This Is Why Real Success Often Feels Like Ultimate Failure

If you’ve ever failed, then be of good cheer…you are just like Elijah!

Think with me for a second back to 1 Kings 18. Elijah and King Ahab are atop Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal are facing off against Elijah to decide once and for all whose god has ultimate power.

The prophets of Baal make utter fools of themselves, spending nearly the entire day doing everything they can think of to get Baal to act in their favor. Of course, Baal isn’t real, so nothing happens.

Elijah then steps up to take his turn. He has a truckload of water dumped on his altar. And then, after praying, the Almighty God sends down fire to consume Elijah’s well-soaked sacrifice.

But as the prophet of God descends the mountain and continues his journey, he becomes incredibly…discouraged.

1 Kings 19:10 is where Elijah vents his frustration before the Lord. He says that despite all his service, and despite the decisive victory on Mount Carmel, the people still haven’t turned from their evil ways. And now Elijah himself is a wanted man!

Elijah feels like a failure. All of his work has been in vain!

But do you remember what happens next?

God takes him up another mountain to show Elijah, and I believe to show us, what the work of God often looks like.

Elijah experiences a mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire. All of which the Lord was not in.

You probably know it well…

The Lord was there in “…the sound of a gentle whisper”.

God wasn’t going to transform the hearts of Israel through a miraculous display as Elijah might have thought. Rather, God’s work was going to be done in the still small voice the Almighty uses to speak to the human heart. 

This runs contrary to what we all want. We want big attendance, and lots of decisions made, and life-changing experiences all around. I think, too often, we anticipate God is about to work when our effort is peaking…when we’ve gone as ‘big’ as we can.

But as God was teaching Elijah, I think He also teaches us.

God’s work isn’t always most visible in the spectacular moments we orchestrate. Rather, He’s working in a whisper to turn hearts toward Him.

So the next time you think you’ve failed, the next time your big event doesn’t seem to generate the response you’d hoped for, remember Elijah. God is always at work, but often He chooses to do His best work…in a whisper.

This is a guest post by our good friends over at BetterBibleTeachers.com

One Of The Best Stewardship Decisions A Church Can Make

 

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God has entrusted to each of us a certain amount of time, money, and talent.  What we do with these resources is called stewardship, which is the “wise investment of resources in order to reach the maximum amount of return.”  George Barna, the nation’s leading church demographer, found an astonishing fact while doing research on evangelism.  He wrote:

“We discovered that the probability of someone embracing Jesus as his or her Savior was 32 percent for those between the ages of 5 and 12; 4 percent for those in the 13- to 18-age range; and 6 percent for people 19 and older. In other words, if people do not embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chance of their do so at all is slim.”[1]

This means children are one of the largest, most strategic, and responsive mission fields in America today.  Many churches are investing far more time and money in trying to reach adults and teens than they are children.  This plan doesn’t seem like good stewardship.

Imagine having $1000 to invest in mutual funds.  Your financial advisor does his research and tells you that if you put your money in Fund A, you’ll get a 32% return.  But if you put your money into Fund B, you’ll get a 4% return.  And if you put your money into Fund C, you will get a 6% return on your investment.  Which fund would you choose?  Only a fool would put his money into the fund that was going to yield the smallest return.  This, though, is the spiritual investment strategy of many churches in America.  They put their time, money, and resources into the adults and teens, while giving the kids’ ministry only token resources.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying, “Forget about teens and adults.”  Those ministries are vitally important.  I was saved as a fifteen year-old kid.  I have a daughter, Ashton, who is 15 and a son, Jordan, who is almost 14.  I understand the importance of a strong student ministry.  From a standpoint of wise stewardship, however, the largest harvest of souls for our investment is going to come from investing in children.

I pray that more churches would be wise in their investment into the kingdom.  I pray they give their kids’ ministries the focus, attention, and resources they need to do an effective job of communicating the gospel to the largest and most fertile mission field in the world!


[1] George Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions (Regal Books, 2003), 34.

3 Practical Keys That Will Transform Your Kids Church Experience

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As Kids Ministry leaders, it’s our passion to help children become life-long followers of Jesus.  It’s about getting kids excited about the Word of God.  After being in kids ministry for over 23 years, I’ve also developed a passion to equip other teachers to present God’s word with excellence so that it leaves a lasting imprint on the minds and spirits of the children we minister to.  In order to do so, we need to work with a curriculum that holds keys to unlock doors of opportunity to create a transformational kids church experience.

The big question is: What makes kids church curriculum effective?

As the creator of High Voltage Kids Curriculum I have discovered 3 incredible keys which create that irresistible environment for children.  Over 5000 churches are already experiencing the impact of the principles that I am about to share with you:

Key 1:  Have an interactive approach to teaching

Over the years I have discovered that that number one thing that will help to effectively communicate the Gospel to kids, and to get them really engaged, is to have an interactive approach to teaching.  Many times we have the “lecture thing” going on where we have a teacher stand in front of the class simply “sharing stuff.”  The kids are simply “watching” the teacher and lack real engagement with the content that is being shared.  They often seem disconnected at best.

Studies show that if you just “watch,” you retain 10% of what is being communicated.  If you hear and see at the same time, that number can rise all the way up to 40% retention.  However, if we are able to get the child physically involved in action, they are going to remember 90% of what is being communicated.  Now, there are various ways to accomplish that level of engagement.  At High Voltage Kids we’ve added several components in our curriculum that stimulate this type of interaction.  From the “Watt’s Up?” segment to the “Power Verse” segment to the “Brain Drain” game, we have purposefully incorporated interactive elements to keep your kids engaged.

Key 2:  Never let “media” take your place as the minister in the room

Technology is great.  It’s all around us.  It’s the language that is spoken by our kids.  It’s the environment that they are growing up in.  So, obviously you’re going to need to have media integrated into your lesson plan.  Whether through video, games, or interactive online environments, it doesn’t matter.  Media is an important aspect that will contribute to effectively communicating the subject matter.  However media should NEVER overtake the role of the kids pastor or class teacher.  I know it’s never our intention to have that happen, however there is a real danger of that happening anyway.

Many times, because it the current thing to do, media is the dominant driver of kids church.  I personally believe that’s a wrong approach.  Nothing can take your place as the leader and minister in the room.  Whatever you do through media should enhance what you as a leader and minister are doing, not replace what you are doing.

Key 3: Always take the lesson beyond the Sunday experience

Taking the lesson outside of the classroom and beyond the Sunday morning experience is crucial.  As Kids Ministry Leaders, we have most kids for about one hour a week.  If a kid has perfect attendance, throughout the year, you’ll have them for a total of 52 hours in one year.  We all know that perfect attendance is really an illusion.  It simply doesn’t happen. So, the reality is that you are only having your kids in your classroom for a very limited time.  When you add up those hours, you are lucky to maybe have the ability to minister and impact a kid for only 2 full days (48 hrs) of the 365 days that a year has to offer.  Understanding this limitation forces us to think bigger and bolder.  It’s crucial that we integrate tools that allow kids to take the Sunday experience with them, into the week and into their homes, so they can experience the impact as part of their everyday family life.

At High Voltage Kids we’ve developed curriculum based on these discovered keys.

Because of that, we can facilitate an environment that creates transformational experiences for our kids.  Whether you choose to use High Voltage Kids Curriculum or materials from another publisher, it really doesn’t matter.  As long as we understand these important keys, we can unlock the hearts of the children that we’ve been entrusted with and give them the experience they need to develop a strong relationship with their Father.

If you are interested in learning more about High Voltage Kids Digital, I’ve created a promo video that will explain some of the incredible value that our online membership has to offer.  It explains how you can experience the power of High Voltage Kids year around for one amazing low price.  HURRY though!  The enrollment window into this membership closes September 15th and won’t open up again until February 2016.  Check it out:

A Great Way To Get Your Kids Leading Adults In Worship

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This past Sunday we had our annual “Kids In Worship” experience.  I thought it would be good to share the concept behind this for all of you.  It is an amazing opportunity for the whole family.

“Kids In Worship” is an evening of worship, led by our Preschool and Elementary Kids Departments.  The children are in charge of the entire adult service in the Sanctuary.  It is an evening of worship, led by the kids.  The entire family comes together for a night of singing and worship.

We rehearse for months prior to this night.  Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 – 5:30 prior to our Evening Worship Service.  The kids put together a set of familiar modern worship songs (to allow the adults to enter in) mixed with some new and original songs.  Several children memorize some of their favorite passages of scripture and share them with the congregation between songs.

There is always a time where a group of our oldest children step off the stage and allow the adults to come forward for prayer.  These kids pray earnestly for the needs of the adults.  We have seen people saved, healed and delivered on these nights.  It’s amazing!

It’s one of my Lead Pastor’s favorite services of the year.  There is something incredible about a group of kids who are passionate in worship of their God.  It is inspiring to all of us!  Why not try your own version of “Kids In Worship?”

Have you ever tried something like this?  SHARE IT WITH US in the Comments Section of this post!  If you have questions, ask them using the comment section.  I read each of them and will respond.

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Are You Teaching Your Kids A False Gospel?

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I am at Awana’s “Vantage Conference” and had the privilege of listening to a legend of Children’s Ministry, Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales and What’s In The Bible?).  Phil told a story that gripped my heart.

Ted Turner (media mogul and founder of CNN & TBS) is an outspoken critic of Christianity.  Most people know this.  In 1990, speaking before the American Humanist Association, Turner proclaimed that “Christianity is for losers”…and this isn’t nearly the most provocative thing he has said about Christians.  Many know this about Turner, but not many know the story behind his anti-religous sentiment.

Ted Turner dreamed of being a missionary when he was a child.  His sister suffered from Lupus. When she died, it shook his faith profoundly. He couldn’t understand why a loving God would allow an innocent person to suffer. “What had she done wrong? Why did this happen to her? Christianity didn’t give me any answers to that.”

Ted Turner had been taught a simple form of the Gospel that many of us have been guilty of teaching our kids.  “We serve a gentle, loving God. If we act right and do what pleases Him, He will take care of us and prevent us from suffering.”  That is it.  End of story.  But, that’s NOT the real Gospel.

Phil Vischer spoke to each of us plainly and directly.  He said that we have to ask ourselves the same question he had to ask HIMSELF after ten years of making Veggie Tales.  “Did I just spend ten years trying to persuade kids to behave “Christian-ly” without teaching the kids Christianity?”

Phil walked through the three things that we SHOULD be doing a better job with our children:

  • Understanding the Story they are in
  • Understanding the Bad News of that Story
  • Understanding the Good News of that Story

Phil understands that the large concepts of sin, redemption, sanctification, and judgement are difficult to explain to children.  But, kids understand STORY.  “Narrative structure is what we build to find meaning to the events of our lives. Kids instinctively ‘connect the dots’ in their lives.”  So, he came up with an overarching narrative to help explain kids the story of Christianity…

The Story They Are In:  THE BROKEN AMUSEMENT PARK

The world is a broken amusement park.  God created this amazing world with all of its wonders.  He created it to be a wonderful place of enjoyment for mankind and all of the creatures.  It’s a giant amusement park.  Now, modern amusement parks are run by computers.  The computers tell the rides what to do, the lights when to come on and go off, etc.

Imagine a virus in the operating system of the computers that run all of the rides and attractions. It now isn’t functioning as it was intended to function.  The “Dumbo ride” dumps kids on the ground, the lights go off in the middle of a show.  The virus is wreaking havoc on the systems of the amusement park.  Sin is the virus. It has infected ALL of us.  It has infected the world itself – and the world is SICK.

The Bible is the story of why the world is the way it is and what God is doing to fix it.  Our role is – “We are the Red Cross. We are the ones who can explain why things are the way we are.”  When someone gets dumped out of the Dumbo ride, we should be the first ones there to help them, explain to them WHY, and help point them in the right direction.  This is a story that kids can relate to – and helps them understand the overarching story they are in.

The Bad News Of That Story:

Sin is hard to explain.  But, that doesn’t mean we ignore that part of the story.  It is CRUCIAL.  If kids don’t understand what Sin is, they will NEVER understand who Jesus is or why He came.

Now, Phil isn’t suggesting that we walk into the 3 year old class and proclaim the dangers of SIN.  The topic of sin and judgement is not EVERY age appropriate.  Before they hear about a God that is a judge who is angry and wrathful, kids need to hear about a God who is loving and forgiving.

That’s why Phil makes sin visual.  It’s a virus.  Adam and Eve can’t be with God because SIN can’t be with God.  Suddenly, the world is not perfect anymore. Thus, the BROKEN amusement park.

We can’t shy away from the BAD NEWS.  Until you understand the problem, none of the rest of the Bible makes any sense!!!

The Good News Of That Story:

God doesn’t want to leave us like this.  He wants to save us. He wants to save us from:

  • The STAIN of sinkeeps us from God (God wants to clean us)
  • The POWER of sinkeeps us doing the same thing over and over again (the more we listen to the whispers, the louder it gets) this is remedied by Sanctification
  • The PRESENCE of sinwe still live in a world that is drowning in sin.  The effects of sin on our world is seen every day.  (when God returns to JUDGE the world, He will rescue us from this with a New Heaven and New Earth)  

“Judgment” has become a bad word in our culture. It represents “looking down on people.”  In truth, Judgement means “setting things right!” If there is a bully picking on a small child, it is right for an adult to step in and say, “NO, you are NOT going to do that!”

Judgement is when God steps in and sets everything right.  He fixes everything.  Makes the bullies pay for everything they have done wrong.

Why did Jesus need to die?  Because we have ALL been bullies at one point or another.  We have ALL done mean things and broken God’s laws.  God didn’t want us to have to pay for our sin, so He became human like us and paid the price for our sin.  That’s what God has done for us.

Finally, Phil challenged us all to teach our kids:  “Once we are saved, what is NEXT?”  What is NEXT for us is NEW LIFE!  We become a part of the Kingdom of God.  We live supernatural lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, revealing God through US!

The Apostle Paul described the Christian life as, “We proclaim good news, we live good lives, we do good works!”

  • Proclaim good newssharing the WHOLE story of the Gospel
  • Live good liveslives marked by the absence of fear, full of peace and love
  • Do good workswe help, we love, we are the Red Cross in a broken world

We aren’t just sitting around waiting on Heaven…we become superheroes –  helping others to experience God’s best for their lives.

Teaching this to our kids is done best by SHOWING them with your own life. They will learn much more of what we show than what we say. We need to be the example that they can follow.

So, are you teaching your kids the WHOLE Gospel?  Or are you teaching them a rosey, pristine, in-a-nice-little-box gospel that is not preparing them to become the Christians God has intended them to be?

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Inspiring Movie – “Where Hope Grows”

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Not too long ago, I had the privilege of being given a private screening of an upcoming faith-based movie, “Where Hope Grows.”  My wife, Cherith, and I were very moved and very impressed.  I will admit to being a “Christian Movie” skeptic.  I have been burned so many times by movies that were written and produced by Christian companies.  You know what I am talking about – cheesy plot lines, cheesier acting, low-budget production, and over-the-top religious themes that are meant to please a Christian-Only audience.  Well, “Where Hope Grows” is NOT that kind of movie.

The movie centers around a washed-up alcoholic named Cal.  Although he had a stint as a Major League Baseball pitcher, Cal’s alcoholism has all but destroyed his life and relationships.  Through the turmoil of Cal’s relationship with his daughter, the audience sees the destructive power of alcohol upon everything the addict holds dear.  It is through an unlikely friendship with a boy nicknamed “Produce” that begins to turn Cal’s life (and heart) around.

There are several things I LOVED about this movie:

1)  The acting and production is stellar.  There was never a moment in the movie where I thought, “Man, I wish this movie was a little more on par with today’s production standards.”  It was done well and includes some of today’s top-notch actors.

2)  The emotions are raw and real.  You can’t help but have your heart ache for the pain that Cal is going through with his family and career.

3)  The hero is a man with Down’s Syndrome.  “Produce” is played by David DeSanctis, who I had the privilege of meeting personally in January (see pic below).  David played the character beautifully.  The audience falls in love with “Produce” as they watch his joy, hope, and positivity influence Cal’s hardened hart.  I believe this movie will help the world see that people who have mental disabilities can teach us an awful lot!  They are VERY special people that make our world brighter!

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Hanging with David DeSanctis at CPC in California

There are a couple of cautions with this movie:

1)  It is a PG-13 movie.  While it has a phenomenal faith message, the movie does not shy away from the adult themes that are presented.  The real horrors of alcoholism are depicted.  There is also a scene of sexual assault (modestly done, no nudity, no actual visual of the assault) that will be highly disturbing to young viewers.  I would not recommend this movie for any children below the age of 13.

2)  It is not a “Christian” movie.  The movie has faith interwoven throughout.  However, there is not a strong, straight-forward Gospel message.  While it is obvious that “Produce” is a Christian and that he attends church (there is even a church scene with a preacher and a choir), Jesus and salvation are not presented.  Now, this is not necessarily a knock on the movie.  I understand why they took this approach.  However, if you are looking for a movie a la “Courageous” or “God’s Not Dead” that is more of a Christian Pep Rally, then this movie is not necessarily going to deliver that for you.  Personally, I think taking this approach is going to make this movie much more approachable for theaters and casual movie goers.  For that reason, I am glad they did.

I highly recommend this movie for every adult!  It is also appropriate as a Family film for children 13 and over.  It releases nationwide on May 15th.  Take some friends!  Invite your neighbors!  Check out the trailer:

 

What Does God Think About Your Child?

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In each of the gospels, we find Jesus pouring himself into the lives of children.  Many times, the disciples and religious leaders tried to chase the kids away and pull Jesus back into “real” ministry.  But Jesus corrected them: “Let the children come to me, do not forbid them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).  Even when crowds of people gathered around Jesus to be touched and healed, He stopped to lay hands on children, hold them in His arms, and bless them.

We sing “Jesus Loves The Little Children” for a reason.  Throughout Scripture, it’s very clear that God values children much more than the adults do—especially the religious leaders, but also the disciples.  Jesus warned them, “If one of these little children believes in me, and someone causes that child to sin, it would be better for that person to have a large stone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea” (Mark 9:42).  Jesus was serious about protecting, loving, and nurturing children.

In the culture of first century Palestine, people considered children to be a nuisance, but Jesus recognized the value of each child.  He knows that there is more to children than just their playful nature and innocence.  Inside each one is the soul that’s precious to the Father.  When I speak to parents and other adults, I often challenge them with these words: “Whatever is important to God should be important to you.  Do your actions demonstrate that you believe children are important to God?”  I encourage adults to ask themselves:

— Is my schedule too full to take time to show love to a child?

— Am I too busy with “real” ministry to get involved in training children in God’s Word and ways?

— When I see a hurting child in the hallway, do I stop and put my arm around him or her, or do I just keep going?

It doesn’t take a “special calling” to demonstrate God’s love to a child.  If we’re truly Christ’s followers, His priorities become our priorities, and the things that break His heart break ours.  Children are important to God, and they should be important to each of us.

Are Church “Fall Festivals” Actually Counter-Productive?

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Two years ago, I wrote a post that caused a lot of discussion.  I thought I would revisit the subject since this blog has grown by well over 10,000 monthly readers since then, and many of you were not able to be a part of the discussion.

For my first twenty years in Children’s Ministry, I planned and hosted a “Fall Festival” (a.k.a. “Harvest Party”, “Hallelujah Night”, “Fall Fest”, “Family Fun Fest”, “Trunk or Treat”, etc.) at the church where I was serving.  These events generally were seen as a fun Family Event that served as an “alternative to trick-or-treating and Halloween.”

The typical “Fall Festival” usually looks a bit like this:

  • It is a family-oriented celebration/party.
  • It may have costumes.
  • Games are played.
  • Contests are held.
  • Food abounds.
  • Music blares.
  • Everyone enjoys themselves.

Certainly there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a Fall Festival on its face.  I love dressing up in funny costumes.  I love seeing what crazy costumes the kids will come up with.  I love games, fun, and candy.  All of that is awesome!!!

However, several years ago, I began to ask the question:  “Is our Fall Festival actually counter productive?” Could it be that this event actually works against what our mission is as the church:  “to know Christ, make Him known, and reach the lost people in our city and around the world?”

Now, before I go any further – I want to assure you that I am not indicting anyone who does Fall Festivals.  As I said, I did one for twenty years.  But, as I and our pastoral team put more thought into it – we had several questions come up.

1)  Why do we feel the need to do an “alternative event” for our families on Halloween?  We don’t do an “alternative event” for Mardis Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, or other random holidays.

2)  Are we really “connecting” with the lost people who come?  We consider it a “bridge event” (connecting the lost of our community to the church in a non-threatening way).    Do they end up just stopping by to play a game, win a bag of candy, and move right along to the next church that’s throwing a Harvest Party?  Are there really strong opportunities to connect to the people who are “dropping in?”

3)  What about the people in our neighborhoods?  I have been most frustrated by the fact that on the darkest night of the year, it seems the Church has gathered all of the “light” together in one place (the church) in order to “escape the darkness” – and there is absolutely no light represented in our neighborhoods.  For the last twenty years, the very people I MOST want to reach, my neighbors, have been out on Halloween going door-to-door.  On a night when they are voluntarily coming to MY house, giving me an opportunity to speak to them and show God’s love – my house is dark with no light on because…the pastor is at his church throwing an alternative party, mostly for other Christians.

It seems that on a night that is completely devoted to things that are “dark” (Halloween), that would be the time that the church would want to be OUT in the world spreading the light.  Why do we, instead, feel the need to bring all of the LIGHT into one place and have a party for ourselves?  It’s worth asking…

I welcome your thoughts in the Comments Section.  I posted this as a means to initiate discussion and provoke thought on this subject.  I invite disagreement and diversity of opinion.  Would love to hear what you think.

6 Reasons You Aren’t Creative In Your Ministry

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I hear it all the time from so many Kids Ministry leaders.  It’s the six words that should NEVER come out of your mouth…“I’m just not a creative person.”

Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways such as, “How do you guys at High Voltage Kids Ministry do what you do?”“I could never do that!”  “I wish I could be more creative, but I don’t have it in me.”  “Why are some people creative and others aren’t?”

The 6 reasons most people aren’t creative in their ministry?  It’s because they believe the six words I stated above:  “I’m just not a creative person.”

The truth is everyone has creative potential.  We sell ourselves short thinking that creativity is some mystical ability that few are blessed with.

A large part of the problem is that there is an air of mystery and mysticism around the creative process.  Because people assume and reinforce the idea that some have creative potential and others don’t.  They assume that “creative” people somehow have a super power that others just do not possess.

Think back to when you were a child.  You were able to be kept busy for hours simply by playing with cardboard box.  That box instantly became a house, a fort, a fire station, a cannon – whatever your mind could come up with.  When you were a child, EVERYTHING was a toy.  You were definitely creative!

Somehow, through the years, we lose our fascination with everyday things, begin to lose our confidence, and somehow begin to believe the lie that “creativity is a gift reserved for the few.”  It’s not.  It is, however, a skill that must be developed.  Like any other muscle, your “creative muscle” will atrophy if you don’t put it to work regularly.

Bottom Line:  You were CREATED by the CREATOR in HIS IMAGE!  You are creative!  You were born creative!!  You just need to reclaim your gift that the enemy, the world, and society as a whole has stolen from you by squelching that gift right out of you.

This concept is the very reason why I wrote my latest e-book, “Kidminnovation:  Becoming The Creative Person God Created You To Be.”  I want to help EVERY Kidmin Leader embrace the creative innovator inside of them!  In fact, I believe in this so much that I am going to give you a chance to get this book for FREE!  You can download it HERE!

This week, take 15 minutes on this creativity exercise.  Walk into a room, find a random object, and see if you can turn it into some sort of spiritual object lesson.  Don’t worry, nobody is watching.  When you have completed this, guess what – you just took a step closer to unleashing the creativity inside of you!

Stop selling yourself short!  You ARE creative!  Now, get out there and create something amazing to change the world for your kids!  You can do it!!!

How Do You Say “Goodbye” To Your Ministry Kids?

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“Don’t leave me!  You’re gonna be sad you’re not in Kids Ministry anymore.  You’re gonna miss me so much you will hate Student Ministry.  You’re gonna want to be back here!”  These are the words I once heard a Kidmin Leader tell the 5th graders who were promoting.  I don’t think he realized just how insecure this made him look.  It was all about him, not the kids.

We all go through it:   the bittersweet moment called “Promotion Day.”  All of the children you have poured your heart and soul into are now too old for Kids Ministry.  It is time for them to move on.  Promotion Day is a bittersweet moment for most Kidmin Leaders.  It is difficult to say, “Goodbye” to the children we love.  I have seen some Kids Pastors and leaders handle Promotion Day pretty poorly.  They turn it into a “cry fest” and begin to mourn the loss of those who are “moving up”, and the entire process becomes a sad event.

Instead, we need to make the transition from Elementary Ministry into Student Ministry a positive and exciting experience for our kids.  This past Sunday, we said, “Goodbye” to 85+ 5th graders that were promoting.  We sent them out like missionaries to the mission field of Middle School.  We brought them to the front, lay hands on them, and prayed a commissioning prayer over them.

I told each of them, “I can’t wait to hear what incredible things you will do for God in Student Ministry!  Don’t wait until you are one of the oldest in the group to be an example.  Instead, from day one, be a leader in worship, prayer, energy, and passion for God!”  It was an incredible experience!

How about you?  How do you handle the “last service” for your graduating kids?  Is it a sad experience?  Or is it an incredible, moving experience that launches kids into Student Ministry?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.