There is not a book on any of our shelves that can replace the resource that we are to each other.
We live in a time in history when ideas can be exchanged in real-time across hundreds, if not thousands, of miles via text, voice, picture, or video.
There is a movement in our field to embrace the idea of collaboration and, if you’re reading this right now, you’re a part of it. 30 years ago, when guys like Jim Wideman were still cutting their teeth in children’s ministry, they could have never imagined the resources we’d have at our fingertips today. You are a part of a movement that has been called to mobilize the Church. We are called to tell others to take ministering to kids seriously. We are called to be innovative and to strive for excellence.
Your best resources are the other leaders reading this post right now.
Let me share 5 ground rules for what collaboration looks like… and what it doesn’t look like.
(thanks to Sam, Gina, Matt, Jonathan and Kenny for helping me understand and truly believe what I’m about to write…)
- We’re all experts. God has called you to serve where your serving. That’s a pretty big deal. You are the only one who has expertise in being you, in your ministry context, at your age and stage of life. Your voice carries weight. Feel free to speak like you have ideas the rest of us need to hear.
- We’re not experts. Writing, commenting on, or moderating a blog doesn’t make someone an expert. And, remember the whole, “We’re all experts” thing I just mentioned? We all also fail. Often. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you can never be wrong. You can and will be wrong… and the world will keep turning. And we’ll keep listening to your ideas.
- Size doesn’t matter. Small churches and large churches are all part of Jesus’ church… we all have things to learn from each other. Numbers should never be the main topic of any discussion. There are appropriate times and places for number discussions. Don’t assume that you know when and where those are – those rules are often fluid.
- Share your ideas, not just your victories. It’s easy to talk about the Gospel presentation where 39 kids accepted Jesus into their lives. It’s a little tougher to talk about the time when not one child made a profession of faith. But, here’s the thing – what we sometimes consider failures, God wants to redeem as victories. It’s always best, when collaborating, to share ideas before you actually try them. Someone may have insight that makes your idea better. Write your ideas on Napkins. Don’t taken them too seriously. Share them. You may have been given an idea for someone else to use.
- Stop Lurking. There’s a rich man in your congregation who is taking $137 out of the offering plate every time it gets passed in your church. He comes to every service and does the same thing. Then, he goes down the street to the church that starts 15 minutes after yours and does the same thing. He’s become so rich from this scheme that he makes more in interest in one day than you and I make in income in a year – combined.
Now, obviously, that man doesn’t exist. Except he does. And it’s you.
There’s a good chance that, if you’re reading this right now, you’ve been here before. And you’ll come here again. And you check out the other kidmin blogs in the area. And you probably rarely (if ever!) share your ideas. You need to give back to the offering plate. You don’t have to start your own blog or own your own space to do it. Simply find a community and start sharing ideas. Start giving back. Unless you want to be a lurking jerk.
The community of children’s ministry leaders that we have access to is our best resource.
We’re waiting for you to join in.
Want to get involved?