When I asked one of my new graduate students to give me a metaphor that would describe her coaching experience from the beginning until now, she paused and thought. So I waited for any response, then it came. She said, “David and Goliath.” “Can you elaborate on that thought?” I inquired.
“Well, when I started out in children’s ministry, I was so ill prepared that I read all the resources I could. I found children’s leaders on the Internet, blogs and Facebook and Kidology. I was just overwhelmed with all the great things everyone else was doing. So I was attempting to be like them. I wanted to be ‘like the big boys—the Giants in children’s ministry.’ I really did not have the skills or the training to copy them, and much of what worked for them, was not working for me. I wanted to be a Giant, like them! It was just so intimidating. However, I continued to make attempts to impress others with my Giant efforts—wanting to be something I was not.”
She discovered in her searching for help, that Kidology was offering a Black Friday Special for their Kidology Coaching Program. She took advantage of the sale—not really knowing just what the program involved. She was assigned her personal-ministry coach and the mentoring/coaching process began.
It is normal for a coach to take a while to figure out just how to work with a new student. She was only responsible for one children’s church hour on Sunday. She was paid part-time to oversee about 30 kids, but she was making attempts to impress me with her efforts. It was not until I had a brief conversation with her Pastor on the phone one day, that I got the clue how I needed to work with her. She was such a willing worker, that she would volunteer to do whatever was needed to help the church, which was distracting to her concentration on children’s ministry.
That is when things changed for us. We decided to work on a job description, which she did not have. We eliminated everything that was extra curricular to accomplishing her ministry. Then she became accountable for how she was managing her tasks by recording her daily routines. She started planning more and pre-thinking her program. More children came. She responded to the need to provide activity for the children between services—it was called Connection Time. Then her Children’s Church was too big for the room. She recruited more leaders and divided the program. Now she was overseeing three ministries—we adjusted the job description. The rooms were quite dated and needed some renovation and upgrading, so we worked on a remodeling plan. I sent her $10 for an investment project and she raised over $2,000 that she applied to the room makeover plan. The Pastor began to take more notice in her Monday morning emails to him called “Sunday Wins.” So when some problems surfaced with the Nursery, he asked her to look in on it. She did and the problems were solved. Now she was overseeing four programs and we changed the job description again.
The couple that was teaching the children on Wednesday night had some personal problems and had to step down. The position opened up, so the Pastor asked her to fill in for a few weeks. So she tentatively filled in, thinking another would be assigned to take her place, but no one came forward. She continued serving Wednesday nights, more kids were coming and parents were responding to the enthusiasm of their children. He could not find a replacement. He never replaced her. Now she was overseeing five ministries with a job description.
She was a bothered when the Pastor picked another couple to run VBS and she was asked to assist them, she really wanted to lead it, but it was not her place, so she humbled herself and was compliant. We talked our way through that time. The next year the Pastor asked her to oversee and lead VBS. We worked on her plans to improve the former efforts, which she did. She set a goal of 120 kids and 148 showed up. It was a very successful effort.
The Kidology Coaching Program has helped my student to become a David, a humble disciplined servant that has learned to trust God to take down giants. God now is doing a mighty work in my student. We are seeing a change in her orientation—A David and not a Goliath perspective!
Her children’s ministry has grown to over 100 children during our Kidology Program. She will be joining the graduate program in February and aspires to be a full-time children’s pastor.
By Jessica Klinker
About 12 years ago, during my first year as a Children’s Director, we were celebrating our AWANA Pinewood Derby. I was still nervous speaking in front of adults (actually, I still am). I asked our AWANA missionary to give our devotion for this night. I waited and waited, the Derby had started and our missionary was still not there. I called and there was no answer. Finally, five minutes before the devotion, I get an answer. There too much rain. The missionary was not coming. Ugh!
You know, that moment when you are so stressed, you feel like your heart is going to explode? Or, that you might throw up? This was that moment.
I saw my friend our Youth Pastor and I frantically said, “Will you start praying?” I had no idea what I am going to say. We prayed and up to the stage I walked, feeling like I was going to disappoint everyone.
I started talking about the races and what a great job the kids had done designing their cars and then, suddenly, I was quoting Paul from 1 Corinthians.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly, I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I may not be disqualified for the prize.”—1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Now you need to realize that I have read this verse many times, but had never memorized it. Then, this peace came over me, as I let everyone know that each of us had a race to run in life. “Yours might be very different then mine. Your race may be about sharing Christ with others from school or work. Maybe, it could be loving your neighbors and leading them or your teammates to Christ.”
That night, God gave me the vision of what my race was all about. (I had known that I was made for children and that I wanted to lead children to Jesus.) But that night, standing there in front of those “runners,” I had a vision of me driving a bus to heaven filled with children!
I shared this with the audience and finished by praying with them that God would give them a vision for what their race would be about.
I left the stage in peace and shock. I had never felt the Holy Spirit, so strongly and literally working through me. This vision has stayed with me to this day. It remains true for God’s ministry in my life. Since that time, I have been aware that my ministry with children has been about filling that bus!
Whether you are a Kidology Coaching Graduate, current student, or looking to discover what Kidology Coaching is all about – this will be a weekend that can transform you and your ministry.
The Kidology Coaching Summit is an intimate Coaching Retreat limited to a very small group of children’s ministry professionals who will enjoy a unique weekend of professional enrichment with Karl Bastian and his team of trained coaches. Attendees will be able to address specific areas of need as well as be challenged in new areas. Both one on one and group sessions will address specific areas of need as well as general areas of leadership and administration.
It will be a weekend of Equipping and Encouraging like you’ve never experienced!
Students will go home with practical advice, a clear sense of purpose, and with the accountability and guidance needed to follow through on the decisions and lessons learned. This is a personalized training event for the professional leader.
• Meet the Kidology Coaches
• Enjoy Dinner at Karl Bastian’s Home
• Spend a Day in Breckenridge at the Grand Lodge on Peak 7
• Benefit from one on one and group coaching experiences
Register today for this unique experience!
Our vision is to resource remote Village Evangelists in India. Two years ago we established Seven Resource Centers that now serve 222 rural evangelists who have NO visual resources to reach unreached people. This trip to India we will establish Eight More Resource Centers. It works much like a lending library—check it out, return it, get something else. This is a partnership with Kidhelper Resources, Creative Children’s Ministries, Sathyam Ministries and Whittier Area Community Church. Michael LaFond and I will travel to train eight Managers, the day before Easter April, 2014
Can we learn about ministry from Noah? Yes! It is important to establish for yourself how you go about developing your ministry. There seems to be a process, a pattern that I can objectively talk about that I refer to as my ministry process. It is like getting your story together. Another analogy might be: This is how the ducks line up, you know, getting all ducks in a row. There seems to be a few consistent patterns.
With over fifty years of experience in watching how God has worked with me about Special Projects, I have had to trust Him. I am coming to some conclusions about how God leads me. While, I think it might be presumptuous to try to create a project formula for others based upon my own experience, I think there are some parameters that might apply to most of us.
This first step might start from an invitation, a phone call, a letter, some conversation, a need or a desire the Lord has placed in my heart while praying. However, the next step is always personal.
1. Start with Time with God
He puts a burden on your heart that He wants me to do something. It can come in lots of ways, but the clue is I find myself praying about something bigger than I can do and I recognize I need His help. I find I have questions in this phase, where I am asking God to show me his plan and how this fits. I need His help.
2. Write out Some Tentative Plans
Next, for me, I find myself thinking about this enough where the only relief is to just write it down. I tend to try to figure it out, that is, play out “what if” scenarios and pre-think on paper. This tends to lead towards some written formulation of an action plan, that I do nothing with, at first. I leave it and wait. This is held tentatively. I do nothing—but think, pray and wait
3. Waiting and Praying
The burden increases! I might be praying about making another trip to India, another vehicle or a new computer. But I have no money or resources to make that happen. This might be the birth and death of the vision. It becomes impossible. So I learn this is not about me, it is more about God doing what He wants with me. An effort is made to visualize the project, like get a drawing or picture to make a brochure.
4. Watching and Counsel
Now I am waiting to hear someone or something said about what I am considering. I might “test the waters” by sharing a little bit with others, a chance to get some counsel, seek some wisdom from the input of others. I might “knock on a few doors,” to see what’s there. It is not about being aggressive. It is still being tentative. I am still asking, seeking and knocking—building my story. Doing my homework, exploring the project.
5. Looking for a Token of Encouragement
This might be some verbal support, or some “seed” money—which deepens your conviction. It might be an invitation, a conversation, a phone call, or the influence of a conference. It might be a metaphor or an object lesson. I have actually had a child make my first contribution to start the ball rolling. There are those “launchers” that God uses to “open the gate” for a new direction. He uses the “sustainers” build momentum for a project. He uses “closers” to finish a project. They have faith in your story. At this stage, it is always about a faith response with the assurance that He is confirming His direction for me. So I speak with certainty about the plan now, which requires faith and conviction—maybe even your passion.
6. Wait for More Confirming Circumstances
At this point, the plan is more public. This where the work is involved to implement the plan. I am talking about my plans, gathering the pieces to make my story compelling. I make a brochure or a flyer for the project plans. I might contact known supporters for prayer and potential involvement. From a position of confirmation and “seed money” and let others know what my opportunity is about. This always involves moving out in faith by taking another step forward and watching God work things out for me. Sometimes the provision is slow and sometimes it is amazingly fast.
Challenge: So I am suggesting that you seriously consider these parameters and see how they apply to your experience. Finding your Ministry Process for new projects is what we have in mind here. Your ministry process applies to other areas of your ministry. So maybe we can learn from what Noah accomplished with his project?
Hitting your finger, instead of the nail, is a painful way to learn How Things Work. Hitting the nail on the head takes some practice and a steady stroke.
A Systems Approach
The systems approach to How Things Work is helpful to understand here. If you take a rubber band around all your fingers and move one finger, the pressure is felt on the others. So what happens to one, somehow impacts the others in a system. When one member is sick in a family, it impacts them all. In a Staff, when one is not pulling their weight, that one might have an impact on the total ministry. In an Elder run church, decisions made at that level trickle down into the staff and congregation, whether it is a decisive or indecisive decision. Every church has a culture—“the way we do things here!” When you understood How Things Work, you have more permission to “work the system.”
Every church culture requires a leader who can understand How Things Work. Failure to do so could hurt a whole lot more than hammering your fingers. Learning to assess policies, procedures and protocols can help you get things done. Challenging the system on every hand can be laying the groundwork for your departure. Unfortunately, I have seen it happen.
Here are few things to watch for that might assess How Things Work in your Church.
1. Watch and Listen! You can learn a lot by observing and the keeping your ear to the ground. Do not interfere, if you perceive it to be privileged information. Don’t share it!
2. Ask Questions and Keep Confidential No one will trust you, if they feel you cannot keep information confidential. There is a time to gather information. You will learn more by being quiet about what you know. Teachable moments will come later.
3. Notice how decisions are made. Is there a pattern in the way decisions are made? Can anyone else make a decision, except the Pastor? “It’s your program, you decide, but check back with me first?” Do staff members have both trust and authority?
4. Observe how problems are solved. Are problems really solved or just handled temporarily? Are people processed well with the resolutions or details associated with outcomes?
5. Has there ever been any Church Discipline? How was that handled? Was there any opportunity for restoration or restitution? Were there any winners and losers? What was the role of forgiveness and grace?
6. How would you describe the Church’s state of health? Financial condition? Saying one thing—doing another? Are they involved in the community? Surviving? Flourishing? Any People Blindness here?
7. Is there a Program Priority? Some Programs are always funded first with no discussion? This program can dominate agendas and gets on the calendar first—it just goes without saying. Is it assumed?
8. Describe What Works in Writing. Writing down what works helps you to understand the pattern used for getting things done. Have you noticed any leveraging to get things done? Are there some “land mines” to avoid? Are there any “sacred” cows?
9. Observe how a New Idea Gains Momentum for Change in the System. Pastor goes to a conference and comes home with new program idea. Can you observe the implementation process with the staff and power structure? Where is the push back?
10. Good Ideas Are My Ideas! Bad Ideas Are Your Ideas! Is there consideration and respect for alternative thinking associated with problem solving? Can authority be challenged? Can anybody else be right? Does someone need the credit?
This is another reason why the Kidmin should not introduce too much change in the first year. Understanding How Things Work is vital to being able to affect the system in some permanent ways. Change should be deliberate, thoughtful and in small increments with plenty of time for “processing the troops.” Understanding How Things Work can help you make change work better and longer.
Usually, the term Legacy refers to an amount of money or property left to someone in a will upon death of another. However, it can be an inheritance, a gift, a body of work, where the benefactors are friends or members of your family. Anything that you are “known for” accomplishing in your lifetime (even intellectual property) is possible to be bequeathed. These are legacy materials that could be passed on to others.
1. Living a Legacy: Create Your Own Legacy!
A Full life lived with abundant effort of skills, talents and a body of work takes a lifetime to accumulate. For some, determining what the focus of the Legacy will be is not rocket science. It might have to do with 10,000 hours of effort (see Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers). So the Legacy is usually about how one’s life has been lived. What’s dominant? I think you can choose what you want your legacy to be. In general, I have lived my life about reaching and teaching children. However, in particular, I have been about evangelism of children throughout all of my adult life—over 50 years now. Whatever your life has been about qualifies as your legacy of choice. This choice can help create your own legacy!
2. Lead a Legacy: Champion Your Own Legacy!
With all the years of experience, I began to see that I could leverage my years of experience into becoming a leader in my own field of legacy endeavor. Earning the right to lead based upon the accumulative years of experience qualifies one to take on some leadership. However, reading, writing and speaking about evangelism of children is what this movement of children’s evangelism is about.
So deciding to take leadership and establishing my own legacy could really be an option. I now see myself as a leader of my own legacy. This legacy of children’s evangelism is the bequest I will leave to those that follow me. It has been my writing that has helped me to understand that I am leveraging my life’s work for those that follow me. However, it has been my coaching experience that has added influence to establishing this legacy. I will probably be more known for my writing and coaching leaders than all my years of speaking to children. However, it was my experience that has qualified me to write and coach. Talking about it! Writing about it! Encouraging others who also share our Legacy. All this combines to focus leadership on our legacy. We should not be timid about becoming a Champion for our Own Legacy. It seems me that my legacy is encompassed in my life’s vision: Creatively evangelizing children and helping others to do the same.
3. Leaving a Legacy: Celebrate Your Legacy!
Obviously, if you are living your legacy and leading your own legacy, then leaving your legacy, involves the distribution of your accumulated treasure. This is the result of living your planned life. You cannot take very much with you, but you can leave something behind for your family, friends and protégé’s. I am giving thought to this idea since I have turned seventy. I am contemplating how I will distribute my accumulated experience, my worldly goods, and my collected ideas. It is now my ambition to “Put a Bow” on this Legacy Donation I wish to leave. If I do not, then others will have to decide for me in my absence. Why not participate in the process and celebrate the legacy?
I am Living My Dream!
You might think that you are too young to be thinking about choosing your legacy. But the truth is you have already begun, and you may not even know it yet. I was not aware of what my life was really going to be about for many years. However, as the years went by and my experience has grown, so has my awareness of what my legacy has become. Legacy is about your choices, your efforts, your being intentional.
So here is the Challenge—Identify the legacy early, so you can live it, lead it and leave it for others to enjoy. Leave something significant behind!
What is your life about? What do you want to be known for? Can you begin to enjoy your legacy now?
What can you do to take leadership of your legacy?
What form will you leave your legacy? Can you see yourself celebrating your kidmin legacy?
It may be helpful to explain two very divergent approaches for Creatives. The first is the deductive approach called Reductionism—“How does this work?” The emphasis is upon taking something apart to determine how it works. The second is the additive approach called Emergence—“What is this?” This is based on the formula: A + B = C. When one thing is added to something else, it becomes yet another entity.
We are impressed with Kidmin who are creative. We enjoy the fruit of their creativity. However, our Creative God made us like Him, creative! So we have the ability to create. Creativity is not a gift or a talent. It is, however, a way of operating. So, if we practice some creative habits, we too, could experience creativity in our ministry. Creativity is an act of the will. By deliberately adding your skills and talents to the practice of creative habits, creativity will emerge!
Here are Six Creative Habits that Creatives Use.
1. Work at Mastering your Talent and Skills Creatives make the time to master their talents/skills. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s research in his book Outliers, he projects that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a talent or skill, whether it is a sport, writing, art, singing, storytelling or magic. This means that the accumulation of experience matters for Creatives. They do not quit—they keep trying. By adding mastery to your talents and skills, something emerges!
2. Discover How New Ideas Happen for YOU Creatives understand how new and fresh ideas come to them. They are very aware how the mind and body work to produce solutions to problems. Rising early seems to be common to most Creatives. They have found when these idea-friendly times occur. Creatives master these idea-producing techniques. They keep repeating them, and when they do, something always emerges!
3. Capture Ways to Record Your Ideas Creatives have deliberate ways to collect their new ideas. They even know when the creative ideas come in their day: driving, sleeping, walking, etc. They might use 3 x 5 cards, a note pad, a white board, a journal, a recording device, a smart phone or other such capturing techniques. They are always prepared for an idea and have a quick way to capture it. I have made notebooks, even written journals. For several months I purposed to invent a new magic trick every week. When you add retrieval systems (or Evernote) to your talents and skills, something emerges.
4. Designate A Creative Space—the Work Place! The work place is where creative work happens! It can be the office, a workshop, a special chair or even a serene quiet research-type environment. Some Creatives require a clean spacious work place, while others work best in clutter with resources all around them. But what is common to all Creatives? They know the environment where they are most productive. Add the right work place to your talents and skills, and something will emerge!
5. Find a Network of Like-Minded Creatives It helps to be in relationship with other Creatives, like our selves. It stimulates creative ideas. The cross-pollinating of ideas is a fertile garden for harvesting creative projects. Sharing your process helps to get feedback. Engaging in a creative network with your talents and skills, something emerges!
6. Prune Your Efforts: Eliminate and Concentrate We all have the same amount of time in a day. Creatives tend to eliminate time wasters and have the ability to concentrate their efforts on the creative process to produce results. Anything that is a distraction or a time robber is somehow eliminated. They tend to remove themselves to work in isolation. Being able to eliminate distraction and concentrate on your talents and skills, something emerges!
Challenge: By adding these habits to your process you can increase your creative ability and something will emerge. Are you aware of the time you are putting into mastering your skills and talents? Experiment with how new ideas come you. Have you noticed any patterns? Do you have a way to capture ideas? Are you sharing your ideas with others who are likeminded? Are you able to remove yourself from distraction and those who can rob your best efforts? Work your ideas!
B. Kinard ©2013, Rights reserved, www.Kidhelper.com
Did you know there are 7,000 varieties of apples in the world? But they are all apples! Did you know there are over 1,000 varieties of bananas? But they are all bananas! Every fruit is a unique kind, but each kind has multiple varieties. When I have traveled overseas, I have encountered varieties of fruit common to here, but very different in size, color and shape.
Like these kinds of fruits, there are different varieties of ministries. This summer I attended a Luis Palau Conference with 150 evangelists. I noticed that all these evangelists had difference expressions of evangelism. Even though there were different manifestations of their giftedness—they were all very gifted evangelists! This diversity creates their unique identity—how they become known.
This is also true among children’s ministers. Not all children’s ministers are the same. There are varieties in children’s ministry, but by the same Spirit who manifests diversity among us. Much of children’s ministry is very much alike from church to church. However, the longer we serve the more our uniqueness shows up.
What is your unique identity or your signature contribution to children’s ministry? For some this identity comes quickly, for others it is a process that takes time. Usually, we have some help with this. Others speak up about who we are and what we do. However, once we find it, this identity becomes the content of your “Marketing Brand.”
So here some things to consider that might help you identify your unique brand of ministry to children.
1. Find a Creative Name This name becomes the “essence” of you—what you do in the world of kids. It needs to be unique. It needs to identify you and the “niche” that you can fill in the Kidmin world—not a copy of someone else’s brand. This can take some time in ministry to discover, but a great find! (Kidhelper, Kidologist, Storylady, Kidartologist, Kidmagnet)
2. Visually Represent Your Name Identity Find a photo, a graphic, or a logo. This avatar will be your quick reference brand that is always about you. You want it to stand out and not be confused with others.
3. Discover a Tagline, Slogan or a Subtitle. This by-line kind of tag that modifies or explains your brand name—what you are really about. Go to your own personal vision for this—hopefully, it is related. Example: Encourage and Equip children’s ministry leaders!
4. Develop Meaningful Graphics These words could be symbolized in a graphic or avatar. Then it can be used in brochures and publications describing your identity graphically. This features the memorable aspects of your brand, so that it stands out. This is like a “visual stamp” that identifies you and your brand.
5. Find Repetitive References The challenge is to make use of your logo, tagline, graphic in all your printed material. (i.e., stationery, business card, letterhead, brochures, flyers, and social media, email, Internet, etc.)
6. Describe your Services Honestly Find a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is what you advertise and market. Be sure followers feel you lived up to your brand promises. If you’re a one-person business, your brand personality might resonate with your personality.
7. Stand for Professionalism Set a high standard when using your branding. Live up to your slogans and promises. It is better to under promise, and over deliver. Avoid promoting what you do not have in place. There is a big difference between what you want to do and what you have a track record of actually doing.
Challenge: Pray for your brand, and develop this identity! Once you find it, embrace it. It will grow with you.
B. Kinard ©2013, Rights reserved, www.Kidhelper.com
In Torrance, CA there is this Tackle Shop that has this advertising slogan on their Signage: “We Make Fishing More Catching.” I have thought about this as a slogan for children’s evangelists. It has been my purpose to make fishing more catching. It is not my personal resolve to just “feed the fish.” After all Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you, fishers of men.” For me, making you is equal to making fishing more about “catching.”
Therefore, any serious student of fishing soon becomes aware that certain methods seem to make fishing more about catching. Having a tackle box full of your best “top-notch,” “sure-fire” equipment, does not guarantee the well-intentioned fisherman will catch fish. Obviously, some technique and skill are required! However, having plenty of good tackle options, surely, could help. Having the right lure, for the right time, for the right fish is good fishing savvy.
We can take some lessons from fishing in Children’s Ministry. Our lures are the visuals aids that both teach and reach kids for Christ. Having a toolbox filled and ready for any time use is the issue of being prepared.
When I attend conferences and workshops on children’s ministry I usually make it my goal to learn about one new “lure” that I can take home to use in my ministry. You could acquire many more than one, for sure, but to master just one—the best one—is more challenging. (Rather than buying a lot and not using them.)
So let’s just check out some of our time-tested fishing lures. Adding these items to your Tackle Box is readiness for Fishing—Making Fishing More Catching!
1. Begin collecting a few really good object lessons you can use anytime, anywhere.
2. Put into your repertoire twelve awesome gospel magic tricks.
3. Learn and be prepared to sing six children’s choruses anytime.
4. Rehearse and be ready to tell six illustrated Bible Stories for children.
5. Have a least six good, clean jokes for children ready to share—whenever.
6. Learn a couple of routines that you can use by twisting balloons.
7. Build a collection of six “Droodles” that you can draw to engage the curiosity of kids.
8. Learn a couple of number puzzles that you can use with paper and pencil.
9. Collect a couple of pocket games that you can use anytime with kids.
10. Find and be ready to perform six pocket gospel magic tricks.
11. Learn one routine to use for a Peeper Finger Puppet.
12. Learn and master one coin trick that you can use anytime. (Scotch and Soda, French Drop)
13. Work on one-rope magic trick you can use anytime, anywhere.
14. Master the use of the Wordless Book and get a Flipper Flapper.
15. Get an EvangeCube in your repertoire.
Here is an issue! The diversity of “whiz-bang” lures in your Tackle box will not catch kids! You have to do that! Not every lure is good for every kid. You have to experiment with what works—when and were. Some lures are not Gospel lures—they are just effective attention getting lures that might always work for attracting kids. Some kids you attract will not be caught—someone else may get those. You have to ask God to lead you to the kids that He has prepared for you and then you get to select just the right lure to catch them for Jesus. Pray that you will catch these little wigglers!
Challenge: Here are some ways to acquire more expertise in your fishing by adding some lures to your tackle box. Add these and add some effective gospel lures (see Pocket Tools).
Let’s Make Fishing More Catching!
B. Kinard ©2013, Rights reserved, www.Kidhelper.com