Three Words That Will Energize Your Ministry

ENERGY

There are three words that will energize your ministry.  No, it’s not “Drink More Coffee!”  Although, on a Monday morning after a LONG Sunday, I can see where that would certainly help!  The three words that will energize your ministry:  ENERGY, ENERGY, ENERGY!

OK, so it’s the same word repeated twice!  But, having a high level of energy can transform a normally boring and routine Kids Ministry into a thriving one.  Just about everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else.  Kids want to be excited, pumped, and energized.  It all starts with you, the leader.

Some of you really struggle with this.  You work 5 days a week, run like crazy for your families on Saturday, and then on Sunday it is tough to have the energy you need to create a great experience for the kids to receive God’s Word.  So, I thought I would give you a few principles that will help you raise the energy level in your ministry…

How To Increase Energy:

1.  Realize what’s at stake

SOULS are at stake!  As Kidmin Leaders, we want these kids to see us excited about God’s word, worship, and serving others.  The level of passion you have will determine the level of passion THEY have.  When you realize that souls are at stake, suddenly the excuse of “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” doesn’t really cut it!

2.   Take responsibility for your own energy

Too many people wait to be pumped up by situations or persons.  They wait for the environment and all the external factors to be “just right” before they will respond with passion and energy.  As Kidmin Leaders, you can’t be like that.  You can’t wait for someone or something else to energize you.  You have to take responsibility and be proactive in having energy, not REACTIVE.

“The quality of your life is your gift to yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

If you wait for someone else to strike up your energy before you do anything, then life will pass you by – and so will many valuable ministry moments.

3.      Act your way into feeling

“Right decisions will eventually bring about right emotions.” – Stephen Covey

Don’t wait until you feel right to do right.  Do right and you will feel right.  There is an old saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it!”  I don’t know if I like the word “fake,” but I think in this case it works.  Fake joy is better than genuine depression any day – when it comes to leading in front of a group of kids.  That doesn’t mean don’t ever “be real” with people.  But, the time to “be real” and display your sadness is NOT while you are in front of a group of kids teaching about the Power of God!

It all boils down to this – whose energy are you using?  Colossians 1:29 says, “To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in me.”  When you are accomplishing GOD’S PURPOSE with GOD’S POWER, then you possess eternally renewable energy.  So stop struggling with your own energy, and tap into HIS!

Winners of the FREE “Power Bible” Announced

Congratulations to Donna Falvo and Susan Cantrell!  They are the winners of a FREE copy of the “Power Bible.”  In case you missed my post on the “Power Bible” check it out HERE!

There will be more giveaways of more resources in the future, so stay tuned!  In fact, this week I am giving away lots of resources to randomly selected followers of mine on Twitter.  So, if you don’t already, follow me at @briandollar1 and see if you win!

5 Ways Twitter Can Instantly Enhance Your Ministry Effectiveness

Twitter

Twitter is not exactly “new technology” since it was founded almost ten years ago on March 21, 2006.  Many Kidmin Leaders are already using this Social Media tool on a daily basis, but I also know many who have hesitated.  Some thought it was a passing fad, while others are just intimidated by it.  Still others just “don’t get what the big deal is with Twitter.”

I use Twitter daily.  I use it for a variety of reasons.  It gives me a tool to have unprecedented connectivity to so many of my networks (friends, fellow laborers, and other leaders).  If you are “on the fence” with Twitter, here are five way that Twitter can instantly enhance your ministry effectiveness:

1.  Connect with like-minded #Kidmin workers - Twitter is one of the best places to make connections with those who have similar ministry philosophies and a passion for Kids Ministry just like you have.  I have “virtually met” several people on Twitter and developed a strong bond with them.  It was very cool to be able to meet them in person at a conference later and we remain friends to this day.

2.  Access to the minds of some of the most influential leaders – Some of the “biggest names” and most effective, influential leaders in the Kids Ministry world are on Twitter.  Everyone from Jim Wideman, Amy Dolan, Ryan Frank, Sam Luce, Dale Hudson, to Christine Yount Jones.  By following these leaders on Twitter, you get their daily thoughts and questions, all the while learning by watching their daily and weekly activities and habits.  Plus, you get to see who THOSE people follow and learn from – and follow them as well.

3.  Engage in “iron sharpens iron” conversations - I can’t tell you how many times I have engaged with other leaders on Twitter and learned so much.  Twitter allows you a “real-time” conversation with many people at once about current and relevant topics relating to Kids Ministry.  Just click on the #kidmin hashtag to see all the recent tweets related to Kids Ministry.

4.  Get your message out to your parents and volunteers - By utilizing Twitter, you are able to give your parents and volunteers an account to follow that will give them the latest news and information about your Kids Ministry and your church.  Share deadlines, encouraging thoughts, and important information with parents and volunteers – all with one post.

5.  Become a better writer – Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time.  As a result, you are forced to be concise.  I have always thought, “If you can’t say it quickly, you shouldn’t say it at all.  I am not a fan of “rabbit trails” and rambling when it comes to writing.  One of the hallmarks of good writing is the ability to communicate BIG thoughts in short messages…short paragraphs…short sentences.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get on Twitter!  I thought I would incentivize everyone to start using this tool this week!  If you follow me on Twitter at @briandollar1 THIS WEEK, I will choose 5 of my followers at random to receive a prize.  Some of the prizes will include a signed copy of my book, “I Blew It!”, coupon codes to High Voltage Kids Ministry, and even several FREE Kids Ministry Curriculum Series.  So, sign up for Twitter and then follow me at @briandollar1 and you could WIN!

How To Preach From An iPad

I am away at Kids Camp this week. So, I have asked several of my favorite bloggers to write guest posts for you. This is a guest post from my good friend, Aaron Strawn. Aaron is a self-proclaimed “Kidmin Geek” who is one of the most creative guys I know! He blogs at aaronstrawn.com under the moniker #KidminGeek

(Imagine this first part as a cheesy infomercial)

Is this you on a Sunday morning?

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Papers everywhere! Ugh..what a mess!  Papers..who needs this first world problem, I sure don’t.

Haha, ok, here’s the truth, I use to be papers-all-over-the-podium-guy.  It’s not clean and hard to stay organized.  So when I got an iPad, it was for more than movies, reading and angry birds.  I really wanted it to organize my notes on a Sunday morning.  So how do you go from the picture above

To this:

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As John Hammond said in Jurassic Park…“I’ll show you”

JohnHammond1

Best part- everything I show you today will cost…nothing

 

Step 1:  Make sure the documents you want to have on your iPad are in PDF format.  Most curriculums that you have will include the PDF format of the lesson.  If you have a .doc or pages, just convert it by choosing File-Export-PDF

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 3.43.34 PM

Once your lessons are a PDF, we’re going to combine them into 1 PDF document.  First open the PDF files in the app Preview.  Then click the view menu tab and select “Thumbnails”.  Your PDF should now look like this:

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BTW what you are looking at is my Sunday morning service order put together byPlanning Center.

NEXT: Select the main page you will be using or want to reference more than once i.e. Service Order.  Click on the thumbnail and hit command C then command N (copy and create new).  You now have a duplicate of your main page.  This is done so you can add it in as many times as you need.

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NEXT:  Now its time to drag into your new PDF doc all the pages you want.  Simply click or select all the pages you want, then drag them on top of your new page, and boom, you have a new PDF with all the pages in it you want.  Here’s all this in action (no audio in video):

KidminGeek Make PDF

KidminGeek Make PDF

Now to get it on your iPad.  You have a couple options:

1.Email the file to yourself

2.  Evernote.  As you saw in the video above, once you have created your PDF, just drag and drop it into a note in any evernote notebook.  Make sure it is synced, then pull up evernote on your iPad, download the PDF, and there you go.  Now you can preach and have all your lesson plans right on your iPad.

3. Dropbox.  If you have a dropbox account, upload the PDF then simply open it in your dropbox app on your iPad

Hope this helps!  Feel free to add any solutions you have, or your methods.  Thanks for reading-

 

BONUS: The podium I am using is called an iPodium.  It has a built in pocket for an iPad.  I love this thing!

Check it out:

IMG_8858  IMG_8859  IMG_8857

 

These are available HERE

 

 

10 Children’s Pastors I Don’t Follow Anymore

This week, I am away at Kids Camp.  So, I have invited a couple of my good friends in Kids Ministry to share some guest posts on my blog.  This a guest post from my great friend, Ryan Frank, who is the CEO of KidzMatter and a Vice President at Awana Clubs International.  He blogs over at RyanFrank.com.  But, most importantly, Ryan is a leader’s leader.  Ryan is giving away  some great video training at RyanFrank.com.  I encourage you to go sign up so you start receiving them.  They are inspiring, informative, and transformational.  

unfollow button

I love children’s pastors. I have given much of my life to equipping them and cheering them on.  I also love following children’s pastors and learning from them.  (My favorite places to do this are on Twitter and Instagram.)
However, there are ten children’s pastors that I don’t care to follow.  They are:
1.  The children’s pastor who is happy with a mediocre ministry.
2.  The children’s pastor who has no vision for his/her ministry.
3.  The children’s pastor who talks behind leadership’s back.
4.  The children’s pastor who won’t collaborate.
5.  The children’s pastor who won’t walk the talk.
6.  The children’s pastor who resists new ideas.
7.  The children’s pastor who lacks good people skills.
8.  The children’s pastor who refuses to develop others.
9.  The children’s pastor who loves big strategies but can’t implement.
10.  The children’s pastor who can’t manage him or herself. (If you can’t manage yourself, how can you manage others?)
These poor leadership traits pop up more frequently than not.  Avoid them.  If you find any of these surfacing in your life, please create a strategy to deal with them! (And carefully choose to follow people who model excellence in leadership.)
Ryan and his wife, Beth, are also the publishers of KidzMatter Magazine.  He is the author of 9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me in College About Children’s Ministry (Standard) and Give Me Jesus (Baker Publishing).

 

Kids Ministry “Meatloaf”

kids-ministry-meatloaf

A mother was making meatloaf with her teenage daughter, a ritual they’ve been doing together for years.  As part of the tradition, the two chefs cut the end off one side of the meatloaf before putting it in the oven.  One day, the teen asks, “Mom, why do we cut the end off the meatloaf before we put it in the oven?”

Taken by surprise, the mom began to think.  She really wasn’t sure of the reason, but she had observed her own mother do this many times when she made meatloaf.  So, the teen and the mother called up Grandma to find the answer.  After a brief laugh, the grandmother admitted that she didn’t really know the answer either; she’d learned the technique from her mother.  Their curiosity sparked, the three went to visit Great-Grandma in the nursing home where she lived.  Upon hearing the question, the 98-year-old great-grandmother roared with laughter.  “I have no idea why YOU are cutting the end off the meatloaf!  I used to do it because I didn’t have a big enough pan!”

We laugh at this story, but how many of us could take a long hard look at our Kids Ministry and find that we are still doing many things the same way after many years only because we saw someone else do it that way in the past.  It would do us all some good to look at our ministry with a microscope and find out how many areas we are “cutting the meat loaf” in.

It’s time to question the status quo.  Look at the programs, processes, and systems in your Kids Ministry.  Many things may have made sense in the past, but are no longer relevant.  Not everything is a “meatloaf”, but many things are.  It’s important to ask yourself the question so you know where the “meatloaf” is in your ministry.

What are some areas in your ministry that you have discovered were “meatloaf” in the past?  Share your experiences in the comments section.  Let’s learn from one another…

INSIDE LOOK: “High Voltage Kids Ministry BIG Announcement”

Facebook-Ad

Ten years ago, my team and I wrote and produced our very first Kidmin Curriculum called, “Got Questions?”  Since then, High Voltage Kids Ministry has gone on to be used in well over 5,000 churches world-wide!  We have been advertising for weeks that on July 1st, we had a HUGE announcement that was going to be a GAME-CHANGER for Kidmin Leaders!

TODAY, we are giving you an INSIDE LOOK at the BIGGEST creative venture we have ever attempted!  If you are a big user of our Curriculum or have ever thought about using it, THIS is going to blow your mind!

Check out the video below for all the details, then leave us a comment in the comments section and tell us what you think of the BIG announcement…

Should Kids Ministry Leaders Drink Alcohol?

drinkingThe other day I answered a question that was posed in a Children’s Ministry forum that I belong to.  “How do you all handle seeing Facebook posts of your adult volunteers drinking or bar hopping?”  There was definitely a diversity of opinion among the members of the group.  So, I thought that this would make a good blog post and a healthy conversation.

Before I get into it, let me make something perfectly clear:  This is my opinion.  I am not declaring doctrine, nor am I telling you what your standards should be.  I am simply sharing my personal thoughts on the subject.

On my Kids Ministry Team, we have a policy for our Children’s Ministry volunteers that states, “I will strive to live a holy life and avoid habits that diminish my personal testimony or hinder my ability to lead.  I understand that my position on the leadership pyramid leaves me with less options than others.”  This includes drinking alcohol in public (bars, restaurants) or posting pictures of themselves partaking in alcohol.  My leaders also know that it is my desire and preference that they not drink alcohol AT ALL.  I understand that this may seem drastic to some of you.  Certainly, there is a point-of-view that says, “Drinking alcohol, as long as you don’t get drunk, is not a sin.”  This is because it is apparent that Jesus drank wine at different times in the New Testament account.  Also, Ephesians 5:18 seems not to prohibit drinking alcohol, but does condemn becoming drunk:  “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…”  I definitely won’t argue or discuss that viewpoint.  I am not addressing the subject of “Should CHRISTIANS drink alcohol?”  That is a broad subject for another blog, another time (most likely another author, because I don’t plan to address that issue).

There are many things that, while they are not necessarily sin or sinful – as a leader of other Christ followers – I do not do.  The reason is not simply because it is sin, but because there are many who would be confused or troubled by me doing it.

“It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.” – Romans 14:21-22  

Since my goal is not to “be free to do things,” but rather to lead others in their walk with Christ, there are things I have decided just are not worth it because of the difficulty they would cause others I am trying to lead.

Alcohol is a killer – in many ways.  Teen alcohol use, alcoholism, drunk-driving, etc.  I really just don’t want to be connected with something that has VERY few positives about it and PLENTY of negatives.

Being leaders and teachers of children – we have to have a MUCH higher standard of holiness and behavior.  Children are impressionable in ways that adults may not be.  Jesus cautioned us in Matthew 18:6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  This means that we must go above and beyond in not allowing anything in our lives to have the potential to cause children to choose a path that is destructive to them.

It is one thing to make a choice to privately drink wine/beer with dinner or in the privacy of your own home (Ephesians 5:18).  As a Christian, that is your choice to do so.  But, once you choose to be a LEADER – especially to children – the standard is much higher.  As Dr. John Maxwell so eloquently puts it:

“The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself.  It’s doing what is best for the team.  For that reason, leaders have to give up their rights.  The higher you go in leadership, the more its going to cost you.  You will have to give up to go up.”

Being involved in a ministry team is purely voluntary.  I believe that anyone who is involved in ministry should be willing to represent the church they serve. Depending on your context and the standards in your community, you should be willing to come in line with the standards that are set forth in those ministries.  

I understand there are many who will say, “You’re just being legalistic!  You are making up do’s and don’ts that aren’t in the Bible!  If Jesus didn’t want us to drink he would not have started his ministry by turning water into wine.”  Again, those arguments would be valid if we were talking about “Christians in general.”  But, we are talking about those who CHOOSE to be a part of a ministry team that focuses on leading children in their spiritual journey to become more like Jesus.  

I want my leaders to live lives that are above reproach and would never cause a parent or child to question their heart, motives, or lifestyle. I have that rule to protect the kids, but also to protect the volunteers from unnecessary criticism.  One day I will stand before God and answer for the way I led my team.  I would much rather receive a rebuke from God for “having too high of a standard of holiness that you kept some people from choosing to serve” rather than “you caused many of my little ones to stumble.”

So, I know I have opened up a HUGE debate here.  I would love to have some of your thoughts on this.  I invite opposing points of view.  The goal is to learn from each other.  Please leave a comment in the Comments section on this post.

 

 

Have you seen the “POWER BIBLE?”

I was recently introduced to the “POWER BIBLE.”  It is a resource that was produced by Green Egg Media.  It is an amazing new children’s Bible that uses an Asian comics style artwork.  I must say, I am impressed.

There are several highlights to this resource that I want to point out:

1.  The artwork is stellar.

2.  It’s well-executed and set in a format that kids will “eat up.”

3.  It gives kids a tool to use to share the truth of God’s Word with their friends.

4.  It can be used as a great devotional tool for kids.

5.  It is very comprehensive.  There are 10 issues in the series, covering the Old and New Testament.

Here is a sample of the artwork:

Also, I found a really cool video that tells you even more about this resource!

I have been given a FREE copy of the Power Bible to give away to one of my blog readers.  If you would like to enter to win, just email brian@highvoltage-kids.com today!  I will announce the winner in a post next week!

If you would like to purchase your own copy of the Power Bible, click this link

Join Me and Ryan Frank For A FREE Webinar

Ryan Frank; Kidzmatter, Inc.

Ryan Frank serves as the CEO of KidzMatter and a Vice President at Awana Clubs International. Ryan and his wife, Beth, are also the publishers of Kidzmatter Magazine. He is the author of 9 Things They Didn’t Teach Me in College About Children’s Ministry (Standard) and Give Me Jesus (Baker Publishing).

Ryan has asked me to join him as a guest speaker for a FREE Webinar NEXT WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm CDT/1:00pm EDT.

How do you lead when you aren’t in charge? That’s the topic of this 30-minute lunch webinar.  Ryan and I believe that leadership is more than a position. It’s more than having formal authority. As John Maxwell says, leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.

Join Ryan and I at this  FREE 30-minute lunch webinar on Wednesday, July 2nd to discover:

  • How to lead when you aren’t in charge.
  • How to stay connected to your boss’ vision.
  • How to communicate with your boss.
  • How to fight the thought: “If only I was in charge.”
  • And much more.

To save your spot, CLICK HERE and get registered. This webinar is FREE, and you will leave with lots of PRACTICAL IDEAS to start implementing in your life.