The Non-Negotiables: An Introduction

Wayne Stocks —  June 30, 2010

Planner People As volunteers and/or bi-vocational children’s ministers who are passionate about reaching kids for God, there is one constant battle that we all face.  It is something that we all battle with every day.  That thing is TIME.  More specifically, it finding time to accomplish all of the things we have to accomplish and those things we want to accomplish.  Although Kidmin1124 is only 10 days old, this issue has already been prevalent in the articles featured here.  I think that is because it is a universal problem.  God only gives us a certain number of hours in each week, and between our commitment to our ministries and our other responsibilities outside the church, there never seems to be enough time.  This issue is certainly not unique to volunteers and bi-vocational ministers, but it is certainly prevalent and perhaps compounded by other fulltime jobs and responsibilities.

So, what are we to do about it?  Well, today marks the beginning of a new series here on Kidmin1124, our first series, which I have titled “The Non-Negotiables.”  This is not a series general about time management.  I am sure we will see plenty of that here on this site in the days and weeks to come, but that is not the purpose of this series.  If you’re looking for good resources on time management (especially from a children’s ministry perspective, I suggest you check out Brother Jim Wideman’s book Beat the Clock.  It is chocked full of great advice and ideas from a trusted leader in the field of children’s ministry.  A review and give away of the book will be coming up soon here on Kidmin1124 as soon as I can find the time to write it (and, yes I appreciate the irony of that comment).

This series will address one critical component of time management though, and that is prioritizing.  In order to own your time, you must learn to prioritize the tasks that you need to get done.  In that process, you must determine what is important and what is not so important, what needs to get done first, and what might not need to get done at all.  All too often when we do not prioritize, we end up ignoring the things which should be most important in our lives.  By not managing our time, we end up not doing those things which we simply can not afford to eliminate from our lives.  We will call those things the “Non-Negotiables.”  For those of you already planning out your comment in your head, please see the grammar disclaimer at the bottom of this article. 🙂

The Non-Negotiables are those things in our lives that we can not afford to sacrifice.  What of the great benefits of managing our time wisely is ensuring that we do have enough time for the Non-Negotiables.  You’ll note that I said “have enough time” and not “leave enough time.”  The Non-Negotiables are so important that we should not merely leave time for them.  They should be at the top of the list of things we plan time for.

In this series, we will have a look at several Non-Negotiables in our lives that we must schedule time for and vigorously defend that time once scheduled.  We will ignore some obvious physical non-negotiables like food and sleep and focus on those things that will help us grow and refuel both mentally and spiritually.  We will examine non-negotiables which are (or should be) universal for all Christians as well as non-negotiables which may vary by individual.

I am looking forward to discussing my own non-negotiables and hopefully hearing about some yours.I hope you’ll check back soon for the first installment in the series.  As always, my wish is that this series will much more of a discussion, and that we will have an opportunity to interact through comments.    Please feel free to leave a comment below describing your non-negotiables.

Grammar disclaimer:  For all the grammar nuts out there who would like to point it out (and, yes, I would be one of them if it weren’t my article), I know that the nonnegotiable is technically an adjective.  I’ve chosen to use it as a noun for purposes of the article because we are going to cover a series of things which are nonnegotiable.  Furthermore, Non-Negotiable is not generally hyphenated.  I have taken that liberty for this series to emphasize that the items we discuss are not open for negotiation.  Now that we have grammar issues all neatly tucked away, I hope you enjoy this series.

Wayne Stocks

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Wayne is married to a wonderful woman and has four kids whom God uses to teach him on an almost daily basis. He is blessed to volunteer in a wonderful children's ministry at New Life Church Gahanna. He established Kidmin1124 for those who give their time to kids and feel passionately about children's ministry. When he isn't working on Kidmin1124, he maintains another blog at and contributes articles on a regular basis to

12 responses to The Non-Negotiables: An Introduction

  1. Great – looking forward to more information- I work with children from shelters and teach SS class for preschoolers so although I have a lot of resources (maybe I could share some with you – contact is always looking for new or more ideas. God’s blessing and favor, Jean

    • Jean,

      Thanks for the link. I will have to check it out. I’m hoping to publish the first Non-Negotiable sometime next week. I hope you will check back in to read it.

  2. One of my biggest ministry-related non-negotiables is ensuring that lessons are solidly based on the Bible. This means taking time to look deeper into God’s word and tweaking “time saving” curriculums when we use them (they never end up being timesavers!) Extra work, yes, but time well spent!

    • Lisa,

      I couldn’t agree with you more! Jesus should be at the center of everything we teach, and each lesson must be firmly grounded in sound Biblical truth. That is definitely a non-negotiable when it comes to teaching kids! Thanks for the comment.

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