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But I Have A Full Time Job!

This is a message for the volunteer living a big life; How to run a kids ministry in 4 hours a week.

At Hillsong Church we have services ranging from maybe 10 kids all the way through to 700 kids in one service. On top of this we have full time staff members that are focused 7 days a week on children’s ministry as well as volunteer Pastors that oversee age groups on top of their normal day to day commitments.  A large part of our role is training people to be able to do more with less and enable them to have a large influence despite their seeming lack of time.

So myself and Nathan Mclean got our heads together and decided to put together our thoughts on what we would do if we weren’t full time at a Church and were running a children’s ministry with a full time job and maybe only 4 hours a week to make Church happen!

So watch the video, we truly believe it can help you!

VIDEO NOTES:

  • Hour 1. Leadership
  • Hour 2. Program
  • Hour 3. Pastoral
  • Hour 4. Prayer/Communication

Take an hour each week to focus on LEADERSHIP. This is the people part of your team, the delegating and getting things ready part of the team.

This could look like a key team meeting, which forms the basis of how we do what we do at Hillsong Kids.

Spend an hour getting your PROGRAM  ready. Writing your message, preparing runsheets for the service,

Do not neglect the midweek PASTORING. Visit the hospital (vital and an incredible opportunity), make the calls, pray with your families.

And remember, its all for naught if Jesus isn’t in the centre. Keep the main thing, the main thing, and PRAY. You are the chief COMMUNICATOR, there should be no-one more passionate about reaching the kids and families of your Church. So get the word out and make sure your team has everything they need to fulfil their mission!

Of course, you are not a lone ranger, every other person you involve in ministry creates a exponential reach. So build that team!

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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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Andy’s Got Training!

Andy Kirk from ACCkids is building a most excellent resource at their website.

There is a bunch of really helpful videos from a series featuring a panel of pastors from all over Australia some of my friends that I look up to and hang on every word!

Andy got us recently to talk about areas that are near and dear to our hearts and they are beginning to go up online. From Frank Bealer (Elevation Church) and the Pauls from Planetshakers here in Australia we hopefully give you both inspiration and practical how-to’s!

Check them out here.

HINT: You can download the FREE resource pack offered to attendees of the Kidshaper conference in 2014. (Shhh… even if you didn’t go get on there and download it) 🙂

2015 Panel Session – Worship – Dave Wakerley from ACC Kids on Vimeo.

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1 reason to visit Columbus Ohio

As you travel the world, one destination towers over the rest in the search for international prominence.

Columbus.

It screams out from brochures, demanding your attention as you forget about Paris, London and New York. Drowning out your reservations with “We have a replica of Christopher Columbus’ historic ship the Santa Maria“. 

So I am sure there are lots of reasons to visit Columbus Ohio, but to be fair, there is only one reason I am here.

It’s the KidMin Conference by Group Publishing and Children’s Ministry Magazine.

I had a walk around the city this morning, grabbed great bacon omelette (international travel rules dictate, in the US? eat bacon) breakfast from a tiny little place around the corner from the hotel suggested by this great blog Breakfast with Nick. And then had a stroll around the rather massive count of high-rise buildings in the downtown area.

Seriously, there is a lot of tall buildings for 800,000 people (Apparently lots of state government departments are here).

But let me get serious for a moment. I am quietly excited about this conference. I have never been a part of an event run by Group before so I will be learning all I can, about how they do what they do. There are friends here and new friends to be met. If you are at the conf. come by the Hillsong Kids stand and check out some new resources!

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Kidshaper Conference Highlights

Kidshaper conference was a fantastic event in August.

We try and get as many of our team to attend as possible knowing that it will be a time where we get to be inspired, encouraged and perhaps most importantly hang out together without the pressure of task and ministry.

Andy Kirk is a champion with a very special place in my heart. His rebranding of the event makes me happy, his passion for ministry makes me happy, his innovation and the inner workings of his brain make me happy.

He is an absolute gift to the ACC in Australia. In short, when he asks me to jump, I ask how high? 

Kidshaper 2014 Highlights from ACC Kids on Vimeo.

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I’m a GURU!

According to Frank Bealer the Family Ministry Pastor at Elevation Church in North Charlotte, West Carolina, OH 90210… (or somewhere like that) I am a GURU!

On his excellent new blog he has written a number of posts with a video interview with a bunch of pastors around the world. It was a privelidge to be a part of these hangouts, and I encourage you to check them out!

A Conversation With Some Family Ministry Gurus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

We are joined by:

  • LifeChurch.tv (Allyson Evans)
  • Hillsong Australia (David Wakerley & Nathan Mclean)
  • Elevation Church (Frank Bealer)
  • Kids R Us (Andy Kirk)
  • NewSpring Church (Cherie Duffey)
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Four kidmin leadership panels you should watch today

Andy Kirk is a champion.

Full stop.

I don’t know how he does it… family, ministry, entrepreneur…

But he does it and he does it well.

He oversees Kids R Us in Australia here and I think you should get to know him, connect with him, and at some point meet him and ask him questions! A good place to do that is at the annual Kidshaper conference.

He got together myself, Nathan Mclean and a few legends from Australia to talk about #kidmin and leadership etc. for a panel discussion. I love this style of learning and leadership and I think you should watch them! I just rewatched them and it reminded me of so much and kept me thinking about the things that are important!

You can find them in the resources tab at the KidsRUs website. Or head over to their Vimeo Account for more!

Kids R Us – Leadership Panel – Session 1 from Kids R Us on Vimeo.
 

 

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NSWCMN

That’s a lot of letters that really do make sense (New South Wales Children’s Ministry Network).

If you are an Australian pastor or volunteer working with kids, there is one network in Aus that can open your eyes to the wider Church around you doing amazing work. The mission statement fromt the website:

“We are a Christ Jesus-directed, active, energised, statewide network of people with shared vision for effective ministry with children that sees children become passionate and effective disciples of Jesus NOW.” 

To be honest the website is a barely functioning barren wasteland, but having been to a few gatherings here in Sydney the people involved are anything but!!!

It’s a group of very diverse people who all are reaching kids in significant way that I would ordinarily never get to interact with.

So if you are in the Sydney area and are not a part of this great network, then please download this flyer and leave a comment with your email so I can add you to the list of email getterers.

Paula & Mireia
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Toni Verdú Carbó via Compfight

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CPC Breakout Notes

While at CPC in San Diego recently I presented a breakout session. Here’s part of what I talked about:

LEADERSHIP IS IMPROVISATION

In Exodus 18 Moses’ father in law Jethro seemingly organized the whole Israelite nation in a single meeting. Telling Moses to find leaders over 10?s, 100?s and 1000?s and therefore save his sanity.

So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” Exodus 8:17-23

Tick the efficiency box and move on to the next task? Well Moses just found himself a new job, overseeing a bunch of leaders.

What the bible doesn’t go into just how Moses kept the system going over the following years. How did he grow the structure over the coming years? Did he fire any of his new leaders? Who got promotions?

However it worked, it was probably a little messy. I’ll bet his father in law had more to say to him and I’m sure he was figuring it out as he went along. He was improvising.

WHAT IS IMPROVISATION?

I don’t know what your concept of improvisation is, but the common misconception is that its all just ‘making it up’, inventing from out of thin air, starting with a completely blank slate as it were. Is it really making it up? Do artists and musicians simply create out of thin air as a kind of melting pot of inspiration.

Starting young
Photo Credit: Alex Ristea via Compfight

Not really — You see, what improvisation is is built upon pretty much everything in improviser has had ever heard. As improvisers, we constantly reshape that which is at hand rather than create. In Jazz we are in the process of spontaneously creating fresh melodies over the chord changes of a tune, spontaneously creating a very intricate form of theme and variation. The structure is flexible so that the soloist may venture in various directions depending on the inspiration of the moment.

In a sense, all Jazz musicians are also composers — they just do it live. It took me three years of study already founded in 10 years of learning music to be able to make things up. It has been said that the best improvised music sounds composed, and that the best composed music sounds improvised.

The 700 word magazine articles you read about teams and leadership can make teams and leadership seem a clean and tidy affair. But the day to day reality is messy. There are decisions to be made and the greatest structural leadership flow chart, venn diagram, PowerPoint presentation is an ideal not a constant reality.

Improvisation is taking something you have learnt, borrowed, developed, and giving it fresh expression.

The whole idea behind improvisation is motion, it’s just the courage to keep going. – Bobby Mcferrin

Have an ideal, but roll with the unexpected!

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Napkin Primer Pt. 3

DISCLAIMER: This is written on an iPhone app and may not be fully good English.

In a few short days time I will be in Vegas at the Napkin Conference at the Church at South Las Vegas. My whole family will be there and I am excited to meet anyone coming along especially blog readers.

This post is part three of three introducing the ideas I would like to talk about at napkin, a sort of primer, pre conference exchange of thoughts. Also make sure if you aren’t coming and you can get yourself there, make it happen!

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People are never a task to complete. They are not a to do list of varying importance.

People are more important than the role they fulfill. They are also the reason we want to see our Churches grow, so we can reach and help more people.

But a person is never ‘finished’, you and I never get a stamp on the forehead ‘complete’… We are all works in progress with a long way to go no matter how far we’ve come.

So make sure in your ministry you have some projects that you tick off the to do list, cross off the project management and celebrate as finished!

The napkin of creative leadership maybe crumpled but it should produce some quality fruit, some great results and a sense of accomplishment of a job well done!

No matter how small the win, take you and your team to the victory podium now and again.