Partnering With Parents

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“What are some of the ways you partner with parents in the spiritual formation of their children?” – submitted by Elizabeth

—When parents bring a child to me and ask me to lead him to Christ, I explain to them the joyous opportunity they might be missing. I give them some pointers about how they can talk to their child about Christ and pray with him or her.

—We involve parents in water baptisms for their kids.

—We have a comprehensive strategy to strengthen families. We coordinate our kids’ ministry efforts with the Sunday morning services, the small groups ministry, classes, concerts, seminars, and everything else.

—We coordinate the content for every age group in the church so we’re all studying the same passages and learning similar lessons. This way, parents, children, and teenagers can have meaningful conversations about what they’ve heard in church.

—We include a Family Devotion in the weekly bulletin to give parents a simple, clear tool to lead their children in a spiritual discussion based on Sunday’s message.

—We have started conducting classes to train parents to talk to their kids about important topics, such as salvation, sex, drugs, friends, tragedy and loss, making good decisions, and death.

—We’ve designated every Sunday night as our “Family Service” so kids and their parents can worship together—and we don’t worry about distractions.

—To elevate the importance of the parents’ role, we’ve taught a number of sermon series on family dynamics, communication, forgiveness, understanding, and love. We come back to these important issues regularly and often.

Discipline In Kidmin pt. 2

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“How do you handle discipline issues at your church?” – submitted by “Anonymous” in Dallas, TX

In my last post, I explained what our discipline policies for Kidmin. If you want kids to follow your policy, follow through with established consequences. Consequences help kids own their behavior and teach them to make better choices. Here are the established steps we follow when applying consequences.

1.  Remind the child of the rule they have broken.
2.  Official Warning
3.  Move the child to a different seat
4.  Remove the child from the room (bring them to office)
5.  Pastor discussion
6.  Parent meeting
7.  Suspension for one week
8.  Suspension for three weeks
9.  Permanent suspension (we have NEVER had to do this so far)

Above all, let’s take a POSITIVE approach.  You get what you celebrate!

Register For CPC and Win BIG!

I am really excited to be speaking at CPC this year for the first time.  I will be co-leading a Pre-Conference Leadership Seminar with Ryan Frank (of Kidzmatter and K! Magainze) called “The P.O.L.E. Position”.  This will focus on four key components of your ministry that willl position you for success:  Passion, Organization, Leadership, Evaluation.

I hope to see many of you there.  All of those who attend the Pre-Con Seminar will receive a $100 gift card to use in the High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources online store.  PLUS, if you register for the Orlando or San Diego CPC in the month of October you can win one of 100 different prizes.  You could win one of:

10 Family Survival Kits from Go Fish
10 Bible Resource Bundles from Gospel Light
10 Kindle Fires
10 CPC Lodging Packages
10 Rainbow Bibles from Standard Publishing
10 iPod Shuffles
10 CPC Airfare
10 iPod Touches
10 $100 CPC Store Gift Card
10 Action Bibles from David C Cook.

What are you waiting for.  Register now!  Be sure to send me an email at brian@highvoltage-kids.com and let me know that you’ll be there.  I can’t wait for CPC this year and you shouldn’t wait to register because you could win some amazing stuff.

Ready to register?  CLICK HERE! 

The Homeless Blogger: Kidmin Heritage and Kidmin Soon-to-be

Hello friends.  My name is Kenny Conley and I’m the homeless blogger. What does that mean?  Well, I have a blog over at childrensministryonline.com (BUT DON’T GO THERE). My blog is very sick with a nasty virus. Since she’s sick and slowly getting better, I don’t have a place to post new articles.  I’m at the Kidmin Conference in Chicago and like always, I’ve got something to say… I just don’t have anyplace to say it.  So, thanks to some good friends, they’re giving this homeless blogger a couch to sleep on and letting me finish off the carton of ice cream in the freezer. 

 While at kidmin this week there was a very interesting theme for me.  There was a very cool juxtaposition of past, present and future for kidmin. Here’s what I mean.

I was able to spend a good bit of time with Jim Wideman and he was connecting with several men who he networked with back in the early days in his ministry.  This is a time when there were very few people doing children’s ministry.  He joked about how four of them would get together and that would be a conference.  It was intriguing to hear them recount experiences long gone.  Two things hit me about these conversations.  Kidmin has been blessed and has grown exponentially.  I can see that in the 15 years I’ve been doing it, but the past 30 years has seen a significant transformation.  How incredible it is that we get to minister now.  The other thing is that we know so very little about our heritage.  Those who went before us and laid a foundation poured their lives out for us to be able to do what we do now, and most of us know little to nothing about these great men and women.  I think that needs to change.

The other side of this conversation refers to the future of kidmin.  I had one man (part of kidmin’s long and rich heritage) make several comments about kidmin’s future and how proud he was for the future and how he felt that kidmin was in good hands.  I got to spend a lot of time with the next generation of kidmin and I’m so proud to serve with them.  Even having Brian Haynes and Gina McClain as keynotes for Kidmin was an encouraging look into the future of kidmin.

It was just cool to be at a place where past and future collided.

Thanks Brian Dollar for hosting my post. I hope you don’t mind, I ate the last of your fruity pebbles.  I got the munchies last night.  Look for my next post by following my tweets at twitter.com/kennyconley

See past homeless blogger posts at the following sites:

Discipline Issues In Kidmin pt. 1

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“How do you handle discipline issues at your church?” – submitted by “Anonymous” in Dallas, TX

Discipline is a hot button issue for people who work with kids.  While public and private school systems have five days a week to instill a discipline plan with students, the church typically has about one hour per week to do the same thing.  It’s important to have a clear system in place.  The last thing you want to do is expect volunteers to come up with their own discipline plan without guidance or expectations.

Successful Discipline comes down to two words:  CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

There is no way that kids can be expected to be held accountable to follow rules that are never clearly communicated to them.

Keep It Simple

Don’t develop so many rules that kids can’t remember them from week to week.  The rules I have used my entire ministry are the C.O.O.L. Rules (these are NOT original)

Care about your neighbor – don’t be a space invader

Only get out of your seat when you have permission

Obey the leader and don’t interrupt

Let’s work together – and be WINNERS!

Keep It Consistent

You have to be consistent in how you apply discipline.  Wavering in your discipline approach weekly causes confusion with the kids.  Being extra sensitive and calling down everyone one week, then being extra care-free and allowing all kinds of disruptions will NOT help your kids at all.  Be consistent.

In my next post, I will share what our specific steps are for dealing with discipline issues.  So, don’t miss “Discipline Issues In Kidmin pt. 2”

Does a Kidmin Volunteer have to be a Christian?

WEEKLY KIDMIN QUESTION:

“In a small church, it can be difficult to get enough volunteers since you are just starting out.  What do you think about people who aren’t
Christians volunteering with kids?” –
submitted by Dan in Santa Monica, California

I understand that many of you will have differing opinions than I have on this subject.  I want you to know that it is OK – and I welcome the discussion.  Please leave comments below.  Let’s share our approach and reasons for it.

My personal opinion and conviction on this matter is that all volunteers in Kids Ministry should go through a screening process.  Part of that process should be affirming the fact that they are committed believers and daily followers of Christ.  I think it should definitely be a requirement.  Here are my reasons:

1)  Kids Ministry is not child-care – it is discipleship.

Kids Ministry is exactly that – Kids MINISTRY.  It is working hard to share the Gospel with the children through our actions, words, love, and concern.  We are to teach the children to be life-long followers of Christ.  It is very difficult to teach what you have not yet become – a follower of Jesus.  As John Maxwell always says, “We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.”

2)  We must protect the kids.

I think you have to have the HIGHEST level of safety and security.  By ensuring that every person that works in your Kids Ministry is saved, has been trained, and has gone through a background check process – then you can assure parents that you have done EVERYTHING you can to ensure their child’s safety.

3)  We must protect the volunteer.

Allowing someone who is not a Christian to become an influence in the lives of children is setting them up for failure.  Asking someone who is not a Christian to “act like a Christian” only when they are around the children is not only asking them to “be a hypocrite”, but it is setting them up for failure.  There are tremendous repercussions when that happens, not only for the child, but also for the volunteer.  Remember, Jesus said, “It would be better for someone to tie a mill stone around their neck and be thrown into the sea than for them to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

4)  We must have a higher standard in Kidmin.

I personally think that Kids Ministry should have the HIGHEST standard of any ministry in the church, not the lowest.  I understand that in a small congregation it can be hard to get volunteers.  That means we have to work doubletime to communicate the vision and goals of the Kids Ministry.  INSPIRE others to be involved, don’t GUILT them into it.  I think the higher the bar is raised, the higher level of volunteer you will end up with.  If we won’t require someone to be a believer in order to work with our most prized possessions (our kids), then what WILL we require salvation in order to do?

5)  It’s not discrimination.  It’s wisdom.

Those who do not yet know Christ are one of THE REASONS we exist as a church.  We love them and are motivated to pray for them, love them, help them, and demonstrate Christ’s love to them.  However, we can not have those who do not yet agree wholeheartedly with what we are teaching be involved as a leader in the lives of the kids we are responsible for.  Too many opportunities for confusion to be sown in the minds of the children.

6)  It’s not about being “perfect.”

Many who have a differing opinion on this subject may say, “Well, no one is perfect.  Even the Christian volunteers you have are bound to eventually slip up and make a mistake, have a wrong attitude, say a cuss word, etc.”  This is true.  No one is perfect.  It’s not about whether or not they will make a mistake or not.  The bottom line is – we have to take every precaution we can to ensure that those we place in leadership over our children are going to represent Christ to the kids.  They are the “only Jesus” many of our kids will ever see.

7)  There are many other opportunities to serve.

I never turn someone away outright.  I explain to them the reasons behind my decision not to use them in Kids Ministry, then redirect them to an area in the church where they are not working with minors.  I might even put them on one of the Kidmin teams that does not interface directly with kids (setup, cleanup, etc.)  I do see the importantance for them to work alongside those are committed believers so as to be able to see the love and service of Christ weekly.

I also commit to pray for their salvation and step up my efforts to communicate Christ’s love to them through my life.

Again, I welcome your comments and other points of view?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Let’s discuss…