Monday, August 20, 2012

12 things anyone can do set themselves apart and lead others better

     #1-Be someone worth following
     #2- Set the example of what you want others to do
     #3- Take steps to learn how to get more done
            • Buy the right tools
            •Plan events (Appointments)
            •Break it down in to-dos (priorities)
            •Evaluate (Identify time wasters)
            •Delegate (Use the time of others)
    #4- Communicate well
    #5- Show up a minimum of 30 minutes before everyone and always have
           everything done and  set up before the first leader gets there.
           •Being late is not the sign of a leader. (If you can’t be on time be early.)
   #6- Look your best and from this decade
   #7- Start advertising early
   #8- Make an agenda and plan for all meetings
   #9- Watch and listen to yourself preach or do meetings
   #10- Catch people doing things right
   #11- Teach, model, qualify, & duplicate (Exodus 18:20-24
   #12- Don’t do the same action and get the same results
            •Try different things (regularly)
            •Mix it up (different order makes it seem new)
            •New wrapper or twist on an old idea

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Serving Your Leader- Part 2

God has called us to serve our pastor or leader and help him or her fulfill the vision God has given them for your church whatever style, type or size it is. Since there is no mention of the title of Children’s Pastor in the Bible. So where do we fit in? Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us…” 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. This means as a Children’s Pastor or Minister we exist to serve our pastor and or leader and help them care for the sheep. The only reason we have a job is because our pastor needs someone to represent them to the children and families of your church. Because our leaders already have a gig during services they need us to represent them. To do this we must know their vision or the direction they want the church to go. We must also know their heart. Know their dreams and help them get what they want. Every dream I’ve ever had in ministry and life I’ve seen come to pass by serving my leader(s) vision. To represent them effectively we must think the way they think and lead the way they lead. To do this you should carry yourself the way your leader or Pastor carries themselves. I don’t know why many children ministers think to be effective with children they have to be silly! Do your leader a favor, don’t be silly. If we are truly leaders under authority it’s our job to take the children in the same direction as the rest of the congregation. If we are called to serve our leader it’s our job to look for ways make our leaders’ job easier. Always be on the lookout for things that you can do to lighten their load this includes handling small assignments well. Do what you are asked to do and more. Keep them in the know but don’t run to them with every little detail or with your problems. One of my personal rules is that I don’t go to my Pastor when I am down or need encouragement. I want to be like King David and choose to
encourage myself in the Lord! We must support our leader. One of my favorite stories is found in Exodus 17:9-12 “Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands." So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up --one on one side, one on the other --so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Here what I learned from this story… It is not your leader’s job to hold you up. We exist to hold their arms up and set a rock underneath them to support them.

Helpers like us are called to a man, not a place or a people, it’s our responsibility to be loyal. We see this principle over and over again in the word. Jeremiah was served by Beruk, Elijah was served by Elisha. In the New Testament Paul was served by Barnabas and also by Timothy. Every leader I have served has put something into me that needed to be deposited!  I’m a better father, a better husband, a better leader and a better person because of the leaders God has placed in my life.

I want to encourage you to ask God to show you what you need to learn from your leader! As I wrote earlier just like in my life the secret of seeing your own dreams fulfilled is by serving another leader’s vision. Luke 16:12 tells us “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? The secret to getting that, which is your own by serving your leader well!

Jim, you don’t understand…”My leader won’t let me do what I want to do.” That’s because God wants you to do what your leader wants. Learn to serve! My leader won’t fund it. Believe God, He is your source. I believe it’s our job to trust God for the finances of your ministry so your leader doesn’t have to. That’s just one way that we can serve our leader. Look for anyway possible that you can make their job easier. No matter what, keep serving. God knows where to find you, besides your gifts will make room for you. Proverbs 18:16 says that “A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” I’ve seen first hand God knows how to promote you and bring blessing your way!
Every dream I’ve ever had in ministry has come true by serving another man’s vision and ministry. Want to be great? Keep serving the children and families at your church. Serve those you lead and serve your leaders well. You gain those you serve, you can take that nugget to the bank!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Is Family Ministry

What is Family Ministry? That's a great question... What an honor to be a part of this blog tour… 

God’s plan to reach the world has always included the family. It doesn’t surprise me that the family and the church are under such attack. I’m glad we’re waking up, I just hope we repent and change our actions in time! In the early days of the modern Children’s Ministry Movement (1970’s) it would have ready helped if we had read our Bible. Most of us were telling parents, “Go to church and give us your kids.” I now see without the church and family working together our kids will suffer. Two powers working together are stronger than either one on their own. To me family ministry is just helping the family want God’s best for their children at every age.

Psalm 112:1-8 (NIV) tells us…”Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, 
who finds great delight in his commands. 2 His children will be mighty in the land; 
the generation of the upright will be blessed…
6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. 
7 He will have no fear of bad news; 
 his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; 
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. This is hard to walk out as a parent let alone lead other parents to walk this out for their families. The world can be a cruel place, it can be an unsure place. This is our time but they are hard and troubling times for the church.
A large percentage of Americans believe it will get worst before it gets better. When you look at what’s happening in the news, on TV and even in the church it’s pretty scary out there but it’s times like these that makes us ask the big question, do you really believe and practice what you teach and preach? As for me… I BELIEVE THE BIBLE!... John 16:33 tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Man that’s good news for busy Children’s and Youth leaders. Families need God’s peace not just his plenty!

Also in Proverbs 14:26 it tells us…He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. This is what the homes of us in the church should be. A secure fortress for our children. Is what you are doing for families in your church doing this? That’s a great question to use as we evaluate our programs.

Home should be a place of comfort, a place of safety, a place of refuge. A place where those who lead it, get to control what happens… that also means They are responsible for the behaviors and outcomes of those who live there!

God’s Plan has always been the same…

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Remember yourselves & teach the children. Every feast and every holiday was the same. I have had a blast this year telling my Grandson the God story of our family. I am going back though our lives and bringing him up to date with all that God has done for us. I will retell him those stories every opportunity I have, as long as I’m alive for two main reasons. So I can remember myself and so I can pass it on to Sparrow. God’s done some amazing things in Widemanville and I believe with all my heart the best is yet to come!

Deuteronomy 6: 1-8 says “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

It is amazing to me that parents want better for there children than they have had in every area of LIFE but one. We want them to have more opportunities financially, educationally, and socially. We want them to have a better marriage, drive a better car, wear nicer clothes, live in a better house, and the list could go on forever. But when it comes to spiritual things we don’t want them to go overboard…

We’re happy if they turn out just as spiritual as us. As long as they are not bad….VERY FEW PARENTS HAVE A VISION OF THEIR CHILDREN TO BE SPIRITUAL DYNAMOS! It’s not the same priority and desire we have for them in other areas. 29 TIMES THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT WE SHOULD LOVE THE LORD- WITH ALL OUR HEART, ALL OUR SOUL & ALL OUR STRENGTH!.- That’s our goal!

So with that in mind, here are 7 steps for us to pass on to parents how to desire God’s best for the inhabitants of their homes and practice practical family ministry.

1. Establish who’s the king of the castle! Joshua 24:15 says “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” 

What does this look like for your family? (It’s more than attending church once or
twice a week! It’s getting involved on a daily basis. Every educator knows that the
students whose parents are involved in their education do better! What changes need to happen for Jesus to be the king of your home. 

2. Parents set the example…(it starts with you!) The church cannot do this for you. The
church has it’s part to play. Deuteronomy 6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Be an example of living the scriptures. Be an example of serving, going to church. Let your children see you praying, speaking the word, and needing the Lord! 

3. You home should be a place of learning God things! Deuteronomy 6: 7 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. It’s our job to take back the time you have with your children. This calls for consistent,intentional actions, Watch out for mix signals and too many voices in your home. 

4. Keep your marriage strong. If you’re not married, keep your relationships pure. 

INCLUDE JESUS IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP! Establish house rules that line up with scripture- Ephesians 4:32 is a great place to start…Be kind to one another,
tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 
A second is…Don’t let the sun go down on an argument. Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 

Remember it’s your job to model love /true love, to your children! 

5. Be willing to parent each of your children differently… 
This doesn’t sound fair… All kids are not the same… Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. That way is different for each child. Be willing to let some things go… (Major on the majors…, minor on the minors…) 
Your child may never make an A in Biology… They make not ever make their bed automatically without being told. But they need to love the Lord with all their heart, and all their soul, and all their mind. (This was number one at the Wideman house over anything else!) 

6. Have fun as a family. Laugh together, sing together, play together, read together, eat together, pray together! Invite God in the middle of all good times! Proverbs 17:22 (MSG) “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; 
 gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. 

7. Make church, small group, youth group, & serving a priority… Hebrews 10:25 (CEB) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. 
A great habit to develop is as soon as you get home…talk about what your learning 
as a family! 

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE RIGHT DECISIONS, It’s never too late to prioritize and create a plan to help the families that you serve and the children at your house to desire a deeper relationship to Christ and to truly love the Lord with ALL their heart and ALL their mind and ALL their strength! Family ministry to me starts at your house and the homes of all believers, it’s fueled and encouraged by the church and spreads to the world to reach people who make up families so all can know Christ.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Serving Your Leader

The key to success in ministry is learning how to serve. Jesus spoke these words to his first disciples and they are still true for His disciples today!   Mark 10:43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
Even leaders must be willing to serve. If you’ve ever read one of my books or articles or listened to one of my Leadership Club lessons you’ve most likely heard me say that the best job description for what we do as Children’s Pastors is found in 1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers --not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve. Yes we are feeders, care givers, and overseers but if we are going to be effective we must be eager to serve. You gain those you serve!

All of us understand that God has called us to serve children. Matthew 10:42 tells us… “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. If there is a reward for water for kids imagine the reward for Goldfish Crackers.

I learned from one of my hero’s Tommy Barnett that every great city needs a great
Church. I added that every great church needs a great children’s ministry.  I believe you get a great children’s ministry the same way Brother Tommy says you build a great church, that is find a need and meet it, find a hurt and heal it.

God has also called us to serve our helpers. Jesus served those who helped him. In John 13:12-17. Jesus washed his disciples feet he told them now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. Those are still wise words for us to follow. Jesus also coached those under him. We see in the word that He spent lots of time with those he was leading. He allowed them to ask questions. He involved them in doing the work of the ministry. He made corrections when they needed it. He constantly stretched them and taught them as He duplicated himself in them.

We understand these two groups we were called to serve but a third person that all of us who serve in the church must serve is our leader. 
More to come...