Monthly Archives: May 2010

Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff

I’ll begin by saying, for the 100th time, that I’m bummed to see our current Student Ministries Director, Jenn Graffius, leave.  After 5 years of faithful service, Jenn has taken a call to become an Associate Minister and Chaplain at a Christian school in the greater Los Angeles area.  I’m bummed to see my friend leave, but excited to watch God use her in her new ministry context.

So… that leaves us looking to rearrange the way we structure our staff to best serve our church and the community around us.

Today, we begin our search for a new Youth Pastor at Glenkirk Church.

I’m just one voice on the search team, but this person is going to be my teammate in trying to reach families in our community with the Gospel – for this to work, I’m going to have to like you.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff:

10. You’ve Done This Before

I’m going to like you because this isn’t your first rodeo.  You’ve seen large youth groups in action and you’ve actually introduced youth and their families to Jesus for the first time.  We’re going to get to share stories and ideas from past successes and failures.  And… you should be excited this isn’t an entry level position.

9.  You’re a Team Player

You and I both agree that a silo approach to ministry isn’t okay.  You care just as much about what’s going on in the church’s small groups or Women’s Bible Study as you do what’s happening in your area of ministry.

8.  You’ve Read My Book

Well, it’s not just my book… but What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry is a great resource for churches and leaders who care about the trends impacting Children’s Ministry across the nation.  You need to know what’s going on in Children’s Ministry because families who have kids in youth group often have younger kids too.  This book is a great place to start figuring out what matters, today, in ministering to children.  Here’s a hint: the answer is not flannel-graph.  Oh, and did I mention the book is totally FREE?  You should download it now.
(CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry)

7.  You Empower Volunteers

You can’t do everything and be everything to everyone.  I’m going to like you because you already get that – you understand the power that is unleashed when small group leaders own the ministry.

6.  You Collaborate

Your ministry is not an island.  I look forward to hearing about the blogs you read and the other youth leaders you are in conversations with on a regular basis.  You’re not afraid to share ideas with others… and you share new ideas and ideas that failed just as often as you share ideas that worked.

5.  You’ve Heard Jim Miller Preach

You wouldn’t apply for this job if you didn’t know how amazing the Senior Pastor is, right?  Our Senior Pastor’s ability to preach makes our job a million times easier.  And, in case you really want to know what his favorite sermon illustrations are, he usually posts them on his blog.

4.  You’re Planning on Being Here for a While

You know how great our local school districts are and you’re going to want to raise a family here… so, think of your kids (future or present) and plan to settle down here.  Glendora is the perfect mix of small-town-feel with big-city-everything within driving distance.

3.  You Know Why This is Funny

2.  You Think Orange

This is the direction our family ministry team is going.  You’ll be a part of that team.  I need Orange to be a part of your working vocabulary.

1.  You Care about Lost Sheep

You read the job description for this position and your heart started beating faster.  We’re a church that cares about those who don’t yet know who Jesus is.  So do you.  That’s why we’re a perfect fit.


So… want the opportunity to work alongside me?  You can send a Facebook message ( or DM me ( and I’ll give you some more information about the position.  All inquiries will be held in confidence… so, even if you’re stoked with where you are now, you can still look at what it might mean for you to come onto our team.  You can also visit to find out how you can get a hold of the job description.


Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


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What Matters Now In Children’s Ministry: Free eBook!

Today, we introduce “What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry!”
The best thing about this eBook is that it is completely FREE!

Feel free to download the eBook here and distribute it to everyone you know. Use it as a conversation starter in your children’s ministries, your church staff and children’s ministry networks you are a part of.

I’m even more excited because this book isn’t just a resource for children’s ministry leaders!

In fact, you should read this book if you’re a…

  • Parent
    Leaders from across the nation who minister specifically to children have identified trends in this book that impact the way your kids are ministered to and cared for.  This matters to you.  Plus, this makes a great gift for your child’s Sunday school teacher or Children’s Pastor… and it fits every family’s budget: it’s free!
  • Educator
    Teachers and fellow educators have just as much to glean from this resource as those who work in the church.  Just because we’re serving kids in the arena of church and faith development doesn’t put us in some sort of holy vacuum.  Would you use the same words to describe what matters now in educating children?  You won’t know unless you download the eBook!
  • Youth Minister
    Hey, youth pastors!  Did you know that the kids who are currently in your church’s preschool will one day be in your youth group?  Crazy, right?  You should have a sense of what matters now in Children’s Ministry because it matters to you.  And… I know you don’t hang out with Children’s Ministry leaders.  So, download this FREE eBook instead.  Thank me later.
  • Senior Pastor
    I know you have a sermon to write.  You have phone calls to make.  You have a church to care for.  I get it.  What’s great is that we had your crazy schedule in mind when we wrote this book.  Each entry is about 200 words long and this is an easy resource to digest one bite at a time.  It’s my humble opinion that not enough Senior Pastors truly care about what’s going on in their children’s ministry programs… prove me wrong – check out this resource.
  • Friend of Mine
    Seriously, how often does one of your friends get published?  So… click this link, download the eBook, and tell your friends to do the same.  Seriously… it’s free.  You can’t beat that price.


I don’t want to give too much about the book away other than you need to download and read it. For those of you who will be tempted to use up your ink cartridges by printing out the eBook, there will be a print version available come June 14th.

I want to wrap up with a huge thanks to Imago for donating their time to design and set up both the eBook and the print versions! Please check them out and see if they can help your ministry.

One last thing… we’d love to hear your favorite quotes and thoughts. You can interact with others about the book on Facebook, Twitter (use #wmnkidmin as the hashtag), Kidology, CMConnect, and on the various blogs that are showing up.


Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Uncategorized


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California Island

California as an island date 1741

California is an island… and I’m not the first person to say it.

If you’ve ever been to California, then you know it’s expansive.  California is so big, in fact, that it can feel as though it’s three entirely different states.  Southern California is dominated by Los Angeles and the beach cities found up and down the coast.  I’m always entertained when I’m watching Lakers games and I see cutaway shots from the Staples Center fading into shots of the Hollywood sign (11 miles… 40 minutes in traffic), Santa Monica Pier (14 miles… 55 minutes in traffic), Universal Studios (10 miles… 35 minutes in traffic) or Disneyland (28 miles… 1 hour 40 minutes in traffic).  These places are nowhere near each other… yet, those are the images we think of when we think of LA and Southern California.

Northern California is a whole different ball game.  The state capitol building is a 385 mile drive north from Los Angeles, the population hub of the entire state.  The rest of the country might not know this… but there are 300 miles of California freeway between Sacramento and the state border with Oregon.  That’s 4 and a half more hours of driving through Northern California past the state capitol.  In Northern California, there are frequent conversations about how much better the state would be if it was divided in half. And, for the record, people in the “real” Northern California don’t consider the Bay Area as a part of the NorCal family.

There are times when I wonder if those facts play into the fact that church leaders in California don’t network well with those to the East of us.

We tend to think that our island is so unique that what you’re doing in Ohio, Texas, New York, Tennesee or Georgia can’t speak into what we face when it comes to the trials and tribulations of ministering to kids and their families.

So, I need your help… if you live in California, and are in active ministry, get over yourself and start connecting with leaders in other states. If you live outside of California, please find and adopt a west coast leader into your circle of friends. They need your voice in the conversation – even if they don’t know it yet!


Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


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Preview: What Matters Now In Children’s Ministry

On Monday, May 17, a resource will be launched that will shape the way you look at the way church’s minister to and equip families and children… and I get to be a part of it!

What Matters Today in Children’s Ministry?  That’s a question you should have an answer to.

And how about this… could you sum up your answer in 1 word?  Then, after narrowing down what matters, could you express why that word is what matters most in 200 words or less?

Over 30 leaders from across the nation took on just that task.  What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry will give you a starting point if you don’t know how to begin answering that question.

Oh, and did I mention it’s a FREE resource?  That’s right – you can download it for FREE and pass it on to as many people as you want.

This project was made possible by the dreams of my amazing friends and collaborators Henry Zonio, Amy Dolan and Matt Guevara.  Their dreams were made reality by the people at Imago who donated their resources to design the publication.

Check back here Monday for details.

(Can’t wait until Monday… follow @cmwhatmatters on Twitter and ask how you can be a part of the sneak preview team!)


Posted by on May 14, 2010 in Kidmin, Resources


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My Friend, Steven

This morning, I received an email I’ve been praying against for months.

The letter was from my dear friend Suzan, one of our church’s Sunday Morning 5th grade small group leaders.

Steven Snook 1/25/52-5/12/10

Just a note to let you know that my beloved Steven went home to heaven on Wednesday afternoon.  As you all know, this is an incredible loss for me, Josh, Lacee, Ryan and so many who knew him as such a warm and funny guy.

I am honored to have been given the privilege of loving and being loved by such a wonderful man.  My life will never be the same – not just because he is gone, but because he lived.

As I lay awake in bed this morning, I heard the trash truck coming up the street and making its weekly.  I thought to myself, “Life goes on.”  Just like the words to the Reba McIntyre song says, “guess the world doesn’t stop for my broken heart.”

We will go on as the Snook family and Century Office Products.  We will flounder, we will falter, but failure is not an option.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and cards.  They have meant so much.

Love to all,

Steven fought the good fight and went home to Jesus yesterday.  His battle with cancer ended in a series of victories. He overcame multiple brain surgeries and remained one of our most committed small group leaders, despite showing up with frankenstein-esque stitches across his scalp on post-op Sundays.  Against all odds, he was able to walk his sweet daughter down the aisle to give her hand away in marriage just a few short weeks ago.  And yesterday, with his wife, sister and a few others at his bedside, Steven had the ultimate victory over death.  Though his body failed, his Jesus didn’t.

In the wake of an incredible loss for those of us who remain behind, I think of the amazing testimony that comes from Steve’s life.  As cancer rocked the core of him physically, I asked him on a Sunday if he needed a break from his role of assisting his wife in our 5th grade small group.  His reply will stick with me long past anything I’ve learned in my ministry career.

I’ll paraphrase his answer:

“This is the most important thing I could be doing with my life. Why would I need a break?”

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t nearly that articulate, the surgeries and chemo had done a number on Steven’s ability to form complex sentences… but, his heart was in it until the end.  If it were up to Steven, he’d be talking with Suzan in the next couple days about the lesson she had prepared for Sunday morning.  And he’d be looking forward to our volunteer dinner party coming up in a couple of weeks.
(If there was something beyond his family and making a kid smile that Steven loved, it was a free meal.)

Ultimately, God had reasons for taking Steven when he did.  I don’t understand it any more than the next guy, but I know that God knows what He’s up to.  I consider myself lucky to have been there for Steven’s final breaths – his life is an inspiration.

Well done, my friend.  Well done.


Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Kidmin


How Greenpeace Changed the Way I Serve Families

Speaking of Greenpeace…

I had a fascinating experience walking out of Trader Joe’s this afternoon.

Members from Greenpeace were outside of the store, trying to strike up conversations with people as they walked to their cars. There are times when I truly feel for the volunteers who get talked into doing this sort of job, so I offered to hear their pitch. The young man who approached me was very understanding and allowed me to put our kids in the car, unload our groceries and turn the air conditioner on before starting into his monologue.
(I’ll be honest, I figured turning the a/c on would encourage him to talk faster… a car sitting in a parking space with it’s engine running has to fluster anyone from Greenpeace, right?)

I had two considerable take-aways from our conversation.
And, to answer before you ask, I’m not going to go hug a tree… that was not one of the things I learned.

The Power to Choose

“I respect your time,” said the young man as I returned from starting my car. “Do you like Oceans or Forests?”
You see, Greenpeace had given this guy a script where he needed to tell me about the ways that people are destroying the Earth and he was supposed to talk through the various ways we’re polluting and over-harvesting all of our natural resources. However, recognizing that I didn’t have 20 minutes to hear a speech, my Trader Joe’s friend let me choose the thing that interested me the most. This was a simple decision, because the ocean freaks me out. Seriously. Swimming pool = Awesome. Ocean = Terrifying.
After selecting Forests as my option of choice, I heard about the ways that Greenpeace has successfully lobbied our government to ban some of the most harmful tactics that companies were using to harvest trees in places like the Amazon and Indonesia. I also heard about how Greenpeace has successfully petitioned major US based companies to stop using ingredients in their products that come from our planet’s rain forests.
By finding out what I was interested in, and pursuing a conversation from there, this Greenpeace activist was able to get me to remember what he said.
Score 1 for Greenpeace.

Baby Steps

So, the pitch is over, we’re 4 minutes into the conversation, and I ask what the next step is.
“By simply filling out the form, you can join Greenpeace and our global efforts to save our planet from destruction.”
Well, he probably didn’t say it just like that… I honestly don’t know exactly what he said because I was so overwhelmed by the size of his form. In no way was I going to write out all of my contact information and credit card info (as a member, you can choose to donate $20, $50, $80 or $100 monthly and have it automatically withdrawn from your account) on a piece of paper some guy was holding outside of the grocery store.
There are times in life when I do stupid things, today was not going to be one of those times.
The disconnect, for me, was jumping straight into membership and donating large chunks of money to a cause that I’d heard about for 4 minutes.
At that point, I pretty much turned off my ears and began thinking of my exit strategy.

How Greenpeace Changed the Way I Serve Families

As a church, I think we need to care about the environment… but, that’s not where I’m going with this.
When serving families at our church, we need to be willing to give up our 20 minute sales pitches. We need to find out what individuals actually care about and decide if that’s a need we can meet or not. I tell my team all of the time that we need to make sure that what we offer is answering the questions people are asking. I should care about forests AND the ocean. But, the ocean gives me nightmares… so, I’m kind of heartless in that area. Greenpeace Joe was smart enough to find out my interest and start from there. We can learn a lot from that.
However, I also learned, first hand, the importance of baby steps. I love the Bill Murray movie, What About Bob? and the concept of baby steps. I’m not going to attempt to summarize the movie – just know that it’s awesome.
Where Greenpeace failed, and I do this too, is when the next step they offered was a giant leap. Do I care about the environment? Sure, I watched Ferngully as a kid. Trees are good… evil-pollution-spewing-tractors are bad. I get it. Do I want to become a member of an organization who’s brand is fairly polarizing and then give them all of my money?

And… am I talking about Greenpeace or the Church?

You see, hurting people walk into churches every week and are given the impression that the next step is a giant leap into associating with an organization that some people hate and giving them all of their money.
I need to be better about communicating next steps for families in a way that doesn’t make them turn off their ears.
I enjoyed my conversation with Greenpeace Joe. At the end of the day, he’s probably not someone I’d choose to just hang out with – but, I’m glad that I took some time to talk with him. I suggested to him that the next step he was offering was a little too much for me and asked if there were other ways I could support the Earth without jumping fully onto the Greenpeace boat. It was then that he let down his guard and told me about how he got involved in Greenpeace. I learned his story… and it didn’t start with a guy holding a clipboard outside of the grocery store.
Isn’t that almost always the case?


Posted by on May 8, 2010 in Los Angeles


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