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Fun and Fast Teams Win

I really enjoyed my subscription to Fast Company (actually my subscription just ran out and I am going to have to renew). I actually think I like the title just as much as the contents, and I really enjoy the title. I love to move quickly, I am not known for patience, just ask my wife. If I had lived back when Jesus was walking with the disciples I would have been a lot like Peter. I would love the invitation from Jesus to walk on water. I often times hear people preach about him asking Jesus to call him on out onto the water and people often ask “why” he would have done that? I always think “why would he not?” I would have been quick to cut the ear off of someone as well and then have to have my leader (Jesus) come and give me a lesson on knowing that they have everything under control.

Okay, I said all that to just say I really enjoyed a recent article that “Fast Company” had in it recently called: The Four Rules for Fast Teams. Here are the four rules they mention with a little more commentary from me on them as well plus how they may apply to Take TWO Ministries and possibly yours as well.

Let the Group Make Its Own Rules.

“You want to make sure people have a say in how they’re going to work together”. It is great and extremely important according to me to have a defined and owned set of core values, mission and vision. I also think it is very important to allow your team to have input into creating those. As time goes on and time seems to speed up even more, I am leaning more and more toward knowing that Jesus set the mission for all of us already through the Great Commission and the Great Commandment (This is truly the Take TWO), the vision for each ministry, place of employment and all can and will be different but we will accomplish it through our core values. Those core values need to be held tightly and always used as a compass.

Speak up often.
Here is something I am continuing to learn is so important. You have to have an environment that encourages people to speak their mind, their opinions and for that to be okay to do. You need to build into your culture of children’s ministry an environment that not only says we are safe but shows that it is safe to challenge things if done well. In this kind of safe environment after all has been discussed we need to recognize what we heard, maybe implement some, but then move on to accomplish the vision. People want to be heard and they want to know they have a voice. It is better to allow this to happen upfront in a safe environment than allow your people to feel that they can not voice their opinion publicly, because they will still voice their opinions, just behind closed doors and behind your back. This is often times a time that ministries become derailed. Let your people speak honestly. You will win more people that way.

Learn as You Go.
Here the main thought is as you learn share what you learn, take people along on the journey with you. This will profit the whole church and/or organization.

Fast Has to Be Fun.
The title says it all, to keep people and build a great team that can move quickly, it is important to build a place that is fun. If you have been in children’s ministry long and even if you have not been here long, you probably noticed the world the kids live in and your volunteers live in moves rather quickly. So let’s keep it fun and enjoyable. If it doesn’t stay fun you spend valuable time trying to always recruit people to come along with you in a non fun environment. Doesn’t that make you just want to jump in and be a team player? No, so why would anyone else want that?

So quickly, go and have some fun adapting these points in your own ministry.

Stir up the waters

During a time with God I was reading this:
Matthew 19:14 Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” This caused me to think “What hinders kids that I may do or my ministry?”

I know that I will never be able to answer all of this just in this quick post but here are a few ideas I think are good for all of us children’s pastors, Sunday school teachers, and anyone who works with kids to look at.

I think we can hinder kids in many ways. I think that many of us hinder kids when they come into our churches and:

* We don’t treat them like they can make a difference now!! Lately I have been getting a lot of parents telling me that they appreciate that their kids come into Take TWO Kids and now feel that they are important. That is good news but it is also not so good news. The reason it is not so good news is that statement says that there are places that kids go that do not make them feel that they are not important. This is hindering them.

* Our ministries are in stagnation. Our Sunday schools, kids churches, ministries to kids should be vital, exciting, growing, and going places. When we accept anything less we will see stagnation, and that will hinder kids from really seeing how relevant God is. Often times I think that since teachers, pastors, church members, volunteers , moms and dads get to show Jesus to kids, what actually happens is that we just show kids how irrelevant we may be but and God gets the blame.

Working with kids is not always easy, but is incredibly important. Children’s ministry should constantly be changing because the world of kids is constantly changing. So fight stagnation in all areas of your ministry with kids. If you are still doing what you did even last year and doing it in the same way, most likely stagnation is taking place and you are not even aware of it. Take a look at your decor, facility, teaching style, what you are reading or not reading, who do you net work with, classroom set up, what was the last thing that changed in your ministry? The list can and does go on but these should be good starter type questions for you.

Stir your waters up!! Families depend on us.

Risk to become better

I am always challenged to think through how we do ministry, and why we do things a certain way. I must admit that these times of constant self examination can be painful or at least provide a little discomfort. It is a firm belief of mine that children’s ministry or any ministry for that matter was not designed to stand still. We have always got to push ourselves to get better, make continuous improvements, and expect to see more fruit.

Jesus told us to strive for more than simply maintaining the status quo. His parables about the talents (Matt. 25) and minas (Luke 19) reinforce that we should constantly look for ways to make more out of the ministry that’s been entrusted to each of us. Yes, in both stories people were given something of value and then later asked to show what they accomplished with their portion. Those who could show an increase were rewarded. Those that played it safe and tried nothing new were chastised.

The point of this to me is very clear. We need to be creative, take risks, explore new ways to make more stuff happen for the glory of God. It never seems to amaze me how quick the world around us changes by the year, month, week, hour, and even every second. The sad thing is that often the church is to scared to make changes. Too often ministries become satisfied to stay where they are because they may be seeing some results, but not as many as God may want them to experience. We need to remember that it is the message that should never change, but the method we use to share that message should constantly be changing.

Remember, change is not a bad word. An unresponsive kids ministry is on a path toward being irrelevant, and will reach less kids for Christ.

God’s Style Pouring

Have you ever noticed that children love to “pour out love“? A child will run across the room to give a big hug to someone he/she loves. It’s often all or nothing for that child. He might hang on his mother’s leg around most people, but for the one special individual whom she loves, she will explode with exuberant lavished love.

God is the same way with us. He has poured His love on us. Ephesians 1:7-8 states, “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” Imagine the love God poured on us “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God poured His love out by sending His Son to the earth to experience pain and suffering and to experience death on the cross so that we might be forgiven of our sins.

It’s easy to get caught up in life and take for granted the wonderful gift we have been given by God to have our sins washed away. Let us determine to live a life based on pouring upon others the love of Christ. Let’s continue to pour love on all the hurting people who surround us every day. Look around and you will find single moms struggling to keep up with everything life demands. You will find lonely children who are walking a road that will lead to destruction. You will find broken senior citizens who are suffering from years of living a life away from Christ. You will find couples who are struggling in their marriages, dad’s who are struggling with their self worth due to being laid off and the list can and does just go on and on.

Let’s make a commitment today to return the favor given to us by Christ. Let’s pour God’s love out on someone else today.

Did I do that?

I am not sure how many people have watched, still watch or will admit that they have watched the show with Steve Urkel in it, but I will admit that I have seen it. Every time he does something that causes grief, trouble, blows up, spills, and the list can go on and on, he always says in his Steve type way, “Did I do that?’

I have been thinking about how many Steve’s we have in the world. Steve type people who all of a sudden notice their marriage going down hill – Did I do that? Families who have let their children run the home and now they have no control over them – Did I do that? It is time we start to take responsibility for the results we are getting.

I am a firm believer in not just letting stuff happen but I want to make a plan on how to achieve as much as I can and profit my relationship with God, my family, my church and friends, I want to have a strategy in place. So when I hear people say that they have no strategy all I can think of is: Your strategy is perfectly designed for the results you are getting. To get different results design a different strategy. Often times I know that we have all heard and may have preached several times, “If you want something different then you must do something different.” If you are digging a hole in the ground and you see that you need a new hole you don’t keep digging deeper, no you go and dig somewhere else.

No more muzzles!!

Often times people talk about Zechariah and Elizabeth (in Luke 1:5-25; 57-66) and how they over time lost hope of ever having a child. Here Elizabeth was getting old and Zechariah was not a spring chicken himself.

Here Zechariah in the Holy place was visited by an angel and Zechariah still asked how he would know what the angle said about them having a baby was true (Now that’s truly losing some hope) when the angel quieted his voice until after the birth of his child John.

How often we may find ourselves in the same place as Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah when after praying and believing God in all of His goodness for a while and not seeing the answer we often give up. We may put a muzzle (restraint) on our faith and trust in God. Sometimes we put a muzzle (restraint) on us by living in fear of what others may say. There are many ways to put muzzles on us, and when that happens we lose hope in one part of our relationship with God. After wearing those muzzles we to will begin to be fearful of hoping and believing in the goodness of God.

Our challenge to the kids was to see where they may be wearing a muzzle and didn’t recognize it. For all of us to continue to believe in the goodness of God our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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