Archives For balance

Let’s Talk Sabbath

Wendy Douglas —  April 18, 2012

 

Sabbath: a day of rest.

One of the questions I hear alot is “How in the world do you have a sabbath as a volunteer in children’s ministry?” Trying to fit in a day of rest when we have family, friends, work, and ministry requiring our time and attention each week can be a challenge.

But hear me say this…IT IS POSSIBLE. Not only is it possible…IT IS NECESSARY.

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Love Begins at Home

Wendy Douglas —  August 12, 2011

Love begins at home… – Mother Teresa

There is a lot of talk about Family Ministry as it applies to Children’s Ministry. What does it mean? What does it look like? While I believe that this is an important conversation to have, I believe that we also need to be talking about what Family Ministry looks like in our own homes.

We can get so caught up in doing Children’s Ministry that we neglect our first ministry which is our family. We have become more intentional about reaching outside of our homes and churches and less in reaching those inside our own homes. We are teaching the families in our churches how to spend time together and teaching parents to be the spiritual leaders of their home – yet we leave very little time to do that ourselves.

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Dealing with Crazy Seasons

Barbara Graves —  January 20, 2011

Everything in our lives has seasons.  And everything requires our attention at a different time.  My family may need more attention this month, work may need more attention next month, and writing may need more work in between.  Rarely does a garden grow neatly together, with every crop needing the same amount of attention as the row next to it.  One week it’s the tomatoes that need to be staked and tied.  The next week, the beans will have reached the point to cage them and the following week requires weeding in an entirely different section.

Much the same, I believe the lives of those in children’s ministry are often like that garden.  And what starts as a little vegetable garden, can easily become a full working farm.  I believe part of that is because  children’s ministry volunteers are the most resilient and productive people on the planet.  They can do more with little than anyone else I know.  Our ministry seems to attract that personality. I found many years ago that I love to tackle the impossible.  And if it came to a children’s ministry event or program that was needed, but impossible to see done, I jumped at the chance to do it!  God did a lot of wonderful things and I did a lot of late night, work-myself-crazy-weekends, but for a great cause.  I loved it.  What a rush to pull it off!

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Doing the Hokey Pokey

Wendy Douglas —  January 5, 2011

I was thinking today that the Hokey Pokey isn’t just a dance we used to do at the skating rink, but it is a dance that we should be doing in children’s ministry.

  • Put your hands in, put your hands out… – Know what we can do and when we need to empower our team to do what they do best.
  • Put your feet in, put your feet out… – Know when we need to be working and when we need a time of rejuvination.
  • Put your whole self in, put your whole self out… – Know the difference between giving ourselves to the ministry and the ministry being all about us.
  • Turn yourself about – Knowing when we need to go in a new direction and/or looking at something differently.

How are you dancing in ministry today?

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Yesterday, we looked at the need to get your house organized and some keys to getting that done.  Today, let’s review a a few tips that may help you with practical everyday chores.

IN THE KITCHEN

  • Dishes:  Color code your kids.  This has been the very best way to keep our kids organized.  We went to Dollar General and bought 3 sets of cups, bowls and plates – pink, orange, and green. Each child is assigned their own color.  So, when they leave a dish out, we know who it belongs to.  It makes setting the dinner table easy and fun and colorful to boot.   It also makes putting dishes away easy for kids.
  • Dedicate one cabinet to each of your  kids:  This cabinet will include color coded dishes, water bottles, lunch boxes, one bucket of silver ware for easy access, one towel for each one to clean up their own mess, kids’ aprons, mixing bowels for helpful cook times, popcorn cups, and a basket full of snacks just for them. You can also put kids’ cook books in this cabinet along with a kid’s step stool if you have the space.  This keeps the kids out of all the other cabinets and gives them some independence in the kitchen.  This helps the kids feel like they belong and make clean up time so easy.

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As volunteers and children’s ministers, there is one thing that many of us have in common – we wish we had more time!  Oftentimes, we allow our ministry to impact the time we have at home.  Even when our ministry does require a lot of time, that is still no excuse for an unorganized home.  In today’s article I want to explore some simple tips for helping you organize your home.

As a Certified Family Manager, I sit down with so many families that need help with everyday stuff like balancing their homes.  This includes not only and organizing their lives but organizing their physical homes as well.  It can be so difficult to focus on your life when your home is in a state of chaos.  Tomorrow, we will look at a variety of practical tips for organizing your home room-by-room, but first let’s have a look at the key to any organizational effort.

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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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At first glance this may seem like a strange question. I mean we minister through our ministry, right? Well track with me for a minute while I become a bit vulnerable. I just finished watching some old episodes of the TV show Undercover Boss. The gist of the show is to take the CEO of a major corporation and put him or her in a series of line level positions to allow him to get a better appreciation for the people that keep the company running. In each of the cases that I watched, the CEO went into the experience thinking that it would be about one thing and ended it with a completely different focus. At the end of the experience each of these CEOs realized that what really mattered and what made their companies great was people. Nearly every one of them said that is was people that mattered. This almost seems like a no brainer in ministry, but I think it needs to be said. As I concluded the last episode I realized that my focus was not really where it needed to be. I was not focused on people.

I love people yet somehow I let doing my ministry keep me from ministering to people. As a part time, volunteer, or bi-vocational children’s worker this can be an easy trap to fall into. I mean there is just so much work to do and often the expectations are not greatly decreased simply because we are not full-time. For me In my attempt to build a great children’s ministry I got so focused on tasks that I lost sight of people. As I think about Jesus’ ministry I realize that there is no mention of the running of his ministry. There were details that had to be addressed, He and the disciples had to eat, they had to sleep and they had to give some thought to where they were going to go next. Despite all of the details that would clearly have had to be taken care of, there is very little mention of any of them. In fact the only time that we read anything about these day to day things is when Jesus used them to teach a lesson, or to minister to people. Jesus’ focus was never on the things he had to do. Rather his focus was on PEOPLE.

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Maintaining Your Focus

Wayne Stocks —  July 2, 2010

At Computer One of the problems that we often face as volunteers in children’s ministry is maintaining focus in our “day jobs.”  When you are passionate about something, it is hard not to focus on it and hard not to get sidetracked about it.  Think back to the first time you really fell in love.  How much time did you spend thinking about your new love?  How much of your day was consumed dreaming about what the future might hold?  If you are parent, do you remember the first days back to work after your child was born?  How often did you stare at their picture wishing you were home?  How much of your time was spent contemplating/worrying about their future?  How many times did you call home just to see how they were doing?  This tendency towards distraction is consistent in anything that we are passionate about.

When I am not very intentional about it, it is very easy for me to let my passion for children’s ministry distract me when I should be focusing on my day job.  Since I spend a chunk of my day working with computers, it would be quite easy to allow my mind to wander, to dream about children’s ministry, to think about the lesson for the coming weekend and more.  On a more concrete level, things like e-mail, conferences, online research and more can easily interfere with your “day job.”  Instead, I much be very intentional about focusing on what I should be doing at that particular moment.

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Family Focus

Wendy Douglas —  June 29, 2010


Making family time a priority is so important when you have a full time job and serve in children’s ministry. You have to be very intentional about making that time. I heard someone say once that they actually schedule family time on their calendar throughout the week and work everything else around that. You have to figure out what works best for you.

For me this means: Continue Reading…