Archives For Leadership

A friend of mine lost a bunch of weight not too long ago. It was the little things, like being sure to exercise 3 days per week, not just two. And he started watching meal portions, and deciding to not eat that afternoon cookie. And within a year, he lost at least 25 pounds.

And a recent study indicates that in order to reduce obesity rates, children need to eliminate an average of 64 calories per day. That means eating one less chocolate chip cookie (90 calories) or drinking less Kool-Aid (4 oz = 60 calories), or it means physical activity for an extra 15 minutes per day. Small choices can add up to big effects.

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I couldn’t believe it when my friend showed me the post-card. “Every six weeks,” she explained, “We get a reminder that it’s our turn to serve in the church nursery.” The problem? They hadn’t been to that church in years! The church had even updated this family’s address in its database, but never caught on to the fact that they had moved two states away.

I vowed to never allow this to happen (actually, I half-jokingly threatened our nursery coordinator to never let this happen). But it also reminded me about ways that I’ve poorly communicated with others — whether volunteers, parents, or other ministry leaders.

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In our Children’s Ministry, we developed a volunteer role called “Coaches,” and we’ve had the opportunity to share these ideas with other churches. This volunteer structure can be incredibly useful in your ministry, whether you have 30 or 60 or 200 or 800 volunteers. And keep in mind that this type of structure is not just applicable for churches and children’s ministries, but any type of organization that is volunteer-dependent and where leadership development is a goal.

What Volunteer Coaches Do

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Stop, Drop and Roll

Barbara Graves —  August 9, 2011

While most kidmin policies and procedure manuals will contain detailed instructions of what to do in the case of a fire or other emergency at your church, few give you instructions on the best way to handle those fires that are “metaphoric” rather than literal.  But in the ministry world, and especially when dealing with kids, I have found that I have needed to address burning situations far more often that I have had to put out bags of burning microwave popcorn that has been cooking for 33.00 rather than 3.30 minutes.  (FYI.  Popcorn will burn, as in, flame, in a microwave and the smell takes 3 days to clear.  Don’t ask me how I know.)

If you haven’t had to put out “fires” in your ministry yet, you must be a new children’s leader, or you are leading alone.  People working together, rubbing elbow to elbow, are certain to eventually cause enough friction that you will need to address.  So, when these situations occur, I go back to the basics that we learned in kindergarten;

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From the Second Chair

Wendy Douglas —  August 2, 2011

I am a second chair leader.

When someone first mentioned this to me, I immediately went back to my band days in school. If you were second chair in band, that meant that there had been a competition and you had lost your chance at first chair. Everyone’s goal was to be first chair and there was a weekly competition for it. That isn’t this kind of second chair experience.

According to Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson, authors of the book Leading from the Second Chair, the definition of a second chair leader is “a person in a subordinate role whose influence with others adds value throughout an organization.”

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Matt Norman —  September 20, 2010

Ok, I know that I am probably the only children’s pastor/worker/ministry leader that has ever done this, but I am going to share anyway just in case. When I took over our children’s ministry and our children’s church, the Pastor and I had a big vision. After spending some time developing this vision into something I felt like I could communicate clearly, I attacked it like an NFL line backer attacks the quarterback. Pushing aside any lineman that might stand between me and my goal, I gave it my all. This worked great, until…..well, until I got tired.  A couple of weeks ago, I was watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play a football game. One of the safeties caught an interception and ran it all the way back, 91 yards, for a touchdown. This was a very exciting play to watch. The Bucs took the lead, and this player took the bench. This worked out ok, because there was another player there to take his place while he recovered from his long sprint. When I took over the children’s ministry I hit it with the same energy as this player running for the end zone. The problem was there was no one to stand in for me while I recovered, and I couldn’t run full speed towards the end zone for an indefinite period of time. This led to a lot of stress and a lot of frustration for me.

I think that this is a trap that many of us fall into at some point during our ministry. For me it was something that my pastor said that ultimately saved me from this frustration. Isn’t it cool how great men and women of God can minister to you without even trying; and often without even knowing it. Isn’t it great how God will give you just the words you need, when you need them the most? Anyways, we were at an evangelism training event at a local church.  As we stood around talking with different pastors before the event started, we spoke with one in particular that shared how he was somewhat frustrated by the amount of stuff that needed to be done and the slowness with which progress seemed to come. My pastor looked at him and said the words that changed my ministry forever. He told this pastor that he was in it for the long haul; that he planned to die at this church. He said once you put it in a long term perspective, the pressure to get things done quickly goes away.

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