Back to the Basics- Get off the Treadmill!

January 6, 2013

Treadmill Laptop Computer Stand

I have decided to try to get back to the basics in 2013. I want to get back to a way of doing things where I truly keep the right priorities and focus and live a life the way God truly intended. Like the picture above, the idea may seem like a good one, but it’s not always the best. I can’t say that I’m going to build a desk for my treadmill, so I can work while exercising, but I do want to get back to a healthy personal lifestyle so I can lead well. It also reminds me that I need to think things through in a better way this year.

As leaders we are all susceptible to getting on the treadmill and rolling along doing the same things or using pre-packaged everything that requires very little prep or creativity.  I would challenge every leader reading my little blog to consider what you are doing and where your investing your time. Is it really important in the scope of eternity?  Is it the best use of your time and resources?

I want to lead a ministry that is doing things right and keeping the main thing the main thing!

So what are your top priorities this year?

Weight loss? better devotional life? resting more? finding a new curriculum? finding new volunteers?

I want to encourage you that one of your goals should be learning a new skill or sharpening an old one! Thanks to Michael Chanley and CM Connect I am going to offer to 10 people a FREE one month trial of CM+  This is the Brand New training resource that is coming from the amazing folks at INCM and CM Connect.  How can you get one? Be one of the first 10 to leave a comment and tell me: What is the ONE thing you want to change personally and professionally (ministry)  That’s it! Nothing too difficult! This ends Jan 8th!! So don’t wait. Sharpen your skills, Get off the treadmill and try something new or just get back to the basics.

Christmas Reflections

December 24, 2012

I’m sitting in my office, having just finished our family Christmas Eve service.  It is always a great time to share in laughter and song and some different ways to share the Christmas story. Tonight I was supposed to do a brand new magic trick. I got caught up in the fun of messing with the kids I had brought up on stage that I messed up the trick. I was going crazy in my mind, how to I make this work? How do I recover and not let the kids down?

I was sweating bullets as my mind raced, I did thankful recover, (well sort of) I moved on with the program and when it was all done retreated to my office.  My heart was heavy as I was so excited to do this trick for everyone.

I looked out to see it snowing and felt a wave of relief come over me. That is what Christmas is all about, When I mess up, Jesus come and make everything new. The world has been filled with all sorts of evil and darkness as of late, and yet, with the new fallen snow things seem new and clean again.

I am so grateful that God restores, refreshes, and renews us day by day. I pray that as 2013 comes, my life reflects the work Christ is doing in me. When I fail Him, I ‘m grateful that like the snow, he makes all things new again.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Fight or Flee?

November 16, 2012

After finishing the Kids Ministry Collective radio program, I was thinking further about the last question posted by one of our guests. The question was, “what do you do if you don’t have support from the leadership in your church towards the kids ministry? What if they only view it as babysitting?” These questions are never easy and often times the common answer is to “find a new church!” While that is the easy answer its not always the BEST answer.
Sometimes we as leaders need to stand firm and draw a line in the sand on behalf of families. If God truly called you to that ministry, running is not an option. Stand and fight or those kids. Work harder to shine the light on just how important kids ministry is to the church. I have consulted with many churches that have nothing but white hair left and they are dying. Often times its because they devalued the kids area and no one fought for the kids and so they left.
I believe there are times to leave but I also know there are times to stay put and endure whatever you have to for the sake of the children. If we don’t who will show them, they are worth it.
I believe kids are worth fighting for. Someone did it for me!

What are you standing for!

Crackernacles are Fun!

November 4, 2012

This morning our 4-6 graders had a blast creating “crackernacles.” What is a crackernacle? It’s a graham cracker tabernacle, held together of course by frosting! The kids had a blast using this simple activity.  It struck me that sometimes in our drive to be the most up to date, most high-tech etc. that we forget that sometimes simple is the best! Afterall, doesn’t God choose the simple to confuse the “wise?”  I love simple things, in fact, I think I’m one of God’s simple things and I love it.

I think we could use a dose of simple and then step back and watch what God does. It’s always better when we get out of his way, True?

So how can you simplify?

Dig the Ditches!

October 9, 2012

This morning I was reading in 2 Kings 3, the story of Elisha and how three kings came to him seeking help after they had lead their armies into a battle march of seven days straight. During that time they completely ran out of water. They had nothing left, nada, zip, zilch! Then like the wise men they were, went searching for a man of God to help bail them out.  When they found Elisha they must have thought, “oh great, Elijah’s hand-me-down guy.” “he’s the guy who washed Elijah’s hands, right?”

Now Elisha was not to happy to see them either and let’s them know it.  I couldn’t help but laugh as I pictured these events happening in my crazy imagination.  Elisha tells them to leave him alone, but then relents, only if they would find him a harpist? Wow, not first on my list of demands from kings list.  But I digress. When Elisha does speak to God about this, the answer that he gives the kings is interesting to me, and got me to thinking.  Verse 16, “This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you , your cattle and your other animals will drink.  18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also hand over Moab to you.”

How do you like digging ditches? Me not so much, I don’t like the blisters I get from the shovel!  I don’t like the sore feet from stomping on the shovel head.  I don’t like the sore back from lifting the dirt. But I do get thirsty!

As a children’s ministry leader we often want the water, we want to drink in the large numbers, the great facilities, the sound of our name being dropped or the rush of seeing it trend on twitter. But are we willing to dig the ditches?  I believe if we want to see God really do something amazing in our ministries we must be willing to dig the ditches so that we are ready for God’s blessings. Digging ditches seems so beneath us, or so we think. From my perspective, digging ditches can be anything from; serving in the nursery to setting up tables and chairs to planning the details for a big event or practicing an object lesson.  Everyone’s ditches will be different for them. The point is sometimes we want the blessing without the labor.

What also struck me is God’s statement, “its and easy thing”  Nothing is too difficult for our God and he brought the water for the armies and their animals. He filled that valley full.  I want the water too. I want it in the worst way.  I ache each week for children and their parents to come and fall in love with Jesus.  My heart is heavy for those who choose to do other things rather than bring their family to Church.   My knees should hurt from the time I invest in prayer talking to the supplier of the water. My hands should be sore from holding his book in thoughtful study.  I need to dig my ditches so God can bring the water what about you?

What are you investing in? What “ditches” are you digging to prepare for the rush of water? Lord bring the rain!

CM Leaders Conference 2012- Feinberg & Adams

September 20, 2012

Not they are not a lawfirm, but they are some super servants of God who took some time to share their hearts with us. Their job was to speak to the theme: DEVELOP!  Michael Chanley, pointed out that Develop was all about the leader and ultimately about their relationship with their Creator. Each of these made some great statements that will stick with me for quite a while.

Margaret Feinbergs, smooth and sweet presentation of Sacred Echo’s was like walking down a trail with a friend and talking about the whispers we hear in the wind. She used the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. When Elijah stood in the mountain cave and God passed by he was not in the wind, He was not in the earthquake and he was not in the fire, but the Lord came in the gentle whisper. She asked a question I’ve never really considered before. “If God wasn’t in the storms, what was?” Hmm, Then she stepped it up, “

God uses the repetitive nature, (storms) to get our attention and he does this by allowing these by his permission and power. Now you may say Duh! I know God uses the storms to get our attention, but what we don’t often consider is that those storms are allowed by God to not only get our attention but to make the Whisper even clearer. He uses storms to prepare us to humbly listen to his voice.
Steve Adams from Saddleback Church was so awesome. The sword and knife swinging kids pastor challenged us to develop our relationships with other so that we ourselves can be sharpened and prepared for what God desires to use us for. He kept everyone on the edge of their seats because he kept swinging around these knives and a machete. (Great Object Lesson!!)  There were two statements that he made that I found impacted me. The first one, “You are a steward not an owner.” This is so true, so how good of a steward are you of the resources, people, time, energy, etc that God has given to you?   I kept thinking of the story of the 3 servants and how the first 2 invested, the last one buried. I don’t want to bury the things God has given me to hold use.  The second quote,  “I’m using borrowed gifts and living on borrowed time.” This also has great truth to it!  Again, are you developing the gifts and talents for the greater good of the kingdom or for your own fame and fortune. I know some “christian celebrities” who will do nothing unless paid for it. I’m not begrudging making a living but sometimes being a servant and remembering you are living with borrowed time and serving with borrowed gifts, can make a difference. I have seen some who are well know sacrifice and do something for nothing because they see the greater impact it can have on the community of believers.
Both of these speakers had great impact and said many other great things so if your on Twitter, just check out the hashtag #cmleaders to catch some of those.

CM Leaders Conference 2012- Reflections Part 2

September 19, 2012

As I have taken a few days to soak up some of the many thoughts that were shared at CM Leaders, I cannot help but Thank God for Michael Chanley and his team at INCM. I’m thankful they had the courage to follow God’s leading and do this conference in a day where the kind of adventures rarely produce a profit. But that is only an earthly perspective, the eternal ramifications of this conference are yet to be known. I can only pray that I will apply what I have learned and improve my leadership so that those who come behind me on this trail of life, can do even greater things that God has allowed me to do.

Chanley, lead things off by introducing the three Biblical patterns that we would be wrestling with for the next few hours: Develop, Lead, Disciple. A great quote from him was that “Leadership is more art than science.”  I find that to ring so true. He also shared about Leadership and how it is viewed in scripture and the pattern that God has outlined for us to follow, by giving us leadership examples as role models.

What strikes me about this is God gave me a visual object lesson of just how important it is for us as leaders and as followers of Christ to make sure the “pattern” of living reflects Christ, because others are looking and watching us. I was at our local race track, letting my inner redneck out, and as I was watching the cars do some warm up laps, I noticed a young boy down in front of me with some race flags. At first I thought, “how cute” and put my attention back on the race. Then it was as if I was getting thumped in the head to really watch this kid. So I began to just watch him and that’s when I noticed. He was not just waiving the flags randomly at the drivers, he was following the exact pattern that the official flag man was demonstrating. This kid had the entire set of flags and was doing exactly as the man in the flag stand. In fact, someone else had noticed and they invited him up to be the “official” starter for the first race! You should have seen this kids face shine with excitement!  He had followed the pattern set before him and he was executing it very well.

As a leader, I have those who God has placed under my care to model Christ like leadership. I want to lay down a trail for them to follow so clearly that they don’t wander down the little rabbit trails that would get them into the troubles I’ve had. Hebrews 12:1-2 rings so loud in my mind as I think about develop, lead, disciple.

How are you doing on your “trail” of life with Jesus?  Let us press on, so that those who come behind us truly find us faithful!
Walk on, Lead on,

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