All about the Do-Over

Yesterday evening our church had its annual gathering for water baptism service. We do it once a year in back of the church where they dig a large pond a few days before. It’s the one day a year when all five service attenders come to one service. Outdoor stage, food vendors and lots of people parked everywhere in efforts to see people rejoice in their new life. We rocked the house! Holy moments happened. People declared openly what Christ had done for them and their decision to follow Him wholeheartedly. It does a body good to watch. To remember. To see redemption in action. Grateful people for the cross and salvation. A do-over because of the gift of new life. People rejoiced with other people at the declarations of new creatures following their Savior.
Having been a Christ follower for over 30 years now, its good to be reminded of God’s do-over’s in all of us. New Creatures. It is good to see these people’s eyes as they exude joy. It reminds me of how far He has brought me. How he rescued me.

Last night also reminded me WHY I love ministry to kids and leaders. We’re all redemptive works of the cross. And it just doesn’t stop. Philippians 1:6 says He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it! Now go be the best leader you can be. I’m in.

Mess Things Up

I live in a city that should get some kind of award for taking it slow when it comes to improvements.
We are the midwest and we like it that way. The problem with the safe, slow thinking is that we now lag behind in offering so many things. And the gap keeps growing. You’d probably not notice it too much unless you toured other cities. The contrast is everywhere. Hey…how did we get stuck?

I see the same deal in ministry. I don’t care where you are, there are lots of safe/steady paced churches. “We do this because that’s the way it’s always been done.” They are aging. Livin’ on the edge is a new coat of paint. Cutting edge is a new song or different rotation to follow. Big deal. Same delivery no matter what the surroundinga will get the same results. Same old same old. One basic leadership lesson I learned years ago was that you’d better replace yourself. Things change. Check out the world in which we live!

What a contrast this safe life is to the Gospel. It’s always SO fresh. Jesus just couldn’t be pinned down and be stereotyped. He ministered in the most unlikely moments of life. Always fresh.

I read this week that the Methodist and Lutheran churches are coming up with an ad campaign to bring the ones back who have left the “same old same old.” That should fix things. An Ad campaign? I hope folks can stir the pot more than an ad campaign. There is amazing love to share. Redemption. New life walking with the God of the universe. Encounters. Changes.

If your ministry area or church has got things happily organized… beware. It happened in my town and its will take a long time to get out of the rut. Join me in messing things up. Let’s share Jesus!

If you wake up thinking…

The NAIA University my son attends just hired a great new basketball coach named Soderberg. I saw an interview on the local news the other day and just can’t stop thinking about what the new coach said. You see he was fired from a Division 1 school 2 years ago after doing his best at building a team that frankly, didn’t take the title of champion. He did a great job, but the team didn’t produce and he was one the first be let go. He expressed that he understood why the school had to let him go. So soon he secured another job as an AD to pay the bills for the fam the following year. But his comment was SO telling about his now newly acquired job w/ the title of head coach once again. He said in the interview “When you continually wake up thinking about coaching, you should be a coach.” That settled things for him. He was absolutely beaming to be a head coach again. He was eager to mold a team of players to a victory. It is all over him. Yep-that guy is a coach.

So what do you wake up thinking about? God said He came to give us a hope and a future. We’re uniquely designed for Him. I heard that David was around thirteen when he was anointed king. He took the throne somewhere around thirty. Wonder what he woke up thinking about…

Painted Myself in a Corner…

I painted myself into a corner this week. Really. I was staining my deck-and working hard at it when I realized a BIG mistake. I had lost sight of the big picture of the project. I had painted myself into a corner.

Happens in ministry too. I’ve got my head down conquering the task in front of me with a vengeance… and then I look up. How did I get here? That’s when you you utter a big “Doh” just like Homer Simpson.

I think it’s done in more ministry areas than we might want to admit. No matter if it’s volunteer recruitment or recognition or ministry planning, it can all get you painted into a corner quickly. Well, from a Simpson like perspective may I encourage you to take a moment to back away to reflect on what’s going on. It’s biblical. Be still. Survey the land. We humans get so busy DOING ministry sometimes that we miss the point. I think Jesus had that conversation at Mary and Martha’s house.

Some ministry questions for children’s leaders: Are new kids and parents welcomed and acclimated with loving care? Are your team members gifted in the right areas for what they do? Do you need to stop some programming? Do you need to start some programming? Are you to lead the way in doing something fresh?

If you feel painted in a corner…STOP. Stop and listen and pray. He will keep you from losing sight of the big picture as you accomplish whatever the task at hand. He will keep you from getting yourself painted in to a corner.

PR and Children’s Ministry… NO second chances!

Check out an exerpt from a business blog I read today. TOTALLY secular and TOTALLY right. Simply replace the word “people” for volunteers. Pull out the “company” and insert your church name.

Reputation is Built on First ImpressionsMy Mom always told me, “There’s no second chance to make a good first impression.”

Your people create strong impressions that become part of your reputation.

Who speaks your Reputation?
Who speaks for your company?

Who touches your customers?

Who wears your company logo?

Do they create a lasting reputation you want to keep?

The person behind the phone, behind the counter, and even behind the wheel, is critically important to your reputation.

Everyone in your company becomes an “Impression Opportunity.”

What I find astounding is how this PR deal is still missing in lots of great churches! While we may be seeker targeted in some areas, others, not so much. It’s like going from Nordstrom’s to Kmart. We forget what’s a stake here in having great PR. Jesus and the Message. We’ve got ONE impression to make for a family who may or may not know what that even means. How does your ministry area score in public relations? DO you know? Is the process easy? Are the volunteers friendly and helpful? The door to your church his through your children’s ministry. Make sure it’s just as great of an impression as the front door of your church. Make entrance into ministry for both the kids and the parents smooth like butter. Put your best foot forward and your “people” people in the forefront. Evaluate this frequently. Nordstrom’s does. Successful companies do. Have parents review their experiences. It is a difference maker. There are no second chances.