The Beauty of Approachability

When I was 16 years go I got my first job busing tables at a Goldie’s Restaurant in my hometown.  This job involved removing half-eaten food from tables, waiters that wouldn’t share their tips, cleaning the bathrooms, and just about every other conceivable disgusting thing in the restaurant business.  But I’ve always remembered one thing from my 4 nights of  employment.  (Are you surprised?  Of course I quit after 4 days!)

I guess I wasn’t exactly hiding my dissatisfaction with my chores, and my boss pulled me into his office to tell me to smile more.  I laughed at his request and then he got in my face and told me that to work for his restaurant I had to look approachable, and if I was walking around looking upset; that nobody would ever ask for my help…and then there was the potential that an unhappy customer might leave the restaurant.  That right there is some truth!

So fast forward almost 20 years and that advice still stands!  Every Sunday morning as I walk in and through the areas of my church, I’m interacting with a customer of sorts.  Not the kind of customer that is buying something, but the kind that has a need that needs to be filled.  I don’t know what those needs are, but I need to work to be as approachable as possible.  Sometimes it’s being approachable to tell someone where they can find a particular place on our campus.  Other times it’s being able to reward the bravery of a child that wants you to pray with them.

Here are the ways I work to always make people feel welcome.

  • Smile.  This is the simplest one.  Simply smile.  A simple smile always disarms even the most frustrated person.  And here’s a little secret about the power of a smile…it can cover whatever turmoil you may be going through in the moment.  Have you ever heard this saying, “Fake it, ’til you make it!”?  Just because you don’t feel like smiling, isn’t a good enough reason to frown!
  • Look Around. I work every weekend to not always look at myself, and what I’m going through during a busy weekend.  Instead, I take the time to look at what is around me.  Many times I’ve discovered I can help people by just seeing what they see.  Walking around and looking for those needs, is key to finding the needs I can meet.
  • Avoid Groups. By this I mean, that I avoid standing around in groups of cliques.  If you go to church you know what I mean.  I don’t hang out with the other pastors in the lobby, loiter in front of the nursery, or restrict myself to the guest connections counter.  I’m not rude, but I just never stay in one place very long.
  • Smile. Oh, did I already mention this one?

If you’re working at a church, and you’re not deliberately working to make yourself available to those that need you…then you’re missing one of your greatest callings!

Illuminate Conference News

This just in…stop…from Mr. Kenny Conley and team…stop…big news out of Nashville…stop…Illuminate…coming to a town near you…stop…read below for all the cats pajamas…stop…you’re welcome…stop…

With two Illuminate Conferences under my belt, one thing is sure… Illuminate is like no other conference. At both Austin (2010) and Birmingham (2011) I heard the same thing over and over.

Amazing!

Incredible!

Inspiring!

Encouraging!

That’s what kidmin volunteers from Texas, Alabama and Georgia all had to say about their Illuminate experience. So, the only logical thing to do is more events, right? That’s what I thought too.

On Saturday, February 18th, 2012… Illuminate comes to the great city of Nashville, TN! Details are still coming together (like speakers and breakouts) but we do have a handful of great communicators already lined up.

  • Jim Wideman (General Sessions and Leader Q & A)
  • Jonathan Cliff
  • Amy Fenton Lee
  • I’ll be there too… plus a few others

So, if you live within a 2-4 hour radius of Nashville, TN, make plans to attend the only event bringing some of the most influential voices in kidmin to the local arena to equip volunteers. It’s one of the best investments you could make in your volunteer team. At the early bird price, you can afford to bring them all!

For more information about Illuminate, check out  illuminateconference.tv.  For more information about the Nashville event, visit  nashville.illuminateconference.tv.

Kidmin Conference Reminder

My friends that are busy working on the most unique Kidmin Conference ever, have wanted me to pass along this important piece of information:

Did you know that our second “early” registration for the conference is less than 9 days away?  9 Days is not that long.  If you were a cat and died each day for the next 9 days then you’d be dead for good.  If you ate a Big Mac for lunch every day for 9 days then you’d get fat quicker than if you didn’t.  If you fasted for the next 9 days from all forms of food, then think how hungry you’d be on the 9th day!  If you decided that…

You know what?  This isn’t really going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go somewhere.  This October 7th through 10th in Chicago I’m going to be spending some quality time with a collection of the best Kidmin leaders around the planet.

I’ll be leading a breakout (That I believe could be the best 2 hours you spend at the conference.**) titled: “Under New Management: Gaining Influence in a New Place”  I’m going to be leading a group of leaders that may be undergoing transitions into new environments, or maybe just wanting to start over where they’ve been in a fresh way!

I hope that you will take the time to see why you don’t want to miss this special Early Registration Discount that expires in the next 9 days!

Can I count on seeing you at the Kidmin Conference in Chicago?  Well, can I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Camp Experiences 2011

I’m a big believer in creating experiences outside of our weekend environments for kids (and teenagers) to connect with God, and for those of us in children’s (and student) ministry there is not greater connection place to do this than Summer Camp.  Think about it, you’re away from the normal; and kids are thrust into a new unique environment where they are encouraged daily to be introspective about their own faith.  At Summer Camp you can spend 4 and 5 days talking about variations of the same thing, and do it in a safe, fun, friendly environment.

I have many friends that love to plan every detail of their Summer Camp Experience, from the location, to volunteers, to food menus, to chapel services, to swim schedules…but I am not one of those people.  At Trinity Lubbock I did not inherit a system where planning summer camp was built-in, and instead the Summer Camp Experience has been delegated out to more capable leaders.  I’m sure I could be the person that plans 100% of Summer Camp some day, but for now we’ve chosen a different way to do Summer Camp at Trinity Lubbock.

Enter the greatest Christian Summer Camp destination in the entire world: Dry Gulch U.S.A.

I’ve spent the past 5 summers in Adair, OK at Dry Gulch; and it has continued and continued to get better and better every year.  The team at COTM has taken over all chapel services and programming, and they really bring a level of excellence that exceeds any Summer Camp I’ve ever been a part of.  It’s traditional in that there are lake activities, swimming pools, and horse riding; and it’s untraditional in that it has large arcade rooms, really good camp food, excellent playground equipment, state-of-the art  theaters, a steam engine locomotive train, and overall the place looks like a DisneyLand vacation spot.

If you’ve not taken the time to see what the team at Dry Gulch U.S.A. is creating for Summer Camp, then go visit their website today.  I’m going to include a video here from the 2010 chapel services that was filmed in it’s entirety to show you a small sample of what makes Dry Gulch so great.

What I Believe About Kidmin Ministry

This week I’m going to share some personal thoughts on the three areas of the church I manage.  Starting with the youngest of ages first, let’s cover what I believe about Children’s Ministry at Trinity Church.

  • I Believe that what happens in a preschool classroom is as relevant to the spiritual growth of our church as what my Senior Pastor teaches from the pulpit each morning.
  • I Believe that the overall health of our entire church is  dependent  on how we reach out to and disciple the youngest of children in Lubbock, TX.
  • I Believe that  those that serve and lead and invest in our children each week are in a better place to be blessed by God than those that do not.
  • I Believe that teenagers willing to serve in Children’s Ministry are developing a heart of compassion that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
  • I Believe that it’s allright to  criticize  our methods, programming, and systems in order to improve and upgrade what we do to reach children and families.
  • I Believe that events are judged as successful by not how many attend, but by how many come back on the weekend.
  • I Believe that kids should be given the opportunity to accept Christ at church, but that parents should be involved in the process and supported to continue the  spiritual  conversation.
  • I Believe that parents carry the primary spiritual burden to disciple their own children, and that it’s our job as a church to encourage the necessary steps to lead their families at home.
  • I Believe that Children’s  Ministry  brings about changes in the world in the here and now, and not only in the future.
  • I Believe that every weekend holds within it the opportunity for life change in the heart of a child.

So there I went, and shared many of the core truths I believe at it pertains to Children’s Ministry.  I’d love to hear what you would add, and what you think about my own list.  I’m sure I forgot some things, and maybe I’ll come back and add a few here and there to keep the list current.