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Posts Tagged "children"

Hold Your Kids More Than Your Phone

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in D6, Ministry

When it comes to ministry, how can we do it all?

How do we care for our own families in the midst of caring for other families?

Focus on your own &%@$ family.

An interesting way to launch into the things that are most critical to long term success in ministry.

This was the focal point of Doug Field‘s conversation at the D6 Conference a few weeks ago.  Doug opened up and shared his own thoughts on ministry at the initial points of his career.  Surrounded by ministry leaders that lived on the ‘performance treadmill’, he remembers what it was like to go home and be so tired he didn’t want to engage with those under his roof.

How do we reconcile ourselves with the fact that we say we value family yet our example as ministry leaders does not reflect that value.  Leadership is primarily example.  We are called to live out what we preach and teach and set a pattern for others to follow.

When we return to New Testament scripture, Paul describes the nature of his leadership in ministry.  He consistently makes family analogies.

“…but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her children.” 1 Thess 2:7

The image of a spiritual leader in the church is not the image of a CEO but the image of a good mother/father.  Someone worthy of imitation.  Yet what do you do when values collide and you have to choose between leading your ministry and leading your family?

Doug suggests that many take the path of least resistance.  Building a ministry is easier than building a family.  In ministry, you can keep others at arms distance.   Affirmation is readily available.

But at home the guards come down and affirmation is not as prevalent.  Building your family is tougher than building a ministry… yet there are actions we can take to make sure we focus on our own &*% family:

  1. Change the channel – we’re stuck on one channel broadcasting the unrealistic expectations of your leadership.  How do you change the channel?
    1. Redefine spoken and unspoken expectations placed on you.
    2. Deflect the idea that “the devil doesn’t take a day off”.  The devil’s not the role model.
    3. Saying No is tricky in an environment that values you saying yes to everything and everyone
    4. It’s easy to say no to the bad things, but tough to say no to the many good things.  Every yes to the church is a no somewhere to your family – what’s the worst thing that could happen if you say no
  2. Unplug from Church
    1. There must be a time when you’re at home and totally available to your family and not to ministry
    2. Work at making your home safe where you can retreat, disconnect and be totally available to your family
    3. The challenge isn’t to come home from church.  You can change your location but may never leave there mentally
    4. Don’t answer the phone with your kids in the car.  Capitalize on the opportunity
    5. Struggling with the idea of ‘building the church’ – When you leave the church they will not remember you
    6. There are other people that can shepherd the flock.  But no one can speak into the life of your kids or shepherd their heart better than you
  3. Serve ice cream
    1. Put as much effort into making your home attractive as you do making your church attractive.  Make your home a fun place to be.
    2. What could you do to make your house fun?  When can you start?
    3. What are you doing to make it a privilege that mom or dad are in the ministry

To do accomplish these 3 things you have to take the reins.  If you’re waiting for your church environment to change, it’s not going to happen.  An indicator of your future is looking at the performance of the past.

A great comparison… look at the life of Jesus.  He didn’t go everywhere.  He didn’t meet everyone.  He didn’t heal everyone.  He said no to some very good things.

Doug closed his session with 3 dreams he holds for those of us in ministry…

Hold your kids more than you hold your phone

Date your spouse with more passion than you give to build your ministry

Works more to build energy and fun into your family than you do your ministry

This is the second time in 2010 I’ve had the privilege of hearing from Doug Fields.  The first time was at the Orange Conference sitting with my team.  I got a few elbows in the midst of his talk.

Sitting by myself 6 months later at D6… I was elbowing myself.  These are notes to return to on a regular basis.

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Illuminate – Austin

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 in Leadership, Ministry

Next week I had out to Austin, TX for the 2nd annual Illuminate Conference hosted at Gateway Church.  My friend, Kenny Conley, is the NextGen Pastor at Gateway and last year he and his team put together a kidmin conference geared specifically to volunteers.

With kidmin leaders like Sam Luce, Jonathan Cliff, Cathy Harwick, Matt McKee and Jim Wideman pouring their knowledge, vision and passion into hundreds of local volunteers, the even was sure to be a hit.  And it was.

This year is sure to be just as awesome.  Volunteers will hear from Jim Wideman, Michael Chanley, Jonathan Cliff, Amy Fenton Lee, Sam Luce, Matt McKee, Dan Scott, Cathy Harwick, Corey Schwarz & Kenny Conley himself.

Kenny knows how to put together a team and a great conference.  I’m taking a team of volunteers to Illuminate – Nashville in February 2012 and simply can’t wait.  To have a budget-friendly conference to take my volunteers where they can be invested in, loved on and equipped to do better ministry… it’s a gift.

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Family Ministry Structure – Part 2 0

Family Ministry Structure – Part 2

Posted by on Nov 30, 2010 in Leadership, Ministry

Yesterday I posted about the process of crafting the Family Ministry vision statement for Faith Promise Church.  You can read about that here.

Now that we have our Vision statement established, the next task is to identify the values that support this statement.  To me, values are like the roots of the tree.  They are the varied branches tethered to the soil networked together to support & feed the trunk (the vision).  We knew we needed the values (roots) to meet certain criteria:

  1. Intuitive – the values must be easily understandable.  They have to make sense to people beyond our team.  They have to make sense to parents.  If they make sense then they take root faster.
  2. Adaptable – the values have to be able to fit a variety of contexts and grow with the ministry.
  3. Integrable – the values must easily integrate into our culture and become our common language.

We could have spent a great deal of time trying to be original.  Yet after reading the book Think Orange as a team, we all agreed that the 5 Parenting Values listed in that book are the very values we sought.

After brief conversations over multiple weeks, we simply couldn’t get past how well these values reflected our heart as a team.  So, we have officially adopted the following as our Family Ministry Values:

  1. Imagine the End – Focus your energy and effort on the issues that will make a lasting impact.
  2. Widen the Circle – Invite others to invest in your children; so your sons and daughters have other voices that will help shape and determine the direction of their lives.
  3. Fight for the Heart – Create a culture of unconditional love in your home to fuel the emotional and moral health of your children.
  4. Keep it Personal – Allow your kids to see how you strive to grow so they can understand how to confront their own limitations and pursue character and faith.
  5. Create a Rhythm – Tap into the power of quality moments together, and build a sense of purpose through your everyday experiences.

(These values are unpacked more thoroughly in Parenting Beyond Your Capacity)

These values go a long way toward defining what the Family Ministry Team is here to do.  Through every event, every function, & every meeting we want to focus on one or more of these values.  We want to teach our audience (be it kids, students, volunteers &/or parents) to recognize how God operates in our lives to tell a bigger story through us.  And they can do that when they…

Imagine the End

Widen the Circle

Fight for the Heart

Keep it Personal


Create a Rhythm

We believe these values communicate how we will go about Creating partnerships that equip families to lead the next generation in following Christ.

Next I’ll share where & how we’re infusing these values as our common language.

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Guest Blog: Reggie Joiner

Posted by on Nov 15, 2010 in Leadership, Ministry

The following post is provided by Reggie Joiner, founder of Orange (an organization that strives to equip families & churches to effectively lead the next generation to life in Christ).  Reggie writes regularly at OrangeParents.org & OrangeLeaders.com.  You can also catch tidbits of twitter-wisdom (aka “twisdom”) by clicking here.  Please enjoy and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comment stream below.

Parents in Transition

Time flies fast from elementary to college age, so get ready to change your parenting habits. Every child seems to move in warp speed toward the teenage years.

I was caught by surprise when a new declaration of personal independence was automatically assumed the day my son got his driver’s license. It was as though I represented an oppressive and extremely unfair regime whenever I tried to enforce any rule. (Whenever I said no to one of my teenage daughters, she would go to her bedroom, close the door and play Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” over and over again for over an hour, loud enough for me and the whole house to hear.) I have to admit, it was difficult for me to transition from parenting children to parenting teenagers. I had worked with teenagers all of my life, but I had never actually had any living in my home. I am still a recovering parent of teens, but here are a few things I have recognized about this chapter of parenting:

It’s a complicated time.
While your children are transitioning from being dependent to independent, you are transitioning as a parent from having authority to leveraging your influence. You can’t parent them the same way you did when they were in elementary school.

It’s an urgent time.
Face it. You know a window is closing fast. Ready or not, in a few short years your children will be leaving home. You are running out of time, and it is easy to feel a little panicked. Everything seems to matter more (grades, decisions, relationships.) And to make matters worse, everything costs more too. Have I mentioned the price of college these days? Feeling better?

Keep fighting for your teenager’s emotional health by investing in relational time with them. Especially during this uncertain season, they need a positive relationship with you more than you or they may realize. Here are a few things to remember that might help you make the time you spend with your teenager more meaningful:

Find a common activity you can both enjoy.

Go to favorite restaurant, movie, or concert. Discover a hobby or a type of recreation you can do together. Find common interests. It only takes a few.

Make sure there is no agenda.

They will see right through a masked motive and interpret your effort to hang out as manipulation. Don’t forget. This is about building your relationship. So don’t use this time to deal with issues. Guard the fun.

Keep it outside the house.

You probably already spend most of your time together in your home. It can be full of duties, responsibilities, and distractions, so get out and do something that is a contrast to your normal routine.

Do it without friends.

Anyone you add to your time will drastically change the dynamic. Give your teenager individual and undivided attention, without your friends or their friends, and even without siblings.

Mutually agree to turn off cell phones.

Make at least part of your time a no-electronic zone. Phones have a way of distracting you from meaningful and engaging dialogue.

Put it on the schedule (but not on a Friday).

Be sensitive to how a teenager wants to organize his or her life. Discover the rhythm that exists in their schedule and agree with them on the best times to hang out.

Stay flexible (and be willing to reschedule frequently).

A teenager’s world is always changing. They could feel trapped if you are rigid about your scheduled time with them. Don’t let your time with them become a competition with their other interests and priorities. Avoid making them choose between you and something else they really want to do.

Remember your goal is not to change them.

Avoid getting into conversations where you are trying to correct or improve a behavior. Save those conversations for another time. You can shut down a positive experience if you try to leverage it to fix something.

Keep working at it.

Learning to communicate with those you love can be awkward at times. Strive to ask the right kind of questions and listen more than you talk. You are not trying to become your teen’s best friend, but you are laying an important foundation for the kind of friendship you want to enjoy with them during their adult years.

Use it as an opportunity to give your teenager approval.

I’m amazed at how many adults left home without ever really feeling like their parents believed in them. Look for numerous opportunities to encourage their specific strengths and skills.

 Having fun and spending quality time together is increasingly important as your relationship with your child changes. This week, find out what kind of activities your teenager likes, and schedule some intentional time together when you can simply enjoy being together.

 And if you have other tips you’ve discovered about spending time with a teenage son or daughter, please post them in the comments so we can all learn from our shared experiences.

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Confessions of a Mom No. 585

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in My Life

I hate public meltdowns.

In the two weeks we’ve lived in Knoxville two of my three kids have suffered from chronic morning meltdowns.  It seems no matter the routine, something provokes a complete loss of sanity.  Anything from sock seams to pigtails to cereal… these kids are easily provoked.

Though I know much of it is stress from our recent move, it’s still not. fun.

It’s one thing for the meltdown to take place inside my home.  It’s a “whole-nutha’ Oprah” when it takes place in the parking of our apartment…. or the school drop-off lane… or Wal-Mart.

It seems the public meltdown is far more stressful.  It’s all the stress of a meltdown… with an audience to boot.

For those that think me the perfect mom, all I have to say is, “Whatev!”  So. not. perfect.

Maybe perfectly broken.

I hate the meltdowns.  but I work through them.

I hate the audience.  but I can’t help that.

I love the brokenness.  only b/c I know that within that is a God with Strength greater than my own.

Give a parent some grace… public meltdowns are a reality.  Share the love, not the judgment.

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