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Posts Tagged "church"

God has a sense of humor…

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Community, Ministry

We all know it’s true!

Yesterday I blogged about getting involved in the ‘messy’ side of ministry. Working an event at the church tonight. A woman randomely walks in. The event was not advertised publicly so I’m confident she did not know something was happening that night. I believe she saw the lights on and figured it was a safe place to stop. We fed her, gave her hot coffee and spent a few minutes talking with her. No heroic moves by any standard… but nice to stop and chat with someone that I might otherwise overlook.

I wonder where she is right now… God, protect her.

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Confessions of a Kids Pastor

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in My Life

As a pastor I confess that my job can get in the way of my family.  It’s an ongoing challenge to ensure my family comes before my ministry.  There are moments I do that well… and moments I do not.

Last week I had a moment that I did not.

Though numbers are not the focus, we certainly track attendance as a barometer to help us determine the success/effectiveness of an event.  With goals set, we chase those ‘carrots’ all year long with the best intentions.  One such goal is to maintain strong attendance in our discipleship program from August to May.

Why do you need to know this?  Setting the stage, I guess.

Last week was the first week of school.  Josie started the 1st grade.  She was puh-umped.

All day school… Lunch in the cafeteria… more nervous energy than she knew what to do with.

It was also the first day of KONNECT.  (KONNECT is our kids discipleship program.) Now that Josie is 6 years old, she gets to participate in KONNECT.  Again, she was puh-umped.

After picking the kids up from school, we ran some errands, horked down grabbed some dinner and headed off to church.  Josie was borderline psychotic clearly tired by the time we arrived at church.  She’d had a few melt-downs since leaving school.  I debated on the wisdom of sending her to church and thus being up 2 hours past her bedtime.  I envisioned the following morning and the probability of outbursts that register on the Richter scale.

Despite the wisdom of just keeping her home and allowing her opportunity to rest, I took her to church.

Why?

Numbers.

If she wasn’t there, it would count against our numbers.

Like I said, sometimes I do a good job of putting my family first… and then there are moments like these. 

(Cue music as she is crowned ‘Mother of the Year’)

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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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“If all I knew was the church of the bible…

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

…what would I expect if I walked into a church building today?” Francis Chan.

Acts 2: 42 – 47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Anyone can love their neighbor. Who can love their neighbor as yourself?

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Why Kids Want to Come Back to Church

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013 in Leadership, Ministry, Orange, Volunteers

goofyRecently my family and I went on a Disney Cruise.

The cruise was a gift from my grandmother when she passed away 10 years ago.  Cruises were one of her favorite ways to vacation and she wanted to make sure each of her grandkids experienced one, as well.  At the time that she passed our family was so young we opted to wait until they were older to take the epic trip.

So, January 2013 was the year to experience a cruise.  A Disney cruise, no less.

Short of winning the lottery I never would have considered trying to save money to go on a Disney cruise.  Now after experiencing one… it’s all I can do to scrimp, save, beg, borrow and steal to go again.  Some way the McClain clan will ride the waves of another Disney ship.  It was that good.

There are so many great things I could share about the experience.  But my biggest take-away from this trip is the value Disney places on relationships.  I didn’t comprehend it until I experienced it.

I’ve always viewed services as something to be done with excellence and efficiency.  Wait staff and cleaning crews in particular.  These areas of service should be almost invisible in their presence yet impeccable in their craft.

Unseen

Unheard

Yet obviously at work.

I experienced something completely new on this cruise.

We had a stateroom attendant that took care of our room.  She came in every morning and made beds, moved furniture into place and cleaned our bathrooms.  She returned every evening to set up the beds and prep the rooms for sleep.  She left little gifts every time she came.  Chocolates.  Finger sandwiches.  Mini-cakes.  Towel animals.

I expected to have my room prepped by an attendant.

I didn’t expect our family to fall in love with her.

But we did.

Narissa is incredible.  A native Jamaican, she shared about her teenage kids and husband living in Jamaica.  She talked of her love of country music and how she dreams of visiting Tennessee.  She loved on my kids, left them special treats, always asked about their activities and showed genuine interest in them.  She patiently listened as they blurted out stories and silly jokes.

Narissa is a beautiful woman who loves what she does and it was evident every time we saw her.  She does more than just clean staterooms.  She cares for families.  She helps create an unforgettable experience that embeds itself into the hearts and minds of those in her care.

I hope to see Narissa again.  In fact, if she came to Tennessee I would invite her into my home, leave chocolates on her pillow and attempt to make towel animals for her.

The shift is striking simply because what I experienced exceeded my expectations.

I expected to have a great cruise.  I expected to have a clean stateroom.

I didn’t expect to make a new friend.

The experience reminds me of the importance of relationships.

Relationships enhance an experience beyond expectations.  They add and enriching aspect to an event.  In kidmin, I can host a ton of great events… including the weekend services.  But if I want to make them greater, richer, more enticing… there must be a relational connection.  There must be some aspect that connects people emotionally.

As we continue to strive toward a relational model in fpKids, I’m convinced more than ever that kids and adults want to be known.  And the best way to know someone is to be consistently present in their lives.  Orange calls that “Showing Up Predictably”.

We don’t have to come with all the answers, or all the right questions, or all the right reactions.  We just need to come.  To show up every week.  To show up predictably.

In doing so we get to know the kids God brings to us.  We learn more about them.  We open the door to listen to their silly jokes and blurt out their crazy stories.  And in all of that we touch them deeply.  We become a trusted friend.  We become the reason they want to come back.

I have this crazy dream.

That kids will walk away from church feeling like they matter.  Like they’re important.  Like God has a plan for their life and if they come back over time they will hear more about that plan from someone who believes it too.

A volunteer who simply wants to do something important with their time.  So they decided to serve in kids ministry.

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