Children http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:15:26 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb 10 Reasons Your Children’s Ministry Lacks Enough Volunteers http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21122-10-reasons-your-childrens-ministry-lacks-enough-volunteers http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21122-10-reasons-your-childrens-ministry-lacks-enough-volunteers

Don't have enough volunteers?  It may be because of one or more of these reasons.

1. You're not asking.
You're not inviting people to join your team. Week in, week out, you've got to invite, invite, invite. You have not because you ask not. The best way to build a volunteer team is personal one-on-one invites. 

2.You're not praying for volunteers. What did Jesus say to do when the "laborers are few?"  He told us to, "pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send laborers" into His harvest fields. Spend time each day asking God to send you volunteers. Jesus wouldn't ask us to pray for something He didn't intend on giving us.

3. You're not casting vision.
People are drawn toward vision.  Stop using words like, "need, help, please" and start using words like, "impact, opportunity and make a difference."


4. You're not getting out of the kid world. You have to go where adults are if you want them to join your team. Get into the adult world. Show up for new members' class, visit adult Bible study groups, connect with the men's and women's ministries.

5. You're not partnering with the student ministry leaders.
Student volunteers are the bomb.  You should have lots of student-ministry volunteers serving in your children's ministry. If you don't, then reach out to your student-ministry leaders and ask how you can partner with them to get students involved.

6. You're not keeping the volunteers you already have. If you're having constant volunteer turnover, then it will be hard to maintain enough volunteers. How do you keep them? Two words: Family and Fun. Family—people stay where they feel connected and have relationships. Foster this. Fun—people stay where they enjoy being. Work hard to create a culture of fun.

7.You're not effectively following up with people who have served one time. There are certain times of the year when people serve in children's ministry one time. Normally this is during a church-wide push for an event or special services. Easter services, Christmas events, VBS, camps, fall festivals, etc. Have a strategy to go after the people who sign up to serve that one time. You can turn one-time servers into full-time servers if you're intentional about looping back with them.


8.You're not providing enough entry-level positions. More jobs equals more volunteers, especially entry-level positions. Not everyone wants to start out teaching, leading worship, or overseeing a program. Provide lots of easy, entry-level positions. You'll find that people start out in these entry-level positions, but down the road gain enough confidence and experience to step into a bigger role.

9.You're not in a church that has a culture of serving. Look around. If all the ministries in your church are lean on volunteers, you may be in a church where serving is not embedded in the DNA. 

10.You're not encouraging your current volunteers to invite people to join them. Encourage your current volunteers to invite people to serve with them. They know people you don't know and have influence you don't have.

Concluding Thoughts
If you don't have enough volunteers, don't beat yourself up. You're not alone. I don't know anyone who doesn't need more volunteers. I have a lot of volunteers, but I need a lot more ... and always will.

The key is eliminating roadblocks like the ones you've just read about. 

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:00:00 -0400
A Tweak That Can Bring Guest Families Back http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21050-a-tweak-that-can-bring-guest-families-back http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21050-a-tweak-that-can-bring-guest-families-back

This is one of the most important strategies your children's ministry can focus on. We recently implemented a new tweak in our strategy for connecting with first-time guest families, and we are seeing great results.

I got the idea for the new tweak from my friend, Carolyn Burge, who is the children's director at a great church in Canada. If you haven't checked out her website, kidsministryleadership.com, do so. She has lots of great ideas.

So here's our strategy. In step No. 4, I'll tell you about the new tweak we've added that's making a big difference.

1. We have a guest services team that helps new families check in. This team is made up of volunteers. Make sure you pick people for this team who are friendly, outgoing, positive and know how to make new people feel welcome and comfortable.

2. We have separate check-in areas for first-time families. We don't want new families having to wait in line. We also moved these out from behind a desk and put them at tables so we can greet people more personally.

3. After we get the family registered, we personally walk them to their rooms. This is a biggie. Always walk, never point.

4.Here's the new tweak we've added that I want to tell you about. After we've helped the new family get to their rooms, the guest service volunteer who helped them writes a personal note to the family.

In the note, the guest service volunteer mentions something unique that he/she noticed about the family. Maybe a cute haircut one of the kids had, maybe the way the preschooler smiled, maybe the town they just moved from, etc.

This lets the family know that we took the time to notice them personally.  In the note, the guest services volunteer also tells them know how much he/she enjoyed meeting them and hopes to see them again soon. This gives the new family a personal connection with someone. This is huge.

The guest services volunteer then gives the note to us before he/she leaves and we mail it to the family that week.

I would also mention that our guest services volunteers are fired up about doing this. It is such a blessing to them to be able to write the notes to families they meet. It has taken their ministry experience to a whole new level. They can't wait to see the families come back because they have made a personal investment in them. 

We provide the postcards for the volunteers to write the personal note on. There is a space for the note on the postcard.

The postcard also has a coupon they can bring back for a free t-shirt on their next visit.

In closing, I would like to mention two other things. First, a personal handwritten note is a huge deal in today's culture of digital communication. A personal note stands out and means so much more than a letter, email or text.

In addition to this, the kids of the guest family also get a handwritten postcard from our leaders in the kids' areas. For a kid to get a postcard in the mail is a double big deal.

Whatever your strategy is ... make it personal ... nothing impacts a family more than a personal touch from someone who welcomed them and cared for them.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Mon, 07 Jul 2014 19:00:00 -0400
7 Keys to Balancing Ministry and Life http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21003-7-keys-to-balancing-ministry-and-life http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/21003-7-keys-to-balancing-ministry-and-life

Balance in work and life is a key to long-term success. We are not called to serve God for a 5-year window ... we are called to serve Him for life.

For that to happen, we've got to find balance. Easier said than done. There is always one more person to reach, one more family to help, one more email to answer, one more phone call to make, one more event to pull off.

We keep telling ourselves that it will slow down. Yeah, right. Newsflash—it will never slow down.

The only way you'll find balance is to make time to slow down.

Our children's ministry has been on a run—a fun, exciting and adventurous run. In the last six months we've opened up two new campuses, completed a building project, started two more building projects, produced original curriculum, on-boarded hundreds of new volunteers, started two more weekend services, and the list goes on and on.

We realized after all this that everyone needed some time to breathe. So, as a staff and volunteers, we have purposely slowed down for a season. We've cancelled a lot of staff meetings, cancelled some events, given everyone an extra day off each week, and not scheduled anything additional.

Why? Because we want to go the distance. Ministry work is a marathon, not a sprint. You can sprint on a 100 hard dash, but you can't sprint in a marathon if you want to finish.  You have to pace yourself.

Here are 7 keys to pacing yourself so you can finish strong:

1. Monitor how many hours you work. 
How many hours a week are you working?  It's easy to slip into 60-80 hours a week if you're not careful, especially if you're salaried. Determine how many hours you're going to work on an average week and stick to it. Yes, there will be short seasons when you have to work more hours, but that should be the exception and not the norm.

Don't think you can do it? Yes, you can, if you choose to do so. Andy Stanley, the pastor of one of the largest churches in the country, works 45 hours a week—because he chooses to. Who benefits? His family, which is his most important ministry, does. You can read more about that here.

2. Turn off technology. Technology has made it very easy to bring work home. For years, I made the mistake of leaving work and going right back to work when I got home. I would work at home until 11 p.m. or later, and it cost me. I still have to resist the temptation, but I'm doing much better at this. I have to if I'm going to be doing ministry work 10 years from now. 

3. Take your day off. If you're not taking your day off, then your life is out of balance.  You will burn out. I know by experience. It led me to a dark place. You can read more about that here.

4. Use your vacation time. I've got a ton of stuff to do. But I'm leaving tomorrow for a 6-day vacation. My drive tells me that I can't afford to go on vacation. But my Bible and body tell me I must go on vacation. I must come apart to rest or I will come apart and be no good for anyone.  Use your vacation time!

5. Focus on a few programs and events. Take a look at your ministry calendar. Is it overflowing with events and programs? Find some balance. Cut some stuff. Cancel some stuff. Focus on doing a few things well. I talk more about this here

6. Know when to slow down. Watch your spiritual, emotional, and physical gas needle. Know when it's time to stop and fill back up. Know when your team needs to rest. Instead of just plowing on ahead, be intentional about interjecting times of rest and refreshment. 

7. When you are home, be home. When you get home, be home. Be a father, be a husband or wife. Be home not only physically, but also emotionally.  Your spouse needs you to present, your kids need you to be present. The work will be there when you return tomorrow. For now, just relax and seize the life balance opportunity God has provided you.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:00:00 -0400
Do Children Like Coming to Your Church? http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20947-do-children-like-coming-to-your-church http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20947-do-children-like-coming-to-your-church

Do you want to know if kids like coming to your church or not? There are two words you can ask them to find out.

These two words carry a lot of weight for a child.

The first word is fun. If you want to find out if kids enjoy coming to your church, ask them if it's fun or not.

Stand by the pick-up door and you'll hear this question asked by parents over and over. "Did you have fun today?"

To a child, here's what fun means: I was engaged; they kept my attention; they taught using my learning style; it was interactive; I got to talk; I got to move around; I got to play a game; it was age-appropriate for me; it honored my attention span.

They may not articulate it like that, but when they say "fun," that's what they mean.

The second word is boring. When a child says something is boring, it means the opposite happened. The lesson was not engaging; it didn't hit their learning style; they had to sit still; they couldn't talk; they were lectured to; it didn't keep their attention.

So, if you want a true picture of how effective your children's ministry is at engaging kids with God's Word, ask them what they think. All you need to ask are those two words. Is it fun or boring?

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children's ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children's ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children's Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Fri, 23 May 2014 19:00:00 -0400
Does Your Church Need a Nursery? http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20946-does-your-church-need-a-nursery http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20946-does-your-church-need-a-nursery

The concept of the church nursery is as old as the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Establishing one offers the members of your congregation not only the service of providing caring, trained, professional guardians for their children while they are occupied with pressing business, but also lets them rest assured that the faith culture of the church will continue to be imparted on their kids even in their absence.

Running a nursery, however, is a difficult financial, legal and logistical endeavor. Does your church need a nursery?

The Minds of Children

When children literally grow up in the church, they are far more likely to carry their faith with them for the rest of their lives. More than just growing up in a churchgoing family or even participating in Sunday school, children who are raised in church nurseries are immersed in the faith from their earliest childhood memories. Their caretakers—second parents, in a way—are members of the faith community, and the church becomes their second home. This is the backbone of the family ministry concept.

The Minds of Adults

One of the most prominent organizing principles of the Christian faith is to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Establishing a church nursery gives a remarkable opportunity to adults to nurture and care for children—all while sharing the faith with the church's youngest minds and guaranteeing a future for the church.

The Family Concept

Establishing a church nursery depends—in reality—on the need and desire for one by the members of your congregation. If there is a large enough contingent of followers, however, who have young children who need to be minded while they're at work or away on business, setting up a nursery may be the best thing you can do for you church—and its members.

The Bible has countless examples of family ministry, and the concept of family ministry—making your home the center of your faith—is arguably the best thing a family can do to strengthen the family's spiritual center. But in reality, parents have to work, and if their kids are too young for school, they must be in the care of guardians. If the guardians can extend the concept of family ministry while the parents are away, the service your church nursery offers is twice as good.

Whether or not to establish a nursery in your church depends on your financial situation, your logistical capabilities and the needs of the members of your congregation. But if done right, it can strengthen the bonds of parishioners and plant the seeds of the church's next generation—especially in an age when far too many kids grow up to be adults who stray from the church.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about religion and profiles top business leaders for companies such as MediaShower.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Andrew Lisa) Children Fri, 23 May 2014 13:00:00 -0400
Are We Too Focused on ‘Doing’ in Ministry? http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20915-are-we-too-focused-on-doing-in-ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20915-are-we-too-focused-on-doing-in-ministry

I just sat in my car, caught up in the radio program. The soothing voice was discussing how us parents seem to have our kids in too many activities.

“Are parents taking time to just be and get to know their kids?” the person behind the voice wanted to know. The speaker made a statement I have heard many times: “We aren’t created to be human doers. We are human beings.” He went on to press that culture dictates how much we push our kids to do. Are we teaching them to be?

Listening, I thought how often I have felt guilty that I don’t allow my own kids to do more. Good friends of mine have “well-rounded” children who are involved in athletics, music lessons, the school play and chess club. In contrast, my kiddos only are allowed to engage in one activity per season.

With three kids at the same stage in life (sixth, seventh and eighth grades, currently), we can just about manage the one thing for each of them. The speaker was pushing us parents to allow our kids to be involved in less for the sake of time together and building purposeful relationships.

It got me thinking about youth ministry and how I can have a tendency to run things. I fill the calendar with lots of activities. They are well-meaning, and I try hard to be planned and purposeful. We have outreaches, retreats and missions trips. There are special guest speakers and creative ways to interact. Admittedly, if I pull off a great talk, then it feels great.

After hearing the radio show, I started wondering if I like activities because I can sit on the sidelines and cheer someone on while not engaging.

Am I really afraid of relational ministry? Do I like activities because they are detailed and definitive?

Relationships are sticky. They are an ongoing process. When you get to know someone more deeply, they share fears, frustrations, doubts, joys, sorrows and expectations with you. We realize we can’t fix or save or heal people; we can simply show them love, grace and Christ. If I have a ministry that truly has a relational focus, what would it do?

I am wondering if sometimes the way I set up my ministry actually adds to the culture of creating a doer and I am not supporting the family to learn to BE:

  • BE still and know He is God.
  • BE present in the moment.
  • BE a servant and follower and someone who is with Jesus wherever He goes.

Now, let’s not move to an extreme where we have no activities. Sometimes hands-on learning is the best method to meeting a student. It’s more about focusing away from me the leader and what I am teaching to the student, their family and what they are learning.

I’m wrestling with this idea that I may need to create more space to allow us all to do just that—wrestle with the hard stuff and expect Jesus to show up and direct my leaders to do the same.

Could or should we create an integrated culture that helps us all just be? What do you think?

Leneita Fix is the director of ministry development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family-focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County in New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years.

For the original article, visit blog.simplyyouthministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Leneita Fix) Children Mon, 05 May 2014 19:00:00 -0400
10 Lies the Enemy Whispers to Children’s Ministry Leaders http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20895-10-lies-the-enemy-whispers-to-children-s-ministry-leaders http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20895-10-lies-the-enemy-whispers-to-children-s-ministry-leaders

The enemy is known for whispering lies.  He started in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day.

Here are 10 lies he whispers to children’s ministry leaders. How do I know? I’ve personally heard all of these:

1. You’re not really making a difference.
2. What you do is not as important as adult ministry.
3. You don’t have the ability to do this.
4. You’re too busy to pray.
5. You’re teaching kids. If you were a really good teacher, you would be teaching adults.
6. No one wants to volunteer.
7. No one appreciates you and your ministry.
8. That kid or family can’t be reached.
9. You’re not successful because your children’s ministry is not growing. Give up and quit.
10. God doesn’t care. If He did, He wouldn’t have let that child die.

When the enemy whispers these and other lies to you, what should you do?

Do what Jesus did in the wilderness. Speak the Word of God back to him and stand on God’s promises:


1. You’re not really making a difference. “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Is. 55:11, NLT).

2. What you do is not as important as adult ministry. “But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children’” (Matt. 19:14).

3. You don’t have the ability to do this. "It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies" (Zech. 4:6).

4. You’re too busy to pray. “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matt. 6:6).

5. You’re teaching kids. If you were a really good teacher, you would be teaching adults. “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).


6. No one wants to volunteer. “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matt. 9:38).

7. No one appreciates you and your ministry. “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10).

8. That kid or family can’t be reached. “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them all” (1 Tim. 1:15).

9. You’re not successful because your children’s ministry is not growing. Give up and quit. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:6-9, NASB).

10. God doesn’t care. If He did, He wouldn’t have let that child die. “'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Is. 55:8-9, NIV).

What are some other lies the enemy has whispered to you? How did you stand against them?

The floor is yours. Share with us in the comment section below. God will use your words to encourage and help us.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Mon, 28 Apr 2014 16:00:00 -0400
3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Children’s Ministry Each Week http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20839-3-simple-steps-to-improve-your-children-s-ministry-each-week http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20839-3-simple-steps-to-improve-your-children-s-ministry-each-week

Our ministries are a work in progress—and always will be.

There are three simple steps you can take to improve your children’s ministry. Though simple, they can accelerate your ministry if implemented each week.

1. Walk. John F Kennedy said, “Walk slowly through the crowd.” It’s a simple but powerful principle.

Each weekend, make time to walk through your ministry and observe. What do you see that's working? What do you see that needs adjusting? What do you see that needs replaced? What do you see that needs repair work? What do you see that needs updating?

Watch check-in. Is it easy for families? Watch dismissal. Is it safe and secure? Watch the services. Are the kids engaged? Watch your volunteers. Are they smiling? Are they connecting with kids and families?

2. Talk. Talk to kids. Do they remember the main point of the lesson? Are they having fun?

Talk to parents. How can you improve the ministry? What's an idea that would make the ministry better?

Talk to volunteers. Do they feel empowered? What needs to be fixed? What can be done to improve the ministry? What is missing? What’s one thing that would help them feel more empowered? Is the curriculum effective and easy to use?

3. Chalk.
In other words, write down all the ideas, input and suggestions you gather. Write it down as you hear it—on the spot.

Then on Monday, transfer your notes to a list. Work through the list. Implement what needs to be implemented. Tweak what needs to be tweaked. Fix what needs to be fixed.

Follow these three steps every week and you will see a vast improvement in your children’s ministry.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the coauthor of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:00:00 -0400
How to Get Some of the Easter Crowd to Come Back http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20833-how-to-get-some-of-the-easter-crowd-to-come-back http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20833-how-to-get-some-of-the-easter-crowd-to-come-back

Troy Page recently noted on TonyMorganLive.com, “Remember that the win is not how many people show up for Easter—it’s how many people come back. Shoot for 75% of your Easter crowd.”

Recently I was sitting in our church parking lot, waiting on my daughter to get out of her high school small group. Waiting gave me a great opportunity to listen to the conversations of those leaving our church service.

The most impactful conversation took place between a father and his young daughter. He asked the following questions:

1. Did you have fun today?

2. What did you learn about Jesus?

These two questions were a reminder of Page’s comments above and what constitutes a win for churches on Easter Sunday.

Whether you are a seasoned Christian parent such as the father above or have little or no church background, most parents generally ask the same two questions of their children when they get in their car after church:

1. Did you have fun?

2. What did you learn?

Churches do a great job of putting significant effort into their Sunday worship services. I would like to challenge all churches to put an equal amount of effort into their children’s classes and programming. The reason is because children can deliver the “win” of a 75 percent return rate.

Churches can often ambush unchurched or marginal parents with the love of Jesus through their children. Children will want to return to church the following week when they receive an age-appropriate, fun presentation of the gospel message.

The following scenario could happen at your church. A family gets in their car after Easter services and prepares to head home for their traditional lunch. A parent asks the child, “Did you have fun today?”

The child with great enthusiasm responds, “It was great! I had so much fun! Dad, can we come back next week?” Even the most hard-hearted parents will not deny their children the opportunity to attend church.

So while you will spend countless man hours putting on compelling Easter services (and you should), do not neglect the demographic of your church that can most affect the hearts of adult visitors—their children.

1. Did you have fun?

2. What did you learn?

If you do everything you can to ensure visiting children give resounding positive responses to both questions, you will likely see their parents return the following week.

What other things does your church do to ensure visitors return after Easter?

Brian Dodd’s daytime job is as a generosity architect and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. During the last 10+ years, he has spent each day having one-on-one conversations with many of the greatest church leaders in America. He also also has over 25 years of church volunteer and staff experience. Check out his blog: Brian Dodd on Leadership.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Brian K. Dodd) Children Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:00:00 -0400
3 Big Goals for Your Children’s Ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20820-3-big-goals-for-your-children-s-ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20820-3-big-goals-for-your-children-s-ministry

Yesterday, I had a phone interview with someone who is finishing up a degree in children’s ministry.

He asked some great questions. One that he asked was, “What should be the big 'wins' for a children’s ministry? What do you want to see happen in kids’ lives when they are leaving your children’s ministry?"

That’s a great question. Here was my response.

First and foremost, for each child to have a stepped across the line of faith and began a personal relationship with Jesus. We know we have a narrow window of time when kids are open and receptive to the gospel. The majority of people come to Christ as a child.

I want every child to know Jesus as their leader, forgiver and friend.

Second, for each child to have a growing relationship with Jesus. I want to see them growing through prayer, Bible reading, being part of a church family, serving, sharing their faith and being mentored by a caring leader. Our goal is to give kids the tools they need to begin feeding themselves spiritually—to own their spiritual growth.

Third, for parents to be equipped to lead their children spiritually. Our goal is to partner with parents and equip them with the knowledge, resources and milestone events they need to lead their children with confidence. Parents want to lead their children spiritually; many just don’t know where to start. Our goal is to come alongside them and be their biggest cheerleader, resource and encourager. 

If someone asked you what are the top three goals for your children’s ministry, how would you respond? Would these be on your list? Maybe something else? What are your priorities? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson ) Children Thu, 03 Apr 2014 13:00:00 -0400
50 Things to Avoid in Your Children’s Ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20764-50-things-to-avoid-in-your-children-s-ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20764-50-things-to-avoid-in-your-children-s-ministry

Children’s ministry leaders have a great deal of responsibility, and sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with every little task that needs performing. Here, however, is a list of things for leaders not to do when it comes to their ministry:

  1. Don’t tell kids to sit still and be quiet in church.  
  2. Don’t place volunteers where they are not gifted.
  3. Don’t teach rules without relationship.
  4. Don’t baptize kids who don’t understand what they are doing.
  5. Don’t do events or programs just because you’ve always done them.
  6. Don’t correct or confront by email.
  7. Don’t be afraid of feedback.
  8. Don’t treat fifth-graders like first-graders.
  9. Don’t neglect your time with Jesus.
  10. Don’t surround yourself with people just like you.
  11. Don’t talk more than you listen.
  12. Don’t make parents wait in line.
  13. Don’t believe your press reports ... good or bad.
  14. Don’t do things that someone else should be doing.
  15. Don’t be “super spiritual.”
  16. Don’t refuse to change.
  17. Don’t be defensive.
  18. Don’t try to lead by title.
  19. Don’t make change a surprise.
  20. Don’t call it childcare.
  21. Don’t skip your vacation.
  22. Don’t equate "deeper" with head knowledge.
  23. Don’t avoid the hard conversation that needs to happen.
  24. Don’t forget to celebrate.
  25. Don’t take shortcuts.
  26. Don’t assume.
  27. Don’t call first-time guests “visitors.”
  28. Don’t compromise on safety and security.
  29. Don’t get up to teach and not be prepared.
  30. Don’t sweep stuff under the rug that needs to be dealt with.
  31. Don’t make guests guess where to go.
  32. Don’t ignore volunteer-to-child ratios.
  33. Don’t rely on a DVD player to be your teacher.
  34. Don’t be alone with a child ... ever.
  35. Don’t ask volunteers to stay over and serve one more service.
  36. Don’t skip adult worship.
  37. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  38. Don’t get so immersed in ministry that you don’t enjoy ministry.
  39. Don’t try an object lesson or game during the service without first making sure it works ahead of time.
  40. Don’t say yes to everything people want to put on your children’s ministry calendar.
  41. Don’t expect everyone to like you or what you do.
  42. Don’t bore kids at church.
  43. Don’t tolerate disunity.
  44. Don’t use the word need when recruiting volunteers.
  45. Don’t make kids feel like they are going back to school on the weekend.
  46. Don’t whine.
  47. Don’t require parents to serve.
  48. Don’t fly solo.
  49. Don’t get too comfortable with the way things are.
  50. Don’t forget to say thank you.

What are some other “to don’ts” that need to be on the list? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. Visit Dale at relevantchildrensministry.com.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:00:00 -0500
20 Devastating Effects of Ineffective Children’s Ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20747-20-devastating-effects-of-ineffective-children-s-ministry http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-life/children/20747-20-devastating-effects-of-ineffective-children-s-ministry

Do you ever wonder why some children who grew up in church don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore? Do you ever wonder why the family unit as a whole in your community has been destroyed?

Could it be that the children’s ministry in their church has failed them? Obviously, that’s not the case with all children and families that have gone astray. However, an effective children’s ministry will go a long way in “training up your children in the way they should go.”

Here are 20 devastating effects of ineffective children’s ministry:  

  1. Families in the community remain broken and lost.
  2. Kids grow up and walk away from church.
  3. Dead religion replaces a life-giving relationship.
  4. People become spiritually obese instead of conduits of God's love.
  5. The focus of the ministry turns inward.
  6. The baptistry is dry.
  7. Very few guests walk through the doors, and when they do, they don't return.
  8. People spend their time at church arguing over petty things that have no bearing on eternity.
  9. Kids think church is a boring, irrelevant place.
  10. Scripture information is taught without life application.
  11. Kids know about Jesus but don’t know Jesus.
  12. The congregation grows more predominately gray each year.
  13. Volunteering becomes a duty to be endured instead of an opportunity to impact the next generation.
  14. Parents have to make their kids come to church with them.
  15. Kids see the Bible as a rule book instead of a love letter.
  16. Parents aren't equipped to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children.
  17. Programs and events that have run their course and are no longer fruitful are perpetuated.
  18. Children's ministry becomes known as childcare instead of one of the most important ministries in the church.
  19. The children's ministry becomes a silo and sees other ministries as "competition" for resources and volunteers.
  20. A busy but unproductive calendar is maintained.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. Visit Dale at relevantchildrensministry.com.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

]]>
shawn.akers@charismamed.com (Dale Hudson) Children Mon, 24 Feb 2014 20:00:00 -0500