A conference created for Volunteers

My good friend Kenny invited me out to Austin Texas to be part of a training event for his volunteers and over the course of the next few weeks he decided to open it up to other churches as well. The result was a God idea. Kenny created an amazing opportunty for churches to take their volunteers to hear people you would normally have to fly to Orange or Kidmin Conference to hear. How cool would it be to take your volunteers to sit under Craig Jutila, Jim Wideman, Gina McClain, Jonathan Cliff, Matt Mckee, Amy Fenton Lee, Michael Chanley or Dan Scott.
The feedback Kenny got was sudden and overwhelming You can read about what he did herehere andhere. Essentially, the idea was to create an incredible experience for his volunteers at Gateway. How many times have you walked out of an incredible breakout at a national conference and said, “Wow! I wish all my volunteers had experienced that!” Unfortunately, most churches can’t provide a “national conference” experience for all the volunteers… unless that church brought the national conference to their volunteers. That’s what Illuminate is.

On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Gateway Church in Austin, TX will host Illuminate for the second time. I’m expecting 600-800 kidmin volunteers/staff for this incredible experience. The breakout and speaker lineup is amazing!

But wait… there’s more!

Illuminate is a huge blessing for kidmin volunteers in Central Texas. Why limit it to just Central Texas? Once all the content and program is developed, doing it again in a new location isn’t really that much work, right?

So on Saturday, August 27, 2011, Westwood Church in Birmingham, AL will host the first Illuminate Conference outside the great state of Texas. How exciting is that? We’ll pack in the same great stuff that made Illuminate successful in Texas, but serve it up Southern Style.

But wait… there’s even more!

Last year Kenny recorded every session and breakout of Illuminate. He intends to record every session and breakout from Birmingham and Austin in 2011 as well. So, what am I going to do with all this great video content? You guessed it. Illuminate is going online. I don’t have specific dates and details yet, but plans are underway and concrete dates will be set this summer. I truly believe in what is happening with Illuminate. I don’t know of any other experience of this magnitude focused at equipping volunteers. Not everyone can get to Austin or Birmingham… but this video content can help anyone, regardless of where they’re coming from.

This year for Illuminate, Kenny’s gathered some of the greatest minds in Kidmin: Jim Wideman, Sam Luce, Jonathan Cliff, Gina McClain, Dan Scott, Matt McKee, Amy Fenton Lee, Michael Chanley and more to be announced. That’s a Kidmin Powerhouse!

So, whether you live in Texas or Alabama (or within a couple ours of the locations) or whether you have a computer with high speed internet, plan to connect with Illuminate this Fall. It could be exactly what you’re volunteers need most. Stay tuned for more details soon.

I am super excited about this. I really think that Kenny is on to something bringing the national conference experience to the local church. Can’t wait for August and November! I hope to see y’all there.

Don’t hesitate. Click here to visit the illuminateconference.tv

Click here to follow Illuminate on twitter

Click here to visit Illuminate on facebook

4 Reasons to send your kids to public school

I’ll start with public school. Here are my reasons why you should send your kids to public school.

1. Resources – Public schools by far have the best funding and because of that they can offer many programs, specialists, and academic help for your kids that you could not get at a private school or provide yourself.

2. Social setting – Unless you start your own business you will work for and with people who are different than you. Learning how to interact, deal and lead people different than you is an invaluable life skill. One I feel that is difficult to learn if you are homeschooled.

3. Our public schools need Gospel Centered kids – You can read through the bible and see how God loves cities I think it breaks God’s hearts if we withdraw from our culture and create a counter culture, just as much if not more than it breaks his heart to see us be absorbed by our culture. We as parents have a responsibility to teach our kids how to demonstrate the Gospel. If our kids are surrounded by kids or family member who believe the same thing they do all the time they never are given space to doubt. When kids do not doubt they do not believe. We have made the mistake of trying to raise moral kids in a immoral culture our goal needs to be to infuse our culture with the gospel that will never happen if he hide in the hills or if we embrace culture with a cheap moralistic faith.

4. Brave vs. Safe – I want my kids to learn to cope with situations that are difficult while they live at home. Situations will come up and I want to teach my kids how to deal with those situations from a gospel perspective when they are young. I have seen to many kids grow up unable to cope because they were surrounded in a cocoon of like mindedness known as Christian school. They graduated when to college and left their faith because they were cut from their cocoon by an atheistic professor because their parents never let their wings grow. As a parent our natural instinct is to protect that is part of our job but more than protect we need to empower. I for the longest time I used to tell my boys to be safe I NEVER do that anymore, I tell them to make wise choices because I want my boys to make a difference not to just be safe.


Lead, Innovate or get left behind.

I always love it when I come across an article like this Jessie Jackson Jr. talking about how the iPad is killing american jobs. When will we learning that clinging to the old ways of doing things and persacuting and blaming the new way of doing things only holds us back from leadership and Innovation.

I am a firm believer that the name iPad is stupid but I digress. We as kids pastors and church leaders need to take a look at the old way of doing things and say what can we change? What can we get rid of so we can innovate and make better. We do the same thing as Jackson. In the church world we cling to old models of doing things way to long, we embrace things way to slowly and we fear change to greatly. Steve Jobs innovates to improve his companies bottom line and has done that through embracing the future. We have so much more at stake than Jobs does but how we lead you would never know it.

We need to lead, innovate or get left behind.

Where should I send my kid to school?

I first asked this question 3 years ago. I found that people very passionately defend where they have their kids. I know some people who feel public school is the only way, other homeschool and still others Christian education. One thing I found found very interesting is that often times parents want to protect their kids from the things they experienced at the schools they attended. The parents who went to public school knew what public school was like and didn’t want that for their kids and  were more likely to want to send their kids to private school and kids who went to private school knew what private school was like and didn’t want that for their kids and were more likely to send their kids to public school.

I struggled with this decision for my oldest son who is going into first grade next year and I am still struggling with it for my middle boy who is going into Pre-K next year. Why do I struggle? Well growing up we moved A LOT. When I say a lot I mean I went to 9 different schools in 13 years. I went to Public, Christian, ACE school, and though I wasn’t home schooled my parents home schooled my youngest sister for a few years. Beyond that I have been a kids pastor in the same church for 14 years. So I have seen the good the bad the ugly when it comes to how parents decide where to school their kids.

We are at that place again in our home as I am sure many of you are. Where should I send my kid to school? I think this is a huge issue every family faces. What if we as kids pastors partnered with parents to help them the best decision for their kids. I don’t know how that would work but I think honestly discussing the options are a good starting point.

In the next few days I want to talk about the reasons why you should and shouldn’t send your kids where you send them.

Another blogger friend of mine who has an amazing parenting blog called EpicParent.tv talked about this very topic yesterday. He tackles this very debate over there.

Happy 4th Birthday Samluce.com

Well last week was a bit crazy lots going on and I totally missed my Blogging birthday back on April 14th. So I am wishing myself  a happy belated birthday. Fun fact about samluce.com is that my blog is 2 weeks younger than my good friend Kenny’s Blog back four years ago the only people that read my blog were Kenny and my mom. I am pretty sure that 4 years being 28 in dog years would be 78 in blog years so Kenny and I are lifelong friends who have know each other 4 years.

I love celebrating my blogging birthday because it helps me take stock and look at the past year of blog posts and see what I have learned and decide if I should continue another year.

Here are some of the highlights for me from the past year.

1. Creating a free Easter curriculum with Gina, Dan, and Jonathan who I met through my blog. It was amazing to see God use each of our talents to bless our individual churches and the #kidmin Community. Here is a link to the post about it.
2. Helping a friend and fellow blogger win Tony’s final four
3. Meeting some other really great people I would have never met any other way.
4. Loved connecting with so many of you at Orange 2010 It was a total blast!

What am I most excited about for this year?

1. Working on a Gospel Centered Christmas Curriculum for 2011 and a special summer curriculum in 2012. With the talented people on board it is going to be a huge blessing for our churches and for the kidmin community
2. Connecting with more of you at Orange, Group’s Kidmin and at Napkin.
3. Blogging about some of the stuff I am passionate about.
4. Building the local church anyway I can.
5. Meeting Andy Stanley (Hey this is my birthday blog I can make a wish before I blow out the candles can’t I)

Well 4 years 975 posts 3417 comments and countless many friends later. I am blessed, and humbled that any of you out there read my blog and am grateful when you chime in. I have grown and learned so much from each of you. If I would have known the huge blessing this blog would be to me 4 years ago I would have started blogging 14 years ago.

You guys are the best!