I’m finally moving!!!

So I am finally taking the plunge! I have bought my own domain and have started it and you are welcome to visit.

The site is: JC is ONLINE

Here’s what I would like for you to do when you visit the site:

  1. Subscribe to the RSS feed at the top.
  2. Explore the site and comment with any problems or issues (Especially PC users!)
  3. Let me know what you think.

Thanks so much for reading my thoughts, I am happy for this blog to continue to progress and that is all because of the input that you guys give. The input that you give is the most important reason for this blog. I thank you for all that you have done. You guys are awesome and wonderful.

PEACE!

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Orange Conference:Blogger’s Lounge!!!

So I have been asked to be a part of the Blogger’s Lounge at the Orange Conference this year in Atlanta, GA. I went last year with our Children’s Staff at Brookwood and it was incredible. Besides all the stuff you will see everywhere else, there is an extremely important reason for you to go. It’s called connection.

You can connect with people from all over the world who are in similar situations with similar experiences. God has given us an opportunity to tap into one another in more ways than possible. This is a way that you can take advantage of: This year there will be a Blogger’s Lounge. It’s going to be an incredibly awesome way to meet and greet some people that are making a big difference where they are: Here’s the latest list of everyone that will be there.

Carlos Whittaker – Production Director, Buckhead Church, GA
Twitter: loswhit
Blog: ragamuffinsoul.com

Jon Acuff – Creative Writer, GA
Twitter: prodigaljohn
Blog: stuffchristianslike.net, prodigaljohn.com, 97secondswithGodcom

Ben Arment – Director, Catalyst West Coast, GA
Twitter: BenArment
Blog: benarment.com

Brad Lomenick – Executive Director, Catalyst, GA
Twitter: bradlomenick
Blog: bradlomenick.com

JC Thompson – Elem. Production Director, Brookwood Church, SC
Twitter: jcsonline
Blog: jcsonline.wordpress.com

Kenny Conley – Next Generation Pastor, Gateway Church, TX
Twitter: kennyconley
Blog: childrensministryonline.com

Matt Mckee – Pastor of Students and Children, Horizon Community Church, OH
Twitter: mattmckee
Blog: mckeelive.com

Jonathan Cliff – Children’s Pastor, Trinity Church, TX
Twitter: jonathancliff
Blog: jonathancliff.com

Sam Luce – Children’s Ministry Director Mt. Zion Ministries Church, NY
Twitter: samluce
Blog: samluce.com

Gina McLain – LifeKids Pastor, LifeChurch.tv, OK
Twitter: jabberfrog
Blog: jabberfrog.com

Chad Swanzy – Student Ministried Pastor, Gateway Church, TX
Twitter: theuprisinglive
Blog: chadswanzy.blogspot.com

Rick Smith – Youth Speaker, Seminary Student, TX
Twitter: Rick_Smith
Blog: rickwsmith.com

Anna Meadows – Associate Youth Pastor, LifeChurch.tv, OK
Twitter: anna_meadows
Blog: annameadows.com

John Saddington – Creative Web Director, North Point Ministries, GA
Twitter: human3rror
Blog: human3rror.com, churchcrunch.com

How can Social Media connect and multiply impact?

I think we would all agree with the rise of:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (I know the oldies are gettin in on it now 🙂 )
  • Live streaming

These are the tools to reach people now. Do you think it’s a coincidence that we are in the middle of a terrible economy and crisis and yet the church is finding incredible ways of connecting with people never thought possible?

My question is this:

How can we use the tools that are now at our disposal to impact the kingdom of Christ TOGETHER?

My 4 principles for Children’s Production

Well since I do programming for Children’s Ministry thought I would give you the four things that we are always implementing at Brookwood Kids. It’s in a little acronym called FITE.

F-Fun. It’s really simple and yet difficult to achieve across different ages. Kids make a job out of having fun. If they aren’t having fun they aren’t interested in what you are offering to them. Simple yet very hard to achieve on a consistent basis. (fun for 3rd grade girls and 5th grade boys looks a little different!)

I-Interactivity. The kids need to interact with their environment and with the lesson. With the attention spans of children and the need to fit strong Biblical teaching in to your only one hour of connection with the kids during the week, it must be important to allow the kids to participate in what is happening. And when you honestly look at your Christian life, one of the greatest things that you get to do is PARTICIPATE! We don’t want to program into our kids that Jesus, and the life that He calls us to is one where you sit and soak.

T-Timing. This is where for most of you’re programming it could be different. For us at Brookwood Kids, we have about 30 minutes of large group teaching. We use centralized teaching and so it is imperative for us to give our small group leaders as much time to connect with them as possible. This is the part that I struggle with the most because I want the kids to get “it” everytime that I teach and so I embellish a bit 😉 Preacher in me I guess. But I understand that while the lesson is extremely important, the connections they make with their SGL’s on a weekly basis is even more important. Do you remember a lesson that taught you more and pushed you further in your walk with Christ or a person that invested in you? Sorry tangent- We make it a priority to time out all of our media elements and make sure that we try as hard as we can to give our SGL’s as much connection time with the kids as possible. And you must consistently work at doing this. (especially me)

E-Excellence. This one might sound very simple to those of you in the programming world, but this is the hardest thing for those of us in CM (or #kidmin 😉 ) to get. Why? Because often times you have to battle this “O it’s only kids, attitude”, “They won’t notice, they’re just kids” Those statements kill me. Luckily for us at Brookwood we have incredible support from everyone on our staff. It is unbelievably important to show the kids that you care about what you put in front of them. Be excellent in what you do.

Hope this helps some of you. I’m no expert but thought it would be really beneficial for any of you involved in CM Production!

What would you add to this list?

Wednesday Wisdom: Self-Management

I have been reading a book called Practicing Greatness by Reggie McNeal and it is an incredible book. I am urging, pleading, begging, and any other word that might convince you, to go to your bookstore immediately and pick up this book.

It is a book that talks about the 7 disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders. The one that is really hitting home with me right now is the discipline of Self-Management. It’s defined as this:

The discipline of self-management—handling difficult emotions, expectations, temptations, mental vibrancy, and physical well-being.

As a spiritual leader you must be able to manage yourself. Far and above managing others you have to be able to effectively manage yourself. And it comes through in all parts of your life. It’s why I spent time today cleaning my desk, it’s why people run to stay in shape, it’s why you don’t overeat. It is the practice of denying yourself. See Christ taught that we must keep ourselves in check. We must do the things that keep us secondary to our maker. All of these things that you can manage your emotions, expectations, temptations, mental vibrancy (gettin enough sleep???), and physical well-being involve an act of denial of yourself.

Most importantly by managing these things it allows you to exponentially increase your effectiveness in ministry. Think about being a healthy, well-rested, Spirit filled, humble, even keeled spiritual leader. That is what the principle of Self-Management will help you to achieve. Incredible stuff.

Organization is something I have to work on. Not my gift or personality. What is something that you have to manage about yourself?

The Call

I felt like God wants someone to hear this today. So here it is:

I feel like “The Call” is the most important thing about your ministry. It defines everything about your service and your ministry. It is who you are (because God designed both!) However, not everyone has a Moses(burning, talking, bush) or a Paul(Blinding, Bright, talking light) call. Some like David have more of a progressive call. One that is constantly progressing over time.

I have struggled with this alot over my lifetime. Trying to pick out a specific instance where I felt God calling me into the ministry. But honestly I can recall 3 or 4 instances where I believe God was speaking His call into my life. I know that my call is to ministry. I know that my talents given by God involved teaching and communication, with a little bit of leadership in that mix. I know that God is still shaping me into the leader that He wants me to be and I know that I have alot to work on to get to where I need to be. But I know that when things get rough or tough and there is no one around, your call is sometimes the only thing that you have to stand on.

God set you apart for a mission. He called you out of your normal life to live a life dedicated in service to Him. Work through your inadequacies and rely on the call that God has given to you. He knows that you have what it takes. And He wants to prove it to you over and over again by allowing you to rely on His strength and provision. Always remember, be humbled by, and thank God every day for this gift that is called “The Call”

Children’s Ministry of the Future???

I got an email from a friend today asking what I thought about Children’s Ministry and what it will look like in the next few years. I will just copy what I wrote and really want to know your thoughts:

We are always thinking about this here at Brookwood. I think that a lot of the people are missing the boat on looking for the next program or the next teaching method to really revolutionize Children’s Ministry the way that the Large Group/Small Group setup did in the 80s-90s.

I don’t have an answer for that. But I tend to think something totally different. I think that Children’s Ministry of the future has more to do with equipping kids with the tools to “do” ministry. It is something that student ministries are very good at and on top of that our culture is becoming more and more of a creative culture. Meaning that we create our own content. This trend will be seen very soon through Elementary age kids.

From Greeting, to tech, to drama, and worship. This will begin to become the forefront of Children’s ministries around the country. Kids will begin to shift from “the place I go on Sunday” to “My Church that I am a part of”

We need to be ready to develop and harness their ability to create. There is a big potential for problems because of the way that schools are set up. A lot of them are behind the curve on giving kids a balanced view on gifts and abilities. Academia or physical education seem to be the only outlet. If kids begin the discovery process earlier then it is possible for the school to see more and more problems and more and more kids looking for another outlet for their gifts.

I think that will be the biggest shift. Some others that we might see include doing away with the Large Group/Small Group model altogether. A possible decrease in large events in favor of smaller connection type events. And music that begins to work with Student Ministry in leading The Church in worship.

I hope this answers some questions and maybe will give you a few things to think about. Thanks man for the opportunity to dump on you and give you a few thoughts.

I am so extremely weirded out that God lets me talk about these things. Believe me I thought it would be years before I got to an email like that one. For all of you involved in CM what do you think the future looks like?