5 Ways Twitter Can Instantly Enhance Your Ministry Effectiveness

Twitter

Twitter is not exactly “new technology” since it was founded almost ten years ago on March 21, 2006.  Many Kidmin Leaders are already using this Social Media tool on a daily basis, but I also know many who have hesitated.  Some thought it was a passing fad, while others are just intimidated by it.  Still others just “don’t get what the big deal is with Twitter.”

I use Twitter daily.  I use it for a variety of reasons.  It gives me a tool to have unprecedented connectivity to so many of my networks (friends, fellow laborers, and other leaders).  If you are “on the fence” with Twitter, here are five way that Twitter can instantly enhance your ministry effectiveness:

1.  Connect with like-minded #Kidmin workers – Twitter is one of the best places to make connections with those who have similar ministry philosophies and a passion for Kids Ministry just like you have.  I have “virtually met” several people on Twitter and developed a strong bond with them.  It was very cool to be able to meet them in person at a conference later and we remain friends to this day.

2.  Access to the minds of some of the most influential leaders – Some of the “biggest names” and most effective, influential leaders in the Kids Ministry world are on Twitter.  Everyone from Jim Wideman, Amy Dolan, Ryan Frank, Sam Luce, Dale Hudson, to Christine Yount Jones.  By following these leaders on Twitter, you get their daily thoughts and questions, all the while learning by watching their daily and weekly activities and habits.  Plus, you get to see who THOSE people follow and learn from – and follow them as well.

3.  Engage in “iron sharpens iron” conversations – I can’t tell you how many times I have engaged with other leaders on Twitter and learned so much.  Twitter allows you a “real-time” conversation with many people at once about current and relevant topics relating to Kids Ministry.  Just click on the #kidmin hashtag to see all the recent tweets related to Kids Ministry.

4.  Get your message out to your parents and volunteers – By utilizing Twitter, you are able to give your parents and volunteers an account to follow that will give them the latest news and information about your Kids Ministry and your church.  Share deadlines, encouraging thoughts, and important information with parents and volunteers – all with one post.

5.  Become a better writer – Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time.  As a result, you are forced to be concise.  I have always thought, “If you can’t say it quickly, you shouldn’t say it at all.  I am not a fan of “rabbit trails” and rambling when it comes to writing.  One of the hallmarks of good writing is the ability to communicate BIG thoughts in short messages…short paragraphs…short sentences.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get on Twitter!  I thought I would incentivize everyone to start using this tool this week!  If you follow me on Twitter at @briandollar1 THIS WEEK, I will choose 5 of my followers at random to receive a prize.  Some of the prizes will include a signed copy of my book, “I Blew It!”, coupon codes to High Voltage Kids Ministry, and even several FREE Kids Ministry Curriculum Series.  So, sign up for Twitter and then follow me at @briandollar1 and you could WIN!

How To Preach From An iPad

I am away at Kids Camp this week. So, I have asked several of my favorite bloggers to write guest posts for you. This is a guest post from my good friend, Aaron Strawn. Aaron is a self-proclaimed “Kidmin Geek” who is one of the most creative guys I know! He blogs at aaronstrawn.com under the moniker #KidminGeek

(Imagine this first part as a cheesy infomercial)

Is this you on a Sunday morning?

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Papers everywhere! Ugh..what a mess!  Papers..who needs this first world problem, I sure don’t.

Haha, ok, here’s the truth, I use to be papers-all-over-the-podium-guy.  It’s not clean and hard to stay organized.  So when I got an iPad, it was for more than movies, reading and angry birds.  I really wanted it to organize my notes on a Sunday morning.  So how do you go from the picture above

To this:

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As John Hammond said in Jurassic Park…“I’ll show you”

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Best part- everything I show you today will cost…nothing

 

Step 1:  Make sure the documents you want to have on your iPad are in PDF format.  Most curriculums that you have will include the PDF format of the lesson.  If you have a .doc or pages, just convert it by choosing File-Export-PDF

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Once your lessons are a PDF, we’re going to combine them into 1 PDF document.  First open the PDF files in the app Preview.  Then click the view menu tab and select “Thumbnails”.  Your PDF should now look like this:

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BTW what you are looking at is my Sunday morning service order put together byPlanning Center.

NEXT: Select the main page you will be using or want to reference more than once i.e. Service Order.  Click on the thumbnail and hit command C then command N (copy and create new).  You now have a duplicate of your main page.  This is done so you can add it in as many times as you need.

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NEXT:  Now its time to drag into your new PDF doc all the pages you want.  Simply click or select all the pages you want, then drag them on top of your new page, and boom, you have a new PDF with all the pages in it you want.  Here’s all this in action (no audio in video):

KidminGeek Make PDF

KidminGeek Make PDF

Now to get it on your iPad.  You have a couple options:

1.Email the file to yourself

2.  Evernote.  As you saw in the video above, once you have created your PDF, just drag and drop it into a note in any evernote notebook.  Make sure it is synced, then pull up evernote on your iPad, download the PDF, and there you go.  Now you can preach and have all your lesson plans right on your iPad.

3. Dropbox.  If you have a dropbox account, upload the PDF then simply open it in your dropbox app on your iPad

Hope this helps!  Feel free to add any solutions you have, or your methods.  Thanks for reading-

 

BONUS: The podium I am using is called an iPodium.  It has a built in pocket for an iPad.  I love this thing!

Check it out:

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These are available HERE

 

 

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!

 

How The Internet Has Changed Kids Ministry

I ran across this family video (originally released on VHS tape – remember those?) the other day. It was produced in 1997 and was intended to teach kids who to use the internet. From this video, you would assume the only purpose the internet was to give kids a hands-on education. Of course, we realize just how much the internet has evolved since 1997.

Very little was mentioned about internet safety. In this piece that spans over 25 minutes, a mere 12 seconds was dedicated to teaching kids internet safety. My, how things have changed.

I certainly did my fair share of laughing at the styles, lack of high-res graphics, and the hokey theme song. It also got me thinking. How much has the internet changed Kids Ministry in the last 15 years? In 1997, a Children’s Ministry wouldn’t even have thought of having their own site for kids to come interact and learn about God’s Word.

What are the different ways that YOUR ministry is using the internet to minister to kids? Share some of your best ideas in the comments section. We owe it to each other to help each other learn!

New “Kid Bible Heroes” App – Kids Just Can’t Put It Down!


The Kid Bible Heroes interactive app for kids features youngsters living out grown-up faith that will build your kids’ trust in God. Each narrated Bible story pauses for games, fun sound effects and interactive animation. Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

With the Kid Bible Heroes app, your kids can learn about ordinary kids in the Bible who were used by God to do extraordinary things.  The app features five Bible stories about everyday heroes like David, Miriam, Samuel, Mary, and the young boy with the fishes and loaves.  Through their interactive stories, your kids will learn about God’s plan for their lives, trusting God, having courage, listening to God and being willing to step out in faith.

WANT YOUR KIDS TO EXPERIENCE THE BIBLE LIKE NEVER BEFORE?

Enhance your kids’ Bible knowledge with the Kid Bible Heroes app, a cutting-edge digital resource from My Healthy Church. This series of apps was designed with the next generation in mind, giving kids a fun and interactive way to learn the Bible by simply using technology that they enjoy.

Each narrative story expands kids’ faith and enhances their learning experience by featuring games, puzzles, fun sound effects and other interactive activities to help them discover biblical truths. Let your kids be a part of the story by downloading the Kid Bible Heroes app today.

Visit www.kidbibleheroes.com or click here to download the app!