Free Curriculum from Hillsong Kids: iPromise

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My friends over at Hillsong are giving away a curriculum series they came up with for their  Kidsong conference (a part of the wider Hillsong Conference), where they presented the theme of iPromise. A nine part series on the promises found in the word of God for our kids.

We have used Hillsong curriculum as a summer curriculum for a few years and our kids love it. The small groups are creative and engaging, the production value of their videos is among some of the best I’ve found in kids ministry curriculum.

Dave, Becki, Nathan, Dan and the team do a fantastic job. I had the pleasure of hanging with them this summer for a few days and I so moved by their down to earthiness and their passion for the local church. Love those guys!

If you have never used their curriculum before here is your chance to test drive 9 weeks for free. Use it for the summer to mix it up for your kids and volunteers, use it for VBS, or a family outreach. What you do get, is everything you need to run a 60/90/120 minute service for 9 weeks with your kids. Give it a chance I’m sure you will be glad you did.

Free Bible Lesson Jonah: Book of Repentance

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Book of Repentance
What is Repentance- How to tell God your sorry

Key Point – Repentance means change!
Memory Verse –  2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…”

Skit –    Kids playing with kickball one kid hit another says he’s sorry doesn’t mean is another kid does the same but apologizes and means it. Difference is in their attitude. – Through this skit convey to the kids that you can say something but unless you truly mean it, what you say is just words. We can say the words with our mouth but unless we mean it with our heart it is not true repentance, because God sees our hearts. When we say we are sorry to God and to each other it must come from our heart. If we are truly sorry and it comes from our heart our actions will change we will not do the same thing over and over again.

Lessons for the long haul: Jim Wideman

SamLuce.com Podocast: Questions Leaders Ask
Lessons for the long haul: Jim Wideman
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I had a short lived idea to do a video podcast that I called TakeTen. It would TakeTen minutes to make and TakeTen minutes to listen to it. My idea was to interview different people in kidmin for ten minutes and release it as a podcast unedited and uncensored. The video aspect didn’t work so well so I thought I would turn the idea into a podcast.

I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off TakeTen the podcast and wrap up my Long Haul series than to do an interview with one of the men I respect most deeply in my life Jim Wideman. He has truly been in it for the long haul. There a very few people out there who have the influence in kidmin that he has had over the past 30 years.

So TakeTen minutes and listen to what Jim has to say about the long haul. You’ll be glad you did. It is unedited and raw I don’t change anything. So if I make a mistake (something I do often) you can point your proverbial internet finger and laugh at me.

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Lessons for the long haul: Build a team.

When I stared in kids ministry as a volunteer the only model out there was what I call the one-man show model. To do kids ministry you had to be able to do puppets, juggle, ride a unicycle and do a “gospel illusion” all at the same time.

I learned the value of team from working in kids ministry with my family. When I was a teenager my family all did kid’s ministry together. My youngest sister did registration, my dad did the Bible story, my mom was the disciplinarian, my other sister and I did all the skits, puppets and object lessons. We were a team. A sort of Von Trap Family of the children’s ministry scene. I learned from working with my family that we were more effective when we are playing to our strengths.

Fast forward to me becoming a kids pastor and everyone around me was telling me I needed to be a one man show. I was new and didn’t know better. I tried it and succeeded to an extent. I was the kids pastor – I was the hero of every kid. I have read a few blog posts that say that you need to be a pastor of kids because kids need to have a pastor they can call their own. I disagree. This feeds into that one man show mentality. Simply put you will not last and what you build will not last if you don’t build a team.

If I would have know that, and had someone say that to me so clearly when I was starting out in kids ministry it would have freed me to go further faster as a leader. I had seen team ministry in action long before. It was the norm, but because I didn’t have anyone around me telling me that the best thing I can do as a children’s pastor is build a great team, I had to discover over a few years that team is better than any one person alone. The kids in our ministry don’t need just me, they need an adult who cares about them, who can’t wait to see them, and who believes the best in them.

The best thing I can do for the person who takes my place is build a team that reaches and inspires and connects with kids in far more ways than I ever could. If I want to last for the long haul I need to inspire, train, equip and get out of the way and allow God to work through a team committed to reaching the kids God has called us to reach.

If you want to last for the long haul build a team!

Lessons for the long haul: Be a self feeder

Here is an excerpt from an article about being a self-feeder I wrote for K! Magazine. If you don’t subscribe you need to.

Being a self-feeder is a must for any growing healthy Christian.  It is even more essential for those involved in leading kids. We are often in that position of giving out and pouring into kids and families. Without learning this principle we will dry up and burn out. It’s imperative that we not neglect our own spiritual growth. So what does it look like “to fill your own tank”?  Here’s a few things you can do:

Read Your Bible

It’s not a textbook for ministry, but a guidebook for your personal life. It’s huge. Something that I find intimidating, if not down right frightening, is the fact that you reproduce who you are. I want to make sure I can say to those I am leading, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We live in an amazing time in history, and yet we face some very unique and serious challenges.

One of the challenges we need to overcome is how to produce young people who are passionate about the Bible. There are a million things vying for our attention; we are bombarded by information. Our kids have more options today than we ever had growing up.  That is why we need to be more intentional than ever about reading our bibles.

One of the best ways to get our kids reading their Bibles is to read our Bibles. I think the more we model this to our kids, the more we are going to be able to give them a biblical answer when they need one. The more we read our bibles, the more we are going to shape their world view.  As a result, they will see the value of God’s word in their daily lives. I think we do our kids a huge disservice by treating the Bible as a textbook only to be studied or a storybook to entertain. I think we need to model the Bible to our kids as a handbook for life. If we don’t read it, they won’t read it.

Listen to Podcasts

I am not in the auditorium sitting and listening to the pastor’s sermon very often and when I am, I struggle with my ability to focus on what is being said because my thoughts so often drift to my kids and volunteers. One of the things I have found over the years to help me is to listen to messages during the week when I am able to listen without interruption. I try to get podcasts from my church and from many different leaders from around the country. I have to admit I am like a 13 year old girl buying concert tickets to Hannah Montana, when I am downloading Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast. If you are in ministry and don’t listen to Andy’s podcast – shame on you! Either way, find some podcasts of leaders you like and leaders who stretch you, and you will grow.

Practice Transparent Faith

This could be a whole article in itself, but I think another sign of maturity is transparency. Accountability has been a buzz word for years, and I believe it is very important, but I think as a leader of kids in today’s culture you need to practice, model and teach transparent faith. I grew up in church, and I honestly can’t ever remember any of my pastors talking about a personal struggle, a failure or misstep they had made. Do I think we as leaders should talk openly about everything we are dealing with? No. I do think that creating a healthy church environment starts by doing what James tells us to do: confess our sins to each other that we may be healed.

I often tell kids that there are times when I don’t feel like coming to church. Why do I say this? Because it’s the truth, and the more I can model transparent faith, the greater chance we will have of creating a community that also values it. I believe that people who are far from God can identify more with our transparency than they can with our super-spirituality.

Leverage collaborative connections

The last thing that I believe we need as leaders is other leaders that are fighting along side us. I remember as a young guy starting out in kids’ ministry and not knowing what the heck I was doing.  I would have done anything to have 10 minutes with someone like Jim Wideman or Craig Juntila or anyone for that matter who had been doing kids’ ministry longer than me. When I was starting out, I was not connected to any other kids’ pastors, and I made some bonehead mistakes simply because I didn’t know better. I also did some things well but could have done better had there been other voices speaking into my life.

Fast forward to today, and I can tell you I have met more awesome kids’ leaders in the past year than in all my years of ministry combined. There are so many phenomenal tools like Twitter, www.cmconnect.org and www.kidology.com to help you connect, learn, and grow. Hard to believe that 12 years ago I would’ve had to spend $2,000 to attend a conference to wait in line for the slim chance of asking Brother Jim one question. Today I can sit on my couch, unshowered, eating cheetos while watching the Yankees slaughter the Red Sox , and Tweet my question to Jim (@jimwideman by the way).  I get my response before the baseball game is over. Or I can think of a joke that would make @funnymandan laugh all the way in Australia. That, my friends, is amazing.

If you are not leveraging the power of collaboration, you need to start for your sake, for your kids’ sake and for the kingdom’s sake.