Blog Contest Winner Announced – And How YOU Can Help!

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to the blog in the last week!  It’s such a crazy thought to me that over 8,000 people are following this blog!  I am so appreciative of your support in this endeavor to provide information, inspiration, and motivation to all of my friends in the Kidmin Community.

I am pleased to announce the WINNER of our contest!  Out of ALL of the subscribers, the winner of the $100 Shopping Spree on High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources is Andrea Blanton!  She should really enjoy that shopping spree this week in our EASTER ZONE!  We have lots of downloadable lessons, videos, and more to help make Easter at your church a memorable and impacting experience.  Check it out!

A few things you can ALWAYS do to help build this community:

1)  SHARE the posts! – Sharing the information you read on this blog is easy!  Just click on the share buttons at the top of each post!  There is one for each Social Media outlet you might use.  Choose the one you prefer, and get the word out.  The more people are blessed by the information, the bigger the community gets.  That allows for great interaction and resource for each of you!

2)  COMMENT on the posts! – I welcome questions, thoughts, disagreement, whatever!  I just want us to engage in conversation so that we all learn together!  I know many people who say they have been just as blessed by the comments as they have from the posts themselves!  Keep it up!

3)  PRAY! – I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in the areas I write about.  Pray that I will be sensitive to Him and respond in a way that is obedient and pleasing to Him.  Thanks so much for your prayer support!

 

Should I Tell My Pastor About This?

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

“Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?”

It’s a question that most staff members struggle with.  ”When is the right time to share information with my Lead Pastor?”  Naturally, you don’t want to be a pest and “bother” him.  At the same time, you don’t want to hold onto information that may be vital to the church for a long time and deprive him of the opportunity to respond in an appropriate way in the appropriate time.

Here is a good list to follow when deciding “Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?” that my pastor shared with us.

Report to Lead Pastor NOW (phone call or face to face) if…

1)    Someone in the church is angry or upset (he doesn’t want to be blindsided and not be prepared for it)

2)    If you made a critical mistake (leadership, judgement error, etc.)

3)    If someone is facing a crisis or emergency

4)    If it affects the Sunday Morning (main) service (whether today is Monday or Saturday, doesn’t matter)

5)    If it is a sin issue in the leadership team

6)    If it is a “significant” financial issue (the term “significant” varies with each Lead Pastor)

7)    If a crucial judgement call is required (don’t just guess on what your Lead Pastor would do, ask him)

8)  Hospital/Death/Birth (these are significant life moments your pastor wants to be part of)

9)  If an important event has a major change

10) If YOU have a significant family crisis

11) If he receives a phone call or visit from someone of importance

12) If it’s a liability issue that could negatively affect the church

Save it for later (e-mail, staff meeting, or in-person) if…

1)    No action can be taken right now

2)    He won’t end up hearing it from anyone else

3)    It doesn’t affect the upcoming service or event

4)    You have dealt with it completely with no chance of negative consequences

5)    It is “regular” business (approving someone for ministry, calendar decisions, general updates)

6)    If the information can be shared in a meeting setting (with others present)

7)    If you are merely reporting facts (FYI)

8)    If the decision falls within your discretionary authority

9) When the lack of information won’t hurt them

10) If it’s a personal issue, but non-emergency

11) If you disagree with a leadership decision they have made

What do you think?  Would you add or take away any from these lists?  Share your comments in the comments section.

3 Important Things To Help Kids Develop A Heart For Worship

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

Worship is an important part of the Christian life.  It is a time of devoted focus toward God, expressing our love to Him.  In order to develop a heart of worship in children who are new in the faith (or young in age), there are some practical steps you should take.

1)  Understand each child’s journey into worship

As a Children’s Ministry Leader, we need to take the children on that Sunday’s journey to the place of worship.  Understand that every child is coming from different places into the worship service.  This includes the personal atmosphere that each child brings in with them.  Some kids are coming out of Sunday School or small groups where they have heard a lesson, played games, done crafts, ate snacks.  Other kids are coming from a home where there is major stress, may have witnessed an argument that morning, didn’t have breakfast, had too much breakfast, didn’t get enough sleep, don’t feel well, etc.  Be sensitive to each child’s journey, and do your best to help them along the way.

2)  Teach regularly about worship.

Explain the reason for worship – “to show and express our love to God.”  As often as possible, teach on the meaning, the methods, and results of worship.  Why do we raise our hands?  Why do we close our eyes?  Is there a “perfect” way to worship.  We tell our kids “It is not so important HOW you worship, but it is important THAT you worship!”

3)  Make sure you and your leaders actively demonstrate worship.

When you are actively engaged in worship, the kids see this, and it sends a strong message to them that worship is important.  If you or your leaders are not actively engaged in worship, this sends the opposite message.

Kids will imitate what they see.  Actively engaging in worship for kids often starts here, but it needs to move to the arena of inner purpose.  Kids are great at reading the group acceptance of worship.  Many kids lift their hands and go through the motions only because that is the accepted thing to do.  Do not be blind to this social reason for worship.  Let it begin here, but help them move to making it personal.  It’s not about imitation and duplication.  It is about adoration.

Win $100 Shopping Spree From High Voltage Kids Ministry

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

High Voltage Kids Ministry is a ministry I founded over ten years ago! I want to give you a $100 shopping spree to High Voltage Kids Ministry just for becoming an email subscriber to this blog. Many of you visit the blog via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. Well, how would you like to AUTOMATICALLY receive these posts directly in your inbox within moments of them being posted?

All you have to do is enter your email address in the space provided in the RIGHT HAND COLUMN of this blog where it says “SUBSCRIBE To Brian’s Blog Via Email.” Not only will you be entered in the contest, but you will also automatically receive all of Brian’s Blog posts via email right when they are posted. Know someone who could use some extra spending money for their Kids Ministry? Know someone who could use some practical information to help them become a better Kids Ministry Leader? Well, have them subscribe THIS WEEK! This contest will only run until the end of the week! We will announce the winner next Monday!

Help us get the word out! Post the following and we will give you a BONUS entry into the contest:

Twitter:  Hey #kidmin leaders! @briandollar1 is giving away $100 shopping spree just for subscribing to his blog! http://briandollar.com

Facebook:  Hey Kids Ministry Leaders! Brian Dollar is giving away $100 Shopping Spree to HIgh Voltage Kids Ministry Resources just for subscribing to his blog http://briandollar.com – Contest ends this week! Don’t miss out!

“Consequences” In Kids Ministry

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

In a recent post, I explained what our discipline policies are for Kidmin.  Several have asked me to post our “consequences”, so here you go!

If you want kids to follow your “rules,” then you MUST  follow through with established consequences.  Consequences help kids own their behavior and teach them to make better choices.  Here are the established steps we follow when applying consequences.

1.  Remind the child of the rule they have broken.Often, kids just “forgot” and acted before thinking.  Have grace for those accidental mistakes.

2.  Official WarningSay, “OK, now this is your ONE warning.  The next time today that you break a rule, then I am going to have take action.”

3.  Move the child to a different seatUsually, the best place is right beside one of your workers.  If that is not possible, then move the child as close to you as possible.

4.  Remove the child from the room (bring them to office)
The child is brought to a “neutral space” outside of the classroom.  In our case, this is the Children’s Ministry office/Teacher’s Lounge.

5.  Pastor discussion –
The child is talked to by the Children’s Pastors.  Their attitude is assessed.  If they are repentant, then this is as far as it goes.  If they are not repentant or they have been sent to the office recently, then… 

6.  Parent meeting –
The Children’s Pastor will talk with the parents of the child when they come to pick them up.  The issues are thoroughly explained, and the parents are brought into the process.

7.  Suspension for one week –
The child is not allowed to attend the Children’s Service the following week.  They are required to sit with their parents in the main adult service.

8.  Suspension for three weeks –
If the child has been dealt the one week suspension more than once, then the next time they are suspended, it is for three consecutive weeks.

9.  Permanent suspension (we have NEVER had to do this so far)

Above all, let’s take a POSITIVE approach.  You get what you celebrate!

How about you?  What are your steps for consequences?  Share in the comments section!

“March Madness” For The “Final Four” Days In March

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

I am sure you are all enjoying the incredible NCAA Basketball going on during “March Madness.”  Well, at High Voltage Kids Ministry, we have a little “MARCH MADNESS” of our own going on.  For the “FINAL FOUR” days of March, we are offering 50% OFF several of our most popular Kidmin Curriculum titles:

     

   

No coupon code required!  Just visit our website HERE and you will save 50% OFF these five titles!  Better hurry!  This only lasts until midnight March 31st!

3 Steps To Better Classroom Discipline

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

Discipline is a hot button issue for people who work with kids.  While public and private school systems have five days a week to instill a discipline plan with students, the church typically has about one hour per week to do the same thing.  It’s important to have a clear system in place.  The last thing you want to do is expect volunteers to come up with their own discipline plan without guidance or expectations.

1)  Keep it CLEAR

Successful Discipline comes down to two words:  CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

There is no way that kids can be expected to be held accountable to follow rules that are never clearly communicated to them.

2)  Keep It SIMPLE

Don’t develop so many rules that kids can’t remember them from week to week.  The rules I have used my entire ministry are the C.O.O.L. Rules (these are NOT original)

Care about your neighbor – don’t be a space invader

Only get out of your seat when you have permission

Obey the leader and don’t interrupt

Let’s work together – and be WINNERS!

3)  Keep It CONSISTENT

You have to be consistent in how you apply discipline.  Wavering in your discipline approach weekly causes confusion with the kids.  Being extra sensitive and calling down everyone one week, then being extra care-free and allowing all kinds of disruptions the following week will NOT help your kids at all.  Be consistent.

Will The “NOAH” Movie Corrupt Our Children?

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

By now, you have surely heard that Hollywood is releasing “NOAH” this Friday, March 28th.  The movie stars Russell Crowe, as Noah, as well as several other A-list actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and others.  You are probably also keenly aware of the firestorm of criticism this movie has already received from Christian Leaders – some who have seen the movie and some who have not.

There are leaders calling for a boycott of the movie, declaring it heresy.  There are those who have even suggested this movie will corrupt a generation of children from knowing the truth of the biblical account.  Admittedly, it is directed by Darren Aronofsky, who also directed “Black Swan” and does not consider the movie to be a “Christian” film.  From interviews I have read and seen, Aronofsky’s “Noah” takes on quite a bit of creative license and assumption.  While I may not agree with all of the additions and changes that the story has undergone, I do have a bit of sympathy for a Director trying to take a story that the Bible devoted only four chapters to and turn it into a two-hour epic film.

Here are several thoughts I have:

1)  The idea of Christians “boycotting” anything gets me frustrated.  That term in and of itself has such a “we are against you” taste to it – it just bothers me.  It is one thing to decide not to see a movie.  It is also a great idea to choose to speak to others about whether or not they should go see that movie – and give your reasons for wanting to persuade them.  But, boycotting with a loud and obnoxious voice (which, let’s be honest, is the way most “Christian boycotts” come across) is just not helpful to building a bridge to the “world” we are called to reach.

2)  It’s a movie, not a sermon.  Why are we trying to hold Hollywood to a standard of accuracy and “stick to the text” standard as we would someone preaching a sermon from scripture.  This is a SECULAR presentation of a BIBLICAL story.  They are not saying that “Noah” didn’t exist.  They are not disproving God’s reasons for sending the flood (from every account I have read, the reality of sin and its horrific repercussions are very clearly presented – although I hear that the “environmental sins” aspect is trumped up a bit much).  They are not glossing over the fact that God promised mercy for future generations in the form of a rainbow.  They have chosen to add some things that were not in the original story to make the story easier to follow and more dynamic and dramatic.  I don’t have issue with that at all in and of itself.  The truth is, some of the “Biblical” movies we herald as classics such as “The Ten Commandments”, “The Passion Of The Christ”, and even “The Prince of Egypt” have extra-biblical pieces to them (Spoiler alert:  Moses and Ramses never had a chariot race on top of a wall in the book of Exodus).

3)  People WILL see the movie, so we had better be ready to talk about it.  Rather than standing in opposition and loudly proclaiming how “against it” you are, why not go see it so that you know what is or isn’t in the film?  Then, when someone at work or your neighbor asks about “what really happened with Noah,” you can tell them.  While I am NOT suggesting that you take your kids to see it or encourage the children in your church to see it (that is a parental decision only), I do think we should arm our kids with the TRUTH so that they can share what REALLY happened (which is why we, at High Voltage Kids Ministry have put our “Surviving The Storm” series that teaches the story of NOAH on sale this week).

The bottom line can really be best summed up by quoting Phil Cooke, a film director and Christian who I greatly respect.  He said…

Finally - remember that there are hundreds of serious, dedicated Christians working in the entertainment industry every day.  These are professionals who – like Joseph – are working from the inside. When we launch attacks, petition drives, or boycotts, we’re damaging their ability to make change happen. As the Hollywood Prayer Network recommends, instead of making Hollywood the enemy, let’s consider Hollywood a mission field.  Perhaps we need to ask ourselves:  When was the last time we prayed for a Christian professional (a “media missionary”) trying to make difference in Hollywood – the most influential place on earth?  Maybe it’s time to start.

Fun Friday: “New Baby Buggy”

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 8.16.56 AM

I am a huge fan of “Wheel Of Fortune.”  I remember watching it every night at 6:30 as a kid while my family ate dinner together.  I still love it.  I am good with words (go figure), so it’s always fun to try to see if I can guess the puzzle before the contestants.  Sometimes I can…this time – NO WAY!  This guy was amazing!  Hardly anything to choose from, then BOOM!  Check it out!

3 Keys To Adding MORE Volunteers To Your Ministry Team

Been a Kids Pastor since 1992. Founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998. Kids Pastor at First Assembly NLR since 1999. Author of "I Blew It!"

Recruiting Volunteers

It’s a question I get on a regular basis:  “How do you get folks in the church to volunteer when they think it is the Children’s Pastor’s job to do the ministry?”

This is one of the most difficult tasks of a Kidmin Leader – Recruiting Volunteers.  I can tell you, there is no magic formula.  The only way to recruit successfully is by CONTINUOUS hard work and adherence to a few key principles.  However, there are three important keys that I live by.   Hopefully they will help you to build a strong team of leaders to serve the children of your church.

Keys To Adding MORE Volunteers To Your Ministry Team:

1)  Don’t recruit from a NEED, rather recruit from an OPPORTUNITY.

There is nothing worse than a Children’s Ministry Director standing up in front of the congregation and saying, “We are so overwhelmed.  We MUST have help!  PLEASE HELP US!“  That tells the person listening:  “There must be a reason no one is working with them.”

NEVER use the phrase, “No one wants to help! OR I can’t get anyone to help me!”  That’s like my son starting off a question, “I know you are going to say NO, but…”

Rather than moan about how much we need help, choose to celebrate the growth and excitement of your Kids Ministry.  Don’t talk about what you DON’T have, talk about what you DO have – opportunities for the member of your church to make an eternal impact on a soul for whom Christ died.

2)  Recruit from the VISION of your ministry.

Start by raising the value of children’s ministry inside your church.   Share stories in church services about life change in children or have volunteers share stories about how their lives have been changed.  Serving in children’s ministry is an opportunity to honor God—not a duty or a task (Col. 3:23).

You are recruiting by giving people an opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the children of your church.  Explain to them, “God is going to accomplish His plan in the lives of  the children in our church.  The question is not ‘WILL God do it?’ The question is ‘WILL YOU be a part of it?’”

3)  Recruit One-On-One and Face-to-Face.

Rather than putting a blurb in the bulletin, a video announcement, or a pulpit spot from your Senior Pastor, recruit by approaching people one-on-one and having a meaningful conversation with them.

Pray ahead of time who God is preparing to serve (Luke 10:22).  Once He leads you to someone, approach them.  Don’t just walk up in the hallway at church – that doesn’t communicate value to someone.  Instead, invite them to lunch, call them on the phone, or go out to eat with them after church.

Explain to them that as a result of what God is doing in your Children’s Ministry, an opportunity has arisen.  You have been praying about who the person should be to serve in this area.  You felt led to talk to them because you feel that they have the right gift mix to be able to make a Kingdom difference in the lives of these kids.

I know that adding volunteers to your team is a lot of work!  But, I can honestly tell you that EVERY BIT of that work is WORTH IT!!  Get out there and build your team so you can win the lost!!!

What about you?  What are some of your biggest key principles that you follow when it comes to recruiting?  Share with us in the comments section!