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Posts Tagged "Ministry"

Stranger in the Locker Room

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Ministry

Don’t be a stranger in the locker room.

This piece of wisdom came from my boss, Chuck Carringer. (Chuck blogs here & tweets here. You’d benefit greatly from following his insightful thoughts.)

It’s a bit of wisdom I’m familiar with though never heard it phrased so well. You see, Chuck is a former basketball coach so leadership lessons in the form of coaching analogies are not unusual.

It simply means that by making it a point to be in the locker room, the players grow accustomed to your presence. As a ministry leader, my players are my volunteers. I rely heavily on a volunteer team to do the work of the ministry. And the quality of that work is contingent on the volunteer and their ability to take what I give them and execute.

And the best way for me to know how and if my volunteer is well equipped, is if I’m in the room.

Yet my presence in the room can make volunteers uncomfortable… if it’s unusual.

But if my presence in the room is part of my weekly routine… a routine volunteers are accustomed to… in fact, expecting. Then I have the privilege of seeing how a kidmin room actually runs. Within this reality, I can see where to focus training and equipping. I can see where volunteers are most effective in connecting with the kids. I can experience how engaged volunteers and kids truly are.

It’s easy to judge the effectiveness of the weekend based upon the large group portion of the hour. Yet if you don’t have presence in the small group segment, then you miss out on a significant element of the child’s experience.

I appreciated Chuck’s reminder of the value of our attention to this detail. If I’m a stranger in the locker room, I’m not positioned to speak into all aspects of the team.

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Finish your swing

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Ministry

What would happen if Blake didn’t finish that swing?

His form is flawless.  His timing is perfect.  Connecting with the ball is inevitable.

I’m no baseball expert, but I know enough to know that if he doesn’t finish his swing, every other step he took won’t make a difference in the world.  The ball is not going as far as he wants it to go.

Many times in ministry we don’t finish our swing.

We approach the plate, set our feet, and keep our eye on the ball.  We make great contact but if we don’t finish our swing… all other efforts are diminished.  The ministry ‘hit’ doesn’t go as far as we want it to go.

What is finishing our swing?

It’s follow up.

Good relational ministry demands that we follow up.

  • Call the parent within 24 hours after a challenging conversation.  Ensure them that you are available to them.  Then make it easy to get in touch with you.  Don’t avoid their call
  • Contact that volunteer within a week after a great training event.  Recap to ensure they know what direction you want them to go.  Equip them with tools to go deeper, should they desire (i.e. books, articles, podcasts, etc)
  • Provide ‘next step’ opportunities for a new believer immediately after their decision.  Don’t let them leave without knowing where to go, what to read and/or who to turn to with this life-changing decision they’ve made
  • Set a calendar reminder to follow up with someone walking through difficult life-circumstances.  Don’t let the worst part of it be the only time they have your attention.  That’s when everyone flocks.  Let them feel your presence & concern when they’re not on anyone’s radar

[bctt tweet=”Relational ministry is more about consistency through the varying moments of life… mundane and life-altering.”]

Consistency requires follow up.  Follow up is finishing your swing.  Finishing your swing takes the ministry efforts and knocks them out of the park.

Finish your swing.

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

God has a way of stopping me in my tracks. 

Thankfully I’m a little better at listening. 

A little.

It’s been a rough few months in ministry.  And it’s beginning to wear on me.  Much of the stress is surfacing and my ability to fend it off is diminished. 

It’s a road I’ve traveled before and thankfully I recognize the signs.  But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s wearing on me.

Today God stopped me in my tracks.  I had my plans.  My schedule… and it was full.  Full of all the ministry ‘things’ that must be accomplished so that I shine as a ministry leader.  That’s my problem.

Leaving my first appointment of the day, I walk to my car only to find a flat tire. 

“I can do this”, trying to convince myself.

I don’t freak out.  I know how to change a tire.  My dad showed me when I was 16.  (I’m almost 36… it’s been a while) 

But I don’t think the point of the excercise is to freshen up my tire changing skillz.  I think the point is God is asking me to stop and define a few things. Stuff like…

  • ministry work vs. ‘busy’ work
  • tasks He’s handed me vs. tasks I’ve contrived for myself
  • the Holy Spirit prompting me vs. my own concieted, people-pleasing, self-gratifying heart leading me

He has a way of stopping me in my tracks… literally.  Because He knows I won’t hear Him any other way. 

So, I’m listening now, Lord.


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The Sabbath Skipper

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Kenny Conley is the Next Generation Pastor of Gateway Community Church in Austin, Tx.  True to Texas, Kenny thinks BIG.  I’ve yet to hear anything out of Kenny’s mouth that isn’t bigger than all of us put together.  He’s joining Jabberfrog today to share glimpse of what God has done inside of him lately.  Enjoy, comment, then skip over to his blog, Children’s Ministry Online, for more.

Hello. My name is Kenny and I’m a Sabbath Skipper.

I’ve known better for years, but I habitually work on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I realized how out of control I was and began to put guidelines back into my life concerning the Sabbath. Actually I jumped into a small group of other men on staff and we’re on a Bible reading plan. While we were in the books of the Law, the thing that convicted us the most was the importance of the Sabbath and how pitiful we all were at celebrating it. Being in ministry, we’re all busy with really good things. Unfortunately our family was taking a back seat to unrealistic and out of control schedules.

For us, we first had to recognize what our Sabbath was. Sunday is a workday, so it wouldn’t be fair to our families if that was our Sabbath. We chose to go OT style and do the sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. It was a schedule that allowed us to have a full 24 hours with our families without school or work getting in the way. It also gave us flexibility to start ramping up for work again on Saturday night. We then surrounded each other with accountability, making sure we’re all celebrating the Sabbath.

I’m five weeks into my new practice and I’ve only blown it one weekend. Here is what I’ve learned:

  • I’m just as productive as I was before. I’ve got the same about of work, but I seem to be getting it done in one less day of work. Who knew. I think it’s like the tithe. For many people it is a step of faith to first begin giving that 10% and they have to trust God with the tithe. When choosing to celebrate the sabbath, you have to trust that God will multiply your ability to get everything done with one less day to work.
  • Celebrating the Sabbath changes the way I work during the week. Every day I’m thinking about that Sabbath and and prioritizing my week so that when Thursday comes, I’m able to wrap up what needs to be done for that week. I’ve found that it has helped me become more efficient.
  • I’m happier. Seriously, I’m less stressed, I feel more confident about the direction we’re going and I’m having such a blast with my family on my days off. My relationship with my wife is better and I’m making great memories with my family.

It’s funny how as pastors, we’re sure to tithe and stress how important it is for others to follow this suggestion, yet so many of us totally neglect taking a Sabbath rest. The irony of it all is that taking the Sabbath rest is one of the ten commandments, which is pretty important.

So, schedule your next Sabbath rest day. Enjoy it and be sure to honor God this way!

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Family Ministry Structure – Part 3 0

Family Ministry Structure – Part 3

Posted by on Dec 13, 2010 in Leadership, Ministry

Recently I posted here and here about some of the foundational ‘moorings’ we’ve put in place as we’ve launched Family Ministries at Faith Promise Church.  Today I’ll share a little of how we are building upon that foundation.

For the sake of review…

Our mission is creating partnership that equip families to lead the next generation in following Christ.

Our values are Imagine the End, Fight for the Heart, Create a Rhythm, Widen the Circle and Keep It Personal

Creating a common language is the next critical step.  A common language (by definition) is simply a language common to a group of people.  We’re utilizing our values as our common language.

How do we do this?
By incorporating these terms in our everyday vernacular.  It means as we talk to volunteers in our volunteer meetings we make connections for them between the things we do and the values we embrace.  It means that as we equip them as volunteers we remind them…

Keep It Personal by remaining in the word yourself.  If your teaching kids scripture and you’re not in it yourself then you’re teaching from a shallow pool.  Utilize the weekly lessons you teach and do your own personal study.  Dive deeper in your own relationship with Christ.

Fight for the Heart by maintaining an environment in your small group that embraces each child and their uniqueness.  That gives each child every opportunity to learn what’s being taught.  By imparting the Truth of scripture as opposed to simply getting through the activities.

Widen the Circle by intentionally connecting with the kids in your small group creating a relationship that allows you opportunity to really speak truth into their lives.

We do the same with parents at key opportunities (i.e. milestones… I’ll talk about those in my next post) reviewing the values and equipping them with tools to exercise at least one of the values.  Our annual parenting series in 2011 will be focused around each of the 5 values.

In short, we work this common language into every applicable avenue.

Currently I’m waiting on a poster design that has our vision statement, the 5 values and a brief description of each.  These posters will be displayed in our common volunteer meeting areas.

The next to come is a refrigerator magnet to go home with every parent that includes the 5 values and descriptions.

We maintain a family ministry blog that currently goes to 200 families.  We post 5 times per week often connecting the topic of our post to a specific value.

The point is to keep the terminology in front of people.  To make it familiar.  We understand that it will take time for these to catch on but as we gain traction the momentum will build.  And as the common language takes root then we equip ministry leaders, volunteers & parents to live out the vision we’ve defined.

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