Archives For Planning

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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In the midst of all the seasonal programs that occur in November and December, this is also a great time to evaluate how things are going. The school year tends to bring a lot of activity and newness, but we need to be sure to step back and see the bigger picture.

We all know the tragic story of the RMS Titanic (the largest passenger steamship of its time) hitting an iceberg and sinking on its maiden voyage. Much has been said and written about the mistakes that were made. That is what we can learn – that it wasn’t one error in judgment that resulted over a thousand deaths, but a series of decisions.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and we can always learn from history to make our future better. Without trying to minimize this tragedy, here are some thoughts from what we can learn from the voyage of Titanic, and how you can use them to evaluate and improve your ministry: Continue Reading…

Back to School Already?

Wendy Douglas —  June 13, 2011

It might seem a bit early to start talking about our kids going back to school, but in order to plan activities in advance this is something that we are strategizing in our children’s ministry now. We have only a few months to brainstorm ideas, plan activities, and set these plans into motion. There are a few benefits to having an event ushering in the new school year.

Let’s Talk Transition

Wendy Douglas —  March 31, 2011

The past few weeks I have started thinking about the transition from children’s ministry to jr high ministry that my 5th grade girls will be making in just a few months. I want to make this move as smooth as possible for them, but I also want to be sure that I can prepare them as best as possible too.

Here are a few thoughts:

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Recently, I sat in staff meeting, and we looked back at the year and what God has done in our church. If you are anything like me, then this year has flown by really quickly. With the year moving so fast it is really difficult to take in everything. As we approach a new year, now is the perfect time to look back. So, take some time in the next few days to look back and remind yourself of what God has done through you this past year. I would even recommend that you write these things down, spend some time looking over them, and then file them away. This could be a really cool thing to pull out each year, review, and then add to.

I know that this may be kind of obvious, but now is also the time to look forward into the new year.  Look at what you have accomplished this year, and look at what worked and what didn’t. Look at the things that were really great and remember the things that really bombed. Then, look at how you can duplicate the good, and improve on or replace the bad. Pray over your list from this year and then set some goals for the new year.

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Want to make Christmas 2011 even better than this year?  Here’s 3 things to get now that will be great to have then:

1. A buddy: but not the elf

Everyone needs a buddy, someone who can lend an ear when we are hurt, disappointed, stressed or even angry. Someone who can hear our hurts and disappointments and not be shaken by them.  Everyone needs someone to confide in. And not just for Christmas, but the busy season around the holidays is full of opportunities for stress and differing opinions.   The best “buddy” is someone outside your family and outside your church. That way, if your disappointments or stress is caused by someone else on your ministry staff, you will be able to share your perspective with an objective ear, without causing anyone to feel like they are taking sides. Of course, in the perfect world, there would never be a differing opinion within churches.  Or the differences would be prayed over, agreed upon, and celebrated in a glorious staff meeting that Gabriel himself could preside over.  Again, that’s not the world most of us live and serve in. Hurts may come. They probably will.  But the Bible has an answer for that.  Paul encouraged the Galatians to “carry one another’s burdens.”(Gal 6:2)  A real buddy will listen to your side, give an honest assesment of the situation and pray for you. Get a buddy!

2. A list of Christmas ideas for next year

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This time of year, you see a Santa Claus almost everywhere you look.  No matter where you come down on the issue of Santa, there are still a few things that we can learn from Santa in Children’s Ministry. So, over the course of the next several weeks leading up to Christmas, we will look at a number of things we can learn from the jolly old elf.

The first thing we can learn is, the necessity of… Continue Reading…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” used to be just another Christmas song that you would begin hearing this time of year as the holiday rush heats up and we head into December. In the last few years, a company has also started to use it to mark the beginning of back to school sales in commercials featuring parents with big smiles on their faces and dancing through the aisles.

So, would it surprise you to hear that I think the the most wonderful time of the year for churches is budget time? I have to admit that it’s a time that I really dread.  Budget time is when we see ministries battling for their piece of the proverbial pie. I remember sitting around the table at budget planning meetings when my sole responsibility was our church’s Awana program. We would go around that table, and everyone would present their “dream” budget – what they really wanted for the coming year.  When the dream budgets of the individual programs exceeded the total budget, a new process would start.  We would go around the table once again – this time trying to figure out where we could decrease some of our proposed budgets for individual programs.

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As I have mentioned before I am an ER nurse in my “other job”. Over the course of 14 years of working in the ER I have learned the value of following my instincts, of “going with my gut”. Well, I have also learned the value of this in my ministry. If you are anything like me, Sunday mornings are hard work. There is a lot to get done, and it seems like no matter how prepared you are, there’s always more to be done. Don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE Sunday mornings! For me that is what the rest of the week is all about. Sunday is game day, and I’m not talking about the NFL. However, because of the hectic nature of Sunday, I tend to want to stick to the schedule because it’s easier that way. My tendency is to stick to the script because deviating from it causes stress.The problem with this thought is that sometimes God has different plans. It’s easy to say that our desire is to always follow the Holy Spirit, but if we are honest there have been times when we felt like we should go in a direction other than the one we planned for, and we just didn’t. I have plenty of those under my belt, but I’d like to share a story of one of those times when The Holy Spirit had a plan different from mine and I actually followed it.

It was a Sunday was like any other. I was going along with my lesson as I had planned when I had this strong urge to move to a salvation lesson. This was right in the middle of the service and completely unplanned. In fact this happened during our second service, and I had already been through my planned message once that morning. Despite this, I had an undeniable feeling that I needed to present the plan of salvation right then. We were in the middle of a song; so, as the song progressed I looked around at the kids trying to figure who this message would be for. Yes, I do understand how crazy that thought was, but I did have the thought. Anyway, as the song ended I move to the front of the stage and went through the plan of salvation. After going through the plan and the prayer I asked anyone who had prayed the prayer for the first time to raise their hands. There was one 5th grader that had been attending for a few weeks that raised her hand. Let’s call her Suzy. That family did not come back to church for several months after that. When they finally did come back Suzy was a sixth grader, and she was no longer in our children’s church. Suzy did come by to visit us one Sunday, but she is now in “big church”.

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Orange Dreams

Barbara Graves —  October 3, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the 4th day of Orange Week 2.0 here on Kidmin1124. In this post, Wendy Douglas shares something that didn’t work and what they did about it. For other Orange Week 2.0 posts, please check out

As a volunteer children’s pastor at a young church plant, I have lots of dreams. Dreams of working all day on children’s ministries. Dreams of taking my team leaders to lunch to brain storm the next event and, of course, dreams of playing with the toys that will be in my future office! But many of the dreams that I have that are the most compelling are Orange dreams. And many of my Orange dreams are common to us who agree that the family and church working together can accomplish much more in the lives of children, than either can alone. I am still young enough at being Orange that I have some fairly basic dreams.

I still dream of coordinated curriculum that teaches the same lesson to every age so families can “talk as they walk” and everyone is included in that conversation. And I still dream of a parent’s website that will, with one easy click, direct parents to a wealth of information specifically targeting the greatest issues their children face, both in their spiritual and physical development. I dream of video parenting classes that families can watch any time from the church website, if they couldn’t be at the church at the time of a parenting event. I dream of having all my families on twitter so I can share short notice opportunities that their family could enjoy. I have dreams of family fun events, parent training days, fun Saturdays at the park and anointed prayer times involving all our families. I think these dreams are common to the minds of most early stage Orange leaders.

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