Calibrate Church Ministries Conference

There is still time to register your church leaders and volunteers for the Calibrate church ministries conference and the IGNITE pre conference banquet.

When: October 13, 2012
Where: Sioux Falls First Assembly of God (map)
Cost: $35 per person (group discounts and scholarships are available, registration form


Friday, October 12th
IGNITE Pre Conference Banquet at Sioux Falls First A/G
6:30-8:30PM Supper & Networking with Dr. Paul Alexander 
(for lead and staff pastors & spouses)

Saturday, October 13th
7:45AM Registration & Check In
8:15AM Opening Gathering in Sanctuary
8:30AM Workshop Block 1
9:45AM Workshop Block 2
11:00AM General Session with Dr. Paul Alexander
12:15PM Lunch
1:00PM Workshop Block 3
2:15PM Workshop Block 4
3:30PM Conference Concludes

Areas of Focus:
Children’s Ministry 
Youth Ministry 
Worship Ministry 
Technology and Media
Life and Leadership
Young Adult Ministry (We apologize as these workshops will not be available)

Visit for a complete schedule and list of workshops

Calibrate/OneDay Children's Ministry Training

Calibrate/OneDay Conference
: October 22, 2011
Keynote Speaker: Scott Berkey, CMA National Director

Conference Focus: Children’s Ministry Workers

The One Day Trainings are designed to reach every leader who serves in children's ministries in your church with practical, hands-on children’s ministry training for the whole team. This includes leaders that serve in Girls Ministries, Royal Rangers, Sunday School, large-group or small-group ministries, Early Childhood, Outreach, etc. We have also intentionally priced this training so that every church can afford to send their whole team.

It is our goal to provide your leaders with relevant children's ministries training, expose them to great new resources, connect them with other leaders from their area and provide an individualized approach to help them solve the challenges they are facing at their churches. The One Day Training experience will also provide leaders a time to be spiritually refreshed with great worship and prayer times.

First AG, Rapid City (map)

Lodging: Howard Johnson ($57.00 + tax) specify one king or two queen
Please mention "calibrate conference" when making your reservation by October 8th
(605)-737-4656 (map)

Download the event poster


8:30 AM Registration Begins
9:00 AM Welcome & Worship
9:20 AM Segment 1: Evaluating Your Children’s Ministry
10:40 AM Morning Break / Giveaways
10:55 AM Segment 2: Teaching Kids What They Believe
12:15 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Product Spotlight
1:25 PM Segment 3: Effective Strategies for Reaching Kids
2:45 PM Afternoon Break / Giveaways
3:00 PM Q & A Time
3:30 PM Closing Segment
4:00 PM Close

Registration Information

Individual/Group Registration: Includes conference workbook, Saturday lunch, and all sessions. Click here to register online.
  • Register by 10/15/11: $30
  • Register 5 or more and get your registration for $20 each until 10/15.
  • After 10/15 all registrations are $40

SOFA - School of Fine Arts

For 2011 SF Fine Arts Festival we have launched SOFA (Thanks Mark Zweifel for the name and idea) in order to help students and leaders make the most of the Fine Arts Festival.

The SOFA or School of Fine Arts covers the following topics:  Avoid Common Mistakes, Helping Students Succeed, 2011 Rule Change Summary and more.  You'll find these free resources on our Fine Arts page.

More resources will be posted in the future as they are developed.  If you have an idea for a SOFA resource, please submit it to

Calibrate Speaker: John Hicks

John Hicks is the National Royal Rangers Communications Coordinator. John joined the national office team in June of 2005. Before coming to Springfield, John served as the Arkansas District Training Coordinator for seven years. He also served as a sectional commander, area commander, and district buckaroo/straight arrow coordinator in the Arkansas and Southern Missouri districts.
John was born and raised in the Springfield, MO area and is a graduate of Missouri State University. In 1993, he moved to Arkansas to accept a position at Hillcrest Children’s Home where he worked for twelve years as an accountant, office manager, and case manager.

John has been involved in Royal Rangers since he was seven years old. He joined FCF in 1981 and earned the Trail Ranger Woods Master rating that same year. He has served as a local outpost leader for over twenty years. He and his wife, Amanda, served as children’s pastors at Lakeview Assembly of God in Hot Springs, AR for six years where they attended with their four children: Nate, Abbie, Sarah, and Caleb.

We are excited to have John as one of our workshop speakers at Calibrate 2010.

Calibrate: Sessions For Youth Workers

There you are, working with teenagers.  Balancing life, family, work, and youth ministry.  Sometimes it's nice to get a little "shot in the arm" of assistance to help navigate the waters of reaching teenagers.  You can find that at Calibrate.

Below is a list of a few of the classes we feel will be of benefit for people working with teens.

Missions Extreme: Extended Missions Opportunities
Reaching Teen Girls: Getting Into Their World
Mean Girls: Raising Nice Girls in a Mean Girl World
Twilight & The Supernatural
Youth Ministry Health Evaluation
Building Community in Your Youth Ministry

Download the full class list
View the Calibrate Conference information

Are you connecting?

Does it ever seem like your ministry is in a rut; connecting with the same students week after week? Are you looking to expand the reach and influence of your youth ministry? Check out this excellent bit of practical ministry training from Jonathan McKee (

This illustrated talk breaks down the six types of youth you might encounter and gives practical ideas for connecting with, growing and involving each.

The Talent Code

The Talent Code (Daniel Coyle)

Recently I heard of a church in North Dakota.  It's a smaller church in a more rural portion of the state.  The name of the church/town was not given, but the fact remains that they have cranked out more than 70 ministers in recent years.  That's pretty amazing for a small church in a small state.

We see this happen all over.  How is it that certain churches seem to be hotbeds for producing great Bible Quizzers, top quality Fine Arts participants, passionate givers, preachers, successful Christian businessmen and mor?.  The answer, curiously, may be found in a microscopic part of the brain called myelin that is developed and strengthened through repeated action (deep practice), motivation (ignition), and coaching.

The Talent Code looks at how we can increase the level of highly skilled people within our organization by understanding this three step, intentional process.

Reader Caution: In my quest to discover talent and creativity this year I found the book "The Talent Code."  Though most of the research appears to be solid and factual - credit for the development of the brain goes to evolution.  This is unfortunate, because it then takes away from what would otherwise be a highly recommended book.

I Don't Like Rejection!

I don't like rejection.  No one does.  That's part of the problem when recruiting volunteers for any position in a church.

We are in the season where churches are lining up leaders who will give up a week (or more) of their summer to invest in the lives of a camper during summer camp.  Possibly the following tips will help you recruit the leaders you need.

1.  Ask the Right Question:  The right question when looking for volunteers is not "Who will say Yes?"  The right question is "Who is BEST for the job?"  In regards to camp it's "Who is the BEST person to mentor our campers?"  If you were to compile a list of the "Yes" people and the "BEST" people, you would likely come up with two different lists.  If you start with the right question, you are likely to get a better result.

2.  Do the Mind Work:  Many times we are less than satisfied with the results of our asking OR the results of the leader because we have not taken the time to do the "Mind Work."  This Mind Work consists of several components A) Prayer, B) Defining the WIN, C) Establishing the ROLE, D) Clarifying the END, and E) Developing the Pool of BEST People.  Have these components completed before you start inviting people to participate.

3.  Don't Use the Bulletin:  NEWS FLASH - The Bulletin Doesn't work for recruiting the BEST person.  The best person needs to be invited to participate in your vision.  It requires personal conversation and relationship to make it happen.  Bulletins and pulpit announcements more often result in the "Most Likely to Say YES" than the "Best for the Job."

4.  Allow Time: Be courteous enough to allow the individual (encourage them to do this) to look over their calendar, pray, and visit with their spouse and family before making the commitment.

5.  Accept NO:  Though you should never say "NO" for someone (ie - they wouldn't do it, they are far to busy...) you will need to accept "NO" and not allow it to affect your relationship.  The fear of "No" causes us to skip over people who we feel may be BEST because we are afraid of rejection.  As a result we make general appeals rather than specific invitations.

6.  Communicate:  After you have received a "YES" from the best available person, you need to communicate with them.  This means putting into their hands the training, giving information in a timely manner so they can succeed.  If they are the BEST person, you will easily frustrate them if you fail to communicate and get them what they need to be a success.

I hope these tips will help you have better success in putting together you pool of camp leaders and church volunteers.

Start now!

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done (by David Allen)

As leaders or volunteers in our organization we are often strapped with projects and tasks that seem to stress us out.  In addition to that, when we add on the management of family schedules, home and auto repairs, balancing the checkbooks, cleaning the house, laundry, sick children and more... It's no wonder we are such a caffeinated society.

Though most people thrive on the adrenaline of the last minute push, the unfortunate side is that our minds are never at rest.  We wake up in the morning our minds bouncing from task to task that needs to be completed.  As we are halfway through one task another one pops in our mind and steals our attention.  This process repeats itself throughout the day until we lie in bed with the number of items for tomorrow swirling in our minds.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a solution that helped us be more productive, gave us a sense of accomplishment, and slowed down the urges to "escape it all" by jumping into the beach scene on our screensaver?

There is!

In Getting Things Done, David Allen describes a process that helps you get the multitude of tasks out of your head and off of your mind.  This results in more focused work and much reduced levels of stress in your life.

His process is simple, but it takes some time and dedication to master it.  Here are the basic requirements for managing your commitments/projects.

1.  If it's on your mind, your mind is not clear.
2.  Clarify what your commitment is and exactly what you need to do (what is your next step)
3.  Keep reminders of these actions in a system you trust and will return to on a regular basis.

I have a two basic systems in place for managing my commitments.  I believe they interface quite nicely.

1 - Email Inbox (my goal here is to have no more than 5 un-replied/filed emails by the end of the day)
2 - Things (task management software for Mac and iPod) - Whenever I think of something that needs to be done, no matter how big or small, it immediately goes into Things.  Later when I return, I become more specific about what needs to be accomplished, when it needs to be done, and it gets filed in the appropriate project list.

Regardless of your system for managing your commitments, you MUST get it out of your head and into a system you trust or your mind will not be clear and you will not be able to focus and accomplish what needs to be done.

Family Focused Ministry Podcast

I've posted my session from the North American Children's Ministry Conference.  Feel free to listen in.  My notes and keynote slides are available as well.

The audio file is just over one hour in length.  The goal of this session is to inspire children's ministers to focus a measure of energy on expanding their influence into the home as well as give some practical ideas to help accomplish this goal.

Family Focused Ministry Notes

I had the honor of teaching a session at the North American Children’s Ministry Conference in St. Louis on March 3, 2010. Here are the notes and keynote printout from that session. I hope to make the audio available down the road.

You have my permission to utilize this content for training sessions in your church or ministry region. If you need additional information or sources of information, feel free to contact me.

Presenter Notes
Keynote Presentation


So, you're a youth leader in South Dakota, but you are unable to make it to the full MOMENTUM retreat.  We're bummed to say the least.  But we're not giving up that easy.

For the first time ever, we are offering a MOMENTUM One-Day option.

MOMENTUM One-Day will feature a session with our guest Mark Zweifel as well as a workshop geared toward practical youth ministry development.  David Bauchspeiss (Aberdeen) will be sharing useful insights on how to use the youth ministry resource volume three.  52.3 is a new resource that has been developed to help you manage your youth ministry without allowing it to managing you.  It comes complete with sermon outlines, small group guides, powerpoints, and a host of ideas and resources to help you achieve quality ministry to your students.

As a bonus, every attendee to the workshop will receive a FREE activation code valued at $180.00 (provided they do not already have one).  This session is valuable for youth leaders of every size church.

Here's why:

1.  Volunteers:  You are balancing home, work, and youth ministry.  Isn't it about time something came along that helped you do youth ministry better, faster, and easier - at least parts of it?  That's what 52.3 is all about.

2.  Paid Staff:  Even full time youth ministers rarely are able to focus their energies solely on youth ministry.  With meetings, phone calls, and other support roles you play, true youth ministry can often get pushed to the side.  52.3 is the one resource that will help keep youth ministry in focus even in the midst of all the other hats you wear.

If you cannot make it to the full MOMENTUM retreat weekend.  Please make it a point to participate in MOMENTUM One-Day.

Standard: Saturday Only: $25 (includes general session and 52.3 workshop)
Deluxe: Friday Night & Saturday: $50 (includes two general sessions, 52.3 workshop, and supper) - lodging not included (see the MOMENTUM page for more info).

Please use the standard registration form and note the One-Day Changes by hand.  All rates listed above are per person.

Boys vs. Girls

Ever wonder why you sit in a circle with your Sunday school class and all the girls are focused on you while the boys are watching the renegade bug crawl across the floor? The fact that boys and girls learn differently requires us to teach boys and girls differently. Readers Digest published an article on "How boys and girls learn differently". It asks the opinion of David Chadwell, South Carolina's coordinator of single gender education. I found the article very practical and easy to apply to any classroom ... no fancy props needed. You can check it out here.


Working list of classes for 2009 Calibrate Conference (full details)

Oil Change: Spirit Empowered Ministry (Super Session)
Test Drive: Implementing New Ministries (Super Session)
TEC: You and the Word
Building People through Compassion Ministries
Empowering Rural Youth Leaders
Building the Generations
Mentor and Disciple Boys
Impacting Girls
AIM 2010 (Student Session)

Speed Traps: Growth Pitfalls Ahead (Super Session)*
Pressure Gauge: Avoiding Burnout (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Mission
Strength-Based Leadership
The CAUS of this Generation (Student Session)
Children's Ministry in the Small Church
Help Them Stay: Overcoming obstacles to visitor integration
The 411 on the Millennial Generation
Worship Team Dynamics*

11:00 General Session with Joel Hunter

12:15 Networking Lunch

Pit Crew: Team Growth Strategies (Super Session)
Horsepower: Prayer Strategies (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Students/Groups You Teach
Preparing Your Ministry for Compassion Outreach
Turn Off the Scoreboard
Live Above (Student/Parent Session)*
Creative ways to Include Parents in your Kids Ministry*
Songwriters Session

Reinventing the Classics: Tradition and Relevance (Super Session)*
Overhaul: Changing Your Reputation (Super Session)*
TEC: Excellence in Teaching
Unlocking Spiritual Health Through Church Engagement
Lasting Fruit in Ministry
Missions Extreme: Internships and other Missions opportunities (Student Session)
10 Keys to a Successful Children's Ministry
Young Adult Ministry Essentials

3:15 Informal Dismissal

NOTE: All class times are not finalized.  Expect some changes to the final schedule.
*Pending Confirmation.  Please view for the most current conference schedule a

Your Wait Is Over

Explore the Call


A new website and podcast called Explore the Call has been created to help teens identify, explore and nurture the call of God.

Pastors, leaders, students, and parents can use this resource as a platform to mentor those exploring the call of God to ministry.

The site features a weekly podcast to help teens explore God’s call, cool downloads, resources and helpful web links, a chat room and blog to interact with other students exploring God’s call, as well as access to online mentors.

You can access the site at

Spread the word

Calibrate Sessions (developing)

Working list of classes for 2009 Calibrate Conference (full details)

Oil Change: Spirit Empowered Ministry (Super Session)
Test Drive: Implementing New Ministries (Super Session)
TEC: You and the Word
Building People through Compassion Ministries
Empowering Rural Youth Leaders
Building the Generations
Mentor and Disciple Boys
Impacting Girls
AIM 2010 (Student Session)

Speed Traps: Growth Pitfalls Ahead (Super Session)*
Pressure Gauge: Avoiding Burnout (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Mission
Strength-Based Leadership
The CAUS of this Generation (Student Session)
Children's Ministry in the Small Church
Help Them Stay: Overcoming obstacles to visitor integration
The 411 on the Millennial Generation
Worship Team Dynamics*

11:00 General Session with Joel Hunter

12:15 Networking Lunch

Pit Crew: Team Growth Strategies (Super Session)
Horsepower: Prayer Strategies (Super Session)
TEC: You and Your Students/Groups You Teach
Preparing Your Ministry for Compassion Outreach
Turn Off the Scoreboard
Live Above (Student/Parent Session)*
Creative ways to Include Parents in your Kids Ministry*
Songwriters Session

Reinventing the Classics: Tradition and Relevance (Super Session)*
Overhaul: Changing Your Reputation (Super Session)*
TEC: Excellence in Teaching
Unlocking Spiritual Health Through Church Engagement
Lasting Fruit in Ministry
Missions Extreme: Internships and other Missions opportunities (Student Session)
10 Keys to a Successful Children's Ministry
Young Adult Ministry Essentials

3:15 Informal Dismissal

NOTE: All class times are not finalized.  Expect some changes to the final schedule.
*Pending Confirmation.  Please view for the most current conference schedule a


52.3 Launch Event from Mark on Vimeo.
Promo video that NYM used during the launch event in Orlando, FL. A great resource for your youth ministry. Need a video or graphic for your ministry, check they developed this and other quality videos and graphics for ministry.

You may have heard that TheFiftyTwo Volume III is being given to all of our Assemblies of God churches at no cost.

Thanks to AG Trust and National Youth Ministries. The letter containing your church's three unique membership codes have been mailed to your pastor.   Why three?  Simple, one for the Sr. Pastor, one for a youth leader, and one for a student leader.

Pastor's can choose how they use them, but we wanted to make sure a church was able to equip a team of leaders passionate about reaching teenagers.

Join us at Calibrate for a session on how to make the most of your online subscription to 52.3.

Calibrate Conference

We are just two months away from Calibrate.  I am excited for the lineup of speakers we have coming to be with us and the content of the classes should be incredible for volunteer leaders as well as staff and pastors.

Please be make your hotel reservations now to secure a place to stay.  Let this also serve as the reminder of our September 9 registration discount deadline.

Finally, we are running short on promotional fliers, but we have a few left.  Please contact me if you would like more materials to help promote this conference.

Registration Form

Printable Information

Free Ministers Forum

South Dakota Family Policy Council and Focus on the Family are hosting a FREE Ministry Leaders Form in three SD cities:

August 24 – Sioux Falls, Linwood Wesleyan Church, RSVP to 877-733-2645 or email

August 25 – Huron, James Valley Christian School, RSVP to to 877-733-2645 or email

August 26 – Rapid City, Journey Museum Theatre (1st 142 registered will get seats), RSVP to 605-791-2808 or email

Here’s an excerpt from the letter…

"As a ministry leader you’re aware that homosexuality is one of the most difficult issues many individuals, families, and churches face today. Popular culture promotes it’s simply an alternative way to live… Some Christians want to know how to stand faithfully in their biblical beliefs about human sexuality while also reaching out lovingly to those directly affected by homosexuality. Other Christians want to know how to complement their bold commitment to righteousness with compassion and kindness. For everyone the answer is balance – balancing biblical truth with Christ’s grace…We will tackle a wide range of issues surrounding homosexuality – compassionately and without compromise. Nationally known Christian experts will address everything from why some people struggle with same-sex feelings to the profound significance of God’s created intent for sexuality."

There will be two keynote speakers from FOTF – Melissa Fryrear and Jeff Johnston – former homosexuals themselves. They will share their testimonies and address the following topics:

Understanding the contributing factors of male and female homosexuality; and
How Christians should respond – balancing both truth and grace.

- Thanks Annette for passing along the info.

Where's Can't

Go ahead, look it up - is CAN'T in your dictionary?  It is in mine - "contraction of cannot."  It's in my dictionary, but I hope it's not overly abundant in my life.

Far too many people in use the phrase "I can't" when in reality what they should be saying is "I won't."

  • Sure they CAN teach the class - they just may need some training.
  • Sure they CAN host the small group, but it would mean giving up some personal time.  
  • Sure they CAN drive the bus, but they need their license.

At the same time, what are the things you say Can't be done?

  • You CAN pray and read your Bible, you just need to stop hitting the snooze and going to bed late
  • You CAN learn to play the piano, you just need to practice
  • You CAN become fluent in another language, you just need the lessons and time
  • You CAN lose weight, you just need a workable diet, exercise, and accountability
  • You CAN forgive, you just need some time and the freedom to talk about your hurts

Do you find yourself using "Can't" more often than finding a way to make it work.

Let's be a part of the solution rather than prolonging the problem.

I Want A Promotion

It's easy to look a the job/role that another leader has and say "I wish I could do that."  We gaze out the window (imaginary window in some cases) and long for a life of that is somewhat different than where we are right now.

So what does it take to be found fit for a larger area of responsibility? Or a greater level of influence?  Does it involve the right people?  Does it involve playing the political game?  Some would say "Yes."

However, in my experience people who are moved to a greater level of responsibility and influence have are reaping the benefits of dedication and hard work - not kissing babies and dropping business cards.

If I were looking to hire someone who could type 150 words a minute, I wouldn't start looking for people typing with one finger at 20 words a minute.  I would start at the top because they have already proven their ability.

It's the same with other areas of responsibility.  Look at those who are doing what you would like to do (not to take their job, but seeing their influence and responsibility), then emulate their principles, standards, passions, and effectiveness to the best of your ability.  Learn everything about them.  In fact, don't get caught up on following one person, but rather, find several leaders and take notes on them all!

You never know, when the chance comes, you may be seen as the 150 wpm typist because you've been practicing and preparing all along!

Stop feeling bad about where you are and work at becoming the best at what you have in front of you right now!  Hold nothing back.

Calibrate Conference: Updates

Save the date!  
October 24th, 2009 at Bethel AG in Rapid City

Get familiar with what is happening:
1: Speaker Line Up (more soon)
2: Super Sessions
3: Lodging Details
4: Fees and Other Details

Campus Missions Testimony

Each month students who have signed up to be a Campus Missionary are asked to submit an online self-evaluation about how they have done on keeping the five commitments: Pray, Live, Tell, Serve,  and Give.  In addition they have space to share a story, need, or ask a question to receive assistance.

Here's the story I received a few days ago from Larisa in Hot Spring, SD.  I hope it inspires you as much as it did me:

This month has been really good. I have had many opprotunities to reach many kids and touch their lives. Today(march 16, 2009) I have been able to connect with kids I would have never dreamed of reaching. 

Thank you for helping and giving me advice to help reach the kids in my school and in the community.  It is working so far and I'm not going to lose hope.  I am going to fight for every one of these kids and pray for each one individually by going through the halls and praying for each locker. 

Thanks again and may God Bless you and your family. 


Church Ministries Conference Name Change

I've changed the name of our fall ministries conference to Calibrate.  Why?  Simple, Overall I feel Calibrate will have a much broader appeal as a usable theme.  Classes will be focused on helping volunteers calibrate their role in ministry for more efficiency and effectiveness.

We are building our presenter list now and will post the full list as they confirm on the official Calibrate page.  Hope to see you there to calibrate your ministries for maximum efficiency

I trust you are planning now to be a part of our 2009 fall ministries conference in Rapid City.  Check out the details.

Children's Ministry University Online

Children's Ministry University Online (CMUO) is an accredited online university specializing in just children's ministry. Yep, that's it. CMUO is an Internet-based training program for Children’s Pastors, leaders, teachers, and helpers in Evangelical Christian circles. It's a great option for those who want to pursue a degree in children's ministry, continue their education, or simply learn how to be better at leading and teaching kids. Classes are offered all on-line and at significantly lower costs than a traditional college or university.

What's more, I discovered some FREE workshops on their website available for anyone to view. They're only about 15-20 minutes long and provide a great training resource for you or your volunteers. Here's the link.


What an incredible weekend of relaxing, refreshing, and renewal.

Thank you to Terry and Sam Allen for sharing your hearts, challenging our leaders, and making us laugh.  Your gifts of communication and ability to connect with the heart of our leaders is amazing.  You are a quality leader.

I would also like to thank Toby Schneckloth, Tracy Paino, and Jake Koenes for sharing during one of our breakout sessions.  We will remember the challenge and fundamentals of youth ministry, transitions, and youth alive that you shared.  Your investment here will have a lasting impact.

We would also like to thank the church in Mitchell and Diana Kjerstad for arranging childcare for the retreat.  You are a blessing.

Christie and I have loved every moment of our time together and are so happy for those who could be a part of this retreat.  Thanks for making this a priority, and thank you to he pastors and churches who helped to make this possible.

Here are links to the notes from the weekend.

Terry Allen
- Your Attitude in Ministry - Thursday Night
- 27 Diamonds - Friday Night
- Dreams - Saturday Morning (coming soon)

Toby Schneckloth - Process and Preparation
Tracy Paino - Transitions of Students to College
Jake Koenes - Campus Missions (coming soon)

Hope to see you next year.

I Should Have Known Better.

Recently on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for BGMC my son and I were walking to a restaurant on the marina.  In typical fashion we were approached by many people trying to sell jewlery, hats, cotton candy, and more.  Saying "no gracias" does it and we are on our way.

As we get closer to our dining destination we see a guy with two iguanas.  He'll let you hold them, put them on your head, and then take pictures of them.  Colby and I thought this would be fun.

We let the guy put them on Colby, I snapped a couple pictures of him and then he said - $4.00 please.

Huh???  What???  I should have known!  This wasn't a thing he does just because he likes bringing a smile to peoples face and has nothing better to do.  He does it to make money.

I don't like those kinds of surprises.  I don't like feeling like I've been snookered, bushwhacked, or blind-sided.  Most people don't.  They feel taken advantage of and like suckers.

What do you do in your ministry to ensure people don't feel like I did on the boardwalk of the marina?

Signet: Launching Soon

Signet (a leadership journey) will be launching in January 2009. I am anxiously awaiting the first applications to come across my desk in the next two weeks.

The first team will be limited to four people yet I believe this will create a close knit group of leaders who will have the ability to challenge and spur each other on to a greater level of growth in leadership.

Signet Development Progress:
  1. Group values have been established (hunger, humility, and excellence)
  2. Annual reading plan has been laid out
  3. Applications and information have been delivered through digital format
  4. Purpose and goals have been defined - Cooperative Leadership Growth
  5. Books have been selected and ordered for the first team
  6. Blog ( is live and ready for use by the first team of participants
Signet is open to anyone wanting to grow in their leadership ability and effectiveness in ministry. It's not about specialized ministry skills -- simply leadership. Will I be getting your application in the next two weeks?

Is Signet For You?
Applicants demonstrating signet values (hunger, humility, and excellence) are more likely to be selected over those who do not. Signet is not about creating the desire for growth, it is about creating a process that accelerates and focuses growth.

Who Start's The Fire?

I visited a "revitalization church" this morning. And, as I like to do, I sat in on the teen Sunday School class. When I asked the teacher what he was using he mentioned "FireStarters." He loves them (among other reasons I'm sure) because they are FREE.

FireStarters are designed for individuals, self-study, and small groups, and have been designed to accompany the Fire Bible Student Edition. What a great way to help your kids dive into the Word of God and get them hooked on learning how to study the Bible on their own.

Here's the cool thing, on the Fire Bible Website students and leaders can download FireStarters for the entire New Testament. That's enough studies to last an entire year (with several left over) doing one a day!

Here's some ideas on making this work for you:
  1. Get all of your students a Fire Bible (All new Campus Missionaries get one FREE)
  2. Print up enough FireStarters for your entire class
  3. Have them go through the FireStarter as they arrive
  4. Guide the discussion as to what they learned from the Bible.
I'm sure you can think of other ways to integrate the FireStarters into your ministry, but just in case you need a jump start...
  1. Give them to your campus club leaders
  2. Pass them out on Wednesdays using the FS that correlates to your topic that night
  3. Send them home to parents as devotion starters
  4. Have your students share a FS each Wednesday as a part of your service
Oh, and keep plenty of FBSE's on hand. You just might find people so anxious to learn the Word of God on their own they will want to upgrade their "pew Bible" or children's Bible for something more in depth. I had the opportunity to give away my Fire Bible this morning to Roger - maybe you can give yours away too.

What Would You Like?

There are times in working with a team that expectations go unmet. During those times how you communicate with the team is essential.

Here are the most common responses that I have found take place...
  1. Observation: "I noticed xyz wasn't completed like I thought it should be."
  2. Question: "Why wasn't xyz completed like I expected it to be?"
  3. Request: "Instead of xyz on this project, I would like to have abc instead. Can you make that happen."
You'll have to weigh out wich one you like the best, and make it fit your situation. But I find a drastic difference in tone from in the third method.

Here's some ways that could play out;
  1. When you are planning to come in late could you please call the office so we know where you are?
  2. If I've assigned a project and you know you cannot make it happen by the deadline, can you inform me in enough time to help you avoid missing the target?
  3. Can you make sure when using the church vehicle you clean and gas it when you are done?
Next time your expecations are not met instead of questioning what was done, stating what you observe, stop and think what do I want to have happen instead. Formulate it in the form of a request and everyone will be a whole lot more efficient.

Then, if your teammate doesn't respond appropriately other steps may be required.

We know Why, but How?

We've all heard it before. The extreme importance of reaching this generation for Christ. I've taken classes, listened to speakers, preachers and more explain in great detail why we need to minister to kids and youth and why it should be done with excellence. Please don't misunderstand me. I love a great motivational speech that gives me new fire for ministry. But the great element that is continually lacking is "How"?

How do we identify with kids coming from broken and blended homes? How do we reach students that are submersed in a Nickalodeon culture, where everything is flashy, snappy and fast-paced? How do we present the Bible in a way that is relevant and they'll actually want to listen to what you have to say?

Well, I'm certainly not claiming to have all the answers (because I'm far from it), but I stumbled across a resource that has changed the way I do ministry. The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School by Aaron Reynolds is one of the best "how to" books I have ever read regarding kids ministry. He breaks down everything from various rotation strategies for volunteers and the art of memorization to the elements of telling a jaw-dropping story and 20 different ways to teach the Bible creatively. (bye bye object lessons and boring power point slides). He also includes examples of each concept he's teaching, making it even more concrete and easy to digest. The best part about it . . . there are doodles and scribbles on each page to keep you engaged. What more could a slightly ADD kids pastor ask for?
(for a cheaper place to find books, check out

Offering Sermons

Here's a simple tip that is very effective in teaching principles of stewardship and at the same time increasing the amount given to support the project you are working on (I recommend BGMC for kids and STL for teens).

During your weekly meeting utilize offering sermons.  These mini-sermons last only about three to five minutes in lenght and teach principles of money management, stewardship, how to be a good employee, sowing and reaping, avoiding debt, budgeting, different global projects, using what you have to help others, and more.  These life-principles should be taught at an early age and modeled by the leadership.

By taking a few minutes each week you can help your kids and teens become more responsible in their community, have a proper perspective for money and possessions, and a greater contributor to meeting needs all over the world.

For the next six weeks on Wendesday I'll be posting offering sermon templates that deal specifically with Speed the Light.


Inbox Clutter

How full is your inbox? How long does it take you to reply to email? How often to you check your email?

The status of your inbox is one of the signs of the effectiveness of your time management and communication with those who are depending on you.

I'm not claiming to be perfect, but over the past few months I have started to really work on improving my inbox conduct. These simple steps have helped me improve staying on top of projects and get things done in a more efficient manner. I hope that you will apply these or try some of your own out to help you manage your time more effectively.

After all we are all equal in how much time we have each day... but we are not all equal in how efficiently we use those precious minutes.

Here's my inbox tips:
  1. Unsubscribe: Initially it was very cool to have my inbox ding every time I had activity on Facebook and a host of other sites. Typically these were deleted without reading them, but it was distracting and wasted time. Unsubscribe from as many of these subscriptions as possible, or turn off the auto send from items you don't read.
  2. Minimize Inbox Filters: Many email programs have "rules" that will automatically file your new mail for you. A very sophisticated system of rules to automatically file messages can be very appealing, but items needing your attention can get overlooked if they are not flagged properly. I use my inbox as the "not yet completed" messages of communication. If your program files it for you, you might miss replying to an important message.
  3. Turn Off Auto Check: Experts agree that having your email automatically delivered is a huge time waster. The audible or visual signal goes off which distracts you. Even if you don't check it the curiosity of what message just came my way can keep you from giving full attention to the project at hand. I have mine set to check every hour. When I'm in the middle of a project I can complete it without getting distracted.
  4. Daily Inbox Process: Whenever I check my email I have a very simple process. First, I read/skim each new email and file appropriately if no action is required. If information from me is all that is needed I reply immediately then file. If time is required on my part to reply with correct information it stays in my inbox and I will come back to it later in the day. Regardless of the amount of time or energy required on my part I try to reply to every email with at least a "thank you for contacting me" message right away. This lets the sender know I received it and I understand they are now waiting on me to complete my part of the conversation.
  5. Route: Sometimes email will come through that needs to be routed to the appropriate person for follow up. When that happens I always reply to the originator while CCing the new individual. This invites the new person to participate in the conversation and project to efficiently handle the situation.
  6. Skim: I subscribe to several blogs and get information daily that is useful. It just might not be useful at the current time. I usually don't read all of the details of these messages but after skimming the contents it gets filed Evernote or in a folder so I can search it out at a later date when it's needed.
Maybe this will help put things in perspective. Email allows hundreds of "mini-conversations" every day. Treat them like that. We wouldn't walk away from someone we were talking to without at least acknowledging their comments. Similarly we would expect that if someone came to visit us they wouldn't interrupt us if we were in the middle of something important.

Email, if managed properly will assist you in accomplishing your mission. If managed poorly or not at all it will scatter your attention and bury your effectiveness.

Children's Ministry Training

Be sure to take a look at the Children's Ministry Webinars. These webinars focus on the following areas of children's ministry.

  1. Leadership Development
  2. Resource Training
  3. Early Childhood
  4. Elementary
  5. Pre-Teens
  6. Ministry to Girls
  7. Ministry to Boys
  8. Open Discussion
As my old McDonalds manager used to say, "If you're green you're growing, if you're ripe you rot." This is just a great resource to help you stay green and growing.

Teacher Training Resources

If you oversee teachers in your church, training is a vital part of what you do. Teachers who feel un equipped and aren't given opportunities for continuing education of their craft burn out quicker and serve fewer terms than those who are properly trained and encouraged to grow.

So as the administratof of the teachers, where do you start? What can you do to provide your teachers with training materials?

Here are a few recommendations for you:

1. Help your teachers learn what's packed inside their curriculum
2. Christian Education as a Team Sport
3. Training through Teams
4. The Teacher as the Learner

For more resources and ideas related to the classroom and discipleship, please go to the AG Discipleship Ministries Agency.

Ministry - Made Easy

Twitter allows us to follow mini-blog activities of our friends through texting and the web.

Google is the central hub for searching anything on the web (have you ever wondered if elephants can jump? Google knows).

RSS feeds news that is of interest to you right to your desktop every day.

Facebook allows you to connect with people in your community, alumni of your school and relatives you usually only hear from in Christmas letters.

All these resources bring information to one location and when used correctly can save time and make your life richer.

Shouldn't there be something like this for youth ministry?

There is: at you will find Leadership resources, ministry strategies, sermon series and more.

Here's a sample of some of the Leadership Resources available in Volume II.
  • Personal growth plan
  • Weekly service planner
  • Youth Leader Online Spiritual Gift Test
  • Crisis Sites
  • Putting together you budget
  • Message Makers
  • Why Sinful people can be anointed
  • Assessments (for pastors, volunteers, and more)
Need sermons? can help with that too. Each volume comes with 52 sermons with corresponding parent-teen connections, small group studies, and powerpoint slides. You'll have sermons written by some of the top youth leaders in the nation at your fingertips!

Why not harness the power of the web to pull together some of the top resources available to youth ministers to save time and make your life richer.

Curious? Check out the free sample from Volume I. is ministry made easy.

NOTE: threebeans receives no money from the sale of or the promotion of subscriptions to - that means the promotion comes simply because I believe in the resource.