Sending Mixed Messages

It’s so easy to send and receive  mixed messages these days.  I’m notorious for sending quick cryptic text messages that need  translation from patient family members, (good news is they have a sense of humor).  I know what  message I meant to send, but it didn’t get received that way.  With so many ways to communicate, now more than ever its important to be clear.

Kids are brilliant.  They pick up on this mixed message game.  That’s why as parents its important to be a united front.  But how about the church?  NOW more than ever the church needs to be clear in the messages we convey in ministry to kids and families.  Multi- programming  (my term for great endeavors like sports programs,bible memory teams, Sunday School, Children’s Church and on and on) could  swallow up the goal in ministry, and  dilute your leverage point of your minimum of 1 or 2 hour  per week you have a child in your ministry.   It takes lots of energy to keep the MAIN thing, the MAIN when we are pulled in so many directions!  Its easy to have all the activities (though pure in motives) lead us, rather than us lead.  And really, they dilute one another.

Dream with me for a moment: what if the church sent a simple Message ,or nugget of truth for kids and parents to work on for a month together? Hmmm.  God’s Word transforms us… so, what if ONE truth of His word worked  through us all week as a family. That’s a win! What if we communicated that one thing for a month – in very creative fun ways,as part of the process that teaches simple Bible truths with the end in mind?  We could expect fruit in kids and families  What if parents and the church were all given one game plan to work on together in kids lives along the support and  all the tools…

There really is no time for the focused ministry leader to send mixed messages.  Leverage influence between God’s Word, the church, kids and parents.   As a ministry leader  take some time and pray and evaluate  if you may be sending mixed messages.  This glorious Message is too important to dilute. Kids are far too precious !

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Misty on March 22nd 2010 in Uncategorized

The Doable Serve

If you are a leader of any ministry area, you know how vital it is to have all players in place before ministry begins. No matter what the responsibility, every program role you have set up needs a person to fill it.

Old school of ministry serve model was that if you agreed to serve, you could be in that spot until the good Lord returns. And it didn’t necessarily matter if you were finding some fulfillment in it or not, you were filling a spot. Obligation… man, that’s heart warming.
The other side of that would be the ones who won’t EVER try and volunteer because they will end up serving until the Lord’s return. They avoid eye contact with you.

A New Way That’s DOABLE…

If you begin to think STRATEGY rather than programming in how we minister to kids and families, you must also consider the volunteer. Volunteering must  be a doable serve – so offer some options for those with time constraints, or those who may be a bit reluctant to jump in to volunteer.

I believe it was an Andy Stanley book where I read “Pitchers pitch.”
Each player on a baseball team is best in their gift. And they work on that particular gift for it to grow. Pitcher’s pitch. Catcher’s catch. As a ministry leader you need to find out what are the strength’s of your volunteers. Use those God given gifts in the right capacity.  But… good luck if you have your short stop pitching. No pro coach would stand for that. Be a great leader a put people in their gift of serving area!  Help them FIND their gift to serve. Let people try a role and see if they are fit for it.  Train them. It will be life giving to them.  Then they ask others to join in…

Think about respecting availability. I believe best case scenario is a small group leader to be there each week for the same kids. But there are creative ways to help take some steps toward that if you’re quite able to think like that yet. An example of making a doable serves: two leaders share responsibility who can trade off months (or as themes change), but they are both consistent in caring for the group. They both know the kids and share in investment.
If your lead teacher can’t be there each week, is one month on- one month off a possibility for consistency? It works best if  you teach around key themes, (like a monthly virtue).   Make it a doable serve. How about leaning in to the 9 month school year with only large group programming in the summer that requires less volunteers? Give your team a break. Be creative. You  get the buy in to ask BIGGER asks when you make it doable!

Finally, make the serve rewarding by  always looking for ways to invest in appreciating the fine team God brings together. Honor people’s gifts and time.   Chances are they will have a different mindset of what serving is- and they will keep coming back for more!

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Misty on March 11th 2010 in Uncategorized

Home Plate

I live in a baseball town.  We’ve already had our winter warm event  a month  ago when it was about 20 degrees.  The players showed up.  The coaches showed up.  The fans showed up. No game was played, but something was in the air.   I think it was the anticipation of what is to come in 2010.  And expectations are always over the top for our team. Cross home plate enough to go to the world series.  Cross home plate.

Some would think it strange how stuff  ties into ministry for me, but it does.  I thought about how funny it would be if the players, coaches and fans showed up to the ballpark and there was one thing missing… home plate.  There would be no way to define a win without a score.   Baseball is about strategy. Hmm… wow, ministry to kids and families (which if FAR more important) is about strategy.   If you just pick curriculum and run the program, its like you forgot to put home base out on the field.  DEFINE the win.   Do children’s ministry leaders PLAN on kids succeeding as they plan for the weekend?  Put home plate on the field. I believe God is honored by that!  Simple lessons (less is more) with strategy for a child  to know and grow in their relationship  with God is the plan. Partnered with parents and volunteers saying the same thing translates to a home run.  A score.  And as we say here in baseball heaven- “that’s a winner!

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Misty on February 20th 2010 in Uncategorized

Let’s Mix It Up!

Mix it up!

Traditional vs. contemporary.

Sunday school vs. Children’s Church.

Biblical content vs. Biblical application.

How many times have these topics been debated?

God has been dealing with the collision of tradition vs. real issues of the heart way back to Adam and Eve.  The Old Testament is just that.  It is a testament filled with applications on why the Law wouldn’t work. We were separated. We couldn’t do anything to approach God and find our way to Him.  But, oh how we tried. (one of my favorite fake outs was the furry arm trick and stew… like God wouldn’t notice THAT).

Then, God sends Jesus (Himself clothed as a human), to mix it up.  People didn’t know how to handle that! Everywhere He went Jesus mixed it up.  They referred to him as Rabbi (teacher).  At twelve He taught in the temple.  He followed the Jewish law of his parents.  Pretty impressive! Quite the credentials.  Tradition!

But then Jesus would go and mix it up by using everyday things to teach followers,  and hang out with average people who weren’t the religious types and produce grateful heart changed people .  Mud, spit and trees and fish.  All of these were practical, tangible things used to demonstrate the power of His Word.  Not very religious of Him.  But there was wonder in that!  There was discovery.  There was passion.  It all pointed  to the Father and His heart of love and mercy. And He was the fulfillment of the old and new.

People who were around him were changed.  He was the LIVING Word in action.  People wanted to follow that relationship rather than just the rules.  Jesus was able to cast light on traditions.   He then pointed out that THE most important part of all of it  all was LOVE.   His  command to us rings true to us who minister to kids and families: go tell them.   Mix it up.  Contemporary.  Mix it up. Traditional.   But LOVE has to lead it all.

In conclusion, one of my favorite Andy Stanly quotes is:

“”Engage culture so as to present that which is EVER changing to that which NEVER changes.”

You don’t compromise the Message, rather you do whatever is possible -with excellence- to engage and present the Message to a dying world.    Jesus did. Mix it up.

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Misty on February 5th 2010 in Uncategorized

The End of 2010

Children’s leaders prepare!  What about the end of 2010?  Have you planned for it?  Part of achieving success in any venture is to know what success will look like.  An example of this  SOME people  desiring to get back into their skinny jeans after the holidays have found it motivational to post a picture where they can see what they looked like before those Christmas cookies.   There is a  target.  No target- no bulls eye people!

My favorite biblical example of how helpful it is to see the END at the beginning was Abraham.   God showed up and changed his name to father of many, yet he had no children.  To keep him looking ahead,  God told  Abe to look at the stars.  The stars equated to number of descendants God said Abraham would have.  Even his new name meant what the future held.  Wonder how many times he had to make himself just go outside and look up.  It must have been many, many times.  But each time he viewed the promise by looking up, God was saying no matter what was going on…plan for the end in mind- and plan for a win!

Kids ministry can be overwhelming.  You can be a victim of a church calendar.  It can feel like juggling plates- just keep ‘em going.   I challenge you to BE a person of action this year and stop spinning plates by planning on what you want the ministry you oversee to  look like by the END of this year.   Plan BIG.  Plan for excellence. Plan a big STRETCH.  Plan SO big that by the end of 2010 you will be able to look back and see how faithful God was in His plans.  Lead up.  Look at the stars.

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Misty on January 16th 2010 in Uncategorized