Pixar on Collaboration

Check out this video from Pixar University’s Dean: Randy Nelson. Here are three quotes that stuck out to me: •    The core skill of an innovator is error recovery not failure avoidance. •    Collaboration means amplification. •    Be interested, not interesting. What stuck out to you?  Sound off on the...

Lead the Way God Made You – Blog Tour

It does not seem that long ago, but in the fall of 2003 I began my journey in full-time children’s ministry in Madison, WI.  I had Biblical and theological foundations from my newly earned Pastoral Studies degree and loads of volunteer experience working with children.  However, lacking a great deal of maturity, I started ministry trying to be someone else.  I grew up in the mindset that children’s ministry was event-driven, using puppets, performance, juggling, clowning/miming, Scripture pictures, and gospel magic. Having no real training in those areas, I took lessons in magic and devoted a great deal of time to trying to become a children’s ministry performer.  I patterned my ministry after the models I grew up with and it did not take long before the thing that I so desired to become my entire life (a pastor) felt like it was going to kill me and my wife!  God taught me an important lesson: Ministry was not going to work unless I was going to be myself.  This was one of the toughest and longest lessons I learn as a young pastor.  I wish Larry Shallenberger’s book, Lead the Way God Made You, was around in 2003. The central message of Shallenberger’s precise work is simply that God created you to lead in a specific way and that’s okay.  Shallenberger dispels the myth of the perfect leader at the outset of the book and introduces the dominant metaphor of the book, the theater.  It really is a perfect setup for the rest of the content because it touches on a theme that everyone feels and experiences.  The...

The Digital Diet

I came across a couple of great resources for Digital Immigrants who want to become more fluent in the language and tools of Digital Learners.  The Digital Diet is a new book by Andrew Churches, Lee Crocket, and Ian Jukes.  The contributors have also create some “Small Byte” ebooks.  According to the Committed Sardine Blog, each ebook “includes a quick-start guide, examples of how to use this tool in your classroom, and examples of activities which will help cultivate the 21st century fluencies.”  Please note that these resources were created specifically for educators and school settings, but they are really accessible for ministry. •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of Mindmeister •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of Animoto •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of...

It Ain’t Easy

Making Cheetos is no easy process.  You can read all about the science of cornmeal, friction, frying, and applying cheese powder here.  But after I spent some time reading about how Cheetos are made, I was most struck by the end of the process: Quality Control. According to Wired Magazine, “Every half hour, an in-house lab analyzes the chemical composition of samples pulled from the cooking line to verify that the Cheetos have the right density and nutritional content. Then, every four hours, a four-person panel convenes to inspect and taste the snacks, comparing them to perfect reference Cheetos sent from Frito-Lay headquarters.” It’s pretty clear, the makers of Cheetos care deeply about the process and the end product.  Think about it.  How often do Cheetos get tested? •    (Scientifically) 2 times an hour x 8 hours x 14 plants x 5 days x 52 weeks = 58,240 tests every year •    (Team taste test / Performance check) 2 times a day x 14 plants x 5 days x 52 weeks = 7280 tests every year by an entire team How often do we test what we are doing in our ministries?  How often do you gather the team to review what happened in a service, to run through the plan, to refine the service components?  Recently I have been reminded of how important it is to gather our key leaders to debrief after a large group...

GameShift: Winning Isn’t Everything Anymore

I just finished reading a Wired Article entitled “Why Aren’t Games About Winning Anymore?” by Jonathan Liu.  Liu uncovers a recent trend in video games where modern games are less about actually getting to the last level (a la Super Mario Brothers) and more about gaining achievements during the game. For instance, I have become addicted to the iPhone app Angry Birds. Angry Birds is a great game built on a ridiculous premise: catapult birds into fortresses made of wood, ice, and stone so you can destroy green pigs.  As I have played through the game, I noticed that every once in a while a message would flash across the lower part of the screen indicating that I had reached one of the game’s “Achievements.”  The game all of a sudden became less about defeating the green pigs (which is relatively easy) and more about the achievements. I’m wondering about how this applies to children’s ministry.  One of the most addictive things about a video game is the constant feedback and rewards.  Can that sort of feedback and reward be built into children’s ministry programming?  Would it be harmful to include “achievements” into children’s ministry programming? What do those look like? Our ministry context has been integrating some Bible Reading Schedules into most of our K-5th series.  The struggle has been finding the right reward for the kids completing the reading schedule.  Frankly our efforts have been lackluster.  But what if the reading schedules were web-based and as the kids read the passage, they received a little message (just like I did in Angry Birds), letting them know that...