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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.

 

Don’t Leave Volunteers Out In The Cold!

It was a wintery 52º yesterday morning and this sissy-la-la Southern Californian couldn’t handle the heater blowing only cold air inside the offices at work. My mind wouldn’t settle and my fingers wouldn’t function. It didn’t take long for me to pack up my laptop and head over to the nearest Starbucks to get heat to my hands, access to the free wifi, and order up a toffee nut steamer (my favorite hot beverage) to warm up my insides.

While there, I wrote plans for an upcoming volunteer team gathering. It’s the result of two months of getting to know people, understanding the existing jobs and evaluating the weekly experience from a volunteer’s point of view.

While sitting there, it occurred to me that I’m not the only person who doesn’t work well in the cold. It’s a hard place to concentrate; you find yourself working against the elements and you’re just a little bit miserable. So the thought for today is…

Don’t leave your volunteers out in the cold!

Provide a warm atmosphere, give them the tools they need and add something extra that will flavor their experience and warm them from the inside out!

 

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. 

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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

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Simply Strategic Volunteers

Simply StrategicRecruiting and keeping volunteers is tricky business. It requires planning, honest evaluation, casting vision, equipping, empowering, appreciating and so much more. Two top experts share 99 solutions in 1-3 page bite-sized chunks. You’ll find this book to be an invaluable tool!

 

Tony Morgan & Tim Stevens
Group Publishing, 2005

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Keeping Kids Safe

As a Children’s Ministry Leader, safekeeping is always the one thing expected of you at all times—whether spoken or unspoken—and it requires much more than common sense on your part and the part of others.

Keeping kids safe requires planning, policies, training and continual re-assessment. It demands an intentionality so well done, that hopefully, it will go unnoticed.

If you are going to be ferocious about one area of ministry over all others, this is it. It only takes one child or one parent one incidence for uncertainty to set in and put the reputation of your church at risk. If kids don’t feel safe, they will make it difficult for their parents to leave them; and if parents don’t feel safe, they will choose alternatives. Either way, you will limit your opportunities to share the gospel and impact families for eternity.

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Don’t Travel Alone — Build A Team

The task of leading children of all ages to Christ is enormous and requires a large group of people with a variety of gifts and strengths. But where are you going to find those people and how are you going to get them to make the journey with you?

Bill Hybels from Willow Creek in Chicago once said, “The first rule of building a team is affinity.” I was new to ministry, sitting in an audience of thousands when I wrote this down in my notes and I wasn’t even sure what it meant. But over the years, I’ve come to bank on this statement. When building a core team, always think affinity first!

AFFINITY FIRST!

 Affinity is defined as having a feeling of identification with; a likeness based upon connection; a kinship; a similarity.

Imagine ministry as a 3,342.4 mile car ride from California to Maine in a Honda Fit. You know where you’re going and you know your mode of transportation is trustworthy although a bit lacking in comfort. You’re inviting companions to join the adventure and travel with you; companions to keep you awake, take turns driving, and help decide where to eat, where to sleep and when to stop for gas. Hopefully you won’t encounter car trouble, but if you do, your companions will help with decision-making and extend the boundaries of your personal resources. You’re pretty sure that along the way you’ll encounter the expected, the extraordinary, the bizarre and the mundane. It’s the shared experience inside that car that will give you camaraderie, create memories, provide entertainment and keep you moving forward in the right direction. From time-to-time constraints of space, finances or other needs may cause frustration, but they will push you toward collective creativity, teamwork and opportunities to extend grace.

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The Servant Leader

The Servant LeaderHow do you lead? Are you willing to pattern your leadership after Jesus as an act of service?

Blanchard and Hodges take us inside to the HEART, HEAD, HANDS and HABITS of a servant leader. They challenge motivations, intentions, assumptions, methods, behaviors and commitment. If you seek a closer discipleship relationship with Jesus, as your role model, then start here.

Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2003

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Hooray! Let’s Pray!

Hooray! Let's Pray!Looking for fun ways to teach kids how to pray? Check out this book from Group Publishing and make prayer time one of the most exciting parts of your program.

The book offers lots of creative ideas for prayer activities and teaches basic principles such as adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication using kid-friendly language. Get ready to answer questions like How does prayer work? How come God doesn’t always answer our prayers? And why should we pray when God already knows what we need?

Group Publishing, Inc. 1997

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One Key Point

Making stories stick requires intentionality on the part of the storyteller. When prepping to tell a children’s Bible story, you must be willing to think through comprehension and life application acquisition skills. In other words, consider what helps students grasp knowledge and be able to readily use it. My primary default plan is always to use one key point.

This means I must begin with the end in mind. I must decide on the one thing I want children or students to walk away knowing and be able to apply.

A great key point is memorable, simple and clear.

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