What is Kids Church? – Worship

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The Bible is filled with commands and examples of the early church worshipping.

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;he is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-25

That leads us to the third characteristic of Kids Church – WORSHIP

God created human beings for the purpose of exalting and worshipping Him.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16

Worship needs to be introduced at an early age. Humanity is innately self-centered. We all need to be taught that God is to be first and that He deserves our praise. The earlier we can instill worship in the hearts and minds of kids the better. When we get kids to take the focus off themselves and onto Jesus that is where the real heart and life change takes place.

As with any area of our kids ministries, when our worship isn’t engaging or high-quality enough kids will not be interested in worshipping. This doesn’t mean you have to have all the latest and greatest in lights and stage effects.

What does this look practically?

1. Worship needs to be high-energy! If we want our kids to be excited to worship, the worship leader needs to look excited too. Make sure the person leading worship is full of energy! Have motions with your songs to help. Have high-energy songs to help. Have a kids worship team join you up on stage to help. When worship is not high-energy the kids will not be interested to worship, will role their eyes and check out. (This includes picking the right songs.)

Here are 4 kids worship albums that are spot on and will get you started:

1. eKidz Worship Album – Undefeated

2. Yancy – Little Praise Party Albums (My Best Friend, Happy Day Everyday, Taste and See)

3. Shout Praise Kids featuring Planetshakers Kids – Nothing is Impossible

4. Hillsong Kids – (Follow You, Tell The World, SupernaturalSuper Strong God)

2. Have you ever heard the saying, “More is caught than taught.”? This saying has never been more true than with worship.

It is so important for our volunteers and leaders to be engaged in worship too. Tweet That!

We cannot ask our kids to do something that we do not do ourselves. This is a pet peeve of mine. I believe with all my heart that if our leaders have a heart for worship and demonstrate that during kids church, kids will also begin to worship.

3. The most important practice for an awesome worship time is to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to be present. There are too many church services where we go through the motions — We pick three random songs, we sing the songs, we pray a little prayer and all the kids sit down. Worship is a spiritual act, NOT a religious act. When we go through the motions and perform these worship songs without the Spirit of God, it is only a time-filler and not a Spirit-filler. Invite God to be in the service and watch Him work in the lives of your kids and leaders.

If you missed any of my other posts in this series, What is Kids Church?, here are the links.

Part 1

Part 2

How do you shape your worship time?

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What Is Kids Church? – Serving

This is the second part of the What Is Kids Church? series. Feel free to scroll to the bottom for a link to the first part.

Each characteristic of kids church is relatively even in importance but in my opinion if one had to be the most important it would be serving. Unfortunately, it is the most often left out of kids church. Christians are to be “like-Christ” and one of the most foundational attributes of Jesus Christ is serving.

“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Jesus always put others first and we need to teach and allow the kids in our ministries to do the same. Tweet That!

Reasons why kids SHOULD serve.

Instructed in the Bible

Jesus did

Helps kids belong

Give kids worth

Develops leadership skills

Grows a servant heart in kids (prepares kids for serving in adulthood)

Reasons why kids DON’T serve.

Time and effort to train them

Wrong view of kids in ministry

Lack of parent support

No quality leadership to make it happen

No expectation that they should

How does serving look practically in kids church?

1. Have a kids leadership small group that trains and prepares kids to be involved in ministry and serve. Many kids ministries take breaks during the summer and have modified schedules. During the summer time is a great opportunity to train kids to serve and minister in their church.

2. Many times kids are eager to be involved in ministry, but they can’t be consistent because their parents or guardians haven’t bought in. Practically speaking, kids can’t drive. That is why parent buy in is crucial for kids to be a part of ministry. Those that serve have to get to church early and might have to stay late. Make sure you communicate with the guardian what is expected of their child and get buy in from parent and child.

3. After completing the leadership training schedule kids to serve on Sunday’s. Some of the different roles kids can fill are: running Propresenter, cleaning up after service, worship team members, greeters, and taking the offering. These are all simple roles, but can have huge dividends in the life of the child.

4. Preach and communicate regularly what the Bible says about serving. Kids will never know what is expected of them if it is not taught. It is human nature to look out for yourself and to be self-centered. Christians are taught to put others first  this includes Christians that are kids. Let kids know what Jesus’ expectation is of them when it comes to serving.

The #1 challenge in kids ministry is having enough volunteers and the continual process of recruitment. How different this might be if we instilled serving in the hearts of our kids in our kids ministries?

What are ways that you get kids involved in ministry and serving?

If you missed part 1 of this series, What Is Kids Church? check it out here.

What is Kids Church? – Fellowship

Growing up in the church in the 90s I remember how most children’s ministries didn’t have some creative name like Bethel Kids, Elevation Kids, Promiseland, or High Voltage. Instead it was simply called Kids Church. I think we sometimes forget and lose sight of the fact that our kids ministries are churches of kids. They aren’t a place for kids to ONLY come play games, dance, and yell. All those things aren’t necessarily bad to have, for kids to come, but it should never be the reason that kids continue to come. Kids ministries at its essence is a CHURCH.

Over the next few blog posts I will highlight 5 characteristics that should be evident and define churches, INCLUDING KIDS CHURCH.

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Let’s get started with the first characteristic of life-giving kids churches:

-FELLOWSHIP-

The Bible is filled with Scriptures about breaking bread together, spending time together, and doing life together.

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Jesus thought it was so important that He dined with His disciples just before He was crucified. The early church was known for spending time together and encouraging one another.

We, as #kidmin leaders need to provide space for kids to hang out and do life together. Tweet That!

So what does this look like practically?

1. Provide free time before the service starts, while kids are arriving, for kids to catch up, play together, and build relationships. If you never let kids talk during the service and you always want them to pay attention then how will they ever build friendships that can be life-giving?

2. Create age-specific small groups that are filled with conversations and real world scenarios. These conversations and scenarios that reiterate the lesson give kids the ability to apply their faith in a safe and controlled environment. In these small groups kids will make meaningful relationships with kids their age that are going through the same life phase.

3. Plan and execute kid/family events that allow kids to spend time with their friends and invite neighbors, school friends, or other kids that aren’t a part of the church. There are many kids that won’t come to church or can’t come to church, but will be able to if it is a non threatening event for kids. These events should not exist by themselves, but should be a pathway or connection point to church life.

Let’s make sure our kids ministries have space for kids to fellowship and form life-giving relationships that will last.

What are some ways you invite fellowship into your kids ministry?

Do Over by Jon Acuff Book Review

Sometimes people come along and speak into your life and help you navigate through life. You hopefully have friends and relationships that will give you guidance and help you think through all that life brings. I am so glad that these people don’t always have to be people that you know personally. You can learn from historical figures, famous personalities, leaders in your field, and authors/bloggers.

Jon Acuff and his book, Do Over, spoke into my life and helped prepare me in my ministry as a kids pastor. This book is all about career transitions no matter what your field. I have had the pleasure of being at my first full-time ministry position for four years. Even though I haven’t had many Do Over’s yet in my ministry life, I know it isn’t much longer before it catches up to me.

The one question most of us our asking is, “Can I make it?” The reason why so many of us stay in a position too long is FEAR and COMPLACENCY. We are afraid we won’t succeed. That we don’t have what it takes. If we aren’t afraid we are lazy. We either are stuck in fear or stuck in complacency.

Acuff helps us see what we need to have to make our inevitable career/ministry Do Over as smooth and as positive as possible. There are four types of transitions: career ceilings, career bumps, career jumps, and career opportunities. Some are voluntary and some are involuntary. Either way we have to be ready for these transitions by making constant investments into our Career Savings Account.

The four investments we need to make are: relationships, skills, character, and hustle.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. “When you jump your character jumps with you.” No matter what type of Do Over you make your character is the one thing that always goes with you. When you aren’t sure if you have the skills or the knowledge make sure you at least have character. Character is what people will follow and remember about you when you move on. Your character will keep you striving to be the best. You will be able to transition smoothly as you care for people and show them empathy. People won’t follow you until they know how much you care. Don’t leave your character behind.

2. “If relationships are who you know, skills what you do, and character who you are, hustle is how you work on each.” When I first saw hustle I assumed Jon Acuff just meant work harder, get up early, and stay at work later, but I was wrong. Hustle means working smarter not harder. To be ready for your Do Over you have to hustle to make the right relationships, develop the right skills, and for the right character. Hustle requires awareness as to the season of life, flexibility to change your dreams and make adjustments to your goals. I know I need to hustle on all three. This book has given me direction and clarity as to what I need to focus on.

3. “Advocates and mentors know all the cheat codes…If you listen, they will give them to you.” Growing up playing video games from time to time with my brothers the one with all codes always wins. It was never fair when one of my brothers had cheat codes and I didn’t. I am stubborn so I never liked cheat codes, but if I didn’t play with cheat codes I lost every time. I guess it’s time to play with cheat codes. There are many people who have already gone through ministry struggles and they are more than willing to give you guidance. We just need to swallow our pride and ask for help. Stop being so stubborn.

Do-Over-3D-bookshot-with-spine

1. “When you jump your character jumps with you.”

2. “If relationships are who you know, skills what you do, and character who you are, hustle is how you work on each.”

3. “Advocates and mentors know all the cheat codes…If you listen, they will give them to you.”

Now back to FEAR. We all deal with FEAR. I love how Acuff concludes his book, Do Over. He talks about that question that we all ask, “You really think you can do this?” Through Jon Acuff’s book, Do Over, you will learn that when you hustle in the categories of relationships, skills, and character, “Apparently, you can.”

What a great book that gives you the courage and the steps to make your next Do Over. Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

Ministry is intended to be fun!

ministry is fun

Ministry is intended to be fun, but many times it is a tough experience filled with discouragement, depression, and frustration. When we are a part of God’s work it should be a joy to serve! I pray that each one of you enjoys serving in #kidmin and has fun serving the Lord. I have come up with four ways to help us have fun while we serve and experience that joy that comes with serving:

1. Be prepared – Take time to look over the lesson. There is no easier way to get stressed then not knowing what to do when kids start showing up. Guess what?! If you arent’ prepared and have a plan the kids will come up with one for you!

2. Show up early – When we are running late it adds unnecessary stress and anxiety that kills our joy and makes serving a burden. On Saturday night, set the alarm a few minutes earlier than normal, get your outfit ready before you get in bed, and turn the automatic starter on the coffee. Be proactive in showing up early so you are ready to welcome families and experience life together.

3. Pray – Spend time praying during the week to help give you confidence in the Lord that He will take care of your concerns and that He will show up on Sunday as you serve. I wonder how many church leaders come to church on Sunday without ever praying for their services and the kids that attend. God hears our prayers and pray will go a long way to bringing joy to you serving.

4. Bring a friend – Leading a small group full of kids without any help can be a “joy-sucker.” Don’t give excuses as to why you haven’t asked someone to join you in ministry. Help others that aren’t involved in ministry get involved. God calls all of us to serve and help others experience Christ. Invite a friend to serve with you and be your assistant in the classroom. They can help with the fussy kids and keep you focused on leading the small group. Just make sure they aren’t in the classroom alone.

These are 4 ways to help you have fun while serving! Hope they help make next Sunday a little less stressed and a little more fun!

I Like Giving Book Review

There have many transitions happening at my church so I have not had as much time to blog about the different books that I have been reading, but rest assured that I have been reading and learning.

The book that I want to blog about today is I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. The book is filled with inspirational testimonies about the power of giving. I found that it does not have many nuts and bolts because giving isn’t really difficult in skill only difficult in execution. The book is very inspirational and will make anyone more in-tune with giving opportunities and living to give.

This book came at a great time for me personally. I have lived in the Hampton Roads region for 3 years and see homeless and low-income housing every day. The news is covered with homicides and robbings. Honestly, it has made me a little jaded toward giving and blessing others. Living here has given me the mindset that most people abuse the system and take their earnings to by cigarettes and alcohol. I am glad that I read this book and pray that I would be more generous even when I do not know how it will be received.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. The statement that stuck with me the most in I Like Giving is the “line between giving and receiving disappears” as you live generously. As you give the benefits and blessings that you receive from it will make it seem like you are the one receiving instead of the one giving. I thought this line was very poetic and true. Nelson Searcy says that when we bless people we ourselves are blessed. We don’t give to receive in return, but we give and the byproduct of giving is receiving joy and purpose. The author also talks about how “giving is for us, it gives us life.” Isn’t it true that when you give out of your heart that it gives you life. It puts joy and energy into your step. It makes you come alive. Many of us walk around doing are jobs, hobbies, and life like a zombie. With no emotion, no heart. Try giving and see what happens to your soul. The line between giving and receiving disappears.

2. As a children’s pastor I always thinking about families, parenting, and kids. The author struck a chord with me when he discussed how giving brings the family together. When parents instill in their kids generosity and the power of giving, kids really get a hold of this idea. One thing I love about kids is that when they grab a hold of something they run wild with the idea. If parents can lead the way and teach their kids to give and to look for opportunities to be generous, kids will run wild with it. Let kids be a part of your generosity. Most things that our kids learn are caught not taught. Kids can make this world a better place if parents disciple their kids to be generous. What are some ways you could teach your kids about giving? Giving will give your family memories that will last forever. Giving as a family will bring your family together. Involve the whole family in living to give.

3. The last item that I want to discuss is that giving isn’t as easy as you may think, but keep trying. Especially in America there are many people that don’t want help. Americans are known for being arrogant and independent. As you begin to give there will be instances where you are declined. The individual doesn’t want your help or assistance. Don’t be discouraged. There will be many mothers, widows, dads, kids that will appreciate your giving. Your giving will come at just the right time, but only if you continue to give. Don’t let the few contaminate the whole. One way to get around this conundrum is to give anonymously. The whole point of giving is not to get noticed and take credit in the first place. Put money in their mailbox. Get help from the waiter or cashier. This way the person will have no choice but to accept your gift. Giving isn’t as easy as you may think, but keep trying.

I Like Giving

A simple book that will jump start living generously and changing the world.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Those are my quick hitters that I learned from this book:

The line between giving and receiving disappears.

Involve the whole family in living to give.

Giving isn’t easy as you may think, but keep trying.

~Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.~

Start With Why Book Review

Just like most of you who have heard of and read one of Simon Sinek’s books, I heard about him first during his TED talk that has been watched by thousand.

He is a great communicator and has a great theory that is presented and discussed in his book, Start With Why. Sinek talks about “the golden circle” and how it is built and used as a megaphone to communicate the vision and passion of the leader and/or organization. His passion is to inspire people to inspire others and I feel Simon Sinek was able to accomplish that in this book. After reading the book, I was inspired to communicate differently and be crystal clear in why I do what I do. This book gave me direction and organization to what is in my heart and spirit. His book goes to the top of my list and was a book that I needed to read in this stage in my life and ministry. This is a great book for anyone that wants to be a great leader and discovering the important things to communicate.

The Golden Circle

 

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. The essence of this book, Start With Why, is the first quick hitter. Start with why instead of what you do. Many organizations know what they do and make that their focus. But this book argues to communicate why first before communicating how you do it or what you are doing. Without the why the organization or ministry will not be as successful and focused as it could be. It is hard to do this because the way we communicate and listen at the biological level is that why cannot be communicate with words very well. The part that is easy to communicate is what. Do you want to take the easy way and communicate what or do you want to take the hard way, but the right way, and communicate the why. Start with WHY.

2. The goal is to inspire people to move forward and want to move forward with the organization and ministry. A lot of leaders get followers for a short time by using manipulations. In the business sector this is seen through sales, low prices, and advertisement. In ministry this can be seen in advertisements, decorations, events. While these things might get kids and families inside the doors it will not keep them there. When we communicate starting with why and inspire people they are more likely to stay and get connected. When we use manipulations you have to continue to one up yourself and other organizations in the same area. Manipulations aren’t sustainable and will make it harder to minister to people. Use manipulations sparingly.

3. The last quick hitter is about building the right team. No matter how great someone is at having vision and communicating that to the rest of society they need others that know how to put it I to reality. Most people that have a why are not very good at making that a reality and knowing all the nuts and bolts to make it happen. If you look at all those leaders that inspired others they had someone or a group of people getting things done. If your team is just visionary people then you will have lots of dreams, but no reality. Build teams that have a mix of why-types and how-types.

After reading this book I was able to discover my WHY…to break down barriers for kids to get to Jesus. From now on I will filter how I do everything and what I do through that filter.

The people that were successful were not smarter, faster, quicker, wealthier, but they all started with why.

Those are my quick hitters that I learned from this book:

Always start with WHY.

Use manipulations sparingly.

Build teams that have a mix of why-types and how-types.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

How To Win Friends & Influence People Book Review

It amazes me how connected the world is. I believe that we live in the greatest era in history. We have the world at our fingertips. I say this because of an experience that I had a few months ago. I was watching a great #kidmin video that had a forum of kid ministry leaders, Frank Bealer, Andy Kirk, Nathan McLean, and Dave Wakerley. Here is the video I was watching

http://leade3.com/new-a-conversation-with-some-family-ministry-gurus-part-3-of-3/

In this video Frank Bealer talked about finding someone you want to eventually be and learn from them. So I took to twitter and asked Frank a question. Long story short, we spoke on the phone and he recommended the book that I am going to review today, How to Win Friends and Influence People. He told me that I should focus on communication and dealing with people. The rest of ministry is just hard work. So I took his advice and picked up Dale Carnegie‘s book and devoured it.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a bunch of short chapters which has its positives and negatives. The positive is that you get little snippets, but the negative is that you get a lot of little snippets. It can be a little overwhelming as you get further into the material. The reason why Carnegie wrote this book was as a textbook for the class he was teaching. Carnegie wanted this book to be a text that was revisited over and over again. It wasn’t designed to be learned and remembered in just one sitting. The author wants the reader to read through it multiple times, which is a good thing to practice for most books.

To preface this book, this book is not about manipulation. It is about truly caring and wanting the best for people. When you have the other persons best interest in mind and care not about the results, but about the people involved. When you do that, the results will take care of themselves.

Okay! Now onto the review! Lets take a look at my quick hitters.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

 1. There is a quote by Charles Schwab that is the source of the first thing I want to increase in my life and ministry. It says, “The greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a  person is by appreciation and encouragement.” This has to be done in public and also privately. There is another quote that Carnegie continues to recount throughout the entire book and it says, “Be hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” I know some of these words are old words. What do you expect from a book from 1936!! It basically means don’t only notice when someone does something well, but let them and others know that he did something well. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if you don’t communicate no one will ever hear your heart. This can be accomplished through handwritten cards, volunteer appreciation events, giving thanks from the stage/pulpit, and gifts. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

2. The next principle that I want to make sure is in my life and ministry is being empathetic and seeing life and situations from the other persons’ point of view. This is the crux of the book. The book always points back to this principle. I figured that if I didn’t make this one of my quick hitters I have failed as a reader and as a reviewer. The author states, “If out of reading this book you get just one thing – an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle – if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.”  What a powerful statement and something that you cannot ignore. No matter what field you are in, but especially, in the people-focused field of ministry this statements rings true even after all of these years. Everyone life is different and the way we view the world and experiences is completely different. Look at life through the other person’s point of view.

3. The last quick hitter for How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is dealing with conflict. Now that I have been in ministry for a few years now I have come to realize that when you are dealing with people there is going to be conflict. People are going to let you down and you are going to let people down. We should take some pointers from our Eastern friends and let others save face. There is no need to humiliate and make the person feel like an idiot. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “What matters is not what I think of him, but what he things of himself.” Let them know that you believe in them even though you are disappointed. I hate when people just point out something wrong, but don’t try to help the person grow. We are doing no one a favor when we point out an error, but don’t give advice and give them a vote of confidence. Let the other person save face.

There are so many different things in this book that can make each one of us better spouses, parents, leaders, and people. If we can just apply a few of these we will be better for it. One last critique about this book is that it has many different stories in it. It is not just principles and boring materiel, but filled with stories as examples. It is more like a case study with principles being applied. It kept my interest better than other books on the same subject.

Those are my quick hitters for Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

1. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

2. Look at life through the other person’s point of view.

3. Let the other person save face.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

 

Winning with People Book Review

John Maxwell, the author of Winning with People writes that there is only one person that is not an other. That is you. Life is filled with people and your success is directly related to how you communicate and deal with others. I am not that big a fun of Maxwell’s book because they are all formatted the same way. There are stories in between lists of principles. His books are filled with number list. After a while the books just drag on and get tedious. If you can get through the repetition there are some good truths that he highlights in his books.

In his book, John Maxwell, talks about 5 (see, a list!) different areas to focus on to win with people:

1. Readiness: Are we prepared for relationships?

2. Connection: Are we willing to focus on others?

3. Trust: Can we build mutual trust?

4. Investment: Are we willing to invest in others?

5. Synergy: Can we create a win-win relationship?

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. Maxwell talks about the Elevator Principle. Are you going to lift people up or drag them down. Will you and I be subtract, multiply, add, or divide?

People that subtract-we tolerate them

People that multiply – we value them

People that add – we enjoy them

People that divide – we avoid them

To be a multiplier you have to be intentional, strategic, and skilled. These are all learned behaviors, but takes dedication. Let’s strive to be multipliers and add value to people lives.

2. Lord help me to always take the high road. Maxwell talks about the high road principle as going to a higher level when we treat others better than they treat us. I know this seems unrealistic to think that we can treat others better than they treat us. It is just so easy to get ticked off and retaliate, but it just doesn’t help. You never have to agree that what they are doing and how they are treating you is right, but you need to treat them better than they are treating you. When we do this I believe that God will reward us and bless us for our love and grace towards people. We have to always remember that God showed us extreme grace and mercy by sending Jesus to pay our price for our sin. Take the high road and treat others better than they treat you.

3. The last quick hitter for Winning with People is to be their friend. This has always been a challenge for me, because I am so independent. I just don’t think about inviting others on my team to hang out or go somewhere with me. Maxwell talks about how when all things are equal, people will work with people they like; all things not being equal, they still will. Meaning…that our friends are going to serve with us and work with us because they are our friends and we have that type of relationship. Instead of always looking for the next shiny volunteer who is really gifted and always recruiting, build those friendships with the volunteers that you have already recruited. Make sure that you are talking with your team more than just when you need their help. If that happens they will get burned out and not cared for. Build friendships with your team, staff, or volunteers.

These are just three of many different principles that John Maxwell points out to help the reader win with people. I pray that I can win with people, because winning by yourself just isn’t as fun!

Those are my quick hitters for John Maxwell’s book, Winning with People:

1. To be a multiplier (and add value) you have to be intentional, strategic, and skilled.

2. Take the high road and treat others better than they treat you.

3. Build friendships with your staff, team, or volunteers.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

The First 90 Days Book Review

Being so close to the beginning of my ministry career, I envision that I will have a few more transitions and change of ministry positions in the future. I pray that I will be able to stay long term in a ministry position at some point because I see many positives to being at the same organization for an extended amount of time.

Even if you have the great pleasure of being a part of the same organization for a long period of time you will still be faced with other types of transitions and you will most likely guide and train those that recently became a part of your organization. There is much value in knowing how to transition well.

This book, The First 90 Days, written by Michael Watkins, has been recommended to me by a few of my pastors that I serve with and under. The book had some great information that can use in ministry and in all organizations, but has parts that were hard to understand without a business background. Like the title states, this book gives you the most important responsibilities and tasks to do within the first 90 days of your transition. This is a book that should be added to your library and referenced when dealing with any type of organizational transition.

As you make transitions in the future, whether to a new organization or a change in your position let me leave you with my 3 quick hitters that will help all of us make better and quicker transitions.

Quick Hitters

In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.

1. Accelerate Your Learning. If you are going to a new organization, you have the dilemma of being an outsider not familiar with the organization. Do everything you can to learn about the new organization. Learn everything about the past, present, and future. Get to know the secretaries that have been there forever. Get to know the historians of the organization that can teach you about the culture of the organization. Have as many conversations as you can with those you will be leading. Have private conversations one-on-one and have public conversations with the whole team. Michael Watkins lists many different questions that you should be asking in these conversations. Most of this organizational learning is not found in books and articles, but found in the minds and hearts of those that you will lead and serve. Accelerate Your Learning.

2. My next quick hitter is to evaluate the organization and place them into one of four different situations and act accordingly. For example, you want know how to fix a house or improve your house until you assess what type of house it is and what work needs to get fixed. Watkins describes this as the STARS Model. STARS stands for Start-up, Turnaround, Realignment, and Sustaining Success. Each organization will fit into one of these four situations and will need different approaches and actions. Once you study your organization, evaluate your organization, and place them in the STARS Model, you will have a better grasp on what strategy you should take to lead and improve the organization. Match Strategy to Situation using the STARS Model

3. The final quick hitter that I want to mention about The First 90 Days is secure early wins. When you arrive at a new organization you have zero momentum. Not much can get done and accomplished when there is zero momentum. When you pinpoint ways to build your credibility and secure early wins it will give you momentum. When you have momentum that is when you can take bigger risks and make bigger changes. One of the most basic building blocks of teams is trust. When you get some early wins it will build trust between you and your team and will make it easier for them to follow you and support you. In the early days of your transition the biggest win that you can earn is in personal credibility. Make sure you act like the way you want people to perceive you. They will be watching your every move. Make sure that your expectations are clear, but fair. Secure early wins.

There is a lot more information inside this book that was really good. This is just a little taste of what the book is about. Take the time to read this book so you can be prepared for your next transition.

First-90-Days

Those are my quick hitters for Michael Watkins’ book, The First 90 Days:

1. Accelerate Your Learning.

2. Match Strategy to Situation using the STARS Model.

3. Secure Early Wins.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.