Oct
03

Hey all – I just wanted to let you know this blog is moving.You can find new posts at:

SpencerClick.com

Sep
28

It’s no secret (for anyone who has talked to me about Children’s Ministry for more than 5 minutes) that I learn a lot from Bro. Jim. Even before Infuse I had been learning from him for years via conferences, books, and The Club; but mentoring is different than just information download. I was thinking this morning about how much I enjoy being a part of Infuse…It’s such a privilege to help mentor and coach these wonderful leaders. Bro. Jim isn’t the only mentor I have in life – I have a few others. I learned several years ago the real benefit to having a mentor so I started finding folks who would be good mentors. With that in mind I wanted to share some thoughts…

So here are some good keys to finding a mentor and being mentored:

  1. Realize you need a mentor: I don’t care how long you’ve been doing something – there’s an area in your life where you need to grow. There’s somebody out there who can help you. Start looking.
  2. A Mentor is not just a Teacher: Lots of people can give you information, but mentoring is as much about the relationship as it is about the information received. If all you’re looking for is info, go to a conference or read a book.
  3. Pursue a Mentor: The mentors worth having are folks you’re going to have to pursue. Find someone who is a person you can learn from and ask if they’ll mentor you.
  4. Shut Up: If you learn to listen you might have a better opportunity to learn something.
  5. Be Transparent: Mentoring is about a relationship – so when your mentor asks you a question answer it completely and honestly. It doesn’t help you in your journey to hold back…how is someone going to help you grow if you aren’t honest?
  6. Ask questions: Don’t just wait for someone to tell you something. Ask questions. If you don’t have any questions, think harder; because you should have questions.
  7. Build a relationship: If you’re transparent, ask questions, and pursue the right individual you should build a relationship with them. If you’re investing time and money to learn then you should put an effort into relationship. The two main mentors in my life have gone from mentors to friends and to me that’s a successful relationship.
  8. Continue to press in: It easy once things get comfortable to slide into a routine, but as with anything you get out what you put in…put more in effort and you get more out. Continue to pursue information, relationship and learning and you’ll get more out of the efforts you put in…

This is by no means a definitive list of things to consider – but if you take some of this into mind you can really benefit from being mentored.

Aug
18

A couple of weeks ago I was in Phoenix for the General Council of the AG (read, big long business meeting) and Tommy Barnett spoke for an evening session. Pastor Tommy has pastored the largest AG church in the country for years and years. He is well known for the depth and strength of the vision he shares. He has grown Phoenix First AG from a handful of people to over 10,000! And has met the needs of thousands upon thousands of people. He founded the Dream Center and has inspired so many other ministries it is overwhelming to think about. When you hear some leaders speak you are amazed by what they’ve done. When you hear Tommy speak, you are amazed by what you could do! He lifts everyone else around him up…he’s very inspirational!

As he was speaking he was sharing about the passion God has placed in his heart and the drive that he has. He’s 73 and keeps a schedule that would wear out most 40 year olds…anyways – as he was speaking about burnout in the ministry he made a very interesting statement. He said “The reason you burnout is because your vision is too small!”  What? Really?  You burn out because your vision is too small? I thought you burned out because you were overwhelmed with the vastness of what needed to be done. I thought you burned out because you had too much going on…not because you couldn’t see a big enough vision. (I didn’t actually think this, but I’m trying to make a point.)

Patrick Lencioni, in his book Three Signs of a Miserable Job, talks about three different things affecting employee enthusiasm.One of those things relates to what Tommy was talking about. He says one of the signs of a miserable job is Irrelevance. Basically, if an employee can’t see the purpose behind what they do, they will lose enthusiasm. Same goes for your vision…

Tommy’s point was this – you burnout because your vision is so limited in its focus.  Your vision is too small because you only see what you are doing and not the larger picture of how your contribution affects the kingdom of God! You matter in the Kingdom of God! Your work is important!  Your vision must incorporate the vastness of the whole kingdom – not just your classroom, small group, or kids church role. In an employment situation we call it lack of enthusiasm. In church we call it burnout. Ultimately it is the same thing – we have lost sight of the significance of our contribution.

Never lose sight of how much you matter. Never lose sight of your place in the kingdom! You matter! You changes lives every time you serve! Every time. Never forget it.

Jul
25

 

This news story prompted some new thoughts for me.  I look at the story of our drones getting hacked and I see a group of people who underestimated another group.  Honestly the folks who designed the predators took for granted that, even though they may live in caves, the insurgents have the internet and aren’t stupid.

After the Cold War came to a close the Russian space program and the US space program started exchanging notes.  One of the most telling differences between the two agencies was how they approached problems.  While trying to figure out how to write notes in space (without gravity, normal pens wouldn’t work) NASA spent millions of dollars developing a “space-age” pen.  This pen could write underwater, in zero-G’s, in the cold…whatever, where ever this pen could write there.  The russian space agency found the research fascinating – but ultimately concluded their solution to the same problem worked also – they used pencils.

Often times when money, time, or people aren’t an issue folks start to take them for granted.  When you have lots of resources it’s easy to use the unwisely.  I have been blessed in my current position.  It is the first time in many years that I have not had to spend most of my time thinking about fundraising.  I have a budget that is sufficient to do what I need to get done and a bit extra to dream a little.  As I’ve reviewed the budget from past years I have seen purchases and payments for some stuff I would have never dreamed of paying for when I was at a smaller church.  Not just because I didn’t have the money, but because we had figured out a way to do the same thing cheaper.  It was a great training ground for me.  It would be a fun experiment to take a children’s pastor who has been really successful at a church of 100 and move them to a church of 5,000 – there’d be an obvious learning curve; but I’d love to see how they managed their budget…I bet they’d do great.

Sometimes it’s like we try to build a Rube Goldberg Machine to get the most simple tasks completed. We can find ourselves asking the questions: “What’s the hottest way to do this?”  “What’s the newest techie way?”  “What’s everyone else doing?”  Without asking the question: “Is this the best way?”  “Is there a less expensive way to do this?”  Part of being a good steward with what we’ve been entrusted with is asking these questions. This post from NorthPoint is a great illustration of this point.

I think we have to stop and look at things and ask if we’re doing things for the right reason.  1 Corinthians 6:12 “Everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial”  – to me means:  just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. The way we have gone to looking at this around our office is we want to create ministry and structures that are fast, flatter, and more personal. We want simplicity. Simplicity allows for better flexibility. So what complicated methodologies can be eliminated?

Jul
14

I like the way a well oiled machine runs…there are no problems.  There is no proverbial squeaky wheel – it’s all smooth.  I think everyone prefers to be a part of things that run well.  Given a choice between a new 2012 Lexus fresh off the lot and a 1972 Nova – I’m picking the new Lexus.  I know it’s going to run smoother…

When I was in college I had an advisor who said he considered it a successful midweek service when he could sit in his office and enjoy a cup of coffee.  This sounded like a good thing to me – after all if your ministry could run on auto pilot then you must be doing something right – right?

I think a lot of folks are striving for that perfect ministry running like a well oiled machine – they get tired of dealing with problems and want a relief…”When will this end?” They scream!  I’ve had a few moments like that myself…I actually spent time trying to setup a Children’s Ministry that would let me sit in my office and drink a cup of coffee – before I realized the problems with that style.

I do believe that we need to strive for a ministry that is running well – smoothly even – not constantly in crisis mode.  But in that striving to become a well oiled machine you have to be careful that you don’t hit a plateau.  It’s easy when you are looking for a place to “arrive” – to find a flat spot to rest.  And I’ve got news for you – if you’ve found that spot, you’ve found a plateau.

In ministry we can never stop looking for ways to improve – my Pastor shared a thought with us “The first draft is never good enough…” – and he’s right.  If we are doing the same things we were doing last year in the exact same way – we probably aren’t evaluating our program.

I had another advisor in college – he had a little different philosophy than the first.  In a class on ethics we were given an assignment to write a paper on how two books affected our personal ethics.  A girl in the last row of the class raised her hand and asked “What is nothing changed?”  His response is classic and true – “I have read these books 4 times – each time I’ve read them something in my personal ethics has changed.  If nothing changed for you – then you didn’t read them.”

If nothing’s changed in your ministry and it seems to be running well – there’s a good chance you’re sitting on a flat spot and often times of the other side of a plateau is a downhill slope…

Jul
11

ASSUMPTIONS

“Assumption is the lowest form of communication.” My pastor says this all the time and it is so true! Assumptions are like unplugged phone lines – they breakdown communication. How often does something not happen or feelings get hurt because of an assumption made in error. I’m sure you can come up with some situations on your own where an assumption has played havoc with someone’s feeling.

One of the biggest assumptions we all make is assuming other people know what we know and think how we think. Without even meaning to – we assume everyone grew up in what we consider a normal situation. Without even meaning to – we assume others share the same beliefs as us. Without even meaning to – we assume. Why?  Because it’s the path of least resistance. It is so much easier to assume someone knows something than actually communicate. It is so much easier to assume someone is ok than check. It is so much easier to assume…I’ve been guilty of assuming – I’m sure we all have.

Here’s the problem when the leader assumes – usually they are wrong. So I wanted to clear up a couple of assumptions I’ve made.  I know I’ve communicated the vision for Bethel Kids, so consequently I assume everyone knows it – but I bet if I were to ask for the Reader’s Digest version most people couldn’t tell me it. So I’m going to work on communicating it better.  For clarity, the Reader’s Digest version of our vision is “Bethel Kids exists to serve parents and serve children.” There’s a longer version, but I’m happy if people can get the simple version in their head.

Another assumption I am going to correct is the assumption that the volunteers in my ministry know how awesome I think they are!  I tell other leaders, I write blogs, I brag about my volunteers all the time – but the assumption that everyone ‘gets’ it can kill the children’s ministry at Bethel. So let’s work at clearing this one up: To all the volunteers at Bethel I THINK YOU’RE AWESOME! Now to assume that covers it would be wrong – but we’re going to work on making sure everyone knows it.  We’re going to say it loud and often. I never look at a volunteer as just a warm body to fill a room – the volunteers in Children’s Ministry are the life blood of what we do and I see you are ministry partners! You are as important to the success of our ministry as Pastor Glenn – there are no unimportant parts to our ministry team. If you need a reminder – read last weeks blog. So to my AWESOME MINISTRY PARTNERS – keep up the great work. Together we can be the best at serving parents and serving children – thanks for all you do!

Jun
27

I’m a sucker for America’s Got Talent. Sometimes it is amazing, other times it’s like a train wreck you can’t help but watch!

Sometimes I wonder why people subject themselves to the ridicule and the insults (especially from Piers!) They are wanting approval for their talent so bad they are willing to argue with three people they don’t even know, and sometimes the whole audience, about whether they were good or not.

Some folks are really bad, but others are good – just not good enough to make it to the next round. You can see it on the judge’s faces – “we want you to be good enough, but you’re not.” You can see the pain (on Howie and Sharon, not Piers…he is not a nice man), you can hear it in their voice. And watching this week after week – I’m still left wondering “why do that to yourself?”

This little girl helped me understand why they do it. Her name is Anna Graceman. She’s from Alaska and is 4′ 3″. She does have talent – she did amazing in her performance (you can find it yourself on youtube). It wasn’t her performance that showed me why people do it – it was her response to the praise. In tears she said:

“It’s really amazing to have amazing people like them to tell me I’m good too…”

Everyone who watched her knew she was great – but she needed to hear three people she didn’t know, other than by reputation, tell her she was good.

Here’s the point of this post – every Sunday that you serve, every week you work with Kids, every week you give your all to work with those God has entrusted us with – YOU ARE THE AMAZING PEOPLE!!

You’re kind words, your encouragement, your love can show a child something in themselves they thought no one would see! You have the opportunity to say something that changes the life of a child. Never forget the opportunity you have each week you serve – because you truly are amazing people!

 

Jun
27

Ok…I already have several copies spoken for, but I’d like to give away a couple more…

(Repost)

Have you ordered your copy yet of Jim Wideman’s KidMin Leadership?  If you haven’t, you should!  It was released last week and can be ordered here.  Keep reading to find out, too, how you can win a free copy.

Here are what some of my favorite kidmin people have to say about this book:

“Even beyond the words and messages in this book, the very idea behind this project is significantly pow erful. Jim Wideman’s books and talks have profoundly influenced kidmin. In these pages, you’ll read timeless principles he teaches that have been put into practice with much success. This book should give any kidmin leader great hope that if they put these things into practice, they’ll see success as well.”

–Kenny Conley Next Generation Pastor| Gateway Community Church| Austin, TX|www.childrensministryonline.com

“There are lots of leadership books out there, but when I come across one that is written by kids’ pastors for kids’ pastors, it gets my attention. I love the fact that this book is not full of theories; it is full of actual experience founded in biblical truth. Every chapter provides a different perspective that cumulates in one voice calling children’s pastors and church leaders alike to up their game and lead; because what we do is eternal, and the Gospel demands it.”

–Sam Luce Children’s Pastor| Redeemer Church| Utica, NY|www.samluce.com

“A book written for leaders by leaders, but not just any leaders—these are ones worth listening to. This is an incredible resource that will save young kidmin leaders like myself time, energy, and pain.”

–Dustin Nickerson Children’s Ministry Director| Mars Hill Church Bellevue| Bellevue, WA|www.dustinnickerson.com

So, want your own copy?  Leave a comment below with a short sentence sharing YOUR favorite kidmin leadership principle.  If you want a bonus entry, tweet the following: @spencerclick is giving away a free copy of #kidmin leadership at http://bit.ly/jCFxFo

Can’t wait to put this book in your hands!

Jun
15

Have you ordered your copy yet of Jim Wideman’s KidMin Leadership?  If you haven’t, you should!  It was released last week and can be ordered here.  Keep reading to find out, too, how you can win a free copy.

Here are what some of my favorite kidmin people have to say about this book:

“Even beyond the words and messages in this book, the very idea behind this project is significantly pow erful. Jim Wideman’s books and talks have profoundly influenced kidmin. In these pages, you’ll read timeless principles he teaches that have been put into practice with much success. This book should give any kidmin leader great hope that if they put these things into practice, they’ll see success as well.”

–Kenny Conley Next Generation Pastor| Gateway Community Church| Austin, TX|www.childrensministryonline.com

“There are lots of leadership books out there, but when I come across one that is written by kids’ pastors for kids’ pastors, it gets my attention. I love the fact that this book is not full of theories; it is full of actual experience founded in biblical truth. Every chapter provides a different perspective that cumulates in one voice calling children’s pastors and church leaders alike to up their game and lead; because what we do is eternal, and the Gospel demands it.”

–Sam Luce Children’s Pastor| Redeemer Church| Utica, NY|www.samluce.com

“A book written for leaders by leaders, but not just any leaders—these are ones worth listening to. This is an incredible resource that will save young kidmin leaders like myself time, energy, and pain.”

–Dustin Nickerson Children’s Ministry Director| Mars Hill Church Bellevue| Bellevue, WA|www.dustinnickerson.com

So, want your own copy?  Leave a comment below with a short sentence sharing YOUR favorite kidmin leadership principle.  If you want a bonus entry, tweet the following: @spencerclick is giving away a free copy of #kidmin leadership at http://bit.ly/jCFxFo

Can’t wait to put this book in your hands!

May
31

We’ve all heard the phrase “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” right? Maybe you’ve heard me complaining about a Biblical Interpretations class I’m taking for my Master’s class. One of the books I had to read for it is “Slaves, Women, & Homosexuals.” I was skeptical at first (stick with me the story is worth it), but since “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” I waded in with open eyes! Actually, I went in looking for something to disagree with….and boy did I find it!  In the first chapter it became apparent my concerns were right! This guy was trying to build a hermeneutic that made room for homosexual behavior! But I had to read the book I continued on…It became clear to my by the middle of chapter two that the intentions of this book was to take the neutral example of slavery (a practice everyone agrees is wrong), present a case for a total egalitarian relationship between men and women, and then apply it to homosexuals. I could see it as I read between the lines!

And there in was the problem…As I said, I came to the book looking for something to disagree with. And I could just feel in my bones I was going to be right! But as the author built his case for a Biblical hermeneutic softening the patriarchal position often taken by churches, he clearly showed how the hermeneutic didn’t apply to the homosexual argument – he actually provided some great information for how to refute the homosexual argument – but that’s not the point of this post. This post is to show what I did wrong and what caused it.

Now, I’m willing to bet most of us would have a healthy skepticism in the title of this book…come on, be honest! But it wasn’t the skepticism that took precedent – it was my poor attitude. You see the class was not what I had originally been told it would be – and I was still mad about that. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry and do not sin” – which is a reference to Psalm 37:8    “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.” I had started reading the book mad – and I knew this book was going to be something else to be mad about, so I just stayed mad.

How often do we let our anger, bad attitude, misperception or some other negative thought drive us to look for errors or offenses? How about at church? Someone makes a statement that is rude or curt; you get to decide how address it. You can take it at face value or look for what is actually being said. Maybe the comment, even though presented poorly, does warrant your consideration. For every situation you approach with two buckets–one in filled with gasoline, the other with water–you decide which to use.

The conclusion of Psalm 37:9 brings the key to carrying the right attitude “…those who wait for the LORD…” Maybe you need to learn to pause before you respond to someone, take a moment before you shoot off that email, pray before you have that meeting…whatever it is that allows you to wait for the Lord, learn how to do it and I imagine you’ll find yourself in less conflict, less stressed, and at a better level of peace in your life.

 

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