Family Ministry Thoughts

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I serve as a Family Ministry Director at my church, and have been fortunate enough to meet and collaborate with other like-minded people doing the same things at their churches.  I’ve also been given many opportunities to share my opinions on family ministry as it is in 2012 and the future. I’ve for sure learned a few things as it’s been happening.
Let me randomly throw some things out there that I’ve come to believe:
  • It’s important that whoever leads the team have mentoring, disciple-making, and high-level people skills in their repertoire.  As the leader at our church, I’ve worked hard to try and increase my skills in these areas. However, I’ve seen some churches hire the “most successful” pastor on their staff and then that leader struggles big-time because he’s more about the end-game ministry that he is about the big picture leading of a team.
  • It HAS to be the long-term vision of the senior leaders of the church. If it’s more of a pencil-pushing delegation of tasks, then it won’t work long term.  Sounds harsh, but I’ve seen it bear out many times.  If the Senior Pastor is simply trying to reward excellence by allowing the family teams to merge, then it won’t work.  It has to come from a real desire to see ministries working with the families in the church come together to lock arms and combine resources to help everyone be successful.
  • Be prepared for change. Anytime that another layer is added between a pastor and the senior leaders of the church, it can get tricky. NextGEN ministry is no exception.
  • It can work. In the places where I’ve worked, when we started communicating as one team to one family, the families in our church began to notice. It starts with simple things like a church-wide family picnic with all the family teams working together; and then moves into more strategic activities. Yes, I advocate for food-related family and church events.
  • It’s important to involve the entire staff of the NextGEN team into the conversation for the future. Together at the same table, sharing the same vision, and creating the same goals for all of the team.  It can bring people together, and help everyone understand each other in a new way. (I’ve used the Orange Leaders Handbook to help us craft a strategy that fit our church.)
  • There are tons of churches moving into this model of combining what were solo ministries into combined ministries, and there are tons of models of what that should look like.  It’s my believe though, that each church is different and therefore each church has to tweak, create, and adjust the models to fit their churches’ over all vision, mission, and values. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to church staff structures.
If you’re a parent: What benefit, if any, do you see to your youth pastors working with your children’s pastors?  
 
If you’re on a church staff: Have you any thoughts to add to the conversation?  

Teamwork 101

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It’s impossible to tell people what I do without the words team and teamwork being heard. I work in a church so I work with people that go to that church. I work in those environments for kids and students, so I work with kids and students. That much is obvious.  But what I really do is lead the teams that lead those areas specifically. To further complicate it, I lead a team of leaders that lead their own teams. Take me to coffee sometime, and I’ll tell you about this team of all-stars I have the privilege of leading now.

But, what is a team? A team is collection of people gathered together to accomplish one singular purpose. Easy enough to understand, right? If I’m creating a hockey team, I need a collection of hockey players. My team won’t work if I put 3 hockey players with 20 people that can’t ice skate. Get that? A team is a collection/group/cohort that works together to accomplish-do-achieve one singular purpose.

Let’s go to the Bible on this. Teamwork matters.

  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it’s cold, two can sleep together and stay warm but how can you keep warm by yourself. Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone. A rope of three cords is hard to break. (TEV) We are better together than we are on our own.
  • Nehemiah 4: When the Israelites were rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, the work got tough and they got discouraged. Finally, they just gave up. So Nehemiah reorganized the work into teams. Half would stand guard with their spears and swords and protect everyone. The other half would work. Then they’d alternate their positions. He posted everyone by groups and families, so they could encourage and support each other.
  • Mark 6:7:  When Jesus sent people out in ministry; he sent them out in twos. He did not expect them to minister alone.
  • Acts 24: Paul specifically mentions seven people who were part of him ministry team. He brought others along, not only to train them, but also to keep him encouraged.

BTW: There is a great book by John Maxwell, titled “Teamwork 101″; you should check it out.

Tim Elmore Interview

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I had a great opportunity to interview Tim Elmore at the D6 Conference this year.  Dr. Tim Elmore  is the founder and president of  Growing Leaders, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization created to develop emerging leaders. Through  Growing Leaders, he and his team provide public schools, state universities, civic organizations, and corporations with the tools they need to help develop young leaders who can impact and transform society.

Tim has written a great new book, that I’m starting to read this week. It’s titled  “Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenge of Becoming Authentic Adults.”  I was able to do a fantastic video interview, of which the audio was not synched with the video. So under those conditions…I present to you the audio-only version of our conversation.

Tim Elmore Audio Interview  (It’s just over 5 minutes long, so it won’t take long to give it a listen.)

Join the D6 Conference…from right where you are!

D6 Conference

I know that many reading this are sitting in church offices all over the world, or maybe you’re at the kitchen table, or maybe you’re at Starbucks with some earphones. Wherever you are, you can participate in a conversation happening in Dallas, TX at the D6 Family Conference. And you can participate for FREE, right where you are!

Both Thursday and Friday you still have opportunities to watch the LIVE STREAM. And you can continue to follow along with me at  http://www.jonathancliff.com/d6live both today and tomorrow. I’ll see you there!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27Pete Wilson at D6

8:40 AM  CST                        Pete Wilson @pwilson

9:40 AM  CST                        Richard Ross @richardross

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

8:40 AM  CST              Sean McDowell @sean_mcdowell

9:40 AM  CST             Fred Luter

D6 Happenings

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This week I’ll be in Frisco. (Frisco, Texas that is; it’s a Frisco just outside of Dallas.) I’ll be learning alongside some of the best family ministry church leaders from all around the world. I’ll be there to lead a pre-conference lab on Wednesday, but I’m really looking forward to interacting  with my new friends on Thursday and Friday. And this is where you could benefit…

There is nothing to replace the experience of being at D6 in person. But because many of you aren’t able to join me in Dallas next week, D6 wanted to give those of you at home a taste of the conference. That’s why  they’re streaming six sessions from D6 for absolutely free.  
Watch D6 Live
All you need to do is  go to  d6conference.com/live  to watch, chat, learn, and grow.  Until then,  go here  for the full schedule of #D62012 online.
I’m also going to be live streaming some chat sessions from main sessions on Thursday and Friday, and you can follow along with all of that at www.jonathancliff.com/D6LIVE. And to take it up a notch, I’m not alone. D6 has invited some of my best friends along to share in all of the FREE sharing!
D6 Social Media Team