announcing lemonlimekids.com

today, i’m officially moving this blog over to lemonlimekids.com. i’m excited for my blog and website to be all in one place, and in celebration – i’m mailing everyone who comments on the new site a special treat! comment, click, and wait by your mailbox! the old site will be live until friday – so be sure to change your subscription now.

i began this blog in april of 2009, as a place to share my thoughts on children’s ministry, and encourage leaders to lead well. and over the last year, i’ve been consistently overwhelmed at the amazing community of readers who shape and encourage not only each other, but me as well. on some of the hardest days in ministry, i’ve come here to be reminded that i’m not alone – and i hope the same has been true for you, too!

there were a couple reasons that i wanted to move everything over to lemonlimekids.com. specifically for the last year, the blog and my main consulting website have been in 2 different places and that’s no good.

i also wanted to add a few new features, that you’ll be seeing in the next couple of months. i’m really looking forward to hosting a few webinars, and streaming a great new volunteer training event, and continuing to add new opportunities for the blog to be a place for community and dialogue.

another reason for the website move: a few months ago i was approached by beacon ads to join the children’s ministry ad channel and sell related ads on my blog. after a lot of thought, i knew this was the right thing for me. here’s why:

1. consulting is my business: it’s still a crazy dream to me, but people actually pay me to coach, train, consult, and advise them. and the reason i love my job so much is because i really love shepherding and coming alongside children’s ministry leaders. and often, i meet leaders for coffee, or send advice via email, or chat on the phone, or write articles for no cost. why? because i love it. and, i only want to do more of that. revenue from ads allows me time and energy to continue encouraging children’s ministry leaders.

2. opportunity to highlight great products: i get a lot of requests to review children’s ministry products on the blog. and, as much as i love highlighting a great product, i just don’t always have time for product reviews. partnering with beacon gives me the opportunity to feature great products in the resource opportunity sidebar. [and, on that note, if you have a great product and would love to feature it on lemon lime kids, here's all the info!]

so, goodbye lemonlimekids.wordpress.com & hello lemonlimekids.com. see you there!

#19 build a better meeting (alone)

after last week’s build a better meeting (one-on-one) blog, matt guevara tweeted me saying that he had read several articles about scheduling a regular time to meet with yourself. i wanted to hear more about this idea, and and since the build a better meeting series is a collaborative project, i asked matt if he would share his thoughts in a blog.

enjoy matt’s notes:

four years ago i realized that i was so busy with life and ministry that when i had opportunities to focus on a project for any period of time, the thing that kept distracting me was the work i was NOT getting done.  has that ever happened to you?  thinking only about the projects you are not attending to absolutely erodes any sense of accomplishment in the things you are trying to get done.  those feelings led me to the book getting things doneby david allen. it was there i learned some best practices for organizing work and creating a system for collecting action steps for projects.  one of the best things i learned from the book was to set up a meeting with myself every week.  as Kelly Forrister writes on her GTD blog, “if you don’t have a systematic and thorough approach to reviewing your work, you’ll never break free from the busy trap of thinking you need to be thinking and worrying about your work all the time.”

so often leaders think of meetings in a tightly defined box.  meetings must require a group of people.  meetings require those people to sit down.  meetings require a leader and a group of listeners.  the more i experimented with the best practices of getting things done (or GTD to its avid followers), I realized that my definition of a meeting needed to expand.  i learned that it was okay to set a time on my calendar to meet with myself for specific purposes.  here are the things i put into place to make this meeting happen and what i use the time to accomplish (adapted from an article by kelly forrister):

i set a time on my calendar (typically 50 minutes) every week to reflect on a complete, current, and consistent inventory of my commitments.  this includes projects i am invested in, upcoming ministry events or speaking opportunities, family related events, and personal items. i hold the meeting in an uninterrupted space. i resist the temptation to stop the meeting and attend to some of the action steps that i uncover (unless they take less than two-minutes). i reward myself for getting through the meeting.

here’s another perspective on what you can accomplish with a weekly meeting with yourself (taken from a review of getting things done by josh kaufman):

  • Process and organize – anything you’ve collected but haven’t handled yet.
  • Review your active tasks – are there any to add, delegate, defer, or delete?
  • Review your active projects – are there any to add, delegate, defer, or delete?
  • Review your calendar – are there any meetings to add, delegate, defer, or delete?
  • Someday/Maybe – anything to add or promote to an active project?
  • Reference Files – anything you need soon? Anything to add or update?
  • Goals – are you moving in the right direction? Are you making progress? Are any changes necessary?

i know, it’s monday.  set a meeting with yourself right now for the end of this week.  you’ll find that this review time will set up your weekend nicely and provide a great foundation for you to get stuff done next week.

matt guevara blogs at the cory center and is always tweeting about children’s and family ministry.  he’d love to meet you (when he is not meeting with himself)!

meet the intern

i’m thrilled that this fall we’ll have our very first intern! sandy will be blogging here based on her learnings in business, and meetings (YAY!), and leadership, and team development. i think that an internship is intended to benefit the intern most, but so far i’m benefiting big time from sandy’s sharp thinking and creative ideas!

a special introduction from sandy:

my name is sandy and i am thrilled to be lemon lime kid’s very first intern. i might be jumping on the blog from time to time, so i thought i would introduce myself. i am a student at judson university studying leadership development. i was on staff in my church’s childrens ministry for a few years and worked with amy on a project last year. i am not 100% sure what i am going to do with my degree yet, but i am excited to be learning more about how to be an effective leader. my husband, alan, and i live in the suburbs right outside of the city. i enjoy cooking, gardening, and riding my bike. the thing that i am most looking forward to during my internship is being able to take what i am learning at school and put it into practice with something that i am passionate about – helping kids learn about jesus!

welcome to the team, sandy!

[my confession] i cleaned out my closet

yesterday, i posted a short review on anne jackson’s new book permission to speak freely.the book’s central theme is that we’ve lost our way in the church in not allowing for a place of sanctuary, a place to share our  confessions and brokenness, instead becoming a place of shame and fear.

i think anne’s right. especially for church leaders. until recently, i believed that being a leader meant hiding my weaknesses, ignoring my insecurities and proving to my team that leaders have it all together.

this is not true. of course, it would be great if leaders could always demonstrate confidence and a well-balanced life, and joy in ministry. but that’s not real, and most days not what it feels like to lead. and so, i’m grateful for anne jackson’s voice encouraging us, the church leaders, to lead by sharing both our broken and redemptive story.

and so, my own sort of personal confession. a few months ago, i did something crazy. and wild. i cleaned out my closet. and by “cleaned” i mean i got rid of every piece of clothing that hung in my closet. because i worry a lot about what people think of me. and i worry that they think i’m not good enough. and i like to balance those fears with a nice healthy dose of image management.

and clothes were my way of managing my image. different clothes for different occasions. always choosing the right clothes so that people thought the way i wanted them to think about me.

that was up until recently when i realized all of this, and decided that i no longer wanted to choose clothes based on fear, i wanted to chose clothes that made me feel beautiful, and comfortable, and were just right for me. no one else, but me. so i cleaned out my closet, donated 6 large bags to goodwill, and sold 6 large bags to a local thrift store (12 bags is a lot of fear and insecurity!).  and i started over. bought a small amount of new clothes one piece at a time, only things i absolutely loved and that make me feel truly like me. i bought some fancy new hangers, and the picture above is the result of my newly-made-over-closet. because, i want to lead with a spirit of freedom, and honesty.

what about you? what’s your own personal confession? and how can we lead well by sharing both our brokenness and healing?

[review] permission to speak freely

i’m thrilled to be a part of the book blog review today for anne jackson’s new book permission to speak freely.

in may 2008, anne jackson asked a question on her blog,“what is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?” hundreds responded. everyone had a story.

permission to speak freely is the artistic collaboration and movement of author anne jackson, who is through with keeping brokenness in the dark. bringing to light the original intent of god’s sanctuary as a place of help and healing, anne reveals that through confession, both to god and to others, we can live lives that are whole and healed. told with disarming transparency, anne shares what led to her own addictions and the ensuing lifestyle that left her wounded and withdrawn.

1. i really enjoyed this book. it’s creative. honest. personal. a breath of fresh air.

2. i recommend this book. buy it for yourself and a friend. and talk about it with each other.

3. tomorrow’s blog includes a few of my own personal reflections after reading the book.

4. today’s blog includes a short review on my two favorite essays:

sanctuary: i absolutely devoured this essay as anne described the way church was intended to be: a refuge, and a safe place for everybody especially those who are the most broken. anne writes a condensed version of church history beginning with the christian church adopting the right of sanctuary in the fourth century, through the time of slaves, village townsmen, women, and children taking refuge in the church, and up until current church culture in which most people must choose church not as sanctuary but as a place either for conforming or escaping. the word sanctuary connected with my spirit, and reminded me that i want to be a catalyst in reclaiming church as a place for healing, confession, and redemption.

the gift of going second: the whole book is fantastic, but totally worth the cost if only for this chapter. anne describes the gift of going second as “an experience whenever somebody confesses something, and they’re the first to do it. it’s usually a pretty hard step to take. they don’t know how people will respond. they fear all the judgement and isolation. but they do it anyway. they give a gift.” i love this! usually when i’m with a friend who i know is struggling, i’ll ask questions – “how are you?” “what’s going on with..?” i’ve always thought this was loving, and thoughtful, but after reading this essay, i’m wondering if i put the other person in a tough spot when i ask questions without sharing my own confession first. when we allow others to go second, we level the playing field and share in both the brokenness and the healing. fantastic.

tomorrow, a few reflections on how the book affected me. for today, if you dare be so bold-add your own confession on thewebsite.

disclosure: thomas nelson publishing sent me a free book in exchange for a blog review.

birthdays, baseball & the bible

first: thank you, thank you for all of the lovely facebook, twitter, and text birthday messages. i felt loved and celebrated and grateful. as you may know, i’m a big fan of birthdays and i especially love my ownbirthday. so after a very full day yesterday of eating at my favorite restaurants, and cheering on the cubs to an actual victory, and being with my family, i was a very happy girl. and, it was especially fun to watch my little niece experience her first cubs game. when you are born into our family, you are a cubs fan for life. there is no other option!

and second: while i was out celebrating, the team from what’s in the bible announced it’s official release date! lori and i have been developing the content and writing the lessons for the last couple months, and we are thrilled to finally get it into the hands of children’s ministry leaders! dvd 1 releases november 15, while dvds 2-4 will release january 2011!

a really unique feature that we’re right in the middle of developing is the mobile site for volunteers in which leaders can access the curriculum guides from their smart phones.  we wanted to create a simple way for volunteers to prepare during the week and implement the lesson on sunday. i personally can’t wait to teach a lesson from the curriculum guide on my iPhone. way. too. fun.

we are also creating an at home interactive site for families. we know that take home papers, even with the best of intentions, don’t always actually make it home. so we are creating small take home cards that point families to the online site where children and parents together can answer questions, interact with the characters and videos from the sunday morning lesson, and utilize further bible discovery resources. it’s going to be really fantastic!

oh! and of course we would love help spreading the word about the curriculum. if you’re interested in tweeting, facebooking, blogging, or yelling from your rooftop – let me know! amy@lemonlimekids.com | @adolan | leave a comment


book list [for today]

i’m in the middle of a million books right now. or 5.  i love reading multiple books at the same time. in a strange way they sort of shape and speak to each other, making the reading experience fuller and deeper.

i’m finally through all of my summer vacation books and am now moving on to a few heavier books. books on leadership, and fear, and food, and spirituality. you know, none of the subjects that should be read while lying on the beach! what are you reading this fall?

here’s my list:

the land between: finding god in difficult transitions [by jeff manion] i listened to jeff’s talk at the leadership summit and instantly knew that i wanted to hear more from him on the topic. after going through a somewhat rough transition in my own life, i realized that we don’t often hear christian pastors speaking about what it feels like to be “in between.” i love that jeff addresses this, and only hope that his book sparks the way for more conversation. and, he’s dan scott’spastor – so that makes him extra cool!

permission to speak freely: essays and art on fear, confessions, and grace [by anne jackson] i’m a huge fan of anne jackson, specifically loved her first book “mad church disease” and love, love her blog flowerdustand this new book is so good and creative, and honest, and lovely to read. i’ll be posting a full review next week (9/7) on the book blog tour. can’t wait!

women food and god: an unexpected path to almost anything [by geenen roth] i picked up this book last weekend at barnes and noble, and even just a few chapters in, i’m already loving it. it’s such a different book than i’ve ever read, and is really stretching my thinking on how our spirituality is often expressed by how we cook and eat. not necessarily a traditional christian perspective (and her language isn’t the cleanest) but i am really enjoying the book.

unleashing the power of rubber bands: lessons in non-linear leadership [by nancy ortberg] yes, i’ve read this book before. and yes, i’ve blogged about the book before. here and here. this is my current favorite leadership book. when i was thinking about a leadership book to read with sandy, the new intern, this was the book i thought of first. i’m excited to digest and process it alongside sandy. it will be fun to see it from her perspective!

on writing: a memoir of the craft [by stephen king] my husband just read this book, and oh-so lovingly, handed it over to me the minute he finished. the book really inspired kelly, and i’m hoping for the same!

what does your book list look like today? oh! and if you’re interested in adding a free book to your list, my brother in law is giving away a copy of transition planon his blog! happy reading!

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