Archives For bill

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” used to be just another Christmas song that you would begin hearing this time of year as the holiday rush heats up and we head into December. In the last few years, a company has also started to use it to mark the beginning of back to school sales in commercials featuring parents with big smiles on their faces and dancing through the aisles.

So, would it surprise you to hear that I think the the most wonderful time of the year for churches is budget time? I have to admit that it’s a time that I really dread.  Budget time is when we see ministries battling for their piece of the proverbial pie. I remember sitting around the table at budget planning meetings when my sole responsibility was our church’s Awana program. We would go around that table, and everyone would present their “dream” budget – what they really wanted for the coming year.  When the dream budgets of the individual programs exceeded the total budget, a new process would start.  We would go around the table once again – this time trying to figure out where we could decrease some of our proposed budgets for individual programs.

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Recently I took our car in to have it’s annual safety inspection. I sat in the waiting area doing some ministry things and I began to think about auto mechanics. When you find a good auto mechanic, you stick with them. One’s that you’ve lost faith in and no longer trust, you leave behind. When we moved into the area a few years ago, we would ask people if they knew a good auto mechanic and who they used. We wanted to avoid costly errors early on.

That got me to thinking about the church and my ministry. Churches are not much different than an auto repair shop. Let’s look at some of the similarities: Continue Reading…

One Size Fits All

Commander Bill Gunter —  October 21, 2010

We’ve all seen the ads for various items that state “one size fits all”. I’ve seen that in ministry related items as well. At a recent children’s ministry event, I walked from vendor to vendor and they generally had the same “sales pitch”. They shared about the benefits of their product and why they were better than the competition. As I explained that we are a small church, meeting in a movie theatre, with only about 40 minutes during the sermon to use the material, the next line I generally hear is, “that’s who we designed it for!” It is flexible so you can take and use what you need for your situation, i.e. “one size fits all”. Consequently, the larger churches with a lot of time get the benefit of the entire curriculum, where the more petite churches with fewer children, volunteers and less time, have a lot of unused material/content, yet the price is the same for both because “one size fits all”.

Now, I don’t state that to be critical of the various products, but to emphasize the point that one size NEVER fits all. Being bi-vocational, or volunteer, we may sometimes look for a curriculum in a box, something we, and those serving under us, can pull out on a Sunday morning (or weekday) and follow the script. We shouldn’t think like that. Each of our ministries and the children in our care are unique. We need to take a look at various products and see what works for us in our situation. Take the good, and use it, take the parts that don’t relate to your situation and remove, or revamp them.

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Lessons from the Lawn

Commander Bill Gunter —  September 14, 2010

A few years ago I moved into a new development. So new that when I moved in, the grass had not yet been planted. Being a home owner for the first time, I now needed to care for the lawn. Suddenly the parable of the seed falling on good soil had a whole new meaning. But that wasn’t the only lesson I’ve learned from my lawn, there are several.

1) It’s true, the grass is always greener on the other side. I look at my neighbor’s yard across the street, who moved in the same weekend I did, and his yard looked good compared to mine. It is the same way in ministry sometimes, being bi-vocational, I often wish I had the time others have who are in full-time ministry. I need to be content with where God has placed me at this time and not look at others’ ministry. You see, as I look at another’s lawn, when you look close, you see that it has imperfections that you may not see from a distance, and so do others’ ministries. There are no “perfect” ministries or opportunities, the only perfect one is the one where God would have you serve.

2) A good looking lawn needs a lot of attention. I have used a lot of fertilizer, grass seed and water to get my lawn healthy. If the lawn is neglected, weeds grow, and grass dies. In ministry, and our personal lives, we need to keep in the Word, in prayer, and working on our relationship with God. If we neglect that, “weeds” will grow and the lawn (our ministry) will suffer.

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What impression are you giving the parents and kids in your ministry? In this article, Commander Bill Gunter encourages us to never let people feel like we are too busy to minister to them.

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This past week, I took three days off from work for vacation and headed to the CM Expo in Kentucky (that’s where the VW van was located, not my transportation). In two weeks, I will be taking another week of vacation from my FT job to participate in a children’s summer camp.

All the while, I am watching families that I minister to take vacations to the beach, to the mountains, etc. to relax.  My vacations, however, are focused more on my “part-time job” (children/youth pastor) and my volunteer role serving with regional Awana missionaries rather than for “fun in the sun.”  Oftentimes, the vacation time I do take in scheduled around Sundays so I can be at the Sunday services to serve the children and families in my church.  I really can’t remember the last Sunday I wasn’t at my home church.

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Yes, it is VBS week for me and to top it off, I’m leading and preaching in “big church” the Sunday following VBS. This will be a stress filled week as I must work my FT job, run VBS, and prepare a message for Sunday. As I begin the week, I realize that I am not alone. While we often experience the time crunch on a weekly and daily basis, this is a week when several are sacrificing their time to serve to reach children who you may only see this one week and these volunteers will get a taste of what we experience on a regular basis.

This is the time to connect with your volunteers. They are experiencing the struggle of serving in ministry while working a job, some may have used company vacation time to serve. Either way, this is a time to encourage your volunteers in their service. This is not a time to say, “now you know what I experience all the time“.

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I frequently have people encourage me to connect with other children/youth pastors in the area. I am generally enthusiastic to meet others with a similar passion as me to reach children for Christ and hope to build relationships with them to network and work together for our common goals. So I contact them and try to get together and if they serve in full-time ministry (i.e. ministry is their “FT paying job”) then generally their response is, “Great! Let’s do lunch”. I then have to remind them that I can’t “do lunch” because of my job and they are often reluctant to meet evenings or weekends because that is their “family time” or time away from “the office”. Occasionally I am able to meet someone for lunch if I work my schedule properly, but it is not an easy thing for me to arrange.

So how do we network with others in kidmin when our schedules are so full? That is where this web site and others like it are such a great asset. There is nothing like meeting someone face to face and sharing what’s going on in your ministries, but when those opportunities are limited, then the internet, e-mail, instant messaging, etc. fill that much needed void. I have networked with several others via forums, e-mail, etc. which helps strengthen each of us personally and in our ministries.

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