Thursday, January 31, 2008

Developing A Preaching Calendar Part 1

For several years now I have always gone into each year as a church communicator with a one year preaching/teaching calendar. No matter the audience age you are speaking to, in your church it is prudent for you in your planning to think through your year.

One of the greatest injustices you can do to the people you lead or "feed" is to not have a plan.

Reasons you should plan your calendar.
  • It Enables Creative Thinking - With a calendar laid out you can spend time ahead with creative thinking. You can add other elements in your message. With some forward thinking, so much more can be possible.
  • Enhances Your Preparation - Knowing where you are going allows much more time to prep. With a plan laid out your mind can go to work in advance searching for illustrations and scriptures as the Holy Spirit
  • Sharpens Your Theology - Again this all circles around time. When you don't have to spend time figuring out what you are going to do next week, you can spend it on the thing that matters most....the content of the Scripture
  • Allows Others to be Involved - With a plan you can add others into creating content and other elements. With others involved you create more community among your team or staff.
  • Lowers Team Frustration - Often times pastors are so single minded on what "they" want that they forget the time and effort their staff or volunteer put or need to put into a weekend experience.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Size Of Impact

I think we need to stop looking so much at the size of our church and start looking at the size of our impact.

Focus on how many people your church is reaching in proportion to the size or your city/county.

I think the pastor of a growing church of 200 in a county of 10,000 (2%) is doing a greater job of impacting their community than a stalled church of 2,000 in a county of 300,000 (.6%). The pastor of the 200 is the one I want to talk to.

Food for thought. What do you think???

Why Not Wait

Today, I dropped some thoughts off about Church Planting at Relevant Christian with a post called "Why Not Wait".

Let me know what you think.

Why should a young church planter wait and not be in a hurry?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Organizational Strategy Part 3

Having a strategy is so important and making sure your whole church or organization is in alignment with it is of even greater importance.

Once you have set the guiding factors in place it is time to lay out the details, which is why I thought it would be prudent to finish up with one more post on Organizational Strategy.

Make sure you check out Part 1 and Part 2.

A strategy is in essence a logical plan getting you from one place to another. As the leader of your church or department God has given you the huge responsibility of partnering with Him in His vision. Creating a strategic plan is part of your faithfulness in working with Him.

Having a strategy:
  • Provides Structure and Focus
  • Saves Time and Money
  • Brings A Team Together
Once you have established your vision, mission, and values it is time to move into more of the planning part. This is the part where each department can have more flexibility. Understanding that your departments now have the guiding factors in place, it is time to create some objectives.

Major Objectives
Set some major objectives you need to complete in order to accomplish the mission. These objectives are key. Breakdown each area of your mission and list three or four objectives that need to be met. Give them a title and a description.

I could write a lot of goals but much has already been written. Under each objective list out goals that need to be accomplished for each objective to be met. Think specific. List out no more than five goals for each objective.

Finally, create specific tasks to meet the goals. This is where you must get detailed. Create as many tasks as needed. Put dates and dollar amounts as well. These will be vital as you are setting out to plan your year and budget.

Wrap Up
Of course I'm in Texas..and you know how us Texans eat those extra large steaks down here? One bite at a time.

That is what planning is all about. As you put some effort into thinking this process out you can see that there is a flow from one level to the next.

When you have accomplished all your tasks you should have reached your goals. With the goals accomplished you will have met your objectives. This in turn means you are moving step by step closer to fulfilling the vision He has called you to. And now as all the departments are in alignment you have created the necessary unity needed to achieve more than was ever possible.

Organizational Strategy Part 2

In our last post we began talking about Organizational Strategy. I know that is a whole lot to talk about when it comes to church and organizations. Specifically, we are discussing having a vision, mission and values that unify the whole organization.

One thing that is important to any organization is having ministry alignment. Ministry alignment creates momentum, focus and unity. Unity creates a powerful driving force within an organization.

Often time churches think that unity is everyone agreeing with each other. They rarely picture unity on an organizational level and then fail to grasp why they don't get any results.

I thought it would be great to define each of them and show you how they work for us here at Life Church.

Vision is simply a picture of the future for your organization. If or when you have completed what you feel your organization is setting out to do, what would it look like.

This vision is a picture for everyone. It is the driving picture of the destination we are going to.

Our vision at Life Church is: To DOMINATE the Coastal Bend area with the life of Christ.

That could mean and lead to a variety of things but for us it is a snap shot of where we are going.

I would encourage you to pray and seek the vision God wants for your organization. It should really be a burning inside of you. The vision should be so clear that you can close your eyes and picture it.

Now right that down. If it takes a whole it.

Once that is complete...create a one sentence vision rallying statement. Distribute it to your leaders with the vision statement that you created.

Mission is the how...for me I picture it as the road map. It encompasses the larger steps that get the organization to the vision.

For us here it is our 3 G's:
  • Create environments where we GATHER weekly to connect people to the life of Chris
  • Initiate weekly Life Groups where we can GROW together in accountability
  • Impact the world as we GIVE of our time utilizing our unique talents, passions, and resources
These three steps work for all our departments. They also specifically define our the process of being a disciples. You can take those three into our children's ministry and they work. Youth ministry...they work.

Our goal is to keep it simple and streamlined so that we will have the maximum amount unity and results. Our mission is actually a picture of what a disciple is within our organization.

Values are the way we do things. One way of thinking about values is that it is kind of like the car you drive. They spell out what really matters. It is our ethos our DNA values.

No matter which department it is there has to be a congruency of organizational values.

Click [here] to see a list of our values. For a visual...I put them in an acrostic. You can do them however you feel is necessary. The important thing is that your team must know what is important as an organization.

Huge point I'm making in all of this is that for an organization to have unity, all of its departments must be going in the same direction. Having vision, mission, and values that simplify what you are doing can create the momentum, focus and unity to get the results you desire.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Organizational Strategy Part 1

When it comes to developing the strategy for your organization it is important to begin with three things: Vision, Mission, Values.

Some people lump vision/mission together and say they are the same. You can do that if you want. Others change vision and call it purpose, you can do that if you want as well. No matter what you do it is important that you have a clear cut picture of the future or your organization and have a strategy of how to get there.

I think that it is important to point out that a church or organization can only have one vision. Youth ministry, children's ministry, grand-ma sewing ministry...your vision is the vision of the church. When it comes to a church you don't get to choose your vision. God gives the vision for the whole house through the lead person whom He chooses. It is then the role of the youth ministry or any sub ministry to develop a strategy of how they are going to achieve the vision.

Ready for one more curve ball???? If you have thought through this whole process well, the vision, mission, and values should flow through the whole organization no matter what major department.

It is the goal of the leader when creating the vision/mission to keep it simple enough for every major department to follow. The only major difference then would be in goals and tasks of accomplishing the vision.

This is a hard point for some to swallow especially when, for example, as the youth pastor your head doesn't have a clear cut vision or even understand this process. I worked at one church where you wouldn't have known the vision of our church, because there wasn't one articulated nor written. I also worked in one where the lead pastor had the mission statement as the vision statement. For me it didn't paint the picture, it showed me the process, but there wasn't a clear articulated picture of the future. I knew what we were doing but not where we were going.

Senior Pastor/Lead Pastor/Business Leader, as the lead person for your organization it is important for you to get this one right. Tomorrow, in Part 2, I will define each of these three and give you some examples. And then in Part 3 we will wrap it up with some details for our plan.

How clear is the vision where you are at?

Friday, January 25, 2008

MDM Commercials

And now for a little Making Difference Makers commercials.

New Blog Series Next Week
Next week I'll be starting a blog series on "Developing a One Year Preaching Calendar". This is something I have been doing for many years in ministry that has been so helpful. I'm excited to pass on some of what we have done.

Church Planter Network
If you are currently in the pre-launch phase or have recently launched a church I would love to network with you so that we could learn together. Our current plans are set to launch Life Church in September of 2008. I have a vision to collaborate with others so that we can derive more impact in what we do. Email me at to dialog on what we could do.

That's all for now be praying for us as we work to Make A Difference in this world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Our Goal Here

I thought it would be prudent to remind everyone who reads here at Making Difference Makers that this blog went in a different direction over the holidays and what our goals with this blog.

This was of course my original blog and I have many loyal subscribers here. Most of you know that as a blogger last year I was very random and had tons of posts on here (667 in 2007). That is why I started my personal blog which you can follow over at

The content on my personal blog is going to be a journal of our journey in launching our church, Life Church, as well as a sounding board for all I'm filtering. I also may post up some randomness as well but not as much as the past.

Some of the goals of this blog are to provide leadership training to our own leaders as well as to the ministry/business community and to give organizational help to churches and their ministry departments. I also plan to have more guest post like this one.

Basically I wanted to cut out all the randomness and bring it to the essences of the title of this blog: Making Difference Makers.

If you are one of our subscribes here add a link to Making Difference Makers on your blog and help us make a difference.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bringing Change

Often times we make little or no progress because the task ahead is to great. When it comes to turning around an organization whether that is a church or a ministry department it can be turned around by making little changes day after day and week after week.

When you know change is needed there is no point in delaying.

What you can begin to do to see massive change over the long haul is to initiate smaller micro changes that will add up over time.

Small Daily/Weekly Changes + Consistency = Massive Organizational Change Over Time

Let's say your organization if really weak from a leadership development standpoint. Having this problem could be a reason that your growth has flat-lined or you never had growth from the beginning. Don't feel that you have to make the change overnight. Start this week with something small. Spend time with your staff going through a leadership book. Better yet you start with a leadership book. Another idea would be having your staff with you go visit a larger church to expand their thinking.

There are lots of ways and things you could do...the point is start and do something small each week. As you do that you will see over time the massive organizational change you are looking for.

What are some things you need to do to see change?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Advice To A Young Communicator

I love the passion that many young leaders have in ministry. I have also seen many struggle in the area of communicating because no one was there to mentor them.

Whether you call it preaching or teaching it can be intimidating standing up in front of others. I spent many years winging it and learning to be a communicator.

Here are a few tips for anyone starting out in ministry:

1) Learn to be you - early on you may emulate others as you gain experience...eventually you just need to be you.

2) Talk about one thing - Don't flood your audience with lots of material. Talk on one point, give stories and scripture to back it up.

3) Treat it as a craft - Teaching is a high calling and it takes working on to be better. Seek as many opportunities as you can. Study great communicators and books on communicating.

4) Be real - Don't try to be something you aren't. People will connect because they can relate to you.

5) Have fun - Take the pressure off and relax. Some of my greatest and memorable times come from behind a podium. It is ok to have fun up there.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Creative Message Content

I'm not a big proponent of always "using others messages" in ministry, at least not in their entirety. But I do believe that you can use the creativity as well as creative content from many churches.

For great ideas or just to stir the pot of your creativity I would advise you spend time online looking at some of the top creative churches when it comes to Sunday morning material.

For a small church that does not have the staff or equipment the following churches offer their content free. One great idea is to use their graphics and even some of the video content while you design your own message.

Here is a list of five churches that are offering free online resources: If you know of any others please feel free to leave a comment with the link.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Social Ministry Internet Presence

If a church or a youth ministry wants to launch a social ministry presence there are some things that you can and should do to make it more successful.

Whether it is through myspace, facebook, beebo, virb or any other social website, having a social internet ministry can enhance what you do as a church. Doing it with the right motivation and following through with it can be a way to keep people connected as well as break outside the walls of your church.

Here are a couple of principles you can put in place to make it more successful:

Assign A Leader - Having someone lead this, just as someone would lead a physical ministry within your church, is key. This is something you just can't throw up. If all you are going to do is start a myspace page or facebook page and leave it...DON'T. Do it by having someone lead it. This person could also become your internet pastor. Remember, the internet has quickly shrunk the world. Don't let your presence be just another site.

Listen - One of the purposes is creating conversations with those within and outside of the church. This means a two-way communication. Remember you are creating relationships it's not all about you.

Respond - When the tough questions come don't shy away...respond. Respond in a way that communicates care and God's grace.

Open the Dialog - It is said that America is the loneliest place to live. Many people want to belong. A social internet presence can be a great entry place for someone. Initiate the conversation. Ask a question.

Encourage - There are plenty of people that are hurting and need the encouragement that they can make it. Be that to them.

Acknowledge - Be aware of what is going on in the world of your community. When someone is hurting acknowledge and care. When someone is doing great...celebrate. Add something to their world.

Stay Transparent - Don't be more than your not. It's often easy to hide behind the anonimity of the internet. Be real as a leader and as a church.

Listen - Once again...we live in a world that is hurting. Make sure you are listening.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top Church Conferences

As a new church planter that is launching a church this year I thought I would list out five conferences I would love to attend this year in order. My hopes are that financially we would be able to travel and attend.

Hopefully these conferences could be a resource to what you are wanting to do.

1. Multi-Site Practicum - If you are a church that is planning to go multi-site or is multi-site already this is the conference for you. At this conference you will learn to develop a step-by-step strategic plan for how to make it a reality! You will learn to cast a vision for multi-site, identify key leaders, develop a core team and create an unstoppable culture. This conference is February 25-26, 2008, and is put on by the Newthing Network and Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL 60540.

My reason - One of our core values for our church is to be a multi-site church...CCC has a great vision and system for reproducing their sites.

2. Innovate 2008 - Hosted by Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana, this conference is Thursday & Friday, September 18-19. Innovate 2008 will have inspiring stories and surprising strategies to help you and your team make the most of your ministry, your people and your unique place in the world. You’ll network with the best of the best, hear from great leaders and compelling speakers doing ministry in a variety of environments - big churches, new churches and those making the challenging transition from traditional to contemporary.You'll also hear from a combination of innovators outside of Granger: Shawn Wood, Seacoast Church, the leadership team from, and Steven Furtick, Elevation Church.

My reason - Another core value of ours...and with some of the top innovative churches just makes sense.

3. Church Planters Conference "Evolve" - Pastor Shawn Lovejoy, Senior Pastor of Mountain Lake Church which is just outside Atlanta in Cumming, Georgia is hosting this conference. Held on February 18 - 19, 2008, Evolve is loaded with some of the best speakers/church planters. With guys like Bil Cornelius, Mark Batterson, Darrin Patrick, and Steven Furtick, this conference is set to be fantastic.

My reason - Probably since I'm a new church planter it would make sense to go to one. Stacked with some of the most innovative and creative church planters I follow this one is loaded to the tee. On top of that, Bil Cornelius, who pastors a little church in Corpus where we go on Sunday's is going to be there.

4. Unleash - Hosted by Newspring Church in Anderson, SC. Unleashed is a one day conference, May 13, 2008, that is designed to challenge, encourage, and motivate church leaders to take action to reach their communities for Christ. To make it easy for both staff and volunteers to attend, they keep the experience short and cheap. There will be two sessions in the auditorium with Perry Noble and the band plus two breakout sessions. Current cost for the conference is $55/person for groups of 20 or more, $65/person for groups of 6 to 19, $75/person for groups of 1 to 5 if paid by February 11, 2008.

My reason - I love what Newspring has done in their county. Growing a church to their size in the county they are in is a God-incredible feat.

5. Reproducing Church Network - This conference explores how God might be leading you to become a vital component of a reproducing church network. At this event you will get the opportunity to: Catch a vision of God’s dream for an apostolic movement. Enter into the minds of innovative church planters. Interact with like-minded leaders through problem solving projects. Learn how to make your church reproducing from the very beginning. This conference is June 9-10, 2008, and is put on by the Newthing Network and Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL 60540.

My reason - Long term we are going to reproduce what we do. Having a practical knowledge will make us that much more effective.

What conferences, for churches, youth ministry, children's, small groups, etc... are on your list of wanting to go to????

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Embrace It

Today's guest post is on children's ministry and is by Gina McClain. Gina is the LifeKIDS Director of in Oklahoma City, OK. You can read more from her on her blog at

Most churches have some form of Children's Ministry. Some even go so far as to devote large portions of their resources toward Children's Ministry. There are some amazing churches out there with amazing ministry to kids.

These things lend to the general acknowledgment that Children's Ministry is valuable.

But we can do a lot toward something that we believe is valuable... and still miss the point.

Do you believe Children's Ministry is valuable?

Or are you willing to Embrace the Potential that lies within it?

There is a big difference.

You see, a child at the age of 6 is just as capable of following Jesus as I am. The bible is just as applicable to a Christ follower at 8 years old as it is to me at 35 years old.

What does that mean?

It means that when you start to think that your elementary-age kids are not capable of fulfilling the Great Commission… think again. The bible says...

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me… to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do…" John 14:12

There is no age distinction listed. No height requirement noted. No 'red shirt' year where you sit on the bench. When you become a Christ follower, you are immediately in the game… whatever age that may be.

So, if I have one thing to say to ministry leaders today…

Stop treating Children's Ministry as the 'feel good' babysitting spot that enables you to have 'real church' with the big people.

Embrace it for what it is.

The greatest fishing hole out there for 'fishers of men'. If you want a place to cast nets that strain from the weight when you pull in your catch, march your evangelistic hind parts into your elementary age experience and share Jesus with the same amount of passion as you do to adults.

You'll unleash a crowd of people into your community willing to act on what the Spirit is asking of them.

You see, God created us to respond to His calling. His voice. His prompting. We were born with that sensitivity to His Spirit. It's not something that kicks in somewhere around puberty. It's actually the years spent on this earth 'growing' that beat that sensitivity out of us. We like to call it maturity.

Angry preacher, I am not. Just ruthlessly passionate that my 8-year old son is a walking Temple filled with the Holy Spirit. That he received power when the Holy Spirit came upon him and he is a witness to Jesus. That because he believes in Jesus, the works that Jesus did, he will do also; and greater works than these because of the Holy Spirit that dwells within him today.

We live in a time when more people exist on this earth than ever before! Today is the day to mobilize the generation that could see more people come to Christ than were walking this earth one century ago. Children's Ministry is not tomorrow's church in waiting… they are today's church waiting for you to give them the opportunity to make an impact.

Stop giving it lip service. Embrace It!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

God On The Move - Elevation Church

One church that I have tracked over the past year is Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation is pastored by Steven Furtick. Here is what I see is so great about them and how God moving through them.

On September 11, 2005, they started informational meetings with 19 people in the Community Center in the town of Matthews. Those "information meetings" continued through the end of January when it became clear that it was time to make the shift to Sunday mornings.

A committed team of 60 people put on the first Sunday morning worship experience February 5th 2006, and watched 121 people attend that first Sunday. On April 8th, 2007, Elevation launched their second campus with 500 showing up for their first worship service. That Easter Sunday was also significant because it marked the first time attendance topped 2,000 at Elevation Church.

In October of 2007 Elevation gives away $45,000 and doesn't take up an offering in their Bless Back Project during their Dominate campaign. (Their "little" two year congregation pledged over $6,000,000)

On January 6, 2008, Elevation topped 3,500 for their Sunday morning attendance. Elevation is cutting edge, relevant, creative, out of the box, redefining, Spiritually strong, leadership grounded, passionate about people, and ready for more. The future looks real bright for Elevation Church as I see that God is on the move with you.

Other Elevation Links:
Access Elevation - Behind the Scenes
Elevation Information

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sparks In Ministry

Whether it is business, church, ministry departments, family, marriage, or any other area dealing with people relating to each other:

"When iron sharpens iron...there's always a lot of sparks."

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Increase Your Signal

How can your church increase the signal and reduce the noise?

Maybe you could decrease all the subtle messages that go out. Did you know that in an average Sunday morning, a family coming to church can be hit almost 100 different ideas?

Instead focus on one major theme or idea and let it permeate your environments.

Maybe people aren't growing because there is so much noise.

Narrow your focus and you increase the signal you are trying to get out.

How are you increasing the signal?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Bonus

Nitty gritty time with this bonus post on this series.

No matter how we did ministry with the bells and whistles, our ministry was about 1) powerful praise and worship....the music we did was all worship music, 2) Strong teaching based on applying the Word of God to your life, 3) Having a call to salvation, and 4) Being led by God.

The rest of the stuff was the icing on the cake. We never were about icing though. But we weren't all cake either.

You can have all icing and there will only be a superficial youth ministry. You can honestly have all cake and it could be the lamest thing around. I know that is tough to swallow for some pastors. We all think that if we just go in and open up the "Word", it is and will be enough. Sound great right.

Listen people that is not the culture we live in. You can pretend it is. You can wish it was. But it's not.

I can also tell you that if you have all the "stuff", and if it isn't bathed in prayer and the Holy Spirits means nothing.

Vice-versa...I've seen some well meaning people who pray and open the "Word" and are led by God but never see any results.

Why is it???? Is it about personality??? NOPE. Is it about money??? NOPE. Truth is I don't think they are called or have "worked on" their ministry.

Work like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God.

God will send you people when He knows you can handle the growth and when He knows they are going to be saved and discipled. Whether you have all the frill stuff is irrelevant.

Bottom line....if God ain't in it, it ain't gonna happen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 7

For the last post of this "Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year" series, I will have to admit that the topic is one that I am most passionate about and feel it is the main reason we grew.

It's About Lives Being Saved And Making Disciples

When it comes down to the money in the bank....this is it. We have always had a passion for creating an experience that reaches beyond our walls. One part of the culture or DNA we have sought to create is one that is oriented to seekers.

It is one of the reasons that I believe God has blessed us with growth. Jesus' mission as stated by him was to "seek and save that which was lost." His prime motivation was to restore mankind to a proper relationship with God.

When you take the focus that you are going to reach the lost in youth ministry, you are partnering with God to fulfill His mission. I believe you get in a divine mission alignment. That is you are aligned with God's mission thus you are operating on a higher level of impact.

How you can put this in effect:
  • Call To Salvation - Every week the most important time of the night for us was at the end when we gave a call to salvation. We always gave one. We would ask for two things: 1) Those that have never had a relationship with God and 2) Those that followed God once but felt they were off track. We also called those forward to the stage to lead them through a prayer.
  • Follow Up - After our call we had team leaders who would take these teens to another room and counsel them through what was going on, give them a bible and reading info to help them get started, and take down any info so we could follow up.
  • Evangelistic Series - Do a whole series on this topic. We did one called Lost that went through Philippians 4:13. We took kids through the process of how people rely on their selves and end up lost to totally relying on God. Many time our series had some type of evangelistic theme.
The other aspect that you must not forget is that it is not just about getting them "saved". It is about making disciples. God didn't call us to make Christians...He called us to make disciples.

You need to determine what being a disciple means in your context. Sit down with your team and ask the question - What does a fully devoted follower of Christ mean for our ministry? Get their input. And then organize your ministry around that. If your goal is, "taking someone who is far from God and developing them into a fully devoted follower of Christ". Then that should be reflected in your process.

If you are a youth pastor what impact have you had in your ministry?

If this series has been helpful to you or you think it could be helpful in ministry for someone you know feel free to put a referral link to it on your site. Part 1 has a list of all parts to this series.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 6

Last week we started a series called "Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year". There is so much in this topic. I have to say that there are many factors that can go into this. There are seven parts to this whole series.

To get caught up make sure you check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

I'm really excited about the last part of this series which will be on one of the main reasons we do ministry, we'll be getting to that after this one. But today I want to talk about an issue that I see a lot of ministries getting caught up in.

Today is about "a cool youth room will get them there but love will keep them".

There is such a trend today of having all the latest "toys" for your youth room. In fact, it is almost taught that in order to have growth in your youth ministry you have to have a game room and game time so that teens can come and have a great time.

Honestly, from my perspective, that is not true at all.

In fact I don't think you have to have a game room at all to have growth. Now I'm sure that many of you reading this would not expect to hear that, but in our first ministry all we had was just a youth room and remember we tripled our ministry in one year there.

What I do believe is that your youth room should be relatable to teens.

Basic Elements In A Youth Room
  • Stage - Believe it or not some don't.
  • Lights & Fog - The reality is you don't have to use a lot of money for this. We wired our youth room up with shop lights with colored bulbs and ran extensions wired to light switches. With about 16 you could run 4 colors and change the stage dynamics. Use colors for the back stage and walls and whites for lighting.
  • Projector or TV's with Computer - Hooking this up adds a graphic appeal to the room.
  • Sound System - Again you don't have to put a lot of money...with about $2,500 you can get a great starter system with 12 channels. You should work to eventually have sub woofers with a 24 channel board.
  • Fresh Paint - Honestly, with lighting, dark colored walls work the best.
  • White Spandex Geometric Shapes For Rear Stage - The white will pick up the colors of the light.
  • Theme - Go back and read Part 4. If you don't do it by series, you could create a theme for the whole year. Keep it fresh.
We were very technical with all we did.

We had countdown video's with music, opening promo videos, live worship band with lighting and smoke, video announcements, series with theme decorations, and used movie clips in our messages. We even created our own 5 part reality game show called "The D Factor". We had a podcast with a weekly talk show. We went all out using everything and method possible.

Here is the twist though...


You can have the coolest youth room possible and if you don't love teens and that runs through the core of your team then they aren't going to stay.

Tripling you youth ministry isn't just about isn't just about getting them in the door. It is about keeping them there and developing them into disciples of Christ.

You and your team must have a core value of loving teens and wanting to help get them to where God wants them.

Numbers without disciples means nothing. You can have a cool room but if their is no love there it means nothing and they aren't going to be staying for long.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


It's possible that you're reading this in your web browser which is not a problem with me.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

2008 Ideas

Got lots of ideas storming my head about this blog for 2008. I really want to take it to a whole new level.

I want to elevate this blog to what it's ultimate purpose should be.

Hopefully if you have read for any amount of time now you will know that I had a subtle shift at the end of 2007 with starting my own personal blog. There was a reason for it.

The reason was so that this blog could live up to it's potential.

With that being said here are some of my ideas:
  1. I am about building community. So I want to bring a guest blogger on board for this blog. Ultimately this is my brain child but it is not just about me. It is about getting the best content to develop others. So if you would like to guest blog on a permanent basis, write a post and email it to me. You can find my email address in my profile. I'm looking for the post to be based on my theme here. The purpose of this blog is to influence and develop others to make a difference in their world. Although we have a ministry theme I don't want to be limited exactly to that but am trying to stay predominantly in that genre. I can see us branching out to helping business leaders, family leaders, etc...All through January I will be accepting posts if you want to give it a shot. I will be judging really tight...imagine Simon tough. Don't let that scare you off...let it inspire you to excellence. If for nothing...challenge yourself. Top five entries will get props with the post showing up here on the blog and the number one post getting the spot.
  2. Although I would love for blogger to catch up...I don't see it happening that fast and might need to take this blog to another platform. My first thought is taking it to wordpress and then hosting it through it's own website. I want to create its own identity/brand and bring even more legitimacy to the blog. If you would like to partner with us by donating to make this a reality let me know and I'll give you details.
  3. I want to bring you guys into the mix with your input. What would you want to see out of this blog? How about a podcast? Video cast? What ideas could you see?
Lay down them comments for me....please. Take the challenge.

Leadership Resource - The Potential Blog

I want to share a great resource for you. For the past few months I have been keeping an eye on the Potential Blog.

The Potential Blog comes out of Flamingo Road Church, a multi-site church located in Cooper City, southwest of Ft. Lauderdale and north of Miami, Florida. Flamingo is led by Troy Gramling.

As Troy puts it, " is committed to sharing leadership principles and insights that you can apply in your life, business and ministry. We're partnering with leaders to reach their God potential - because we're not there yet."

This blog hosts a great weekly podcast along with daily principles of leadership. It shares the experiences of some great leaders throughout the country, not only in church but in business.

Drop this one in your RSS reader and/or your iPod and start reaching your potential.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 5

Who really is responsible to make the youth ministry grow?

This might be surprising to you but I will is your teens.

One of the reasons that we have always had growth is the fact that we have always pushed our teens to be missional. By missional I mean it is their responsibility as Christians to reach out to their generation. When you get right down to it, they are the ones that are right in the mission field with their friends on a daily basis. They are the ones that God has placed in that position of influence. They can go where no youth pastor can go.

I believe that God holds us all accountable to reach our generation. Truth's a cop out for them to give any excuse as to why they are not reaching out to their friends.

I'll tell you though that as a leader I do make sure that I have my ducks in a row. I think that is my responsibility. Ultimately I would never blame them if I haven't done my part in equipping and motivating them to ministry. Personally, we have put many of the things in place in this series so that we could take away any excuses there might be.

Cast Vision
There isn't anyway around it. To get them involved it starts with painting them a picture of what could be and inspiring them to go get it.

Set Ministry Goals As A Group
Gather the core of your youth together at the beginning of this year and set some goals. Get them in on the process so they don't just feel like it is totally you pushing it. Make them feel the ownership.

Speak Their Language
Now that doesn't mean that you have to speak their slang or by just saying crap or suck you are being culturally relevant. What it does mean is that if you go around speaking Christianeze you could very well be the one that is keeping them from coming.

In my classroom I was over-hearing a conversation of three girls who were talking about a Christian lady who they thought was weird because of all the Christian talk. These were unchurched kids who were turned off to church by the weirdness of how some Christians talk.

Just be real and be relatable

Hold Them Accountable
It is imperative that you are holding them accountable. And that does go back again to casting vision. It is about holding them accountable to what God's Word does say on the matter. You have to plan time in your teaching to get this point across and not just once. You need to find ways to slip this in often. You could even plan a whole series around it.

How do you inspire the teens in your church?

Spread The Love

Before you start thinking that this is only a youth ministry blog...let me assure you that the purpose of Making Difference Makers is about developing and influencing others to make a difference in their world.

Since I am a pastor this may lean more to the church ministry side. This series, Triple Your Youth Ministry really is about leaving something behind for all the youth pastors out there.

I know there are many youth pastors out there that have a dream about making some maximum kingdom impact. If you have a youth ministry blog or are a pastor...please feel free to give this series a link in your blog.

Here is the link for the whole series:

Whether you feel it is for you or not it may help someone out there reach this next generation.

Spread the link love.

Much thanks to Terrace for spreading the word already. If you are a youth pastor out there...make sure to check out his blog.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 4

If we are going to talk about tripling your youth ministry then we have to talk about momentum.

Momentum is something that is continually built upon with each smaller success. To be honest this has to be set in motion before the year ever starts.

I like to think of momentum almost like a train taking off. Did you know you can stop a train from starting with only a wooden block? Because of the sheer weight involved, a train starts slowly and uses a tremendous about of energy to get going. But once it's momentum is going it takes less energy to keep it going.

The same is true with youth ministry. You have to begin to establish momentum that will catapult you to reaching more teens.

Two ways we did that was through SERIES and BIG DAYS.

Do Your Teaching In Series
We saw a lot of success by teaching in series. With our series we would center them around one main point and build that point each week. Not only was our teaching a lot better but it created a great hook for teens to reach out to their friends.

If we were starting a new series in February this is how the process would look like as we went through it. I'll take you through our Elev8flix series promotional. Click on the links throughout for the pictures.
  • Two weeks out finish promotional graphics, power point teaser graphic, business card size handouts, and video trailers. We would begin with announcing the new series in our youth meetings and encourage our teens to invite their friends.
  • One week out we would give out business card size handouts that would promote the series. This size is an easy convenient way for teens to pass out at their school. Click [here] for an example. We encouraged our teens to use every method of technology to invite their friends: txt, myspace, facebook, handouts, youtube videos, email, etc...
  • Weekend before we would decorate our youth room to coincide with the series. With Elev8flix we made two giant size popcorn boxes with white and yellow balloons as the popcorn and then put up reels on the wall. View [here], [here], [here], and [here]. I wanted to do a red carpet down the isles but that wasn't in my budget. Really your imagination is your only limit.
  • 3 days out we send text messages, emails and leave graphic invites on our teens myspace comments.
  • The first week of a series is really an intro and doesn't get to the meat so those who come usually come back to hear more.
Host A Big Day Every Quarter
Another thing that really built up our momentum was utilizing big days. We would do a back-to-school blast and a schools-out blast. To tag on these big events we would launch a series. This proved for some to continue to return to hear more. We would utilize all of the above promotion but the day of the event would be a little different.
  • One hour before meeting time we would open up our parking lot with inflatables and basketball goals for teens to hang out and have fun. We would also have extra video games on hand for teens to play. If your youth ministry already has a game room go even extra with some new stuff. [Here], [here], and [here] for pictures.
  • We would then have our normal youth meeting that would end 15 minutes early that would culminate in a school versus school competition. Ideas for this: hamburger or hot dog eating contest. Highest school weight. We like school versus school because it is a great reason for teens to reach into their schools. At one event we had 12 different schools represented.
  • The after event would be a concert with a band.
Now before you think these were just about kicking up our number average you have to realize that at every youth meeting we had a call to salvation. These were events that teens would really go all out to invite their friends. You also can't do these events unless you have a great plan and team in place. You also have to read this full series to get an idea of how all of these worked in conjunction of each other.

Big key here is don't think you have to go all out. Start small. If you aren't used to teaching in series, plan maybe 4 or 5 for this year. Add one big day to coincide with one of the series and use some of the ideas in marketing your event. As you get comfortable do more. There really are no tried and true rules. Just Go For It!!!

Make sure you check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Triple Your Youth Ministry In One Year Part 3

“If I have seen further than others,
it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
Isaac Newton

One of the greatest players who ever played basketball was Michael Jordan. One of the things that made him good was when he needed to rise to the occasion and win a basketball game, he could take his team on his shoulders and do it. What I think made him great though is that he understood the value of a team and that he couldn't do it without them.

If you spend anytime taking the advice I laid down in Part 2 of this series you will soon come to understand that youth ministry and ministry of any kind takes....TEAMWORK. You can't do it alone. Well, let me take that back. You could technically do a lot by yourself but you would never get the growth you desire unless you are willing to take people along with you on the journey.

Let me give you a few reasons why people don't implement more teamwork:
  • They love the lime-light. They get in a position that most have never been in. All the sudden people are looking up to them and they are the center of attention. Don't fall into this trap. It is a sure-fire reason for failure.
  • It is hard. Teamwork takes work. It takes working with others, bringing out the best in them. It takes communicating to people more concisely and consistently.
  • Lack of knowledge. Sometimes people can't do it cause they don't know how or where to start.
  • Afraid to give up something. Sometimes that something is control.
No matter what the reasons are, if you don't implement a team oriented system you cannot grow your ministry. The growth of your ministry will be in direct proportion to the number of volunteers you get involved.

Three types of team members in your church to get involved:
  1. Parents - I know some students bar their parents from going. That's ok. There are many ways you can get parents involved from internet to teams...etc. Parents can have a lot of buy-in since they have a teen involved.
  2. Church Members - There are many people that may not have teens but have a passion for reaching out to them.
  3. Teens - It is your responsibility to be training teens to do the work of the ministry. Getting them involved creates a greater level of buy-in for them. They can probably do a lot more than you think.
As you launch out into this next year let me give you a little practical advice to start building your team.

Make A List
List out every position that you could possibly have for your youth ministry. Create a flow chart for it all. This will be a target to help you get started. Here is an excel file of my last one to help you get started - Youth Ministry Flowchart

Sounds simple but it is effective. Take your list and begin praying specifically for God to bring you someone. You have to realize that you must pray like it totally depends on God to make it happen...cause it does.

Truth is if you don't have a team its because you haven't asked. Remember it is one step at a time. Don't look at the flowchart and think you have to fill it all. Get as many on board as you possibly can. You need to recruit like it depends on you to make it happen.

Develop The Ones You Have
This is something you must be very intentional about. One reason we retained so many volunteers over the years is that we poured into them. Create job descriptions so they know what they are responsible for. Set up training events to help them be successful. Develop them to lead others. You must create a leadership development system. If you don't take care of the team that you have you won't have one for long.

How do you put value into your team?