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!

3 Things I Tell EVERY Volunteer

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Part of the process for joining our Kids Ministry team is a personal sit-down interview with me, the Kids Pastor.  I want to personally know every person who serves on our team – whether that is in an up-front or behind-the-scenes capacity.  During this interview, I always stress three important principles that I hope will guide their decisions while serving in ministry:

1)  Always Strive For Excellence

We try to live Colossians 3:23 on a daily basis:  “Whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. Do it for the Lord and not for men.”  In every part of Kids Ministry, our goal is EXCELLENCE.  That means we arrive early, we give 110% energy during service, and we go above and beyond what would be “expected of us.”  When you have a lesson to teach, skit to perform, or song to sing – you are expected to practice and be well-prepared.  No “winging it!”  God deserves our best, and so do the children.

2)  Never forget:  “The little eyes are always watching.”

We have over 800 kids that attend our church regularly.  It’s impossible to go ANYWHERE in our city without running into one of them.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:6: “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  We have to be conscious of every word, action, reaction, and attitude we display whether we are at church, in the grocery story, or at the movies.  You never know when one of these kids’ eyes are on you.  You want to set the RIGHT example for them – whether intentionally or unintentionally.

This goes for Social Media posts as well.  I remind our leaders that the parents of the children in our church (and, sadly some of the kids themselves) are on Social Media.  I want my leaders to make sure that EVERY post reflects the character of Christ.  I ask them to refrain from “rants,” pictures, jokes, etc. that may seem to be the norm on Social Media.  As a leader of children, I want them to realize the impact that a seemingly “harmless” (yet inappropriate) post can cause.  I don’t want them to do anything that would damage their reputation, their leadership, or the Kingdom.

3)  Ministry Moments Can Happen At ANY Time

Don’t think that ministry can only happen in the Kids’ Ministry Service Time.  You never know when God will open a door for you to minister to a child.  You might see the child in the Party Zone sitting by themselves, and you can go over and talk to them and cheer them up.  You might see the child walking through the church halls and can tell they need encouragement.  You might even feel like God is leading you to send the child a card during the week to let them know you are praying for them.  There are MANY opportunities to make a difference in a child’s life.  Look for those ministry moments, both inside and outside the service.

I share these three things with EVERY person who serves in Kids Ministry.  How about you?  What are the principles that you hope will guide the decisions of your team as they minister to His children?  Please SHARE those in the comments section of this post!

Our NEW Kidmin Stage – Why We Did What We Did

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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!

 

Thinking For A Change

Some of us haven’t made any changes to the way we approach our ministry in a long time.  If you are still doing ministry the way you were the first year you started, then it’s time to think differently.   “Thinking For A Change” takes some intentional focus.  Here are a couple of thoughts to help you become a better thinker…

How to be a better thinker:

1.    Set aside thinking time.

You will never be a good thinker unless you plan to.  You need to set aside time in your schedule that is distraction-free.  Take the time to think through and pray through all the different strategies you are implementing in ministry.  Ask God to give you a fresh perspective about these strategies.  Some may require tweaking.  Others may require overhaul.  One thing is for sure, you will never “fall into” thinking time.  It has to be scheduled and planned.

2.    Spend time with good thinkers.

Are there some great thinkers in your church?  Maybe they are business people, but God has gifted them with great thinking skills.  Are there Kids Ministers in your area that you respect?  Listen to how they process things.  Analyze the way they attack issues and difficulties.  It will stretch your ability to think.

For example – if you are a bad golfer, you don’t choose to play with guys that are as bad as you.  You know you will never learn anything.  Instead, you try to talk a couple of good golfers to let you tag along their foursome.  You try your best to pick up their habits and approaches.  It’s the same with thinking skills.

Find a good thinker:  ask them what they see, watch who they hang around, they don’t always act like they have the answer.  When they don’t know the answer, they go search and find someone who does.  Do the same thing.

3.    When you are with a good thinker, ask “WHY” they do what they do.

The person who wants to be a doer (task oriented) will ask “what do you do?”  The person who wants to be a learner asks “Why do you do what you do?”  It’s all about knowing what you don’t know.

Who are the thinkers that you can learn from?  Call them or email them this week.  Set up a time to meet with them.  Ask God to guide the conversation.  It’s time to THINK for a change!

New High Voltage Kids Ministry Website Launched!

You’ve waited patiently, now the moment has arrived!  Get ready for the greatest 48 hours in High Voltage Kids Ministry HISTORY!  Before you head on over to our brand new redesigned website to check out our NEW LOOK, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to take full advantage of the festivities.

There is a very cool video you can check out right on the front page (as well as on the “About Us” page) that we know you will love.  It tells all about who we are and why we exist.  So, now to tell you what’s in it for you…

1)  GET 50% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER

You read that correctly!  All you have to do is place all of the items you wish to purchase in your shopping cart, then input the coupon code “NEWLOOK” in the correct space during checkout.  Make sure you click on the “Apply Coupon” button and doublecheck that your discount has been applied.

This offer is good October 1st and 2nd.  The coupon code will expire at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on October 2nd.

Spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail.  We want everyone to know about our new site AND save big money in the process!

2)  REGISTER TO WIN A $500 SHOPPING SPREE!

It’s a new site, so we need all of our customers to register for a new account and password.  We are giving everyone ALL WEEK to register.  Next Monday, we will choose one name from all of the registered users and announce the winner of a $500 SHOPPING SPREE!  You don’t have to make a purchase, just register by clicking here!

3)  REVIEW PRODUCTS TO WIN $100 SHOPPING SPREE!

One of the features we are excited about is the “Customer Review” for each of our products.  We need our potential customers to hear from those of you who have been blessed by the resources so they will know how effective they will be when they purchase them.  All you have to do is click on the “Review This Product” button next to ANY of our online products, write a short review, and submit it.  That’s it! Review as many products as you want (just make sure they are ones you have actually purchased and used)!  

We will choose five reviews at random next Monday and award those people with a $100 SHOPPING SPREE!  Make sure you use your REAL NAME when writing the review.  That way we will definitely know who to reward.  🙂

4)  DON’T MISS THE DEADLINES

Just to recap – the 50% OFF code expires Tuesday Night at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

You have until next Sunday, October 7th, to register and/or write a review and be entered in the shopping spree drawings.  Thanks for helping us spread the word.  We’d love to hear what you think of the new site.  Shoot us an email at info@highvoltage-kids.com.

Now, if you are still reading this…get on over to the new website!  There’s lots of fun waiting for you!

How Do You Handle Leaders Who Lack Energy?

Everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else.

If you are a full-time Kidmin Pastor/Leader you know that you have NO EXCUSE not to have energy on Sundays (or whenever ministry takes place for you).  However, some of our Kidmin Volunteers struggle with this.  They work 5 days a week, run like crazy for their families on Saturday, and on Sunday it is tough to have the energy they need to make a great experience for the kids.

If you ever need to encourage your team and help them understand the importance of having energy during ministry time, consider teaching them the following principles:

How To Increase Energy

1.  Realize what’s at stake

SOULS!  We want these kids to see us excited about God’s word, worship, and serving others.  The level of passion we have will determine the level of passion THEY have.

2.  Take responsibility for your own energy

Too many people wait to be pumped up by situations or persons.  Take responsibility for your own energy.  Don’t wait for the right speech from your leader or for someone to “push the right button” for you to get pumped up.

Ben Franklin said, “The quality of your life is your gift to yourself.”

If you wait for someone else to strike up your energy before you do anything, then life will pass you by.

3.  Act your way into feeling

Stephen Covey said, “Right decisions will eventually bring about right emotions.”

Don’t wait until you feel right to do right.  Do right and you will feel right.  “Fake it ‘till you make it!”

Socrates said, “Assume a virtue if you have it not!”  Fake joy is better than genuine depression any day!  A passionate person with limited talent will outperform a passive person who possesses greater talent.

4.  GET ON YOUR KNEES.

The absolute best way to be infused with energy is to spend time on your knees in prayer.  Don’t rely on your own energy, ask God for HIS energy.

“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” – Colossians 1:29

When you are accomplishing GOD’S PURPOSE with GOD’S POWER, then you possess true renewable energy.

Happy Birthday!

Today, BRIAN’S BLOG turns 1 year old!  It was on August 1, 2011 that I posted my first “real” post.  Since then, I have watched God do many great things through this.  I have heard from many of the readers of the blog how a post has inspired, challenged, or changed you in some way.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

My goal has always been to encourage and equip other Kidmin Leaders to increase their capacity to lead their teams, parents, and kids.  I appreciate all of you who are a part of this journey!

Wanna help?  Here are a couple of things you can do to help get the word out…

1)  Leave Comments.  – It doesn’t take long, and they don’t have to be wordy.  When you leave a comment you encourage others, show that you are reading, and help me see which posts are most effective.

2)  Ask A Question.  – When I began this blog, it was my desire to address topics that YOU are interested in – not just share my own thoughts.  I depend on each of you to spark conversation by asking questions about leadership, organization, ministry philosophy, or opinions on hot topics.  You can ask your question by filling out the form on this page of the blog.  If your question is used, you are given a $25 coupon to High Voltage Kids Ministry Web Store.

3)  Share A Post. – When you read something that is helpful, share it.  Click on the Facebook or Twitter SHARE buttons at the bottom of the post and post it to your wall.  This allows us to reach a MUCH bigger audience.  You never know – your friends may subscribe.

4)  Talk about BRIAN’S BLOG (www.briandollar.com)  – On Social Media, in an email, at a networking lunch, or at a conference – talk about BRIAN’S BLOG (briandollar.com) and how it has helped you be a better Kidmin Leader.  Talk about what we’ve learned and discussed.  YOU are the best advertisement this blog could ever get!

To help give you an incentive, I am giving away a free copy of my book, “I Blew It!” to one lucky person who leaves a comment this week.  Winner will be chosen by random draw on August 5th.

Thanks, again, for a great year!  I am so glad that I started this process.  It has been so rewarding for me.  I hope it has and continues to be for you.  God bless!

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt 3)

And now, the exciting conclusion to the blog post series, “Six Questions To Ask Yourself Before Implementing A New Idea In Your Kids Ministry.”  Here’s what we covered in pt. 1 and pt. 2 of the series:

1)  “Have I Prayed About It?”

2)  “What Does My Pastor Think About The Idea?”

3)  “Does The Idea Resonate With The Hearts Of My Team?”

4)  “Do I Have The Support Of The Parents In My Ministry?”

QUESTION #5 – “Do I need God’s power to accomplish this idea?”

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself as you evaluate whether the idea is a “God idea” or just another good idea.  If you can accomplish the plan without God’s power and without God’s anointing, it’s probably not His idea.

God’s ideas always require God’s ability.  If you can do it on your own, go back to the Lord and ask Him for direction.  This doesn’t mean that every impossible, crazy idea is necessarily from God.  That’s the wrong conclusion!  We need to have a balance of wisdom and faith—it’s not one or the other; both are required for good leadership.

QUESTION #6 – “If this idea succeeds, who will get the glory?”

As I have planned many ideas in the past, I was thinking, Man, when this thing is a huge success, people are going to think I’m the smartest guy around. Other children’s pastors are going to ask me for my planning notebook so they can pull off their own event like this. This is going to rock!

My plan to take all the credit for success was a clear indication that it wasn’t a “God idea” at all.  When people have trusted God for an idea, a plan, and success, they realize God is the source of every good thing, and he deserves the credit.  Pursue God’s ideas, and be prepared to give Him the glory.  After all, He’s the originator, not you.  He’s the creator, not you.  He is the author and finisher, not you.  He deserves the glory, not you.

Share your thoughts in the comment section.  I will pick a winner from the comments at the end of the week – winner gets a $25 web coupon to High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources.

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt. 2)

In my last post, I shared the first two of the Six Questions to ask yourself before implementing a new idea in your Kids Ministry:

1)  “Have I Prayed About It?”

2)  “What Does My Pastor Think About The Idea?”

Now, we continue with Questions 3 & 4:

QUESTION #3 – “Does the idea resonate with the hearts of my team?”

After your pastor gives you the go-ahead, consult with your ministry team.  These people have the same passion as yours to impact the lives of the children in your church and community.  Share the plan with them while your idea is still in its early stages.  Don’t wait until you have the entire strategy fleshed out before you bring it to the team for feedback. The longer you work on an idea before you present it, the less likely you’re going to be willing to change course.  If leaders develop a plan too far before they talk to their teams, they can become emotionally invested in an idea and refuse to listen to any suggestions. When they don’t listen to their team members, trust erodes.

I remember when I thought I had a great idea for a Halloween outreach.  I wanted to call it “The Candy Factory.”  It was going to provide a full array of experiences, entertainment, fun, and best of all . . . candy!  I worked on the idea for weeks and weeks before I brought it to the team.  When I finally presented it to them, they immediately had questions about it.  They questioned the plans, the schedule, the execution, and the very idea itself.  I became defensive.  I’d worked several weeks on it, and this was my baby!  How dare they question an idea in which I had invested so much time!

If the members of your team—the people whose hearts are aligned with yours and who care as much about kids as you do—believe the idea stinks, you better listen to them.

QUESTION #4 – “Do I have the support of the parents in my ministry?”

This question applies especially to those who are young in ministry and have no children of their own.  It is easy for young singles or couples without kids to miss red flags that are obvious to parents.  Checking with them before an event can save you lots of headaches in the long run.

Many of you have read about the infamous Easter Egg Hunt that ended up in disaster (for the full story, get my book “I Blew It!”).  I planned an egg hunt for pre-schoolers on a steep drainage ditch and gave them Atomic Fireballs in their eggs.  If I’d taken a few minutes to talk to parents before the Easter Egg Hunt, they would have told me that it’s inappropriate to have Atomic Fireballs and jawbreakers in plastic eggs on steep hillsides with big rocks for an event for preschoolers (or anyone else for that matter).  They would have spoken up.  They would have told me the hard, cold truth, and I would have seen that it was an idiotic idea to hold a preschool egg hunt on Drainage Ditch Hill.  Parents would have looked me in the eye and told me, “Pastor Brian, the children will choke on those Atomic Fireballs. Are you insane?”

But it didn’t cross my mind to ask any of the parents. Solomon advises us (me especially), “With many counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14 NLT).

(CLICK HERE FOR PART 3)

Four Words You Should NEVER Say

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

Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways such as, “How do you guys 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 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.

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!!!

Share your thoughts in the comment section.