Monday, February 28, 2011

Knowing What And When To Delegate

                 I believe many people in the church are confused about the role of a children’s pastor, this also includes many Children’s Pastors. Some view us as strictly a kid keeper or baby sitter, while others view us as entertainers. The truth is we are problem solvers and leaders of leaders who cannot do it all by ourselves no matter how we try. The key to becoming a problem solving, leader of leaders is to know what and when to delegate and what things within our ministries that we should be doing ourselves.

                 I also believe most Children’s Ministers have developed a wrong definition of what successful children’s ministry is in the first place. It’s more than room decor and a fancy set. It’s more than an electronic check-in system. You can have a family service and still not have an effective children’s ministry. If you dare to look past the tools and toys we children’s pastors love to play with you realize It’s all about laying the right foundation for life change with in kids and adult workers.

               God has set ministry gifts within the church for a specific purpose. Let’s take a look at Ephesians 4:11 & 12  “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” All of us who are in ministry, minister out of a particular office or ministry gift. Although there are different ministry gifts they are all given for the same purpose. That purpose demands leadership. A true leader knows he or she cannot do every job himself or herself. That’s where outsourcing our responsibilities comes in.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Leading Other Adults

Most Children’s Ministers are more comfortable with relationships with children than relationships with adults.  Yes, we must be able to communicate with students but we must also be able to communicate with adults. If you cannot lead and impact adults you’ll never have an outstanding ministry to children.  
Here’s twelve tips for dealing positively with adult helpers and co-workers. 
1. Realize you need help.  You must allow others to be involved.  Sharing center stage is hard for some children’s ministers.  Three Dog Night taught me years ago, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”  Doing the job alone will never leave fruit that remains.
2. Let people get to know you. The lowest form of leadership is positional leadership.  Share your heart with
those you lead. Spend time with you workers and let them get to know you.  
3. Lead by setting the example. Give others someone to follow. Set the pace.  A good leader is a model.
Show people what to do don’t just tell them. Never ask people to do something you are not willing to do yourself.
4. Explain how and why as well as what. Leaders are teachers of those they lead.  Let those you lead ask
 questions.  Remember, Jesus was never too busy for Peter’s dumb questions.  He was always willing to explain.
5. Admit when you are wrong.  Take responsibility for your mistakes Ask for forgiveness. Be quick to repent. Don’t make the same mistake twice.  I have a no surprises policy with those I lead.  I don’t want to be surprised even if it’s bad news.
6. Always side with authority. Don’t open the door for rebellion. When in doubt be loyal and support the leaders
 above you.  Remember, you reap what you sow.
 7. Watch and inspect what others are doing. Use your M.B.W.A. degree. Management By Walking Around.  
It’s the best way to stay in the know.
8. Dare to confront. Situations don’t fix themselves. Do everything out of love and always coach leaders
 to their next level.
9. Say thank you. A good leader can’t say it enough. People know if you mean it.  Don’t just say thanks,
show thanks.
10. Solicit the ideas & opinions of others. Ask for advice. A smart leader values the opinion of others.
Listen to those in the trenches. Don’t lean on your own understanding, get another take on it.
11. Be an encourager.  See yourself as a cheerleader for your volunteer team, your staff, and your co-workers.
12. Serve those you lead as well as those over you. If Jesus came to serve and not be served, we must do
 the same.    

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Value Of Teamwork

No matter how great an individual player you are, a team can make you or break you.  I’ve always loved being a part of a team. I love team sports. It’s fun to compete but it’s more fun to hang out with the guys on the team.  I love playing in bands.  The reason I have five different children’s church bands is so I’ll always have a place to play guitar.  I keep a guitar with me most all the time.  I love to play every chance I get but there is nothing like playing in a band.  But teamwork is also important at church.  I love the staff and people I work with at World Outreach Church.  We have worked hard assembling and developing our team.  But as great as it is to be a part of a great team some of my biggest frustrations in life have come from being a part of a team that did not function as a team. My least favorite times in ministry have been being on staffs at churches that were all doing their own thing and not functioning as a team.
My favorite definition of a team is Together Everyone Achieves More!
 It’s plain that a team can accomplish more than an individual.  Yet children’s ministers still insist on doing things themselves rather than build a strong team.  I believe every children’s pastor or children’s ministry coordinator should see himself or herself as a coach and desire to build a super team.
Here are four things a successful coach should instill in his team and expect from each player.  #1-BE OWN THE BALL.  A team player must be alert of what’s going on and able to assess the situation for themselves and the team. A team player puts the goals, needs and good of the team first, rather than individual goals, wants, and needs.  Each member of the team must value the team.  Never forget that you are a part, not the whole enchilada.  Respect and esteem every member of the team.  Every worker I have is important to the success of my team.  Be considerate of others.  Ask yourself, “How do my actions affect others?”  Don’t ever think about quitting the team in hard times.  Don’t let setbacks stop you.  See problems as challenges and situations for your team to excel.  Get after it-work it with all your might to make your team 
Be it’s best. 
  #2- GIVE A LOT!  Let your teammates slam-dunk while you take an assist.  Rejoice in the abilities and accomplishments of those around you.  An excellent team player chooses to prefer others to excel. Their motto is: “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”  Never complain, but seek opportunities to motivate others. Don’t be negative. You cannot maintain a winning attitude and be negative.  Being positive is a choice!  A team player complements others and hand out praise.  In ministry we can’t control every event, but we can control our response to it.  Keep your motives pure.  Don’t seek after the approval or praise of man.  Do your best even if you go unnoticed.  Always ask, “What’s best for the team?”  Never be too busy to help others.  The team that gives a lot accomplishes a lot. 
#3-OVER COMMUNICATE!  Let those above you know what’s going on.  No surprises ever.   Surprises hurt the team.  Let those around you know what’s happening and what they should be doing. The military calls this the need to know.  Talk with the team; build a relationship with your teammates.
Admit when you need help.  A team is like a chain the overall strength is only as strong as the weakest link.  Be teachable and open to correction, discipline, and advice.  Don’t take things personal. A good communicator is a good listener. Determined to learn from everybody, not just your coaches.  This includes learn from your own mistakes. 
  #4-DO YOUR JOB!  Do what you know to do.  Be on the ball, give a lot, over communicate, and do your job. 
Great basketball teams know how to do this.  They keep the ball moving till someone has the opportunity to score.  At the same time they never forget who’s the shooter, who’s the rebounder, and who’s covering whom.  A team player understands their role and does it with all their might.  A valuable team player must possess knowledge of the game.  They are always a student.  Remember 2 Timothy 2:15  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” It’s imperative to know and follow the game plan. Know your job or position.  Always be loyal to your coaches.
The best teams in the world review and evaluate constantly.  Not just the accomplishments but also the mistakes. Take blame but never assign any. Never talk bad about teammates at anytime. Never talk bad about the coaches or the front office anytime. Desire to share any victories together. Value your team and you’ll enjoy the value of teamwork first hand.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Evaluating Yourself To Grow

           Every children’s minister wants their ministry to grow.  I believe God wants your ministry to grow as well. In order for our ministries to children to grow we must be willing to grow in our leadership abilities.  Individual growth always comes before corporate growth. 
The number one key to growth as a leader is evaluation.  Change will never take place without constant evaluation. If you don’t identify ways that you can grow as a leader you’ll never reach your next level.  Let’s look at some areas we should evaluate on a regular basis.
 #1. How’s your attitude? Here’s some questions I ask myself on a regular basis. Do I have the heart of a servant? Have I made my Pastor look good this week? Have I made my Pastor’s life easier this week?  Am I an asset or a liability to my Pastor? Am I a team player? What is my attitude about others around me? Am I grumbling & complaining? Am I enjoying the trip? Do I have a heart after God?  Am I thinking about me & my wants to much? 
The second area to evaluate are your priorities.  Could you make a list of the top ten priorities for your life and ministry right this moment? If you don’t have priorities you can’t keep them.  Proverbs 28:2 says; “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order.” It’s one thing to know your priorities, it’s another thing all together to live according to those priorities.
The third area to evaluate about yourself is time management. In other words ask yourself; How am I spending my time?  I’m I spending time daily with the Lord?  Is my family suffering while my ministry is flourishing?  Am I making time for my personal growth & development?  Are you identifying the time robbers in your life? Once you identify the areas that need improvement, you must come up with a plan to implement the needed changes.  It’s your time, act like it!
The forth are I evaluate on a regular basis is my performance.  Am I being a team builder or a one person show? What am I doing that someone else can do?  Have I communicated clearly to all my workers what they are to do? Speaking of communication, am I a clear & skillful communicator? Am I skilled at solving problems? Can I be relied on to complete assignments and keep commitments? If you had to rate your level of leadership on a scale of 1 to 10 what would it be? Are you meeting the needs of the children & families of your church? It’s up to you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis.  If you’ll make personal evaluation a habit in your life you’ll grow as a leader!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How To See Your Vision or Dreams Come To Pass

Proverbs 29: 18, tells us,  “Where there is no vision people perish.”  Vision is the key to seeing your plans turn into reality. Not only do people perish without a vision, ministries don’t get off the ground without vision. Stephen Covey has taught us that the first habit of effective people is to start with the end in mind.  I like to say it this way, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”  If you’re going to see your dreams come true you must identify what you want and don’t be afraid to dream.  Picture how Jesus wants your ministry to end up.  That’s your target.  Dare to see your ministry through Jesus’ eyes.  When the fat angel sings how do you want your ministry to end up?  Keep this vision before you at all times. It will be your friend and encourager when no one else is on your side.  You vision is what keeps you from giving up and being discouraged.
The next step to seeing your vision come to pass is to define your vision.  Habakkuk 2: 2 tells us to …”Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”   It’s not enough just to have a goal.  You need to write it down and make it plain.  The ticket to developing a plan and strategy to move from Visionland to reality is to know where you are right now.  You cannot develop a plan to get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re starting from.  Once you have determined where you are going and where you are.  The next step is to determine some reachable short-term goals.  I’m a very goal or step oriented person because God’s blesses us by steps. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  If God orders our steps then why do we think in leaps and jumps?   Steps help us to move from where we are to where we want to end up.  Its one thing to identify steps to take it’s another thing to commit to walking out those steps.  How bad do you want them?  Bad enough to change? Bad enough to organize?  Bad enough to try things you’ve never done before? Now you have a plan.  People follow people who have a plan.  Start with the most logical step.  Keep your steps in order.  Don’t get ahead or behind.  Stay on time.  Always let God guide your steps and make sure you plan is His plan.
Now build your faith by sharing your vision with others.  Faith comes by hearing, it’s good to hear your vision even if you are the only one talking it.  The more I hear it the more excited I get.  The more I believe it is going to come to pass.  Not only does this build your faith but passing your vision along also builds your team.  Work hard and work smart, keep your priorities in order.  Never stop serving but more importantly never stop dreaming.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Art Of Forecasting

One of the most intriguing professions in the world to me is forecasting the weather. Sometimes they miss it but most of the time they get it right.
Mr. Webster defines forecasting as “to predict a future condition or occurrence; to calculate in advance by forethought and foresight in planing. These are not just descriptions and duties of a meteorologist.  It’s also the responsibility of a leader
Here’s seven steps that will help:
1. Know where you are headed. Dare to dream and be specific. Get God’s plan for ministry (Read Habakkek 2:2) 
Get on your face and ask Him. I believe He’ll show it to you!
2. Know where you are. You can’t get to where you are headed if you don’t know where you are starting from.
3. Know where you’ve been. Knowing what’s been done in the past let’s you know the definition of success
4. Know what others are doing. A smart leader studies the success and failures of others. Experience is the best teacher but it doesn’t have to be your experiences that you learn from. Twitter leaders you want to learn from see what they are working on and what they see as the next big thing!
5. Develop the plan then communicate and execute it
6. Evaluate. Be on the lookout for current trends as well as historic trends so you can head off problems before they happen.
7. Keep momentum and energy moving forward. It’s up to you leader to set the pace. Do what you’ve never done. 
    Look down the road and forecast what is ahead. Plan ahead, remember it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
    Instigate and initiate change. Make things happen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Power to Last -Part 5

01.   See yourself as a finisher! Have a vision of the finish line. You must see it by the eyes of faith before it comes to pass. I love this verse in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” The good fight is a fight that finishes. Another verse that has taught me how to fight a good fight to finish is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Did you catch these three keys?
1.    Work by faith, go after the finish line even if you can see it with your natural eyes, and see it through the eyes of faith. Obey the voice of the Lord. You are His sheep. He is your shepherd, you know His voice, the voice of a stranger you will not hear!
2.    Do everything you do in love. Love never fails! Our labor must always be prompted by His love that He gives us.
            3.   Endurance is inspired by hope in Jesus! A key to having power to survive the decades is to never loose hope in Christ Jesus!

We all win or lose by the way we choose. I choose to commit to being effective over the long haul. I want rely on pass accomplishments I press forward! I choose to do whatever I need to do to possess power to last. Never become weary in well doing. Remember Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Power to Last -Part 4

06.      Make changes and improve yourself constantly. I’ve had to reinvent myself as I’ve ministered to young people in the 70’s, the 80’s. the 90.s and now in the 00’s.
Be a student of leadership. Improve your skill sets and abilities. Do what works! Evaluate, network, brainstorm with others. Choose to be a lifelong learner! Have a mentor or ministry friend coach and critique your service, your abilities or a meeting that you are leading. Have a makeover in your hairstyle or wardrobe. Wanting to improve is the first step in actually improving.
05.  Choose to not let attacks, set backs and bad situations hold you back. The secret of longevity is to determine to turn lemons into lemonade! I could fill up this magazine with stories here. We all could insert our own “Somebody done somebody wrong song here. We could all blame others, make excuses for our unforgiveness and hold bitterness in our hearts but I choose to forgive and let others go. I have spent my life telling kids about the power of forgiveness and I am going to practice it because it is the only way to receive forgiveness for myself. Failure and heartaches don’t hold you back it’s what you choose to do after they happen that hold you back or cause you to fail forward.
04.  Do something new and different. I think one reason people give up is that get tired of doing the same things. Choose to always be on the lookout for a new and better way to do everything you do. Most Children’s Pastors I know are pack rats. A great way to stay relevant and fresh is not to keep tons of stuff to re-use. You’ve heard me say this many times but I’ll say it again, “Same action brings same results.” Try something you’ve never done. I’ve found doing new things keep me fresh. Just because something worked once doesn’t mean I should keep doing it. It doesn’t take leadership to quit something that isn’t working. It takes a true leader to take something that’s working well and change it and make it better. That kind of leadership produces results that bear much fruit,
03.   Don’t believe your own press kit. Another thing my mother told me my whole life is, “Things are never as bad as you think they are and you are never as wonderful as you think you are either.” Never forget God is your source! Don’t work in your own strength. Yes you have skills and gifts but remember who gave you those gifts. I am nothing without the Lord. We are all just a pair of overalls that the Holy Spirit wants to put on and empower us. Give God the glory or every victory and accomplishment. Be thankful always! Keep a file or journal of the victories God has given you and give Him the glory for the good things He has done!
02.   Set a goal and don’t stop until you hit it. Then when you hit your goal then set another goal. If you want to have power to last learn to think in steps. Make a plan based on those steps and goals and then walk in out. Don’t seek a quick fix, don’t take leaps, jumps or shortcuts. Follow the Lord’s leading and His timetable.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Power to Last -Part 3

How do I do this Jim? I’m so glad you asked. Here are my top ten list to have power to last over the long haul in children’s ministry.
10.      Never loose sight of who called you. Your pastor might have asked you but it was
Jesus who called you! He is with you! Matthew 28:20 tell us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." God equips those He calls. You already have the power. (The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you!) Over the years I have had to constantly remind myself who called me, who I’m doing what I do for and that He believes I can do what He’s asked me to do. If God is for you, who can be against you? It was not my idea to minister to kids I was seeking the Lord asking Him what He wanted me to do, it was His idea for me to minister to kids. I have seen over and over again that God’s plan for my life is better than any plan I could come up with on my own.
09.      Learn how to encourage yourself! My favorite example of this principle is found in
1 Samuel 30:6, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” This is a habit you must learn to last. It’s not your Pastor’s or your supervisor’s job to keep you refreshed, it’s yours. I use every tool in my tool belt, I go to church, I read my Bible
         I pray, I stay full of the Holy Spirit. I go to conferences and seminars and network
       with others. I also have learned the importance of rest. Take your day off!
   Exodus 23:12, says "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work,
so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed.” Find a hobby or happy place (even if it’s work related, writing relaxes and refreshes me. Over the years so has fishing, cross-stitching, recording, writing, guitar collecting and playing, shooting, tennis and cycling.
08.      Stay Focused. Don’t get side tracked. There is a big difference between a God idea and a good idea. Not everything that’s a good idea is God’s will for you to do. God doesn’t give me a green light on every opportunity that presents itself. You must learn to live by your priorities. Make a list of God’s priorities for you and live by them.
07.      Guard your heart! Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” My mother told me years ago, “Grow tough skin but keep a tender heart! How do I do this? I stay away from complainers and negative people.
   Never let bitterness set in. Examine your thoughts with the Word. Wrong thinking
causes strongholds to develop. Never compare yourself to others. In John 21:18-22, John writes “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?")  When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
   Weary in well doing and burned out don’t come from too much serving, they both
 come when you stop following Jesus and you don’t guard your heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Power to Last -Part 2

Not everyone who starts something for God completes his or her assignment.
I know as many people who used to work with kids than people who have always worked with kids. What happened? The reasons and excuses are limitless.
There have been times through the years that I’ve thought about making a vocational change. But I haven’t. It’s one thing to think about it, it’s another thing to act on it.
Did you know even people in the Bible had thoughts like these? Look at Jeremiah 9:2, “Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.”
Do you hear what Jeremiah is saying? Oh to run a Holiday Inn in the middle of nowhere so folks will check in and check out and I want have to deal with them on an ongoing basis. Discouragement not only comes at Children’s Pastors it also comes at your workers. I hear it every week! I need a break. I would like to take a short leave of absence. (Leave of absence is code for I quit!) God is leading me to another ministry or to another church and last but not least,  they say the “B” word. I am burnout!

            Burnout is not a part of God’s plan. Nobody starts out intending to burnout.
Somewhere along the journey people forget about the beginning. They loose their excitement, their hope; they let go of their dreams and loose sight of God’s vision for their life. How do you keep the new from wearing out on a ministry? Do what the Word says, keep yourself stirred up. 2 Timothy 1:6 says “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift      of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Power to Last

I’m so glad I never gave up on children’s ministry. I have had the wonderful opportunity to ministers to children in my twenties, thirties, forties, and now in my fifties. It’s been amazing to see the modern day children’s ministry movement grow into what it is today. I like to tell people I was in children’s ministry before children’s ministry was cool. There have been a lot of wonderful changes in how churches value children and offer ministry to them. Just this past weekend I was asked the same question I’ve been asked a thousand times. “Why are you still working with kids and not pastoring a church?” It’s simple I’ve prayed about it, I’ve tried to do different things but God always brings me back to what he called me to do in 1977 and that was to “train up sons and daughters for a lifetime of service in a local body of believers.” Have I ever thought about quitting children’s ministry? Sure I have, in the early days I thought about it every Monday. I believe with all my heart the Lord has called me to make a difference in reaching the next generation of young people and to help train this next generation of children’s ministry leaders. Here at World Outreach Church I have the best job in the world because I get to work with children of all ages. (Birth through College) I love making Christ real to kids throughout the whole maturing and discipling process. Has it been an easy journey? No there have been challenges and difficulties along the way but God has proved Himself faithful through every one and He has been more than faithful to lead me and strengthen me through every disappointment, trial and problem. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Family Tradition

Today is one of my favorite days of the week. I love Sundays! Not just because I get to go to church and be with the people of God. I'm so thankful for my church and also the wonderful opportunity I have to lead thousands of kids and adults. But my favorite part of Sunday is lunch as a family. Being the father of grown kids you might say Jim your parenting days are over. Nope, you never stop being a parent you just parent differently. Looking back on it I'm not sure we even knew what we were doing but Julie started cooking a big family meal and we all set aside that time as special. Even during the teenage years what ever friends the kids had with them they came too. Friends turned into boy friends and boy friends turned into husbands and one thing our kids have made room for in their week was our Sunday family lunch. Today could be the last Sunday lunch before my grandson shows up. All I know is when he is born and comes home from the hospital he has a set place to have lunch ever Sunday. Maybe Sunday is a bad day for you but look for a time that can be a special family time for your family. It doesn't even have to be a meal but enjoy your family and look for opportunities to invest yourself and your time into your family and build memories that last forever!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leading With Help-part 5

6. Trust your guide. I used to illustrate this in Children’s Church by blindfolding a child and give them verbal instructions that they had to carry out without bumping in to things. It’s impossible to walk by faith not sight in our own strength. Then I would ask another child to come be a guide (just like the Holy Spirit is our guide) and guide the blindfolded child to safety. It’s much easier with a guide to follow the Word of the Lord. I have found practice make perfect not only in playing an instrument or developing a skill but also in trusting our guide!                                 
7. I rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to lead me to people I need to develop to be on my team. I refuse to wait on people to show up that I need to lead. I’m on a mission from God to connect with those He leads me to. Jesus was out and about when he found the twelve disciples. I ask the Lord daily to lead me to the right people who need to be a part of the team He is building!
8. Learn how to let the Spirit refresh you. The biggest challenge for people in ministry is to learn how to leave the stress and pressures of the ministry at the church and don’t bring them home. I have learned to pray in the Spirit on the way home and allow the Spirit to refresh me. It helps me to be able to enjoy my family more. Take time off. Rest is part of God’s plan just like work. I guard my day off and use my vacation wisely. Retreat when you are at your busiest. When we study the life of Jesus here on the earth the Spirit led him away from work and those he was leading to pray and be refreshed.  I believe when we pray in the Spirit it refreshes our spirit and builds up or edifies you. The Spirit still leads Christ followers to times of refreshing and renewal.
9. Take care of the temple. 1 Corinthians 3: 16 asks “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If this is true and it is then it’s important we take care of the temple. I have learned the hard way as I age I must exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins and supplements as well as get plenty of sleep. I don’t stay up all night anymore.
10. The Holy Spirit helps me discern what is right for me to be involved in. What’s of God and what’s not? Learn to be sensitive to the Spirit and recognize or discern if something is good or God as well as bad or evil. Not every good idea is God’s will for me now. Not everything that is wrong or bad now is evil. If every believer has the Spirit on the inside and they do then how much more to we in leadership need the Spirit’s help to be the leaders God has called us to be.
Proverbs 3:5 & 6 tells us “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Are you glad we have a helper to lead us to be the leaders we need to be. Listen to our guide, our helper is right beside us. Listen to Him, Learn from Him, do what He says. Every leader leads better with help!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Leading With Help-part 4

With these things in mind here are Ten Ways I allow the Holy Spirit to help me Lead in ministry.

1.  Let the peace of God rule and reign in your lives. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked. Make time to meditate the Word about peace daily as well as in stressful times. Make time to pray! When you don’t know how to pray let the Spirit guide you and lead your prayers. Give no place to fear! Fear is faith in reverse.
2. Meet every situation with a spirit of faith. The Holy Spirit gives us boldness.
Be positive and speak faith words! Speak what God’s Word says not your doubts. Remind yourself what God has done for you. One of the jobs of our helper is to remind us about what Jesus has done and said. Don’t go by what you see, feel or hear. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight:
Don’t listen to the devil, his messengers or to bad or evil reports.
3. Be strong and courageous. Acts 1:8 says But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. I believe a good measurement of the Spirit in us is how strong we are. What ever you are full of comes out of you when you are shaken. When you are full of the Spirit, His strength and courage comes out of you when life shakes you! Don’t be a baby be strong! Thirty-three times in the Bible we are told to be strong, an additional ten times will are told to be strong and courageous!
4. Ask for the Spirit to guide your plans. The Bible could not be more plain on the subject of Gods plans are different than our plans. That’s why we should be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit for God’s plan.    Don’t be afraid to be detailed in your planning. Learn to thing backwards from the desired outcome and break your plan down into steps. Don’t wait to the last minute. Never equate flowing with the Spirit to flying by the seat of your paints.      
5.  Learn to allow the Spirit to help you Identify things that need correcting and ask Him to teach you why it needs fixing as well as how. To me the Holy Spirit works in our lives like a spot light he shines or illuminates things that need to be change. I also rely of the Spirit to help me identify areas of improvement in my ministry. The Spirit is a safe guide, one whom can always be trusted. The voice of wisdom and the voice of God is always the same thing. Our helper the Holy Spirit will lead us to all truth and will never disagree with the voice of wisdom or God’s Words!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Leading With Help-part 3

         I learned a very valuable lesson about relying on my helper several years ago. Ne day as I was leaving for work I had an impression in my spirit that I needed to bring my bass guitar with me to church. Rather than be quick to obey I started reasoning with myself and to make a long story short I blew off the leading and went to work. No sooner as I walked in my office the phone rang and it was my Wednesday Night bass player in my pre-youth class informing me that he just got to work and found out he had to work late and asked if I could play bass myself for him. My helper (The Holy Spirit) wanted to help me save time. As I drove back home to get my bass I saw that the more I listened to the voice of the Spirit in small things the easier it was to hear him in major decisions. I also realized it would have better for me to brought my bass and didn’t need it than to blow off the voice of the Spirit. I’ve also learned through the years to never disobey a check in my Spirit. If I sense a strong leading to not go somewhere or to not do something or to pass on a worker even if I can’t explain it I trust my helper.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Leading With Help-part 2

         Mr. Webster defines stress as “the physical, mental, or emotional pressure, pull or force exerted on one thing by another; strain; tension” Pressure is normal and can be helpful at times but not knowing how to handle it causes us problems. Trying to handle it by ourselves is not God’s plan for us that is why he has sent us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, He is our guide, He is our helper and He is our comforter! Just because stress exists doesn’t mean it cannot be managed and controlled. Electricity like stress can be deadly but when it is harnessed and controlled it is a powerful and helpful resource. Pressure is an excellent test of your ability to lead or your current leadership level. But when pressure and problems come, you don’t need to try to handle them in your own strength but in the strength and power of the Spirit of the living God! Just because you are doing the “Lord’s work doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. We all have problems Psalm 34:19 tells us, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” I believe this verse describes us as “getting up people! When we lead with the help of “our helper-the Holy Spirit we are not leading in our own strength but in the strength of the promised power source.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Leading With Help

The ministry can be a very stressful occupation! As rewarding as ministry can be it also reminds me of a whole bunch of work!  As I have studied Children’s Ministers over the past thirty plus years two things that are apparent are: we have a tendency to want to do things all by ourselves and at times (More times than most) in our own strength. This is not good. I should have listened to “Three Dog Night” years ago they told me “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do!” or maybe the “Beatles” they not only sang about needing “help” but also “help from our friends.” Better yet I should have listened to Jesus. John 15: 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. God never intended us to do the work of the ministry by ourselves! For that matter He never intended us to live the Christian life by ourselves. Jesus told his disciples that He would send them a helper or another counselor to be with us forever. He also said in John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Verse 27 adds “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” This is good news! It’s also the only way to live and lead effectively and handle the stress of the ministry.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along-part 6

So with all these things in mind here’s five things that we all should be working together on to help the family succeed
  1. Start with the end in mind and work backwards to build a plan that will give your pastor the end result that he desires to turn children and teens into adult believers in your local church.

      2.   Create in children and students a hunger for the Word of God. There is a difference in Bible knowledge and a hunger for the Word. Love for the Word builds a love for Jesus. It’s more important that your young people love Jesus even more than love your church.

      3.   Help children and students understand the importance of spiritual service.
Desire to train children for a lifetime of service. The way they should go includes serving and ministering to others! I just don’t know why more churches don’t realize that farm clubs work in more than major league baseball. The Children’s ministry should feed everything the youth ministry is doing. The Youth ministry should use the children’s ministry as a training ground for teaching teens about serving.

4. Watch out for sibling rivalry. Speak highly of each other’s programs and help each other be better. (Iron sharpening iron) Make the kids look forward to being a part of the next ministry. How you lead laterally is just as important as how you lead in any other direction. Don’t compete for all the attention of the Pastor and the budget of the church do everything you can to make everyone on the team look good!
Don’t think for one minute you build your self-worth by cutting down another minister. Don’t hog all the resources. Settle disagreements fast. This is a key for any lasting relationship.

 5. Work together to connect with parents to be a better parent. Remember Deut. 6:6-7   “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Both teens and young children need models at home! They both need consistent and intentionality to leave a mark. Parent’s must take back the time God said was their’s Morning, Bedtime, travel, when you sit at home.

Who wins when the Children and Youth Pastors work together? Everybody does, especially the family!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along-part 5

There have been problems on both sides. Children’s ministers don’t just dislike youth pastors; most Youth Pastors don’t esteem Children’s ministers either.
Neither do others in the church. When you boil it down our society at large do not esteem those who work with children. It’s a shame what we pay teachers in our country. But we must do more than talk about it; we must give others a reason to esteem us! I think it’s time for Youth Pastors to view Children’s Ministry as a feeder program and work along side the children’s ministry to help strengthen it with their students helping out and learning about serving. The problem is we Children’s Ministers see our ministry as an end instead of part of the preparation process.
As a team we must prepare kids for the youth ministry. The Youth minister must prepare kids for college and life as a young adult. There is a big difference between renovation and new construction. In new construction each trade works together to build the building base on the blue prints as a single unit working together!
It’s up to me to remember our enemy is the devil not each other.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along-part 4

Since we are part of the same family we must practice family living. Judgment must start with us. 1Peter 4:17 says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? It’s up to us to pray and search our hearts and ask God to show us areas where we have an us verses them mentality. It’s time to be all “us” when it comes to helping the family reach their children no matter what age their children are. We all have to decide to support one another. As a long time children’s pastor I purposed there where some things I needed to do to help the student ministry department long before I was over it. Commit to pray for the youth ministry team. Offer help to them; use your talents, abilities, and giftings to serve them. Ask for their help and input.  Learn to practice Romans 12:15 and rejoice with the accomplishments of others. Dare to be an encourager even better yet dare to be a friend. Proverbs 18:25 tells us  “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I think it’s also important for youth and children’s ministers to learn to share joyfully. In most churches it is a necessity to have to share
rooms or facilities. That’s also true for resources and even workers. We should also go out of our way to share ideas. For this spirit of sharing to really exist we must be willing to confront wrong thinking and actions and act as a peace maker (Romans 12:18) Admit when there is a problem and always be willing to work out all differences.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along-part 3

Structure is an amazing study to me. (In fact I'm working on a new book right now on the subject) One of the cool things about getting to travel to different churches is to see how they organize and structure their different ministries. For some reason a lot of churches like to do what they have always done. Because of this they have what they have always had. Just because you adopt a model for a season doesn’t mean you are married to it forever. There are many models to choose from today most I have found are a re-naming or re-positioning of older models. Also I am seeing that many people are moving to a family ministry model but they have not spent time defining what family ministry looks like to them and they put the family ministry name on an old Christian Education model. What you do to aid and assist the family is more important to me than what you call it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along-part 2

Ephesians 4:11-12 says “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. I have looked from cover to cover and I can’t find the title Children’s or Youth Pastor mentioned in the Bible other than under the office of the pastor. We both exist to serve and help our pastors. We might work with different age groups but the purpose is the same! Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart. This verse to me doesn’t stop in children’s ministry; it extends to the youth department and beyond. What we do to train children from thirteen to age eighteen is just as important to the process as what we do from three years old until twelve. My good friend Mark Harper says “If Children don’t make close friends at church during forth, fifth and sixth grade they will not stay plugged in the church youth group. I agree with Mark that the things we do with children have lasting affects. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along

All of us in ministry are on the same team, at least we are supposed to be!
1 Corinthians 12:14-19 tells us there are many different parts of the body of Christ but we exist for the same purpose. If you look in these verses you’ll see three main points. First you should see that every part of the body is needed and is important. Second there is no place for jealousy in the body! And third God knew what He was doing by creating different parts of the body by His own design. We might have different callings or interests but we have the same purpose. The other day I was looking at some different posts on twitter and after reading some #kidmin posts and also a few #stumin or #youthmin posts and reading some of the blogs they were connected to I felt lead to do my own tweet… “I’m not sure who started the war kidmin or stumin? Doesn’t matter it’s time to end it and work together”. I got several retweets and comments but the fact is it’s time we started working together to reach the family. As long as parents have children to parent I want to help them succeed. 

more to come