Jan 27

Who In Their Right Mind Would Follow Me?

Posted in: Groups, Vision

I learned the hard way that car chases are not as fun as they look in the movies.  A couple of years ago my best friend from college was getting married and asked me to stand up with him in the wedding.  After the wedding, however, we were supposed to go a park to have pictures taken before the reception.  

Great idea, except I had no clue where I was going.  The newlyweds had  the only set of directions, and the rest of us piled into our cars to follow them in what turned out to be a high speed pursuit through the streets of Chicago, complete with last minute u-turns, sudden lane changes and several near-miss collisions.  

Worst of all, I actually had a car following me.  Me!  Who in their right mind would follow me, a guy who knows nothing about Chicago and who learned to drive on gravel roads?   

Sometimes, we can feel the same way when it comes to Children’s Ministry.  Whether it’s kids or adult leaders, sometimes I think, who in their right mind would follow me?  I tend to freak out when I read Bible verses like 1 Cor. 11: 1, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

Follow my example?  Paul, is that really a good idea? 

Seriously, if they could see all of the ugly places in our hearts, all of the selfishness that God is still working on, who in their right mind would want to follow any of us?  The good news is that the Bible constantly reminds us that we don’t have to have it all together to lead others.  We don’t have to follow Jesus perfectly before we can help others follow Jesus. 

If that were the case, we’d never do anything. 

As a Children’s Ministry leader, God simply wants kids to imitate the life of Christ in you.   Discipleship is encouraging others to imitate the parts of you that are the most like Jesus.  All of your other junk is simply a work-in-progress.  Remember, His strength is made perfect in weakness.  And we all have plenty of that to go around. 

So be encouraged, and lead with confidence this week.  You DO have something of value to pass on to the kids you lead.  God wants to use you just the way you are to shape kids’ lives for His kingdom.

Jan 17

What’s In a Name?

Posted in: Groups

I’ll be honest.  I’m not great with names.  If I don’t associate it with something immediately, it’s in one ear and out the other.  One Sunday morning last year, a 4th grade boy totally busted me on it.  

I hadn’t seen this kid in several months, but he was excited to be back in church.  He came bounding up to me before the program and said, “I remember you.  You’re Jason.” 

 ”Yeah, you’re right,”  I said and glanced down at his name tag to see who in the world he was. 

Before I could even read it, he slapped a hand over it and said, “What’s my name?”  I wanted to say, “Mr. Smarty-pants,”  but I just confessed and told him I didn’t remember. 

Have you ever had someone try to fake it when they don’t remember your name?  “Hey . . . you!”  It’s usually obvious and awkward.  We all want to be known and remembered. 

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”    As those charged with shepherding  kids and families, we start by simply getting to know them. 

If you’re scatter-brained like I am, I’d recommend keeping a journal.  The easiest way to do this is  just by typing it  into the notes feature on your cell phone.   Not a cell phone kind of leader?  Use good old-fashioned pen and paper. 

Record the name of the kids in your group or those you have conversations with from week-to-week.  Every time you learn something about one of the kids in your ministry, add it to the journal.  Glance over it right before church each week to refresh your memory.  This is especially great for following up with prayer requests or to ask about challenges kids have brought up in the group. 

A kid journal can also be a fantastic tool to use to help you specifically pray for your kids during the week.  Imagine walking in on the weekend to find out how God has answered your prayers for the kids in your group.  That’s major faith-building stuff for you and them.

A name is a great place to start, but it’s only the beginning as you make an intentional effort to really know the kids God sends your way.

Jan 13

Your Children’s Ministry Story = Free Chicken

Posted in: Uncategorized

Here in Children’s Ministry we love to celebrate what God is doing in the lives of our kids, families and leaders. So we want to hear your story. Each month of 2011 we will be hosting a contest to collect God stories from you.

Here’s what we need – a story from you of how God has used Children’s Ministry to make a difference in someone’s life. This can be a story about a child, a leader, a family member or whoever.

Just e-mail it to Wende at wmalone@southlandchristian.org by the 1st day of the month. All entries will be thrown in a hat, and we’ll draw each month to award a Chick-Fil-A gift card to the winning story.

So what are you waiting for? Share more stories. Eat more chickin!

Jan 9

Getting Down With Jesus

Posted in: Groups

 My first year in Children’s Ministry I remember walking down the hall at our church with Brittany, one of the most amazing kid magnets I’ve ever known. She directed the Children’s Ministry at a nearby church but was engaged to our middle school pastor so we got to see her all the time.

An elementary-aged girl recognized her from camp and ran up to her like she was a rock star. Then Brittany did something I’ll never forget. She immediately dropped to her knee to talk to the girl face-to-face. The girl lit up like the 4th of July at the personal attention Brittany gave her.

Even though Brittany ministered to thousands of kids in the ministry she led, she made this girl feel like she was the most special kid in the world. It was just second nature to her, but for me it was a vivid lesson in engaging kids that’s stuck with me for fifteen years.

Get down on their level.

I think of what Paul said about Jesus in Phil. 2, that He didn’t hold onto all the power and majesty that were rightfully His in heaven. Instead He got down on our level and made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant. By doing this He showed our value even before He died on the cross. Like my friend Brittany did with the girl, Jesus engaged us face-to-face and showed us that each of us matters to Him.

So the next time you’re serving God’s kids, get down on their level, look them in the eye and communicate with the personal attention you give them, that no matter what else is going on in their lives, they matter to you and they matter to God.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Jan 6

There’s Nothing Like a Dream

Posted in: Vision


Victor Hugo said, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future,” meaning that our dreams, our aspirations, shape who and what we become.  Over the last several years I’ve been learning that God also has a dream for my life.  It’s called the kingdom of God.  It’s the place where His will becomes reality through me.  I can’t imagine a better dream for my life, for my kids and for the families here at Southland. 

That’s why over the past several months we have spent hours in prayer and discussion articulating what we think is God ‘s kingdom dream for Children’s Ministry.

Out of all of that process of seeking and praying we believe that God is leading us to help kids discover a God who loves them and a community that connects them to a world that needs them.  It’s life with Jesus, in community, on mission. 

The best part is that you don’t have to wait to be a grown up.  This is God’s dream for kids right now. 

The cool thing is that we already see it coming true in the lives of our kids who are really falling in love with Jesus and following Him and reaching out to their friends who don’t know God. 

As we go into this year we will roll out intentional steps to partner with parents to see this dream become reality.  I can’t wait to watch the future unfold!

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