Posted in leadership, vision on July 9, 2008 |
1 Comment »
“Vision asks leaders, ‘What do you see?’ To answer that question, leaders identify needs unmet, hurts unhealed, and tasks undone. Through visioning they see the gaps between what is and what could be.”
This quote (forgot where it came from) hangs on my office wall. It reminds me to look for the needs and hurts of individuals within whom I serve – children and families. It also helps me to remember to focus on the importanat tasks that need to be done. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the work of something and forget what the vision of it was to begin with.
Read Full Post »
So as a church leader, when you attend a conference or something at another church, if you are not a mega-giga, huge church. you have the potential to walk away feeling discouraged and deflated. Often you think, “Well, I can’t do that! We’re only __(fill in the blank)__ people!” I’ve felt that way many times. But I can’t use it as an excuse anymore, and that’s what it is.
We attended a church this evening that was about half the size of our current church, Ridge Church in Charlotte. However, being there and seeing the excellence they used to execute a worship experience it could have been a church of thousands. From the moment we pulled in the parking lot, we noticed the climate in which they crafted everything they did from music in the parking lots to themed decor in the lobby for their message series. Their staff was available, informative, and friendly – both volunteer and paid. Their children’s environments were the best that I have seen done in a church, and in a church of many many more. Not to mention the quality of the adult worship experience and everything that goes into that.
It was evident that bringing people far from God, close to God is the heartbeat of Ridge Church. If a family walks in on a Sunday and feels uneasy about leaving their child in the preschool class, they may totally miss the message God has opened their heart and mind to hear. Or it could be something that serves as a distraction. It was so very refreshing seeing a church that is smaller (they are only 6 months old!) doing things wayyyyy better than most larger churches do them. Money wasn’t the factor. Resources weren’t the factor. Just a climate of excellence and detail.
So the next time you think you can’t do something in your ministry because the size of your church or ministry, I urge you to think again. Evaluate places that can be done better. Think about what the non-Christian or first time visitor sees and feels. If you can – take a trip to Charlotte. Be a learner from other churches of all sizes. They keep us fresh, they keep us on our toes and something can be learned from a church of any size. Don’t make more excuses.
Read Full Post »
Day 3 of Orange was awesome. We wrapped up with hearing from Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio. Some thoughts:
- Don’t think in terms of evangelism – think in terms of people. Christians and non-christians have more in common than we think.
- A small group leader has more potential to assist a Christian in their spiritual development than any other position in the church – pastor, worship leader, teacher, etc.
- Some concern regarding bring critical of other church models. Just do what God has called YOU to DO.
- If you’re not teachable, you have to learn everything the hard way.
- Many new models leave out evangelism
- Common ground for all churches and believers must be “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” – make sure this doesn’t get lost in the message of social justice, relevancy, compassion, etc.
- Our goal is to BE the church of Jesus Christ, rather than DO
- We are the presence of God in the neighborhood – the church is
- We need to be “culturally transcendent” rather than “culturally relevant”
- As soon as we think we are being relevant, relevancy has changed and we are behind and out of it.
- Cultural infatutaion is the “golden calf of the contemporary church”
- The church today is the greatest consumers of worship without understanding what it means to be a sacrifice to Him.
- Jesus needs to be our culture.
Read Full Post »
I loved hearing Francis Chan speak on Day 2 of Orange. He spoke in our 1st main session of the day and blew me away. Some thoughts:
- so much of what we call success in our churches isn’t necessarily the Holy Spirit working, but just having the right team in place – we need to look for the supernatural
- Are you experiencing God in your ministry/life? Are you sure it’s Him?
- The church could learn a thing or two from gangs about unity, brotherhood, loyalty, and community
- God’s desire isn’t for individual followers. In Israel, He wanted them as a nation. Scripture refers to the “chosen people” - YOU is plural many times.
- A miracle today would be loving your neighbor as your self.
- Tough question: What are we doing that is Biblical or what do we do that is American?
Session 2 – Donald Miller
- a good leader is one who gets to know me in wuch a way that I want to take ownership in their vision
- a leader gets to know people
- a leader invites those people into a vision
- a leader leads by consistently involving others in the vision
- a leader is able to be mentored
- a leader has peers
- a leader speaks something into the nothings
Read Full Post »
Wow! Just returned from Orange Conference 2008 today and am feeling pretty full right now. It was great and I came away with a ton of inspiration, ideas, and vision not only for Children’s Ministry but for the church as a while. I’ll share a few tidbits from the speakers:
Day 1 – Reggie Joiner
- He opened the conference with a very challenging thought by looking at the story of the Prodigal Son – we can either be the loving father or the older brother in regards to that passage.
- The one things that sets apart churches for success or not is whether or not within the DNA of the church is the ability to treat EVERY prodigal in the way a loving Father would treat His own son.
- Loving fathers (1) are preoccupied with who is missing, (2) operate from the context of forgiveness, (3) throw parties/connect people to community, (4) confront older brother thinking (must be willing to say “this is who we are”), (5) keep the lights on for as long as it takes (maintain hope)
- This “prodigal generation” needs a different kind of thinking church – the church needs to live out a loving father mindset to prodigals and set the model for the future church
Read Full Post »
Have you ever been in a place where you can’t get comfortable? Where no matter what seems to be going on, you crave more. You want more? I’m there. I am so dissatisified with where I am currently at ministry wise. I tend to get ahead of myself – wanting what is beyond where I am at. I want bigger, more lives changed, more kids attending, more of God’s presence in my life, etc. I have a great week teaching the kids on Sunday, but yet go home discouraged because I want something greater for them.
We’re gearing up to make some big changes in the Fall to our programming. I know it will be a good choice, but yet I already want more. One verse I was reading stood out to me, maybe this is why we want more — Hosea 13:6 – “When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”
If we are ever at a place of being satisfied, what do we need God for? If we have arrived and have it all figured out, where can we grow to? Why do we need dependence on Him? One of my daily prayers is for humility. Maybe my lack of contentment is only an answer to my prayer, keeping me from being proud.
Do you ever feel this way in ministry? What are some practical things you do to move beyond it or to overcome it?
Read Full Post »
I have a lot on my plate right now, trying to determine focus and vision as well as determine where to put my effort. This post by Pudge from Newspring really spoke to my heart and where I am at today.
So, what do you do when you know where the vision needs to go. You get clear word from God, you have others in agreement, yet others are totally not on board. Do you compromise what could be? Do you compromise what you know God will do through His vision? How do you continue to do what you feel you are called to do and yet do what others tell you to do?
*sigh* I need focus on what we do well. What has the most potential for transformation and growth? Not everything under the sun can be done at 100% excellence. *sigh*
Read Full Post »
Yesterday I was mentioning this topic and decided to contribute a while post to it.
There are 2 camps of thought – 1 is that families should worship together, the other is that children don’t belong in worship. It seems to be another topic of great debate among children’s ministry leaders. I’ll share my thoughts.
Families worshipping together
Those in favor of this often say that if kids don’t worship with their families, they won’t know how to sit still, etc. when they get older. Another reasoning behind this approach is that the family is being spiritual leaders of their children. What I think? Kids don’t learn to pay attention or sit still because they’re in this setting. They learn to tune out and just be there. If you observe – many kids bring books, games, activities, etc. while sitting in church with their families. This only teaches them to be occupied “because this isn’t really a place for you.” as well as “tune out what is really happening.” For the spiritual leader part – I heard it best said by Perry Noble at Newspring when he said that if you act like a spiritual leader for your children on Sunday, but aren’t doing your part the other 6 days of the week, all they see is a hypocrite next to them in church. Ouch! You have an opportunity as parents to be the leaders when the church isn’t there helping you! Not to mention, worship designed for adults IS NOT an age appropriate or developmentally appropriate environment for children. Sure they can sit through it, but is it the best learning environment for them? Is their potential being maximized for their capacity of learning? Probably not. That’s no more crazy than thinking that your second grader should sit in a 12th grade class to learn how to act in high school and to learn math. It isn’t the right thing for them!
Kid’s church type program
I’m talking about a structured, biblically-sound, worship included program here. NOT BABYSITTING or CHILD CARE. We need to see what the potential in kids is. Kids can worship. Kids can lead. Kids can learn. Kids can be engaged in many ways. Each church finds the uniqueness of their program for children. Why not teach them so they learn? Why not involve the families by integrating the material at home? Why not maximize their spiritual potential for the likelihood of success? I fear too many churches use the reasoning of the children in adult worship because they lack the resources to do kids church. It takes money, volunteers, and a commitment. Is it time consuming? Sure. Do you have to be there each week? Sure. But it’s worth it when kids can sing worship songs they understand the words and meaning to, it’s worth it when they can hear the gospel at a level appropriate to their understanding. It’s worth it when they can learn scripture and concepts in a way that brings it alive to them. They need engagement. They need hands-on. They need involvement. And adult worship does not best provide this for them.
We’ve progressed from kids in worship, kids in worship part time, kids in worship 1 out of 4 weeks to in the Fall we’re going to kids not in adult worship. I am pumped up about the challenge. But I am even more pumped up about the quality of spiritual giants we’re going to produce in kids that will “get it”. Kids whose lives will be touched and changed by an environment appropriate for them.
Read Full Post »
Just picked up the Hillsong Live Worship for Kids - Jesus is My SuperHero CD yesterday and the Hillsong Kids Live Worship DVD – Supernatural. WOW!!!! The energy in these is amazing as well as the authentic worship of the children. I love it! My 3 year old and 1 year were even dancing around to it. It’s great lyrics, upbeat music, and just age appropriate words for the kids. One of my biggest pet peeves with worship music and kids is singing songs with concepts or words the kids don’t understand. What’s the worth? This is truly some great music for worship.
Along the lines of worship – we’ve been having some great conversation in Pudge’s blog about worship yesterday and today. He has some awesome thoughts on creating the right environment, using the right things, and getting the kids into it.
I love the worship we do with our kids. We can always improve though and bring it up the next level. There is something so humbling about my job when I see kids being authentic in worshipping God – arms raised, hearts singing. It’s one of the most beautiful things. In the Fall we hope to make some changes to our environment that will make it even more conducive for worship – lighting, staging, and mounting the projector. Some may say it’s too loud, some may say it’s too rocky, to may think the songs are “kid” songs – ask the kids what they think…
Read Full Post »
I couldn’t sleep last night and it’s keeping me up tonight as I think about the BIG changes we’ll be undergoing in the Fall in the Children’s MInistry at Dutch Fork. I am so excited abouth the changes we’re going to make. When we met as a Children’s Ministry team a few weeks ago we looked at what we were doing to accomplish the purpose of “equipping children to know, grow, and show God’s love” that we have here. We will be making changes to strengthen our preschool programming, bring excellence to our elementary environment, implement and strengthen a better small group model, and cut out the programs and events that don’t work at achieving our overall purpose.
I am excited as the changes will bring freshness and a new way of looking at many things. Volunteer roles will change, my role will change, new curriculum will need to be adjusted to, and I really believe we will even see more growth from our children.
Right now I believe the children’s programming is the strongest it has been since I’ve been at Dutch Fork, but I am not satisfied with it. We need to move beyond now. Will there be growing pains? Yes! Will there be workers that don’t catch the vision and step down? Probably! Will some families not understand the changes? You bet! But I believe with the bottom of my heart it will be worth it in the end.
Read Full Post »