FourFiveSix Conference Thoughts

by J.C. Thompson on April 8, 2014 in Ministry

FourFiveSix header

So far I’ve been really impressed with the team and concept of the Preteen Leaders Conference. It’s a conference that really values conversation between church leaders. I think a lot of other conferences would do well to talk to the FourFiveSix team.

Today we were grouped by church attendance, which can be awkward, where we talked about the problems we were facing. I went to a group that was a bit smaller than the group that I should be in to hear what those leaders are facing. It was incredible. I was really excited to brainstorm with a group of leaders in a similar situation.

I’ve also enjoyed talking with leaders that get the “in-between” stage of Children’s and Student Ministry.

IF you are a preteen leader, you need to put this on your calendar for next year. Get it in the budget and make it happen. It’s worth it!

Student Ministry Space

by J.C. Thompson on April 7, 2014 in Photos, Youth Ministry

Love this student ministry venue at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, IN. Great setup and totally designed for students. Love seeing non-multi use student environments. Very cool!

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FourFiveSix Conference

by J.C. Thompson on April 7, 2014 in Ministry

I am currently in Greenwood, IN for the FourFiveSix Preteen Leaders Conference. I’ve got two breakouts that I’ll be delivering. I also get to spend some Cannon free time with Kristen and I’m very excited about that, we’ve already had quite a few good conversations.

Stay tuned for some thoughts on the conference this week.

What questions do you have for preteen leaders? What do you want to know from them?

AHA by Kyle Idleman review

by J.C. Thompson on April 4, 2014 in Resources

AHA-Landing-page-coverAHA-Landing-Cover-PageI was given a copy of AHA to review. I’ve read through the book and had a few takeaways. This is a book that is big on story.

Hanging in our closet

by J.C. Thompson on April 4, 2014 in Life, Photos

I look at this picture almost everyday and wonder how did I get so lucky?

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Run, John, run, the law commands,
But gives us neither feet nor hands.
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

John Bunyan

John Bunyan Poem

Let your teenagers really lead

by J.C. Thompson on April 2, 2014 in Leadership

Student Leadership

Teens serving in the local church is a good thing, but recently as I’ve been involved with some older students, I’ve realized that the church doesn’t really expect much from them. We generally ask them to do one of a few particular activities:

  • Serve with younger students (usually as an assistant because they can’t be the leader)
  • Play in the band or run the technical equipment
  • Do some on stage learning

But when I think about some of those things, they really aren’t leadership. They are serving and that is what God may have called each of them to do, but it’s not the nitty gritty of leading other leaders to get the job accomplished. When was the last time that you saw a teenager leading anyone older than them?

Pressgram tip for Bloggers

by J.C. Thompson on March 31, 2014 in Resources

So I’m a huge fan of Pressgram. It keeps me creating content for my blog consistently. Recently with v. 2.0 it’s been incredible to see the possibilities of using my iPhone for a full on blogging machine. Here is my tip for those of you using Pressgram.

Preteen Ministry Ebook

by J.C. Thompson on March 29, 2014 in Ministry

preteen ministry ebook

I’m working on an ebook for preteen ministry. I need your help. What do you think should go into it?

Here are some things that will definitely make the cut:

  • Why Preteen Ministry
  • Structuring a Preteen Ministry
  • Finding the right volunteers for preteen ministry
  • Programming for a Preteen Ministry

What would you like to see in an ebook for Preteen Ministry? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts. I appreciate them!

Something to think about when making personnel decisions

by J.C. Thompson on March 29, 2014 in Leadership, Ministry

Now that I’m attempting to hire some world changers, I’ve been knee deep in the hiring process and have learned a few things about the process that I’ve been going through. I’m hoping that some of this might be helpful to you.

Also, we hired a world changer this week, she’s been an awesome asset to the team so far!

Because of transitioning into a new role, I’ve had to evaluate people, their performance, and their fit on the team. This might be helpful to you if you are thinking about transitioning someone out of their role.

So usually when you are trying to make personnel decisions, you are thinking about the graph below:

Hiring Graph


You are attempting to gauge how much potential they have in their respective job. Honestly, it can be tough to evaluate. Potential is one of the least effective qualities but can be so highly heralded. Potential is a word that NBA draft picks have before they are forever known as busts.

But often this is the only gauge or measurement that we use and it can be a mystery as to who can measure up to their potential.

So now I have begun to view personnel decisions in this way:

Hiring Graph 2


Now I want to clarify this picture. This is to compare your current employee. Instead of trying to guess what they might become one day, you should see other people in the organization and compare how well you feel they would perform on your team.

In a ministry context, if you are developing leaders (who aren’t staff) you should be able to compare your employees to your volunteers. If there is a clearly visible gap between your employee and your volunteers, you begin to understand it as the graph below.

Hiring Graph 3


The gap is what you and your organization are giving up to keep your current employee.

I want you to understand that if there is someone who is underperforming in their role, please know this graph should help motivate you to make a decision with organization’s best interest.

***Note to ministry leaders – I learned this phrase from the 7th & 8th Grade pastor at Brookwood Church, Brian Schwanbeck. He said this, “Don’t take on another ministry besides your ministry.” In other words, if you hire people because this job will be “good for them” or you “can help them” you are making a decision that could be harmful to the organization. Let them volunteer and be developed that way (unless they shouldn’t be volunteering either and then why in the world would you consider hiring them!) My ministry is to the students and their families at Brookwood Church. I want to hire people that help contribute to that ministry.***

There are some other issues besides performance, but it seems that performance is the problem that most ministry leaders avoid using as a metric to make a personnel decision.

Am I missing it here?