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Archive - March, 2008

A Look Back At My Ministry Year

Last night was our annual business meeting. Each of our departments give a brief overview of the year as well as do a little vision casting for our departments. It’s a great way for our general membership to see how the church is doing overall.

It was exciting to see all the different things we did over the past year in children’s ministry at Redwood Kids. In area after area, I was able to talk about growth in kids, growth in leaders, growth in relationships. It was a great exercise and encouragement to me to do that. I have to do it more often than just once a year.

I’m sure you’re all a lot like me. You get caught up in the doing of ministry. You go from one thing to the next and forget the excitement of the previous “thing” you were doing. Last night was a good reminder that I have to take more times throughout the year to give myself a presentation of what has happened in children’s ministry, where God was moving, and where we are going. I spend so much time vision casting to others to keep them motivated; I need to spend some time vision casting to myself. Sounds weird, I know. But, really, as the leader there really isn’t anyone to motivate/vision cast to me about the specific ministry I oversee. So, it is my job to do that with myself. Yes, I can go to conferences and get motivated about CM, in general, and I can get pats on the back from my SP, but I need to spend more time self-leading and self-motivating and self-vision casting. For me, that comes from celebrating acheivements, remembering successes and reliving those moments where God was at work.

How do you vision cast to yourself?

Boys and Dolls

The New York Times had this article about a growing toy phenomenon with boys. It’s not a new action figure or even a new video game. It’s a doll! They are called Ugly Dolls and seem to be a hit with boys. It was interesting to read the article and a couple of psychologists’ views of why the dolls are so popular with the male gender.

Air Freshener Please

At the beginning of this week, my family was able to take a short vacation. When we got to the hotel, I had one bad encounter after another. The check in person treated me as if I were an inconvenience, the bathroom didn’t have a toilet roll dispenser (just a roll of TP on top of the toilet tank lid), the shower mat was torn, the shower drain was clogged, the door handle came off, and there was a draft from under the door. Needless to say, I was a bit nit-picky about the room. Anyway, it got me thinking of hotel rooms in general: good ones and bad ones that I’ve stayed in. I noticed one thing in common with all of the rooms: no air freshener for the bathroom.

Now, let’s all be honest. We all have some sort of air freshener in our bathrooms at home… and for a good reason! Why not supply hotel bathrooms with an air freshener. It’s not like we don’t use the bathroom when we are on vacation. We warn family ahead of time that we are going to use the bathroom, we turn on the vent fan (if there is even one), or we bring our own air freshener (which is what my wife does). Why don’t hotels just put a little bottle of air freshener or a Plug-In or something? Boy, that little thing would make a huge impact in many people’s perceptions of that hotel if they did.

Anyway, it got me thinking about children’s minsitry… don’t ask me how I got to children’s ministry from a stinky bathroom. What are the areas in our children’s ministry that we are overlooking? What are the “duh” things that parents and kids need that we just aren’t seeing? We get so caught up in our programs, environments, curriculum, events, etc. that sometimes we miss the most obvious of things. Now, I’m not saying that all that stuff isn’t important. It is! And we need to do all those things with excellence. I just think that we need to make sure that we have something in place to help us see those areas that we overlook. Maybe it’s enlisting a group of people to come and check out children’s ministry from time to time and take note of things. Maybe it’s putting together a focus group of parents and kids to find out what they are needing from children’s ministry. Maybe it’s as simple as spending a few more intentional minutes talking to kids and parents before or after a service to gauge where they are at.

I, for one, plan on coming up with some sort of system to help our children’s ministry be the best it can be and the most relevant it can be. I want to supply the kids and families we serve with “air freshener.”

Keeping Focused

I really like Seth Godin’s blog as you can probably tell from this previous post. I just read his post for today. You can check it out here. He just posts some thoughts on losing focus and how easy it is to stop being remarkable for the sake of expediency. It just had me thinking about ministry and how so many times we try to do so much to “meet the needs” of people. We start programs here and there without having the time or energy to do them with excellence. Better to do a few things with excellence and be extraordinary rather than a lot of things with mediocrity. That sometimes means cutting back on the number of “outreaches” that are done or the number of programs or events that are done. It means constantly evaluating what you are doing in ministry, making sure that what you are doing is done with excellence. As that happens, bring people on board expecting excellence from them so they can contribute to what is done and build it as well as being built themselves…

What are your thoughts on Seth’s post? How does it apply to your ministry?

Attitude Check for CPs When It Comes To Parents

I just read this honest and thought-provoking post from Christine Yount’s blog. Christine is the Children’s Ministry Champion at Group Publishing. She serves as the editor-in-chief of Children’s Ministry magazine.

Christine is currently attending CPC in San Diego and was hit by how CPs applauded and cheered for a derogatory remark about parents in their role as a spiritual leader for their children. I appreciated her honesty about where she is in her role in the spiritual upbringing of her children. I may not agree with everything she does, but I do agree that we, as CPs, need to get beyond trying to turn parents into some form of us calling that family ministry. Family ministry needs to be holistic and needs to help parents live out their faith with their children rather than giving parents take home activities and regimenting some sort of contrived routine.

Read Christine’s blog post. What do you think? What do you do in your CM to partner with parents?