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  • church_shooting

    I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the tragic shooting of a Baptist minister this past Sunday morning. I was directed to a great article addressing five areas churches need to be sure to address when it comes to security.

    I took great pleasure in seeing that Children’s Ministry was at #2 on the list. It only makes sense that after security is beefed up in the “Big Church” that the mentally unstable among us will follow the path of least resistance. Let’s not let it be our Children’s Ministries.

    Pastor Shot Dead in the Pulpit: 5 Questions to heed About Church Security [via TheResurgence.com]

    I’d like to share my own set of 6 Questions concerning Children’s Ministry issues taken from an email to my own volunteers.

    Door Security

    Our doors need to be locked, manned or otherwise secured during service. A sign should be posted explaining the need for security and the requirements for admittance.

    Secure Check-in System

    Every child should be checked in through a security system. They should have an id badge/sticker. Teachers should have a roll sheet of every child in their care.

    Restrict Access

    No one should be allowed in any of our classrooms unless they are a screened volunteer wearing an easily identifiable lanyard, shirt, vest or badge (your choice) or an authorized parent/guardian who is checking out their child in keeping with procedure. (This unfortunately includes older siblings, worker’s own older children, relatives, family friends, etc).

    Secure Pick-Up

    At least one leader should be by classroom doors managing the flow of traffic. Children should be seated and away from the door until their name is called. Traffic should only move one direction during pick-up… out!

    Volunteer Timeliness

    Every volunteer needs to be on time to their post. The more adults we have, the more secure we are. Volunteers should shoot to be 10 to 15 minutes early every week.

    Emergency Communication

    Our leaders need a fast and effective way to communicate with you, your security team or on site officers in case of an incident or emergency. At minimum, give out your cell number. Install an intercom system or hand out walki-talkie’s of you can. Ask the nursery if they can assign you a pager so volunteers can page if they need you.

    What are your security concerns? Post your thoughts, feedback or questions in the comments.

    mini-cast

    The third installment of our new weekly mini-casts on discipline in children’s ministry focuses on the concept of “Minimum Requirements” and Rule Making.

    Be sure to check back each week for more.

    Play

    I just created three new Jumps for High Voltage Kids Curriculum and wanted to share them with you.

    • Click Bugs – Kids snap their fingers. Leader says “Amen”. Quietest team wins.
    • Cockroaches – Kids jump up into their chair. First team up wins. (Alternately kids can pull their feet off the floor.)
    • Grasshoppers – Kids jump up and down. Leader says “Amen”. First team sitting and focused wins.

    More info on Jumps, what they are and how to use them in your service.

    Download Bugs Jumps Video Clips

    brokenmug

    I was recently interviewed by Josh from The Broken Mug podcast. They asked me a lot of questions about the day-to-day of children’s ministry and I feel it would be a benefit to our listeners.

    Check it out!

    green-featured-logo

    This second installment of our new weekly mini-casts on discipline in children’s ministry. This week focuses on the reasons we don’t discipline.

    Be sure to check back each week for more.

    Play

    schedule

    Dave and I promised that we’d post copies of our typical service schedules on the site. Enjoy! Sorry, these files are outdated and have been removed.

    These files are in zip format. You can download the free 7-zip program to uncompress them.

    12 – How We Do Service

    February 23, 2009 · 0 comments

    ep11

    This month James and Dave talk through they way they do an average elementary Sunday children’s church service. We share important tips on segments, points, curriculum and more.

    Resources mentioned during the show:

    Play

    Remember when…

    February 21, 2009 · 0 comments

    80skids

    I stumbled across this photo on Digg.com and wanted to share it with all of you.

    It instantly took me back to my own childhood (though I was never as ‘cool’ as these guys). One of the greatest gifts God could give a children’s minister would be the ability to remember what childhood felt like.

    I pray that God will help you remember yours, so you can minister more effectively to the children God has entrusted to you.

    (Click the pic to make it great biggie.)

    listen

    Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and something they say reminds you of a similar story from your own life? We all have. But what about when everything they say reminds you of something else and you feel the need to share every thing, every time? At what point have you stopped swapping stories and started to hijack the conversation to make it all about you? This can be a common thing, especially when trading funny life stories.

    You can’t be a good storyteller without being ready to listen to someone else’s story. Here are some tips to help you be a better listener… and storyteller.

    1. Pay Attention

    The attention you pay will be the attention you are repaid. (You can quote me on that if you want) It’s a spin-off of the Golden Rule. Listen to others the way you would have them listen to you. Do you want someone texting while you’re sharing? Do you want them nodding like a moron the whole time you’re talking because they’re waiting for a pause so they can interrupt? No! Then be the listener you want them to be.

    2. Keep Your Responses Relevant

    Does your input compete with the situation shared by the other party or does it enhance it? To often we share our version because it’s “better” or “worse” than theirs (ie: “You thought that was bad? Listen to what happened to me last summer!”) or we’re trying to prove that we’re even funnier. This is passive-aggressive at its root and not the foundation for a comfortable conversation.

    Your responses should be just that, responses. This person is sharing something with you that they care about. They’re not trying to out-do you or brag. People typically share things because it was exciting to them and they want to share that feeling with their listeners. If you will go into each conversation with this assumption, it will make it easier for you to be a listener and a participant without being a topic derailer.

    3. Ask Questions Instead Of Relating

    The typical thing to do after someone shares a story is to come back with a similar happening in our own world. It’s our attempt at relating but it waters down the conversation and steals the thunder of the storyteller. When we don’t have a way to relate, commonly we will respond with a statement, “That sounds awesome,” or simply, “Wow”. This hands the ball back to the storyteller… but gives them nowhere to go. The best response is to start asking questions. Pull more of the story out of them. You’ll see their face light up at your interest, and as an added bonus, you don’t have to think of a way to relate!

    4. Bait Your Hook

    When the storyteller is done, then it’s your turn. Do yourself a favor though, give them just a title and tagline before you read the entire article. Put just a bit of your story out and see if there’s any interest before you waste their and your time. It may sound something like this:

    “You know, one time I fell down a cliff too. It’s the tumble that nearly killed me.”

    See how that pulls you in? I just made that up but even I want to hear the rest of that story.

    Your Turn

    What tips would you have for our readers? What do you hate about folks who can’t listen? Share your thoughts in the comments!

    How To Tell…

    February 18, 2009 · 0 comments

    howtotell1

    I was looking up an article I wrote on How To Tell A Funny Story to see how it ranked in Google’s search results. Google begins offering suggestions as you type, showing you popular search words/phrases. I took a screen shot of what was being suggested because it made me sad.

    I know why it affected me… what does it say to you? (click to make it big)