Is Your Pastor A Private Detective?

Accountability is something we often want from others, but we rarely want to give to others.

On a ministry team, accountability is crucial for things to run smoothly.

We understand this when it comes to those who are under us in the organization, but we don’t always treat it with the same respect when it comes to our OWN accountability.

I made a decision long ago to have a habit of offering accountability instead of forcing my pastor to require it. I don’t know of any senior pastor who enjoys going into private detective mode and tracking down any member of his staff to check on him or confront him when there’s a problem. In my relationship with my pastor, I have determined to offer accountability instead of forcing him to demand it from me.

When I came to my church, my pastor asked me to email him any time I had a problem of any kind that needed his attention.  In my pride and self-protection, I didn’t want to admit that I had any problems (at all), so I didn’t send him any emails about needs or difficulties. One day, he found out about an incident in the Kids Ministry.  He was perplexed to hear about it from someone besides me.  When he called me into his office, he had to be an investigator trying to find out what happened instead of a partner helping to resolve it.  My silence had forced him into this role.

Don’t make your pastor go into “private investigator” mode and have to poke and prod you for answers.  Take the initiative to tell him anytime there’s a problem he needs to know about.  When you’re going to be late, call.  When something goes wrong, tell him.  When there’s a problem that’s going to affect other ministries, give him a heads up.

What are some practical ways you can OFFER accountability to your lead pastor?

Raising The Bar: Expecting MORE From Your Team

“I can’t get my team to come to meetings, so I just don’t schedule them.”   ”I wish my team were more committed.”  ”I want to raise the level of my team, but I am afraid of losing good people.”

I hear statements like these from Kidmin Leaders all the time.  They want to take their team to the next level of commitment so they can accomplish more for the Kingdom, but they are afraid that if they expect more, they will lose people off of their team.  And, they are probably right.

Anytime we raise the standard and expect more of those serving in ministry, there are those who decide they just can’t make the commitment.  They may quit.  Although that is hard to deal with and NEVER something you want to see, I have always observed that it ends up being a healthy thing for the rest of team.

Keep in mind that your team wants to succeed as individuals as well as collectively.  A weak link will demoralize the collective culture and allow for rapid deterioration within the spirit of the team.  That is not good for the team or the ministry.

People want to be a part of something BIG, something exciting, something that is making a difference.  Challenge your team to be committed to growth and excellence.  Some will self-eject, but those who stay and answer the call will be more committed, more empowered, and more effective.

Still skeptical?  Jesus was the Master at raising the bar.  He was constantly calling His followers to a higher level of commitment.  He went from “Follow me” to “You have heard it said…well I say…” all the way to “Deny yourself and take up your cross…”  He NEVER let His followers off easy.  Not because he wanted to make it difficult for them, but because He knew what was at stake – souls in Eternity.  He knew that half-hearted commitments would never get the job done.

“The Status Quo never inspired ANYONE!”

The Status Quo never inspired anyone!  Resist the desire to “make it easy” on your team.  Expect the best from them, and then watch them deliver!  You’ll be glad you did!

Are Church “Fall Festivals” Actually Counter-Productive?


Last year I wrote a post that caused a lot of discussion.  I thought I would revisit the subject since this blog has grown by over 1,000 readers since then, and many of you were not able to be a part of the discussion.

For my first twenty years in Children’s Ministry, I planned and hosted a “Fall Festival” (a.k.a. “Harvest Party”, “Hallelujah Night”, “Fall Fest”, “Family Fun Fest”, “Trunk or Treat”, etc.) at the church where I was serving.  These events generally were seen as a fun Family Event that served as an “alternative to trick-or-treating and Halloween.”

The typical “Fall Festival” usually looks a bit like this:

  • It is a family-oriented celebration/party.
  • It may have costumes.
  • Games are played.
  • Contests are held.
  • Food abounds.
  • Music blares.
  • Everyone enjoys themselves.

Certainly there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a Fall Festival on its face.  I love dressing up in funny costumes.  I love seeing what crazy costumes the kids will come up with.  I love games, fun, and candy.  All of that is awesome!!!

However, several years ago, I began to ask the question:  “Is our Fall Festival actually counter productive?” Could it be that this event actually works against what our mission is as the church:  “to know Christ, make Him known, and reach the lost people in our city and around the world?”

Now, before I go any further – I want to assure you that I am not indicting anyone who does Fall Festivals.  As I said, I have done one for the last twenty years.  But, as I and our pastoral team put more thought into it we had several questions come up.

1)  Why do we feel the need to do an “alternative event” for our families on Halloween?  We don’t do an “alternative event” for Mardis Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, or other random holidays.

2)  Are we really “connecting” with the lost people who come?  We consider it a “bridge event” (connecting the lost of our community to the church in a non-threatening way).    Do they end up just stopping by to play a game, win a bag of candy, and move right along to the next church that’s throwing a Harvest Party?

3)  What about the people in our neighborhoods?  I have been most frustrated by the fact that on the darkest night of the year, it seems the Church has gathered all of the “light” together in one place (the church) in order to “escape the darkness” – and there is absolutely no light represented in our neighborhoods.  For the last twenty years, the very people I MOST want to reach, my neighbors, have been out on Halloween going door-to-door.  On a night when they are voluntarily coming to MY house, giving me an opportunity to speak to them and show God’s love – my house is dark with no light on because…the pastor is at his church throwing an alternative party, mostly for other Christians.

I welcome your thoughts in the Comments Section.  I posted this as a means to initiate discussion and provoke thought on this subject.  I invite disagreement and diversity of opinion.  Would love to hear what you think.

Recommended Resource: “Leading A Special Needs Ministry” by Amy Fenton Lee

According to a 2013 report released by the CDC, an estimated 1 in 50 children receive a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Churches are finding themselves in a place where the need is great, but the answers and resources are few.  Kids Ministry Leaders are encountering an ever-increasing pressure to help parents navigate through these tough waters, but establishing an effective ministry to children with special needs can be a daunting task.

Amy Fenton Lee’s new book serves as a practical “how-to” handbook for the Kidmin Leader who desires to create an atmosphere of inclusion for children with special needs. This incredible book provides guidance for talking to parents who are learning their child has a diagnosis.  It also gives all the tools you will need to develop programs, write policies and educate volunteers working with children with disabilities.  Sample ministry documents are provided throughout this resource guide as well.

Includes:
*  Loving The Family Through the Diagnosis
*  Special Needs Statistics
*  Terms, Laws and Trends
*  Establishing a Mission for the Special Needs Ministry
*  Developing an Accommodation Plan for the Child with Special Needs
*  The Special Needs Ministry Leader
*  Volunteers: Leading, Recruiting, Training and Creating Community
*  Behavior and Participant Safety; and FAQs

I have personally known Amy for a while now.  I have been honored to speak at several events with her.  She is a powerhouse!  What will impress you more than her vast range of knowledge is her deep heart for families of children with special needs.  She blogs at www.TheInclusiveChurch.com – I highly recommend you becoming a regular reader!

Amy and the great folks at Orange are offering my readers a SPECIAL DEAL on this amazing resource.  You can get $2 off the purchase of one (1) copy of of the book “Leading a Special Needs Ministry”  (brings price down to $16.99)

Just use this Coupon Code at checkout (case sensitive):  LSNM2
Coupon good through: 12/31/13
Coupon only good for purchases through the Orange Store.
Make sure you are logged into your Orange Store account for coupon code to work.  (Anyone can create an account.)

WANT TO WIN A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK?
Amy has offered to give away a free copy of the book to one of my readers!  All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post if you want to win!  We will pick a winner and send you a copy of the book!

More about Amy Fenton Lee:

Amy is the special needs consultant to The reThink Group, Inc.  Amy has written extensively on the subject of special needs inclusion in children’s ministry environments and has been published in dozens of in-print publications, journals, and on the web, including her own blog, www.TheInclusiveChurch.com.

How To Improve Safety And Security In Your Kids Ministry

One of the greatest needs and focuses of any Kids Ministry should be that of safety and security.  After all, we are entrusted with the most precious lives that mean the world to every parent who drops them off in our care.  If we do not do our due diligence in providing a safe a secure environment for the children, then we are not demonstrating the value that we claim to place on them.
Many of you are aware of my friends at KidCheck.  Well, they have developed a powerful child safety video and guide for organizations caring for children.  These tools are designed to provide actionable, specific best practices and suggestions that can easily be put into practice to improve child safety and minimize any possible safety and security issues.
The video “Improving Child Safety in Your Organization” and companion “Child Safety and Security” guide discuss the leading concerns around child safety to help organizations create a safe environment for the children in their care.
Topics include:
  • Creating a Security Team
  • Securing Your Facility
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Volunteer/Staff Policies
  • Emergency Situations
  • General Childcare Safety

Here is the best part:  they are providing it to you for FREE!  All you have to do is click on the video below and watch it yourself.  You’ll be glad you did.

Powerful Video – “This Time” (Based On A True Story)

Most of you who read my blog often will know I am a huge fan of the music of John Elefante (the former lead singer of the rock group, Kansas). Having followed his career since the mid-80s, it has been a pleasure as I have become friends with him the last few years. He is an incredible musician, singer, producer – but an amazing man of God as well.

I will never forget when he sent me the original demo to the song, “This Time.” I was blown away and moved to tears when I heard the song for the first time. It was a song he had just written that chronicled the TRUE STORY of his daughter, Sami, being saved from abortion. Her thirteen year old birth mother was moments away from aborting her when she knew that God was speaking to her to “get up” and get out of that abortion clinic. God had plans for the little girl she was carrying. Thankfully, Sami’s birth mom did not go through with the abortion – and John and his wife ended up being the adoptive parents.

John has just released the official music video for the song today. Please watch this video and pass it on to others. Who knows how many young women will be moved by the message behind this video/story. If only one child is saved from being aborted as a result of this video, it will be worth it. I believe you will be moved as you watch “This Time.”

Brian-and-John-Elefante
Brian with John Elefante at his house in Nashville

New Kidmin Resource That Will SHOCK You!

As many of you know, I am the founder of High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources.  We started providing Kids Ministry Curriculum back in 2004.  In the last decade, we have been blessed to see over 5000 churches use our materials.  Many kids have been saved and blessed as a result!

Well, on September 1st, we launched a BRAND NEW line of curriculum:  High Voltage Power Packs.  The very first series in this new product line is “HELP!”

“HELP!” teaches children to call on God in times of trouble.  Explores the topics of  healing, depression, stress, wisdom, and loneliness through the Bible Stories of King David, Jairus’ daughter, Apostle Paul, Mary and Martha, and Solomon.

Includes:
·      Six lessons of Large Group curriculum
·      Six lessons of Small Group Curriculum
·      Three high impact Video Segments per lesson
·      Bible Story with comic-book style illustrated graphics
·      Action Games
·      Character Skits
·      Object lessons
·      Family Devotions to send home with parents
·      All Quicktime and Mpeg Video files
·      Only $99 (still one of the lowest prices in the Kidmin Universe)
·      Also available as a download for only $79

Want to get an entire lesson FOR FREE?  CLICK HERE!

Want to save $20 on your copy of “HELP!”?  Just go to our website and place your order, then use the promo code HELP during checkout.  Orders must be placed before September 30th to receive this discount.

Here is a video we produced to walk our customers through all that is included in our “HELP!” Power Pack.  You might find this helpful!

“HELP!” us spread the word about this brand new product line!  We want to bless as many people as possible!  CLICK the “SHARE” button below this post and share it on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media!  Thanks everyone!