“The best question a leader can ask his/her team is, ‘What’s missing?'” ~John Maxwell

I LOVE the women who make up our Children’s Council. In the beginning of my tenure, we met monthly. We now meet quarterly and I adore their company. I enjoy meetings, but meetings with a purpose, a focus, take-aways, and ‘circle time.’ Those meetings give me insight, a filter, and energy.

StarbucksLast Tuesday we gathered at the local Starbucks because we can get caught up, laugh, and speak face to face as we wait for our dessert in a cup. It’s relaxing, a breather for a hectic day.

Sitting in a circle, we each picked up a folded card that would ask questions to prompt our opening conversation. These questions were emailed earlier in the day to give time for prayerful consideration:
What are we doing well?
What is confusing?
What is missing?
What are we not doing well?
What is fruitful?
What has energy?

Taking notes offers a filter when implementing programming and communicating to our families in the days and weeks to come.

Proverbs 22 6I then passed out a 2015 calendar (I spent the previous couple of weekends in Microsoft Publisher to prepare) with sermon titles, special events, school holidays, and the dates of Fantastic Friday/Parents Night Out, Faith Milestone events, VBS, and CLUB345…the dates of the non-regular-Sunday-stuff. The goal: Families need to plan ahead ( the council should be our greatest advocate and talk up these activities way ahead of time) AND the greater calendar offers the filter to not overwhelm our families and servants in the regular rhythm of our community.

who-what-when-where-why-howThen, a front/back page of 2014 Celebrations as well as 2015 Plans, along with a more detailed explanation of upcoming Faith Milestone events with the what, the who, the when, the why, and the where that will be shared at next month’s Administrative Council meeting. I also introduced the upcoming three worship services in 2015 that will take place on the fifth Sunday of the month: Families First On The Fifth with a glimpse of what that’ll look like, but really just a ‘jumping off point.’

We started at 6pm and departures started a little after 8pm. It took a while, but a productive and focused meeting where everyone spoke, everyone shared, and everyone laughed.

Three MUSTS for meaningful meetings:why-1.jpeg

1.  Great preparation – have a plan, share the plan ahead of time (ex: emailing the questions to prayerfully consider along with the reminder email.)

2.  Great participation – have something where everyone shares, all voices are important (what folks talk about offer a glimpse into what their hearts and minds are taking up the most space in their heads.)

3.  Great prayer – before, during, and after.

Top takeaways from last night’s meeting?Team-Building-Activities

1. We have renewed energy for Sunday school (good thing because I had a copy of Sunday School That Works: The Complete Guide To Maximize Your Children’s Ministry Impact put out by Group Publishing for their take away and our discussion for our winter meeting.

2. As an alternative to our typical SCREAM Retreat in March, we will offer a day away retreat called “Deep And Wide” in July. 9am-9pm and only for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders…a faith milestone at Mrs. DeDe’s house (great response from the Moms on the Council because I live 45-50 minutes away from the church in the mountains of North Georgia.)  We’ll hike, swim, go the movies, and have a program specific to practicing ‘soul training’ and answering their own personal call into ministry.

3. Sending the weekly Sunday school challenge by text to the families of the older kids.

4. Incorporating the traditional songs with motions in Sunday school…there’s great truth in the traditional songs of ‘Deep and Wide,’ ‘My God Is So Great,’ and ‘He’s A Peach of a Savior,’ etc.

“The most effective children’s ministry director is the one who has an inner circle of champions and advocates who believe so much in what you’re doing they will hide bodies for you.” ~ Lynley Jones, Children’s Ministry Director, Asbury United Methodist Church, Lafayette, Louisiana