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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.
I was on a children’s ministry site this week where a question was posed that made me stop in my tracks. It went something like,”As a new leader of children’s ministry at my church, should we have any safety policies in place? There currently are none in place here that I can find.” I was simply taken back. Was this a third world country??? Nope, right here in the great USA. Being a mom and ministry leader for many years, I quickly shot back a response that went something like this: DO NOT have another weekend come around without safety guidelines in place.
Children’s Ministry 101 is (1) Screen your volunteers on both the state and national level. (2) Never, but never open a room without a minimum of two screened volunteers and age ratio’s. (3) Do not ever allow anyone to take a child alone anywhere including a restroom. (4) Have an emergency plan (incl CPR training) in place and practice it! (5) Do not release a child to an adult/guardian without id,(parents actually appreciate this. There are just too many custody issues and predators out there who know church is an easy target). Don’t have church if you can’t do these basic things. I’d go to the mat on these minimum basics. Anything less is just sub-standard and dangerous. Protect your church (many have had legal action brought against them). Protect your kids. Protect your volunteers. A safe environment precedes ministry.
Can’t believe it’s almost July. I blinked and June was gone. Now we celebrate land of the free on July 4. Children’s Ministry is great turf for the free. People set free who can boldly proclaim the love of Jesus to kids of all ages. John 8:26 says He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Free indeed to share the hope of the gospel to children. Free indeed to engage in culture to present the timeless Message to a dying world. Free indeed to try new things to be relevant. Free to support volunteers and do life together. Free indeed.
We live in the home of the brave. So many brave ministry teams out there right now determined to do this children’s ministry gig right! Way to go. Young and old, brave enough to commit to a rich lifestyle of serving. Some weeks great. Some weeks…oh my, but these brave souls stick with it. High fives to your team as you celebrate land of the free and home of the brave.