Structured for Growth by Jim Wideman

At the Orange Conference, in one of the breakout conversations Jim Wideman, a children’s ministry guru, shared some of the following thoughts:

“If you know the end in mind, you can structure to get there.

Are you structured for Growth or Maintenance?

In time, a growth structure turns into a maintenance structure.

When we are at 70-80% capacity, we are full. That is when a growth structure becomes maintenance and we are not able to grow.

Most churches think in terms of renovating rather than building.

What do we want a young adult that grew up in our church to look like?

Preschool is a foundation for Kids which is a foundation for Teens which is a foundation for Collegians which is a foundation for Adults.

Most of the time our money problems are actually people problems.

Parents don’t like to drop their kids off when there are 100s of kids. It goes against their values.

Parents come to church based on what their kids like.

Moms will not drop off their kids unless they believe their kids are getting excellent care.

God does not give us more than we can handle.

We need to enlarge what we are able to handle. What would I do if I had 100 people ask me for a place to serve?

If we are willing to do all that we can do in ministry it creates the space for God to do all that we cannot do. (ex. Story of the water turned into wine).

Work and call on God to do what you cannot do. If we do what we can do, it releases God to do what we cannot do.

Don’t come to your employer with the problems but with answers. (ex. Disciples came to Jesus with how much food they had already found. They anticipated what Jesus was going to ask of them before He fed the 5000).

Look at your people, facilities, and policies and ask yourself: what do I need to increase to handle growth?

Depth – ideally every kids teacher should also have a helper. One person handles the people and one person handles the details.

Service coordinators with an apprentice.

One the third Sunday of the month the helpers teach while the teacher helps and the apprentice coordinators coordinate while the service coordinators help the apprentice.

On the fifth Sunday, bring in new people to get involved preparing for the future.

Staff for the highest level of attendance (not assuming the lowest level). Also, have a list of workers who are on call in case more are needed.

Jim hires and recruits a different team for the Wed nights and Thurs night times than the weekend times.

All kids staff are required to attend the service. That is the best way to recruit new leaders! One, they know they can volunteer and still attend a service. Two, the kids staff can meet new families and recruit new volunteers.

“There is no responsibility without authority” is a military principle. Too many churches give responsibility without authority.

In what areas do I need to enlarge my abilities as a leader? (see 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell, chapter one “The Law of the Lid”)

When we are faithful with the little things, God will give you more.

There’s a difference between leadership and leadersheep.  What are you doing to care and nurture your kids, students, and volunteers? Studies online. Prayer together before the service – share victories, needs, and opportunities.

What about requiring parents to serve once a month? “I don’t want anyone in the room that doesn’t want to be there.”

There are 30 different ways that Jesus recruited others in the Bible.

Jesus had a structure. He had a group of 3, 12, and 70 plus he still put up with Peter’s dumb questions.

Most fights are among lateral relationships on staff. “I wish I could just fight the devil instead of all the people I work with.”

‘I’m not going to ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do. That’s the good news. The bad news is I’m willing to do just about anything.'”

Showing 3 comments
  • Sclopezjr

    great insight…thanks for posting

  • Kenny Conley

    I love Jim Wideman! Ha!

  • ericbryant

    Thanks for introducing me to him, Kenny!

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