Lighter Fare: Who am I.

Photo 28Another list I found enlightening and somewhat professionally satisfying to know that as a children’s pastor I don’t have to fit the mold most people have in their minds of what a children’s pastor should or shouldn’t be.
The list is found in this blog post “an abnormal children’s pastor”. Over at Jonathancliff.com. Jonathan has a great blog he has great insight and speaks in a very candid why that I as a new yorker find very refreshing. Go check out his blog good stuff.

I am not sure what his inspiration for this post came from but it reminded me a very funny commercial about a guy explaining why he was proud to be a canadian.

So heres me. My attempt to explain away my abnormalities.

I am a children’s pastor - never wanted to be one, would never want to NOT be one. I always wanted to be a youth pastor growing up, now would not be anything else. It is a dream come true. to work with kids and families. I LOVE IT.

I am a man – this may seem obvious but there are not tons of us. I found this out the hard way. At a Children’s Pastor conference I went to in the midwest all the men’s bathrooms were converted to women’s bathrooms (ouch) and there were still lines for the ladies room!

I hate flannel graphs – My rule is if you have electricity in your building, city, village. You shouldn’t be using them EVER!

I Love Punk Rock. I know it’s a long way from father Abraham. I like other music to, actually anything but rap or hardcore. I do love worship music as well and my favorite kids worship albums by far are anything hillsong kids.

I think Walt Disney was a genius. Some people would consider it heresy. I am so amazed at his ability to tap into the child with in all of us and create experiences that are so amazing then when you have kids you want them to share the same experiences you had as a kid. There are definitely some things the church could learn from Walt.

I believe that youth ministry and children’s ministry should be and are inseparable.

I believe that kids ministry today is where youth ministry was in the 80′s – Speaking of which the 80′s was the best decade so far a deadly combination of Hair and spandex. I believe children’s ministry is beginning to move in the minds of the masses from child care to authentic ministry much like youth ministry did starting in the 80′s moving into 90′s.

I like dogs not cats. – Don’t like cats to moody, to freaky.

One day I would love to make a documentary. – it may not be christian or a cartoon and it definitely won’t have Kirk Cameron in it.

David letterman is way funnier than Jay Lenno - even though Jay Lenno is a much nicer guy. Who I met 13 years ago at an in-and-out burger joint in LA.

I think that church should engage each sense in a positive way at every age but especially kids. – Please note positive way and no moth balls are not a positive engagement of the senses.

I believe children’s ministry is the most important ministry in the church.

I read blogs not magazines. – I guess I would chalk it up to interactivity being able to interact with the author of the article something magazines don’t provide.

I have never worn and never plan on wearing a larry the cucumber tie or bob the tomato t-shirt. – actually my favorite clothing store is Guess.

I talk to people like people – one of my biggest pet peves is when I meet someone who can’t turn off they good morning boys and girls voice and they use it in private conversation and when talking to the whole church.

I don’t believe in announcement recruitment. I believe in relevant exciting programs, compelling vision, and the power of the “the ask”. Most leaders don’t use sign up sheets, most if not all of my top leaders came because of a personal invitation.

I think creating a fun, holy spirit, lifechanging, everlasting environment is not about what you have, but who you are and most importantly who you know.

Lighter Fare: Top 5 TV.

zpseinfeldcartoon
I have come across loads of lists in Children’s Pastor Blog Land so I though I would join the fray. The first list was inspired by Pudge Huckaby. A guy who is passionate about reaching kids and likes doing things outside the box (my kind of guy).

He wrote a post last week listing his top five TV shows. I do however respectfully disagree with Pudge that Friends is the best sitcom ever……obviously Seinfeld wins hands-down in my book. I still to this day laugh out loud at almost every episode.

Here are my top 5.

Now

Lost
survivor
Heroes
The Office
The Amazing Race

EVER

Seinfeld
frasier
24 (before the writers became drunk with their own success)
In the Line of Duty
MacGyver
A-Team
The Cosby Show

What are your top 5?

Be Attitudes: BE CONSISTENT

friendship-circle-quilt-block-2In Uptown our Be Attitudes are:
1. BE SAFE
2. BE COURTEOUS
3. BE ENGAGING
4. BE CONSISTENT

This is the last of our Be Attitudes and preparation for the weekend kept me from posting the final attitude. The first two deal with getting kids to come the last two deal with getting kids to come back again.

In the church world there is always a lot of talk about closing the back door. My take is make the front door larger and once they enter the front door make the experience memorable and lifechanging that they can’t wait to come back next week.

Consistent – I think gets a bad rap. When most of us think consistent we tend to think boring. When I think of consistent I think of Disney. You know what you are going to get and they set the expectation bar very high. I recently went to Disney for 2 days a few weeks ago I hadn’t been there in 16 years nothing had changed yet everything was different. They have mastered the art of keeping the constants constant and changing just enough for things to feel fresh and to leave you wondering what will be different next time you come visit.

We as children’s workers need to be consistent in our message, values and principles, and we need to be every changing in our methods, presentations and containers that holds the never changing truths of Gods’ word.

So Uptown workers, and anyone else reading this. Lets build high expectations. Lets keep the constants…constant, and the changables…..changable.

I leave you with this thought from the Apostle Paul on what should change and what shouldn’t.

1Cor. 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.
1Cor. 9:23 And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
1Cor. 9:24 ¶ Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
1Cor. 9:25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1Cor. 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

Be Attitudes: BE ENGAGING

42-17318003In Uptown our Be Attitudes are:
1. BE SAFE
2. BE COURTEOUS
3. BE ENGAGING
4. BE CONSISTENT

Our next be attitude is be engaging. This is one of the big ones for me. I think most children’s ministries have the safe thing in mind and are courteous. Being engaging puts you in a totally different ballpark. I know in our kids ministry engagement is something I really want to see.

We recently redid our kids wing (plug JMC, plug worlds of wow). I realized one thing early on themeing your kids wing is great but engagement is better. I want to change the way we do church in our kids ministry and in other kids ministries across the nation. I think we need to engage kids from the moment they step foot on our campus’.

I think as children’s workers we need to look beyond our children’s ministry culture at times to see how we are limiting our selves by what has always been done. We need to pray and ask God to open our eyes and ears to see what we are doing that we may think is great but is not engaging the kids we are seeking to reach with the greatest message on earth.

What we are not doing.

1. VBS
2. Harvest Parties
3. Flannel Boards

(Are these things bad, not necessarily, but I want to redefine what church can be and those things take time and effort away from sunday morning (well flannel boards don’t I just hate them) They are usually a huge event with lots of everything and kids come sunday and are disappointed because we as christians are the ultimate bait and switchers. We have huge cool events and sunday is a drag. Stop it. Take the money you would use on events, get the volunteers to commit to make Sunday the best.)

What we are doing.

We are implementing the following formula if you will.

1. Everyone connects with kids all the time.
2. We have a pre-service show – Connect with kids through characters and activities.
3. Main service. We make the Bible story and small group time, relational with kids connecting to their leader and each other.
4. We have a post-service show. Connect with kids and parents through character performances, give-aways, and one-on-one interaction.
5. At the end of the day each volunteer needs to have a name and a face of a kid whose life they impacted through intentional engagement.

I am by no means suggesting that you should do what we are attempting to do. But I will say this, Whatever you do BE ENGAGING. Make it fun, make it memorable, make it stick. As Sue Miller would say “Make it the best hour of their week.”

Be Attitudes: BE COURTEOUS

raterq4As someone from New York I never would have used courteous to describe it. But hey I found this clipping on the internet and we all know that if it is on the internet it HAS to be true. But since New York is the most courteous place on the planet that leads me to our second value in Uptown.

In Uptown our Be Attitudes are:
1. BE SAFE
2. BE COURTEOUS
3. BE ENGAGING
4. BE CONSISTENT

Being courteous. The reason this is our second value. Why courteous? Because like safety, being courteous deals with initial impressions given to new guests and longtime guests alike.

We believe that being courteous will go a long way to battle the presuppositions about church and God. We want every kid to know that God loves them and has a plan for them.

How can we practically “Be Courteous”

1. Smile all the time!

2. Greet each guest by name. Try to greet each parent by name.

3. If any guest needs anything we show not tell

4. We are committed to go the extra mile to create an environment where lifechange is possible.

What are some ways you have found to demonstrate courteousness in your life and/or ministry.