The Robey's July 20

Hi, I’m Brian Robey.

Canton, GA

Phone Number

(720) 393-9495

Email

[email protected]

Experience

New Life Church
Children’s Pastor

Education

University of Nevada Las Vegas
BA of Music
Azusa Pacific Seminary
MA in Pastoral Studies
Emphasis in Youth & Family Ministry

Church Affiliation

Non-Denominational

Years In Ministry

10 years

Personality

ENTJ

Skills

Teaching, producing and editing online videos and web content, writing VBS curriculum, mentoring/training/recruiting interns and volunteers, preaching/teaching adults, facilitating large events

Tools & Software

Church Community Builder, Fellowship One, Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter, Adobe CS, Squarespace

Personal

Wife: Toni, married for 16 years
Kids: Four children; (2 boys and 2 girls) ages 14, 9, 5 and 2
Ordained to Ministry

Top 3 Strengths

Achiever0%

Strategic0%

Creative0%

Kid's Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I grew up in a Christian home as a preacher’s kid. I accepted Jesus when I was 11 but it wasn’t until I got to college that I was really challenged in my faith and that caused me to seek after God fervently. Carefully studying the Bible really solidified my faith in Jesus and helped me develop a bold and secure faith in Christianity
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Organized
Personality Type
ENTJ
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
Seminary exposed me to some amazing authors, such as Dallas Willard, Ruth Haley Barton, Mark DeVries, Reggie Joiner, Doug Fields and classics like Thomas a Kempis and John Wesley. I was fortunate to be mentored by Jim Burns while in seminary and have read virtually all of his books on marriage and family ministry. His direction has helped shape my views on family ministry and the important role marriage plays in a healthy church and family unit. I was also mentored by Mitch Harrison, who is now the executive Pastor at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. His mentoring was formative to my philosophy of ministry and my creative process.
Parents/Volunteers
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
The best way to engage parents is to first help them understand the far greater influence they have on the spiritual development of their children than the church does. Many parents outsource spiritual formation to the Church because they don’t feel equipped, so the next step is giving them easy-to-use tools that facilitate spiritual conversations. I want parents to be able to use the concepts and stories their kids learned at church as a spring board to deeper understanding. This creates a win for parents who may have felt like they weren’t qualified or ready to talk to their kids about God or the Bible.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
When our ministry reopened after the shut down we lost about 65% of our leaders who were not ready to come back for various reasons. So we had to recruit more than a dozen new leaders who all started at basically the same point. Whenever someone expressed interest in serving in kids ministry, the first thing I do is take them through an orientation where we go over our handbook (policies, procedures, expectations) and land on an age group or position that would be a good fit to start serving. From there, I pair new leaders with team leads in each area so they can get exposure to what that particular classroom or position is really like and not feel thrown to the wolves. It also helps a few other people get a good read on new leaders so we can weed out those that shouldn’t be there or find a better position within the ministry where they can thrive. In the span of two months, we had recruited and trained almost 20 new leaders serving in virtually every position. And by the fall, we had retained nearly all of them and we able to continue the growth we were experiencing before COVID shut us down.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
I find you have to over communicate and repeat yourself again and again. If my team isn’t getting what I’m saying, I need to find a different way to help them understand. (I find emails tend to be the worst way to communicate new visions or concepts, and often are misread, misunderstood or ignored). Maybe I need to help them visualize or paint a more concrete picture of what I’m trying to say. It also helps to be approachable so people feel comfortable asking questions when they don’t understand.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
I created a take home flyer we give to kids that tells the parents what to do next. First I help the parents understand this decision should be celebrated. I recommend a few different devotionals that they can start doing with their child and I also recommend they help their child pick out an age-appropriate Bible that they can start reading together. I also give them the date for the next baptism service and make myself available to meet and explain what baptism is.
As the spiritual leader of the children’s ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
This is best done one on one. I could give everyone on the team a devotional to go through, but that hasn’t been very effective. I need to be able to develop good, trusting relationships with each member of my team where I can speak into the unique challenges they’re facing and show them they are cared for and prayed for. My wife and I accomplished this by having many volunteers and their families over for dinner and getting to know them and their stories.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
God gives me exactly what I need to do the ministry he wants me to do.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
The reinvention of VBS during COVID. After having to cancel our VBS in 2020 due to social distancing constraints and volunteer shortages, I went back to the drawing board to figure out how we could make something far more effective that would be able to happen even in lockdown, and something that would also fulfill my vision of involving the whole family. So I created an immersive story that a family could go through together that would be interactive and require less volunteers than a traditional VBS. My inspiration was story rides people would go through at Disney World that are constantly carrying groups through sections of a story. The first thing I had to do was pitch this concept to my senior pastor and get his backing on the idea. That included communicating the concept and some basic storyboards. Once I had his blessing, I assembled some creative artists in the church to work through the design and details and delegate various roles like construction, theming, acquisition of props and costumes, etc. From there, we finalized the story and recruited volunteers to be the actors and others to film video elements. From there, we relied on social media to publicize IFX (Interactive Family Experience) and help people understand what it was.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
I spent the first year of my time at New Life deliberately not making any big changes, but rather, understanding why things are the way they are. If I can understand the why behind the what, I can determine if the certain systems need to be changed or how I need to go about it. For instance, if there is always a line of families waiting to check their kids in because one volunteer is checking everyone in, I need to understand why that volunteer is the only one checking people in. I’ll meet with that volunteer and see if they see what I’m seeing. I might discover that they feel like no one else knows the check-in system like they do or that check-in has always been their baby. Now I know that simply making the change will actually hurt my leadership and possibly cost me a volunteer unless I can help them understand the reason a change is needed.
Share with me what you would do to deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
When COVID happened and our church shut down, I was faced with a big dilemma: how am I going to keep kids engaged while everything around them is uncertain? Not only that, but how kind I do this without simply offering yet another video to watch. One solution was to challenge the kids to do a Bible Story contest. We had over a dozen entries of kids telling their favorite Bible story using everything from action figures to Legos to Minecraft builds.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
One goal I set in 2020 was to increase engagement in our elementary large group. We had about half the kids participating in worship and a handful bringing their Bibles every week. We also had trouble getting kids to befriend new kids, opting instead to hang with their friends. So I introduced a token system for the entire elementary area. We built a huge plexiglass thermometer with four different lines on it. When a child participated in worship, brought their Bible, made an effort to befriend new kids or brought a friend, they would receive a ping pong ball to be tossed into the tube (the kids gave it the the name YouTube.) Once the balls reached a line on the thermometer it unlocked a prize for the whole elementary class. We did things like a Sunday Pajama Party, an indoor snowball fight, sanctuary movie night and sliming Pastor Brian. The kids were very motivated to fill the YouTube and in the space of two or three months, participation had gone way up in all areas and I got slimed in November to the delight of all the kids.
What would it take to grow a kid’s ministry program?
It takes budget, space and relational leaders. Many churches want a kids ministry to grow, but barely give it an resources. A church has to budget where they want the ministry to grow to, not where it is now. (The general rule of thumb is $1000 per kid per year. If a church wants a ministry to 100 kids, they should be spending $100,000 per year in salaries, budget and facilities). The second area is space. A ministry can only grow as large as the rooms that can hold the kids. You may see one or two weeks where attendance exceeds capacity, but as soon as parents see their child crammed with 20 others in a room meant for 10 kids, that impacts their kids coming back. You have to have the space to grow into. You cannot expect an area designed for 100 kids to be able to accommodate 200 kids safely. Finally, once you have the resources and space, you have to have leaders that can build relationships with kids. That’s what keeps kids coming back. It’s not fancy theming or expensive curriculum-many churches have these—but if they can connect with a leader and some peers where they feel like they matter, that keeps the kid coming back.
Your members/guests and their families come to church with specialized needs, different learning styles, and family stresses. Do you have a strategy to provide significant ministry to meet these needs?
I wrote my masters thesis on this topic. I believe churches need to integrate kids with special needs into current ministry classes rather than having them separated into a special needs class. The best way to accomplish this is to work with the parents to understand strengths and weaknesses of their child in a church setting. Then making the necessary accommodations. There are a few big things that need to be done to prepare for this including a solid volunteer training on how to manage kids who have special needs, having go-to resources to help those kids transition or engage and the manpower to make sure one volunteer isn’t expected to manage 10 kindergartners and a child with special needs at the same time.
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. How did you go about learning and educating yourself in order to effectively reach your community?
Shepherd Church in Los Angeles is considered the most ethnically diverse church in the United States. I really enjoyed this environment and coming from that to a 90% white church in Georgia took some getting used to. When I was young my parents were missionaries to international students, so I grew up being exposed to many different cultures and ethnicities and seeing it as totally normal to ask questions and learn about what made them unique. I think every community has an ethos that needs to be understood. I could not pastor in Georgia the same way I pastored in LA, so I have to spend time learning to understand the culture and how things work. I also have to understand that I will be seen as an outsider, which means I have to earn trust.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
When I started at New Life, we were paying $20 for each background check. I began to research other companies that were far cheaper. For me, all background checks are essentially doing the same thing, so long as they are pulling the same categories of information. So that choice is mostly based on cost. Curriculum choices have a bunch of different factors including cost, education and experience level of volunteers, amount of prep time needed, parental involvement and resources, etc. When I came to New Life, there was a strong desire to change curriculum because the volunteers were never trained on how to use what they had, so they were basically making it up as they went. I presented Orange to my team leads to get their feedback and we tried it out for one month and then I followed up to get their feedback.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
My experience at a large church has helped me see potential liabilities and safety issues very quickly. For instance, I had one volunteer working in a room with 12 kids that had no window or way for the volunteer to communicate with anyone else. We immediately replaced the door with a glass one to provide visibility into the room. Then we installed a panic button system so if there was an emergency, the volunteer could easily contact security and get back up in his room. I also developed a formal evacuation plan for fire, power-outages, tornadoes, lockdowns and earthquakes which is reviewed during each volunteer’s orientation. We also purchased the necessary equipment like evacuation ropes, evacuation cribs and solar-powered flashlights. Once a year, we do a ministry-wide fire drill on a Sunday so our volunteers feel prepared.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and kids pastor?
I like having the space and freedom to be creative and try new things in children’s ministry. If a senior pastor has hired me, they are trusting that I can run the ministry with minimal oversight. It can be very frustrating to have expectations placed on myself or the ministry that are not equal to the resources allocated, as I said earlier. So a good senior pastor will understand that their expectations need to be tethered to the resources and time that have been allotted. I think it’s a good idea for the senior pastor to know exactly what I’m doing, so the communication has to be regular and thorough. I don’t want the SP to be surprised by anything I’m doing. I think that continues to build trust. I also want a senior pastor to be actively investing in my leadership and spiritual development. I don’t want to be the same leader next year that I am today, I want to glean from his or her experience and insight. I also want their to be a strong enough relationship that the pastor knows my character and my personality. I have to know that if someone bypasses me and goes to him with a complaint or grievance, that he has my back and if he has an issue or concern, he will talk to me about it

References

Cameron Coultier || (760) 831-0383 || [email protected]
Russ Moore || (864) 561-3017 || [email protected]
Travis Jenkins || (405) 570-1147 || [email protected]
Mike Williams || (661) 713-0210 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

Jesus Calms the Storm

Favorite Scripture

John 15:15