Guest Blog Posting by the husband! Enjoy!
When is it time to yell BUCKETS?
A little over a year ago, my wife and I added one of the best inventions known to man into our household…the DVR. It has freed-up tons of time and eliminated hours of mindless commercials and promos. You basically select the programs you’d like to view and at a time of your choice, you can watch them while fast forwarding through all the promos and commercials.
It was during this time that we realized that we’ve been so conditioned to sit through commercials that we noticed, (or my wife faithfully noticed), I wasn’t grabbing for the remote to forward past the borage of products. In case you don’t know, it’s one of those MAN things that you don’t like to be told how to “drive” your remote, so we decided to come up with a code word for “hey dummy your watching commercials unnecessarily” or “change the channel”. Trying to find something totally unrelated I chose “BUCKETS”.
Whenever we are watching TV and I hear the word “BUCKETS” I’m scrambling for the remote… time to change the channel or fast forward. Just today I became aware that God many times is yelling “BUCKETS” and we are so stuck in our routine that we ignore or are unaware of the need to change or fast forward. The world is spinning at break-neck speed and the church or even just Children’s Ministry is tootling along in its same routine. We become so focused on program, curriculum and process, and we lose awareness of on our intentions, relevancy and creativity.
We can only stay in God’s perfect plan is if we are willing to listen to the cry of “BUCKETS” and change channels or move the program forward. The bucket cry will happen, you just need to choose to react and engage.
Is the vision of your Children’s Ministry to be a “maintenance ministry- one in which you have a clipboard with a check-off list? Or are you ahead of your ministry focus by questioning the purpose and motives in each step ? “Buckets!” Now go.
Got to catch up with some friends I served with in Children’s Ministry. We have gone on to other endeavors, but we just can’t get away from the thread that’s been woven through all of us. We served together serving kids. We did ministry life together. We have laughed until it hurt, and we have cried together when one was hurting. We have rejoiced over victories and personal trials with our own families. There is a common thread there I am SO grateful for. I never would have known them apart from serving together. I call them friends.
Initially people sometimes simply come to meet a need by serving. That’s great! But many an impression is changed once new volunteers experience the power and cohesiveness of team. When you team up to serve for the cause of Christ — things happen. When you include and value new people into that circle of team… connection threads happen. You gel. You bond. It weaves a team together.
In turn, as a leader, you get to both witness this team connection and be the recipient of it. When your team invests in prayer together over needs in kids ministry, it only strengthens the thread. Being connected through threads of experience is a beautiful thing. Do a check up on how your TEAM is. Make sure that people have opportunity to connect and share in each others lives. Weave new threads. It can only strengthen the team.
Last weekend I attended a great event leading up to the All Star Baseball game here in St. Louis called Fanfest. It’s a celebration of achievers and milestones, plus activities for the whole family enjoy. Got to see a bit of history. Incredible trophies. Strong men and women who have played the game of baseball. A tribute to American heroes who struggled both on and off the field.
I had to stop and pause as I read the large red, white and blue billboard of hall of famer’s posted so proudly. What I was suprised at was just how FEW their were. 233 players (not managers, pioneers, etc) Now major league baseball started in 1869, and with the number of players and teams you would think it would be more. But there they were… only 233.
I like to view what I take in through the lense of ministry. Who would be on your church’s hall of fame board? Why aren’t there more? Think about how many churches there are across America. Now think about how many children’s volunteers there currently are and have been. Got to be a HUGE number.
I believe it is mostly dependant on the managing side of ministry. Baseball managers identify talent and cultivate that. They start the players who play to win. They pay the salaries of those who produce. In turn, their teams are winning teams. And even during the season they are out there looking for more to improve. For wins…they tweak the line up. They move players. They try different plays. They must adapt…and they are rewarded.
Put that in the context of your ministry today. Who are you scouting? Who are you investing in? What NEW plays do you try? I read a great phrase once that has stuck with me: “mediocrity is SO easy.” The gospel is too precious. Kids are too important to keep up mediocre programming. It’s too easy and a cop out. You’d better see what’s out there and be on the hunt to always be improving and changing.. or you might end up like the Cubs. Over 100 yrs since a championship.
Friends of ours were notified last night that their two daughters (23/25), who are backpacking it in Europe, lost money and ID’s by theft. Obviously they were quite upset. One of them, after only a three days of a three week trip, wanted to come home. They were going nowhere without ID. I hope by the time this blog posts they have been favored by the embassy and are off for more sister adventures.
Their predicament made me realize something today. I may have lost my ID too for a bit. Kind of like losin’ your groove. However, the more I ponder this- the bigger the smile on my face today. The ONLY identity I have is Christ. My ID isn’t what I DO, or a piece of paper, it’s WHO I am in Christ. And the more I think about grace, mercy, adoption, forgiveness, companionship… the BIGGER the smile.
Don’t lose your ID. Being a ministry leader, or an influencer, in charge of anything at church really doesn’t mean anything in comparison to WHO we are in Christ. All else fades compared to Him. Selah.