Kids Ministry Meatloaf

A mother was making meatloaf with her teenage daughter, a ritual they’ve been doing together for years. As part of the tradition, the two chefs cut the end off one side of the meatloaf before putting it in the oven. One day, the teen asks, “Mom, why do we cut the end off the meatloaf before we put it in the oven?”

Taken by surprise, the mom began to think. She had no good reason, other than that’s how her own mother made meatloaf. Together, the two called up Grandma to find the answer. After a brief laugh, the grandmother admitted that she didn’t know the answer either; she’d learned the technique from her mother. Their curiosity sparked, the three went to visit Great-Grandma in the nursing home where she lived. Upon hearing the question, the ninety-eight-ear-old great grandmother roared with laughter. “I have no idea why YOU are cutting the end off the meatloaf! I used to do it because I didn’t have a big enough pan!”

We laugh at this story, but how many of us could take a long hard look at our Kids Ministry and find that we are still doing many things the same way after many years only because we saw someone else do it that way in the past. It would do us all some good to look at our ministry with a microscope and find out how many areas we are “cutting the meat loaf” in.

It’s time to question the status quo. Look at the programs, processes, and systems in your Kids Ministry. Many things may have made sense in the past, but are no longer relevant. Not everything is a “meat loaf”, but many things are. It’s important to ask yourself the question so you know where the “meatloaves” are in your ministry.

What are some areas in your ministry that you have discovered were “meatloaves” in the past?  Please leave a comment below…

Are you “Careful” or Fearful?

Not long ago I wrote a post about facing our fears.   Fear many times is a major deterrent to us accomplishing what God has called us to do.

Some people pretend not to be afraid.  They talk big, but they aren’t fooling anyone. Others redefine it.  They claim, “I’m not afraid. I’m just being very careful.”  In his book, Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley compared “careful” and “fearful.”

Careful is cerebral; fearful is emotional.

Careful is fueled by information; fearful is fueled by imagination.

Careful calculates risk; fearful avoids risk.

Careful wants to achieve success; fearful wants to avoid failure.

Careful is concerned about progress; fearful is concerned about protection.

As you look at this comparison, are you fearful or careful?  Be honest.

Playing it safe doesn’t take us where God wants us to go.  We don’t want to take insane risks, but we need to be willing to listen to the Spirit and go where He leads us.  I have to ask myself: Does what I’m doing today require God’s wisdom and power, or can I do it on my own?

My friend Kathy Creasy says, “It is tempting to maintain the status quo ministry—to do what we have always done, to do what others have had success doing, to do what will cause the least conflict, to do what is expected of us. But courageous faith seeks the mind of God then steps out to faithfully accomplish what God has spoken.”

Have you sensed God leading you to do something but you found a bunch of excuses to avoid it? If you have, it’s time to face your fears, take God’s hand, and step out in faith.

Are You Feeling “LUCKY?”

Hey friends!  When we did our TWITTER book giveaway last month, many of you asked me, “Hey!  What about us ‘non-tweeters’?”  Well, this is your lucky day (er…lucky month).

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (month), we are giving away 5 copies of my brand new book, “I Blew It!”, to five followers/subscribers to BRIAN’S BLOG (chosen at random).  So, if you want to win – all you have to do is subscribe to THIS BLOG!  You can do so by following the instructions on the home page.  We will choose the winners on March 31st!

Already a subscriber to the blog?  Great!  You are already entered!

YOU can help us spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc?  Copy and paste the following message into a post/tweet:

Giving away 5 FREE copies of the new #kidmin book “I Blew It!” on Mar 31. Wanna win? http://bit.ly/zy54tk #iblewitbook #kidmin

That’s it!  Subscribe and win!  But, don’t forget that you only have until Mar 30th to join in on the fun!  So post, tweet, retweet, and let’s get the word out!  If you tag Brian Dollar in your Facebook post or tweet with the hashtag #iblewitbook – we will be choosing an additional winner from all of those!  So, join in the fun!!!

Setting Ministry Goals

We all want to grow.  We all want to get better at our job, our ministry, our calling.  Although the desire to grow is common, actual growth is not so common.  I think one of the main reasons we fail to move from intention to actual growth is because we don’t set clear, definable goals.

Vague intentions almost never take us to a desired destination.  It’s not enough to identify an area that needs attention.  We then need to ask God for a vision of what it will be like to achieve the desired growth in this area.  When you define the goal, write it down, describe the benefits, and trust God to take you there.

Many people struggle with the description of the goal because they’re afraid the price they’ll have to pay isn’t worth it.  It is worth it!  The best encouragement to move forward is a clear picture of the finish line.  Go into detail.  How will your ministry look? How will your family relationships benefit?  How will you experience financial peace and freedom?  How will you take advantage of new opportunities?

If you can define and describe your goal in writing, you’re well on your way to achieving it.  A good plan is essential.  Solomon wrote, “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it” (Proverbs 13:16 NLT).

Once you set the goal and write it down.  Then, define manageable steps toward your goal.  Some of us quit because the task seems too big, too challenging, and too hard.  If we break it into reachable steps, we can make remarkable progress.  We can be naïve about what it takes to change.

Enthusiasm is a good beginning, but it won’t take us very far on its own.  I know.  I’ve tried.  If I had tried to get up early each morning, start a workout routine, read a hundred books a year, read the Bible through every month, and pray two hours a day, I’d have gotten pretty discouraged!   We need to have big goals but manageable steps toward those goals.

The Power Of Praise

As a Kids Ministry Leader, you are in the business of being a PEOPLE BUILDER.  Your goal is to help others reach their full potential of who God wants them to be.

Every person we meet, we either give life to or we take life from.  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  There are people who encourage you and when you are done being with them you feel built up.  Then, there are others who you feel torn down by.

Successful leaders are people who have mastered the art of building others up. There are few ways to build others up that are more effective than PRAISING THEM.

There is power in praising people!  Something begins to happen in them, in you, and in your relationship when you praise someone.

Praise Your Kids! – Make a point to speak life into the kids in your ministry.  Don’t allow yourself to speak negativity into their lives.  They hear that enough at school, on the playground, and sometimes even at home.

Even when you are correcting their behavior – avoid saying, “This behavior is ridiculous.  Can’t you just do the right thing?”  Instead, say things like, “You are such an amazing kid.  I see so much potential in you to do great things for God.  These choices you are making are not helping you become all that God has planned for you.  How can we change these choices so that they better reflect the amazing kid that you really are?”

Praise Your Volunteers! – Look for things your volunteers are doing well and speak up!  Tell them how much you appreciate their effort and sacrifice to help build the Kingdom of God.  Make a point to send a thank you note to at least five people every week (that’s ONE note per day in the office).  You can do it!  It will make such a difference.

Praise God! – In your daily prayer, praise God for what He is doing in your ministry.   Rather than just come to Him with a list of needs for your ministry, praise Him for what He has already done!

Praising others is important and comes with some amazing benefits – not only for them, but for you.  When you praise others…

1)  Your relationships grow –  Life is all about relationships.  When you praise others, it deepens their appreciation for you and serves to build your relationship with them.

2)  Your leadership and influence grow – Who has a greater leadership and influence capacity in your own life:  the one who tears you down or the one who builds you up?  It works the same for those you lead.  Build them up, and your influence with them will grow.

3)  Team loyalty grows –  When the volunteers on your team are appreciated and praised, they become fiercely loyal.  When people know that you care for them, love them, and appreciate them – they will go to great lengths for you!

So, take a moment today – praise someone!  Send a note, send a text, make a call.  Praise your team!  Praise your kids!  Praise God!  They all deserve it!!!