It’s been over 3 years since I wrote the post “The Human Side” and since then there have been some things that have changed and some things that have stayed the same in the world of Children’s Ministry. Thanks to Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, and I there are a lot of us that call it KidMin instead but I will get to the changes in another post coming later this week. If you don’t know “The Human Side” post then here is a summary:
Children’s Ministry, as a business, is like any other industry. You have your major players who have been loyal to their company and have been through many years of trials, hardships, and successes. Because of their experience, vision, leadership, and insight many people follow them and look up to them as mentors. Like any other industry many of those major players change over the years. I went on to say that 2 key people in the industry were suing each other and I thought they needed to get over it and work together for the good of the industry. People will change churches, change companies, and even start their own company. We need to get over this human side and get on with the ministry side of things.
The things I’ve learned:
Since I posted the above words there is still a lot of messiness and humanness in our industry. I know we will never get away from being human and that human side will always remain. I’ve also come to realize somethings about all of the different curriculum that is produced for churches and their Children’s Ministries. Some are simply asking different questions and the result of that is truly different projects. Take for example Elevate vs. 252 Basics. I know both products very well. I helped come up with one of them and the other I work along side now. These 2 different curriculum ask dramatically different questions. The main question behind Elevate is (in my own words) “How do we make this as simple as possible to use, understand, and implement but still keep the level of excellence as high as possible in an ever changing environment?” The answer to their question is a video driven curriculum that is large group/small group model all wrapped around a main point; they train volunteers every week using both words and videos; and, their sets change every 8 weeks. The artwork, lessons, and ideas are great and many churches appreciate how they have answered this question. Now let’s take 252 Basics. The main question behind 252 is (in my own words) “How do you ignite wonder and discovery in a simple, flexible, and excellent way that is wrapped around virtues while connecting churches to families?” In return you get a totally different curriculum that is delivered, implemented, and used differently. Many churches have appreciated the answer to this question as well and have bought into not only the curriculum but the overall strategy of Orange because of the answer.
Why do I go into this? It doesn’t bother me that these 2 companies are asking different questions. In fact, the business guy in me says that it is great that there is competition. It makes both of them better which in turn makes the whole industry better. The problem I have and the reason I’m updating this post is this: companies are trying to rip material from these 2, and others, and package it as their own or even give it away as free. Creating videos, graphics, and even lessons cost a lot of money and a lot of work. This is the human side of things. I don’t think just because it is the human side and not the ministry side that we should take it less seriously. The goal is to help out as many kids as possible and to start a movement that will effect generations to come. There has to be a human side as well as a ministry side. The two sides have to work hand in hand. Google can only give away search that continues to get better (their ministry side) because of their huge advancements in advertising (their human side). I think we only shoot ourselves (the whole industry of KidMin) in the foot when we allow companies, ministries, and churches to take and giveaway what innovators come up with. It stops the advancement of ideas, innovations, and future leaders.
What do you think? Do you think I’m way off by any of this? Do you think it’s right to copy the human side for the sake of the ministry side?
(PS I do still consider myself in ministry even though I started a tech company. Yes Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry so there will be more posts like this coming your way. Just a heads up.)