Every minister in the local church has probably been asked one of these questions at some point in their ministry:
We are blessed to have many friends and partners in ministry, and I’m always amazed at the number of things that Children’s Ministers are responsible for. Today I’ve got a video interview with two different ministers that live near me, and I bet many of you can resonate with the things they share.
This video was filmed back in February and used as a discussion starter as we trained CentriKid camp directors for this summer. Comment on this post and share your reactions or things you would add that are a part of your responsibilities/excitement/fears in ministry.
If you’re one who wants to GROW and GROW and GROW in your knowledge of kids and kids ministry (and I bet you are), here are some podcasts that will help you along the way.
Wait…what’s a podcast, and do I have time for it?
A podcast is a pre-recorded radio show (for lack of a better term), that doesn’t actually air on the radio. You can download it FREE onto your computer, load it onto your mp3 player, and take it with you wherever you go. You can listen while you walk the dog, commute to work, do the dishes, wait at the doctor’s office, or anytime your mind is free and you’re ready to learn.
Well…give me some examples.
1) Children’s Ministry Talk: A show hosted by Jason Rhode and Dick Gruber. Who are they? Two former children’s ministers who now write kid’s curriculum and travel across the country training other children’s ministers. More bio info here.
Some Show Titles: Choosing Curriculum, Signs of a Healthy Kids Ministry, Getting Things Done, Ministry to Children with Disabilities, Technology in Kids Ministry, Kids Musicals, Volunteer Appreciation Ideas
2) Leading Edge – Saddleback Children’s Ministry: Craig Jutila (CM at Saddleback) teaches a relevant topic to children’s leaders. It’s a way to get quality leadership info in the hands of busy people. It’s basically teacher training.
Some Show Titles: 7 Reasons You Won’t Change and What to Do About It, 7 Elements that Add Balance to Your Life, 9 Elements Worth Practicing in Kids Ministry
3) Children’s Ministry Monthly: A podcast dedicated to the needs of medium to small church Children’s Ministry Pastors, Staff and Volunteers.
Some Show Titles: When Pastor’s Don’t Approve, Why Children’s Ministers Struggle, The Children’s Pastor’s Wife, Creative Communication, Storage and Classroom Issues, Proper Discipline in Children’s Ministry
Where do I get this stuff? iTunes. Here’s what you do: Open iTunes, go to the iTunes store, and type in “children’s ministry podcasts.” They’ll show you dozens of CM podcasts. Click “subscribe.” Now you’re a subscriber and you’re computer will automatically download the new shows as they come. Again, they’re all FREE!
Many times we get the impression (or give the impression) that Christians must “have it all together.” Ministers are often expected to be perfect.
I know that nobody out there would actually say that you should be perfect, but the implication is surely there that you better not mess up, and oh-by-the-way, you should be between 99 and 100% perfect (at least most of the time, if not all the time).
As I’ve learned from other leaders and tried to do my best at being one … that pressure seems to be almost everywhere and it is suffocating. It isn’t logical, it isn’t Biblical, and it isn’t fair for you to put that expectation on yourself or anybody else.
So today’s thought isn’t a top 5 list or a nifty new ministry resource, but its a simple “Get Out of Jail” card. It is gentle encouragement to take that pressure to be perfect off yourself and look for ways to give other folks around you a break too.
This may come as a breath of fresh air to some or a stomp on your toes to others, but inside your own head and especially in your heart, try to rephrase the unhealthy phrase “You can’t lead anyone to a place you haven’t arrived” to a healthier perspective. You don’t have to be perfect to be a spiritual leader, you just have to be actively on the journey of spiritual growth, too.
Take the pressure off. Don’t worry so much about “arriving” but focus more on the journey, the pursuit that the Lord has called you to.
At times that journey is a great experience and at other times it is something you must just endure. But for me, I haven’t arrived, but I’m on the way.
May 1 is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to make sure your camper count is firm. Is EVERYONE going that you thought was going? Do you need to add any spots for your group? Do you need to think about cancelling any spots for your group? Don’t forget, you will lose $100 for every spot cancelled AFTER May 1, so go ahead and take care of those before the new month arrives.
While you’re at it… Download Group Leader Information.
Check out our Church Group Devotions.
Check out PRE CAMP and POST CAMP devotions for your group (kinda like Church Group Devo’s before you arrive).
Can’t wait to see you at camp! It’ll be here before we know it, and we want to make sure you don’t miss out on these important deadlines.
Our family is blessed to have a Shih Tzu puppy named LadyBug. I’ve learned that Shih Tzu’s tend to be very loyal, trusting dogs that want to please, but unfortunately they don’t come with an understanding of the English language.
LadyBug will play in the floor and entertain herself with toys, but sometimes when I get down to play with her or scratch her ears, she will suddenly get concerned with playing with her toy, rather than playing with me.
I’ll call her and say “LadyBug, come here!” and instead of coming to me, she’ll snap her head around to look for a toy. She’ll chew the toy, wag her tail, and then look up at me …and she will eventually bring the toy over to me. What I found myself saying to her one day was, “I don’t want the toy, I want you.”
Do you ever do that with God? I know that I do it sometimes when I get so caught up in things like “my ministry work,” “spending time with family,” “investing in young leaders,” or even “being a good husband.” I’ll spend time on everything in life/ministry/work because I know these are good things, but God still calls for that simple time, with nothing else going on, to just spend time with me. It is as if he says, “I don’t want the toy, I want you.”
He calls out for that same time with you, too.
When do you make this time in your day, how do you carve out quiet time with the Lord in the middle of balancing your life, your family, and your work responsibilities?
We all need Jesus. Not a groundbreaking statement for most of us, but a truth and reality that I was reminded of as myself, my wife, and 12 others got to spend 10 days in Macedonia to partner with the missionary team on the ground as they spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Roma people. Our time in Skopje, Macedonia was short but oh so sweet.
My first reaction to visiting with the Roma people was this: “I’ve never seen people in more need of Jesus than the Roma”. But that thought led me to another question. How can I say that they needed Jesus more than I did? More than you do? We have been blessed because we have heard about the changing power of Jesus Christ. We have access to so many resources and material to help us grow in our faith. But we still need Jesus. In many ways, we are no different than the Roma. We all want a good life, we all want to do good things, we all want to stay away from the bad things, and WE ALL need Jesus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my experiences and home visits that we made while we were in Skopje. Macedonia (a former Communist nation) is a newly formed Democratic country, so the people of Macedonia can now live freely. But even still, the city is desparate for Jesus. The missionary team is doing such a great work there, it is so so evident. The team has already built so many great relationships with Roma who have already given their heart and life to Jesus Christ. The college students from Skopje that translated for us during the week also are helping in a life-changing way. Without them, our home visits and bible studies would have been extremely difficult. God is using so many people in that city, and I believe with all my heart, there is so much He still wants to do. I’m extremely humbled that through our CentriKid Camps offering, we’ve been able to help fund and support the missionary team in Skopje, as well as other teams in various parts of Europe. I urge you to pray and ask the Lord what He would have you give this summer to help spread the message of Jesus Christ to the Roma people. Regardless if you’ll be attending CentriKid Camps this summer, please pray for Skopje team (Betty, Karen, Geoff, B.T., Eric, and Emily). Pray for them as they continue to impact that city with the message of Jesus. Pray that they will fight through the spiritual battles being fought there and that they can be encouraged everyday through reading God’s word, worshipping with God’s people, and remembering God’s love. You can visit my personal blog for videos and updates from our time in Eastern Europe.
Normally, childhood experiences do not include finding out that one of your parents has cancer and spending lots of time at this place: the Cancer Center… so how do you minister to the kids in your church when that is the case?
I’ve been there. Not only have I been the children’s minister searching for the right words to say, but I have been that kid. My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was eight. The next four years of my life I was in and out of cancer centers with my dad often. I can’t say I knew how to respond to cancer, but I’m pretty sure no one else around me knew how to either.
I am still searching for the right words to say during these times. I’m not sure there really are “right words,” but I can speak from what really made a difference in my life:
Sickness is hard, and there’s no formula for ministering to families dealing with it.
Just be available. Just encourage. And just love.
The question becomes how are we (as teachers, parents, leaders, ministers, etc) going to respond to the rapid change that is happening? My response would be to embrace it, learn from it, and figure out how to inject the Gospel into it. I love checking out new websites and finding new material on subjects that I care about. I thought I’d do the same with you guys. Take some time and check out these links. Which of these struck a chord with you? What does this tell you about today’s kids? Comment and let us know!
| How to deal with the TV-centered Family | The Naked Brothers Band |
Cell phone service for kids | Disney survey on technology trends for kids| KIDEOS.com |
my favorite: Age-By-Age Technology Guide |
Ever thought about what it means to create culture? Did you catch our posts on this very topic back in January? If not, check them out at the links below. The truth is, we are always creating some kind of culture, whether we realize it or not.
If you have not been to the main LifeWay site in a while, you may wanna take a look at the new updates on www.lifeway.com/kids. There are all sorts of ministry resources, articles, VBS goodies, and downloads there.
We’ve got a couple of CentriKid folks that help work on the content for that site, so if you have suggestions or ideas about stuff you would like to see or how we can improve that site, please comment and let us know!