melinda Robison We do an ornament every year so less than $1 per person on oriental trading

Dema Kohen Love this set. Bought 10 of these two weeks ago. (https://www.amazon.com/Teeny…/dp/0762460903/ref=sr_1_1…) Comes with a little book too. $8 USD

Kayla Holbrook Ornaments! I like the wooden ones from Christian Book.

Terri Johnson Last year apple cinnamon ornaments! Apple butter, Christmas ornaments, magnets. This yr I am giving a card with a small ornament.

Missy Silassy This is my first year and I’m doing cards with a personal note and ornament for the adult teachers and cards with a note and mustard seed coin for my teen helpers.

Crafts

Mark Jones Our children’s ministry team made this for each of our teachers. I barely had enough barn wood! https://mrmarksclassroom.com/blog/2017/04/18/star-teacher-gift/

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Sandra Hiegel Hauenstein Bible tabs from Etsy!!! Biggest hit. Close second gourmet goodies from local shop! https://www.etsy.com/search?q=bible%20tabs

Nikki Steiner I just saw this on Pinterest and thought of this post. It was called Pick A Promise. Placing verses in a jar and rolling them up, then when having a bad day, you can pick one to read. You could do a variation of this with words of encouragement and appreciation from the kids and others in CE at your church.

Glenys Nellist The most meaningful gift was when we took photos of our teachers with the kids and then put them in a simple frame. We wrote something like ‘thanks for making a difference.’ Above everything else, or any gift, I think teachers need to know that they’re making a difference

Shelley Ward I made these Praise Jars for our Pastors and Children’s Leaders too. I decorated mason jars and filled them with inspirational bible verses. I thought this would make a good Christmas gift!

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Church Merch

Casey Satterfield Last year we gave a special Seahawks style T-shirt navy blue with green lettering with our kids logo on it with Jesus had 12 men too on the back. It was a hit and requested by our new team members!!

Lynn Peters This year it will be a new T-shirt with our new kids logo and a home baked loaf of pumpkin bread

Activities

Carla Garms Wiederhold This year instead of doing gifts I have asked my leaders if they wanted to serve together at Feed My Starving Children. They love the idea … We have scheduled for January and I will donate the dollars I would have spent to FMSC

Jennifer Rath Scott I’m taking them out to a movie this Sunday. 🙂 Time together is wonderful.

Donations

Katie Storm A donation in their name to world vision

Dean Christianson I started a couple years ago, “purchasing” farm animals for overseas organizations that give them to families to provide a living for them. I write out a card to each of the volunteers and they really seem to enjoy this rather than “getting” something. They seem to buy in to helping someone rather than getting something. https://www.heifer.org/gift-catalog/animals-nutrition/index.html

Shelly Lantz Akins I donate to a local charity in honor of my volunteers. I print out a card and give it to them that a donation was made in honor of the St. Andrew’s volunteers. Then I bake cookies and give them each 4 with the card attached.

Music

Yancy Wideman Richmond I have a lot of churches give my “Roots for the Journey” CD for this.

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Carla Champ-Hefner Jumpstart3 Cds Jeff McCullough

Mary Rice Hopkins I will send you CD’s or DVD’s for $5.00 a person plus shipping. Most popular one has sold 1/4 of a million copies. Great deal. Message me.

Books

Becky Wescoat A Journey to Bethlehem: Inspiring Thoughts for Christmas and Hope for the New Year http://a.co/gj1Flel

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Theresa Plemmons Reiter The book Simply Pray by Archie Buie. It is the only gift my volunteers thanked me over and over.

Shawn Howell ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas https://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_9aycAb7XA6M3X

Kimbell Dicken Botto This is awesome. It’s like the rip off calendars but it’s not dated (so you don’t feel bad if you miss a day) Beautifully illustrated and has short story with Bible reference to read more and a couple questions to get families talking. Amazon sometimes has the price as low as $12-15. http://a.co/hClZBlR

Food and Drink

Marta Cortez Two biscotti with a coffee gift card packaged nicely in a reusable Starbucks cup.

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Lauren Webb Rtic 30oz tumblers are only $7 right now on their website! Then you can cut a logo or something out of vinyl!!

Lauren Webb I bought the Christmas mini loaf pans from Lifeway. They are on sale right now for $3 each. I’ll bake some kind of bread and wrap them in a cellophane package.

Dana Sartin Find a candy shop or someone who makes. Gourmet Apples. Mine love them!!!

Tom Bump We made a sweet spicy Chex mix. Put in gift bags with a nice card attached. The team loved them. We made 110 bags. Was a lot of work but so worth it. We had 0 budget so I purchased it out of my own pocket.

Andrea Joy Rossignol Homemade fudge or cookies or something like that. It’s likely to be something everyone will enjoy, won’t create clutter in anyone’s house, and you’re giving of yourself rather than something from a store. The downside – you’ll have to MAKE all those treats!

Mandi McKibben I made freezer meals for my volunteers one year…talk about a gift that was appreciated!

Nicole Underwood I made salsa last year for them.

Christine Gerard Garner Wendy’s frosty tag!!! https://davethomasfoundation.org/contribute-through-wendys/

Libby Rinne We made these cute cocoas for our volunteers, cheap and cute!:)

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From The Store

Sue Edgerton We like to have teens fill out brief questions about their favorites at the beginning when they serve. Questions like: your favorite soda, your favorite candy, your favorite sport, your favorite color. These come in very handy when wanting to give a little thank you or a Christmas gift.

Jennifer Martin Burks Chick-fil-A calendars, blankets from Kohl’s (add initials for fun), travel mug with logo, anything with church logo really. Maybe a T-shirt with it on there.

Monica Piszczek Bath and Body Works soaps. I got 6 bottles for $19.00. Wrap it in cellophane or tissue and put a bow on them. Who can’t use soap!!!

Kate Sweitzer Wanted to share a truly last minute idea. I have a few young adult volunteers and I’m gifting them these EOS lip balms for Christmas tomorrow.

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Other Resources and Sites

Corinne Noble Here are some ideas I have used! https://www.kidmincorinne.com/blog/8-easy-ways-you-can-appreciate-your-volunteers?rq=appreciate%20volunteers

Lori Todd Baker Check out CTA, Inc. They have some very affordable gifts for all occasions. http://www.ctainc.com/

Melody McGuire I go to Harbor Freight and purchase an inexpensive tool tie with ribbon and candy.

Brad Waggoner I am going to do succulents in a fun little container. I haven’t decided on the container yet though…lots of options depending on budget. I get the succulents here…they are great! https://thesucculentsource.com/

Beth Kuhar Welman www.ctainc.com has great nativity-themed products for kids & adults (And seasonal stuff, with devotionals). Also, Oriental Trading has faith-based crafts & goodies.

NTT6TOH

What would you add to this list? Comment to be added!

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Camp KidJam: A Valuable Gift for Your Church

 

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

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

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

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

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

Why Your Team Needs to Break Away From the Daily Grind

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

When you get away, you connect with each other.

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

When you get away, you connect ideas. 

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

When you get away, you connect with God.

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

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

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

How to Recruit Lifetime Small Group Leaders

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

ENLIST TO A CALLING

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

EXPLAIN WHY THEIR ROLE MATTERS

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

FOSTER A FAMILY CULTURE

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

MAKE FREQUENT AND INTENTIONAL INVESTMENTS

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

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

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

Escape From The Mundane Team Building Activity

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Sometimes team building can seem like a daunting task. The truth is building a strong team takes work. But what if you could get together with your team to accomplish a task which could act as a catalyst and propel you forward? What if there was an activity that your team looked forward to? Something you could use to teach leadership lessons and apply to your ministry?

Well, there is. It’s called “Escape Games.”

Escape Games, or “Escape Rooms”, as they’re sometimes called, are designed as a giant sequence of interactive puzzles housed in an enclosed space where those inside must solve the clues in order to get out. Typically the participants have sixty minutes to work together and solve the puzzles to complete the mission. Escape Games are usually themed and incorporate those themes within the clues. For participants, the thrill begins upon being locked in the room. That’s when everyone must either do their part to get out—or fail in their escape.

Taking your team through an Escape Game will be an adrenaline-filled hour that can change their and your leadership forever. To date, I have participated in 3 Escape Games and continue to apply what I learned. Here’s what to expect when taking your team through this activity, as well as some practical ways to apply these principles to ministry.

…3-2-1…Go! (You have 1 hour to escape) 

As your team arrives on site, they will be greeted and given the paperwork to get started. The host will explain the basics of an escape game, lay down a few ground rules, and give important information related to your specific mission.  There will be some people in your crew who need fewer instructions and are eager to start. Others will be wishing the host would explain far more details concerning what is expected and about to take place.

You will need to be conscientious of the important information and rules you are sharing, especially the way “unspoken” details increase as you are adding new people to your ministry team. Some new teammates will have no idea what to expect and might feel uncomfortable or anxious. Some new teammates will have no idea what to expect and might feel uncomfortable or anxious. This may contrast with other, who are more familiar with the church or ministry or who have a “Let’s do this!” attitude. They might feel excited and eager to start. Pairing a rookie kidmin worker with a veteran who can come alongside them to help them get started helps acclimate them to the team.

When the game begins and the clock starts ticking, it quickly becomes clear that while your team is working on different tasks, everyone understands the ultimate goal and together everyone is working towards the goal. The goal is Systematic, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely (SMART), and you have 60 minutes to escape.

This phase of the teamwork has a practical application to your team’s approach to the Sunday responsibilities. Do they understand how their individual tasks on Sunday morning work toward accomplishing the ultimate goal? It also calls Proverbs 29:18 into play: “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” When it comes to your ministry, do the leaders on your team know when they are winning?

As your group solves their first clue there will be an eruption of celebration. These celebrations will build momentum and excitement for the task at hand. Celebrating wins is equally important in building momentum in your kid’s ministry. How do you celebrate when a first-time guest returns the following week with a friend? When a child is lead to Christ, how does your team celebrate this victory?

Communicate! (Your escape depends on it) 

While the pressure builds, it is vital to keep the communication flowing steadily. Too little communication means others might not see the clues that you are seeing. You may hold the missing piece to the puzzle they are trying to solve. On the other hand, too much communication means your team may get locked up in information overload and become frustrated. You might find you have too many moving pieces and need to designate a mediator to keep all of the individual puzzles moving in the right direction.

Communication can make or break your escape. Therefore, your plan needs to include how and what you are communicating to your ministry team. To handle growth and the added complexity it adds, you will need to create a system that includes middle managers who can communicate and care for those on their team.

While trying to escape, your team may simply get stuck. That happens in the heat of the game, and your group might need to step back or re-evaluate or change the task to gain a fresh perspective. You might need to ask the host for a clue.

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If your team gets stuck, you’ll need a leader who is willing to take charge and make something happen. You’ll need to identify someone who’s willing to take a risk not knowing the outcome. For you, as the team leader, this could be one of the best learning experiences you receive from the game. It will show you how your teammates react under pressure, who rises to the occasion, how they lead disciple the difficult situation, how they lead despite the difficult situation, how the leader communicates, and if the leader gets the group’s buy-in before making a move. Then, hopefully with a new perspective or the needed clue, your team will continue working towards the goal.

Sometimes in an Escape Game, just when you think you are finally getting somewhere you discover instead that you’re only getting started. You may solve all the clues in the room only to discover there is a second room! The same happens in ministry.  Your team will discover that definitions change. Words like “big” and “busy” have shifting definitions that you will need to clearly articulate.

The Heat is On! (will you escape…?)

As the clock winds down, your team will face the reality that they either are going to escape to victory or face defeat. Both winning and losing should be met with evaluation and reflection. When your team gives their full effort towards accomplishing the mission, winning or losing become an emotionally charged, shared experience. As your team members begin to calm down, you can start to digest the past hour and reflecting on things you could have done differently.

Similarly, evaluation and reflection can propel your ministry team to their next level. When you share with them the things they did great as well as the things they can improve, you’re helping them sharpen their skills for future ministry.

When you escape from the mundane team-building activity you will find both immediate and long-term benefits. People appreciate being a part of the great adventure, and a shared experience like this builds relationships. They experience both quality time and quantity time as they solve the clues to escape. Long-term, you will learn about your team members’ personalities and gifts, and the relationships that were built will bond your team together.

Want to do this with your own team? Simply search “Escape Room” online and find a game in your area!

(Originally posted in the Kidzmatter Magazine July/Aug/Sept 2017 edition)

9 Delightful Ways to Wrap up Your Summer

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You’re busy. You don’t want another to do list item to add to your ever growing checklist. But at the same time, I imagine you don’t want to miss out on low hanging fruit to propel the ministry forward. As the summer is winding down there are a few things that you can do to simply end on a good note. Here are nine delightful ways to wrap up your summer but feel free to write one or two of them down that will give you the most bang for your buck.

RELATIONALLY

Take a minute and pull out your phone to make a personalized video message to some of your student leaders. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just hit record, greet them by name, share a fun memory from the summer, and thank them for being a part of the church. Tap send and know that this might just make their day.

SPIRITUALLY

Set aside an hour on your calendar and find a quiet place to hang your Eno. Spend the hour talking with God about your summer. This quiet time can be full of appreciation for the past and seek wisdom for what lies ahead. Maybe even block off a little time for rest or just be still and know that He is God.

PHYSICALLY

Walk with a purpose. Connect with someone who you have not been able to see in a while and walk around the park. Or maybe go scout out a new retreat center or event location and walk around picturing what could be. Or maybe just walk boxes of accumulated junk out of your office and into the trash.

DIGITALLY

Take a few minutes and look through the photos on your phone. Post some of the summer memories to social media and remind your students and leaders of what you learned while you were away at camp or on that missions trip. Follow up with students who you recognize from the pictures but haven’t seen in a while and let them know you hope to see them at your kickoff event or in the lunchroom at their school.

MENTALLY

Take some time to simply think. Ask yourself these questions and take a few minutes to brainstorm the answers. Who are the future leaders for the ministry? What do you need to do to better equip your student leaders? Are you keeping your priorities in check? Why did God place you in this ministry and for what purpose? How will you continue moving forward to the goal God has set before you?

SOCIALLY

Connect with your loved ones, socialize with friends and maybe even consider leaving your phone in the car when you go to your next social gathering. Giving the gift of presence is good both for you and those you are spending time with.

ENVIRONMENTALLY

How is your workspace? Take some time to clean up your work environments. Clean off your desk and move all paperwork to either a file, the trash or delegate it to someone else to work on. If you have a youth space, walk through that environment and try to see the room with fresh eyes. Do the table tennis paddles need to be replaced? Are old signs still on the walls? Clean up that space so that you are ready to welcome new visitors to a clean room.

INTELLECTUALLY

Finish that book. You know, the one you started a while ago but set down and forgot all about. Pick it up again, scan through your underlines as a refresher, and continue working through the pages. You never know, finishing that book might be all the motivation you need to start another.

FINANCIALLY

Sorry to use “The B Word” here but how is your budget? This post is about fun, so let me ask, do you have leftover money in budget categories that you can use to set up next summer well? For example, if you have leftover camp budget money, could you use that leftover to send thank you’s to your workers or could you get something to remind the students of their experience or commitment?

Don’t let the next minute go by without making a plan. Instead of adding one of these to your to do list, why not simply make one happen? The summer will be gone before you know it so let’s wrap up on a good note.

(Originally posted the Youth Specialties blog at: https://youthspecialties.com/blog/9-delightful-ways-wrap-summer/)

 

How to On-board New Volunteers

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The D6 Podcast helps you build an excellent family ministry in your church. On episode 63, we sat down and walked through all of the steps to process onboard new volunteers.

Recruiting volunteers is hard but you can make this process easier by breaking it down into manageable steps. Listen to this podcast for a tutorial step by step guide and check out the attachments for additional resources.

How to On-board New Volunteers with Corey Jones – https://itun.es/i6dj5Jk

Corey Jones provides us with a step by step tutorial on how to on-board a new volunteer. He begins with recruiting. Corey believes he needs to always be in a state of recruiting volunteers, so he must free himself to have the time on Sunday mornings to interact with people and recognize their gifts. Corey talks in great detail about his application process and even gives key components to his application. He shares how to handle that awkward conversation when someone fails a background check and how to recapture an applicant that may have gotten lost in the process. Corey discusses how to identify volunteers that may be ready for more responsibility, and he talks about how his own senior pastor has encouraged volunteering in their church.

There is valuable, practical, and ready-to-use information in this episode. Make sure to tune in!

Here are links to additional resources:

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