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!

These Parents Have A Case Of Brain “Freeze” (FUN FRIDAY)

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!"


It’s FUN FRIDAY, everybody! I don’t know about the kids in YOUR community, but all of my kids are obsessed with “FROZEN.” I admit, I liked the movie. I loved the music. I did fall asleep in the middle of it, but that happens to me in just about every movie I see (turn off the lights and I am out).

These parents were on a road trip with their young daughter. What ensues is a definite case of brain “freeze.” They starting enjoying themselves a little too much as they sang “Love Is An Open Door.” Keep a sharp eye on their daughter in the backseat. She couldn’t care less about what her crazy parents were doing in the front seat. Enjoy!

FUN FRIDAY: “Time-Change-ian Rhapsody”

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!"

Screenshot 2014-03-07 08.14.18

For those of you who don’t know, this Sunday is “Time Change Sunday!”  It’s the day to SPRING FORWARD and set your clocks ahead one hour!  Every year, our church does CRAZY video to help people remember to do this.  The most recent one just might take the cake.  It’s a parody of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  I got to perform in this one.  Look for me in the top middle.  Oh my!  Hold on to your seats for this one!

If you want to see some of the other fun ones we have done.  Check out these other posts:

“What Does The Clock Say?”

“On-Time Style”

“Call Me, Wake Me!”

“Change The Time”

Our NEW Kidmin Stage – Why We Did What We Did

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 2014-03-02 at 6.03.33 PM

Four weeks ago, we tore down the Kidmin stage we had used for the past decade.  It was a tough decision.  So many memories of many kids’ lives being changed around that stage.  However, it was time.  If you want to know WHY we tore down what seemed to be a perfectly good stage, see THIS POST.

Yesterday, we unveiled our NEW Kidmin stage.  It is a significantly different approach.  Many have asked what made us go the direction we went, so I thought I would document our thoughts here.  Of course, I understand that every environment depends heavily on size, budget, and context.  So, this is not a manifesto on how every Kidmin environment should be. It is a list of the thoughts that led us to do what we did.  Enjoy!

1.  It’s simple. - Our old stage was so elaborate and overwhelming in its theme and look that it often overwhelmed the message and theming of a particular teaching series.  We were unable to really theme for each teaching series because anything we added to the stage was swallowed by the color and personality of the stage itself.

2.  It’s versatile – We didn’t want to be “locked in” to a particular look for a long time.  Too often, churches spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on theming a room so that they can “compete with Disney.”  The problem is, Disney targets an audience that visits their environment once a year (or less often than that).  People don’t get tired of a look when they only visit annually.  However, kids tire of a particular look very quickly when they see it EVERY WEEK.  We wanted to be able to set the room up in a different way depending on our needs.  This stage design (from Cinemation Design) is basically a giant LEGO set.  We can mix and match and rearrange each piece however we want.  Plus, we can purchase additional pieces down the road with minimal cost.

3.  It’s tough – Our old set was covered in styrofoam and then painted with a hardening “foam coat.”  It had a tendency to chip and peel when kids ran their hands across it (which kids tend to do).  This stage is aluminum framed with sturdy wood tiles that are virtually indestructible.  Each section of the main stage is designed to hold over 1,000 lbs on its own.

4.  It’s timeless – When we built our old set, we modeled it after a design that was very “Nickelodeon.”  Ten years later, it resembled “Nick Jr.” more than it did “Nick.”  This stage allows us to continue to simply add inexpensive deco pieces and keep up with the changing looks of today’s kid culture without breaking the bank.

5.  It’s technological – The entire stage comes alive because the pieces are covered in “milk glass”, an opaque plexiglass that has LED lights behind it.  Each week (or each song) can have a totally different look with the touch of a button.  The entire room changes because the “look” is established by the lighting.  When new lights come out, we can replace them and achieve whatever the latest technology allows.  Not too far down the road, we hope to install “Environmental Projection” in the room.  The entire area above the black portion of the wall will become a giant image screen.  We will be able to project whatever picture, image, moving video, etc. that we wish.  At that point, the entire ROOM comes alive.

6.  It’s economical – Now, I understand that when I say that there will undoubtedly be those who say, “Ha!  My church could never afford that!”  I encourage you to talk to my friends at Cinemation Design about what they can do for you.  They have been able to totally transform even the smallest of rooms.  We had originally talked to one of the popular “theming companies” about doing our room.  If we would have went with them, we would have spent almost five times what we spent and we wouldn’t have had the versatility that we have now.

We are very excited about being able to use our new stage to communicate the Gospel to a new generation of kids.  We are thankful for a church and a pastor who believe in Kids Ministry to an amazing degree.  So many families and individuals sacrificed to give in order to make this happen.  They invested in this generation, and we are eternally thankful.

So, what do YOU look for in a stage design?  What are some NON-NEGOTIABLES for you?  What are you looking for in your next phase of stage design?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.  It is important that we all learn from each other!  Thanks for joining in the conversation!

For those of you interested, here is a time-lapse video of the entire process.  Also, below that is our first “unveil” for the kids – very fun!

 

FUN Friday: “Church Signs” (parody of “Blurred Lines”)

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!"

One of my pet peeves are church signs that are used to display silly little saying that every church gets out of the same book or off the same website.  Church signs should be used to tell the community WHAT IS HAPPENING at the church (service times, upcoming events, etc.)  My personal opinion is that the world is not impressed with our “Eternity:  your choice – smoking or non-smoking” humor.

So, when I saw this very well-done video – I had to share it.  One of the best parodies I have ever seen.  Hilarious!  Check it out!

The Key To Limitless Creativity

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!"

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I like to write about creativity.  It’s a passion of mine because I know so many people who sell themselves short when it comes to creativity.  Many have decided that “creativity is a gift reserved for the few.”  This is simply not true – not if you serve GOD!

Even the most creative human minds are finite.  The term finite means “having bounds or limits; not infinite; measurable.”  But God is infinite.  He is “far above all,” not limited by any boundaries at all.  When we draw only on our own creative resources, it’s like drinking from a thimble instead of the Great Lakes.

God’s power, love, and plans are beyond anything we can imagine.  If we cultivate an attentive heart, we’ll tap into His limitless capacity.  We’ll never come close to the depths of His greatness, but we can take several steps closer!  In his beautiful prayer in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prayed, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

What’s the biggest dream you can imagine about how God can use you in his kingdom?  Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  Got it?  Guess what.  You just undercut God. Your greatest and grandest ideas don’t compare to God’s limitless plans and resources.  God is not limited to working with our imagination.  He goes well beyond it—immeasurably beyond.

Far too often, we forget the power of God to inspire us.  We think His power is reserved for healings, conversions, and deliverances, but it also operates in our creative plans and dreams.  God wants to inspire us with so many “God ideas” that we’ll never be able to implement them all.  But first, we have to have open, receptive hearts.

Is your heart open to receive?  More importantly, are you asking?

(for more about Creativity and receiving “God-Ideas”, see Chapter 2 in my book, “I Blew It!”)

FUN Friday: “What Does The Clock Say?” (spoof of “What Does The Fox Say?”)

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!"

OK, so I am sure you have seen the unbelievably viral and unbelievably zany video for the song, “What Does The Fox Say?”  In fact, if your kids have seen it – they no doubt didn’t stop singing the song for weeks.  Well, you are going to love this…

We have a tradition at our church to remind people about the end of Daylight Savings Time when we Spring Forward – and to do it in a crazy funny way.  We want to poke fun of the idea that anyone would actually be late for church simply because they lost an hour of sleep.  So, we have done these crazy videos for the past several years.  This one speaks for itself.  If you would like to purchase this video for your church to use – you can find it on Sermon Spice !

 

The Poison Of Procrastination

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!"

As I’ve talked to hundreds of people involved in kids’ ministries across the country, I’ve observed that there’s an epidemic of procrastination.  We excuse it in all kinds of ways, but all our reasons lead to the same result.  Yes, you have to be quick, and you never know what a kid is going to say or what kind of crazy thing will happen next.  But many kids’ leaders believe their enthusiastic personalities and the spontaneity of their ministry give them a license to walk in unprepared.  They try to get by, doing the least they can do, and it shows.

I know what this is all about.  I used to fall prey to this procrastination trap for many years.  I wrote about it in my book, I Blew It! (the biggest mistakes I have made in Kids Ministry and how you can avoid them)”.  In the book, I tell about how the spontaneity bug bit me and caused me to lose credibility.

There’s no excuse for procrastination in preparing for children’s ministry.  God has given us an incredible privilege and responsibility to lead kids on their spiritual journey to becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ. Someday, we’ll give an account for our motives and actions.  I don’t want to stand before God on that day and tell Him, “I would’ve been more intentional about my ministry to Your children, God, but I had more important things to do.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the day that’s coming: “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

We serve kids because we love God with all our hearts and He has given us a love for children.  And we work hard to prepare and serve because someday we’ll give an account of our lives.  On that day, we want to see Him smile and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

That’s what I want to hear.  How about you?

FUN Friday: “Olympic Skiers Attacked By Star Wars Imperial Walkers”

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 have all enjoyed the Winter Olympic coverage the past week.  Certainly, it is awesome to watch these incredible athletes accomplish things that most of us could only dream of doing.

To go along with the Olympic theme, this week’s FUN FRIDAY is one of the most creative Olympic Spoof videos I have seen.  Watch, as Star Wars’ Imperial Walkers (AT-ATs) shoot lasers to disrupt Olympic hopefuls’ chances at a gold medal.  It’s all in fun, folks.  So, just laugh…

“Heaven Is For Real” – Movie Review

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 was honored to be sent a “screener” version of the upcoming film, “Heaven Is For Real.”   I have to admit, I had not read the book, so I was coming from a completely open-minded position.  I was thoroughly impressed.

This is, by far, one of the most entertaining, moving, and professional “Christian” movies I have ever seen.  Greg Kinnear (Oscar nominated actor) turns in a very emotional performance as Todd Burpo, a father/pastor who is faced with whether or not to believe his son’s account of his “visit to Heaven.”  The cast is solid, the acting is stellar, and the cinematography is of the highest level I have seen in a faith-based movie.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story (from Wikipedia):

“Heaven Is for Real is the true story of a four-year-old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who says he experienced Heaven during emergency surgery.  He talked about looking down to see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room.  The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.  In Heaven, Colton met his miscarried sister whom no one ever had told him about and his great-grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born.  He shared impossible-to-know details about each.  Colton went on to describe the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.  Told by Colton’s father often in Colton’s own words, but there are people who will not believe Colton or his family, the disarmingly simple message is that heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and to be ready … there is a coming last battle.”

I think this movie (which releases nationally on Easter, April 16th) is definitely one the entire family can and should attend together.  Not only is it completely clean (no language or offensive situations), but it will open up some very important conversations with your kids.  As they learn of four-year-old Colton’s experience in Heaven and the revelations he shares with his parents, children may begin to ask the following questions…

  1. Could a four-year-old child really have had these kinds of experiences?
  2. Would God allow an individual to “visit” Heaven who hadn’t actually died?
  3. Does the Biblical description of Heaven match up with Colton’s description?

These are important questions that parents and Kids Ministry Leaders should be ready to answer.

One of the best facets of the movie is the journey of Todd Burpo – and whether or not he will believe his son’s claims, and then whether or not he will declare that belief to the world.  This movie very accurately portrays the type of struggle I imagine Todd and his family indeed experienced.

What I am most thankful for:  this is a “secular” movie production – and it portrays a Christian family in a very strong light.  There were numerous opportunities to soften the story and make it easier for the non-Christian community to swallow – and they did not do it.  I am certainly thankful for “Courageous” and “Facing The Giants”, but those movies were produced and directed by and for Christians.  ”Heaven Is For Real” was directed by Oscar-nominated Randall Wallace and is being released by Tri-Star Pictures (a division of Sony Pictures).  I am excited to see what kind of success the movie brings.  I highly recommend it.