Archives For vision

A while back, I learned about a very cool website from Jim Kast-Keat. Jim is extremely creative, and he is always introducing new methods for educating and inspiring others.

The site Jim taught me about was Xtranormal. The site allows you to create your own script and bring it to life in a movie. It takes a little practice to get the hang of the controls, but once you do it’s amazing!

I was first using the site just to make funny videos for my daughter, and then I had an idea. We were getting ready to revamp our entire preteen ministry. New identity, new physical space, new curriculum…everything new!

There was a lot of “info” to cover, but we first wanted to just start a buzz among our leaders about the exciting changes. So, I decided to create a short video that would announce the news to our leaders. Enjoy the video!


Last week was a busy one. We did the lion’s share of renovation work on our new preteen ministry space. There were several late nights of work for myself and some awesome teammates, but there was one big job that we did not do. We did not paint the walls. We let 12-year-olds do that.

Actually, preteens and their parents did the painting. We got coffee, donuts, and 20 gallons of paint. Then, we set them loose with paint rollers. It probably wasn’t a “professional grade” paint job. And it did have its share of messy moments, including some carpet squares being drenched in paint. (I’m sure I’ll hear about that at staff meeting!)

But it was all worth it for one major reason…buy in. We’re making a lot of changes to preteen ministry, and it is crucial that we gain the trust and support of the parents. Painting allowed preteens and parents to take ownership of the room and in essence the ministry. There was a buzz in the room, and some parents even commented on the fact that they loved “getting their hands dirty” for this ministry. And I’m sure that when we launch in August, there will be more than one preteen remark about who painted what and who spilled paint where!

You might not want to let preteens paint the outside of your church or the worship venue, but it might be a great step to let them paint a classroom or hallway. Just be sure that you cover the carpet!

Stay tuned for pictures of the new space and details on how we’re programming for the new ministry year!

Part 2 of an amazing weekend was a Parent Meeting to cast vision for the future of preteen ministry at our Church. Our church is embarking on a new journey to be a church that is…

making disciples who live by God’s grace and for His glory at home and across the world.

While striving to accomplish this mission, there are certain values that will define who Fellowship is as a church. These values are: Connection, Transformation, and Multiplication.

As preteen ministry, we want to align with this vision and these values. This means change—exciting change.

We had over 250 parents show up for the meeting. Some had heard rumors of change, some were completely oblivious, and many had helped us pray and plan for this day. With the parents and the preteens in the room, we officially launched Fifty6, our new preteen ministry.

I have to admit that we were nervous about the change and communicating that to parents. The church has had a great preteen ministry long before I came, and I didn’t want to them to feel like I was running it into the ground. As we communicated the vision, the room filled up with excitement. Parents caught the vision and they bought in.

Here are three things we communicated to help parents “buy-in” to the vision for preteen ministry:

1. Information
To help parents see where we were going, we literally walked them through every detail of what a Sunday morning would look like. We intentionally scheduled the meeting in the space that will become our preteen ministry space—even though it currently smells like gym socks! We gave them a detailed time schedule for what a Sunday morning would look like for their preteen. And then we gave them a 2 year scope and sequence for the curriculum that we are currently writing. We wanted them to know everything we knew about what preteen ministry would look like moving forward. As G.I. Joe says, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”

2. 6th Grade Leadership Team
This is more than a curriculum or room change, this is a philosophy change. We are viewing 5th and 6th graders differently than we have in the past. One aspect of that is the ability for 6th graders to lead and serve on our campus. We communicated our vision for 6th grader to be a part of a Leadership Team that serves by leading worship, running production tech, greeting guests, setting up, etc. The preteens were jumping at the chance to fill out an application. Parents bought in to the vision because many of them had never seen their preteen that excited about coming to church!

3. Parent Involvement
A huge part of the philosophy change is a better strategy for partnering with parents. We talked with parents about how we partner with them to cover tough subjects like sex, pornography, substance abuse, relationships, etc. Our role is not to have that conversation with preteens, but to equip parents to have that conversation with preteens. We wanted parents to understand that our ministry exists primarily to strengthen their relationship with their preteen so that they can transfer faith to their son or daughter.

How do you cast vision to parents, volunteers, or preteens in your ministry?

The Preteen Leaders Conference begins tomorrow, and I’m excited to get to lead two breakouts for some of the attendees. The first of the breakouts is titled, “Connecting with Parents of Preteens.” We will look at why it’s important to integrate the home into preteen ministry, and how we can call parents to engage in the strategy.

In preparing for the session, I dug out my notes from a study that was released a few years ago by Barna Research and The Rethink Group. Along with tons of other great findings, here is what the research found when it came to the strategy and/or expectations for parental involvement:

    • 46% of parents admittedly do not have a plan to accomplish the desired outcomes in their children.

    • 72% of parents said that the church could be a good help for the development of this plan

    • However, only half (45%) said the expectations (action plan) of the church were clear

If you don’t have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the question is, “Why not?”

It is clear that parents are looking at the church as a great source of training and equipping. They recognize their role in the transfer of faith to their children, and they see value in what the church can offer.

If you do have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the questions is, “How clearly have we communicated this strategy to parents?” and “How are we measuring the success or failure of our strategy?”

As much as parents look to the church for training, we are not doing well at meeting that demand. Stop blaming parents for not caring or not being active in their child’s spiritual development, and start communicating a strategy that they can understand and execute.