Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inside The Eric Trap- Part 2

The next author who wrote about Eric's second trap was Deana Hayes. Deana is now the Family Pastor at Light and Life Church in Avon, IN. Deana is one of my favorite infusers, she's really quiet but she's always thinking and asks great questions. She wrote about "Leadership Under Authority" Here's just a little bit of what she added to THE ERIC TRAP...

I remember the first day on the job like it was yesterday. I strolled into the church building not really knowing what to expect. The senior pastor greeted me with some warm and welcoming words, and then he escorted me to my office and asked that I meet with him in his office in a few minutes. The first thing I noticed was that my office had windows, a supposed luxury in the world of kidmin, so I knew things were already off to a good start. After setting some personal things down and again admiring the view from my window, I strolled down the hall to meet with my senior pastor. We went over the typical personnel and administrative stuff—those fun yet necessary tax and insurance forms. And afterward, he sent me to my office to begin my job.

I was so excited to get things going in children’s ministry at this church. I was the first children’s pastor my church had ever hired. It was a new venture, and I was eager to do a great job. Isn’t that what we all desire—to be the best at what we do? We attend school and conferences, and we network with others to be the best at our job. We dream of new and better programs that will reach more and more kids. We seek to acquire the newest tools and resources so that we can be the best (not in a conceited way, of course). We’re passionate about what we’ve been called to do, and we can quickly become absorbed in this huge and complex world of our vision for ministry. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Well, did I have a lot to learn.!

Having a huge vision for children’s ministry isn’t wrong. Actually, it’s essential. But one of the biggest and most important things I have learned is the importance of knowing the vision of the house and submitting to my senior or lead pastor. To submit means to yield oneself to the will or authority of another. More personally, to submit as a children’s pastor means to know my senior pastor’s heart. Where is God leading him for the congregation in which we both serve? It is crucial to our personal well being as well as the success of our church to know that vision. Mark 3:24-26 NIV says, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.”

Naturally, as children’s pastors, we may wonder, how exactly do I serve my senior leader? or why do I put his calling before my own? Well the why is an easy one to answer. The relationship between a senior pastor and his associate pastors is often the key to the health and ministry of a church. Although we may have been hired because of our vision the for the children's ministry and our stated expectation is to lead the children's ministry, our top priority must always be to assist the pastor in his vision for the church. Period.

I have often heard children’s ministers argue, “But I went to school to serve the local church as the children’s pastor,” or “I was hired as the children’s pastor; therefore, my job is to lead and oversee the ministry to children, so what does getting to know the vision of the house or serving my senior pastor have do with my key responsibilities?”

Well, everything!

When the local church hires a person to oversee any area of ministry, what they are actually doing is hiring an associate to the pastor. The church is hiring an associate pastor who will assist the senior pastor in moving the church to accomplish the vision God gave him for that particular church. Once on staff, the senior pastor will delegate authority to the associate in overseeing and leading a ministry in a specific area. In our cases, that specific area happens to be a vibrant ministry to children. Therefore, it is not your ministry; it’s but an extension of the ministries offered by your local churches. Let me say that again. It is not YOUR ministry. Sometimes I think that we get that confused. Plainly said, we you have been entrusted to lead that area of ministry in the way it should go in line with the vision of the house. Our work should reflect highly on our senior pastors. Remember, we were hired to serve our senior pastor and his vision for the church, not the other way around.

Why did I have to learn this the hard way? I got to the point where I wanted the church to grow so badly that I was very eager to do something, anything, to move it forward. I failed to listen to my senior pastor. I did not honor him, nor did I extend the respect that he deserved as an ordained man of God. I had my own ideas of what could be done, and I knew they were great ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, having a desire, in and of itself, to grow and move a church is not wrong, but the way we try to see it through may have its faults. We must be careful in how we build and direct the ministry we’ve been given authority to lead. Building a ministry to children that teaches, encourages, challenges, strengthens, and leads children to the throne of grace for our own success is wrong. Reaching out to equip families, encourage moms, and develop dads in spite of what your our leadership has asked you us to do is failure. The ends never justify the means. In all that we do, we must build our ministry to children in a way that aligns with and reflects the vision of the house.

It is so easy to sit in our offices and totally get lost within our own ministry. Praying for, planning, and dreaming of what to do next are consuming. We wonder, how can we can improve our safety and security system in a way that gives parents more confidence? What tools can we seek or develop to better train and equip our staff? Which conferences should we attend to grow in both faith and skills, learn from great communicators, and network with other like--minded pastors?

As a children’s minister, there’s always more to do than we’ll have time for. There’s more to think about than weyou’ll have time to actually think about it. There’s nothing wrong with all of these things, right? This is what we were hired to do, isn’t it?

Stop. Get up from your desk. Walk out of your office, and go join a co-worker in his or her office. Ask him or her about plans he or she has for the ministry he or she has authority to lead. Probe deeper. Ask questions. How does what this person is talking about intersect with the children’s ministry? How can you help him or her be successful? How can he or she help you to be successful? Are you both headed in the same direction, following the vision your pastor laid out for your church?

We have a tendency to isolate ourselves in our own world and ministry, and we forget our place. We’re on a team. We’re working together. We are working for our senior pastor. We must not forget this.

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1 comment:

  1. Leave a comment here then retweet any #erictrap tweet from me to win an #erictrap ebook