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7 things to stop doing now

7 things to stop doing now in your ministry

Some of these things you might be doing because that’s the way it’s always been done at your Church, or you never stepped back and asked “why do we do this?” Blind spots are very real and this list might open your eyes to a few of them or you may disagree completely and continue doing them with renewed vigour and that’s great because at least you will be doing them purposefully.

7. Stop guessing.
Whatever gets measured gets done. If you want an area to grow or develop you have to quantify it.
Years ago we did some digging into our attendance at Church and discovered a few vital statistics.
– 75% of our families come during a three week period.
This caused us to reimagine just what our curriculum looks like. In short we now cover a topic for three weeks at a time which give maximum exposure to as many kids as possible. You can see me talk about this in this video Season 2 Curriculum Promo
So stop guessing and measure it and if it’s something tricky to quantify like discipleship for example, talk with your senior leadership and get wisdom into just how they would measure it.

6. Stop being jealous.
No matter what size or style Church you are everyone gets envious. As a user of multi-purpose rooms I get incredibly jealous of friends in ministry with their own full-time, only kids can use them, just plain showing off, Disney-style, quite frankly unnecessary, I mean who needs a screen that big, now you’re being ostentatious, purpose built, testament to mans arrogance in the face of an all powerful God, but yet still beautiful facilities!
So yeah… Run your own race or whatever.

5. Stop doing it all yourself.
I spoke to a new ministry leader once who had come from a teaching background. We were chatting and she was asking for advice about what to focus on. She mentioned that she was writing the curriculum each week for the Sunday service. I told her that was a terrible idea. If she continues doing that then at the end of a year she will have 52 lessons and no team. But if she realised that if her 52 weeks were filled with team building and volunteer training, then after a year she will have an group of people who can then take on the awesome task of writing their own curriculum.

4. Stop putting your trust in curriculum.
Now don’t get me wrong, you should all be using Hillsong Kids BiG curriculum available at hillsongstore.com, but it’s a tool in your hand not the whole toolbox. Your toolbox is Christ and it’s full of the fruit of the spirit and spiritual gifts of not only you but the team around you. Seriously, curriculum never saved anyone, but it certainly can be used by God to steer someone in the right direction.
Just like graduating university doesn’t guarantee anyone a career, a child completing your take home sheet every week does not a follower of Jesus make.

3. Stop being so serious.
It’s said a lot around our parts… Church is meant to be enjoyed not endured. It’s a paradox but the more intense, stressed and tense you are the worse you communicate. And your job as a kids pastor is basically communication. You’re joining with what God is doing in the lives of kids and families and reinforcing and encouraging them in their relationship with Him.
If kids are having fun they learn better, they relate better, they live better.

2. Stop sending home bits of paper.
Now I will admit that we still do this most weekends. But it’s a lot less than we have in the past and it’s always a supplement, not the main form of communication. You have social media now, you have the amazing tool of group texting for very low cost, you have YouTube and you have volunteers to get the word out. Stop it.

1. Stop taking a break over summer.
What? Your kids ministry stops over the summer and then launches again when school begins? You are not an educational institution. It may be part of what you do, but you are the Church! A family of people doing life together. If you behave like an institution then don’t be surprised when your families treat you like one. This may be normal and accepted in your denomination or network of churches but it shouldn’t be. Take a long look at why you do this and stop being a school and start being the church.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, it means a lot. Would love to hear from you, disagree, tell me I’m awesome, or what ever in the comments below!
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I Say Quite a Lot in This Video

So back last year I filmed an interview with the esteemable Luke Harris all about Curriculum and Kids Ministry. Just watched is back recently. I said some good things, you should check it out!

Creative Curriculum Writing (With David Wakerley)

P.S. There is actually a bunch of great resources on this channel that you should watch from some great people in ministry, like Frank Bealer from Elevation Church, Craig Johnson from Lakewood Church and a bunch of Aussies like Andy Kirk, Tammy Tolman and Sean W Smith.

INC Pastoral Resources

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Truman, Perry and Hospital Journeys

8 weeks ago I had a little guy called ‘Truman the Tumor’ removed from my body. Then had 6 weeks to recover, then ‘Perry the Power Port’ was installed in my chest and just yesterday I started my 6 months of Chemo which will finish just before Christmas… which will make it the bet Christmas ever!

Lots more detail at (@beciboo and @davewakerley)

So it’s been a wasteland around here, but I have a backlog of a few bits of content to share so they will come in time!

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Just Emailed These Thoughts

For months now I have been meaning to sit down and write down some thoughts for kids songwriting for our team at Hillsong Kids. Well yesterday I took a moment and furiously typed as fast as my 50 words a minute fingers could type. Here is the output without editing for your edification it’s for our team so somethings may not make much sense!

GET YOUR SONG HEARD!

Okay, this is a stream of consciousness thoughts on writing songs for kids.

  • Make sure you listen to the latest songs to catch the vibe of where we are at (planning centre).
  • Avoid cliches, phrases that are well worn in other songs, one or two in a song is okay, but 3-4-5 and the song becomes meaningless to the singer (eg. You took my shame–I praise your name; filled my soul–made me whole etc.)
  • You should be able to sum up your song in a sentence.
  • We are looking for a lyrical hook so find interesting ways of saying common truths for kids. eg. ‘At the start of this life I found You, you found me’, (not just I have known you my whole life) ‘I give you my Hallelujah’ (not just I give you my Praise).
  • Send through 3 songs minimum. It is far easier to evaluate 3 songs and find some gold than just look at one and not find anything. We want to encourage writers not demoralise them If you haven’t got three songs then keep going until you do, then put them all together
  • Include typed lyrics with the track. The Lord will turn his face from you if you submit a song without written lyrics.
  • Guitar and voice, or keys and voice are fine, do not spend too much time making a sweet demo track. The gold WILL shine through even the roughest of recordings.
  • No need to even create an arrangement of the track – as they say “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus”.

SONGWRITING THEMES:

  • Currently we are looking for songs about – Wisdom (Psalms, Proverbs, Parables)
  • Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience
  • Songs about Praising God are ALWAYS accepted
  • Worship songs about trusting
  • Unusual Miracles
  • New Rivers, New Roads (Is 43)
  • The Holy Spirit

AVOID:

  • Talking about creation, we have enough songs about God created the earth and hung the stars. (eg. Superhero)
  • Silly songs (eg. I think I’m gonna throw up, I think I’m gonna throw up, I think I’m gonna throw up my hands and praise the Lord)
  • Introspection and Melancholy – These are not universal themes for children (save them for United).
  • Getting children to make promises or vows they cannot keep (eg. “I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything, at any cost for you my King.”)
  • Singing lyrics from God’s perspective can be tricky.
  • When you have finished a song, just check through for the words me and my. If they appear again and again look at the focus of the song. We love songs full of Him,
  • His, even Our rather than Mine is an improvement.

IMPORTANT:

I noticed recently with a bunch of new worship songs written for kids were focussing on the singers behaviour, their virtues or their actions. (eg. I’m gonna DO this or that FOR you God). It subtly tells our Children that the Christian life is about what we do for God. It tells them that the things that we could accomplish for him are the most important. When this is repeated over and over it can be exhausting for a kid, who in almost every area of their lives are ranked. We want Church to be an oasis in a life that is spent getting graded and lined up according to ability and worth.

We want Church to be a place of acceptance and rest, a place to be built up and encouraged.

P.S. Here is some more thoughts on Songwriting!

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Unlikely Heroes – Plus Two More!

Right, so we take a long time to release resources at Hillsong Kids… it usually takes almost a year to finish a 9 week curriculum project. So I am surprised as anyone to see us release THREE at the same time. It’s new release Wednesday!

It’s unheard of, and you should check them all out, especially if you speak Spanish or know someone who does! Because we made a Spanish version of our Crazy Noise Album… that’s right a Spanish album, our first ever!

HERE WE GO—

Let’s count this down, firstly a new BiG Curriculum UNLIKELY HEROES

UH Thumb

Then we have another Curriculum called Listen Up! (It’s a conference edition digital only product)

listenupthumb

And maybe most exciting, because it’s a first, Ruido Alegre!

Por primera vez, Hillsong Kids presenta un álbum en español especialmente para niños de edad preescolar y de edad escolar temprana. ¡Ruido Alegre! es un álbum lleno de canciones nuevas geniales para que los más pequeños puedan cantar y adorar a Dios.
El pastor de niños de la Iglesia Hillsong David Wakerley, dice: “Hace mucho tiempo hemos querido crear un álbum para niños de esta edad y estamos muy emocionados con esta producción. ¡Ruido Alegre! está lleno de canciones con las que los más pequeños disfrutarán cantando, bailando y alabando a Dios”.

hillsongkids_ruidoalegre_crazynoisespanish

Much more to share, but wanted to announce before doing anything else!

Comment below, especially if you speak Spanish, would love to hear from you…

 

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Musical Mention: The Great Adventure – Dan Warlow

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

It’s way overdue, but I need to highlight my friend Dan Warlow’s first album recording.

Dan Warlow is an Australian singer-songwriter who is passionate about building strong faith-foundations in young people. With his energetic and engaging style, Dan conveys scriptural truths and the life-giving message of Jesus through songs that the whole family can enjoy, not just the kids.

I keep bumping into Dan around the tracks here in Australia and love that he is just going for it, and following his dreams!

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

1. The Celebration song
2. Great adventure.
3. Creator God
4. With all my heart.
5. God’s Amazing Book
6. I want to hear your voice
7. Under your wings.
8. You are faithful
9. God’s big love (light of the world)
10. There is nothing our God cannot do

THOUGHTS

This is a acoustic driven album in the vein of Colin Buchanan and Sean W Smith. It’s a little but country and a little bit rock ‘n roll. There is nothing too fancy going on with the production, but it’s also just what is needed – it’s just right. Lead vocals are perfectly clear… important for kids comprehension.

Lyrically it covers well worn material – a ‘God created everything song’, some ‘jump around songs’, and a Bible song. But it all sounds fresh and not at all tired.

Full marks for a kids choir on a few tracks like the title track ‘Great Adventure’ if you follow my blog posts you’ll know I love a bit of kids singing on the album.

We need lyrics on your website Dan 🙂 and if possible some lyric videos for use in Churches!

FAVOURITE TRACK

Okay, God’s Big Love is my standout on this album. It’s a tried and true version of John 3:16 but for me the track shines on the album. Great guitars/synths that match the style really well. A great bridge with some woah’s just tops the track off!

Keep it up Dan, the best is yet to come!

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Musical Mention: Strong In Me – TFH Worship

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Another kids worship release out of nowhere.

Heather commented in my last post and alerted me to this fantastic new EP.

TFH Worship is the worship ministry of The Father’s House church, based out of Vacaville, CA but with additional locations in Napa and East Bay. TFH Kids is proud to partner with TFH Worship to release “Strong In Me,” a kids worship album for the whole family. These songs are fun, and powerful and we’ve produced them so that you’ll want more regardless of age!

The Church is also a part of the Hillsong Network, so I am a big fan already!

STRONG IN ME

Tracklisting:

1. Don’t Have To Wait
2. The Way
3. Stronger
4. God Is With Me
5. You’re Everything

5 Tracks. I’ll take it, I want more, but you gotta start somewhere 🙂

THOUGHTS

This album continues the trend of albums produced for kids ministries by the worship ministry of the Church. (Planetshakers recent release, eKids etc.) They bring their expertise and strength to the table and pull off great with the kids in mind. It’s great to see a couple of slower songs, Stronger and God is with Me in the mix. It’s a bigger challenge to write worship songs for kids that keep them engaged.

Production values are fantastic, great mixes and excellent arrangements. The music does exactly what it needs to do and doesn’t get in the way of the message!

Get some kids voices on there and I am a happy man. Again, it’s tough to find really strong kid vocalists but worth the effort. And as with all releases, it’s great to see lyric videos we can use in live worship… looking forward to the next one!

FAVOURITE SONGS

Okay, so I’m gonna pick just one because of the brevity of the album 🙂

The Way – Great EDM sounding track and lyrics, especially the acapella intro,  it’s uncommon and catchy. I really like how each section of the song flows into the next – verse to chorus to bridge – it keeps the song moving. “I know who I am, I know how to dance, And praise Your name” – simple lyrics declaring truth, as long as your definition of dancing includes my kind of awkward gyrating.

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Kidsong 2015 – The 3 T’s – YouTube

People of Earth! Just wanted you to know that the two men in this video are talking about things you have no idea about unless you were at Kidsong 2015! But let’s just say that if you would like to get a taste of the conference then check out the Three T’s.

You should also then check out the latest videos on the Hillsong Kids Channel at YouTube because there are some seriously great memory verse songs as well!

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Musical Mention: Undefeated – eKidz

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Oh Wow, out of nowhere.

Another great Kids Praise and Worship Release.

From my friends at Elevation Church.

eKidz (the family ministry of Elevation Church) has joined with Elevation Worship to release a new album for your entire family. From the title track, “Undefeated”, which proclaims that Jesus is victorious, to the powerful truth found in “I am Yours”, it is our hope that these songs will give voice to your family’s faith.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need more worship for kids in the world. 2,000 worship albums last year produced and maybe 50 for kids? Let’s do this!

UNDEFEATED

Tracklisting:

1. For Your Glory
2. I Am Yours
3. Undefeated
4. Your Love Is
5. Get to Give
6. Already Won
7. Standing

Okay, 7 tracks… Frank Bealer, I expected more overachieving from you, if your wife was involved it would have been 14 pullups, I mean tracks (you had to be there).

THOUGHTS

This is a pro album, mixed with a top notch production team from Elevation. Seven uptempo praise songs means they have accomplished what they set out to do – “give voice to your family’s faith”.

One of the hardest things is to get right is kids ‘choir’, it doesn’t seem like the team has attempted to capture any, but I would have loved to hear some kids voices on this album.

FAVOURITE SONGS

Every track sounds ‘right’, what I mean is that it matches the theme and emotion the song is seeking to convey. A victorious song like ‘For Your Glory’, or a more declarative song like ‘I am Yours’ has just the right ‘weight’ in musical style.

Standing – “Oh Yes we are standing, ‘Cause the enemy’s defeated, We’ll always be standing, on the promises of Jesus.” Great chorus and a song that simply declares truth and the groove of the song drives home the point!

Get To Give – This track’s production is one of my favourites and the theme – I get the privilege of serving God – is a valuable one in this era of looking out for number one.

Oh, and great music video!