Archives For theresa-haskins

Excellence vs. Perfection

Theresa Haskins —  October 13, 2010

In children’s ministry, finding volunteers seems to be a constant struggle.  One great source of volunteers can be the high school kids in your church.  The kids seem to love them, and they can be a great source of help.  There is another side though that anyone who has worked with with high school volunteers can attest to.  They can be extremely frustrating at times.  Whether they are busy socializing with one another or just not contributing to the effort, teenagers can present a wide variety of issue.  What I have found about teenagers though, and the same is true with individuals of all ages, is that encouragement goes MUCH farther than criticism.

With any volunteer, and especially with teenagers, it is important that you make your expectations clear.  I like to remind students that work with me that I do not expect perfection.  I DO, however, expect excellence.  To me, excellence means reviewing your script prior to Sunday morning.  Excellence means getting the point/Bible story across to the kids in a way they will understand and remember.  The words don’t have to be exactly right, but the concept or main idea must be clear.  I would much rather that a teenage volunteer summarize the main points than hide or read a script on-stage.  I try to make that clear to them very early on in their service.

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EDITOR’S NOTE:Today, Theres Haskins shares what it was like to volunteer at the Orange Conference. Links to all of the other Orange Week 2.0 posts are included at the end of this article.

It all started for me in the spring/summer of 2006 when I was invited to participate in a children’s ministry leadership role at our Church- Northside Christian Church rolling out a new children’s curriculum/program that fall.  I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but I was excited to work with the most amazing team of leaders I knew-women I knew I could learn a lot from. My initial excitement, to be honest, was having the opportunity to see what leadership involved and being given the opportunity to work alongside these amazing women! I had served in various roles at our Church, but was being afforded the privilege to serve as coordinator of the first hour “production” – which became known as Powered UP! It turned out to be a life changing event for me! God showed me, in a totally different way, where He wanted me to be used. And I humbly accepted the honor and LOVED every minute of it!

In the spring of 2008, I was invited by the children’s minister to attend a ministry conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was called ORANGE and, at the time, I knew nothing about it. Up until that point, I was not involved in the behind the scenes decision making, nor did I understand the philosophy of reThink.  I was only involved in the actual week to week programming (and loving every minute of it). Reggie Joiner stepped on-stage at the conference, and I was immediately changed. His presence was so humbling.  I had never seen anyone with such a HUGE following appear so down to earth. As he opened the conference, he jokingly stated his daughter was jealous because he had more friends on Facebook than she did. I had no idea what Facebook was, but KNEW I was going to find out the minute I returned home. And that’s just what I did.  I signed up for Facebook and became friends with Reggie Joiner! On occasion I would send him private messages, asking him questions – to be honest, I don’t even remember what they were – but he ALWAYS replied. I couldn’t believe it. Now don’t misunderstand, I didn’t think Reggie was a god, I just knew I wanted what he had, the amazing peaceful presence – and thought I could find out what it was by watching and emulating him.

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Thoughts On Graduation Sunday

In Virginia, “BACK TO SCHOOL” for public school is the Tuesday following Labor Day. Due to the late start, our promotion Sunday at church isn’t until mid-September. But when you teach Sunday school (sorry for the old term – I think they’re called PLUG-IN groups) every other month – and you’re scheduled to teach on EVEN months – your last Sunday with your class is comes the last weekend in August.

As I write this article, that means that this coming weekend is the last weekend I will have with this current group of kids.  That realization really makes me sad! I have really grown to love my current class of 5th grade kids! That is more than just kind words, I really mean it.  I am truly going to miss each and every one of them! We have had such a good time growing in our faith together! I come to church each weekend excited to teach, and they respond with a genuine excitement for learning!  In this article, I would like to reminisce a little bit and share about my time with this particular group.

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The Peace of God

Theresa Haskins —  August 26, 2010

This week has been one of the worst for me emotionally and Spiritually (in a very long time).  I started to write an article for our blog on Tuesday, but made the decision NOT to complete it (OR post it).  Remember my previous “story” – with the character Flower?  Well, everything fell apart in our office last Monday-and my post sounded way too negative to complete or post.  It was absolutely awful.  For the entire week, my co-workers didn’t speak to one another.  My boss, who I hoped would address the issue, didn’t.

Today, while teaching my 5th grade class the story of Nabal, Abigail and David, I HAD to share my real-life story with the children (without names, of course).  Our virtue this month is peace and today we talked about how you don’t have to be one of the parties IN the argument to make a difference to the outcome (just as Abigail saved Nabal from David’s wrath).  How God can use US to help resolve others’ issues.  I was able to befriend both girls and point out the fears of the other person.  They still aren’t speaking, but I have hope.  Friday evening, one of the ladies made the first step-and the second responded with how deeply she had been hurt (and wasn’t angry).  I continue to pray for God’s healing and will check back in on Tuesday (I’m home tomorrow-LOVE THAT).

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A Continuous Story

Theresa Haskins —  August 13, 2010

Although I adore volunteering in Children’s Ministry, I spend a good portion of my time working in the “real world”.  It constantly amazes me how God challenges me in ways I could never imagine in an effort to help me grow as a both a Christian and a leader.

For example, I have never really been motivated to be a supervisor in my day job.  Now, though, I honestly believe that God is working in my life to develop the skills and personality within me with that may ultimately lead to being a supervisor.  Unlike when my daughters were younger, I am now at a point in my life where I think I can handle the responsibility.  And, I know that, should it pan out, it will be because of HIM that I know I can do it – because I know that I won’t be going at it alone!  There are SO many terrible supervisors out there in the work force – ones that don’t respect their employees and don’t treat them as they should be treated.  Many of us have worked, or are working, for such people.  I feel like God is calling me to be different kind of supervisor!

I thought it might be interesting to share something about the group of people I work with and examine how God is working through those people to help lead me into a leadership position.  Hopefully, you will find something in this effort that you can relate to your own life and experiences.  I think it will be fun to provide “chapters” periodically – kind of like writing a book (which happens to be one of my goals in this life, as a matter of fact!).  To provide an overview of the personalities in our office, I thought I would assign “character” names (to protect the innocent) and describe each “character’s” personality traits. In order to better understand my story, you should know that I work in an office full of women – only women.

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I love to read!  I love to read various genres (The Bible-of course-and mostly Christian non-fiction, children’s, pre-teen, and teen reads, but on occasion I treat myself to Christian fiction), and I love to read them all at the same time!  I have also noticed that I love to RESEARCH topics of interest to me, to obtain various opinions and points of view.  I like to understand the BIG picture.

It is also amazing to me how God is ALWAYS at work in our lives.  I believe He controls my thoughts and actions THROUGH the gift of the Holy Spirit, who resides in me.

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Let me begin with how honored I am to be a part of this amazing group of Leaders!  I thought I would start with what motivated (and continues to motivate) me to grow children’s faith in Jesus Christ.

As a child, I remember wanting what my mom had.  The problem?  I wasn’t sure what IT was or HOW to get it.  I may be dating myself, but all I wanted in life was to look like Farrah Fawcett!  I couldn’t understand how my mother could be so joyful without achieving the same goal.  She was not what you would characterize as beautiful, but ALWAYS had a smile on her face.  In my entire life I NEVER heard her say a mean word about anyone (and that’s the honest truth!).

Many years after my mother passed away, I finally figured out what IT was – Her personal relationship with Jesus Christ!  I’ve been on a mission ever since to achieve the same for myself and to share the tools that work for me with all the children, tweens and teens that I come in contact with.  I don’t TELL them what to do or what Spiritual Discipline will work for them.  However, I do explain WHO provides the joy in life, and I encourage them to cultivate a daily relationship with Him (as that’s what sustains it).  I also explain that there is no short cut to developing this amazing relationship -and that it takes time to cultivate, just like earthly friendships.  I remind them over and over to spend time with Him every day, and explain that I don’t know HOW it works – but just that it DOES!