The Forgotten Value Of Asking Questions


I have observed over the years many Kidmin Leaders make the mistake of “arriving” in ministry.  They achieve a certain level of “success” and decide they know it all (or at least all they care to know).

When this happens, they move into protectionism.  They are constantly trying to protect their reputation as a “knowledgeable and capable leader.”  I have watched as these leaders begin to sink because they are not willing to do something that could help them keep rising in leadership – ASK QUESTIONS.

Admitting you don’t know it all and asking others for their input is difficult for insecure leaders.  Sadly, you miss out on incredible opportunities to continue growing when you fail to ask questions.  Here are some of the questions I ask and the people I ask them to:

My Pastor/Boss
*  Is there anything I am not doing in ministry that you would like to see me begin doing?
*  Is there anything I AM doing in ministry that you would like to see me STOP doing?
*  Is there any area of growth in my life that you see needs to be addressed?
*  What can I do to serve you better?
*  What can I do to serve my team better?
*  What is the biggest challenge you face in leading me?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

My Team
*  What is the biggest challenge you find in having me as a leader?
*  What is the biggest thing you appreciate about my leadership?
*  What is one thing I can do NOW to help you grow personally?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

The Parents In My Ministry
*  What are the ways we can serve you better as a parent?
*  What is the thing we do BEST as a ministry?
*  What is the area we most need to IMPROVE?
*  How can I pray for you and your family?

Take some time in the coming weeks and meet with your pastor, team members, and a group of parents in your ministry.  Ask some of these questions (and avoid the tendency to have a rebuttal to their answers – after all, the goal is to GAIN KNOWLEDGE, not prove them wrong).  They will be impressed with your desire to grow.  And, you just might gain some information you were not aware of that may take your ministry effectiveness to the next level.

What are some questions you ask yourself, your pastor, your team, and your parents?  Share them in the comments section!

How Do You Handle Leaders Who Lack Energy?

Everything can be improved with increased energy.  Nobody wants to hear a song, listen to a lesson, or participate in a class where the leader looks bored, irritated, or wishes they were somewhere else.

If you are a full-time Kidmin Pastor/Leader you know that you have NO EXCUSE not to have energy on Sundays (or whenever ministry takes place for you).  However, some of our Kidmin Volunteers struggle with this.  They work 5 days a week, run like crazy for their families on Saturday, and on Sunday it is tough to have the energy they need to make a great experience for the kids.

If you ever need to encourage your team and help them understand the importance of having energy during ministry time, consider teaching them the following principles:

How To Increase Energy

1.  Realize what’s at stake

SOULS!  We want these kids to see us excited about God’s word, worship, and serving others.  The level of passion we have will determine the level of passion THEY have.

2.  Take responsibility for your own energy

Too many people wait to be pumped up by situations or persons.  Take responsibility for your own energy.  Don’t wait for the right speech from your leader or for someone to “push the right button” for you to get pumped up.

Ben Franklin said, “The quality of your life is your gift to yourself.”

If you wait for someone else to strike up your energy before you do anything, then life will pass you by.

3.  Act your way into feeling

Stephen Covey said, “Right decisions will eventually bring about right emotions.”

Don’t wait until you feel right to do right.  Do right and you will feel right.  “Fake it ‘till you make it!”

Socrates said, “Assume a virtue if you have it not!”  Fake joy is better than genuine depression any day!  A passionate person with limited talent will outperform a passive person who possesses greater talent.

4.  GET ON YOUR KNEES.

The absolute best way to be infused with energy is to spend time on your knees in prayer.  Don’t rely on your own energy, ask God for HIS energy.

“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” – Colossians 1:29

When you are accomplishing GOD’S PURPOSE with GOD’S POWER, then you possess true renewable energy.

Are You An Insecure Leader?

Security is the main ingredient of healthy relationships.  You need healthy relationships with others in order to fulfill the call God has placed on your life.  As a Kids Ministry Leader, your goal is to raise up others to join you in the vision of raising the next generation of life-long followers of Christ.  If you are not secure in who you are and who God has created you to be, you will (consciously or not) poison your relationships with the people God puts around you. 

My pastor, Rod Loy, challenged us last week in our staff meeting to evaluate whether or not we are Secure or Insecure Leaders.  Here is part of a grid he provided for us:

Insecure Leader – when someone else succeeds, they divert credit to themselves

Secure Leader – gives credit away to others.

Insecure Leader – surrounds themselves with weaker people because they have an inner need to be adored

Secure Leader – is comfortable with the strengths of others and surround themselves with strong leaders

Insecure Leader – when evaluating themselves, they only see weaknesses

Secure Leader – they know their weaknesses exist, but they are not crippled by them

Insecure Leader – evaluate by “how do I compare to others?”

Secure Leader – evaluate themselves by “how am I doing right now?”

Insecure Leader – can’t laugh at themselves

Secure Leader – laugh at their mistakes, seeing them as another opportunity to learn

Insecure Leader – resists evaluation (they have inextricably connected their performance with their self-worth)

Secure Leader – embraces evaluation as an opportunity to grow

Insecure Leader – they are very hard on others who make mistakes

Secure Leader – more patient with other people and with their growth process

Insecure Leader – may enjoy success for a season

Secure Leader – will enjoy success for a lifetime

Insecure Leader – says “Blessings are to be enjoyed by me!”

Secure Leader – asks “How many blessings can I share?”

Insecure Leader – produces insecure followers

Secure Leader – produces other secure leaders

So, are you a Secure Leader or an Insecure Leader?  It’s not too late to change course:

1)  Learn to see yourself the way God sees you.

2)  Hang around secure leaders and friends.

3)  Recognize when reactions are based on insecurity.  Retrain yourself away from those reactions.

4)  Ask God to help you become more secure in Him so that you can build a team of Secure Leaders to help you reach this generation and advance the cause of Christ!

The more secure you are, the better leader you will be.

Happy Birthday!

Today, BRIAN’S BLOG turns 1 year old!  It was on August 1, 2011 that I posted my first “real” post.  Since then, I have watched God do many great things through this.  I have heard from many of the readers of the blog how a post has inspired, challenged, or changed you in some way.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

My goal has always been to encourage and equip other Kidmin Leaders to increase their capacity to lead their teams, parents, and kids.  I appreciate all of you who are a part of this journey!

Wanna help?  Here are a couple of things you can do to help get the word out…

1)  Leave Comments.  – It doesn’t take long, and they don’t have to be wordy.  When you leave a comment you encourage others, show that you are reading, and help me see which posts are most effective.

2)  Ask A Question.  – When I began this blog, it was my desire to address topics that YOU are interested in – not just share my own thoughts.  I depend on each of you to spark conversation by asking questions about leadership, organization, ministry philosophy, or opinions on hot topics.  You can ask your question by filling out the form on this page of the blog.  If your question is used, you are given a $25 coupon to High Voltage Kids Ministry Web Store.

3)  Share A Post. – When you read something that is helpful, share it.  Click on the Facebook or Twitter SHARE buttons at the bottom of the post and post it to your wall.  This allows us to reach a MUCH bigger audience.  You never know – your friends may subscribe.

4)  Talk about BRIAN’S BLOG (www.briandollar.com)  – On Social Media, in an email, at a networking lunch, or at a conference – talk about BRIAN’S BLOG (briandollar.com) and how it has helped you be a better Kidmin Leader.  Talk about what we’ve learned and discussed.  YOU are the best advertisement this blog could ever get!

To help give you an incentive, I am giving away a free copy of my book, “I Blew It!” to one lucky person who leaves a comment this week.  Winner will be chosen by random draw on August 5th.

Thanks, again, for a great year!  I am so glad that I started this process.  It has been so rewarding for me.  I hope it has and continues to be for you.  God bless!

Stop Being So Defensive!

Defensiveness is an issue that causes a lot of harm in mentoring relationships – or any relationship for that matter.  When we are challenged, confronted, or questioned as Kidmin leaders – sadly we often respond with a knee-jerk, reflex response that does more harm than good.

For years, my insecurity caused me to struggle with being defensive.  Under the hurt feelings and protests is a deep sense that I’m not adequate, personally or professionally—or both.  No one is above correction, and we can all learn to handle it with grace.  Sometimes, I do a pretty good job of controlling my outward appearance when someone criticizes me, but I’m dying inside.  When this happens with my pastor, his perception kicks in.  He tells me, “You’re doing a great job in controlling the tone of your voice and looking relaxed while you’re still being defensive.”

He nailed me.  When I bristle from correction, I need to look into my heart to see what I’m trusting in.  I can then choose to thank God for his love and grace, and I can accept the correction as a gift instead of a threat.

Here’s the principle: When your actions are corrected, it doesn’t mean your character is being questioned.  Chill out and learn from the challenge instead of defending yourself to the death!

“Kids In Worship” – Great Idea for Kidmin

This past Sunday we had our annual “Kids In Worship” experience.  I thought it would be good to share the concept behind this for all of you.  It is an amazing opportunity for the whole family.

“Kids In Worship” is an evening of worship, led by our Elementary Kids Department.  The children are in charge of the entire service in the Sanctuary.  It is an evening of worship, led by the kids.  The entire family comes together for a night of singing and worship.

We rehearse for months prior to this night.  Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 – 5:30 prior to our Evening Worship Service.  The kids put together a set of familiar modern worship songs (to allow the adults to enter in) mixed with some new and original songs.  Several children memorize some of their favorite passages of scripture and share them with the congregation between songs.

There is always a time where a group of our oldest children step off the stage and allow the adults to come forward for prayer.  These kids pray earnestly for the needs of the adults.  We have had people healed and delivered on these nights.  It’s amazing!

It’s one of my pastor’s favorite services of the year.  There is something incredible about a group of kids who are passionate in worship of their God.  It is inspiring to all of us!  Why not try your own version of “Kids In Worship?”  If you have questions, ask them using the comment section.  I read each of them and will respond.

 

Six Questions To Ask Before Implementing A New Idea (pt 3)

And now, the exciting conclusion to the blog post series, “Six Questions To Ask Yourself Before Implementing A New Idea In Your Kids Ministry.”  Here’s what we covered in pt. 1 and pt. 2 of the series:

1)  “Have I Prayed About It?”

2)  “What Does My Pastor Think About The Idea?”

3)  “Does The Idea Resonate With The Hearts Of My Team?”

4)  “Do I Have The Support Of The Parents In My Ministry?”

QUESTION #5 – “Do I need God’s power to accomplish this idea?”

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself as you evaluate whether the idea is a “God idea” or just another good idea.  If you can accomplish the plan without God’s power and without God’s anointing, it’s probably not His idea.

God’s ideas always require God’s ability.  If you can do it on your own, go back to the Lord and ask Him for direction.  This doesn’t mean that every impossible, crazy idea is necessarily from God.  That’s the wrong conclusion!  We need to have a balance of wisdom and faith—it’s not one or the other; both are required for good leadership.

QUESTION #6 – “If this idea succeeds, who will get the glory?”

As I have planned many ideas in the past, I was thinking, Man, when this thing is a huge success, people are going to think I’m the smartest guy around. Other children’s pastors are going to ask me for my planning notebook so they can pull off their own event like this. This is going to rock!

My plan to take all the credit for success was a clear indication that it wasn’t a “God idea” at all.  When people have trusted God for an idea, a plan, and success, they realize God is the source of every good thing, and he deserves the credit.  Pursue God’s ideas, and be prepared to give Him the glory.  After all, He’s the originator, not you.  He’s the creator, not you.  He is the author and finisher, not you.  He deserves the glory, not you.

Share your thoughts in the comment section.  I will pick a winner from the comments at the end of the week – winner gets a $25 web coupon to High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources.