Archives For Encouragement

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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Volunteer Love Languages

Wendy Douglas —  December 1, 2010

Do you know the love languages of your volunteers? The series of books by Gary Chapman has applied the 5 Love Languages to marriage, children, teens, and God.

I believe that you can also apply them to your volunteers.

  • Words of Affirmation – An encouraging word is a powerful thing. Saying thank you on a regular basis and pointing out something done well are just two ways to speak to the heart of this volunteer.
  • Quality Time – Giving this volunteer your undivided attention and sharing a conversation will impact them greatly. Face time speaks volumes for them.
  • Receiving Gifts – For this volunteer it won’t matter the amount of money you spend. The gift means that you were thinking of them and that means more.
  • Acts of Service – This volunteer feels appreciated by the little things you do for them. It might be letting them leave while you straighten the room after service.
  • Physical Touch – A pat on the back literally makes this volunteer’s day. A handshake or hug in greeting starts their day off with a smile. High fives work as well.

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I’ve never done this before, but I went to post a comment on Commander Bill’s wonderful article yesterday called “Lessons from the Lawn,” and the comment got so long that I decided to post it as a follow up to Bill’s original article.  Yesterday Bill drew three great lessons from comparing taking care of his yard and doing children’s ministry.  It got my mind racing, and I came up with so many other similarities that I though I would post them here.  Hopefully my wife will miss this post because the idea of me writing about lawn care is likely to set her on a path of uproarious laughter.  Nonetheless, it struck me that there are other similarities. Like…

1) No matter how well you treat your lawn, there is always going to be a patch or two that require a little extra attention. You care for and fertilize the whole thing, but you spend a little extra time with those two patches that aren’t doing so well.  You plant extra seed, you water it regularly, and you do what you can to make sure those patches catch up with the rest of the yard.  So, are those rough patches your ministry kids or volunteers?  And, what are you doing to help them grow?

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The Habit of Prayer

Tammy Jones —  September 10, 2010

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The first time I ever read that passage, I could not believe what I was reading. In my mind, I pictured someone kneeling for 24 hours a day. “That’s impossible”, I said to myself and dismissed it. Later, I heard a pastor preach a sermon on this passage and explain that believers are meant to be in a constant state of prayer.  We are supposed to keep our line of communication with God open at all times.  We accomplish this by immediately confessing any known sin and asking for God’s forgiveness. Then, whenever we need to shoot up a request, God will hear us. That seemed a lot more possible.

With that explanation, I took the passage literally. The moment I open my eyes in the morning, I begin to thank God for the rest and protection He gave me through the night. When my head hits the pillow at night, my last waking moments are spent in prayer. Whenever I hear something on the news like a tragedy, a missing child or a soldier killed in war, I pray for the family. I pray for the posts on my Facebook account. When I think about a friend or family member during the day, I pray for them. Prayer has become such a habit for me, that I catch myself praying for people in the movie that I am watching!

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Hold My Hand Mommy!

Wendy Douglas —  September 8, 2010

When my boys were very little, they loved taking walks and holding my hand. We would walk down a path chatting away about our days. As they got older, they would still hold my hand as we walked, but there would be brief moments when they would run ahead with me chasing after them. Today my two oldest hold my hand less frequently with rare moments that they grab hold of my hand. My youngest and I still hold hands as we walk together.  Today all three of them are secure in knowing that I am walking with them and my hand is always there for them to hold onto.

I was thinking today of how similar this is to walking with my heavenly Father. I cherish those times when I walk along the path holding His hand. I still have those moments where I let go and run ahead and He chases me to bring me back to the path. I too am secure in knowing He walks with me and His hand is always there for me to hold.

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What’s Really Important?

Tammy Jones —  August 11, 2010

Originally loaded to Flickr by _setev.

I shared these thoughts on my personal blog. With your indulgence, I would like to share them with you here as well.

A few years ago I traveled to Lima, Peru on a mission trip. I met a wonderful Christian lady there who was ministering to the children in her neighborhood. She would pay their bus fare so they could attend church when she could. Other times she would teach them in her tiny home on a dirt hillside. That is where I met her, with her house full of kids and tracing color sheets with a pencil and carbon tracing paper one at a time. Her only other equipment was her Bible.

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A Lost Art

Wendy Douglas —  July 14, 2010

In the digital age that we live in, sending a handwritten note or card is a lost art. We can now send an email, text, or even a facebook message to say what we once would say in a card. I personally love writing notes and sending cards to people for various occasions.

Thank you cards are a wonderful way to let your volunteers know how much you appreciate them. In these notes, I point out something incredible they did during the Sunday experience and it becomes a way to celebrate with them.

Birthday cards are a favorite of mine. I love sending them to the kids in Summit Kids. I know how much fun it is for them to receive mail and it is a fantastic way to let them know how special they are to you.

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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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