WNMD Kids Ministry Blog

Blog for the Wisconsin/ Northern Michigan Ministries Network Children's Ministries
This blog introduces us to Kidmin leaders throughout our network.  Each week we will introduce you to kids ministry leaders and their style of ministry.  If you have questions you would like answered shoot them our way.
 

How I Minister - Shelley DeBord

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Shelley Debord is a kidmin veteran in our network.  Many of you know Shelley as our LIT leader for kids camp.  Every year Shelley leads our teens in the Leaders in Training program.  She does a great job with the teens.  But we also know her as the kids pastor at Poplar Creek.  We will let her tell the story, but she is a great leader at a great church.  

 

Name 

Shelley DeBord

Ministry Position 

Elementary Director

Church and city you are currently serving at 

Poplar Creek Church, New Berlin

Age group you serve 

5-12

Curriculum you use

Various

One phrase that describes your ministry style

helping kids follow Jesus in a loving and safe environment. My ministry style is who I am at my core, a Jesus loving mom.

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

I've been at Poplar for 43 years and have volunteered for most of those years in different areas. I met my husband, Terry at church and we have been married 31 years and have 3 adult children, a daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandson on the planet who will be a big brother next year. 15 years ago, I was a stay at home mom and was asked to be the interim children's director. The job description has changed many times over those 15 years and I currently am employed 20 hours a week as the elementary director. Because I have many kidmin volunteers who work full-time jobs, I strive to lead by example by being a volunteer too. I currently plan and prepare a monthly luncheon for our seniors and I serve on our Women's Ministry leadership team.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Sunday mornings begin between 8:30-845am with check in to our large group room for ages preschool through 6th grade. At 9:15, we escort children to age-appropriate small groups, where they stay for 1 hour. At 10:15, K-6th grade come back to large group room for playtime and relationship building. 10:15-10:40 is a transition time for us as some children are leaving, others joining us and some staying all morning. At 10:40, we offer a snack and large group service begins at 10:45. Large group consists of praise and worship, offering, announcements, memory verse, Bible story, games, and prayer.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

We offer Mpact and Royal Rangers for preschool through 5th grade. The night starts at 6:30 with check-in and free time until 6:45. We stay together for prayer, pledges, a fun song and then we break into age appropriate small groups. The children are picked up in their classrooms. Once a month we have the large group space open after class for parents and children to celebrate birthdays, shop in our store and just hang out together.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

People! I'm not a techy person so I surround myself with people who love apps and gadgets! I couldn't live without my laptop because as a part-time employee, I work a lot from home.

What's your best ministry advice?

Don't take advice from people you wouldn't trade places with and eat the meat and spit out the bones. I believe we are always going to have differences of opinions with people, but I try to learn something from every conversation, situation, teaching, training, etc. I try not to get hung up on the negative or the things I disagree with but instead to look for the good that I can dig deeper into.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

I don't think I recognized how unusual my job was until I started getting to know other children's pastors. I have never been full-time or had admin help. Poplar runs on a lot of volunteers. I am a Director, not a Pastor and have always felt the very distinct line in the district. For whatever reason, our setup works but it's very different. A lot of our staff is related. Currently, there are 3 part-time staff people in Children's Ministry, myself, an early childhood director and a Wednesday night director. The three of us cross over into each other’s ministries and plan all events together. Sometimes it’s confusing. The other interesting and unusual thing we are facing is the number of kids that we minister to on Wednesday nights that have other church homes on Sundays.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

Our ministry team is amazing, always evolving and developing. My gift is teaching and mentoring, so I reply on techy and administrative people a lot.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

I am paid for 20 hours a week no matter what, even during production weeks and VBS. I do keep a personal record of my hours so when there are weeks where its super busy and I am working more hours, I find time in the weeks following to not work as many hours.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Devotions and journaling, worship music, reading, shopping, eating out, be with my family and friends, traveling

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Current - The Road Back To You and I recommend Undercover by John Bevere

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Have tough skin and a soft heart

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Having volunteers and potential volunteers catch the vision and develop a passion for kids ministry at Poplar.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

What would you like to ask them?

What does a typical work week look like? What do you spend your time doing?

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How I Minister - Jonathan Foster

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Jonathan Foster is the children's pastor at Journey Church in Kenosha.  This past year Jonathan and his wife were able to go up in a hot air balloon as a gift from BGMC for churches giving.   It was pretty amazing because their balloon ride had been canceled MULTIPLE times due to weather.  We weren't sure when it would happen.  I'm glad to say it finally took place and we were excited that they went above and beyond for missions and BGMC.

Ministry Position 

Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at 

Journey Church // Kenosha

Age group you serve 

Birth - 5th

Curriculum you use

For the weekend ministry, we write our own curriculum to align with the preaching in the adult worship services. We call this the "Big Idea," because the same topic, text, and application are present in kids, youth, and adult ministries. This keeps our church united and makes it easy for parents to lead their children spiritually at home. For the midweek ministry, we use Orange 252 Basics and First Look. This is a new approach for our church, after years of modifying and re-writing Ranger and NGM curriculum. Orange gives us a high degree of media quality and interactive lessons for our small groups to use in a discipleship format. But since we just started that this fall, the verdict is still out on how well this will move forward our "Authentic Community" purpose.

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Organized

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

God called me to ministry as I was entering high school, and he replaced my desire to be a multi-billionaire with a desire to shepherd. Through college, I discovered that my passion was to put the best skilled, most educated, and best equipped Christians into children's ministry, where we could make the most impact. Post-graduation and newly-married, I completely failed at landing a job as a pastor. After scrambling for housing and income, I landed a job with an insurance company and began to work in customer service. God used this time to teach me about leading people and how to pastor without having the title of a pastor. After 6 years with GEICO and shepherding a small children's ministry of about 8 kids in Iowa, God provided an opportunity for me to pursue a graduate education. My wife and I moved to IL, where I began 3 years of seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. My final internship at Trinity connected me to Kenosha First Assembly, which had been my family's church for a period of my childhood back in the 80s and 90s. That internship led to a part-time job writing curriculum, which led to a full-time job as a pastor after graduation. Since 2011, it's been an honor to serve at Journey Church and to see God at move in our region.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Journey Kids in Kenosha has 2 age divisions - Elementary (K-5) and Early Childhood (0-5 years). We have 3 services - Saturday night and 2 on Sunday. The primary purpose for weekend ministry is "Passionate Worship," so that's what we focus on with the kids. Through music, Scripture reading, life application in small groups, prayer, serving on ministry teams, and giving through Kingdom Builders, our kids worship on the weekends! We use the "Big Idea" on the weekends, so kids learn the same concepts as the adults, just at a kid-appropriate level.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Wednesday nights we offer small groups to promote the church purpose of "Authentic Community." Kids ages 3 and up are in small groups, often by age/grade/sex, with a Christian adult mentoring them. The curriculum is secondary because the primary goal on Wednesdays is relational. Spiritual growth happens in the context of relationships, and so many kids don't have Christian friendships or mentors! So building those relationships is the main goal!

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Google calendar

What's your best ministry advice?

Lead yourself first. You minister out of your character, so if you are NOT leading yourself in the Word, in prayer, in accountability, in worship, etc. - then you will not have the capacity to lead children. You must set boundaries in place so that you can be spiritually disciplined and grow. The effectiveness of your ministry is limited by YOU. (Scary thought!)

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Journey Church is planting a church in Lithuania, which will be our fourth campus. The campus will be English speaking, but most will also speak Lithuanian or Russian. Few children's resources are available in those languages. There are also significant legal barriers to child evangelism there. So that's going to be an unusual circumstance we face.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

I am so blessed to have a church that believes in TEAM! I have two full-time directors and one part-time admin, and I thank God for them. Few churches invest such resources to get such high-quality folks as my team. Kayla "Elephants-and-Coffee" Johnson oversees our elementary ministry, and Emmanuel "Patriot Nation" Caraballo oversees our early childhood ministry. Annette Bass keeps the calendar and facilities running smoothly. God has an ironic sense of humor because with my team, he gave me 3 "yellows" (on their DISC profile) of various degrees, just because he knew I'd need some chaos, spontaneity, and fun in my life.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

I really use my digital calendar to schedule my weekly tasks. By blocking out time for what matters most (including daddy-daughter dates), I can prioritize and make the most out of my time.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

I am an introvert by nature, so being home on my day off, cleaning my house, playing with my kids, or reading a book is very refreshing to me.

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

"The Connected Child" (Karyn Purvis) on dealing with children who have been traumatized. Also "Hero Maker" (Dave Ferguson) on leadership development of others.

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Do the "big rocks" first. There will always be time to take care of the "little rocks."

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

I'm trying to figure out how to change a national culture that devalues investing adult time into children. Our culture continues to grow in self-absorption and the pursuit of pleasure above all things, even at the expense of the development of the basic societal unit - the family. My pleasure trumps spending time with kids every time. We give kids tablets so they won't bother us. We send kids to soccer and baseball without ever playing with them ourselves. And we never think to spend time with the neighborhood kids - why would we? "They're not our problem," right? And then we wonder why we have no volunteers. We must get adults to see children differently! And it has to start with the church.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Jenn Hewitt. She's a smart gal and has lots of ministry experience.

What would you like to ask them?

How does your approach to children's ministry change as you begin the personal journey of parenting middle and (soon) high schoolers? Or does it not change that much?

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How I Minister - Josh Schirpke

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Josh Schirpke is the children's pastor at City Church in Sheboygan.  He has been a color team leader at camp and has led with high energy and spiritual passion.  We love the energy that Josh brings to our kids' camps and thought you should meet the man behind the fun.  

 

Ministry Position 

Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at

City Church in Sheboygan, WI

Age group you serve 

Birth-5th Grade

Curriculum you use

Life Church Early Childhood, Konnect, Go Kids, 252 Basic

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Helping kids to learn about and love Jesus in fun and exciting ways.

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

I didn't grow up in the church. It wasn't until I met my now wife, Becky that started bringing me to church, getting involved in the youth and kids’ ministries and ultimately being called into ministry. I had some great mentors and leaders who helped me to get where I am today, and I am very thankful for them.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

We have 4 classes that we offer for families. We have our Nursery-1, we have our toddlers (2 and 3 years old), Preschool (4 and 5 years old), and our Elementary which is K-5th grade. Our toddlers and preschool students utilize the Life-church lessons with hands-on activities, large group lessons, small group time, and video messages. For our K-5th graders, we start off in small groups reviewing last week’s lesson, praying for needs in the kids' lives, setting them up for the days new lesson. Then we come back together for worship, game, offering, and our large group lesson. After that, we break back into small groups to do an activity related to the lesson for that day and review everything we just learned. If we have time at the end the students have the opportunity to use the game room or activity room before the parents come for pick up.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

On Wednesdays we have more discipleship focused elementary classes. We also have a toddler and preschool class as well.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

Bible, ProPresenter or really my MacBook overall

What's your best ministry advice?

Feedback is a gift, positive or negative, learn from it and how to make yourself better in ministry.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Allowing myself to attend an adult service on a Sunday. I just love leading the kids' service!

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

We have an Early Childhood team that focuses on our Birth- Preschool, along with our check-in for both Sundays and Wednesday nights. I plan and oversee K-5th grade with our Children's Ministry interns. We also have a few leaders who lead specific classes for us on Wednesday nights like a 4th-5th grade boys’ group that helps them to really navigate through the Bible and apply what they learned to their lives. I would be lost without each and every one of our leaders. They are the heartbeat to this ministry and are all absolutely amazing!

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Google Calendar, Planning Center, weekly meeting with our lead pastor

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Spend time with my family, golf, watch football

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Surround yourself with leaders you can pour into and do life with and they will be there when you need them the most.

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

How to really minister well to kindergartners and 5th graders at the same time.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Brian Dollar

What would you like to ask them?

Can you sign my book?

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How I Minister - Josh Humpa

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Name:

Josh Humpa

Ministry Position 
Children’s Pastor

Church and city, you are currently serving at 

Oak Creek Assembly of God, Oak Creek

Age group you serve 

Birth - 5th Grade

Curriculum you use

Rainbows, Royal Rangers, Girls Ministries, Life Church Preschool

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Fun

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

I grew up at Oak Creek AG my whole life and jumped into kids ministry as a 13-year-old. I’ve been learning how to do it from hands-on experience ever since then and am constantly hungry to grow and learn.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

We have 3 separate areas (Nursery (birth-2), Preschool (3-5), Elementary (K5-5 Grade). Nursery kids stay in the same room, schedule of activities and lessons for volunteers. Preschool rotates between Chapel, classroom time, craft room, and PlayLand (McDonalds Tubes). Elementary is split in half (K5-2 Grade and 3-5 Grade). One group is in Large Group time, the other in Small Groups based on grades and then they swap. Sunday nights we have Nursery and Preschool open.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Wednesday’s 7 PM. Sunbeams, Rainbows, Girls Ministries, and Royal Rangers. We also have Kids Choir practices about half the year before Wednesday services that bring in a lot of people.

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

ProPresenter, Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Premier, After Effects), Pages

What's your best ministry advice?

There are always ways to improve, so change should be welcome and constant.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

Sunday nights and the dynamics of Elementary kids being in the adult service to experience seeking God with their parents vs being too young to pay attention.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

Part-time Nursery Director, Preschool Director, and Admin (including Check-In). All 3 are essential in overseeing their areas and without them, I would go crazy.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

Artificial deadlines keep me on track. I set deadlines for myself that are earlier than need be but helps me to work ahead when things come up.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Watch tv/movies and eat

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Pray like it’s all up to God and work like it’s all up to you

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Getting kids to own their faith

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

The big shots who have thousands of kids in their ministry currently doing the ministry

What would you like to ask them?

What do we need to consider in order to grow, how do we help kids own their faith, how to structure for growth?

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How I Minister - Philip Hahn

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A new blog feature we are going to be adding is called "How I Minister."  This will be a question and answer time with kidmin leaders in our network and those throughout the country.  It is a time to meet people we may not know real well and be exposed to leaders who minister in churches like our own.  The first person we are going to showcase is Philip Hahn.  Philip is the children's ministry leader in Waukesha and has been in ministry for many years.  

How I Minister

Name
Philip Hahn

Ministry Position 
Children's Pastor

Church and city you are currently serving at 

Bridge Church in Waukesha, WI

Age group you serve 

Birth through 5th grade

Curriculum you use

Nursery: writing our own for now. Preschool: Lil K. Elementary: Writing our own, Elevate, KidMo, KIDS Church Disciplemakers, High Voltage, Royal Rangers, Mpact

One phrase that describes your ministry style

Using variety to teach a daily pursuit of Jesus

Tell us about your background and how you became what you are today

Second generation children's pastor who grew up in children's ministry. Saved at 4, called at 7, never looked back. Want to see kids seeking God on their own outside church. Plus, this is the only ministry where I can do drama, music, magic, puppets, preaching, and video all at the same time.

Tell us about a typical weekend service

Nursery: Story time and lots of love. Preschool: large group/small group with a few worship songs and crafts. Very interactive. Elementary: Large group variety show with videos, puppets, costume characters, object lessons, altar calls, games, Bible bucks, toy store, and gaming room. Adults: very modern, casual, and comfortable for people in EVERY stage of their pursuit of Christ from curious drug addicts to people going into full time ministry. Everyone truly FEELS welcome to be themselves here, but most of them are truly making forward progress toward Jesus.

Tell us about your weekday ministry opportunities

Nursery, Rainbows preschool, Royal Rangers K-12th grade, Mpact K-5th grade, Youth group large group/small group, Adult Bible study, Adult recovery classes

What apps, gadgets or tools can't you live without in ministry?

ProPresenter, Planning Center (check ins, people, services), Apple :-)

What's your best ministry advice?

Don't do it alone! Spend time with other children's pastors running the same race you are.

Tell us about an interesting, unusual circumstance you face in ministry

I have more volunteers in kids church than jobs to assign them. The challenge is 20 out of 30 of them are teens who need training to do anything of significance. Scheduling that many people in a way they feel valued and needed is challenging. We are desperate for volunteers in other areas though so don't get the impression I've got the recruiting thing mastered.

Tell us about your ministry team and how you rely on them

I run programs through coordinators who I work very closely with. My nursery, preschool, Rangers, and Mpact coordinators are my executive team and I pour into equipping them for their ministry. I coordinate Kids Church and try to give everyone opportunity to try and learn everything. There's no job I do that I haven't taught others to do as well. That way, I can leave them in charge without me if ever I need to be out of Kids Church.

How do you keep track of your time and manage your ministry?

The planner from Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.

What do you do to be refreshed or renewed?

Read my Bible and pray every day, periodically get away to be alone to focus only on Jesus without distraction. Also go shooting, watch Doctor Who, and Make things in my workshop for FCF (Frontier Camping Fellowship – Royal Rangers )* note this was added for clarity of what FCF stands for in a previous post I had the used the word Christian instead of Camping.  This was not Philip's addition but mine - Mark Kilcoyne

What are you reading right now? or what do you recommend?

Starting "I Blew It!" by Brian Dollar. Highly recommend "7 habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey

What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?

Read your Bible and pray every day.

What ministry problem are you trying to find a solution?

Can't seem to find people willing to sit at a check in desk all service to greet visitors. Can't figure out why.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?

Bruce Dailey

What would you like to ask them?

Will you be my friend?

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