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Resources, Tips and Content for Children's Ministry and Family Life Leaders

Fear

Sometimes it keeps me from doing the things I dream about most.

Why—because as long as the thing is a dream, it’s a possibility for me. It’s a part of myself that I believe I am capable of.

But the moment I decide to put effort toward that dream, to make it a reality, that’s when I come face-to-face with the obstacles and hard work required. That’s the season when I must confront my own limitations and fears.

Working toward a dream will eventually define a significant part of my life. It will prove the kind of person I really am.

Am I diligent enough to push through the hardships and fear so that I might realize the dream? Or am I the kind of person who will give in, accept the excuses, settle for what is safe and become just another ordinary individual?

I don’t believe God intended me to be ordinary. In fact, I think He expects each one of us to live an extraordinary life; a life capable of working through the fear and unexpected seasons of hardship. His Word encourages us to apply perseverance, wisdom and faith.

Lately, I’ve been letting myself get tossed to and fro. I have given in to the waves crashing around me. I have yielded to fear and its repetitive beatings and have allowed myself to be washed ashore. I have doubted God’s purpose in my life. I have misunderstood the nature of His gifts and what success should look like. It is not about the end game, but about the process and His work in my life.

The Bible instructs me in this very season.

James 1:2-6
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

I have been fearful; not remembering that my life is not my own and has never been mine. I forgot that my days were numbered long ago and that it’s my job to live each one of them to its fullest; not worrying about tomorrow; not caught up in the chaos or drama, but remaining steadfast, confident and full of hope. I have a job to do and the work is mine and mine alone. I must press forward for that is what I was created to do. For me to do anything less will be a disappointment. After alI, I want to become all I was created to be, and living life is the becoming.

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.

So today I will not let fear rule. I will move forward toward the dreams God has given me. I will expect obstacles, hardships and limitations, but I will place my hope and confidence in the Lord and push through the resistance. I will work with perseverance and seek God’s counsel. I will expect God to meet me, and I will fight to stay the course once again.

 

Caught In A Squeeze Play!

squueze playsepia

Ever felt like you were in a Squeeze Play? Someone bunted at the plate and you needed to do your part and run home, but you weren’t quite sure if you would make it? And if you didn’t, you knew you’d find yourself in a Pickle—caught between two bases with little hope of winning at either.

The past few months have felt like a Squeeze Play. Someone has needed me at home and as I’ve left the safety of my basic routine, I’ve often found myself caught in a Pickle regarding time and energy. I’ve spent many days of the last few months between two places wondering if I was going to make much of a difference at either. And yet now that the Squeeze has lost some of its compression, I realize that what’s most important of all has been accomplished.

God knew a Squeeze Play was coming. He knew I’d be caught up in the needs of others. He knew my desire for excellence would be reduced to good enough. And He knew I would struggle with the reprioritization of time and dreams.

So what’s the purpose of a Squeeze Play? To show my allegiance? To let go and let God? To realign my priorities?

It’s in these times that I find myself saying, “Okay God, You’re in charge. Whatever You want me to do, I will. Wherever You want me to spend my time, I’ll go. I’ll trust You with everything and I won’t let myself look back with regret of what I didn’t get done.”

And it’s after these conversations that I remember that’s exactly how He has asked me to live my life—His will, His way, in His time. And it’s really who I want to be as a Christ-follower, as a family member, a leader, an employee and a friend.

Maybe it’s not about the Squeeze Play at all, but about the attitude of my heart as I run back and forth in the Pickle.

10 Things We Need To Remember About Volunteers…

Sometimes as leaders we become so desperate to fill ministry holes that we begin to look at volunteers as simply warm bodies or names on a list. We forget that they are individuals, each on their own spiritual journey with God, worthy of relationship, inspiration, investment, encouragement, opportunity, vision and celebration.

Below is a list of 10 things we need to remember…

1. They  just said, “YES” to God when they signed up to serve.

2. They are hopeful that God will use them.

3. They are willing to give their time.

4. They each come with a unique set of gifts and talents.

5. They want to be needed.

Continue reading “10 Things We Need To Remember About Volunteers…” »

Need Volunteers?

Most people volunteer because…

Their child is a participant.

They believe in the cause.

They feel good about doing something.

They find it’s a great place to make friends.

They feel coerced by others.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if volunteers joined your ministry because they knew…

Their unique giftedness would be valued and given an opportunity to grow.

Their contribution would make a difference.

Their investment would impact eternity.

Their involvement would give them belonging and purpose.

  Continue reading “Need Volunteers?” »

3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “Yes!”

(part 3 of 3)

Let’s assume that by now…

You are familiar with the organizational chart and all initial efforts of your pre-hire discovery have been successful.

You have thought through the impact of this job upon your personal life (i.e.: location, salary, relationships and work hours) and you have completed the checklist below.

Job Checklist

You have come to realize that you are being offered a position that matches your areas of passion and giftedness, with goals that you can support and feel supported by in a workable environment.

Before you say, “Yes,” consider one more thing…

Personal Influence. 

Continue reading “3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “Yes!”” »

3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “YES!”

(part 2 of 3)

Knowing what you’re getting into is a key part of the interview process. While church leadership focuses on you, you should be focusing on the church leadership to gain an understanding of who they are and who they hope to become.

There are usually three layers of discovery:

  • The general/public statements an organization posts on its website
  • The personal/job description, organizational chart and budgeted line items handed to a potential employee
  • The unwritten/sometimes non-negotiable expectations that are usually unearthed during day-to-day operations

Continue reading “3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “YES!”” »

3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “YES!”

(part 1 of 3)

Every business, including the church, has its own organizational structure, priorities, hopes, dreams and levels of influence—no matter its size.

Your job, as an outsider, is to discover as much as you can in the dating process before committing to the job—even if you’ve been a volunteer within the system for a long time.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the Organizational Chart (aka “Org” chart).

The Org chart may be handed to you during the hiring process. If not, it’s always a good practice to ask for a written copy and check its accuracy with those you encounter.

The purpose of the Org chart is to show you the direct lines of authority and how the organization is structured. It divides ministries into departments and displays levels of responsibility, power and influence.

However…rarely does an Org chart tell you the whole story.

Continue reading “3 Things You Need To Know Before Saying, “YES!”” »

Most Important Person In The Room

aka “The Fortholder.”

These are the Protectors, Master Organizers, Hosts and Managers.

They know stuff:

  • Potential hazards
  • Daily schedules
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Emergency procedures
  • Clean up policies

They know people:

  • Volunteers
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Newbies
  • Staff

Continue reading “Most Important Person In The Room” »

Enlisting Volunteers

Fall is almost here, and once again it’s time to enlist, equip and empower new volunteers.
Share you best practices.
What things have you done to successfully FIND and SIGN-UP new volunteers?

Pastor Greg Sidders
White Pine Community Church, North Yarmouth, Maine

First Serve:  Sunday morning “ministry fair”, coupled with message on spiritual gifts/serving, that allows people to sign up for a one-time serving opportunity.

Announcements in church don’t work; it has to be a personal invitation.

Jenni Huter, Children’s Ministry Director
Rancho Community Church, Temecula, CA

Contacting those who have just taken the summer off is always the easiest. It’s just a matter of getting people plugged back in. A well-deserved break usually regenerates enthusiasm.

Last year our lead pastor invited Daniel Watts, Executive Director from Every Generation Ministries, to speak during our weekend services. He spoke on Matthew 19 and shared Jesus’s heart for children. In conjunction, we promoted a new ministry called “30-Family Challenge.” It encouraged families to serve together in Children’s Ministry. It was very successful. We had an influx of families, as well as individuals who enlisted to serve with us. Many Continue reading “Enlisting Volunteers” »

Think Before You ASK

When inviting someone in to play a role in ministry there are a few key elements you should think through first.

1. Know what you’re inviting people into.

If it’s all foggy and undefined, tell them. If it requires a lot of time and is complicated, be straightforward. If it’s mapped out, but has limitations, restrictions and deadlines, let them know upfront. Honesty is always the best policy and it helps others make good decisions. When possible, offer a clearly defined job description as well.

2. Cast vision. Explain the eternal impact of each job.

Whether it’s a core team member or one of the many others who will hold a specific position or serve on the front line, state the kingdom impact clearly and repeat it often.

Volunteers who care for little ones in the nursery subliminally teach children that God cares for their needs, loves them and is trustworthy. They also grant each child one of the best gifts possible—designated weekly time for their parents to focus on their own relationship with God. Remind volunteers that the best thing you can give a child is a parent who is learning to fully depend upon God for wisdom, direction and strength.

Continue reading “Think Before You ASK” »