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Growing as leaders

Certschool trainings have taken place across the country for the past 20+ years.  Over 1000 students have participated in the events and many more are scheduled to do so this year.

Vibrant Faith seeks to support students beyond the initial Certschool experience by offering complimentary webinars, offering new resources and downloads, passing on links and best practices, and most importantly, sharing the collective wisdom of all our students.

Students can participate in monthly conference call sessions focused on specific issues and are welcome to text or Facebook Jim regarding ministry concerns they have.

Continuing as Curious Leaders

  • Offering 6 complimentary webinars every year.
  • Providing downloadable tool and a Leadership Toolkit.
  • Resourcing leaders through STS weekly emails.
  • Offering  Surface to Soul blog posts around concerns generated by students.
  • Providing  website links to helpful resources.
  • Making available assessment tools for the congregations you serve.
  • Highlighting ideas and best practices on Twitter.
  • Showcasing great resources on Pinterest boards.
  • Making available past pictures on Flickr.
  • Allowing you to upload pictures to upload pictures to Flickr via units55tap@photos.flickr.com email

Monthly Cohort Sessions

Call 712.432.1200.  Then enter code 823705#.

Conference calls are held the 3rd Thursday every month at 2pm central.

  • May 21 (1pm)
  • June 11 (1pm)
  • July 9 (1pm)
  • August 13 (1pm)
  • September 10 (1pm)
  • October 8 (1pm)
  • November 12 (1pm)
  • December 10 (1pm)

2016 Monthly Certification School Themes and Questions.

January: Making Meetings More Meaningful

  • Do you have the right people at your meetings?
  • Could items discussed at meetings be addressed in another way?
  • What isn’t covered at meetings but should be?
  • What’s the most significant change you could make to enhance the meetings you lead or attend?


February: Preparations for Summer

  • What are your current plans for summer?
  • How many of your summer activities are intergenerational?
  • In what ways have you been inviting people into ministry for summer events?
  • What are the three most impactful things you do over the summer? What makes them impactful?


March: Teaching Faith Practices to Households

  • How many of your young people read the Bible at home?
  • How could you help families pray together? Read the Bible? Share their highs and lows of the day?
  • Do you have a plan for introducing people to specific faith practices?
  • What faith practices would you like to be more intentional about in your own life?


April: Expand Your Guiding Coalition

  • How do you help staff become strong advocates of your ministry?
  • What are ways your ministry team is “growing the vision?”
  • What individuals/teams might you collaborate with?


May: Marketing your Ministry

  • What do you want young people to say about your ministry?
  • What words would members use to describe your ministry?
  • When and how are you using your elevator speech?
  • What are three ways you could market your ministry more intentionally this coming year?


June: Preparing for the 2015-16 Program Year

  • Is there anything you’re doing that’s NOT central to your mission?
  • What are the three most impactful programs/ministries you oversee? How might you build upon them?
  • What will you quit doing?
  • What new things are you considering?

July: Do Less By Delegating More

  • Do you have the right people on the bus?
  • Do you need to get some people off the bus?
  • Do you have a process for consistently inviting people into ministry?
  • How do you ensure that you’re honoring people’s gifts and passions?


August: Training Your Leaders & Teachers

  • Do you have a current roster of ALL your ministry volunteers?
  • Do you need to create/update your ministry descriptions?
  • What do you cover during your orientations?
  • What types of continuing education and support do you provide?


September: Maximizing Sunday Mornings

  • How might you extend the Sunday morning experience into people’s daily lives?
  • Are there ways that you can be more visible and available on Sunday?
  • What are two ways you could communicate your vision to people on Sunday?
  • Are you taking time to affirm and bless people that you encounter?


October: Preparing for Performance Reviews

  • What have been the most significant accomplishment from this past year?
  • What have been some indicators that young people and their families are growing in faith?
  • What would the people you oversee say about your leadership?
  • What programs/ministries have grown?  Which ones are struggling?


November: Creating a 2016 Road Map

  • What will be the “primary rocks” for the coming year?
  • How will your plan build upon what you’ve developed in 2015?
  • How will you go deeper with providing faith forming opportunities that take place in the home, online and in the community?
  • What are your plans for expanding your base of ministry partners and volunteers?


December: Assessing Your Impact

  • What do you do better than 90% of other people?
  • How might you do more of what you do best?
  • Have activities have the greatest payoff for the amount of time spent?
  • What skills do you wish to further develop?

Daily Schedule for Weeklong Intensive

DAY 1: Connect to build trust and community

  • Introduce WATER acronym
  • Watch Give Me Your Eyes video
  • Introduce Forced Choice and Spectrum exercises
  • Introduce Faith Formation Planning Matrix; discuss ways that caring conversations are woven into home and congregational events.
  • Highlight sample handouts/tools to encourage caring conversations
  • Watch Brene Brown’s The Power Vulnerability. Discuss Brene’s comments regarding shame, I’m not good enough, when we numb pain we numb joy, becoming whole hearted people, what makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful, and how blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort, Ask, “Who has modeled vulnerability in your life?
  • Highlight comments highlighted in Surface to Soul through chapter 2.
  • Introduce the teams as one of many ways to get work done in ministry.
  • Walk through pages on teams in the Leadership Toolkit.
  • Introduce team building activities.
  • Share the concept of debriefing using the Debriefing Ball and the Debriefing questions.

DAY 2: Highlight the most pressing issues

  • Introduce Treasure Chest exercise. Discuss the need to understand the big picture, the path for getting to the desired result, knowing where to start and identifying each persons contributions, the need for taking risks, and the opportunity to learn from mistakes that eventually leads to achieving the desired outcomes.
  • Have students complete the Congregational Assets Assessment; invite students to shared their findings.
  • Introduce the Blind, Mute and Deaf Ball Search. Talk about the need for good communications processes.
  • Have students complete the congregational vitality audit.  Identify ways the overall church climate may need to change in order to do your best work.
  • Introduce the development of a ministry plan.
  • Introduce Zoom exercise. Discuss the importance of helping people understand the big picture, how ministries and events connect to each other, and the importance of having a process and plan for moving forward.
  • Continue team building via “Lava Pit, Whale Watch and Tightrope”
  • Introduce The Vision (findings based on 3 decades of research)
  • Discuss the Faith Formation Planning and how it will serve as a guide for developing your ministry plan

DAY 3: Align your assets, actions and conversations

  • Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Discuss faith as a verb.
  • Show Gumball video. Discuss how findings may impact people’s ministry plans.
  • Introduce Popcorn and Tennis Ball exercise. Discuss the importance of doing what matters, avoiding majoring in the minors. Talk about doing less but going deeper and doing less by delegating more.
  • Present the Faith Formation Principles and Practices (we’re not using The Processes and The Congregation Powerpoints).
  • Introduce Solarium Cards.  Have students select two images – one that reflects the current reality of their ministry setting and another that reflects one of their dreams for ministry.
  • Introduce a sampling of mixers and team builders with remaining time.
  • Homework: Work on completing the Faith Formation Planning Form.

DAY 4: Navigate by setting SMART Goals

  • Introduce Auto Parts exercise.  Discuss the need to recognize and honor people’s gifts and passions.
  • Encourage students to focus on concerns that people are sufficiently energized to address.
  • Introduce Lightning exercise.  Talk about the need to streamline events, processes and communication.
  • Complete Spiritual Types assessment and walk through Spiritual Types exercises.
  • Highlight Covey’s Four Quadrants, and Church Unique’s Vision Frame.
  • Highlight the 10 Truths of Leadership and the 5 Leadership Practices.
  • Provide free time for students to read Surface to Soul and work on their ministry plan.

DAY 5: Guide people toward transformation; evaluate your results

  • Introduce Plus/Delta exercise and refer to Bridge metaphor.
  • Identify the road blocks and speed bumps student may encounter.
  • Introduce the Marble Roll and Tentpole exercises.  Discuss what hinders people’s attempts to be successful in these endeavors.
  • Ask, “What’s preventing you, and your ministry team, from doing their best work?
  • Introduce John Kotter’s change steps, asking people to assess their setting with based on each step.
  • Introduce Family Systems exercise.
  • Introduce basic conflict management strategies and congregational case studies.
  • Provide end of week open space time to reflect on learnings.
  • Highlight next steps for ongoing interaction.
  • Sending and blessing.

Questions to Wrestle During the Week

  • What is God up to in my life, and my ministry?
  • What is the the change I’m seeking for the students and families I work with?
  • What is going well?  How might I build on these bright spots?
  • What are the most pressing issues I’m facing?
  • What would I like to be different one year from now?
  • How do I need to change in order to lead change within my congregation?
  • How clear is my vision for children, youth and family ministry?
  • What hopes, dreams and expectations have I communicated to the congregation?
  • What are the needs of young people and their families? How do you know?
  • Who else is invested in this ministry?
  • In what ways am I using their gifts and passions?
  • What do I need from my colleagues to help grow this ministry?
  • What attitudes, behaviors and assumptions do I need to let go of?
  • What are my core convictions about how faith is formed?
  • What is leadership?  How does one lead effectively?