Can I Be A Good Dad & Pastor?

GUEST POST by Michael Bayne (of ParentMinistry.net)

This is a post that I struggle writing because there is no way I am getting nominated for “Dad of the Year.”  I am learning on the go the same way all the rest of you are as parents.  The question I am wrestling with is can I be a good pastor and dad?

I ask the question because I know every pastor, minister, and lead volunteer out there wonders if they are giving the best they have to the ministry they lead at church and ministry God has given them at home.  I think the answer to the question is YES, you can be a good dad and pastor.  I believe this because I have been mentored by some guys that I have watched balance the weight of parenting and ministry.  As I have watched these guys balance the two I have come to believe that all of them had to make some hard choices that set them up to be good dads and good pastors simultaneously.  I am discovering for myself a few choices I have to make if I want to balance my call to serve others and invest in my children at home.

  1. Establish Traditions / Eat together as a family certain nights, go on dates, eat lunch at school, create a movie night, just make sure you create and calendar traditions your kids will remember.
  2. Take Vacation Time / You have vacation time so have the courage to use it.  Make sure that you take time to totally shut down and have some adventures with your family.  Make some memories, your kids will be so blessed by that time with them.
  3. Work Hard & Play Hard / Work hard in your ministry then make sure and come home and play hard with your family.  Be present when you are home and strive to be engaged with what is going on at home.
  4. Invest in My Marriage / You can’t be the Dad your kids need if you are constantly struggling with your spouse.  Model a healthy marriage for your kids to see up close.
  5. Pray Intentionally for My Kids / Whatever you want your kids to become pray intentionally.  Praying for and with your kids helps me to fight for them spiritually.
  6. Be a Dad Even at Church / It’s OK that your kids enjoy the fact you are a pastor at church.  My kids get my attention even when we are in “work mode” at church.
  7. Say No to Church Sometimes So I Can Say Yes to My Kids / Your kids need you to say no many times so you can say yes to being with them and being a parent.  No is a powerful word that will help you be a better dad.  Saying it is really the only way to find balance.
  8. Keep Striving to Be Better as a Dad / Every day is a new day to get better.  I have to keep working on being a better parent and not be bound my mistakes made yesterday.
  9. Get Used to Apologizing / My kids need to hear me say I’m sorry when I am wrong.  Yep, I make mistakes and it’s gonna be OK.  Being an authentic parent means I simply have to be real with mt kids!
  10. Fight for the Heart / As I fight to help my kids succeed in life and follow Jesus I also have to fight to have a healthy relationship with them.  Rules and expectations without relationship are worthless.

Is balancing ministry and parenting hard for you also? I struggle with being fully present at home…playing as hard as I work. Which one is hard for you? What are some things you would add to this list?

If you are a children’s pastor and you want to process how you can be a better parent and also set up parents in your church to be better parents check out ParentMinistry.NetWe launched a new podcast this month and my friend Brian Dollar is featured on it this week!  Check it out here!

 

FUN FRIDAY: “A Keystone Cop At Jesus’ Tomb”

It was perhaps one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.  Eleven years ago – Easter, 2003.

That year, I was chosen to be the narrator in our church’s Easter production. To prepare for the event, I had grown a full beard and dressed in full Biblical costume.

In the middle of the final production, when Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified, I left the stage for about 15 minutes because I didn’t have any lines.  During this interval, I wanted to go to our Media Production Room to watch the production on the television monitors.  On my way there, I passed by our prop room and noticed a Keystone Cop hat we had used in one of our productions that year.  I thought it would be funny to put that hat on and walk into the Media Room where several of our other staff were gathered.

I was right. When I walked into the Media Room with the tall, pointed hat on my head, I got big laughs. I left it on while I watched the Easter play on the monitor.  Suddenly I realized they were saying the line that was my cue to walk onstage.  I rushed out of the Media Room and sprinted to the stage to deliver my lines.  It was a pivotal point of the production: Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus were carrying the body of Jesus to the tomb.

I began to deliver my lines: “Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and placed it in Joseph’s own tomb…”  At that moment, I noticed that Michael Winslow, the drummer in the orchestra, was looking at me with a strange expression.  The orchestra pit was directly in front of the stage where I was standing, so I couldn’t help but notice his stare.  I don’t read minds very well, so I had no idea what he was thinking.  I could tell something wasn’t right, but I kept speaking my lines.

I looked down.  Michael was still staring at me, but now his mouth was open and his eyebrows were furrowed in disgust.  I was a little irritated with him.  I was certain I was saying my lines perfectly.  After all, this was our fourth performance, and I had them down pat.

About a minute into my lines, it hit me.  I thought, Oh, no!  I looked up out of the corner of my eye at the video screen on the wall.  It revealed exactly what Michael—and everyone else in the congregation—was seeing.  I was still wearing the Keystone Cop hat!  I was mortified, but I kept right on delivering my lines.  I thought about taking it off, but that would call even more attention to it.  I thought about running off stage, but I had to finish.  I couldn’t just quit.

For your viewing pleasure, here is actual VIDEO from this disastrous moment in my life.  Watch carefully as you see the moment I look to the screen and realize what had happened!!

I would like to say, “Thank you!” to my Senior Pastor, Rod Loy.  He was VERY gracious and forgiving.  It took a while, but we were eventually able to laugh at this moment.  I learned a HUGE lesson!

Blog Contest Winner Announced – And How YOU Can Help!

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?

“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

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

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

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

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

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?

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.