Memory Go Round

His memories of this place were as vague as he chose them to be, but this day, this man relived this one a little longer. 

He sat on a wooden horse 35 years ago and watched his mother bury her face in her hands as his father walked away. He never saw the man again. 

His thoughts were interrupted by the laughter of his 2 children going around on their wooden horses. 

He clutched his wife’s hand a little harder and waved at his children,  determined to give them different memories. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this 1-minute fictional piece I wrote a couple of years ago. You may have had more than your share of painful memories as a child. You do not have to repeat them. Even if you did repeat them you can commit to break out of the cycle. The greatest security blanket you can give your children is you.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children?

A Voice From the World 5 Foot and Under

girls playing on street

First of all, thanks for visiting my website. I have been writing on my blog here for the past couple of years, and at least 3 times a week for that past year. For the most part, I have been sharing about my interests in mobile photography and sharing micro-fiction stories and poems. As I have been posting over the past few weeks, my heart has moved towards writing about what I have done for the past 3 decades; and that is working with children. I realize more than anything else that I am a voice from the world 5 foot and under.

I have decided that the majority of content on this blog will shift to benefit anyone who works with or raises young children: parents, grandparents, step-parents, foster parents, teachers, coaches, social workers, pediatricians, dentists, therapists, Sunday School teachers, etc. If you are any of those listed and want to hear another voice from the world 5-foot and under, then keep following and give me the opportunity to share my experiences and perspective.

Although I do not consider myself the highest authority on the subject of children, I have worked with children for 30 years and been a parent for over 20, so at least I can share with you some mistakes and learnings. Yes, I am still learning. And yes, I am a preacher, and preachers preach. Be forewarned, I might start singing, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” because He does!

About 3 times during the week on the blog, I will be sharing thoughts that I believe will make you smile, nod your head, chuckle and even shed a few tears. Since I still love writing what I call 1-minute fiction, I might squeeze in one every now and then. I am working on publishing some works, and you will get to see the process. I hope you join in and enjoy the journey with me by tapping the “Subscribe” button at the top of this page. Cheers!

Kidmin Conference Nuggets

cpc book<

I’m a children’s pastor for a non-denominational church in Southern California. If you are in the business of working with children or do ministry and into leadership stuff read on…
After a great children’s conference it’s very easy to back into the grind of ministry and even forget to unpack all the “Aha!” moments and apply practical learnings into what we do. I am working on being more strategic with how I do kidmin at my church with my team. With that here are some golden nuggets I got from CPC 14:

  • Sometimes, you don’t need more resources. You just need to remember what God has done in the past.
  • When you do teach, stay focused on one theme. Stick to it!
  • Don’t recruit out of need because that’s not what motivates people. Vision does.
  • Never underestimate the value of training.
  • Keep telling stories to engage your children but don’t be afraid to teach a principle that cannot be explained through a bible story.
  • Kids will not believe you if you don’t have fun with them.
  • It’s not about behavior conforming . It’s about hearts transforming.

Lessons from a conference

20130723-123340.jpg

I’m still recovering from conference hangover as I type this. I will spare you the details, but if children’s ministry is involved in a conference then that means tons of pizza. At least around here it does. With an abundance of pizza flowing over a period of a few days, bloating and gassiness are unavoidable. So, what did I learn or re-learn from a conference we just finished at our church?

  • What worked last time doesn’t equate to automatic success the next time.
  • Always have back-up plans.
  • There is no such thing as overstaffing an event for children.
  • When all else fails, have a dance contest.

Special events are always heaps of hard work and long days. The process is just as important as the actual event. I realize that Jesus loves me whether I think the event was a resounding success or miserable failure. The truth is… so do the kids.

we simplify, we perfect, we start over


This was the opening video for Apple’s WWDC this past week. It’s simple and powerful. We simplify. We perfect. We start over. Apple’s take on design. It’s more than just a look. Where else does this approach apply?

Genuine Leadership

20130525-151622.jpg

Genuine Leadership

 

It’s easy to be a leadership junkie and get caught up in all of the facets of leadership to grow your team and your ministry. How many books have you read about leadership? How many audio messages have you listened to? How many conferences have you attended? You can be totally equipped to lead the masses. However, if you lead children and lead the leaders who lead the children, then it is vital that your leadership should be genuine. Children need leaders who are genuinely imperfect and real to pattern their lives after. Your leaders deserve the same type of leadership.

 

Relational leadership is probably your style, and if it isn’t, it should be how you lead. Collaboration and teamwork must be at the top of your values list. If you want your people, young and old, to take this journey with you and accomplish the mission, you must be real with people. You work too closely to people frequently enough that most of them can discern where you are with them. Here’s your checklist to provide leadership that keeps you real and benefits the team you’re leading and the children you minister to.

 

  • Acknowledge your limitations.
  • Be accountable.
  • Humble yourself.
  • Stay visible.

 

Acknowledge your limitations.

This is not a knock on faith. Yes, you can do all things in Christ Jesus, but you know what you are not good at. Stop kidding yourself. Furthermore, don’t waste the majority of your time trying to improve on your weaknesses. Work with people who are strong in these areas. It requires that you share your authority to empower these people to make things happen in areas you cannot. What about me? Administration is my weakness. I’m not good at it. I even despise it most of the time. It’s not a cop out to be lazy. There are administrative duties that I cannot, should not, and will not entrust someone else to do for me. That’s when I ask for help. What’s your weak area? Have you partnered with someone who is gifted in the area you are not?

 

Be accountable

This is the least popular of points, and it is also the least practiced. You must have people in your life who can tell you like it is. These are the straight shooters. Do you really want to surround yourself with people who will nod their heads and agree with every single decision and direction you take? You must be accountable at least one other leader who can and will question your decisions and your attitudes towards these decisions.

 

Humble yourself.

You cannot be accountable without being humble. You are a leader because you have a measure of confidence and ambition to go along with your gift. Yet, you still need to humble yourself to stay grounded. Isn’t it better to humble yourself rather than allowing a person or a situation humble you? True humility says, “I don’t know it all: not even close.” Being humble means being flexible enough to be teachable. My favorite team sport is basketball. The best basketball players of all time only made 50% of their shots. Only Jesus can make them all.

 

Stay visible

Leading people is not easy. If it were, more people would lead. Stay visible. Be approachable. Be there for people. Be there for people as much as you can. This requires a lot of effort, but be close enough, frequently enough, so your team can see your faults as well as your strengths. Your team will see that you are a “real” person. The children will see that you are a “real” person.

 

Show your team and the children that you are much more than a leader who preaches, emails, FaceBooks, and Tweets leadership sayings. Anyone can quote or re-post a John Maxwell principle. Your leaders and your children are more than willing to join in the journey with you when they make that interpersonal connection with the “real” you. These connections promote unity and synergy. Moving forward with great momentum is an awesome thing. Keep it real and lead for real.

Take a break

20130517-215512.jpg

Many of us are always going, going, going. Appointments, meetings, deadlines, chores, projects, dates, events, games, practice, etc. The once a year vacation or occasional weekend getaway is not enough. Each day, take a few minutes to take time for yourself. Most of you know this already, so take it as a friendly reminder. Find a quiet place to pray. You know, I’ll always say pray, but you should listen more than you talk. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I found this little spot in the warehouse at work. Once you find your spot, you can:

  • reflect and meditate (meditate does not mean worry… bad idea)
  • read
  • write in a journal

Ok, some of you journal on your phone, but no texting, no FaceBooking, and no tweeting every minute, telling your followers what you are meditating about. Please don’t. The point is to take a break for yourself. Get some thoughtful perspective. Start with 5 minutes a day and go from there.

Revisting Caine’s Arcade

I never physically visited Caine’s arcade. I drove by months ago, but it was during business hours, so I assumed he was at school. I saw the video again today at the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast and saw the interview with Caine. A lot has happened in a year, and this video has turned into a movement.  I love it when a young person has the gumption to follow through on his imagination and when adults believe enough to help make dreams happen. Caine’s story is inspiring and Nirvan Mullick’s film of it is brilliant. It’s a reminder to me to live with vision and have fun along the journey.

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.