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Aligning #kidmin + #stumin | Jim Wideman

Jim Wideman brings it.

Brother can give a message.

Can I get an amen?!

Brother Jim led a great breakout at the Orange Conference called Aligning Children & Student Ministries. In the midst of giving us a vision for aligning out kids and student ministries, he gave us 5 things we should work on together to make it happen. The headings are his, the commentary is mine.

Start with the end in mind to build a plan

If there’s no unified vision, you’re toast.  Your teams need to sit down and define the goal they’re aiming for.  If you are flying blind, you’ll never be able to teach kids how to see Jesus.

Create in all groups a hunger for the word of God

At the core of what we do, we should be passing on a love for the Bible.  Jim’s a good ‘ol boy when it comes to Scripture, and I dig it.

Help all understand the importance of spiritual service

We need to come up with a unified passion for kids and students serving in the church.  If we want faith to stick, it needs to be something that kids are living out and practicing regularly.

Watch out for sibling rivalry

If we’re a family ministry team, we need to learn to share and to stay away from jealousy.  If one area is winning, we need to celebrate as a team.  Sharing needs to be a value on your team if you want to work together.  Ministries that can’t share (space, supplied, volunteers, etc.) will be ripped apart.

Work Together to Connect with Parents

We need to decide, early on, that we’re going to work together to equip parents.  Kids need models of what it means to follow Christ at home.  They need consistent and intentionality to leave a mark.  We need to teach parents to take back the time God said they have with their kids – Morning, Bedtime, travel, and when they sit at home.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Orange

 

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My Orange Line-Up: 2011

I’ll be spending the next week in Atlanta, GA at The Orange Conference.

The team over at Orange has asked me to attend and blog from the event – it should be an amazing week!

While at the conference, I’ll be checking out the following breakout sessions:

Pre-Conference (Wednesday)

HOW TO: PLAN A MINISTRY CALENDAR

Kenny Conley

Isn’t it funny how certain seasons tend to sneak up on us? Ever been guilty of blowing the budget on having particular print materials rushed or important supplies shipped overnight? We don’t have to let ministry happen to us. Planning a ministry calendar is one of the most strategic steps a ministry can take to set the stage for a rewarding year. Develop some healthy habits and pick up some tips and tricks to ensure you accomplish everything you set out to do.

HOW TO: LEAD A FAMILY MINISTRY MEETING

Mike Clear

After months, maybe even years, of making efforts toward Orange at your church you finally got all the key ministry leaders to sit down together, in the same room, to talk about what it means to Think Orange. But, now what? What exactly do you do in this meeting? What do you talk about? In this breakout the family ministry team from Discovery Church will pinpoint practical exercises to help you conduct family ministry staff and volunteer meetings that cast the Orange vision to everyone in your ministry.

HOW TO: GET MORE DONE IN A DAY

Jim Wideman

Having a hard time getting it all done? Learn time management and multi-tasking basics that will help you get it done with time left over!

HOW TO: CREATE A BABY DEDICATION CELEBRATION

Mike Clear

Warning: This is not your traditional baby dedication! Instead, it’s a NEW way to approach parents with purpose. As their church, you are one of their greatest supporters, cheerleaders and guides. In this breakout, we’ll show you how to create a lasting memory for the new parents in your church. It will be challenging. Intentional. Heartfelt. Memorable. But most of all, it will be a partnership!

HOW TO: INCORPORATE 252 BASICS INTO MID-WEEK PROGRAMMING

Adam Duckworth

Want to make your mid-week activities a step and not just another program? This breakout will offer just that. Come here a plan and strategy for implementing 252Basics into another day of the week at church, while still executing it properly on Sunday.

Orange Conference: Day 1 (Thursday)

THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF: WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING WITH FAMILIES

Chap Clark

As the culture has changed, so has the family. For nearly two decades the church has been talking “Family Ministry,” and for longer than that many have been trying to serve the needs of families and children. However, what if our understanding of what is going on behind the closed doors of most of our families does not match up to the reality? Research shows that perhaps much of what we think, teach, and program is, in practice, weak or even irrelevant to what most families actually experience and need. This seminar will present an overview of family life in today’s changing world, and what the church must do to come alongside and serve the families, both of our congregations and our communities.

ALIGNING YOUR CHILDREN’S AND STUDENT DEPARTMENTS

Jim Wideman

It’s time that the Children’s and Youth Ministries realize they are on the same team and work together. This workshop will give you practical steps to build a bridge and work together to reach the family.

Orange Conference: Day 2 (Friday)

UPRISING: MAKING SERVING A BIG DEAL

Bubba Thurman and Greg Bradford

The discipleship of this generation is at stake. This breakout will discuss how to unleash students to lead in their community and church. Join Bubba Thurman and Greg Bradford from Lake Pointe Church for this engaging discussion.

STICKY FAITH

Kara Powell

What happens to your teenagers after they graduate from your youth ministry? If you’re like most churches, about 40 percent of your graduating seniors pick up their diplomas and ditch their faith. Why is that? For those graduates who remain connected to Jesus, what makes the difference? And what can we do in youth ministry and in the entire church to help kids develop faith that lasts? You’ll leave this breakout with all sorts of super practical ideas you and your entire church can use immediately to help students stick with their faith for the long haul.

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I’ll try to gather my thoughts post-conference and share notes and other learnings here.

If you’re at Orange, feel free to connect with me on Twitter (anthony_prince) or Facebook (facebook.com/anthonyprince).  I’d love to catch up over coffee.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange

 

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Read Your Boss’ Blog

There’s not a ton more to say than what’s in the title.

But, because I have a hard time saying less when I can say more, I’ll fill that idea out a little bit.

You need to know what your boss cares about.  This applies to those who work in the church and those who work outside of the church.  At the end of the day, you need to be able to write down on a piece of paper at least one thing that your boss values and one thing that drives them crazy.

Social media and the rise of blogging and micro-blogging in the last decade have made this easier than ever before.  If your boss blogs, tweets, or simply updates their status on Facebook, you should be paying attention to what they’re saying and what they’re trying to communicate.

If your boss doesn’t have an online presence, look out for newsletters, office memos or emails and watch for developing themes.

Personally, I have email alerts set for status updates, blog posts and tweets that come from our Senior Pastor as well as our church’s Youth Pastor, Junior High director and Elementary director.  Knowing what’s going on in the hearts and lives of those I work with is simply a text alert away – if you care about the people you work alongside, you should listen to what they’re saying.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Thoughts

 

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How to Lose King of the Mountain

I find myself doing it all the time.

I would have caught that typo.  If I were in charge, the church service wouldn’t go long as often as it does.  I can’t believe they are singing that song… again.  My meetings aren’t nearly this painfully boring.  We’re spending how much on printing and copy chargebacks?!

There are days when I’m convinced that I could do everyone’s job better than they’re currently doing them… staff and/or volunteers.  I’m busy enough as it is and I know that I couldn’t actually do everyone’s jobs. However, if I’m not careful, I start playing that game in my head.  I doubt I’m the only one.

(or… maybe I AM the only one.  maybe…)

A few years back, I was having coffee with a respected friend of mine when he called me out on my King of the Mountain mindset.  He challenged me to consider trying to lose the battle I had been fighting in my head.  He told me that I might need to realign the way I think about church and staff structures and leadership roles.  There were two things he suggested that I put into practice that I want to share with you today:

Make A Thousand Thank You Cards

The first thing that I was challenged to do was to make 1000 thank you cards.  Literally.  Then, any time someone did something that I thought was sub-par or that frustrated me, I wrote them a card, thanking them for something they had done recently that I thought was awesome.

(right now, my friends are trying to think back to the last thank you card I wrote them…)

A couple things happened when I started doing this.  I had to start paying close attention to those people that bugged me the most, so that I’d have things to thank them for the next time they frustrated me.  Rather than watch for things they were doing wrong, I started focusing on all of the things they were great at.  Not only that, but I never actually made A Thousand cards… I think I made 60.  So, my supplies were limited and I had to wrestle through whether it was worth getting frustrated and getting rid of one of my few cards.  I often found that it wasn’t worth it and I started actually letting things go before I even let them begin to settle into my heart.

Get on Their Team

The only other suggestion was a neat one, but one that still takes some work and commitment.  My friend pushed me to consider looking at our church as a piece of a much larger mountain… instead of a church of many mountains (departments), with me as the king of my own.  To put my money where my mouth was, he told me that I needed to volunteer and be a part of the ministry areas that frustrated me the most.  It’s a lot easier to get frustrated with a situation that you’re simply observing – it’s much harder to throw rocks when it’s a glass house that you’re responsible for.

A couple things came from that – I started a habit of volunteering in ministry areas that weren’t “my own” so that I would have some ownership over the problems and complexities involved in those areas (I’ll be honest, I got involved in areas I was frustrated with and areas that I loved – I didn’t want to just get involved in areas I wanted to “fix” – I wanted to feel like I was a part of a bigger team).  I also noticed that, by volunteering in other ministry areas, I was able to learn tips and tricks about caring for volunteers.  At the time, it had been YEARS since I had been the volunteer hands-and-feet of a ministry… getting back to volunteering made me think through how I was caring for and preparing my volunteer teams to succeed.

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I was encouraged to write this post a few weeks ago by that same friend who, as he likes to do, was checking in on my “king of the mountain” mindset.  Practicing the couple suggestions he gave me continues to shape the way I think of our church and our ministry teams.  Deciding to put this into practice takes some commitment – you might feel like you don’t have time to volunteer in other areas or you might hate making thank you cards.  If you’re feeling that way – maybe this is exactly what you need.  Consider trying it for a week.  And, if you have thoughts or things to add, you can always post them in the comments section.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Kidmin

 

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Conferences at Half the Cost

A few posts ago, I had mentioned that I’d share some of my favorite ways to save money while attending conferences and other leadership gatherings.  Today, I want to share ways that I’ve cut how much I spend on a typical conference in half.

When in Doubt: Stay Local

If your church leadership would balk at sending you across the country for a conference, start looking for smaller-scale gatherings in your area.  Plane tickets are a big chunk of a typical conference cost – if you can find a conference that’s within driving distance, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars.  Staying local also gives you a chance to network with other leaders who probably live near you and can relate to the issues you’re dealing with because you’re serving in similar areas.

Basements, Back Houses & The Buddy System

If you’ve been to a conference, you know that hotel costs can add up quickly. A few years ago, I decided that I was going to attend a conference without getting a hotel room. How did I do that? I hopped on Twitter and Facebook to start asking if local church leaders knew of anyone willing to let me stay in a spare bedroom while I was in town.  Within two days of asking, I had four different offers from churches in the area to stay in the homes and back houses of local kidmin leaders.

I once used this same idea to connect with a local church who let me borrow one of their church vehicles for the week instead of getting a rental car. Talk about savings!

If that idea freaks you out a little (which I totally understand), you could always find a few kidmin leaders you trust to meet up with you and split hotel costs.  And, the more people you share the room with, the less you’ll have to pay.

Investing in Connecting

Did you know that many conferences offer discounted and sometimes FREE tickets to people willing to volunteer during the conference?
It takes a little courage, but those willing to invest in connecting with the leadership team putting on the conference will find that some conferences can give massive discounts to church volunteers and staff who couldn’t otherwise attend the conference.

The year that I stayed in someone’s basement and borrowed a church vehicle was the same year a conference gave me a free ticket to attend – no strings attached.  I basically emailed them and said, “Hey, I would love to go to your conference, but my church can’t afford to send me.”  A few emails later, they gave me a promotional code to enter on their website and I was booking a flight across the country the next day.  After using my church’s frequent flier miles, I was able to attend that conference for under $100 (a guy has to eat, after all).

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I’ve heard people in ministry say that conferences frustrate them because of the costs associated with them.  While I agree that conferences CAN cost an arm and a leg, I hope you understand that they don’t always HAVE to.

Do you have other cost saving ideas or know of discounted conferences in your area? Share what you know in the comments area!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Kidmin

 

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Reggie Joiner: Parents in Transition

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The following is a guest post submitted by Reggie Joiner.  I’m humbled and honored to post his words below.

Parents in Transition

Time flies fast from elementary to college age, so get ready to change your parenting habits. Every child seems to move in warp speed toward the teenage years.

I was caught by surprise when a new declaration of personal independence was automatically assumed the day my son got his driver’s license. It was as though I represented an oppressive and extremely unfair regime whenever I tried to enforce any rule. (Whenever I said no to one of my teenage daughters, she would go to her bedroom, close the door and play Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” over and over again for over an hour, loud enough for me and the whole house to hear.) I have to admit, it was difficult for me to transition from parenting children to parenting teenagers. I had worked with teenagers all of my life, but I had never actually had any living in my home. I am still a recovering parent of teens, but here are a few things I have recognized about this chapter of parenting:

It’s a complicated time.

While your children are transitioning from being dependent to independent, you are transitioning as a parent from having authority to leveraging your influence. You can’t parent them the same way you did when they were in elementary school.

It’s an urgent time.

Face it. You know a window is closing fast. Ready or not, in a few short years your children will be leaving home. You are running out of time, and it is easy to feel a little panicked. Everything seems to matter more (grades, decisions, relationships.) And to make matters worse, everything costs more too. Have I mentioned the price of college these days? Feeling better?

Keep fighting for your teenager’s emotional health by investing in relational time with them. Especially during this uncertain season, they need a positive relationship with you more than you or they may realize. Here are a few things to remember that might help you make the time you spend with your teenager more meaningful:

• Find a common activity you can both enjoy.

Go to favorite restaurant, movie, or concert. Discover a hobby or a type of recreation you can do together. Find common interests. It only takes a few.

• Make sure there is no agenda.

They will see right through a masked motive and interpret your effort to hang out as manipulation. Don’t forget. This is about building your relationship. So don’t use this time to deal with issues. Guard the fun.

• Keep it outside the house.

You probably already spend most of your time together in your home. It can be full of duties, responsibilities, and distractions, so get out and do something that is a contrast to your normal routine.

• Do it without friends.

Anyone you add to your time will drastically change the dynamic. Give your teenager individual and undivided attention, without your friends or their friends, and even without siblings.

• Mutually agree to turn off cell phones.

Make at least part of your time a no-electronic zone. Phones have a way of distracting you from meaningful and engaging dialogue.

• Put it on the schedule (but not on a Friday).

Be sensitive to how a teenager wants to organize his or her life. Discover the rhythm that exists in their schedule and agree with them on the best times to hang out.

• Stay flexible (and be willing to reschedule frequently).

A teenager’s world is always changing. They could feel trapped if you are rigid about your scheduled time with them. Don’t let your time with them become a competition with their other interests and priorities. Avoid making them choose between you and something else they really want to do.

• Remember your goal is not to change them.

Avoid getting into conversations where you are trying to correct or improve a behavior. Save those conversations for another time. You can shut down a positive experience if you try to leverage it to fix something.

• Keep working at it.

Learning to communicate with those you love can be awkward at times. Strive to ask the right kind of questions and listen more than you talk. You are not trying to become your teen’s best friend, but you are laying an important foundation for the kind of friendship you want to enjoy with them during their adult years.

• Use it as an opportunity to give your teenager approval.

I’m amazed at how many adults left home without ever really feeling like their parents believed in them. Look for numerous opportunities to encourage their specific strengths and skills.

Having fun and spending quality time together is increasingly important as your relationship with your child changes. This week, find out what kind of activities your teenager likes, and schedule some intentional time together when you can simply enjoy being together.

And if you have other tips you’ve discovered about spending time with a teenage son or daughter, please post them in the comments so we can all learn from our shared experiences.

(This guest post was submitted by Reggie Joiner. Reggie blogs regularly at http://orangeparents.org and http://orangeleaders.com and you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/reggiejoiner)

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Guest Post, Kidmin, Orange

 

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Orange Week: Learning to Love Yellow

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(this picture has everything to do with Yellow initiatives – just keep reading)

When I was a kid, I lived in a rural mountain town in Northeastern California.  I spent many a morning waiting for the school bus in knee-deep snow, only to find out that school was canceled and the bus wasn’t coming.  During those long morning waits in sub-freezing temperatures, we would have snowball fights, build forts, dig tunnels and catch falling snowflakes on our tongues.  But, as much fun as the snow was, there was always an unbreakable rule: don’t touch the yellow snow.

For those of you who’ve experienced a childhood of snowy winters, you know the rule I’m talking about – everyone stayed away from the snow that had been used by animals on their mornings walks or little boys who had one too many cups of hot cocoa before heading to the bus stop.  And because of those experiences, I’ve always been a little weary around the color yellow.

So, imagine my first thoughts when I heard that the great minds over at Orange referred to the church as yellow.

However, years of talking with leaders who’ve been a part of the Orange movement have won me over – I’m actually beginning to like the color yellow.

Kenny Conley, who came up with the blogging schedule for Orange Week, posted some great words for kidmin leaders yesterday about the differences between Red and Yellow initiatives.  You should go check them out.  Here’s the full link: http://www.childrensministryonline.com/family/defining-the-red

Calling it Yellow or Red

Here’s my take:
Yellow initiatives are instances when the church tries to leverage it’s resources to reach families with the light of the Gospel.  When churches aren’t seeking out ways to equip and partner with families, when they forget that God’s plan has always included leveraging families, the Yellow begins to leave a bad taste in the mouths of kids and parents.  As we watch mainline denominations plummet in attendance, membership and influence, I begin to think of that snow near the bus stop that we all avoided as kids.  There is such a thing as being too yellow.

If red initiatives are events, programs and strategies that bring families one step closer to the Church… then yellow initiatives are those instances when the church takes a few steps closer to seeking out and equipping families.

The next post in this series will look at a couple real-life examples of initiatives our church has done to think “family first.”

Again, I’ve heard it said too many times that Orange ministry isn’t practical… tomorrow’s post probably isn’t going to change your mind, but it might get you thinking about baby steps you might take toward the partnership between churches and families.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Kidmin, Orange

 

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