Archives For bill

We all experience it. A rough day at work, the kids are misbehaving, the car has trouble, you name it, you’ve had a rough day. Things don’t seem to go right and you’re not in a good mood. Then you realize that you are supposed to minister to children and show God’s love to them.

Sometimes it is a short term problem, other times something may really throw you for a loop and get you out of sync with things you might normally do.

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When I read Matt’s post Friday about his take on regional conferences, I felt compelled to provide a response. Like Matt, I have never been to the “big” conferences. In fact, I’ve often thought about “defriending” or stop following some “big names” in children’s ministry because it seems that all they do is attend conferences and that’s not an option for me being bi-vocational with only so much “vacation” time with my FT job and my budget. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go to a “big” conference someday, but I haven’t, so I can’t compare the two.

I want to talk about some excuses not to go to a regional conference. Awana holds an annual conference in the late summer or fall with a general theme for all conferences, but each region plans and organizes their own conference, workshops, format, etc. I have been involved in conferences in three different states, helping plan some of these conferences and leading workshops (breakouts) with as many as 80+ in attendance to as few as 1 or 2 in a breakout. My first “small” conference surprised me with a mere 100 attendees. I thought why even hold a conference for so few? I was wrong, this conference was needed and truly blessed those in attendance. In these smaller breakouts, you can really probe issues the ministry is having and try to enhance their ministry. It also provides the opportunity to establish a local or regional network.

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It happened again! You have a children’s ministry activity planned and someone else is using the room, the equipment, or whatever, hindering your planned event. You get so frustrated and want to scream!

I’m sure that has never happened to you :-)

It happened to me last night. We entered the church to find someone painting part of the set for the Easter production in the gym where we hold game time for Awana. When asked if they could be moved, the answer was, “they’ll have to work around it.” Not only was the space being used an issue, but the fumes from the paint were permeating the building and the classrooms adjacent to the gym which are used for Awana and youth.

I now have a snap decision to make. How do I handle this situation? Awana is a planned weekly event and it is known that the gym is a key part of the night. Plus the fumes, how do I accommodate the rooms impacted by the fumes? Do I pull out the righteous indignation and demand they relocate the props and paint elsewhere? Here is how I handled the scenario:

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We cannot be a “one man band”, we will burn out. But there is power in one…

  • One man died for our sins
  • One man changed the world forever

Now what if we did just one thing:

  • What if each of us reached just one person for Christ this month?
  • What if we each had one person we were mentoring?
  • What if each of us would share just one thing that God is doing in our ministry with others?

The power of one. YOU! This month, share just one thing that God is doing in your ministry with others. If you can’t think of one thing that God is doing, maybe He isn’t, then ask why, but I’m sure that if you look, you will see God working in your ministry. Share that with someone today and spread the enthusiasm. People want to be where God is working, so let them know!

Wayne Stocks, on the kidmin1124 “Radio show” on CMConnect every other Thursday, frequently asks the panelists the question “Why do you do what you do?”.

It isn’t for the money. It isn’t for the fame. It isn’t even because we can play with cool stuff, be a “big kid” and get away with it. It is because of the small rewards we receive. Those glimpses we get of the relationships being built with the children and seeing how God is working in the lives of the children and those serving with us. I want to share my experience this past Sunday…

I don’t often get to go to the preschool KidzChurch because I am with the elementary aged children. I have been able to schedule myself to be with the preschoolers (3 – K) once last month and then last week. They were thrilled to have me there as I heard later from parents.

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You give of your time selflessly to reach the children with the love of Jesus each week and sometimes it is hard. We know it is hard for you, because it is hard for us in leadership at times as well.

Bi-Vocational pastors, like myself, work their FT jobs and minister what seems continually. Full-time staff are often at the church for up to 60 hours per week in ministry and administration so we understand tired and we know that you are as well.

You will have those rough days where you may not “feel” like going to church and serving. I often tell people during Awana trainings that if you have a rough day, then it will be a rough night of ministry. I want to give you some ideas to help you when you during those times you grow weary:

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Recently we’ve been focused on volunteers and within the last few weeks a new resource was made available entitled Rock Solid Volunteers. Here is the description from Amazon:

Larry Fowler, Director of Program and Training for Awana Clubs International, believes that there are seven biblical principles, drawn from the book of Nehemiah, that will help pastors and leaders more effectively motivate and manage volunteers. Rock-Solid Volunteers looks at the obstacles Nehemiah and his volunteer workers faced – fatigue, weakness, loss of vision, peer pressure and opposition, just for starters!—and examines the seven steps Nehemiah took to lead his volunteers to success. Pastors and ministry leaders will be equipped to attract, inspire and keep talented, committed volunteers, no matter the challenge!

Larry begins each chapter giving the account from Uzziel’s view. A goldsmith during the days of Nehemiah who helped rebuild the wall. While this account is not recorded in the Bible, Larry uses this to show how the workers of the day must have felt and how the volunteers we serve with today feel in service. Then throughout the chapter, Larry conveys practical ideas from Nehemiah (yes, Biblical principles!) to use to gain and maintain volunteers. Larry pulls from his own personal experiences in ministry and taps into what others in children’s ministry are doing today. At the end of each chapter, Larry also provides questions to think and talk about, helping you personalize it and develop an action plan for you and your ministry.

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Churches and ministries are often faced with the challenge of having enough funds for the activities they want to plan. How you opt to fund your ministry is a decision that each church needs to make based on how they feel God is leading them. Consequently, I am not going to say one way is better than another, I simply want to share my thought process as we had to face the decision of whether to use fundraisers or not for youth activities.

We started the church a few years ago and so the decisions we make lay the foundation for the church, its traditions, policies, etc. I came from a church that did not allow children and youth ministries to do fund-raising. I don’t think that there was any philosophical reason behind that except that it seemed that every week one of the ministries was soliciting the membership for pizza, cookies, or something and the leadership felt it was too much. A couple of other families came from churches that did allow their youth to hold fund raisers and they wanted to do some fund raising for the youth, so it was time to come to an understanding, a policy, a philosophy for fund  raising.

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Every year people make resolutions that they will never keep. Every day, someone plans to do something they will never complete.  And why is that? Because they don’t have a Wayne in their life.

If you have read Wayne’s bio, then you know that he is an accountant. He goes to his clients and they have to give him an accounting of what they have done financially. If there is impropriety, or something out of the ordinary, then I’m sure Wayne would bring it to their attention and so I’m sure his clients are careful about their financial practices.

While we may not actually be looking for an accountant, we each need some one to keep us accountable to be sure our lives are God honoring. People fail to keep resolutions because they do not have some one to keep them accountable.

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Disclaimer: This isn’t a commentary about Walmart, or discourse about how they are affecting the business and economic climate in various areas, or even an endorsement of Walmart. In fact, this could relate to any “big box” store, I just opted to use Walmart as the example. Though it may sound like it, I am not “bashing” large, or multi-site, churches either. These are my thoughts designed to spark your own thoughts and view on the topic.

A couple of weeks ago, Tony Kummer wrote an article for a series of articles being written about the “Future of Children’s Mnistry” (you can read it here). His article spurred some thoughts in me, and I wanted to share them here. Item # 3 in his article really struck a chord with me. It was “Church Consolidation”.

I wondered if the Mega Church movement we see today is the Walmart mentality in ministry. Are these mega-churches (even churches with about 500 members or more) destroying the smaller local church? While I have not verified the stat, I believe I heard that approximately 80% of churches in PA (maybe the country) have an average membership/attendance of around 100 – 150, and the mindset of  many people is that bigger is better.

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