Communicating So Kids WANT To Listen (FREE VIDEO LESSON )

I am super pumped to share this FREE video lesson with you!  How would you like to learn some of the great principles and practices used by some of the most dynamic and effective communicators?

Well, now you can!  In this video, I share some of the best tips and practices that I have learned in my 25 years of Kids Ministry!  It’s a FREE video lesson from my Online Video Course called: “ACCELERATE: Boosting Your Ministry Effectiveness.”

 

Here’s the FREE VIDEO LESSON:

Want MORE helpful videos like this?  You can find them in my  Online Video Course I just created:

“ACCELERATE: Boosting Your Ministry Effectiveness.”

Every lesson comes with video teaching, slide decks, outline, worksheet, audio file, Keynote/PowerPoint so you can teach it to YOUR team!  Check it out HERE!  Available for a limited time!

[VIDEO] The Two Most Important Words A Parent Can Say

Two most important words

Words have power!  They can either lift up or they can tear down!  They can either raise our child’s self-esteem or they can destroy it.

There are a LOT of words we use as a parent.  Five words I find myself uttering often are, “Go Clean Your Room, Now!”  Three words my kids need to hear every day are, “I Love You!”

But, did you know that there are TWO WORDS that, when strung together in a sentence, can create a powerful bond between parent and child?  In fact, these two words are SO powerful that those who refuse to say these two words place a huge divide between themselves and their children.

What are these two words?  In this video, I share these two words with you and how you can use them to spark incredible conversation – DEEP conversation – with your children.  Using these two words will create an atmosphere where real bonding and healing can take place.  I pray that you take the few minutes and watch this video.  It might save your family!

This is PART 4 of a 4-part video series.  In case you missed the first three, here you go:

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT About My New Book

I have been working the last two years on my new book, Talk Now And Later: How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics.”  I firmly believe this book is going to be a GAME CHANGER for all Christian Parents!

Children today are being bombarded by messages that are contrary to what the Bible teaches. Parents (and grandparents who are now parenting their grandkids) feel completely overwhelmed as they try to navigate the difficult waters of conversation with their kids about very difficult topics.  That’s why I wrote this book!  To help parents and grandparents lead kids through topics like SEX, self-Image, death, bullying, divorce, and more.  You don’t have to GUESS how to communicate with your kids about these subjects.  I have taken my 23 years of Children’s Pastoring experience (and my experience as a father of two children) and put it in this book to help you.

Here is the basic message of the book:

  1. Parents need to understand that it is far better to be PROactive in having conversations about these tough topics than to simply be REactive when a crisis hits their family.
  2. The way to pave the way for those BIG conversations in the future is to have many many small conversations as your child grows (about these tough topics), giving them a little at a time and building the foundation for meaningful conversation later.
  3. Parents must have their radar on all the time, looking for open doors and cues that their children will give them that “now is the time to enter through the door and have a small, meaningful conversation.”  Seize that moment!
  4. Parents should realize that EVERY conversation can be a Spiritual conversation.  God can use every conversation to shape their child’s future.

I am so honored that Dr. Michelle Anthony wrote the Foreword for my book.  She is the best-selling author of “Spiritual Parenting” and “Becoming A Spiritually Healthy Family.”  I am very excited about this book becoming a resource for every Christian parent.

The book officially releases to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Retailers on September 1st. However, YOU get a chance to get it RIGHT NOW!  For a limited time, you can get an autographed copy of the book for only $15!  PLUS, you’ll receive it within the next couple of weeks…WAY before the rest of the world!

Want to download a FREE chapter of the book?  Click here!

You can order your copy HERE and have it before anyone else!

So, get your copy of “Talk Now And Later” today and start learning how to lead the kids in your life in meaningful spiritual conversations about life’s toughest topics.  You’ll be glad you did.  I can’t wait to hear the stories of what God is going to do as you “Talk Now AND Later!”

Here’s a quick video to tell you more:

 

The Two Most Powerful Words A Parent Can Say

father says i am sorry

Parents mess up.  ALL parents mess up.  Even deeply committed Christian parents mess up.  But, not all parents are willing to admit it.  Two of the most wonderful words children of all ages can hear from parents are, “I’m sorry.”  These are also two of the most difficult words for parents to say.

Too often, we wrongly believe that in order to have the “upper hand” as a parent, we must be seen as infallible.  We must never admit our mistakes for fear it will show weakness to our children, and they will try to exploit it.  Parents who believe and practice this – do so at their own peril.  The truth is, the parents who are willing to say, “I’m sorry” actually RISE in their child’s esteem.  Those who refuse to say these two powerful words place a huge divide between themselves and their children.

Your kids aren’t stupid.  They know when you are wrong.  They know when you have made a mistake.  When you refuse to admit your mistakes, your children begin to see you as someone who cares more about BEING right than DOING right.  It’s hard to recover from that.

Saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t only apply to the small things like being late to pick your child up from practice or forgetting to bring home ice cream like you promised.  “I’m sorry” are two words that need to be used for the BIG blunders as well.  Apologies are necessary for individual offenses, but parents also need to address prolonged, harmful patterns of communication—demanding too much, blaming, withdrawing, smothering, and so on.

Let’s face it, not every parent today grew up in a healthy home.  Often, you are doing your best to parent your own kids in spite of the negative, dysfunctional home you grew up in.  You want to be a good parent, but you are often guessing at HOW to do it well.  You didn’t have the best example placed before you growing up, so you struggle with communicating with your child in a healthy way.

In many cases, parents can and should explain how their own painful backgrounds have colored their perceptions and shaped their responses.  These stories help the rest of the family understand how they got this way, but they aren’t excuses for bad behavior.  The offending parent needs to own the offenses, apologize, repent, and begin to rebuild trust.  A full apology communicates, “I get it now.  I realize how I’ve hurt you, and I’m deeply sorry.  I want to open the lines of communication with you.  I’ll do my very best to do better, and I need your help.  Will you tell me when I mess up again?  I have a long way to go, but I’m stepping onto the road today.”

This isn’t just a theory.  I’ve had these conversations with my kids.  I have asked Ashton and Jordan to speak up anytime I become condescending or demanding, and I’ve promised that I’ll respect them when they have the courage to call me on my personal shortcomings.  That means I don’t get angry when they’re honest with me.  I don’t walk off in a huff, and I don’t look for some reason to blame them and turn the conversation around.  I take it like a man and thank them for their courage and love.

For instance, I get upset when mechanical things don’t work.  I won’t go into the deep, psychological reasons for my sense of electronic entitlement, but you can be sure that if a computer program or a television remote or a lamp doesn’t work the way I want it to work, my reaction isn’t pretty!  When my face gets red, I begin to growl, and it looks like I’m going to yank the cord out of the wall, Ashton and Jordan can say, “Calm down, Dad.  Have some patience.”  That’s enough to remind me of my commitment to them to maintain my cool.

When they speak up, I don’t bark, “You can’t tell me to be patient!  Can’t you see that this darn thing isn’t working?”  Instead, I thank them for their loving reminder.  My relationship with them is far more important than my desire to have electronic components run smoothly.  And because I have asked for their input, they are validated as valued, respected people.

How about you?  Do your kids have permission to respectfully call you on it when you make a mistake?  Do you need to “man up” or “woman up” and bring yourself to say those two powerful words?  Do it now!  Get up from the computer, call your kids to the living room, turn off the TV, and say it.  “I’m sorry.”  They are two of the most powerful words you can say to your kids.  Speak those words – and watch the healing begin.

***Adapted from a chapter in my upcoming book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics” (coming September 1st)***

Book-Cover---Final-TNAL

 

Are You Teaching Your Kids A False Gospel?

Phil Vischer - Vantage

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?

Phil Vischer quote vantage

VIDEO – “How To Communicate So Kids Want To Listen”

There’s nothing worse than trying to communicate to a group of kids who aren’t paying any attention to you.  As a matter of fact, if they aren’t listening – then you aren’t really communicating!  In this teaching, I share some of the things I have learned when it comes to communicating to kids in large groups, small groups, and one-on-one.  I pray it is helpful to you!


If you like this video, please do me a favor.  Leave a comment below.  Which of the pointers I shared made the biggest impact for you?  What is ONE THING you can do starting NOW to help you be a better communicator of the Gospel to kids?

Head on over to my Facebook page and click “LIKE”!  Then, tweet or post on Facebook about my blog at briandollar.com.  Whoever signs up for my email updates on my blog will automatically receive several FREE resources.  Thanks everyone!  Hope this video was a blessing to you!  MORE TO COME!

How To Talk To Kids About DEATH And TRAGEDY

blog-death-tragedy

I remember exactly where I was the day the Columbine Massacre happened in 1999.  I couldn’t believe the news.  Never before had we seen that kind of devastation and tragedy on a school campus.  Years later, I remember exactly where I was the moment I learned of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  I was shocked at the death toll, rocked by the devastation that had been caused by this killer who took the lives and futures of so many innocent children.

Perhaps you remember the thoughts that went through your mind.  Like many, you might have had the thought, “Wow. That could have happened in my city.”  And, it’s true. Tragedy knows no boundaries.  It does not discriminate between people.  Tragedy can hit any community, any family, any individual, at any time.

Many parents work to shield their children from seeing or hearing about these kinds of events for fear of scaring them.  Rightly so.  Others with older children can’t possibly keep it from them, but they struggle to find the words to explain this kind of degenerate and evil behavior.  I understand.

Aside from mass shootings, terrorist attacks, Earthquakes, and other mass disasters, there are tragedies that eventually strike every family.  The death of a loved one.  The death of a pet.  An accident that permanently injures someone.  The sudden loss of income due to layoffs or being fired.  Divorce.  These are the every-day tragedies and losses that parents struggle to explain and help their children through.

The questions abound…

  • How much do I tell my kids?
  • Do I tell them everything is fine when it isn’t?
  • Do I allow them to be a part of family discussions?
  • Do I let them go to the funeral?
  • Should I let them look at the body in the casket?
  • How do I handle their questions about death?

These are all legitimate questions.  They are all not so easy to answer.  In this video, I share some things that will help you in this process.  Kids Pastors are often in the position of needing to help parents navigate the treacherous waters of grief with their children.  I am providing this video as a resource to you.  Feel free to take the content provided and use it to teach the parents at your church how to better handle conversations with their children about death and tragedy.

Are You An Effective Communicator?

I was in a meeting the other day where the presenter had a lot of good information.  It was strong stuff.  However, I looked around the room and noticed – NOBODY is listening!  They were all on their phones, checking email, daydreaming, or doodling.  It wasn’t because the presenter didn’t have good, solid information to share.  It was because he was a POOR communicator.  If he had put half as much effort into his presentation as he obviously had in researching his info, it would have turned out much differently.

When you step in front of a group (whether that is kids, your adult leaders, or the adults in your congregation), are you an effective communicator?  You may answer yes, but what would your audience say?

No matter what audience you are in front of, you have to do everything you can to grab their attention and hold it for the appropriate amount of time.  Your goal is to COMMUNICATE, not just talk.

I love this list from the late Zig Ziglar, who was one of the top professional speakers in America for decades.  Here are his ten guidelines for becoming an effective communicator:

  1. Appearance:  How you look has an impact on others.  Be sure your appearance produces a positive effect. Look the part.  If you are speaking in front of the congregation, don’t look like you do on Saturday Afternoon.  How you present yourself goes a long way towards having your audience BELIEVE in you as the leader.
  2. Posture:  Stand straight.  Walk confidently.  Use body language that is consistent with your words.
  3. Gestures:  Do what comes naturally, but be sure to do something.  Gestures actually help you express yourself better.
  4. Eye Contact:  Your eyes are extremely expressive.  Use them to send positive signals to your audience.
  5. Facial Expressions:  Use expressions appropriate for what you’re saying to help you set the tone of your message.
  6. Voice:  Vary your pitch, volume, inflection, and pace.  As your voice changes, people pay more attention.
  7. Involvement:  Engage your audience.  Ask questions.  Use their names.  Talk about what is important to them.
  8. Questions:  Handle them well.  Listen carefully and think before responding.
  9. Humor:  Used wisely, humor will help others relax and become more friendly and open to your ideas.
  10. Visual Aids:  Pictures are often more effective than words.  Plus, whenever your audience is looking as well as listening, you’re more likely to hold their attention.

Being an effective communicator is so much more than just talking.  If you correctly use these ten points from Zig, you can go a long way toward reaching and moving your audience.  What about you?  Which of these do you struggle with?  Which do you do well?  Leave a comment and enter the discussion!

 

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.

FUN FRIDAY: “It’s Not About The Nail!”

This is one of the funniest videos I have ever seen.  I was reminded of it last night at an event I attended, so I wanted to share it with those of you who may not have seen it yet.  It is certainly something that EVERY man can relate to.  A word of advice:  “Don’t try to fix it, just listen.”  (if only I would heed my own advice more often, LOL)