17 Leadership Lessons and Questions From TSF

tsf

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

1. “Jesus is always better.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Escape From The Mundane Team Building Activity

escape

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.

Escape2

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)

Orange Tour Session Notes with Stuart Hall

an173-f70e3673-5373-4acc-a63e-545a1662f269-v2

FullSizeRender-3

Orange Tour Session Notes with Stuart Hall
@IAmStuartHall

“We can rebuild your home. We cannot rebuilt your life.” -Florida Governor Rick Scott about the hurricane.

Why are you having to tell people that you must get away from this? It only makes sense that people are getting out. We run the risk of getting distracted about what matters most.

It’s easy for any leader or parent to get distracted about what matters most when it comes to raising a generation. Who is my neighbor? The Good Samaritan. A priest comes by. A Rabi comes by. Then a Samaritan helps him and goes the second mile to give him money out of his pocket and clothes off his back just so the man can be well.

There are a couple of things that scream at us when we look at the story of the good Samaritan and ask these questions:

Who taught the good samaritan to be good?

When Jesus said that the Samaritan was good, the people who have asked, how in the world could this Samaritan have been good?

How and why did the rabbi and priest grow up and miss it?

What was happening in their discipleship process that they walked by a dying man and turned the other way? How were they so theologically sound but missed it so much relationally?

What would happen if we decided to make it a priority as leaders to raise kids to do what Jesus said matters most? Maybe what this pushes at, is that we have gotten distracted about what matters most.

Maybe what matters most is not that they are always theologically right but that they love Jesus.
What if our calling is simple to raise kids that love God in such a way they act like good samaritans? The Gospel pushes us to be good Samaritans. How are you personally doing at raising good Samaritans? Any style of ministry that minimizes what Jesus maximized sets up a generation become disillusioned with the church.

What is going on now is because of the church of the last 20 years, not because what is going on now. We are reaping the consequences of minimizing what Jesus maximizes. The idea of kids loving their neighbor as themselves matters. Most of us are much better at teaching kids what to believe than we are at coaching kids how to serve. My role is not to simply teach kids about serving others but to coach them how to serve others. Make it come to life. What if you and I decided that how students treat other people is a reflection of Jesus in their life. What if we started acting like what a kid does can actually affect what a kid believes? James the brother of Jesus said, “don’t just be a hearer of the Word, do what it says.”

How to climb mountains teaching example. Not watch a movie, read a book, and look at this checklist…Go climb the mountain.

Kids and students understand more about God when they do what God created them to do.

It stretches their faith, not replaces their faith. Why is it that there is pushback in your spirit or mind?

an173-04526e8e-f7fa-4237-81ba-2743a9331191-v2

Why don’t we coach kids to serve? 

It’s easier to teach students what to believe than it is to coach them how to serve.

It’s not how we measure success. We measure seats in butts not by the number of students we have mobilized to serve and love their neighbor as themselves.

It takes more time to serve. If everything is clean and organized then it’s probably not relational. Relationships are messy. Maybe start rethinking and simplify what we do so that we have more time.

It’s not on the calendar. What’s next? What do I have to do? Decide, this is what we are going to do next. Maybe you need to kill sacred cows.

It’s messy and risky. You might actually get students involved in serving that never come to your discipling event. Most evangelistic think you can do for teenagers is give them an opportunity to serve. It gives you the opportunity to share Jesus with them.

It’s not a priority in our own personal life. Professional Christians. Haven’t you spent all week long serving at the church but then didn’t show up on the weekend to help someone move? We love God and we love people but it’s exhausting and time-consuming. It becomes an obligation instead of an opportunity.

Advice on creating a culture of service:

Convince every adult that service is discipleship. The International church does not mean that kids sit with their parents but that they serve alongside their parents who are serving.

Give every kid at every phase something significant to do. Preschoolers can consider others before themselves. This week, you get the opportunity to serve us all. Middle school students can be coupled with adults and serve and lead other elementary and preschool kids. We want them to love Jesus more than knowing everything. Give them something significant to do.

Make service a priority on the calendar. Is there anything stunting your ability to do weekly service? What are the reasons that I give?

Create practical entry points and easy wins. How are we going to help them serve?

High School Exchange. Learning about the love of God while serving other people.

Develop a training model. Do you have anything that helps students understand the habits and values of a servant leader? What is the integrity and character of a servant leader? What has God put me on the planet to do?

Model service everywhere. If you are an adult, how do you treat other adults? How do you treat, love, and respect other staff members? One of the best things our kids can see is black and white leaders loving each other. Modeling the good samaritan everywhere.

Leverage groups to champion service. What are your kid’s groups and student groups about? Is they’re a fundamental component of service? Are you raising a generation of small group leaders?

The reason why this is important is that we live in modern day Samaria. We want our students to look, think, and act like Jesus even when all hell breaks loose in their life and serving others makes all the difference.

Instead about making it all about the bad that they do, call them to serve and become the good samaritan. In the process of serving they can fall in love with Jesus.

an173-b91e6d64-8750-4ce2-b2fa-206979498934-v2

Give Every Kid a Consistent Leader Breakout Notes from Frank Bealer

FullSizeRender-2

Frank Bealer: Give Every Kid A Consistent Leader

@fbealer

If we are going to give every student a consistent leader it takes structure.

Structure: How you arrange or manage various parts so they can support something important.

If we say giving a kid a consistent leader is what we do, is that how we are built? The way we operate in ministry. Your programming can cause students to not come back to your ministry. Your programming does not keep them, they come back because of relationship. We evaluate the large group experiences but if we aren’t careful we spend so much time on programming and forget to see if we actually have leaders showing up consistently for every kid.

We can do big epic events but if they don’t connect kids to a consistent leader, does it really matter? Does it really change a life? Camp can leverage the time of weeks and months worth of small group or you can miss it.

The quality of your relationships is linked to the quality of your structure.

Reinforce and redirect the relationships.

Habit 1 – Organize to Be Organic

Someone has to own it. We say we are about small groups but is it in anyone’s job description? What if we said small groups were so important we took some of our best leaders and said that small group was what we wanted them to focus on? Making coaches of small group leaders. How many of us need more volunteers? 2700 kidmin volunteers at Elevation when Frank left and they still needed more. Inconvenient to pull the best small group leaders out to become coaches but better for the overall growth process. Kids need a lot of structure but as they get older it begins to shift and the roles change. Everyone needs a good seat. Evaluate if you are giving kids a consistent leader with the ratio.

Needs / Haves Document: Needs. How many do you need to keep a good healthy ratio? How many do you actually have? Not how many do you make it work with but actually have. 8-10 and maybe 12 with inconsistency. We cheat the number and try to make it work. Hold ourselves accountable to know how we are doing really. When it grows beyond the capacity some of the kids get squeezed out.

Find ways to pull in the new kids. How do we recognize who is new?

Habit 2: Think Steps Not Programs

We are moving kids closer to small groups, away from small groups, or they are not moving anywhere. Sometimes you have to stop doing something that works if you want something more important to work better.

When students have the opportunity for a shared experience with the small group leader it begins the relationship.

Parents dropping the kids off at the small group leaders house opens the door for a relationship. Stories often don’t make it back to parents. Small group leaders can share these stories with parents that they wouldn’t have heard otherwise. How was camp? Good. What did you do? Stuff.

Don’t teach everything in the large group environment, create the tension and hand it off to the small group leaders to do something with it.

When you things steps, not programs…Events solidify small groups. 
When you things steps, not programs…Volunteers reinforce small groups. 
When you things steps, not programs…Resources support small groups. 

Challenge the kids to know their leader. Do you know your small group leader’s name? Structure small group for relationships.

Habit 3: Move to the rhythm: The more people in a kids life who are moving to the same rhythm, the greater the impact. What are the students wrestling with in this season? On a holiday, maybe give the leaders a break or do something to leverage those times and seasons. The calendar has a rhythm. The community has a rhythm. Your ministry has a rhythm.

Students need someone else, in addition to their dad, to help them navigate the world. They need someone in their corner to point them in the right direction who is keeping them in check. Parents need someone to come alongside their child consistently to be for their kids.

When parents see you are fighting for the relationship, it changes things in their family. Find mentors and leaders. It’s easier to find one person to lead from the stage than an army of people who will disciple the students.

an173-b91e6d64-8750-4ce2-b2fa-206979498934-v2

 

Orange Tour Session Notes with Latasha Morrison and Reggie Joiner

an173-14248d93-ce19-4716-852d-c1af29a244ae-v2

Tasha Morrison – We Build a Bridge

@LatashaMorrison

Most of our society and churches are racially segregated. If the church won’t be the answer, who will be the answer? If we don’t address it, who will? We say that Jesus is the answer. Kids need discipleship and part of that discipleship is racial reconciliation.

“My journey took me to a Garth Brooks concert. I never want to do that again.”

When you step out of your comfort zone it’s a little awkward and messy.

80% of what kids learn is from their parents. 20% is from outside sources such as your church leaders. Where our friendships begin, and when we have proximity in relationships, that’s where assumptions and stereotypes die. Maybe as a youth leader, you can address what the pastor might not be able to address.

Look at your social media. How can I be better? How am I learning from people who are different than me? How can I begin to live outside of my racially segregated box?

The way you start, what to think about, is beginning with the first step. Invite someone new to the table. Find someone culturally different than you. Do something you have never done before. When you come to the table together you can learn about my story, perspective, and experiences. God created us differently. This is about unity and oneness, not sameness.

Diversity makes us richly blessed.

BeABridgeBuilder.com

an173-77f63535-5d5c-430f-81a4-409332799c70-v2

Reggie Joiner – We Do Something We Don’t Have To Do

Party- Any effort to CELEBRATE, SERVE, or ENJOY each other in ways that adds value to life.

If starting over with a group of 9th graders the first thing Reggie would do would be to start enlisting kids to do something and to serve. Collecting the names of 9th and 10th graders who are leading. Invite them to a big party. I want to invite you to be the student leadership team in this town. You represent 20 different churches in different schools. I believe if this town is going to change it will begin with you. The day before mother’s day. Gave buckets of roses. Sending them out to make a difference. Serving changes the way that someone else sees you. When you do something you don’t have to do, it takes your faith to another place. The dilemma, student leadership team meeting 4th Sunday of every month but what am I going to tell them?

Here are the 7 things I want you to have and start with.

Do something you don’t have to do. Attached to something you see at a party. Food

Invite someone new to the table. Chair. New, not someone you don’t know but someone who is not like you. We Dine Together. Invited to the same table, and transformed the school by spending time with people who are new. We are called to be in the world but not of the world but many of us forget that first part. Learn the difference between racial prejudice vs. racism. “We know you aren’t a racist, we just want to know if you are anti-racist.” Racism is not your fault but it’s your problem; it’s our problem. We have to join side by side and declare war against anything that goes against what Jesus taught us. In the story of the good Samaritan it wasn’t hate that was the bad example, it was indifference.

Fast Forward someone else’s dream. Gift. Give the gift of generosity. We are created in the image of a generous God. Don’t look out for your own interests. When you invest your treasure your heart follows.

Inspire every kid you meet. Balloon. Stop and pause to look into the eyes of a child. Jesus said to His disciples to allow the children to come to Him. “When you welcome one of these children, you welcome Me.” -Jesus. Something happens to a culture and community when children matter. Teach them to serve children. The church would collapse without them. Changing the teenager more than the kid when you invite them to serve.

Create beautiful spaces. Flower. What we do when we care about the spaces around us is almost a way for us to say to the people around us that there is hope. God is the God of restoration. When you put makeup on, cut the grass, restore spaces, you are doing the work of a heavenly Father who created a beautiful world. Can we say we care about people when we don’t care about the places they live in? Help the next generation restore something that is broken.

Speak up for someone else. Flag Banner. We raise the flag when we use our voice. If you have a voice you have influence. If you have influenced you have a responsibility. Raise your voice to be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about. The marginalized and poor. When someone was being abused. When power was being abused. We should be bothered because we represent a God who said to love our neighbors.

Discover life together. Coffee Cup. Sharing a drink of coffee. When we are in a community together, transformation happens. Every kid needs a consistent leader in their life. Their chance of a mobilized faith is a consistent leader who points them to Jesus. Here’s how I want the church to win. Put a consistent leader in the life of every kid. When you do this the town wins. Community does something that therapy, presentations, and a sermon can never do. Community get’s to the core of who we are and what we do. Think about the preventive work that you are doing because you are putting kids and teenagers into a relational community. When they hit a wall, they have someone to run to. The role of the church is to give kids safe places, to give resources so that leaders can be better in creating a community for kids. You can never do faith alone and win.

When I do these 7 things, God becomes alive to me. Instead of just coming together and learning, this sets them up for experiencing authentic faith.

an173-88ad3e49-7232-482e-b028-f71bc4c3da55-v2

Dan Scott: Make the Tween Years a Bigger Deal

FullSizeRender-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a preteen?

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

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

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

Mental changes:

Elementary kids think like a scientist. What if questions.

Concrete and literal thinkers.

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

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

Middle Schoolers think like engineers.

More abstract.

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

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

Changing Emotionally and Spiritually

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

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

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

Changing Culturally and Relationally:

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

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

What should we do:

Engage: Their Interests

Affirm: Their Personal Journey

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

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

an173-f70e3673-5373-4acc-a63e-545a1662f269-v2

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

Education –

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

Evaluation
Synthesis
Analysis
Application
Comprehension
Knowledge

From bottom to the top of the spectrum.

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

Help students wrestle with the content we are teaching them.

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

Motivation and Currency

Fun Matters. They want to laugh and enjoy themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transitions Matter!

Help parents with the transitions from elementary to adolescence.

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

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

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

SmarterKinderLouder.com/252Preteen

Take the survey!

IMG_0395

Orange Tour Session Notes With Jon Acuff, Carlos Whittaker, and Reggie Joiner

an173-fa27a289-8a84-468f-be40-8e74459c733b-v2

Jon Acuff: Be For Our Neighbors

@JonAcuff

Neighbors are Weird

In your neighborhood there are weirdoes. Now with technology, you know more about your neighbors. The Story of the neighbor who saw the UFO. That’s not even my weirdest neighbor. The neighbor who said that their cat has been kidnapped returned it and shave half of it. But she didn’t give all the info; which half?

Neighbors are Helpful

The story of the big black furry rat in the garage. Traps that kill them. Brown rat stuck in a trap. Jon tells his wife to get a broom. Did you know that rats can scream at you? Mrs. Lynn who takes care of it. That’s weird but that’s what a neighbor does.

For Our Neighbors:

For:

It’s a thousand drops in the bucket for when it matters most.

What if Christians were known for what they are for and not what they are against.

Our:

We are all in this tougher. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, it can be small. Watching your neighbors kids.

Neighbor:
It’s not the easy neighbors. Not those who have the same views as us. Jesus said to love our neighbors, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Dog Whisperer story. That’s who I have to be deliberate about.

It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual. When you know a real person it changes how you look at your neighbors.

92% of goals fail. As parents it’s hard. We think it will organically work in our family but it never happens. Finish.

an173-04526e8e-f7fa-4237-81ba-2743a9331191-v2

Carlos Whittaker: Look Past a Situation and Into the Story

@loswhit

Culture is different in Las Angeles than it is in Atlanta.

The story of his two daughters and adopted son.

His daughter is in kindergarten for four days and hides on Marta from the brown people. She had her entire life not seen the color of dad’s skin until someone told her to look at the color of skin. Look past a situation and into a story. If we are going to be for our neighbor that’s what we need to do.

The story of the good samaritan.

All 3 men saw the man but only one saw past a situation and into the story.

There is the potential in this room to help a generation see into the story.

For those we are leading we need to look past the situation and into their story. It gives permission for other’s to do just this.

Raise up a generation of good samaritans who look past a situation and into the story.

an173-f70e3673-5373-4acc-a63e-545a1662f269-v2

Reggie Joiner: Stay Focused on What Matters Most

@reggiejoiner

When we look for the best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we are doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbors, we are participating in something sacred.” Mister Rogers

Sometimes we think Bible studies, worship, and prayer is sacred, but what if we decided that in our thinking about being for our neighbors was participating in something sacred.

Love the Lord your God with heart soul mind and strength and neighbor as yourself.

How we treat those around us is a sacred issue.

We want to measure our ministries, what are the yard sticks we put up to measure?

Challenge to change the year sticks. What generation are we leading? How do we measure that success?

As leaders, we have to be reminded of where the compass is. Sometimes we get so busy we lose sight of our north star.

Story: Moving in, Tom there waiting, can we call you the Rev, but then with hairline it became the pope. This man was completely different than Reggie. Maybe you want to do an easter egg hunt for my family. $1000 easter egg hunt. Asked Reggie, “Do you ever pray at parties?” Kegger party. The Pope is here and we are going to pray. Tom was crying and said that he wanted to be Reggie’s best friend. Next day, next week, and next month the relationship was different. Don’t know why and can’t explain it but something happened at that party. Showed up in his world and the question’s changed. He started talking about real life. The relationship went to a different play. The power and potential that a party has in relationships when you go the extra mile for your neighbors. Sometimes it takes a party. If he had never gone to the party, the relationship wouldn’t have happened. Tom taught Reggie, what it means to be a neighbor.

Sometimes it takes a party…to CHANGE how we SEE each other.

Party- Any effort to CELEBRATE, SERVE, or ENJOY each other in ways that adds value to life.

Christianity is more like a party than a class. We need to invite a generation to have a different experience than what we’ve been doing.

In the New Testament we see that Jesus likes a party. Was accused of all kinds of things, told stories about parties, compared eternity to the party, first miracle.

Sometimes it takes a party…to DEMONSTRATE that God CARES about people who party.

The prodigal son.

Sometimes it takes a party…to CONFIRM that we can always be FORGIVEN.

Sometimes it takes a party…To prove that people MATTER MORE than our opinions

Tax collectors house

Jesus tells the story about the rich man throwing a party and the VIP list people are getting ready to come. Send out invitations. There is a twist. Rich guy opens the invitation to everyone and anyone. Sends messages into the street to invite. Jesus changed the rules and gave an identity crisis.

Sometimes it takes a party…to remind us all that EVERYONE is INVITED to the party.

The basis of our faith. Everyone is invited. This one concept and idea show change how we do ministry and how we see each other. What if we started acting like everyone was invited.

An important time in history. Where the church should lead the way to say to a generation behind us that everyone is invited to the party. The gospel does not segregate us, it integrates us. The reason the generation is dissolution with the church is because of the history of marginalizing and discrimination and isolation. We’re so much better at debating the gospel than we are at demonstrating the gospel. They are watching how we treat those around us. There is coming a day when we will be in the same room at the same table because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s the point. If we are going to be intentional about inviting a generation to the table, it starts with us. This can be contagious and have a ripple eggiest through the generations.

If you would start thinking in terms of inviting others to the party and inviting yourself to the party of those who are different than you, something will happen to you. Move out of stagnation.

DO SOMETHING you don’t have to do.

Suppose someone forces you to go one mile. Go two miles with them.” Jesus

By law, the Jewish boy had to carry gear of a Roman soldier for a mile. Imagine a 12-13-year-old boy actually does this. On the second mile, the conversation changes. The relationship begins to change. Mile one fulfilled an obligation. Mile two changed the nature of their relationship. When we do ministry, as usual, we do what is obligated. Something happens in your ministry when you go the second mile. Because of one step from mile one to mile two. Wonder why you aren’t motivated or don’t have passion. When you invite them to this kind of experience it changes everything. What have you done that you didn’t have to do? What have you done that you weren’t obligated to do? Busy doing everything you have to do so stop and do something you don’t have to do. Volunteer. This is what happens, it changes you in ways you never imagined. You care about things you never cared about before. Care about what time DQ closes, who is on the education board, about what the pastor in the town is struggling with. You care because where you invest your treasure your heart follows. You don’t get a burden and go do something. You get this generation to do something they have never done before and they will get a burden for this new thing.

Do something because…If you do you feel something deeper, you tap into something sacred, you experience a radical type of love. We are called to invite a generation to step over the line and go the extra mile for the party. God has called you to some important things.

 

an173-b91e6d64-8750-4ce2-b2fa-206979498934-v2