5 Tips To Prepare For A Successful Conference

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The more conferences I attend, the more I see that most people fail to prepare and therefore miss out on great opportunities at conferences. What if I told you there are 5 easy things that you can do today to set yourself up for future success at your next conference?

1. Only attend conferences that fit your mission. With hundreds of new conferences starting each year you need to make sure you attend the ones that fit your goals. Do you believe in the mission of the organization? Why do most people attend this particular event? Who do you know who has already attended this conference and what were their big takeaways?

2. Pay early and register for all activities. It’s no secret that the earlier you pay for a conference the better rate you will find. After you purchase your ticket, line up all airfare and housing arrangements. Make sure you have selected your breakouts and all events taking full advantage of the opportunities to grow.

3. Line up meetings with those who you want to learn from. A quick tweet or email to your favorite conference speakers and bloggers can land you an hour long coffee or dinner for personal coaching. Make a list of those who you want to learn from and see if they can work you into their schedule. Pay for their coffee or take them out to dinner to show appreciation for their time and come prepared with solid questions. These appointments may become the best learning opportunities for you but you need to schedule them ahead of time.

4. Write everything into your calendar. Between the thousands of people moving around and being unfamiliar with the building, conferences can be hectic. Prepare for a successful conference by writing everything into your digital calendar. While everyone else is rushing around and flipping through paperwork to figure out where to go next, you can simply glance at your smartphone or watch and head in the right direction.

5. Pack smart. Dress in layers because you will be freezing in one session and burning up in the next. Know the audience of those who will be attending the conference and dress appropriately. Leave room in your luggage for the books and resources you will be picking up and make sure to bring an external battery for your dying cell phone.

Like most things in life, with a little preparation the outcome will be more successful. Here are 5 of my tips for preparing for your next conference. Let me know in the comments what else you would add or share with me what conference you think every leader should be attending!

The Person You Needed When You Were Younger

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Think back to when you were a kid. You were always reaching for the next goal and never looked back. With mixed emotions, you anticipated kindergarten, you couldn’t wait until Christmas, and your next birthday was always just around the corner.

When you started riding a tricycle, you anticipated the day you could move to a big boy bike. And then when you got the hang of things, you couldn’t wait for those training wheels to come off.

Kids move through different stages, handling different issues, and always wanting to be a little more grown up. Children don’t want to be treated like a child. And certainly the same is true for preteens.

When I was a preteen, I remember sitting in those little chairs, hearing the same Bible stories that I had heard before. A gap had formed. While I was struggling with some tough sins, I was sitting in a room hearing about Adam and Eve sinning and had no idea how it applied to my own life.

I already knew that sin was disobeying God. I already knew that Adam and Eve were the first sinners. And in fact, thinking about their story and them being naked was going to cause me to sin. I didn’t need to be taught the facts again with puppets and felt boards like I was a child.

What I needed was someone to be my friend and walk me through my personal disobedience. What I needed was to be treated as a preteen.

Read More and be Challenged by clicking: http://fourfivesix.org/the-person-you-needed-when-you-were-younger/

7 Powerful Bible Verses That Will Challenge Every Student

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In a world where students lives are saturated with digital distractions and false messages, how do you speak truth that will impact their decisions and attitude? Here is a promise you need to remember: “The word of God is alive and active…It cuts deep enough to separate soul from spirit…It judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” If you want to challenge a student to shift from the cultural norm and develop their own personal authentic faith, I believe you need to begin speaking and challenging them with the very words of God.

Here are 7 powerful Bible verses that you can begin reading with your students. Challenge them to meditate on these words, asking God to speak to their hearts. Encourage students to commit these passages to memory and you yourself do the same.

Psalm 119:9-10
How can a young person keep their life pure? By living according to your word. I trust in you with all my heart. Don’t let me wander away from your commands.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways obey him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’”

1 John 3:18
Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.

Proverbs 13:20
Walk with wise people and become wise. A companion of foolish people suffers harm.

1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live. Also set an example in how you love and in what you believe. Show the believers how to be pure.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.

 

 

 

Will Sunday Church Matter Monday?

Monday Is ComingWhat you do each and every Sunday morning matters. The time you invest in the kids, the effort you put into teaching God’s Word, and the connection you make with families can change a soul’s eternity forever. We pour our lives into Sunday morning to make this the best hour in every kids life but what if there is more? At this year’s Orange Conference these questions are being asked:

  • “WHAT IF what you do every Sunday could matter more if you remember what really matters to most people on Monday?”
  • “WHAT IF success is less about who comes this Sunday and more about what happens on Monday?”
  • “WHAT IF your ministry began to rethink every message, every environment, every program and every relationship through this one idea.”

Across the world, Sunday mornings are filled with Bible lessons, skits, worship songs, and small group discussions. After church, parents ask two questions to their kids. Did you have fun? What did you learn? Our hope as leaders have always been that kids will say, “YES! And I learned about…” but what if parents began asking on Monday night about how their kids applied the Bible lesson on Monday morning? What if we as leaders connected the Bible lesson on Sunday to recess on Monday, to the cafeteria on Wednesday, and math homework on Friday?

At this year’s Orange Conference we will be challenged in our thinking:

“Don’t be so Sunday minded that you’re no Monday good.” (click to tweet) 

Join me this year at the Orange Conference to take our Sunday mornings to the next level! Sign up for this year’s conference to connect with other leaders who are making a kingdom difference and lets comes together to learn how to make Sunday matter more on Monday!

Registration for #OC16 opens October 8! Save $80, plus get Insider First Access to Breakouts! TheOrangeConference.com

Volunteer Christmas Gift Ornament

Each Christmas our Kids Ministry team comes together to enjoy the holidays and reminisce on the year. Of all the activities and events that happen in the year, the Kidmin Christmas party is one of my favorites. We enjoy delicious food, a variety of hot coco and cider drinks, and the companionship of a team all on one mission. Words can not express the appreciation I have for these volunteers who give of their time, talents, and treasure to further the kingdom through the kids ministry. I always want to show them appreciation and so I each year, we give a Christmas ornament for the volunteers to hang on their tree. Here are two examples. The first ornament was mashup created to remember the series that we had done that year and the second ornament was handmade from a Pinterest idea. I look forward to filling a Christmas tree with these memories!  PrintIMG_9314

Kidmin Small Group Events

ImageTake a minute to look at your calendar for April and May. You will see that it is FULL! During this time of the year, it is nearly impossible to plan an event to bring the church together and so we plan small group events to bring each kids group into a stronger community. We want the kids who regularly meet together at church to get together outside of the classroom to have fun and experience community on a different level. Our elementary ministry is called the All Stars and so with this sports theme the leaders are called coaches and the small groups are called huddle groups. The coaches are given a $40 budget and are asked to fill out a planning sheet at least 3 weeks prior to the event. These Huddle Events are planned by the coaches and have a wide range of possibilities. This year we had a group host a circus party, frozen movie party, easter egg dying and hunt party, nerf war, fishing and football at a farm, messy games afternoon, roller skating, and overnight camping. 

 

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My First Orange Conference

Orange Conference

Orange Conference

Next week I will be one of the 6000 Orange Leaders attending the Orange Conference in Atlanta.  Orange is a gathering of leaders who are passionate about engaging churches and families to influence the faith and character of the next generation. I believe the message that Orange preaches to leaders. They ask the question, “What if church leaders and parents synchronized their efforts to fuel wonder, discovery and passion in the next generation?” My desire has always been to come alongside of families in making disciples of their kids. The Orange strategy comes from “combining the critical influences of the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red) to shows a generation who God is more effectively than either could alone.”

I am excited to find ideas, inspiration, and resources to become an Orange thinker. I desire to create new habits in ministry that encourage lasting change over time. I have anticipation to meet up with old and new kids ministry friends. And I am thrilled to wear my Bright Orange Riddler Bats Batman Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper Villain Superhero T-Shirt!

If you would like to join me, RSVP on the Live Stream!

And if you want to get pumped, check out this video:

Iron Sharpens Iron: Who is sharpening you? Who are you sharpening?

 

KidzMatter Quotes

Find a mentor and be open to being mentored. – Corey Jones

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17

Who is sharpening you? Who are you sharpening?  

Soon after moving to Georgia I was faced with the realization that one of the best ways for me to help THE church was to help prepare ministers for the future. I asked my leadership for permission to create a mentorship program where I can help sharpen college students to work in the ministry. Over the past few years this internship has been very rewarding to the intern and surprisingly has been a huge benefit to me as the mentor. 

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” ― Peter F. Drucker

Now if you fast forward a couple of years, I have been given the opportunity to join a coaching/mentorship experience called Infuse. This 6 month program is designed to challenge me and take me to my next level in leadership and ministry. I view this as an investment in myself and like all investments you get out what you put in. As I look back at this first month of Infuse, I can see many areas where my thinking has been challenged. I can see all of those small steps behind me and now see many more leaps ahead. As I sat back to reflect and set goals for the next 5 months, I was hit with the overwhelming sense of responsibility that we all have to sharpen one another as well as be open to being sharpened. We do this each and every week with the kids around us but for some reason as we move into adulthood we feel that we have for some reason arrived. I am thankful for the people that God has placed in my life to challenge and shape me as a person. I am also thankful for the responsibility and blessing that I have to play a role in the lives of those around me. 

Today is a new day, so I ask again: Who is sharpening you? Who are you sharpening?

Get More Volunteers

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“The best churches don’t hire ministers to DO all of the ministry; they equip and inspire volunteers and leaders to get ministry done. Learn how these five leading pastors and churches equip and inspire volunteers.” 

The Rocket Company has been a great resource to me and my ministry. On October 29, 2013 – 1:00 PM EDT they are hosting a free online conference called, “Get More Volunteers.” I am super excited to hear from church leaders such as Reggie Joiner, Tony Morgan, and Perry Noble. 

For more information check out http://getmorevolunteers.com and hopefully after the conference I’ll make a post of what spoke to me and my ministry at Southern Hills.

Organize Your Work – Weekly Report

5620_1__43629.1312921995.600.600Over a year ago I purchased an Evaluation Toolbox that taught me the importance of creating a weekly plan for my ministry. I loved this idea and so I invested some time in making a weekly report for myself. Over the past year I have been filling this form out and occasionally creating a new draft. Each week I create a key strategy and then break that into steps. I find ways to continue my education and leadership. I plan out who I need to have conversations with, send encouragement to, or who I need to invest in. I make a running list of projects and move them up as they become more important, have an ongoing prayer list, and also a place to evaluate how things are going. This has given me more focus in my ministry then any other tool, workshop, or lecture and I encourage you to take my report and like I did, make it your own. Start today to become more intentional and stop allowing days to slip by without purpose.

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CM Weekly Staff Report PDF